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Sri Lankan film with Malayalam stars shows hell can be next door to 'Paradise'

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Sri Lankan film with Malayalam stars shows hell can be next door to 'Paradise'

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) As Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage’s award-winning film ‘Paradise’, featuring Malayalam star Roshan Mathew and Darshana Rajendran in the lead roles, is set to be released in India on June 28, he is excited that finally, the general public will get to see it.

The movie set in the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s 2022 economic, and which won the Kim Jiseok Award for Best Film at the Busan Film Festival, is being presented by Mani Ratnam’s production and distribution house, Madras Talkies.

‘Paradise’ revolves around a visiting Indian couple — Amritha (Darshana Rajendran), a video blogger, and her film-producer husband Keshav (Roshan Mathew) — who arrive in the economic crisis-wracked but picturesque Sri Lanka to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary and experience a ‘Ramayana tour’.

A robbery in their bungalow jettison their plan, for they lose their mobile phones and laptops.

When they approach the local cop, Sergeant Bandara, and put pressure on him to act fast, he produces three unemployed men as suspects, and Keshav identifies them as culprits, even though their faces were covered during the robbery.

One of the suspects lands in hospital after police torture and ultimately dies. The couple are forced to confine themselves to the bungalow and that is when they realise how far they had moved away from each other. While Amrita cherishes the beautiful surroundings, Keshav, with a permanent frown, gets increasingly frustrated and cannot digest how she is so ‘unaffected’.

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The climax sees people from the village of the dead suspect attack the bungalow. Keshav and Amrita are forced to defend themselves. What transpires in the end — the force of ‘Sita’ — is bound to shock the viewer. The director maintains that “personal is political and vice versa”, hence the backdrop of the economic crisis.

A certain stillness envelops the film, its story, and treatment, making it truly very ‘international’. “Yes, the movie has been loved by the critics, but now comes the real challenge — will we be able to communicate what we want to the general public? And do not forget, we will be up against some big-ticket films,” Vithanage, for whom Chennai is a second home, told IANS.

Considering it is the first time that a Sri Lankan director’s film is getting a worldwide release, it is also an Indian film produced by Newton Cinema and the languages spoken in it include English, Malayalam, Tamil, Sinhala, and Hindi.

“Though the territory is Sri Lanka, it is an Indian movie,” the director reaffirmed.

Admitting he has been nurtured and groomed by Indian cinema, with the post-production of his films always going to Indian labs, not to mention working with Indian technicians for the past 27 years, Vithanage, who is considered one of the pioneers of the third generation

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of Sri Lankan cinema, has directed eight feature films and won 30 major national and international awards, besides enjoying commercial success.

“I think this is a natural step, working with Indian actors in Indian languages,” Vithanage said. “This story could not have happened to a European couple.”

Stressing that even while the two countries are distinct in many ways, they are deeply connected by history and culture.

The reasons for the scenario in which the Indian couple are pushed were manifold.

“As a filmmaker, I also want to bring forth my politics,” Vithanage said. “One must remember that politics does not confine itself only to elections. It comes into play in a marriage and in other interpersonal relationships. The larger politics of the economic crisis could creep into institutions such as marriage. These two are interconnected, not separate.”

While on the subject of politics, Vithanage said reconciliation between the Sinhalese and the Tamils in his country “remains a distant mirage”. And he should know, having made three films on one of the bloodiest civil wars in the world (between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE) — ‘August Sun’, ‘Death on a Full Moon Day’, which was the subject of a full-on censorship war, and ‘With You, Without You’.

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“Yes, we have shown the need for reconciliation in the three films, but there’s an absence of it on the ground,” Vithanage said. “Let us not forget that reconciliation is a political situation and to achieve it, political steps are paramount. There need to be solid political solutions. Artistes do not have the power for political solutions. They can only amplify the need for them.”

Immersed in theatre since childhood, this Sri Lankan director admits that the art form has been instrumental in shaping him as a filmmaker. He says that besides other things, it has taught him how to work with actors and bring out something that is not from his own experience or of the actors’.

“In a way, we try to bring forth a certain truth, an exercise that can be enigmatic. My understanding of how difficult the craft of acting is comes from theatre,” the director explained, adding that he expects nothing but spontaneity from his movie actors.

Presently working on a script (in Hindi) based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘The Gambler’, to be shot in Sri Lanka, Vithanage looks up to several Indian directors from diverse generations. “Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ritwik Ghatak, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap and Gurvinder Singh are some of them,” he concluded.

