Minissha Lamba will be seen in Colors’ upcoming drama Internet Wala Love. Presenting a new-age love story, the show also stars Shivin Narang and Tunisha Sharma.
She was a pint-sized wonder, stealing many hearts with her deep-pool eyes and as the innocent Kashmiri girl in Yahaan. And Bollywood fell in love as she ran slow and steady. But then she dropped out of the map because meaningful, content-driven roles were more the exception than the rule in her time. A couple of distractions courtesy reality shows and music videos later, she retreated into her own space. Actor Minissha Lamba is now gearing up to make her mark again, this time with the play Mirror-Mirror, a psychological drama about a woman placed in the most extraordinary circumstances that changes her destiny forever. Directed by Saif Hyder Hasan, it is the story of sibling rivalry and traces the relationship between identical twins Minal and Maanya, both essayed by Minissha, in the 75-minute narrative. A power punch performance that threw her back to the discipline of her fresher days in Delhi.
That is not all. She also has a new-age love story-based TV show, InternetWala Love. Spilling the beans on why she took up the show, Minissha said, “Everything has become virtual nowadays. People tend to connect more over the social media than real life. I play Mahira, who is a self-made woman, successful and glamorous, but who is a lonely heart.”
She is happy to play a strong and powerful character, something that is rare in the television space. “There are a lot of women who are working successfully but they are not represented on Indian television,” Minissha said. As Mahira, the 33-year-old actress will portray the role of a wedding planner and owner of a radio station.
As the show is about internet and how love blossoms in today’s time through social media, Minissha is not immune to the dangers of the new medium like trolling. “In personal life, we don’t insult and abuse someone on a regular basis. But people who think something bad about someone and cannot express it openly use a social media platform to do so.”
Talking about the challenges for her comeback role, she added, “I had to play the role of a strict person, which is unlike me.” Television is infamous for its long hours. But Minissha, who has only worked for the big screen, feels that time is of no concern if she enjoys working every day.
Minissha, who has starred in superhits like Bachna Ae Haseeno, Yahaan, Kidnap and Well Done Abba among others, has been missing from the big screen since 2014. She shared the reason, “You need to start afresh. I have been lucky to have had a good run and worked in some great films. Now, I am excited to make this switch. I hope it will be a great journey.”
Minissha is doing theatre simply because digitisation and online streaming is taking over the live performing arts, “Every art form has its own audience. But the more commercial it is, the more audience it will have. People always look for the easiest way to do things. For instance, it is effortless for people to watch series and films over the digital platforms as they have the freedom to watch anything at a convenient time.”
Interestingly if not an actress, Minissha would have been a writer or apparently, a journalist. She said, “I am in between the process of learning how to write, let’s see what comes up next.”
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Playwright Bhanu Bharti talks about the secret behind his four decades of profession as a director, and his take on present-day art practitioners.
A thinking man’s playwright and director, Bhanu Bharti, founder of Aaj Rangmandal theatre group, presented Tamasha Na Hua that recreates Tagore’s celebrated play Muktadhara (The waterfall). It is a modern take on the Nobel Laureate’s creation that asks questions about the man vs machine conflict and is seen as an ode to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of peaceful coexistence.
What is the play’s central theme?
Tamasha Na Hua is in essence a debate centering on the perennial question of man’s freedom in the context of today’s political, technological and cultural climate in the backdrop of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous play Muktadhara. India’s freedom struggle inspired diverse strands of ideologies and our play merely invokes a discussion among protagonists, who are basically actors enacting scenes from Tagore’s play and have different points of view regarding the meaning of freedom. Muktadhara is an allegorical tale that narrates so many distinct streams of thought in order to obtain that elusive freedom including Gandhi vs Tagore, man vs machine, nation vs the nationalist and so on, which are very relevant in this day and age.
How have plays and theatrical performances evolved?
Both art and philosophy have evolved since the 1970s, when I started working in theatre. Life and language have grown more complex. The challenge still remains of expressing philosophies in the common language of the people. Where, earlier, song, dance and visual imagery formed a central theme of the stage, minimalism and choreographed precision have taken over. Wit, humor and social criticism still remain elements of theatre in India. However, practitioners today lack creative passion essential for discovery and renewal which characterised the ‘70s, producing great directors, actors and playwrights.
