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Interview: Imtiaz Ali reminds me of Yash Chopra: Shah Rukh Khan

“It is a throwback to that. The film is not like that at all. ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is perhaps one of the most revered love-stories… But this (‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’) is an unabashed love story.



Photo IANS

New Delhi, June 10: Imtiaz Ali’s knack of telling love stories, his affinity for travel and his penchant for adding a touch of Punjab to his films is reminiscent of the late filmmaker Yash Chopra, says superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who has worked with the “Jab We Met” director for the first time in “Jab Harry Met Sejal”.

The upcoming romantic drama, which will release on August 4, will see Shah Rukh with his “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” and “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” heroine Anushka Sharma. The film has been widely shot in Prague, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Budapest.

“The film travels a lot… But it is not on travel. It’s about a tourist guide, but it’s a love story… Two people meet somehow, and somewhere down the line as they are moving around, they kind of fall in love,” Shah Rukh told IANS, giving an insight into what the movie is about.

“It was really nice because of two things, one — Imtiaz knows Europe very well. So, we have shot the film in Budapest, Amsterdam, Prague and then Punjab… In a certain way, he reminds me of Mr. Yash Chopra because he writes love stories, which travel all over India too and have a Punjab taste. His writing is fantastic,” the Bollywood Badshah said over phone from Mumbai.

Additionally, the 51-year-old actor found shooting for the film very easy as he finds Imtiaz as “a very gentle person”.

“I guess that part shows in the film,” he added.

The film’s title was being speculated on for a long time in the Bollywood circuit, until it was finally revealed on Thursday night. To many, it’s a throwback to the 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally”, but Shah Rukh says the resemblance ends there.

“It is a throwback to that. The film is not like that at all. ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ is perhaps one of the most revered love-stories… But this (‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’) is an unabashed love story.

“It is a happy film as the poster suggests… And the character’s names are Harinder ‘Harry’ Singh and Sejal. It is kind of the Punjabi, Gujarati combination,” he told IANS.

Shah Rukh, who is also presenting the film, has just averted a box office clash with Akshay Kumar’s “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” by shifting the release date to August 4 from August 11. He feels it’s best to avoid clashes in Bollywood as far as possible.

“I think whenever you can, it’s nicer for both films. If you can’t, then you have to release on the same date because when you are looking for alternate dates so that two films don’t come on the same day, you request and talk to each other.

“And mostly what we do on the big ticket films is that since our films are expensive and big, my logic has always been that if it (date change) can be done, it’s nice.”

A successful film producer who owns the Red Chillies Entertainment banner, the star added: “Our films are also capacity films…I think they have the capacity to take on 4,000 screens and fill them up.

“If we come with another film, unfortunately we don’t have the capacity to fill in… So we are running at half capacity… We haven’t been able to exploit what our market gives us.”

Shah Rukh is confident “Jab Harry Met Sejal” will have a long run and hopes the long weekend courtesy Raksha Bandhan on August 7 (Monday) will help.

“I think we will be able to garner some advantage of the holiday of August 15 and I think our film has that scope, added the “Fan” actor.



Important for celebrities to speak up, bring change: Deepika Padukone




New Delhi, March 24: As multiple Bollywood films are celebrating how weaknesses can be turned into strengths, leading actress Deepika Padukone says it is important for celebrities to use their place of influence and power to bring about change in society.

“I think it is extremely important for those who are in positions of influence or power to bring about social change. It is extremely important for them to speak up about whatever issue it might be,” Deepika told news agency IANS in interview.

Of late, film actors and filmmakers are attempting storylines which have a strong underlying message that can bring change in society. The latest example is Rani Mukerji’s “Hichki”, which talks about how a woman with Tourette Syndrome, a neuropsychiatric disorder, makes it her strength and becomes a teacher.

Deepika, one of Bollywood’s top-earning actresses, believes people can see if you do not have genuine connect or if it is not authentic.

