When the movie Newton released, it bowled the critics over. Everyone seemed to love it and Rajkummar Rao further cemented his position as the next great actor in the line of those like Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The movie was also made the official entry from India for the Best Foreign Language Film category in the Academy Awards. While getting the award itself might seem a really big ask, that it had been sent indicated that the movie had been recognised for its class with the establishment too.
But amidst this barrage of good reactions, suddenly there started appearing news items which alleged that Newton had been plagiarised from an Iranian movie called Secret Ballot. The news started building momentum until soon the film’s makers were to defend themselves. Its director Amit Masurkar said that he had never heard or seen Secret Ballot. But the controversy refused to die down. One critic saw both the movies and said that while the idea was similar, he didn’t find any merit in the allegation of plagiarism because the screenplay was entirely different. Another critic said that he was withdrawing the good rating he had given to the movie. And then, just as suddenly, the entire issue ended.
For this, Newton’s cast and crew have filmmaker Anurag Kashyap to thank. He realised that the only way to disprove the accusation was to show the movie to the makers of Secret Ballot. Anurag then put up a Facebook post saying, ‘With over enthusiastic media and our cinephiles with over active imagination…who called Newton a copy of Secret Ballot…here is what the producer of Secret Ballot said to me after watching Newton. I requested the link of Newton from its director and sent it to Marco Muller, the producer. And he wrote back “A pretty decent film, definitely no rip off from our Secret Ballot (even if the general concept is the same)” and then I asked him if I can share his response on social media? He replied, “please feel free as you see fit, there is not even a hint of plagiarisation”.’ Anurag later also put up a media interview that the director of Secret Ballot gave after watching Newton and he too said there was no sign of plagiarism and these were completely different movies.
Rumour is that Salman Khan is being paid Rs 11 crore every time he hosts the reality show Bigg Boss, whose 11th season has just started. That is more pay in a week than what most Indians would make over a lifetime.
This week at an event to promote the show, one journalist mustered the courage to ask Salman whether this number was indeed true. Salman obviously didn’t confirm. Instead he squiggled his way out of it by bouncing the question to the producer of the show who is the one who pays Salman. The producer was not going to answer either and made a joke out of it saying that Salman does not come that cheap!
But at another event Salman did reveal how much he got paid, but only in the beginning of his career. So apparently, he first got Rs75 as a dancer in the background, then about Rs750 as one of the models in a TV advertisement. For his first movie, the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya, he said that he got Rs30,000 which was increased to Rs75,000. A far cry from Rs11 crore, you could say!
Sunny and Dimple back in news
In the 1980s and 90s, the relationship of Dimple Kapadia and Sunny Deol was an open secret. They were both big stars and their personal lives was of great interest to their fans. Dimple had by then separated from her husband Rajesh Khanna but they never divorced. Sunny too was married and, while the Deols have never been averse to second relationships, they also remained committed to their wives. And as the career of the two waned, so did the curiosity of the public in their relationship. Last week, a video went viral on social media which once again brought the spotlight back on Sunny and Dimple. In the clip, the two are seen sitting together on a bench in a railway station in London and holding hands.
It was first put up by a controversial social media personality Kamaal R Khan with the caption, ‘Sunny Deol and Dimple Kapadia are enjoying their holidays together. They are looking beautiful couple.’ What was strange about it was that Sunny’s father Dharmendra then clicked a ‘Like’ on the link fueling even more gossip. Was he in some sense sanctioning it, was the question. Sunny and Dimple seem to have maintained their relationship over decades and that does count for something in Bollywood.
Dream project of Amir Khan
Aamir Khan takes his time on a project and gives his entirety to it once he has made up his mind. But there is a movie that even he thinks might be too much to take on. At an event to promote Secret Superstar, a movie produced by him in which he also has a cameo appearance; Aamir said that his ultimate ambition is to make a movie out of the great Indian mythological epic, The Mahabharata. Aamir says that to go ahead with it will consume at least 15 years of his life. Also he wasn’t sure about the character he would play. His favourite was Karna, who is estranged from his brothers from birth and is forced to keep sacrificing until he perishes in the end fighting for the enemy against them. But Aamir thought that he didn’t have the physical appearance for that role and would probably have to play Krishna, the avatar who is a central figure in the story. But it looks like that this is a movie that will take a long time in happening, if at all.
Meanwhile other filmmakers are also rumoured to do a movie on the Mahabharata, notably the Bahubali director SS Rajamouli. But he clarified recently that it was only a dream of his that he voiced and there was no concrete plan. Meanwhile, in Kerala, the actor Mohanlal is said to be part of a Rs1,000 crore movie on the Mahabharata.
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