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Take over RK Studios and turn it into film school, well-wishers urge government

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RK Studio

Mumbai, Sep 25: What will happen to the RK Studios, which has just wrapped up what may be its last Ganpati celebrations? Nobody knows, but it’s worth debating whether suggestions that the government must buy it and turn it into a film school for posterity, are viable.

In August, when Rishi Kapoor revealed the family’s collective decision to sell the 70-year-old studio, which was gutted in a fire last year, the news sent several Indian cinephiles on a nostalgia trip. But then came another question — is heritage all about a building?

“For movie lovers, RK Studios was a temple of cinema and one never imagines that the temple will go away from the map. But it is happening… It is saddening. It’s a place that captured an important time of Indian cinema, documented the changing times through storytelling on celluloid… It’s a place that came from the vision of a man like Raj Kapoor, and it will not be there for the future cinema lovers. This is a big loss of heritage,” Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Director, Film Heritage Foundation, told IANS.

On the contrary, film industry veteran Amit Khanna says, “Raj Kapoor’s heritage is his cinema, his talented family, his music and creativity, and not merely a building.”

The studio, with its red logo flanking the white gates, sprawls across two acres. The headquarters of the film production company R.K. Films, was founded and named after the “Great Showman”, Raj Kapoor, in 1948.

Its inaugural banner film “Aag” that year crashed at the box office. But its production “Barsaat” (1949) was a super hit, following which the studio rolled out a string of successful black-and-white releases like “Awaara” (1951), “Boot Polish” (1954), “Shri 420” (1955) and “Jaagte Raho” (1956).

Later, several other big ticket films like “Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hain”, “Mera Naam Joker”, “Bobby”, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, “Prem Rog” and “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, which was the founder-actor’s last film before his death in June 1988, were shot at RK Studios.

Popular filmmaker Anees Bazmee, who assisted Raj Kapoor on “Prem Rog”, has fond memories of spending four years of his life in and out of RK Studios.

“I am sure the sale of the property is a well-thought and painful decision for the family. But it will be great if what is known by the name of RK, continues to have the RK stamp in some way or another,” Bazmee told IANS.

For film historian S.M.M. Ausaja, however, the decision was “heartbreaking”.

“The studio has been an iconic landmark of the film industry. So many classics were shot there besides R.K. Films’ own ventures and it represented the labour of love associated with Raj Saab, inherited from his talented father Prithviraj Kapoor,” he told IANS.

The family’s legacy in the Hindi film industry can’t be ignored. Prithviraj’s sons Raj, Shammi and Shashi had flourishing careers in showbiz. Raj’s sons Randhir and Rishi became well-known actors, while his third son Rajiv couldn’t make it as big. Shashi’s daughter Sanjana contributed to the theatre scene.

Randhir’s daughters with actress Babita — Karisma and Kareena — both achieved success as actresses, and Rishi and actress Neetu Singh’s son Ranbir Kapoor is one of Bollywood’s most popular stars today.

Rishi, on behalf of the family, had in August said they initially wanted to renovate the studio with state-of-the-art technology, but the investment in rebuilding the studio would just not have yielded sufficient revenue to keep it going. Its condition worsened after the fire incident, which caused a huge loss in terms of costumes and memorabilia.

Dungarpur, who recently visited the studio, said “almost nothing was left”.

“Economically, it is really tough to rebuild it… It was not in the right condition and many historical documents of the films that the studio has given to Indian cinema, are gone,” he said, adding that it is wrong to expect the government to protect the studio as cinema heritage because it it was private property and a commercial institution.

Ausaja has a different view.

“Such monuments are vanishing because there’s no respect for cinema heritage in the eyes of the ruling regime and the corporates. They won’t bat an eyelid in erecting giant multi-million dollar statues complementing their political ideology, but even if you propose something on the dwindling cinema heritage, the file would gather dust in the corridor cupboards,” he said.

“Upkeep of such cinema heritage structures is the responsibility of the government and corporates as well to some extent. The R.K. family would be positive if any such proposal reaches them,” he said.

Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia said: “Wouldn’t it be a great idea for the government to buy R.K. Studio and convert it into a film school? After all, it was home to one of India’s best storytellers — and then imagine the young talents exploring cinema on Raj Kapoor’s playground… better than a high rise.”

In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam too urged the government to acquire the studio at the prevailing market rates and convert it into a full-fledged museum.

IANS

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Urvashi Rautela: I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble

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Urvashi Rautela

Mumbai, Sep 26 : Actress Urvashi Rautela has a simple wish for her fans and followers on social media.

In a new Instagram, picture, Urvashi is seen dressed in a blue shirt and white blazer. She completes her look with bright bold lips and smokey eyes.

“I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble,” she wrote alongside the image, which currently has 414K likes.

The actress is currently busy with her Telugu debut film, “Black Rose”, directed by Sampath Nandi.

Urvashi recently gave a sneak peek into the character she plays in the film. “Our makers have unveiled the first look of the film, Black Rose, today and as you can see I am wearing a beautiful sari that also symbolises the title of the film. I am seen walking on the runway in the poster,” she had said.

