Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taapsee pannu new movie "Naam Shabana"

 `Women should stop expecting a knight in shining armour to rescue them'

Taapsee Pannu's big Bollywood debut in 2013 failed to leave a mark. It wasn't until a cameo in the 2015 thriller Baby and an authorbacked role in last year's social drama, Pink, that she tasted success and critical acclaim. This year, she is all set to come into her own with a lead role in the Baby spin-off, Naam Shabana. In a no-holdsbarred chat with BT, Taapsee holds forth on why she doesn't fit into the mould of the quintessential Hindi film heroine, her action avatar, empowerment of women and nepotism in Bollywood. Excerpts...

How did you land the role in Naam Shabana?

I didn't zero in on the role, it zeroed in on me. After seeing the response to Shabana (her character in Baby), the makers decided to do come up with a full-fledged film on her. This film is the perfect example of what audiences can do. Naam Shabana was not thought of by the filmmakers, the audiences made them think about it.That's why I always say , `jiska koi nahi hota, uska audience hota hai.' I don't have a Godfather in Bollywood. My audience is my Godfather.

This being an action film, were you worried about getting injured on the set?

Neeraj (Pandey, writer-producer) sir would immediately stop the shoot if he felt that a stunt was tricky or had the potential to go awry . Cyril, the French stuntman who trained me, ensured that all precaution ary measures were in place.

The kind of trouble they take to ensure safety can drive you nuts. I have never gotten injured while shooting for the film. Also, I had trained hard to get into the skin of my charac ter. However, basic bruises and clotting were common.

Were you intimidated by the fact that you were sharing screen space with accomplished actors like Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpayee?

It was intimidating, as I was surrounded by accomplished actors. I don't get intimidated by the biggest of stars, but when I know that I am sharing my workspace with brilliant actors, it's tough not to be in awe.Neeraj doesn't scream or shout, but his sarcastic one-liners can be potent. It was one of the most serious sets I have ever been a part of. Even the jokes were delivered with a poker straight face. On the other hand, I am somebody who talks a lot and laughs out loud. I think I was the most I dramatic person on the film's set.

Naam Shabana is a female protagonist-driven film and the responsibility of its box-office performance rests on your shoulders. Are you nervous?

The stress and pressure of the film's box-office performance is being taken care of by two pairs of strong shoulders -Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey . I know that the film is in safe hands.

Why did you choose a film that showcases you in an action avatar?

Frankly , I didn't get roles in commercial films after my debut, as there were already many beautiful girls who were doing well in that space.So, I have made the most of the opportunities that I got. I believe there are two ways of going about it.You either accept roles that present you as the most glamourous or desirable person or you do the hard-hitting ones because then, people have no other option but to notice you. I have taken the latter route.

How do you manage to seamlessly traverse diametrically opposite worlds created by directors like David Dhawan and Neeraj Pandey?

I have no qualms in admitting that I am a director's actor. If that gets interpreted as `She doesn't know her job and that's why she relies on the director', so be it. I use my fac ulties to choose the right director and script. After that, I surrender myself to a David Dhawan or a Neeraj Pandey because they are the masters of their respective genres. As far as improvisation is con cerned, I do it when I relate to a character on a person acter on a personal level. On Neeraj sir's sets, it was pretty much by the book as I didn't relate to Shabana on a personal level.

The number of female-centric films that will hit screens this year is staggering. What do you think has changed over the years for this trend to have set in?

Our audiences have changed; they have started watching Hollywood films. There, the number of female protagonist-driven films are high.Writing a film with a woman at the centre of the narrative is a complex process as women have many layers to their personality. If executed well, it makes for good content.

Talking of women, does empower ment mean that they have to protect themselves and not rely on men to come to their aid?

Women have to be their own heroes. They should stop expecting a knight in shining armour to come to their rescue. That's not going to happen. We need to take charge of our own safety and lives. Women should stop seeking permission to live their lives the way they want. We can't keep waiting for approval when it comes to making choices, be it in terms of careers or, for that matter, even something as simple as going on a holiday . We can't keep waiting for approval from husbands and in laws because that's bizarre. Also, women have to stop becoming villains in each other's lives. Women empowerment in the real sense can be achieved only if one woman aims to empower another.

Kangana Ranaut recently spoke out against Bollywood being nepotistic. What's your take?

