Deepika Padukone will soon be joining the world’s biggest superstars, including Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, at Madame Tussauds, London and Delhi.
The first figure will launch in London in early 2019, while the figure for Delhi will follow a few months later. A team of expert artists of Madame Tussauds met the actress in London for the sitting for her figures, where they took over 200 specific measurements as well as photographs to create authentic likeness. A “delighted” Deepika said, “The sitting with the team of experts was a special experience and I look forward to the incredible figures.”
‘I am Anushka Sharma, and I turned a vegetarian almost three years ago. Going vegetarian was one of the best decisions I ever made. I feel that now I have more energy, I feel healthier and I am so happy that no animals had to suffer for my meals anymore.’
Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan has taken baby steps into politics. He says if people are there to support him, no journey, irrespective of its destination, is “odious or painful.” He had also announced that there would be no more films for him as he finally is taking a plunge into politics for the people of Tamil Nadu. Before he bids adieu to films, his fans can catch his forthcoming film Vishwaroop 2 on August 10.
Cruise’s injury helped Fallout
Actor Tom Cruise’s ankle injury benefitted Mission Impossible: Fallout as it allowed the team to explore more about the film and make changes, says director Christopher McQuarrie. In August 2017, the production for the movie ground to a halt when Cruise got injured while jumping off the roof of a building and colliding with the wall of another building. “At first, I thought he was acting. Tom really likes to present Ethan Hunt’s stronger abilities. So, I thought he was fine but then I realised that he is not,” McQuarrie recalled the stunt. “A lot was written while Tom was recovering… In the end, it all helped the film,” he added. The film releases in India on July 27 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is in Bulgaria to shoot “Brahmastra”, spared a thought about the care and concern he gets wherever he goes. But he finds it disturbing that he feels he gives back less than he gets.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan, who is in Bulgaria to shoot Brahmastra, shared a blog post saying,
“I feel guilty at times at what is on offer from the (film) unit at times… Their care and concern, their efforts to make everything so comfortable and pleasant, all with such alacrity and love. I do know, and am intelligent enough to know my present standing and what I deserve. But when it exceeds that, I feel a discomfort,” he said.
I am glad it (Jonaki) has been selected for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. For me, it wasn’t a Bengali film but a silent dreamscape film. I think about the content and quality of films, rather than their regional location. I enjoyed working with Aditya Sengupta.
Actress Richa chadda is all set to play the role of a popular South Indian actress Shakeela Khan, who is known for her adult films. She became a rage after her film Playgirls, where she acted opposite actress Silk Smitha. Richa, who is known for her experimental roles, was the ultimate choice for the filmmakers to play the titular role. She recently met Shakeela in Bengaluru for the first time for a greet and meet session. The film releases in 2019.
Oscar-winning star Denzel Washington says that the secret to his 35 years of married life is that he keeps his mouth shut and follows instructions.
He has learnt a few things about what makes his lasting love with wife Pauletta work.
“I do what I’m told. I keep my mouth shut,” said he. The Equalizer 2 star also revealed that when he and his wife celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in June, they did so in a low-key way.
“We just chilled, had some dinner. It was kind of quiet,” he said.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer
‘Manikarnika:The Queen of Jhansi’ and ‘Super 30’ are both set to release on January 25, 2019.
Actors Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan, who has been at loggerheads for years, will clash again — this time at the box office. The actress’ Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi has been locked for release on January 25, 2019, when Hrithik’s Super 30 will also release.
The two actors were involved in a row which began after Kangana hinted at Hrithik being her “ex-boyfriend”. What followed was an exchange of legal complaints and mud-slinging.
Now their films are set to clash on the Republic Day 2019 weekend.
Zee Studios and producer Kamal Jain on Saturday announced the release date of their magnum opus Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, in which Kangana will bring alive the “extraordinary tale of strength and valour that inspired Indians across generations”. The film is directed by Krish.
Hrithik’s Super 30, meanwhile, will see him take on the role of real life mathematics wizard Anand Kumar, who teaches 30 meritorious and talented candidates each year from economically backward sections for the entrance examination for the Indian Institute of Technology. The actor has been upbeat about playing a man from Bihar, and flaunts a simpleton’s look for the movie.