“For many years, people always said, ‘You know you are successful, you should do work in social sectors as well or associate with an NGO’. There were so many options (for me), but I didn’t feel like I was being honest to them.

“It didn’t come naturally to me until I came across mental health, also because of my personal experience,” said the actress, who had earlier opened up about her battle with depression.

She feels speaking up for a cause has to be an “organic” process.

“I don’t think there is any fixed time as to when one should do it. I think you should do it when you feel it is right.”

Deepika was here along with her mother and younger sister to launch a report on Public Perception Towards Mental Health in India by her foundation The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), which aims to reduce the stigma around mental health.

The report’s findings indicate that a majority of people feel that mental illness is still considered a severe disorder like schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But are celebrities not more prone to depression and stress, especially when they are constantly under the scanner, more so with the emergence of social media?

“No. I think I have understood the correlation between consumption of social media and when it helps. I always believed that whatever you consume, you consume in moderation.

“If you consume too much, it could have various sorts of impact, not just on your mental health but physical health too. I know people who are up at social media in the wee hours and probably letting it eat up their sleep time.

“As long as anything that you consume, whether it is social media or otherwise, is done in moderation, and you are aware about your social health, I think you are on the right path,” said the 32-year-old.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters to her is “peace of mind”.

Deepika said she wants to see India as the happiest nation in the world.

“My vision for the Foundation is that we become the happiest country in the world. I see Bhutan having their happiness minister, and even some of the Scandinavian countries have the highest rate of mental happiness and I want India to be there, sooner or later,” she signed off.


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SRK’s selfie with ‘skiing champion’ AbRam goes Viral



Shah Rukh Khan Abram

New Delhi, March 24: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan took some time off from his busy schedule and decided to spend some quality time with family. The actor is currently holidaying in Europe with wife Gauri Khan and youngest child AbRam and filling up his social media accounts with gorgeous pictures.

SRK went on speed skiing with his youngest son AbRam, whom he calls “champion”. King Khan also tweeted an adorable photo of himself along with his little boy holding a trophy.

“A lovely holiday climaxed with the new Speed Skiing champion of the world by my side,” Shah Rukh captioned the image.

The actor, 52, had previously shared a video with AbRam, 4 and had captioned it: “In bed, in lift and in the Alps. You do get more than you can ski… With my little one on a little holiday.”

Earlier this week, Gauri Khan shared a similar photo of Shah Rukh and Abram from the Alps and had the most adorable caption for it: “Snowmen,” she wrote.

Snowmen… ⛄️ ❤️ @iamsrk

A post shared by Gauri Khan (@gaurikhan) on

On the work front, Shah Rukh is busy with Aanand L Rai’s “Zero”, which also stars Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.

The film will release in December.


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Ajay Devgn’s ‘Raid’ becomes the second highest grosser




Mumbai, March 24: Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn’s crime-thriller, ‘Raid’ continues to impress the audience, as it becomes the second highest grosser film of 2018.

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Raid has beaten the first week collections of films like Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte’s Pad Man (Rs 62.87 crore) and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (Rs 45.94 crore).

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh confirmed the movie’s box-office collection on Twitter and wrote, ‘Friday 10.04 crore, Saturday 13.86 crores, Monday 6.26 crores, Tuesday 5.76 crores, Wednesday 4.66 crores and Thursday 4.66 crores makes it a total of 63.05 crores.’

Raid is based on true events which occurred in Uttar Pradesh and has been inspired by real-life Income Tax raids which were held by Indian Revenue Services back in the ’80s and 90’s.

Raid is based on true events which occurred in Uttar Pradesh and has been designed to glorify the unsung heroes namely the Income Tax officers who work to make the Indian economy run smoothly, the film portrays one such officer Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgn). How he relentlessly and honestly goes about his duty ensuring that the government gets its due from defaulting tax-payers, forms the crux of the tale.

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The movie is expected to make it to the third spot of the 100 crore club after Padmaavat and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety.

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