I am a proud outsider, nobody forced me to come into the industry . I was aware of the nepotism that exists in the industry and even then, I decided to be a part of it. I don't like playing the victim card. There are filmmakers who happily work with outsiders like Shoojit Sircar and Neeraj Pandey . You might lose out on some projects because of nepotism, but some thing else will come your way . You can't eep blaming nepotism for not getting work. I wasn't even pas sionate about acting and probably , that favour worked in my because I didn't see films as the be all and end all of my life. You will get your fair share of work despite having no connections in the industry and I am the living example of that.It is a game and nepotism is part of it. Play your outsider card if you have to.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017


A special desi menu will be curated for the teen heartthrob, who will perform in Mumbai on May 10.
He is also slated to visit the Gandhi museum in the city.
It's official! This piece of news is bound to send Beliebers into a tizzy -Justin Bieber will have his first full-fledged concert in the city on May 10. The 22-year-old Canadian pop sensation will perform for the first time in India at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The visit will be a part of his Purpose tour (his fourth studio album) in Asia. Apart from India, he will also perform in Tel Aviv and Dubai.

Other than performing, the singer is also likely to indulge in some Mumbai darshan. A source closely associated with Bieber's maiden India tour revealed, “Bieber loves Indian food and has it every time he's in the UK. So, the organisers will chalk out a special desi menu comprising his favourite Indian dishes -chicken tikka and tandoori. He'll also be given a tour of the Gandhi museum in Mumbai and gifted a specially compiled coffee table book that will have some of the Bollywood A-listers expressing their love for him.“

Arjun Jain, the man behind the tour, confirmed the news, adding, “Justin has been wanting to come to India for a long time.

He will be travelling to Mumbai from Dubai and is expected to be here for at least two days. All those rumours about the tour being cancelled owing to his `hefty fees' are not true. India is yet to witness a stadium tour of this stature. We chose DY Patil as the venue as it gives a better view of the artiste.

Security arrangements are in place, too.

Justin will stage an extraordinary show pro pelled by state-of-the-art production; it will be of a magnitude that the country has not wit nessed in a long time.“

For those curious, tickets will go on sale online from February 22. The audience can expect Justin to perform for at least one hour and forty five minutes to his smash hits like Where Are Ü Now, Boyfriend, Love Yourself, Company , As Long As You Love Me, What Do You Mean?, Baby , Purpose and Encore: Sorry , to name a few.

Interestingly , Bollywood celebs will be roped in and are most likely to open the concert before Justin's solo performance. Our source performance. Our source added, “Nothing has been confirmed yet, but AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam and Arijit Singh, along with a host of Bollywood biggies such as Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, are most likely to be roped in to perform and host the concert. The opening acts will also feature a few interna tional artistes, since it will be a day-long affair.“

While accepting the award for Best Album, Adele said it belonged to Beyonce for her album 'Lemonade'.

After the 2017 Grammy Award ceremony ended on February 13, photos of Adele holding two broken pieces of her award went viral. Soon articles started doing the rounds, claiming the singer had split her final award in two, the one she won for Best Album, to share it with Beyonce.

But did she, really?

Adele, emerged as a big winner at the 59th annual Grammys taking home major prizes. However, when she won Best Album, she declared that it truly belongs to Beyonce.

While accepting the honour, the 28-year-old star paid tribute to Beyonce, whose album 'Lemonade' was also nominated in the same category, saying the latter was a more deserving winner than her. "I can't possibly accept this award. The 'Lemonade' album was just so monumental, Beyonce. It was so monumental and well thought-out and beautiful and soul-baring... We appreciate that. All of us artists here adore you. You are our light," Adele said.

While photos show Adele holding a broken Grammy on stage, extending one half to Beyonce, a backstage video shows her exchanging it to get a new one.

The '25' songstress, who also won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, said backstage that when she heard her name called instead of Queen Bey "a piece of me died inside", reported People magazine. "I felt like it was her time to win. What the f** does she have to do to win Album of the Year?"

Beyonce, 35, who was the front-runner in the race with nine nods for 'Lemonade', could only win in the two categories, including Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video.

Monday, January 16, 2017

I knew that this girl had my back all the way without fail: Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone
Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone

Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone are on a whirlwind promotional tour of their Hollywood film, xXx: Return of Xander Cage. After the film's premiere in Mexico and London, they greeted fans in Mumbai recently . BT caught up with the two stars in a one-on-one chat and got them talking about their crackling chemistry and the deep friendship that they share. Excerpts...

Deepika, how would you compare your Bollywood and Hollywood debuts?