It is backed by Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Films and directed by Vikas Bahl.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer
The popular show, Downton Abbey, has finally agreed on multiple requests of making it into a film. The film is confirmed to shoot soon.
A big-screen transfer for Downton Abbey has been rumoured for almost as long as the show has been on television. But on Friday the movie was confirmed, with creator Julian Fellowes scripting, The Book Thief’s Brian Percival to direct and Universal Studios to distribute. Production will start later this summer, with a release next year likely. Plot details remain under wraps, but it is expected the action will pick up directly from the last season’s finale, which was set in 1926.
“When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie,” said producer Gareth Neame, “and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains, and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”
The show, which ran for six seasons on ITV in the UK and PBS in the US, won three Golden Globes and 15 Emmys from 69 nominations, which made it the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the awards. Its enormous following worldwide is credited with kickstarting a revival in period drama on both the big and small screen, and propelling stars including Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery to international fame. The series was originally conceived as a spin-off prequel to Fellowes’ Oscar-winning 2001 film about a murder in a stately home, which also featured Maggie Smith as a waspish matriarch.
Documentary honours Robin Williams
When Marina Zenovich was an aspiring actor living in New York, taking on small roles to pay the bills, she was cast as an extra in The Fisher King, appearing in the scene where Parry, the madcap eccentric played by Robin Williams, imagines a spontaneous flashmob breaking out among enchanted commuters in Grand Central Station.
It’s “one of the most glorious cinematic moments”, Zenovich says, but she’d forgotten taking part in it until her new documentary, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, screened at the Karlovy Vary film festival this month. When asked if she ever had a chance to meet her subject, whose life she’d been poring over for four years, she recalled having waltzed in his close proximity.
Fashioned from archival footage, old audio tapes, interviews with Williams’ contemporaries, and clips of the comic’s stand-up, Come Inside My Mind is the first documentary to comprehensively examine Williams’ life and art since his suicide in 2014. It includes virtually no narration, save for Williams’ own, which can have an eerie, almost ghostlike effect (if only ghosts were as charming and exuberant as Robin Williams). “Every person is driven by some deep, deep, deep, deep secret,” he says in voiceover about half-way through the film.
It’s a question Williams scarcely addressed, preferring to bear his soul by way of performance. “Steve Martin says in the film, when Robin was on stage, whether it was theater or stand-up, he was in charge,” says Zenovich. “But in his life he was trying to hold himself together.”
Drake starts pop’s erotic comedown
Towards the end of his double album Scorpion, Drake confirms the sting in his tale; something that has defined him as the pop star of his age. Midway through the song Final Fantasy, in which he has imagined the luckless ways in which a hookup might turn out for him, he opines: “I hope that the apocalypse is the only thing that doesn’t come.” This is not an adroit turn for the artist. He has always equated sex with the chaos of the world, a notion that talks directly to fans. His sex is frequently tinged with the dolorous. The combination of ecstatic euphoria and introspective melancholy — the good, the bad and the ugly of sex — may yet turn out to be the defining cultural trope of our times. Let’s call it “sad and sexy”, to misquote the title of Lykke Li’s recently released fourth album. While baby boomers and Gen X-ers wrestle with the sexual catastrophes of yore (such as Yewtree and #MeToo), millennials are finding that, in popular culture, the joy of sex has been supplanted by the retelling of its nihilistic woes. In 2018, “sexy” does not necessarily equate to being turned on; it connects to more complicated behaviour and emotional states.
Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer
Idea of an inclusive India is still intact, and those trying to upset this communal harmony are a minority numerically, says filmmaker Anubhav Sinha
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha, whose forthcoming film Mulk about the plight of a Muslim family accused of treason has had online trolls slamming him for being “anti-Hindu”, says the idea of inclusive India is very much secure and the people who are trying to ruin the country’s communal harmony are really small in number.
“The concept of original India is still breathing in various parts of the country and while shooting the film, my faith in that has strengthened. Wherever I shot the film, the way local people have participated made me believe that the very essence of India, which is inclusive, is existing nicely,” Sinha said.