–IANS

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Who is that one 'special' friend in Kareena Kapoor's life?

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Who is that one 'special' friend in Kareena Kapoor's life?

Who is that one 'special' friend in Kareena Kapoor's life?

Mumbai, July 25 (IANS) Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan, who was recently seen in the heist movie ‘Crew’, has shared that producer and fashion designer Rhea Kapoor is one of her closest friends who is brutally honest with her.

The actress called Rhea very “sensible” despite being younger to her. She also commended Rhea’s clarity of thought, and her quality of speaking what’s on her mind.

Talking about Rhea, Kareena told ‘The Week’, “Rhea is also one of my closest friends, and I’m very lucky to have her in my life. If she feels that I’m being irrational or I’m going wrong, she tells me honestly that ‘No you’re being unfair’. That’s the kind of relationship we have built. She is younger than me but she is also sensible.”

Rhea, who is the sister of actress Sonam Kapoor, has been Kareena’s friend for a very long time. In fact, she is also one of the producers of ‘Crew’, and also produced ‘Veere Di Wedding’.

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Kareena also mentioned that she likes to have such people in her life, who can say things as they are, and are not “Yes Men”.

“I like to have such people in my life. I don’t like ‘Yes Men’. I have those people around me who will tell me that I’m fab when I have done something amazing, and if I do something bad, they will size me down,” she added.

–IANS

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Shraddha, Tamannaah slay in red at launch of 'Stree 2' song 'Aaj Ki Raat'

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Shraddha, Tamannaah slay in red at launch of 'Stree 2' song 'Aaj Ki Raat'

Shraddha, Tamannaah slay in red at launch of 'Stree 2' song 'Aaj Ki Raat'

Mumbai, July 24 (IANS) ‘Aaj Ki Raat’, the first song from the upcoming horror-comedy film ‘Stree 2’ starring Shraddha Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao, was unveiled in Mumbai on Wednesday evening.

Actresses Tamannaah Bhatia and Shraddha Kapoor, who were present at the event, twined in red outfits. While Tamannaah makes a guest appearance in the song, Shraddha is set to reprise her role as a mysterious lady in ‘Stree 2’ which is the sequel to the 2018 hit ‘Stree’.

Throughout the promotional phase, Shraddha has embraced her character’s essence with a consistent braided hairstyle, a subtle yet significant nod to her on-screen persona.

At the ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ song launch, she continued this trend, exuding an aura of mystique and allure that complemented her role perfectly.

Meanwhile, Tamannaah brought her own brand of elegance to the event, donning a red saree paired with a corset top. Tamannaah’s ensemble at the song launch combined traditional grace with contemporary flair, making her a vision of sophistication.

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Directed by Amar Kaushik, the film marks the fifth instalment in the Maddock Supernatural Universe. It also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Abhishek Banerjee, and Aparshakti Khurana in key roles.

Produced by Dinesh Vijan and Jyoti Deshpande under the banner of Maddock Films and Jio Studios, the film is scheduled for theatrical release on August 15.

–IANS

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Akshay Kumar speaks up on doing four films a year

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Akshay Kumar speaks up on doing four films a year

Akshay Kumar speaks up on doing four films a year

Mumbai, July 24 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Actor Akshay Kumar, who can be seen in the recently released theatrical film ‘Sarfira’, has spoken up on the criticism of him churning out movies one after the other.

The actor has been questioned time and again for doing four films a year and his passion for work has often been misunderstood as a greedy motive to make money.

During a conversation with Mamaearth founder Gazhal Alagh, Akshay said: “I have been told why I do four films a year, and that I should do only one film. If I just do one film, what should I do on other days?”

“Many people tell others they work too much, lucky are those people who get work. In this day and age, so many people don’t get work, they are unemployed, but at least let the ones who are getting work, work.”

The superstar also shared that he has been professionally cheated by a few producers.

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“I detach from a person if someone cheats me. I go quiet and take a side path. I have been cheated professionally, a couple of producers have not paid me, that is cheating only,” the actor said.

–IANS

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Sara Ali Khan enjoys Kashmiri delicacies, relishes roti & Kahwa

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Sara Ali Khan enjoys Kashmiri delicacies, relishes roti & Kahwa

Sara Ali Khan enjoys Kashmiri delicacies, relishes roti & Kahwa

Mumbai, July 24 (IANS) Bollywood actress Sara Ali Khan, who was recently seen in the streaming movie ‘Ae Watan Mere Watan’, is making the most of her time in Kashmir.

On Wednesday, the actress took to the Stories section of her Instagram and dropped pictures from her trip to Kashmir.

In one of the pictures, the actress can be seen sitting with her group of ‘friends’ and enjoying Kashmiri roti, Kahwa and chai.

Kashmiri Kahwa is a unique blend of spices, with a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and a hint of saffron and is generally served with sugar or honey along with almonds.

The other pictures show her standing next to a lake as she is soaked in the colours of nature.

The actress can be seen dressed in a green coloured top and pants which she paired with matching shoes. She rounded up her look with a shawl.

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On the work front, Sara will be next seen in ‘Metro… In Dino’ alongside Aditya Roy Kapur, Konkona Sensharma, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Pankaj Tripathi and Neena Gupta. The film is directed by Anurag Basu, who is known for ‘Gangster’, ‘Murder’, ‘Barfi’ and ‘Ludo’.

She also has ‘Sky Force’ in the pipeline in which she will share the screen with Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Veer Pahariya, Nimrat Kaur and Sharad Kelkar.

The film is reportedly based on India’s retaliatory attack on the Sargodha air base of Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani air war of 1965, which is considered India’s first and deadliest airstrike.

–IANS

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Saira Banu shares anecdotes about her co-star Manoj Kumar

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Saira Banu shares anecdotes about her co-star Manoj Kumar

Saira Banu shares anecdotes about her co-star Manoj Kumar

Mumbai, July 24 (IANS) Veteran actress Saira Banu, who is known for sharing anecdotes from her life and about her late husband, the cinema icon Dilip Kumar, penned a heartwarming note for Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner and Padma Shri Manoj Kumar.

On Wednesday, the actress took to her Instagram and shared a bunch of throwback monochromatic pictures featuring herself, Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar.

The actress penned a long note in the caption and recollected how her husband and Manoj would often bond over kites and different kinds of omelettes.

She wrote: “Soon after my first film, I received so many offers amongst which was ‘Shaadi’. Here for the first time, I played opposite Manoj ji. I was a very shy youngster and I had this peculiar habit of really being awkward on the sets while doing romantic numbers. Manoj ji is very understanding he would quietly just move away from the set while my solo shots were being filmed. We were both people of very few words but worked comfortably together.”

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She shared that her husband was Manoj’s idol: “They were close and would always venture to make different types of omelettes, fly kites, and indulge in ‘Sher-O-Shayari’.”

She then shared a “big joke” about Dilip and Manoj starring together in ‘Aadmi’. During the making of the film, Manoj started to assume the gestures associated with Dilip Kumar. After which Dilip Kumar laughingly told Manoj: “Yaar tu meri tarah shots kar le, main kuch aur tareeka nikaltaa hoon (you take the shots the way I do, I’ll think of something else).”

Saira then walked down memory lane and explained how she became a part of ‘Purab Aur Paschim’ despite her and Dilip Kumar’s decision about her not working in films after their marriage.

She continued: “Sahib and I had decided that I would not be continuing with my film career after our Shaadi but behold! I had signed ‘Purab Aur Paschim’ before marriage, wherein I played a Westernised young girl against Manoj ji. Manoj ji declared that he would shelve his project if Sahib did not allow me to work on it. Later on, in the film I was unwell and Sahib told Manoj ji that we will never misunderstand if he replaces me, but Manoj ji committed that he would rather shelve the film than replace me. I will always respect him for this magnanimous gesture.”

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The actress also shared that Manoj’s wife Shashi once told her if a bumble bee came into the bedroom, Manoj would go under the bed sheet and ask her to drive out the insect.

She shared another story from the sets of ‘Balidaan’ when Manoj and she were shooting in China Creek.

She shared: “Both of us were running away from the Daaku who was approaching us on a horseback and we were running away barefoot in the flowing water handcuffed to each other.”

“As the camera came on, the Bandit was whipping away in the air in pursuit of us and Manoj ji was supposed to grab the whip and stand in front of me to protect me like He Man, instead of this when the shot started Manoj ji quickly ran behind me instead of protecting me. What a laugh! In the later, years Manoj ji remained close to our family,” she concluded.

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–IANS

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