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Aamir spotted shooting for ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in Delhi

Aamir Khan was spotted by his fans as he shot for his upcoming film Laal Singh Chaddha in Delhi. The film is a remake of Tom Hank’s Forrest Gump and has been delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Aamir Khan

Actor Aamir Khan is back to work for wrapping up the shoot of his upcoming film, Laal Singh Chaddha. Aamir was spotted filming a scene in the streets of Delhi with his crew, in full costume.

A fan-made video shows Aamir talking to his production team before filming a scene. He is seen in a bright orange shirt and high-waisted blue jeans. He sports a clean-shaven look and has styled his hair in a neat way. He is also seen with a kada on his right arm and some books in his left hand.

Aamir’s fans could not believe how young he looked in the video. “He is looking so young. Who can say he is 55,” wrote a fan. “Amazing ! Magnificent ! My idol You are the best Infinitely beloved,” wrote another.

Laal Singh Chaddha is a remake of 1994 hit Hollywood film, Forrest Gump, which starred Tom Hanks in the lead. Aamir will be seen opposite Kareena Kapoor in the film, who also left for Delhi last week with husband Saif Ali Khan and son Taimur. Kareena is pregnant with her second child and hopes to finish her portion of the film in time, before her baby bump becomes visible.

The film was scheduled to release in December this year but has now be rescheduled to Christmas 2021. The film’s shoot was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The film’s shoot is yet to be finished. According to Ajit Andhare, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Studios, the team is currently focused on completing the movie.

“We will still keep the Chirstmas date, not 2020, but in 2021. #LaalSinghChaddha. New Release Date. @aamir_khan @Viacom18Studios. All focus on film completion for now!” Andhare wrote on Twitter.

Secret Superstar helmer Advait Chandan is directing the film from a script by actor-writer Atul Kulkarni. The film has music by Pritam with Amitabh Bhattacharya credited for the lyrics. Khan, who was last seen in Thugs of Hindostan, announced the project in March 2019 on his birthday.

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Shakti Kapoor cast as narco officer in Sushant film even as Shraddha faces NCB heat

Kapoor senior essays a narcotics officer in the film Nyaay: The Justice , which is incidentally backed by Sarla A. Saraogi, whose husband Ashok M. Saraogi represents Sushant’s ex-manager Shruti Modi in the ongoing investigations.

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Shakti Kapoor

Mumbai: Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor was grilled by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) as part of their probe into a possible drugs angle in the Sushant Singh Rajput death on Saturday. Meanwhile her father, veteran actor Shakti Kapoor, has been cast as a narcotics officer in an upcoming film inspired by the life of late actor Sushant.

Kapoor senior essays a narcotics officer in the film “Nyaay: The Justice”, which is incidentally backed by Sarla A. Saraogi, whose husband Ashok M. Saraogi represents Sushant’s ex-manager Shruti Modi in the ongoing investigations.

Informing about the same, the film’s lead actor Zuber K. Khan told IANS: “Aman Verma is playing an ED officer, Shakti Kapoor sir is playing narcotics officer and Sudha Chandran ji is playing a CBI officer in the film.”

Although the casting is done, the three actors are yet to begin filming.

Zuber plays a character called Mahendra Singh, or Mahi, inspired by Sushant Singh Rajput, while actress Shreya Shukla plays a character named Urvashi, inspired by Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty.

The actor informed casting is almost complete for characters inspired by actresses Sara Ali Khan, Ankita Lokhande and Kriti Sanon, who had close ties with Sushant in different phases of his real life, besides his ex-manager Disha Salian and former business manager Shruti Modi.

“Shoot has started. The storyline is getting bigger and more characters are being included. Casting has almost been completed for characters like Ankita (Lokhande), Kriti Sanon, Sara Ali Khan, Sushant’s family, his sisters, lawyer, even ex-manager Disha Salian and Shruti Modi, his staff, his cook and friends,” said Zuber.

Ex-Bigg Boss contestant Somi Khan will play Sushant’s ex-manager Disha Salian, who passed away on June 8, six days before the actor’s death on June 14.

The investigation into Sushant’s death has now taken a turn towards probing Bollywood’s alleged drug links. The film explores this angle as well.

“I have shot a scene where he is seen in a high state. They haven’t shown him doping but he is high and that is shown. Then there is one scene where Rhea and Sushant’s characters are seen smoking and drinking while discussing something. Whatever the audience is learning from media reports (regarding drugs), little bit of that will be shown in the film, even though that angle is not being emphasised,” Zuber added.

He further informed that all speculations about Sushant’s death will taken into account in the film — the speculated murder asd well as suicide angles.

The film has four songs including a dance number, keeping in mind that Sushant was a very good dancer.

Directed by Dilip Gulati, “Nyaay: The Justice” is backed by Rahul Sharma. Shooting is expected to wrap up by mid-October amd the makers eye a December release.

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