What does he mean by original India? “Inclusiveness,” he said, and explained, “The problem is that the narrow-minded people, who are a tiny part of the vast population, speak much louder than the majority. The majority, the inclusive people, are like a deep ocean that stays calm, quiet and flows. The liberal-minded secular people choose to flow silently. So, basically, people who are trolling with narrow thoughts, are a minuscule, negligible minority.”
Sinha had earlier this week penned a long open letter in response to the trolls, outlining how they are merely “under-educated, highly energetic people with no productivity.”
The story of Mulk essentially revolves around stereotyping of a minority community and how they are in a constant struggle to prove their patriotism due to their religious practices.
Asked about what sparked the thought behind the film, Sinha, who has earlier made movies like Tum Bin and RA.One, said, “To put it on record, Mulk is not trying to deal with Islamophobia or talking about the present government. The story is about us, we, the people in the society. The film is bringing some of the uncomfortable questions to the table and the intention is to make the audience find the answer from life because they are subjective. We are not specifically answering anything in the film. We are raising the questions.”
The movie features iconic and talented actors like Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Manoj Pahwa and Neena Gupta. Young actress Taapsee Pannu plays a lawyer in the movie.
On his experience of working with them, Sinha said, “In this film, the main element was the story and the question it raised. The fact is that all our actors involved in the film subscribed to the idea. They were only interested in the narrative. So we made the film together, really.”
The film, releasing on August 3, also features two youngsters — Vartika Singh and Ashrut Jain. Sinha says he was initially worried if they will manage to perform well. “There are scenes Vartika has with Neenaji and I thought she would feel intimidated. But her performance level was pretty high. So was Ashrut’s. Today’s kids are a little irreverent also, but I must say, along with all these big actors, these two kids performed really well,” he said.
Mulk, despite its sensitive subject, managed to get a U/A certificate. Asked if he was sceptical about the clearance, Sinha said, “No, why should I be? My film is not made with a bad intention. Honestly, the censor board is a tough place because every decision is taken by at least five people coming from different walks of life. So finding a common ground in an argument might look tough at times, but at times they are reasonable.”
Writer: Anubhav Sinha
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Netflix new series ‘Sacred Games’ finally breaks the barrier and displayed that we get our international hit with its complex cat-and-mouse chase.
If you love international series and believe that Indian shows, despite testing the waters on the digital platform, are not at par, Netflix’s latest home-grown series Sacred Games will change your mind. The show, which was released last Friday, has set a new benchmark for both Indian series and films.
The dark humour of Anurag Kashyap and the intelligence of Vikramaditya Motwane have created a racy storyline that probes the depths of conflict — the societal, systemic and the personal — each layering over the other at once. And they are not scared to peel raw emotions and call a spade a spade.
Sacred Games, which is based on Vikram Chandra’s book of the same title, stars Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. It has already received rave reviews by Indian and international critics and is being compared with Netflix’s other popular show Narcos.
The eight episodes of Season 1 set the intentions right from the word go with its classic Mumbai crime scene where Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) impresses the audience with his sincerity as a low-ranking, honest cop in the corrupt Mumbai police department, who is testifying in the murder of a teenager by bad cops. His senior officers are expecting him to lie and cover the tracks of colleagues gone dirty. He has a clear choice to make, either lie that the teenager was armed and threatening officers or admit to the assault charge himself. Singh, who has looked up to his father all his life, is debating values versus practicality. At this juncture, he gets a call from gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who has been missing and thought dead for 15 years. He informs Singh about an impending disaster in Mumbai and challenges him to be like his “honest” father (Singh believes his father was non-corrupt) and stop his evil intentions.
Here starts the backstory and non-linear cuts to Gaitonde’s personality behind the assumed gangster. The so-called villain, who has thrived on the economy of religious fundamentalism, corruption and all kinds of divides — social, economic, political — still has the biggest heart and accepts a transgender as his lady love.