Do you think cinema and online channels are taking over arts performed live?
Visual media, computer graphics and augmented sound are attractive propositions for the individual but the potential for dialogue and interaction between audience and actor and thereby, the co-creation of an enhanced version of debate and enactment, are experiences that the intellectual cannot obtain from cinema or the internet.
What does it take to transform a written play into a stage performance?
For me, every time I read a classic keeping up with debates in contemporary society helps inspire new interpretations. It also helps to have a group of intellectually stimulating partners to discuss ideas with. That process of co-creation enables the likelihood that the stage version will resonate with more people while opening avenues for many different points of view.
Is there something that you ideally look for in a play?
The presence of different and divergent points of view that may not even counterbalance each other is one element that I look for. That is the essence of civilised society and its concomitant art forms.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
My urge to find answers to all questions that vex human society and drive their anxieties; from day-to-day routines to the larger questions governing their future and their search for meaning are my sources of inspiration.
The biggest thing that you stand for and support as a theatre director and playwright?
Life is a continuous struggle for interpretation and creation – the search to find meaning. There are constant conflicts between the individual and society, between communities, ideologies, structures and systems. My job is to be a critical realist and interpret contemporary struggles as we witness them.
Writer: Ayushi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Supermodel and fitness evangelist Milind Soman talks with this writer about big screen, barefoot running, and empowerment of women.
In 1995, Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre, both supermodels, set India on fire with their print ad for a shoe brand. Back then, supermodels ruled the ramp and celebrities were not showstoppers, but that era has long passed. Models also tried their hand at acting and John Abraham is a product of that age. Soman, who has acted in a handful of films, including 16 December, was last seen in Bajirao Mastani.
When asked why we don’t see him more often on the big screen, he said, “I don’t get that many offers. If I got more offers you would see more of me on screen. It’s not that Bollywood is treating me badly, I’m sure when directors and producers will think of a character that fits me they’ll call me. That’s how it happens.” “I’m interested in acting, it could be any role, whether about sports, politics, war, anything. I like to be surprised. If somebody came to me with a sports idea I might not be that surprised, but if somebody came to me to be a politician, or to be a general in a war, or a policeman, things I don’t have much experience playing I would learn a lot. If they cast me as a sports person they would definitely learn a lot (chuckles),” he added. He will be seen in a web series soon, but he kept the details under wrap.
What keeps him high on the trends list isn’t just his barefoot running or fitness challenges. Trolls had a field day at his cost when he married his girlfriend, Ankita Konwar, who is 34 years his junior. But having been in the industry for three decades already, he handled the negative attention with aplomb. “I’m not bothered about the trolling related to our age gap. To me, it’s important what I think, what I know and what I believe. The people around me are important to me, their opinion can matter but not anybody else’s doesn’t. I find it quite amusing because it’s a reflection of our society, not a reflection of me,” he said.
Soman has become a fitness icon and created Pinkathon, a platform to empower women. Those associated with the movement share the belief that a healthy family, nation and world begins with empowered women. “The first step in empowerment is taking control of your own health, respecting yourself and understanding and celebrating the value you bring to your family and society,” he said, adding, “I have learnt a lot about our society, the way it functions, about women and what stops them from taking care of their health. I really enjoy creating experiences for myself and for other people. It was about creating a space for women, where they can get together as a community. It was to see if women would take it up if we created this space and they have come a long way.”
“Empowering women is about motivating them towards self belief, understanding themselves not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Encouraging them is to motivate them to make a decision to go out and get what they want,” he said. “It’s not easy. Sports, running or physical activities are only tools to understand that because when you do something like running it is to focus on yourself,” he added. It motivated women enough that a 103-year-old woman, Mann Kaur, took up the challenge. Other women who inspired him during the course of the marathon through the years are Laxmi Agarwal, an acid attack survivor and Mandavi Garg, a blind mountaineer.
He said, “The kind of stories they have is really inspiring. What these women have overcome and what they have done with their lives is absolutely encouraging.”
The marathoner had also taken up running barefoot across cities in which he was joined by his mother, Usha Soman, who was 78 then.
