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Satyajit Ray never made us memorise dialogues: Sharmila Tagore

“The way he had to raise finance for ‘Pather Panchali’ is part of film-lore and throughout his career, he had to face shortage of money. His was the pre-multiplex era,”

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Sharmila Tagore

New Delhi, May 15 : Veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, who began her career with Satyajit Ray’s 1959 Bengali film “Apur Sansar” (“The World of Apu”) at the age of a mere 13, says the late legendary filmmaker never made child artistes memorise dialogues.

Sharmila was here at The Nehru Memorial Museum Library for the inauguration of “Revisting Ray”, a conference and exhibition on the filmmaker, on Tuesday.

“I started working at 13 and he never over-instructed us. I was given the script but (was) never made to memorise the dialogues. He would come very close to you in your ear and whisper to you what you have to do and in no time, we were in awe of him. we were never nervous with him,” said the 73-year-old actress.

“He would give very clear instructions. It was very easy to follow him. He would never treat a child like a child,” she added.

Hailing Ray as a man of ideas who was “not at all influenced by the market-driven world”, Sharmila also shed light on the dedication of the filmmaker.

Ray’s first film “Pather Panchali” won eleven international prizes, including the inaugural Best Human Document award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival. This film, along with “Aparajito”, and “Apur Sansar” form “The Apu Trilogy”.

Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material for the movies.

“He still remains the most credible filmmaker in India and abroad. Till date, the trilogy remains amongst the best 100 films ever made in the world. It was in the list of Time’s Top 100 films in the world in 2005. Ray’s films were created despite many materialistic constraints which he had to face throughout his career.

“The way he had to raise finance for ‘Pather Panchali’ is part of film-lore and throughout his career, he had to face shortage of money. His was the pre-multiplex era,” said Sharmila.

The Padma Bhushan recipient said the conditions in which he made his films were “unimaginable”.

“Floors were full of potholes, making a simple trolly shot a huge challenge and at that time, there was a lot of load shedding and the power cuts used to cost him dearly. He did not even have the right equipment because of which he had to improvise continuously and that of course helped,” said the actress, who worked with Ray in 1966’s “Nayak” and several other movies.

“Refusal to compromise, his steadfastness and commitment are at the heart of his legacy,” she added.

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MeToo allegations against Anu Malik false, baseless: Lawyer

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Anu Malik

Mumbai, Oct 18: Singer Anu Malik has denied allegations that he sexually harassed singer Shweta Pandit, who has called him a “pedophile” and “sexual predator”.

“The allegations made against my client are emphatically denied as completely false and baseless. My client respects the #MeToo movement but to use this movement to start a character assassination mission is obnoxious,” Malik’s lawyer Zulfiquar Memon told IANS.

Pandit, in a Twitter post, recounted her ordeal with Malik in an incident dating back to 2000. She claims once in a cabin at a studio, he told her he would give her a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan “but first give me a kiss now”.

“He then smiled, what I would recall the most evil grin I’ve seen,” Pandit said of the incident when she was all of 15 years old.

Before Shweta, singer Sona Mohapatra called out Malik.

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To all the young girls & women who are coming out with their experiences with this creep, journalists, ‘fans’ & even kids from college, know that you are not alone. This guy, #KailashKher is a serial predator & has been for years as are many others like Anu Malik in the industry. I cannot be tweeting about everyone cus I work 18 hour work days & have a life to live & breathe in. Also I cannot comment on many others basis heresay. That would be unfair. (Many journalists have been asking me for stories thinking that I’m most likely to ‘spill the beans’. I’m not) It is important that we stick to facts & our personal experiences to make this a serious & credible movement to help clean a system & lopsided power structure. It is just a start but an important one. #TimesUp #India #Change

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‘Namaste England’ Review: Arjun-Parineeti’s film is outdated and cliched

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namastey england

New Delhi, Oct 18: Film: “Namaste England”

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Seal, Alankrita Sahay, Satish Kaushik

Rating: *1/2

Designed from a sloppily crafted script sans any logic delivering an equally tactless message, and steeped in mediocrity, Vipul Amrutlal Shah’s “Namaste England”, is a big disappointment.

It is about “the freedom of making one’s choices”.

“Namaste England” is a forced concept, where a married couple separate due to their own whims and fancy only to reunite later after realisation dawns on them.

Jasmeet (Parineeti Chopra) comes from a very regressive family, where women are not supposed to work, but are only meant for giving birth and taking care of children.

So when Paramveer (Arjun Kapoor) falls hook line and sinker for Jasmeet, she makes him promise to let her follow her dreams and work as a jewellery designer. He agrees with a caveat, “If the decision is solely mine, then yes.”

And their love story begins with Paramveer asking, “Jasmeetji, hamare ishq ka inauguration karen ji?” This is a definite lazy way of unravelling a love story.

But sadly for the couple, their romance is eclipsed when Jasmeet’s grandfather makes Paramveer’s father promise that they will not make his granddaughter work.

Burdened with this promise, Jasmeet, hits upon the idea of migrating to England, where she can then pursue her work.

The plot meanders on a frothy pace and right from visa to illegal immigration, issues are tackled in a rather half-hearted manner. The dialogues are equally average, run-of-the-mill.

The characters are frivolous, cardboard thin and rationality to their behaviour zilch. While Arjun and Parineeti are competent actors, their performances are juvenile. You squirm in your seat with every passing moment you see them on screen.

Aditya Seal as Sam, Jasmeet’s husband of convenience in England is short-changed as a stereotypical supporting cast. So is Alankrita Sahay as Alisha, Param’s love-interest in England.

Satish Kaushik as the visa taut, Gurnaam, does not enhance his character and thus is an eyesore. Vinod Nagpal as Sam’s grandfather is wasted in a two scene role.

Mounted with ace production values, the film seems glossy and vibrant, but this is strictly visual only. The songs are seamlessly integrated into the plot and are well-choreographed but they do not add value to the story progression.

Those expecting to see the beauty of England would be disappointed.

Overall, the narrative is slow with sensibilities of the late 1990s.

IANS

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‘Badhaai Ho’ Review: Ayushmann Khurrana starrer is refreshingly honest and entertaining

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Badhaai Ho

New Delhi, Oct 18: Film: “Badhaai Ho”

Director: Amit Ravindernath Sharma

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Sheeba Chaddha, Surekha Sikri, Rahul Tewari, Vimi Mehta

Rating: ***1/2 (3 and half star)

“Badhaai Ho” is an astutely handled, slice of life drama that keeps you entertained as three generations of the same family are all touched one way or another by social embarrassment when the lady of the house and mother of two “grown up” sons, unexpectedly finds herself pregnant once again.

The film sidesteps stereotypes and tells a quiet, firm, deeply humanist story about doing the right thing. It is a film that avoids any message or statement and yet shows us, with simplicity and infinite compassion, a timeless profound verity, that family bonds are the strongest.

Set in a typical middle class milieu in New Delhi, the story revolves around the Kaushik family. Jitendra Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) aka Jeetu, is a near retiring Railway Ticket Collector who lives with his spouse Priyamvada (Neena Gupta) whom he fondly addresses as Bubbly, his aged mother essayed by Surekha Sikri and his two sons – Nakul and Gular. While Gular is in his final year at school, Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) the older one works in an IT company.

The film begins with the simplest and most ordinary manner in introducing the family and interrupts it with the amazing inciting moment, announcing the arrival of a “chota mehmaan”, without resorting to any assortment of gimmicks. It is some kind of tribute to the strength of the story and the warmth of the performances by Gajraj Rao, Neena Gupta, Ayushmann Khurrana, Surekha Sikri and Sanya Malhotra, that the film somehow manages almost to work. Yes, their expressions while reacting to the situation are priceless. It goes without saying that the entire cast gel like a family and their pangs onscreen are palpable.

Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta make an ideal pair. They are naturally earnest and endearing in their performances.

Ayushman Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra as Renee his colleague, make a cute pair and their love story plays a pleasant sub-plot to the narrative. Sheeba Malhotra as Renee’s mother is short-changed with a miniscule, non-effective role, but her line, “His family is a circus, I don’t want to buy tickets for”, would surely etch her character into the minds of the audience.

It is touching to note how in the guise of geriatric behaviour, Surekha Sikri blurts out some home truths and defends her daughter-in-law, when in other circumstances she would be constantly bickering with her.

The script is unwavering. Narrated in a completely straight-forward manner, the progression of this ordinary story is interrupted by some situational comedy that keeps the narrative afloat. While the first two acts are mundane, the final sequence is the most effective. It is honest and strong and has genuine emotional forte.

Mounted with moderate production values, Sanu John Varughese’s camera work is commendable. So is Dev Rao Jadhav’s editing.

As for the background score, while the saxophone is effectively used to elevate and dramatize events on screen, the soundtrack is enhanced by tracks from old Hindi films like “Amar Prem” and “Aradhana”, which gives a nostalgic feel and resonates with a bond of familiarity.

Overall, in keeping with the context and the culture of the hypocritical society we live in, “Badhaai Ho” is a welcome change.

IANS

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