The characters are reliably convincing. However nothing compares to Nawazuddin as Gaitonde, who is deliciously etched in terms of complexity. Gaitonde is a product of his circumstance and acts accordingly but that never stops him from staying true to certain values. He won’t be communal, and he won’t abandon the marginalised. And he knows to crack the sordid game, except that he is a part of it and wants a good guy to play deliverer.
Saif Ali Khan, who we believe has always been a misfit in the mainstream Hindi industry given his depth, range and subtlety, not only finds his groove but grows roots here. He evokes the mix of torment, disappointment and yet hope to redeem himself with a subtlety and spartan strength that draws you into his mindspace.
Radhika Apte as the RAW agent Anjali is dependable though her character exists only to encourage the plot’s movement as opposed to unwinding it. Her backstory, including a missing dad and workplace sexism are left dangling in mid-air, detached from the main plot.
The story plunges through highs and lows, sometimes inconsistently, but in the end steadying itself. There’s a bite of fury, the helplessness of despair and yet a pulse of life pushing itself through.
This is Mumbai like no other, a dangerous cocktail of religion, politics and Bollywood that shapes its contours. It is simply like any character in Sacred Games, broken but determined to move on.
Both Netflix and Amazon are commissioning home content for their regional as well as international markets. For filmmakers and storytellers, truly the world can be a stage in terms of creativity and originality.
Writer: Nitesh Jidani
Courtesy: The Pioneer
It is not a walk in the park to rise to a status of a world-renowned female bartender. Lauren Mote gets candid on her hard-earned expertise.
Mixologist Lauren Mote doesn’t believe that the challenges she faced as a bartender were related to her gender. Every person has a unique journey and she too worked hard to gain the global fame that she enjoys today. However, hiring practices are changing and hopefully this means that job criteria and financial hierarchy are changing too, she added.
As Diageo Global Reserve’s brand ambassador, she said, “Markets like Canada, the USA, United Kingdom, western Europe and Australia have a significant number of women working behind the bar whereas emerging markets have a lot less. We still have a long road ahead of us to make real change in our global industry but we are on the right track,” Mote said.
A rebel and a powerhouse, she advised young women interested in mixology to “seize every opportunity to work with people who value you for your skills and abilities.” She doesn’t want them to change in the face of adversity or succumb to the status quo.
“It’ll be tough to rise above, but you have a voice and the ability to command a room, so use the stage wisely. It might take a long time to create an audience, but once you do, make sure you have something powerful to say. In our industry, as in many others that are public-facing, it takes a lifetime to build a positive reputation and just seconds to destroy it. Keep that in mind with each step, each interaction and each decision. Bring those that have helped you along the way into the fold and build an army of strong, powerful professionals – they deserve to be heard, too,” she said.
The world of cocktails is changing and it is no longer only about making the expected, traditional concoctions. The Canadian cocktailian said that the trends to look out for include sustainability, signature serves and culinary cocktails. “The world is waking up to the impact their choices have on the environment and sustainable practices and ingredients are becoming increasingly important.
Mixologists who embrace this new reality are the ones who will flourish and there is an opportunity for the industry to get behind some ‘easy to execute’ initiatives,” she said.
A significant part of travel itineraries have started including the world’s best bars as ‘must visit’ destinations for drink-savvy tourists. In 2018, we expect to see a rise in signature serves as bar owners give a free rein to talented mixologists to create unique drink experiences. Chefs and bartenders have also begun to collaborate on flavour development. There is a symbiosis in the process with more bartenders getting involved in the kitchen and using classical culinary techniques as a new way (for the bar) to preserve, extract and develop flavours.
“With the rise in the last decade of celebrity chefs and interest in cuisine, the most enlightened mixologists will experiment with flavours, ingredients and techniques from their peers in the world of fine dining,” she said.
For her, the best cocktail depends on the season, the time, the place and the occasion and yet the Negroni is what she would choose most of the time. Her ideal version is heavy on the Tanqueray No. TEN Gin. It would have standard pour bitter liqueur and lower on the vermouth. Then stir and serve over big cubes and long flap of orange peel expressed over the glass and dropped in.
