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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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Varun, Katrina to appear together in ‘Koffee with Karan’

Karan also took to Instagram on Thursday to share photographs from the shoot.

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Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif
Photo Crideit : Twitter (Karan Johar)

Mumbai, Oct 18 : Actors Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif will bring in some fun to the forthcoming season of ‘Koffee with Karan’ with their appearance.

The sixth season, hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar, will premiere on Star World on October 21.

Karan also took to Instagram on Thursday to share photographs from the shoot.

“So much fun in the koffee house today!! A riot of a combination with some great conversation,” Karan shared with the image.

His chat show is hugely popular as he gets his celebrity friends and fraternity members to open up about their lives in an up, close and personal way.

Tag : #KoffeeWithKaran

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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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IANS

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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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