“I like barefoot running, I prefer it. I think it helps me be a better runner. I have been doing it for seven years. I started in 2011, it encourages me to run with a better posture, balance and more efficiently,” he said.
Writer: Ayushi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer
In a freewheeling chat, DJ Aamish opens up about his struggles and having to face rejections before he finally got his break.
What makes humans stand out is their ability to rise despite hardships and tragedy. They persist and fight, challenging stereotypes to establish their identity and make a space for themselves. One such individual is Varun, who goes by the stage name of DJ Aamish.
Varun’s world came crashing around him when he met with an accident in 2014 while he was still in college during a road trip to Manali. But even the loss of function of his legs stop him from pursuing his one true love, music.
If you hit up Kitty Su on a usual day, you will probably find him there, since he’s become their resident DJ after playing in other bar/pubs.
However, the LaLit Hotel disco has a ramp, which this wheelchair bound DJ truly appreciates. Before reaching this stage, however, he accumulated a long list of rejections as organisations saw him as ‘disabled’ and they were not accessible for a wheelchair-bound person. This brings into question whether India is divorced from reality and by not having the right facilities discourages the differently-abled to enjoy their lives as well.
At Tamasha bar, where he worked previously, he did not face issues as the dance floor was on the ground floor but at Office in Connaught Place he had to be carried up a flight of stairs. But he’s long past that stage, having performed at TimeOut, private parties and other Kitty Su properties across the country.
He built up his life post 2014, watching YouTube videos about how to become a DJ and music for two years, the amount of time he was confined to his home. He studied music once he was able to move on his own.
“Music is a part of my life. It never makes me feel I am on a wheelchair. Initially, when I was stuck at home I did not think that I have an injury since I was learning music. It took over my life. Even the experiences I had because of music never made me wonder that I was disabled because I was moving towards my dream,” said the DJ, who performed during the disco’s seventh anniversary week, which also included drag, trans and other marginal group performers.
“Music has many moods, it connects people. It brought everything in my life together. It is a part of me now,” he said, adding that the current workplace accepted him because of his merits and now because of the injury he had. He was pushed further to do more and landed an advertisement with Microsoft as well.
“It gave me courage and I realised that people were accepting me because of who I am not because of anything else that can be seen as a hurdle,” he said. He is also gaga about the Keshav Suri-led organisation because they don’t categorise people.
He talks about the lack of opportunity that limits the marginalised LGBTQ+ community and said that when given a chance they can show their talent and do wonders.
“The society categorises and neglects a certain section but it shouldn’t be so,” he said.
“Kitty su accepted me as a DJ on a wheelchair when others rejected me,” he said, adding that it is a diverse place that accepts everyone.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer
After the success of Scared Games, director Vikramaditya Motwane turns producer with Ghoul. The very talented writer talks to Saimi Sattar how Netflix is a very rewarding platform and other things.
Even before the euphoria surrounding Sacred Games could subside, Vikramaditya Motwane is back with another web series, Ghoul. While in the former he directed Saif Ali Khan’s journey as Sartaj Singh, in the action horror web television miniseries created by Patrick Graham, he turns producer.
Motwane wears many hats — all of them successfully. He wrote the script for films like Dev.D (2009) and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007). His directorial debut Udaan (2010) was selected to compete in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ category at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and also won seven Filmfare awards. His second film was Lootera, a big-budget Bollywood period romance which saw Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha put in a nuanced performance. His third film was Trapped (2017), a survival drama where Rajkummar Rao is confined in an abandoned building. His fourth film Bhavesh Joshi, released theatrically in June 2018 and is doing extremely well digitally.
Two days before Ghoul started streaming, the film director, producer and screenwriter spoke on how the web has set creative spirits free and more.
Digital content is a revolution that is powering creativity.
I think it helps because you are able to tell detailed stories which are more layered. These stories have better characters. We didn’t have that kind of a medium earlier. We had to tell stories in two and a half hours or two hours. It is improving writing and performance.
Why was this not possible in cable TV?
Cable TV in India did not have the ambition for it. In US, perhaps, Showtime and HBO have done it. In India, we did not have that kind of ambition to do that kind of a show on this scale, which had detailed story-telling.