“I always eat the orange afterwards as a palate cleanser. These days, I am also falling in love with the Johnnie Walker Black highball all over again – it’s just delicious,” she said.
Mote also says that on the technical front, bartenders commonly misuse sugar and acid.
“Understanding that sugar is to the bar what salt is to the kitchen is important in our quest for balance, and certainly one must consider acidity and bitterness too. When all the six tastes come together – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent – it pushes flavours forward and helps create balance. The more bartenders that learn to cook and understand these principles, the better their cocktails will be each and every time,” she said.
She says that a bartender is a steward of all things food and beverage culture: tea, coffee, spirits, wine, beer, food and ingredients, flavour and complexity – you name it!
“So, you’ve got to have an incredible depth and breadth of category knowledge and the ability to communicate this knowledge to your customers with skill and creativity. Being in the customer service industry, you’ve also got to have top-notch interpersonal skills and a selfless attitude, ultimately putting others needs ahead of your own,” she said.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Actor Sanjay Mishra, an alumnus of NSD who is known for his unconventional and soulful roles in Bollywood, believes in becoming the other face of the Indian that is unknown to audience.
Actor Sanjay Mishra literally believes in American playwright Clare Luce’s succinct observation, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” As somebody who completely dissolves into the common characters that he enacts onscreen, he says he doesn’t overthink his roles or even his choice of them. “It’s very simple. I don’t read scripts at all, I like the scripts being read out to me. If I am able to see the entire movie in my mind with the character while hearing, then I am in. At least that’s my first criteria,” he tells us on the sidelines of the recently concluded Jagran film festival. “Other than that, I’m a very emotional person. I say yes to whichever film strikes the emotional core of my being. And I reject roles where I am required to be a caricature of an oppressor, like in romantic films where I’m to play a strict father of a girl who wants to marry another boy he has issues with. So, it’s quite a simplified process for me.”
For somebody who debuted and made a mark on television with the popular Office Office, Mishra’s acting chops drew mainstream attention with his performances in indie films like Masaan and Ankhon Dekhi.
But he won’t go back to television soon though he doesn’t disown it at all. Says Mishra, “I worked for television a lot and it was fun too. But after a point, I realised that the content of TV is degrading. If you ask me what went wrong, I will put it in a very desi way, ‘Sab chaat ki dukaan ban gaya hai (Everything has become like a snack shop).’ So long as a recipe works for everyone, everybody will churn out the same staple. They don’t want to come out of their comfort zone and try something new and unique.”
Mishra believes that content writers are scared to write anything new because of fear of failure. “Writers are so hemmed in by the revenue and funding imperatives that they don’t realise there might be a flip side and the audience might actually love a show that is unique.” In films, he says, “The situation is not that bad as yet. There have been Kadvi Hawa and Ankhon Dekhi and young filmmakers want to tell a good story. Big banners still rely on formula but the smaller films have forced them to change their tack a bit.”
Having worked in a lot of independent projects, Mishra says he does them because “there are stories that need to be heard. Movies made by independent filmmakers are really the ones that deserve the kind of attention that movies with banners do.
I’m not saying all of them produce great work but I think everyone should have an equal opportunity to reach out to the audience. I hope that the flat world of the internet changes the dynamics as these independent projects are gaining traction.”
The 54-year-old actor, known and appreciated for his rustic acting and originality, credits his fans for lasting so long. But now he feels it’s enough. So he wants to hit pause button, breathe easy and focus on his life. “I’ve hustled a lot now. I wanted to become an actor and I’m blessed to have been given the opportunity to become one. I have tried to give a voice to the grassroots with roles that have had a social impact, sometimes through comedy. As long as I am offered good scripts that tell a story I’m personally emotionally attached to, I’ll work. If I don’t, I won’t look back with anger or regret. I’ve made my parents, myself and my kids proud.”
After that, there’s the commune of artists. “I want to build a cultural hub for myself and the young ones who need a roof over their heads to chase their dream and live a simple life, like how we used to live in the good old days.” A rare chip of the old block.
