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Randeep Hooda on ‘Swatantra Veer Savarkar’: 'We have grown screen by screen'

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New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) Actor Randeep Hooda is over-the-moon with his directorial debut “Swatantra Veer Savarkar” which has raked in Rs 29.15 crore worldwide since its release on March 22.

Talking about the collection, he said in spite of all the naysaying and the negativity put out for the film, “it is turning out to be a sleeper hit.”

Randeep was present at the private screening of “Swatantra Veer Savarkar” held in the national capital on Saturday, he spoke about the film touching Rs 29.15 crores worldwide.

He told IANS: “Inspite of all the naysaying and the negativity put out for the film, it is turning out to be a sleeper hit and I am very glad not only as an actor but as a filmmaker as well.”

With the film, Randeep returned to the silver screen as a solo lead after almost seven years.

“It has been 7-8 years people have seen me on a big screen and a lead role so it was a big opportunity for me and I am so grateful to god that it has come as a well-timed thing not just as an actor but as a filmmaker because as an actor you are just a part of the story as a filmmaker you are the storyteller,” Randeep said.

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The actor said he did take a lot of “risque treatment for the movie.”

“Breaking the fourth wall and a lot of movies in English. But still it was a poignant story to be told and it is an alternate take at what we have been fed as our history,” he said.

The movie was released alongside Kunal Kemmu’s “Madgaon Express”. With eyeballs getting divided and less screen counts played foul.

“We do have fewer screens in the Northern states. Maharashtra and down south has a lot of screens. Northern states have lesser screen count and the best way to boost the business is to have more screens and to have it more available for more people.”

Randeep added: “Our release was a very limited release but we’ve grown screen by screen and I am very happy and maybe my next movie will have a larger screen count.

The private screening, which can easily be tagged as a VIP event with the who’s who from the world of politics and legal heads stepping in to watch the film, was hosted by advocates Manish Mohan and Vineet Dhanda.

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Talking about why he wanted to screen the film, Mohan said: “I have screened this movie not only to see and learn more about Savarkar ji but also as a tribute to people like Randeep Hooda who has imbibed the legend and revived him on screen while taking us through the freedom movement of that era.”

–IANS

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Gauahar Khan finally gets to vote after facing 'difficulties' at Mumbai polling booth

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Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) Actress Gauahar Khan claimed on Monday that she finally got to cast her vote after facing a lot of ‘difficulty’ at the polling centre in Mumbai.

“Yes, finally I have done it… Humne vote kardiya. I want to tell you that no matter how difficult and confusing it is, people can help… It can get confusing at the booths. But please guys, go and vote. Thoda mehnat kariye. Apne IDs dhoondiye. Go look at all the addresses to find where your name is, in which booth. Just go and vote because voting is very important in a democracy,” she posted on Instagram.

Earlier, the actress took to her Instagram Stories to slam the polling booth authorities after her name reportedly went missing from the list of potential voters. She, however, deleted the post later.

In the now-removed post, Gauahar said: “I have an appeal — why do we have Aadhaar cards if we are not considered citizens enough to vote? Your Aadhaar card is your identity that you are an Indian citizen and you should be able to vote. But when you go to the voting counter, the booth that has your building members on its list, everyone is there except people who actually live in the building.”

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She also claimed that “people who left the building are still on the list”.

“I am just making a humble appeal that on the basis of your Aadhaar card, you must be allowed to vote as Indian citizens,” she said.

In another video, she asked, “If you are an Indian citizen and you present your Aadhaar card for every important thing in your life… Why not at the voting counters? Why are we being denied our right to vote?”

“The list does not have your names but it has names of people who are not even living in the building. They say it was this year’s survey. But it cannot be, because they left the building three years ago.”

She also appealed to the “Election Commission of India or whichever body that makes decisions for the voting process in India” to allow the use of Aadhaar cards or passports for voting.

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–IANS

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'Bigg Boss' stars Monalisa, Nikki Tamboli vote: 'An expression of our commitment to ourselves'

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Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) ‘Bigg Boss’ fame actors Monalisa and Nikki Tamboli cast their votes at a polling booth in Mumbai on Monday.

Known for her major work in Bhojpuri cinema, Monalisa, who participated in ‘Bigg Boss 10’, took to Instagram and shared a series of pictures from the polling station, flaunting her inked index finger.

The actress wore a plain white shirt and flared dark blue jeans. The ‘Nach Baliye 8’ contestant captioned the post: “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and the world… #loksabhaelection #vote #mumbai.”

On the other hand, the video shows Nikki, the second runner-up of ‘Bigg Boss 14’, walking at a fast pace to cast her vote. She opted for a red kurta and paired it with white leggings.

The visuals show Nikki saying to the paps: “Abhi vote karke aati hoon.”

Meanwhile, on the work front, Monalisa has done Bhojpuri films like ‘Ranbhoomi’, ‘Hum Hai Khalnayak’, ‘Jade Mein Balma Pyara Lage’, ‘Nathuniya Pe Goli Maare’, ‘Devra Bada Satawela’, ‘Pocket Gangsters’, and ‘Pawan Raja’, among numerous others.

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She also stars in the show ‘Laal Banarasi’ that airs on Nazara TV.

Nikki was the contestant of ‘Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 11’.

–IANS

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Kareena Kapoor Khan stumbles as she steps out of her car after she arrives with Saif to vote

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Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) Kareena Kapoor Khan stumbled as she stepped out of the car’s front seat after she arrived with her husband Saif Ali Khan to cast their vote in the city.

As Kareena got out of their car, Saif accompanied her inside the polling booth as they walked to the designated polling area.