How will it impact mainline film industry?
It will open up as there is another avenue that is a viable option for creative people. It is definitely good for writers, directors and actors. It is an excellent time to be in the industry.
How is Ghoul revolutionary?
It is the first Indian show which does not have a haunted house scenario. The partnership started between us and Blumhouse Productions to do something new original and creative in the horror genre. This is the first step in that direction. So for the Indian market, it is very fresh and for the international market, it is a new look at Indian horror.
What is the inspiration behind Ghoul?
It is an Arabic word and the story is taken from an Arabic folklore. The original story is written by Patrick Graham.
You film grammar is always revolutionary whether it is Sacred Games or Lootera or Udaan?
I try to make the story interesting, I guess. (laughs)
What did having two directors on board in Sacred Games add to the show?
There are two different periods and two different pieces about two different individuals. So, the two directors gave it their own approach. And as a result, it did not feel that the story was being told by one person. So the two stories appeared to have been told by two individuals. So Sartaj’s world is completely differently paced, shot and structured and so is Gaitonde’s. That is valuable.
Did two points of views make it difficult?
We just didn’t go on each other’s sets. We were far away from each other. It was agreed that I won’t go on Anurag Kashyaps’s and he won’t come on mine. That is the only way it could work.
But you would have to be on the same page?
There is a point of view that I have and a point of view that he has, which are very different. The written material was there. But we were not fighting on the editing table. Anurag realised that it was more about him shooting, giving me the first cut and letting me take the decision.
There is a seamless transition between the two stories.
I was writing and editing, and Arti Bajaj, who was editing, has done a marvellous job.
How much was Vikram Chandra, the author of Sacred Games involved in the process? How difficult was it to adapt it to the screen?
He was a part of the entire process. At no point of time did he ever say that we can’t do this or that. He understood that it is a novel and we have to make the series for TV and we are taking it from the novel space and transforming it into the dramatic space. As a result, we were taking some characters and giving them more external conflict. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger. In that terms it was not different from any adaptation of a novel. We were picking out certain conflicts and making them different.
It is considered to be Saif’s best outing after his role as Langda Tyagi in Omkara
He has got his due and people are loving him. I think the medium allows a good performance. It is a medium where it is very difficult to put in a bad performance or a bad writing. It also allows for a layered character and Saif has put in a tremendous performance.
Writer: Saimi Sattar
Source: The Pioneer
Argentinian filmmaker Carlos Lascano talks about his inspirations and a reality beyond his life with the reporter Ayushi Sharma
Short films come with their own bag of concerns. Concerns, for example like making sure that it retains depth of the story without losing details in the short format. However, the advantages outweigh the limitations as there is a lot more freedom attached to it which gives the director, opportunity to experiment.
Carlos Lascano, an Argentine director, who made Lila, a silent movie, said, “When I was a kid I spent most of my time making drawings, inventing characters, making small comic strips with sequences. I was a super shy kid. When you are drawing all alone, a point comes where you don’t like to socialise with the society because you have your own inner planet and you are happy in that small world of yours. You don’t need to socialise as you believe that nobody will ever understand you, your stories or the magic that you have in your head.”
Lascano was recently in New Delhi for a short film festival by STAR Movies Select HD and the reticent veteran talked about being an introvert as a young child with thousand ideas running in his head. “On my first day at school, I found myself confront the fact that I have to interact with other kids. When I came back that day I started crying and I told my parents that I don’t want to go back. My parents told me to shut up and ‘You will do what we want you to do’. But my grandmother was a very particular character, she loved magic and used to do things with tarot cards. For me, all those things were quite mysterious,” he said, adding that she was a strong influence in shaping up his creative process.
“One day she called me and asked, ‘why don’t you want to continue going to school?’ I told her I don’t feel confident. She made me a magic wand out of paper and took out a little bottle full of glitter from her closet. She convinced me that I have the power to do whatever I want with that wand. I thought I would vanish all my classmates, but she said for doing anything I would have to ask her first, that was the limitation. So, next day I went to school knowing that I have this magic with me and suddenly I found myself completely confident,” he added.
The magic of storytelling that lets you mould worlds and universes is why he continues to love telling stories.