Writer: Shambavi Suri
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Dil Hai Hindustani 2 is starting soon, and one of the people on the judge panel is none other than our favorite – Badshah! Muskan Kathuria says that the rapper will take on a new take with this role and follow it up with an acting stunt.
Does the name Aditya Prateek Singh Sisodia ring a bell? No? So, are you familiar with Badshah? If the answer is a resounding yes, no one is surprised. The transformation of the young civil engineer from Delhi with a common name to the ace rapper is now complete as his songs are now on the lips of every Indian. What has made him immensely popular is that he writes about the most relatable things. In the past, he has rapped in songs like DJ Wale Babu and Saturday Saturday which went to become the party anthems for young adults.
His latest song Tareefan, from the multi- starrer Veere di Wedding, where he made his singing debut just hit a whopping 91 million views on YouTube. He was in the capital to promote the second season of the singing reality show Dil Hai Hindustani 2 which will be aired from July 7 on Star Plus. While the rest of the judging panel has changed, Sunidhi Chauhan, Pritam and Badshah are in for a longer run. He believes the concept of the show and the bubbling talent is what make him love it. Irrespective of nationality, Dil Hai Hindustani invites everybody who can sing Hindi songs to compete in the show.
In a candid conversation, he shared his expectation from the show and his feelings for the group that used to be Mafia Mundeer. And there is more as one might soon see Badshah, the actor, on the big screen.
What according to you determines the success of a reality show? What made you choose Dil Hai Hindustani?
TRPs. The secret of TRPs for any show is the content and nothing beyond it. It’s the talent and the vibe of the show that attract the audience. I have no idea what makes Dil Hai Hindustani different from other shows, but I just love it. I love the people, the production house and the channel. Of course, money is one factor for why I chose to be here, but once I met the people on set, I felt like this is where I want to be. I have Raghav and Mukti, they’re such talented kids. We just hope we’re able to capture this vibe and communicate it to the viewers.
How was your experience while judging the show with Sunidhi Chauhan and Pritam in Dil hai Hindustani 2?
Pritam Da (music composer) and Sunidhi (Chauhan) Ma’am are amazing, I get to learn a lot of new things from them. It is amazing. While Pritam Da is a bank full of knowledge and Sunidhi Ma’am is like a computer. Like, I find a contestant’s song extremely good and feel that nobody can sing it better, Sunidhi ma’am can find a hundred flaws in it. And then she sings it and nails it. We had this contestant who sang Kamli and I was talking to her about how good it was and Sunidhi ma’am appreciated it too, I was like, thank god! But then she sang that song and I had goosebumps. I started crying as I wondered how can she do that. We don’t realise it, we praise Beyonce, but Sunidhi Ma’am is so huge. She’s blessed. We’re blessed to have her.
How was your journey from Aditya to Badshah?
The journey from Aditya to Badshah can be an incredible biopic. I was just looking for a stage name and I thought Badshah was quite apt because I’m a huge fan of Shahrukh Khan. That was an important factor in choosing the name. Also, probably because I live like one. But these are two different persons. I think, Aditya is an employee of the brand Badshah. The rest is for you to figure out (chuckles).
Do you feel the industry is somehow losing originality as there is a flush of remakes, be it in songs or stories?
I have begun to feel the same too. That is why I made Buzz with Aastha Gill and then Tareefan. I rejected a lot of remakes that came my way. There may be around 20 remake proposals that I have said no to. I feel like you should do what you’re best at. It is up to us musicians to keep the sanctity of Indian music intact. I did feel like it was losing somewhere but it’s going to be back on track. There are a lot of amazing soundtracks releasing this year.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a rapper?
I always wanted to be successful in whatever I did. But being a rapper was a natural instinct. I think storytelling came naturally, so I felt like I need to do this. I just subconsciously decided that. I was working as a civil engineer but when rapping had started supporting me financially, I left the job. I wasn’t stupid to follow it passionately. I think, I was smart enough to balance the both. My dad wasn’t supportive. It was a typical middle class family crisis. But then I came home with a BMW and he was fine.
Tareefan is a huge hit, how does that make you feel? How involved were you with the song?