Deepika: I don't know if I can sum that up, but just the fact that Vin has been so generous, warm and welcoming gave me the confidence to do what I did. It is not a bond of friendship that is workrelated, I know that he will always be there for me. I felt the same way about Shah Rukh Khan when I debuted 10 years ago with Om Shanti Om.

Despite not knowing each other, you share great chemistry on screen...

Vin: It is clearly a new relationship and I am so blessed to have it. Working with her was incredible and effortless.It was like that from the beginning.The first time we met (while auditioning for Furious 7), everyone in the room felt that we had known each other for years. So, we knew that we had this wonderful chemistry from the very beginning, and I believe that chemistry is a valuable ingredient for any film. Deepika was just the perfect embodiment of the character (Serena) and the message of our movie. She plays this formidable woman who is dangerous, tough and adamant about her beliefs, but does not relinquish her compassion. There is a similarity between Xander (Vin) and her and that was fun to play with. It's great when you have a loyal partner in creating magic. I knew that this girl had my back all the way without fail.

Deepika, the xXx franchise is high on action. Was it difficult for you to pack a punch like Vin?

Deepika: There is so much more to the movie -along with the drama, adven ture and romance, there is also a mes sage. Serena and Xander are on a mis sion and they always have their guard up. One of our favourite scenes in the film is where the two characters have a real moment and start talking about life and philosophy .Vin: That scene from the story's perspective was necessary because it serves as a catalyst for change in our characters.That scene inspires the heroism that is needed for this movie.


Sonu Sood, who'll be host ing action superstar Jackie Chan in India next week, is ensuring that everything is in place before his arrival in the city.Before the international star lands in the city, Sonu will fly to Beijing on Tuesday for the promotions of their film, Kung Fu Yoga.The Bollywood actor is looking forward to experiencing the festivities that begin in China this week on the ocassion of the Chinese New Year (January 28).

Sonu is excited to carry along a few designer Jodhpuris for Jackie, who, we hear, is a fan of Indian traditional outfits. The martial arts star was fascinated with Jodhpuris after his visit to Rajasthan last year, for a schedule of their upcoming action adventure flick.

Back then, Sonu presented him a couple of traditional outfits with customised buttons bearing Jackie's initials. We're told this time around too, the Jodhpuris will have a personal touch for Chan.

Sonu elaborates, “Jackie loved wearing Indian costumes with traditional embroidery work. He feels Jodhpuris with salwars are very comfortable as well.“

He adds, “It seems Jackie has ensured Kung Fu Yoga is visible everywhere in China. I'm fascinated by his promotional skills.“

Post his return, Sonu will personally oversee the prep for Jackie's Mumbai visit and immerse himself in the promotions of their film that releases on February 3.

Friday, December 2, 2016

RUPAREL COLLEGE Students impress judges with their fiery performances

 Students impress judges with their fiery performances

Day 3 of the Oppo Bombay Times Fresh Face 2016 saw power-packed acts by youngsters at DG Ruparel College and SIES College of Arts, Science, and Commerce, Sion

The amphitheatre at DG Ruparel College was jam packed as students thronged in to support their classmates, who were participating. Celeb judge Ruhi Singh (Miss Universal Peace and Humanity 2014), thoroughly analysed their talents and gave feedback after each performance.

Leaving no stone unturned, students ensured that they were prepared enough for the same. So, armed with their guitars, dholaks and minus tracks, they performed on Hotel California, Sawaar Loon, Iktara, Louis Armstrong's La Vie En Rose and This Is What You Came For, among others.

The high point was seeing the otherwise shy contestants open up during their performances.Finalist Shefali Gupta's classical dancing to angrezi beats and a few aspiring rappers delivering foottapping performances engaged the audience. After answering ques tions on death penalty , gender issues and other current affairs, Tanay Patvardhan's act on Dharamvir Bharti's Andha Yug, and Rutuja Kulkarni's melodious vocals helped them win the title.


There was never a classroom that was this full of enthu cutlets! And it didn't matter if the students were all from different classes and facul ties. Cheering for every performer, the line-up of acts put up by partici pants here, was not only interesting but also high on ener gy. What added to their enthu siasm was the presence of Mr World 2016, Rohit Khandelwal, who shared anecdotes from his own journey and his early days as a model.