Lascano believes that reality is not limited to sensory perceptions, our imagination also shapes it. For him, every person has the magic to convince people, or to transform the reality in a different way.
His well-known short film Lila has a tickling tale behind its title. “(Laughs) When I work on any project, finding the title is the last thing that I do. But in this case, someone gave the title as ‘Point of you’ but I was definitely not satisfied with it. During shooting, the actress Alma García came on the sets and I called her, ‘Alma come here’, but she didn’t respond. I called to her again but she didn’t hear. Sometime later, she came and said ‘I’m not Alma anymore, I’m Lila’. I asked her why Lila? She unexpectedly replied, ‘I don’t know, I like it.’ I laughed and said okay Lila, let’s get started.” And that’s how the idea rolled in.
The concept of the film was like a game to him when he was a child. “I used to change reality with my imagination. I know, it’s tricky to change it but what I rely on is, if you can change that little portion of reality, then little by little maybe you can change the complete perception of reality.”
When asked if there was a similarity in his various works, he said, “Even if you don’t want, all your stories have something in common because somewhere or the other you are talking a little bit about yourself. If you are honest while directing and writing the story, you put a lot of yourself in it. That’s the commonality. The circumstances, characters and situations are diverse but the feelings, emotions, concepts belong to the same person. This is why there is some magical wire that gets all those things together,” he said.
Lila is part of a trilogy that began in 2008 with A Short Love Story in Stop Motion followed by A Shadow of Blue in 2011.
Writer: Ayushi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Indian Film/TV Producer Ekta Kapoor talks to the reporter Asmita Sarkar about how the web is spanning the spaces of content in TV and films
Control freak or alpha woman? But does the two have to be different at all? Ekta Kapoor is a powerhouse and her success doesn’t stop her from continuing to be restless about trying out new content. There is a schizophrenic break between the three personas as a producer that she dons on for the three different media, web, TV and films, she’s adopted but the result in all of them have either been commercial or critical successes.
You have the pulse of what India wants to watch and have become an industry onto yourself. How do you do it?
Arrey, I’m not. I try to do time management in my life. People ask me ‘how do you go out?’, ‘how do you manage doing so much?’ but I think I enjoy the fact that I’m constantly doing something. I’m more like an alpha female who always needs some kind of high. So, I jump from one high to the another. And the lows scare me.
What was appealing to you about Home?
My dad once told me this story and I did a little bit of research. In India, we have ignored the middle class. It’s not the largest vote bank, they’re also not Twitter-friendly. The influencer crowd doesn’t come out of the middle class. So, their problems get ignored. TV and films don’t have the space for it. The web is where that lacunae can be met. It’s not one type of entertainment. We move towards sex, violence and edginess but it’s been a long time since the struggles of the middle class got space in films or TV. Housing is a huge problem in India.
Is web the right medium for it then?
It’s a new medium with different voices. There’s no one voice. It’s time to explore the different voices and even I don’t know which one will be carried forward. So, I’m actually playing around myself, learning how to promote a show as vanilla as this one. This show doesn’t have youth, doesn’t have a popular cast, and doesn’t have alternative casting for the hip urban crowd. Neither is it like Naagin. But somewhere in between those two spaces, I decided to take a plunge. We’ll only know after we make it.
Do you find a contradiction within yourself as a producer of saas bahu serials and content like Home?
As human beings, we’re all contradictory. Both in plays and ways of our life, we’re different. With your best friend, family, alone or husband, there are different hues in you. I think I live out those contradictions through different stories. If I do TV, I’m living out the over-the-top escapist entertainment that mass India needs.
When I actually go ahead and do something more urban like Veere di Wedding, I’m playing out the feminist side of me. When I make something like Home, I return to my roots, the family. Contradictions make me happy, without them I would be one-dimensional.
Will there be more projects like Romil and Jugal, which were widely appreciated, in ALTBalaji in the future?
I have done a lot of projects that have received appreciation like the Test Case, which is about a utopian setup where a woman is in the army. Then there was a show on the mysteries behind the disappearance of a great visionary leader like Subhash Chandra Bose. Now, I’m doing a project on the Nanavati murder case. So, there’s enough stuff that I try do and Home is one of those projects. Be it movies or TV, you’ll always find me dabbling.