It’s a huge hit and that makes me feel pressurised. I didn’t expect it to become this huge. But I’m just glad to be a part of this song. The movie Veere di Wedding itself is very special to me. I love Rhea (Kapoor) for what she does, she’s always stood for women in her own ways. I wouldn’t call her a feminist but she’s a boss lady. When she was making this film, she was under tremendous pressure. She couldn’t find the soundtrack and I was happy when she brought the song to me. When she asked me to rap on this song, I refused and said that I’ll sing it. She didn’t think I could do it but I reassured her and told her to give me five days to nail this. After five days, she heard me sing it and responded, “Dude, you nailed this!”
Which one do prefer more — singing or rapping?
I like both. Maybe, acting! You’ll see me on the big screen soon.
Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?
Anywhere and Everywhere. This interview. *raps* Interview me pooche muhse aise se sawaal, jaise mere liye buna jaa raha ho koi jaal; jaise mujhse sunna chah rahe ho kuch sansani khes, jaise kya maine sach me likhe gaane Honey ke.
While there are millions of people that love your songs, there are also a few who dislike them. How do deal with the critics?
I’ll explain it to you in this way: Pink is a beautiful colour. But I don’t like it. It’s subjective. Lord Ram couldn’t make everyone around him happy, who am I. My own wife doesn’t like my songs. I am the colour pink for her.
You are no longer close to the group that was called Mafia Mundeer? What went wrong?
I’m not. I’m independent and I’m bigger. That is what I wanted to be. To be able to do my own thing, be independent. I feel it’s only natural to follow your dreams and people have their different ideologies. Even the biggest groups split. We were just young kids from Delhi. And it happened for the best for each one of us. I’m not close to any of them now but I wish them well. I don’t intend to work with them in the future because to work with me, they have to be on the same creative level. We have to share the same zeal, the passion and the vision. I don’t know if they share the same vision.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
Young kids. Passionate kids. Not the upcoming stars, just kids with a lot of passion. No big names because they’ll become big post working with me.
What are your views on the culture of rapping in India?
It’s growing, It’s beautiful. I think, it’s up to us to cultivate it. Of course, there is a stereotype against rappers but I don’t intend to break it. I think time will do that. It also depends on how we treat this genre. If we’re in this for the money, I don’t think it will be a long surviving genre but if we’re in this for the love of music, nobody will be able to question its credibility.
Your much awaited album O.N.E. is coming out soon. What should we expect from it?
It’s my life in an album. Obviously, there are going to be a few commercial songs, but the rest would be about my life. I feel it’s about time that you get to know about me.
Writer: Muskan Kathuria
Courtesy: The Pioneer
Team Viva says, the California-based songwriter and rapper Raja Kumari, with roots in Andhra Pradesh believes that she is the link between East and West.
She straddles the East-West divide with an ease that comes together in the combination of Indian classical dance with Western rap. And this amalgam is visible in the US born singer Raja Kumari new song I Did It which hit YouTube last week and instantly went viral. Dedicating it to her fans, she tells us, “I created this song for my fans who wanted to dance with me. I’m a dancer first, so it was exciting to create a true fusion of sounds. I always wanted to set classical dance within hip hop beats. I feel like we achieved this.” If you have missed it, then you certainly haven’t missed the Allah Duhai Hai number in Race 3.
She performs a mix of Indian ethnic dance forms and hip hop. Sung in English, she can be seen performing kathak, while the Indian taals (beats) can be heard in the background.
The songwriter and rapper is best known for her collaboration with artists including Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony, Knife Party and Fall Out Boy while her solo songs on YouTube are unique. “Music has always been a huge part of my life. I wanted to find a way to have fun every day and music was always that escape for me”, Raja Kumari says. The West Coast hip hop and rap influence was common ground for her. She became a household name in India, especially after the song City Slums (featuring Divine) which has successfully amassed 7.6 million views on YouTube. “I’ve had some incredible experiences in life. I can never forget the feeling of performing City Slums for the first time at NH-7. It was the first time I stepped on stage in India and experiencing the love of the people was an incredible feeling,” she adds.
What makes her songs stand out is the ways she blends genres. Mixing the music traditions of two different countries also helps in bridging the gap between them. She says, “I believe I am the bridge. I want to open the door for cultural exchange and want to see an Indian person impacting pop culture worldwide.” She is very passionate about music and was nominated for a Grammy award in 2015.
Though she grew up in America, the Indian in her was always alive and kicking thanks to her parents. She emphasises, “I credit my parents for raising me with a deep respect and love for my culture. They always made me proud to be Indian and made sure I knew my roots.” Unlike some NRIs who force their children to be doctors and engineers, Raja Kumari’s parents were supportive of her and satisfied with whatever made her happy. Her academic choice was pioneering too. She studied ancient religious studies and took comparative religious studies in college. She has a degree in ancient Indian history and studied Sanskrit besides three classical dance styles. “I did my arangetrams in different styles. I’ve dedicated my life to study Indian culture,” she adds.
Despite supportive parents, she did face some obstacles at at other fronts. Surmounting them, she says, “It is always difficult to blaze your own trail. Being a woman in a male-dominated arena is a challenge but I welcome it.”
I Did It has already won millions of hearts and has gained over 300K YouTube views and because of its uniqueness the figures will continue to rise. Talking about her future plans, she says, “I don’t limit myself. I want to lend my voice to whatever makes to my brand. Right now, I’m in Los Angeles working on my new EP. I love Bollywood and would love to get more involved.”
Courtesy: The Pioneer
After a long break, TV Star Mona Singh is again ready for her new upcoming series ‘Yeh Meri Family’. The web series is set in 90s and revolves around a typical Indian family. Mona plays a simple housewife, a mother of three children, who’s a strict disciplinaire. She is paired opposite veteran actor-filmmaker Akarsh Khurana.
As the scorching heat reigns over Delhi, one misses the good-old days of the early 90s when families, despite the goodies of liberalisation, still sat together. For something as simple as savouring mangoes. For kids, summer was about outdoor games and for mothers a troublesome time as they ran around the house. To relive nostalgia from three decades ago, and symbolically hoping to relearn a few lessons, The Viral Fever has announced a new web-series on YouTube, Yeh Meri Family, starring Mona Singh and Akarsh Khurana.
Singh, best known for her lead role in Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi, plays the mother. “On TV, a mother is still portrayed as very sweet and sugar-coated, who is forever indulgent. But the difference here is that I am playing a believable, real-life one. Back in the 90s, we used to get shouted, scolded and not treated with kid gloves. Our parents were disciplinarian but not over-indulgent. And they were just as caring and loving. They made us understand the worth of things and work towards it. Nowadays, parents just dump everything in excess, be it affection or gifts, like reward points. For this role, I referenced my mother and I tried to get an essence of that in my acting,” she says.
The web series, set in the summer of 1998, “is taking the audience back to the pre-cellphone age, when Govinda songs were a rage and family time was all about eating mangoes together, even going out to a dhaba for a good meal,” she tells us, hoping she can take the viewer on a trip down memory lane. In the process, she hopes people will appreciate the emotional heft of family relationships that are increasingly under strain these days.
The actress has come a long way since her first role in the Indian adaptation of Ugly Betty and has gone on to play mature characters in movies like 3 Idiots, Kya Huaa Tera Vaada and won the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Ja.
She doesn’t mind playing mother, since that is one role that can be played over and over again with discernible layers of complexity, conflict and empathy.“Three of my co-actors were kids. On the sets, I would become one of them and play all sorts of silly games like hide and seek. On the other hand, Akarsh, who is a very funny man, used to keep cracking jokes all the time. We shot for almost 40 days for seven episodes and it never felt like we were working. It was always party-time. That’s when I realised the importance of connecting with family, no matter what the time or context,” she says.
Working with TVF for the first time, the 36-year-old says she was inspired by all “very creative people, who write inspiring stories, which get brilliantly translated by the director. I believe that these are the type of stories that need to be told and unfortunately lack takers on TV.”
Writer: Shambhavi Suri
Courtesy: The Pioneer