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Nihalani sacked as CBFC chief, Prasoon Joshi takes over



Image result for Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Aug 11 (IANS) Pahlaj Nihalani, whose decisions as the CBFC chief repeatedly angered the film fraternity, was on Friday replaced by noted lyricist and ad guru Prasoon Joshi, drawing widespread applause from the film fraternity.

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who has been appointed a member of the censor board, told IANS about the structural changes in the government-appointed body which oversees all movies before they are released in India.

Agnihotri said Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani was looking at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with a fresh perspective. “With Prasoon Joshi heading it, it was tempting for me to come on board.”

Joshi is known for his contribution to films like “Black”, “Taare Zameen Par”, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, “Rang De Basanti”, “Delhi-6” and “Neerja” and for designing successful ad campaigns. Honoured with Padma Shri, the National Award winner penned the theme song for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other campaigns.

Nihalani, who has been a film producer and describes himself on Twitter as “true Indian”, took over as CBFC chairperson in 2015 from danseuse Leela Samson, a year after Modi became the Prime Minister.

But he began running into skirmishes with film producers over cuts, beeps and disclaimers he insisted on, which the industry often found unfair.

Hollywood movie “Fifty Shades Of Grey” became the first victim to his ways of censorship. It was not allowed to release in India over its erotic content.

Nihalani soon turned his attention to the Indian industry with films like “NH10”, “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, “Aligarh”, “Udta Punjab”, “Haraamkhor”, “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, “Indu Sarkar” and “Babumoshai Bandookbaaz” facing his wrath.

Even James Bond film “Spectre” couldn’t escape his scissors. It was released only after its kissing scenes were cut short.

In “Udta Punjab”, a movie about the drug problem in Punjab, Nihalani and his examining committee insisted on as many as 89 cuts, triggering widespread condemnation.

Joshi’s appointment as the new censor chief drew appreciation.

Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who led a panel that has made recommendations for a revamp of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, told IANS: “Prasoon Joshi is an excellent choice. He is a very fine poet and also headed one of the best advertising agencies. So his understanding of the medium is very good.”

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who ran into trouble with Nihalani over his political drama “Indu Sarkar”, told IANS: “Prasoon is a very evolved person. He comes from the advertising background and will have a modern point of view. Choosing Prasoon is a welcome decision by the government.

“I would like to thank Smriti Iraniji and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathoreji for their decision. I am sure Prasoon will have a different outlook. He understands today’s movies well.”

Before cracking down on a variety of movies, Nihalani had produced a string of films including “Paap ki Duniya”, “Aag ka Gola”, “Shola aur Shabnam”, “Aankhen” and “Talaash: The Hunt Begins”.


‘Hichki’ Movie Review: An emotionally inspiring film




New Delhi, March 23: Film: “Hichki”; Director: Sidharth P. Malhotra; Cast: Rani Mukerji, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Neeraj Kabi, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Asif Basra, Ivan Rodrigues, Harsh Mayar and Kunal Shinde

Rating: 3.5/5

Adapted from a 2008 released English film, “Front of the Class”, which is based on Brad Cohen’s book “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had”, director Sidharth P. Malhotra’s “Hichki” is a feel good, emotionally packed and inspirational film.

It is the touching story of Naina Mathur, a young girl who would not let Tourette Syndrome keep her from doing what she loved most; teaching. Despite her speech defect, she sets out to become a teacher.

Hichki Rani Mukerji

Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder which sets off multiple motor tics which include compulsive throat-clearing, knee knocking, violent muscle twitches and piercing barks. These tics are beyond one’s control. While the exact cause that sets off these tics is not known, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Rani Mukerji as the plucky Naina Mathur is flawless. She portrays her character with sincerity.

Hichki review

“I can’t see you as a teacher,” one blunt administrator tells her. To which, she replies, “Before meeting me, did you know about Tourette Syndrome? Well, now that you know, I have educated you.”

This simply tells you how persevering she is.

The film reveals how as a student she was expelled from twelve schools before finally being accepted whole heartedly at St. Notker’s High School. The same school later accepts her as a teacher, mid-term, not because of her brilliant academic credentials but because of a crisis situation. She is hired to teach a class of underprivileged, reluctant misfits. How she wins everyone’s hearts, forms the crux of the tale.

Looking back periodically to show Naina as a child, the film is most powerful in some of those flashback sequences.

Hichki Movie Review

How as a child, she convinces herself that Tourette Syndrome is her lifelong companion and that could teach her important lessons about human nature. That bit of disassociation which is crucial helps her cope with otherwise difficult situations. This comes through in her strained relationship with her father and also when she tells her school teacher, Mr. Khan, “Treat me like other students.”

The film is packed with dramatic moments that are as truthful as they are inspiring. Every scene resonates with sentiments. With apt metaphors and lingo, the writing is simple and straightforward. And while the film intends on communicating life-affirming values, there are moments in the first half that seem forced.

The second half, despite the painstakingly moralistic notes, touches the right chords. You get so immersed with the characters especially Naina. You feel sorry for her when despite her sincere efforts, her class gets suspended, for no fault of theirs.

What elevates the film is the brilliant performances by the supporting cast. You can relate with every character as each one of them is well-etched. The ones that stand out apart from the gang of students are Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar as Naina’s estranged parents, Ivan Rodrigues as the School Principal, Neeraj Kabi as Naina’s colleague at school who is keen to dismiss Naina’s students from the school and of course the character who plays Naina’s brother.

The loving relationship between the siblings is well-defined.

With ace production values, the film is well-made. The only sore point is the loud background score that kills the subtlety of the subject.

Overall, “Hichki” remains in your mental space long after you leave the theatre.


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Businessman arrested after Zeenat Aman files rape complaint



Zeenat Aman

Mumbai, March 23: A Mumbai businessman has been arrested on charges of raping and cheating veteran Bollywood actor Zeenat Aman of more than Rs 15 crore, police said on Friday.

The accused, Sarfaraz alias Aman Khanna, was arrested on Thursday night on the basis of a complaint filed by the actor, a police official said.

“The complaint was filed yesterday night at Juhu Police Station. The accused has been arrested and produced in local court. The matter has been handed over to the Crime Branch. The investigation is on,” DCP Crime Nisar Tamboli said.

Veteran Bollywood actress Zeenat Aman had registered a rape case against a businessman at Juhu Police station.

Earlier, the actress had filed a molestation and stalking complaint against the businessman on 30 January 2018. The accused was arrested by Mumbai’s Juhu police team based on the complaint of stalking and criminal intimidation filed against him by the actress.

It has been handed over to the Crime Branch which is now investigating the case.

Zeenat Aman has been one of the most popular actresses of her time and she shot to fame with films like Hare Rama, Hare Krishna, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Heera Panna, Qurbani, Yaadon Ki Baraat, Don and many others.

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Big B not in favour of museum dedicated to him




Mumbai, March 23: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he will not approve any proposal for building a “museum” dedicated to his life and work.

On Friday, when a Twitter user directed the 75-year-old to a news report about Andheri MLA Ameet Satam proposing a museum dedicated to Big B, the actor wrote: “Not approved at all… It shall not be done!”

According to the report, Satam proposed the idea of having the museum built in Juhu, which is also where Amitabh stays.

Satam reportedly made the proposal in the state assembly, where he also said that Juhu was Mumbai’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Beverly Hills given that a number of high profile film stars live in the locality.

Amitabh has had a long career of over four decades in the Hindi film industry. Age notwithstanding, the actor continues to regale his fans with movies, and currently has movies like “102 Not Out”, “Thugs of Hindostan”, “Bhramastra” and “Jhund” in his kitty.


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