What are the future projects in the pipeline?
I have three different mediums. There is Kasauti Zindagi Kay. On ALT, there’s Home and Triple X, I don’t really shy away from sex. And there’s going to be an interesting take on family with Barun Sobti and Kay Kay called the Great Indian Dysfunctional Family. It’s about Indian families and how we don’t talk to each other, but at each other. In movies, there’s Mental Hai Kya, Jabariya Jodi.
That’s a lot of things you’re working on…
I still feel we can do more.
Do you think there is more freedom in making things for the internet?
There is. More than freedom, we get stuck on the censorship issue. I wouldn’t have been able to make Home into a film or for TV, since it lacks melodrama. It has issues that are real. Nor would movies take a film helmed by this cast. We would have good looking actors who are younger. I don’t know how many people would have promoted a movie that would be a flop. And then the great story would be lost. ALT or any digital platform can tell stories and I don’t need to look for the right window to release it. If there’s a big movie releasing on a particular weekend, the audience wouldn’t go for the small film. But you can at any point of time, watch a digital show. It’s your convenience, which, in turn, is to my convenience. It gives you space to unlock stories that have never been said before because of the commerce attached to the medium.
You cast veteran actors and a known face in the web space for this show. Was it a conscious choice?
Yes, it had to look real and Annu ji, Supriya ji, Amol are perfect for this. The director, Habib Faisal, spent weeks looking for the perfect cast. That kind of dedication is purity. I know it’s an abused word. But purity in this comes from not knowing that the commerce, popularity or age of the actor has taken the front seat. Just the credibility of the actor mattered to him and their body of work.
How was it working with Habib Faisal?
Frankly, I had heard things that he’s very tough to work with but I found him fantastic. He is very accepting. I have also been blamed for being a control freak about my work but that’s the love I have for my work. I want the best and haggle over the small details, and he’s the same. As long as someone adopts the show, I have no problem backing off. I had a great time working with him.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Actor Supriya Pilgaonkar will be seen in an upcoming web series for the first time. She talks about the state of comedy shows in India with the reporter Asmita Sarkar
A frail housewife taking up the cudgels against her more robust mother-in-law in a comical manner is what actor Supriya Pilgaonkar is best remembered for.
Tu tu main main, a comedy where Pilgaonkar played the daughter-in-law of Reema Lagoo had a long run on TV from the 1990s to 2000. The actor will now be seen in an emotional drama on a social issue called Home which would be streamed on ALTBalaji app.
Pilgaonkar, who has a penchant for comedy, has strong views about the genre and says that whether a comedy is a light family entertainment or below the belt, depends on the viewers. The older works are remembered more as there were fewer shows earlier but also they were more wholesome, believes the actor. She is still keen on doing finite comedies like Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and Khichdi and laments that she has not done many in recent years.
“I enjoyed watching Sarabhai. But when I was doing comedy I pined for other kind of roles. Now that I have done that for so long I want a lighter version,” she said, while adding that tastes have changed. She implied that comedies on screen use more below the belt humour than clean humour. The younger generation is more likely to remember Bhabiji ghar par hain! and Taarak Mehta ka ooltah chashmah. “Bhabiji has a family vibe. It is not below the belt humour entirely,” she said.
“The internet has increased the reach of entertainment and it is now in people’s pockets,” she added. The actress has seen the industry going through transition having begun with the serial Kshitij ye nahi on Doordarshan in 1992. The story was of a widow, with a young daughter, who gets a second chance at love. Prior to that she exclusively acted in Marathi films.
“It was not very difficult to adapt. I was not in a rut. I have been around but have not done too much. It was not an everyday thing for me. I was changing slowly as well. TV was just coming up then. When I was part of Kshitij ye nahi, which was a finite show, I realised that TV is different as a medium. In the next two years, Zee, Star Plus and other channels started. Then I did Tu tu main main, and that went on for long that I had time to adapt. I couldn’t imagine how far it would reach and now the way the internet is reaching people is amazing,” she said. However, the director’s actor doesn’t believe that the performance has to be adapted for various media. “As an actor, my work is the same. You do what the director tells you to do.”
