Padmavati Bhansali’s most opulent fare yet
The film remains in the sight of political nuisance mongers
Everyone knows that Sanjay Leela Bhansali doesn’t cut costs when he is making a movie. And Padmavati is said to be his most opulent fare yet. A single dress worn by Deepika Padukone is said to have cost a whopping Rs30 lakh.
But there has also been an odd mismatch in what Bhansali is doling out when it comes to the stars in the movie. Apparently, Deepika is being paid somewhere around the Rs11 to 13 crore range, which might be fine considering she is the most popular actress in Bollywood at present. What is unusual is that Ranveer Singh, who plays one of the two male leads, is in fact said to be given somewhere around the Rs7 crore range.
This is decidedly not the way pay scales work in Bollywood where movies are hero driven. And Ranveer is no small fry either. He ranks just after the Khans in the superstar quotient. Padmavati is based around the heroine and so what Bhansali has done is logical. Deepika was asked to comment on her star billing overriding Ranveer’s during a media interaction but made a diplomatic non-committal answer. She spoke about being comfortable with what she had received but that she was more excited about the huge investment that the producers had made in the project.
Padmavati meanwhile remains in the line of sight of political nuisance mongers. Right-wing Hindu outfits have demanded a ban and even threatened to disrupt it because they alleged that it distorted history. There is zero evidence for such a charge but for publicity seekers that does not really matter.
Akshay Kumar’s joke
Akshay Kumar is usually someone who does not get into trouble but once in a while he too cannot avoid controversies. Like, many years ago when he made a visit to a hospital to see the late RK Laxman, India’s best known cartoonist who had been ailing, and the next day there was a photo of him in the newspapers with a million-dollar smile which everyone thought was just callous on such an occasion.
Now he seems to have once again got into the headlines for the wrong reasons. This time it was an attempt at humour during a television comedy show where he was attending as a guest judge for the day. One of the mentors of the contestants was a female stand up comedienne and at one point when it was time to ring a bell Akshay made what he probably thought was an innocuous joke: ‘…aap bell bajao, main aapko bajaata hoon’, which translated means, ‘You ring the bell and I will ring you.’
However, it also has a sexual connotation and the woman who it was addressed to did not see much humour in it. She thought it was sexist of him and made her chagrin felt with a tweet, ‘So, I want humour to be limitless. I also don’t want to be uncomfortable at my work place The lines are blurred. Thoughts?’ Her father, a noted journalist, also posted on social media about his displeasure.
All this was happening when sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is in the limelight thanks to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and it added to the traction that the incident received in the media. While Akshay himself refused to get drawn into commenting, it fell on his wife Twinkle Khanna to come up with a defence. Twinkle is a humour writer herself and has often taken up cudgels against sexism. She argued that the word used by Akshay also had a perfectly normal meaning which was what he intended. She wrote on her social media account, ‘It’s a colloquial phrase that both men and women use – for instance, “I am going to bajao him/her” or “I got bajaoed”, Red FM even has a tagline ‘Bajatey Raho’ all without sexist connotations…Words, especially humour has to be seen in its right context. I have always stood up for freedom within comedy…on numerous occasions in the past and that is my stance even today. So kindly stop tagging me in this debate.’
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Shah Rukh Khan turns 52
Last week, Shah Rukh Khan turned 52 and, as is the wont when a superstar’s birthday arrives, it is celebrated with much fanfare. There was a grand party at a farmhouse he owns outside Mumbai where many of the stars of the industry turned up.
Some reports even said that Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra might have patched up there though it is possibly a rumour given that these tidbits about them keep surfacing.
Shah Rukh also put up a tweet with a photo of a humongous crowd of fans that had gathered outside his home and wrote, ‘A ray of sunshine... A sea of love...Thank you all for the happiness you bring every year!’ Such love notwithstanding he would probably also have reflected on his career, which is at a low point now. He has been around for almost three decades now and needs a reinvention to fuel his next stage of growth. In an interview to a newspaper, he also gave his opinion on stardom, which he said is not going to be as extended as it was in his time.
This was mainly because movies come and go in a blink all across the country instead of filtering slowly everywhere. While it took him a decade to become a star, now it is a much faster for new actors. And it will also not last that long.
Taapsee Pannu to appear as hockey player in next movie
If last year had been a great one for Taapsee Pannu with the unexpected success of Pink, 2017 was on its way to being a debacle. She had three flops on the trot in Running Shaadi, Ghazi Attack and Naam Shabana. But then came Judwaa 2, a smash blockbuster that brought her right back into the reckoning again. While she has experimented with strong story-driven performances, Judwaa also showed that she could easily pull off out and out commercial roles too.
Taapsee is now again straddling the middle brow territory having signed up a new movie in which she plays a hockey player. It is said to be a love story set in a sports milieu. But in an interview to a newspaper, she made it clear about not staying away from commercial entertainers and that she would be doing one next year. In yet another interview, she also wondered why despite her success in different genres, she was still not considered an A-lister and how exactly does one get into that club.
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