While Saif was dressed in a beige kurta and matching pants, Kareena opted for a white kurta and blue denim outfit. Both Kareena and Saif wore dark sunglasses.

Voting is currently going on in Mumbai as part of the 5th phase of the Lok Sabha elections. The voting began at 7:00 am on Monday across 13 constituencies of the state.

–IANS

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Bollywood stars shine in 5th phase, but don't inspire Mumbai voters to brave the heat

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Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) One of the most visible features of the just-concluded fifth phase of polling in Mumbai, which also marked the completion of Maharashtra’s tryst with the ballot, was the spotlight on Bollywood and, to a lesser extent, television stars showing up to vote.

As they turned up in casuals, away from the glamour and glitz of Bollywood events, in cars that ranged from a Maybach (Deepika-Ranveer) to an old-fashioned Maruti (Tabu), followed closely by the paparazzi, the stars obliterated the political figures who usually dominate headlines emanating from Maharashtra.

Even high-profile candidates such as Piyush Goyal and Ujjwal Nikam could not dominate the media mindspace as much as the stars, from Akshay Kumar, who was voting after getting his Indian citizenship, to Shah Rukh Khan, who happily posed for shutterbugs with his wife Gauri and son Aryan, to Amitabh Bachchan, who showed up with wife Jaya, suffering the blazing heat but not showing the least discomfort.

Talking about family outings, ‘Anupamaa’ star Rupali Ganguli, who recently joined the BJP, even declared, “A family that votes together, stays together.”

Mumbai’s peripatetic paparazzi had been alerted a day in advance about the polling booths where the stars could be spotted — the most popular polling booths were the ones at St Anne’s and Mount Mary, both in Bandra — and the timings for these happy encounters.

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Most of the stars, from Sanya Malhotra to Ranbir Kapoor, were happy to simply flash their inked index finger and not speak, but some, notably Dharmendra, Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao, gave statements to the media urging Mumbaikars to vote.

Yet others, such as SRK, Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal, urged people to not waste the right in statements they put up on their social media handles hours before the fifth phase started at 7 a.m. on Monday.

There was a reason for this constant egging on. Mumbai had recorded a mere 55.11 per cent voter turnout in 2019, which, incidentally, was the highest in three decades — and this was just 4 per cent higher than the percentage recorded in 2014.

2014, incidentally, was the year when, buoyed by the Modi wave, the voter turnout touched 66.44 per cent nationally. In 2019, the figure went up to 67.40 per cent — way above Mumbai’s 55.11 per cent.

Mumbai, it seems, talks more than it votes, although it has never gone as low as the 1991 turnout of 41.2 per cent.

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And though the final figure is not out yet for the fifth phase, it appears that the Maximum City will again fall short of the tantalising 60 per cent mark that seems to elude it in each election. Ironically, the city’s richest and most educated constituency is likely to report the lowest turnout — in the lower 50s.

Unlike the rest of the electorate, though, the stars took their job — of voting and flaunting their index finger to the paparazzi — very seriously. No star of note, despite the heatwave being blamed for the otherwise low turnout, missed his or her date with democracy.

Kiara Advani landed from Cannes, went home and was out to cast her vote. Another Cannes returnee, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, exercised her right dutifully, but not before raising eyebrows by showing up alone, without her in-laws or husband Abhishek.

Rajkummar Rao, who’s also an Election Commission-designated National Icon, and Janhvi Kapoor cast their votes en route to the airport, from where they flew off for ‘Mr. & Mrs. Mahi’ promotions.

Aamir Khan flew in from the shoot of his upcoming movie, ‘Sitaare Zameen Par’, to be able to cast his vote along with ex-wife Kiran Rao, whose acclaimed film, ‘Laapataa Ladies’, he has just produced.

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The stars came in droves — from co-stars (Ranbir Kapoor and Bobby Deol) to star couples (Saif-Kareena, Dharmendra-Hema Malini, Ranveer-Deepika), from veterans (Gulzar, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar) to the Gen Next (Ananya Panday, Shraddha Kapoor), to grown-up children with their famous parents (Mahesh and Pooja Bhatt, Hema Malini and Esha Deol, Jeetendra and Ektaa Kapoor, Rakesh and Hrithik Roshan, David and Varun Dhawan).

This public display of star power, and its ripple effect on social media, is reminiscent of the 2016 and 2020 US elections, when Hollywood stars, driven by an overwhelming anti-Trump sentiment, made it fashionable for people to go on their favourite social media handles and declare that they had voted.

This acted as a major turnout booster for Joe Biden, who benefited from Gen Z voters who showed up in hundreds of thousands to vote for him.

Did the turnout of Bollywood stars on Monday trigger a higher turnout of young voters? We’ll only know when the final numbers are crunched.

–IANS

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Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, Jackky Bhagnani & Rakul Preet join festival of democracy

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Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, newly-weds Jackky Bhagnani and Rakul Preet Singh cast their vote in Mumbai on a sweltering Monday in the ongoing fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Sanjay looked dapper in a green and white shirt paired with sunglasses as he flaunted his inked index finger at the paparazzi present near the polling booth.

Kajol took to Instagram, where she shared a picture of herself from the car. In the image, she’s seen wearing a white outfit and bright red lips as she told the world that she has cast her vote.

Filmmaker Jackky Bhagnani and his actress wife Rakul came together to cast their vote. Jackky wore a blue T-shirt paired with sunglasses; Rakul chose white to beat the Mumbai heat. The two posed for the assembled shutterbugs after completing the formalities.

A beaming Neha Dhupia also shared a selfie, flaunting the ink, from her car.

–IANS

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