“Earlier, we used to shoot for a month and now I shoot for two years. You’re doing one thing for longer periods. If I had said no, I would be sitting home or doing only films. But in films there is a trend of young mothers. I am not as old as I portray but people want to see younger mothers. I don’t know. Earlier, I wasn’t very convinced but now I am old enough to play those roles. In my case, it happened slowly so I never understood what all I have done. But when I think about it, I realised I have done so much,” said the veteran. However, she doesn’t have a checklist and instead goes with the flow while making sure that she doesn’t get dragged into doing kitchen politics shows. And as a result when she got a call from Ekta Kapoor’s office earlier, she was not convinced as she was being offered roles in such shows. However, Supriya give her consent when she was asked to be a part of the web series Home, because of the content.
“I was pleasantly surprised by Ekta Kapoor. I always wanted to work with her as it is always great to work with someone successful. There are probably no takers for this kind of a story on TV. In the web series, we got that freedom and Ekta showed courage in making it. It’s a beautiful subject which got a platform. For a film, they would have thought 10 times before making it. Pertaining to this show, I would say that they exercised their freedom well,” she said.
Home is the first time that she collaborated with Habib Faisal. “He’s a very sensitive director. He knows exactly what he wants. I learned a lot. Even after so many years Annu (Kapoor), doesn’t take anything for granted. I am also like that. I like to take my work seriously,” she said.
The show, starring Annu Kapoor, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Amol Parashar and Parikshit Sahni, takes one through the emotional struggles of a family that is asked to vacate their home because of corruption. Annu Kapoor recently criticised India for being hypocritical and undisciplined. To which, Pilgaonkar said, “I don’t know if I believe in what he has said but I think everyone should be connected to their values. We are moving away from our Indian values and that is a problem.”
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Nawazuddin Siddiqui said, ‘I never expected I’ll work with Anil Sharma in a film’. Genius will be his first film with the Gadar director. He said, “I have watched his films since childhood and I remember people used to go in large numbers to theatres when his films released.”
“I have done many films with newcomers though I had the choice of working with established directors. But I chose independent films over the offers of mega-budget films because this is what I always wanted to do, and feel comfortable doing.”
— Manoj Bajpayee
Actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas on Saturday solemnised their relationship with a traditional Indian ceremony in the presence of their close family and friends.
The ceremony, held at Priyanka’s residence, followed after months of speculations around the relationship status of Priyanka, 36, and Nick, 25. The photographs from the ceremony did the rounds on social media, but an official statement from the celebrities is still awaited.
Comedy films an ‘escape’ for JLo Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, who is returning to the romantic comedy genre with the upcoming movie Second Act, says sometimes during a tough life one needs a fun and quirky escape. Lopez spoke about it during an appearance on The Tonight Show, in a chat with host Jimmy Fallon. “You need that funny, quirky look at life. That romantic look at life. I think things are tough sometimes and we need that escape,” said the star of rom-coms such as Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, Monster-in-Law and Shall We Dance?
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Shyamoli Sanghi, whose recent singleTu Na got 11 million views on YouTube, talks to Shalini Saksena about what inspired her to be a singer.
What inspired you to be a singer?
It was not as much people who inspired me. I think there is a higher power that propelled me in this direction. When I am singing, I feel that is what was born to do. You will find me singing or listening to music all the time. Music has a quality that makes me feel free.
How did your musical journey begin?
I was five when I started learning Hindustani classical music. Music has been a passion for me as long as I can remember. I come from an academic family. Thus, I was always interested in it. But slowly, I started getting drawn to music. I listen to all kind of music and love watching movies. The whole experience of songs in the movies inspires me. I went to Stanford University and realised that I missed singing. But I completed my graduation. Nine months back, I started meeting people since I wanted to make music my career. I met people and the composer with whom I made three songs.
You studied Math with Philosophy instead of pursuing a degree in music. Was this a back plan?
It was not really a back plan because I always wanted to make music my profession. But, like I said, I came from an academic background. I studied these subjects because I love to be stimulated mentally. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of both worlds.
Mostly singers debut with Bollywood. But all three of your songs have been singles and non– Bollywood projects. Why?