Shaking a leg to hardcore Bollywood numbers, students doing the Ganpati dance... there was plenty to watch out for. Sainethra Hariharan's rap in Korean and English and Neha Sheikh's belly dance on Jhingat were among a few highlights. An athlete at heart, first runner-up Tirupati JK's act as a tantric who spots a ghost was spine-chilling. Blessed with the gift of the gab, second-year mass media student Sapna Iyer was announced the first runner-up. However, it was Pratik Chordia's Shahid Kapoor-like moves on Gandi Baat and Insha Malik's rendition of Hamari Adhuri Kahani's song, Hasi, which helped them seize the title.

 Jazz music has been an integral part of the Hindi movie


Jazz music has been an integral part of the Hindi movie indus try since the early 1950s, an era that is also referred to as the Golden Age of film music. The unmistakable strains of the woodwind instruments -trombone, trumpet, saxophone and clarinet along with the piano, guitar and drums -would bring the genre alive with beautiful, seductive and swinging melodies.

Master composers like ShankarJaikishan, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, SD Burman and Salil Chaudhury worked in tandem with Goan music arrangers of the time, including Anthony Gonsalves, Frank Fernand, Chic Chocolate and Sebastian D'Souza, to create some of the most unforgettable jazz-influenced songs in the history of Hindi cinema.


Jazz was the pop music of its time.Back in 1920 upto the '60s, it featured heavily in the West.Composer Dhruv Ghanekar says, “Post Independence, there were many Anglo Indian musicians who studied jazz harmony .“ As film music grew and become mainstream in the '50s, a lot of these musicians who'd play at jazz clubs and hotels, began to look at the industry to supplement their income. Dhruv adds, “Many composers hired them to create orchestrations and arrangements for their melodies. Through the '60s and '70s, RD Burman, who was heavily influenced by Latin and jazz harmonies, worked with famous arrangers like Kersi Lord and Louis Banks.“


One of the finest genres to play around with, jazz lent itself beautifully to Indian music. Gore Gore O Banke Chhore (Samadhi 1950), Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela, 1951), Babuji Dheere Chalna (Aar-Paar , 1954), Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu (Howrah Bridge, 1958), Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) and Dil Deke Dekho (1959), are some examples.

Singer Shibani Kashyap says, “RD had a lot of jazz flavour in his music. In his song Jane Jaan Dhoondta Phir (Jawani Diwani, 1971) bass guitar and harmony was used for the first time in Bollywood.“

Songs with jazz influence have always been the ones that made you go `Aha!' -with their unexpected harmonies and challenging rhythms. The improvised solos of a saxophone would tug at your heart and that was what made Bollywood jazz so popular.


Though many music composers and singers love jazz, most feel that it is an acquired taste. Singer and music producer Clinton Cerejo says, “I would only use jazz if a film demanded it by design. It's a fine balance between doing something really musical and alienating your listener. I honestly don't think Bollywood songs can truly be called jazz songs. Jazz flavour, there are many . But a jazz song goes beyond an idiom and a genre. It extends to the life blood of the people that truly make that music. In fact, most true jazz musicians are often reluctant to call themselves that because it's not a title one can wear loosely .“ There are definite markers to a stereotypical traditional jazz arrangement like the use of a shuffle or swing beat, possibly an acoustic stand-up bass, a big band or horn section, etc.


“These days, Bollywood music has many styles.Though not many songs are actually jazz, there are some that have these elements,“ states songwritercomposer Mikey McCleary . The use of sax and trumpet often give a jazzy feel to Bollywood songs and so do walking base lines. Mikey adds, “I've noticed that there is more experimentation with harmony and using jazz chords in film songs.One of the characteristics of jazz is a swing feel in the rhythm. Jazz will continue to influence Bollywood music, but it may not always be a traditional jazz sound.“

Last year, composer Amit Trivedi came up with an entire album of songs with a heavy jazz influence -Bombay Velvet. Also, in the last two decades, there have been many Bollywood movies that have had a lot of songs with prominent jazz music.Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's Sheher Mera (One By Two, 2011) with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is a fab, jazzy number. The song, sung by Thomson Andrews, has drums by Gino Banks and saxophone by Ryan Sadri.Listening to this one makes you yearn for more jazz in movies.

Peppy numbers like Girls Like To Swing (Dil Dhadakne Do, 2015) and Aunty Ji (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, 2012) will remain popular. Slow tracks like Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein (Rock On!!, 2008), Aise Na Dekho (Raanjhanaa, 2013) and the title track of Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (2008) are fine examples of jazz.


Jazz is essentially improvised music and it won't go out of fashion easily. Dhruv says, “Audiences always want to be dazzled by virtuosity . I think music evolves and people's tastes change every decade or so, but the jazz influence is here to stay.“