My dream is definitely to work in Bollywood but I recorded these songs when I was just 19. I would love to sing for films after a couple of years. Coming out with these singles is the best way to gain exposure — how recordings are done. Also in the next few years, my voice will mature more and I will be ready for Bollywood.
Your first two songs were a hit. How does this help a budding singer like your?
It definitely inspires me to do better work. It tells me that I am on the right track; it tells me that my work is being liked and have managed to connect with people. I have got a feedback that my voice is different and people love it. The whole experience is amazing.
You are now out with your third song. What is it about?
The song is called Ahida. It means a girl who is devoted to helping others. The theme and the singing style is sufi. It tells the story of two people who are in love and what happens and how this word comes into being.
What is your current favourite song?
My all time favourite song is Channa Mereya and Maula Mere Maula. At present, my favourite song is Hawayein.
What makes music transcend borders?
Music is all about feelings. One can be singing in Latin. One need not understand the words since you feel the melody.
Is Bollywood or independent music the only options for singers?
There are other options as well like classical fusion or pure classical music. The only thing is that Bollywood has a huge reach and singers want their music to reach as many people as possible.
Writer: Shalini Saksena
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Singing sensation Badshah comes together with fellow musicians for his debut web series, Lockdown.
A lot can happen when two musicians from different genres get locked in together. The result of this experiment that involved singer-rapper Badshah and Kailash Kher and many other performers was surprising, to say the least. A first-of-its-kind show Lockdown, produced by the rapper, who has given hits like DJ Wale Babu, Kala Chashma, Mercy and The Breakup Song, features the two artists — a Bollywood musical sensation and an online superstar — in every episode. The duo was kept together for 24 hours to recreate two songs, record them and shoot their music videos.
Talking about the show, Badshah said, “Lockdown is very close to my heart because when I opened my production house, Afterhours, my main aim was to create a show that has never been done before. I now know that production is a stressful job after my debut project. The concept is quite unique and fun, we brainstormed a lot before deciding on this. The show holds the power to deliver many iconic songs to the world.” The entire concept of the show is centered around recreating existing songs, infusing them with new tunes and rap.
At the launch of the show he said, “I was blessed to get well-known artists, like Kailash Kher and Raja Kumari, who is a terrific artist. I look up to her and adore her. Then there are artists like Jonita Gandhi, Raftaar, Benny Dayal, Bryden and Parth, and many others, who collaborated together. Some of them had never even met before. For instance, I teamed up with Jonita, whom I met for the first time on set. We recreated the popular Mohra song Tip Tip Barsa Paani. The first glimpse of the recreated version has been already released.”
Badshah’s idea behind the show is also based on blending of two colours as he believes that every synthesis brings out a unique texture. He explained, “If you put together someone like Kailash (sir) with Rajakumari, it brings out a unique sound. The blast that such a collaboration can create will always turn out to be exclusive. All of them have been very enthusiastic and passionate. The result that erupted out of the oneness of these Bollywood and online sensations is something that the audience is going to love.”
Kher, who was also a part of the launch, talked about his first meeting with Kumari. He said, “Raja and I met each other for the first time on the sets of the show. I believe that, achanak milne waley log yaa toh milte hain yaa nahi mil pate (people who meet for the first time may gel well or may not), but when I met Raja, hum mil gaye, aur aise mil gaye ki kuch gul khil gaye (we worked out well and the result was great music). You’ll be able to see the result in the music video recreated by us.” He added, “Music is something where there is no senior, junior, new or poor. You have to create something out of nothing and it can be done by any person with a good talent.”
The Allah Ke Bande singer gave a mesmerising performance during the launch and sang Kaun Hai Woh Kaun Hai from the movie Shivaay.
Newcomers Bryden and Parth also put up a show with their tunes and instrumental performance which was well-rehearsed and ingenious. The duo is also recreating a stunning composition on the show.
However, to people’s surprise, Aastha Gill, playback singer who has collaborated with Badshah before, is not a part of the show. Badshah whose new album One: Original Never Ends hit the playlists on Friday, jovially said, “We could have actually considered her. It is a good suggestion. Two episodes of Lockdown are still in line and I think, we will look forward to it.”
The series has been shot across different scenic locations in India.
Writer: Ayushi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer