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Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes: No Khan Eid release; Savarkar jury out; ‘Maidaan’ coming; Chamkila-AR Rahman trailer launch…

Bollywood asianculturevulture vibes: No Khan Eid release; Savarkar jury out; ‘Maidaan’ coming; Chamkila-AR Rahman trailer launch…

It’s been a mixed month with stars vying for attention in the next, while the ‘Elvis Presley of Punjab’ in the 1980s, Chamkila is played by current Punjabi icon Diljit Dosanjh and features the music of AR Rahman…

By Rodrigues C

MUMBAI is at its festive best what with Monday’s Holi celebrations and the Easter weekend upon well upon us now.

As the summer approaches, the mercury is soaring in the city. It’s the same for Bollywood as well, which is preparing for the school vacation period starting next month and Eid in April – and is also the day when big releases hit the screen.

Unlike in the past and year after year, Salman Khan’s movies won’t be releasing on Eid this year.
The decision by Khan to skip an Eid release has surprised most industry watchers. In fact, fearing a clash with a Salman Khan movies during Eid, most producers would avoid releasing a movie during the festival. Last year the actor’s ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ji Jaan’ had released during Eid.

In 2023, other than Eid, even Diwali saw the release of a Khan movie ‘Tiger 3’ hit the screen. But this Diwali won’t have any releases from the Khans – Salman Khan is shooting for director Vishnu Vardhan’s ‘The Bull‘ and Shah Rukh Khan is occupied with an untitled project.

Kabir (Ajay Devgn) and Jyoti (Jyotika) in ‘Shaitaan

So, this year, Eid will see Ajay Devgn’s much delayed football drama ‘Maidaan’ clash with the Akshay Kumar-Tiger Shroff actioner ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ (both slated for April 10 – Eid day releases).

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, the latter is about recovering a stolen weapon, which may destroy India; netizens have been saying that the movie’s action scenes have been picked up from Hollywood hits ‘Outside the Wire’ and ‘Hobbs & Shaw’.

On the other hand, the Amit Sharma directed ‘Maidaan’, which was slated to release last June, is based on former Indian football coach Syed Abdul Rahim, under whose leadership the country won the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games; AR Rahman has composed the film’s music.

Continuing with Devgn, his most recent film, ‘Shaitaan’ has boosted Bollywood’s fortunes in a massive way. Released on March 8, the horror film which also features R Madhavan has unexpectedly become the second biggest hit of 2024 after Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Fighter’.

Made on a budget of £6.2 million, the movie has so far raked in £17.8m at the box office globally. A remake of the Gujarati film ‘Vash’, the movie’s first day collections were a meagre £1.2m.

Now, there is talk of even a sequel in the works. The film’s encouraging collections will be put to the test this weekend when the Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kriti Sanon starrer ‘Crew’ yesterday) hits screens.

Arun Katyal (Sidharth Malhotra) in ‘Yodha’

For Bollywood, March has been a mixed bag so far.

Sidharth Malhotra, Raashii Khanna and Disha Patani action thriller ‘Yodha’ which released on March 15 is struggling in its second week. Directed by Sagar Ambre and Pushkar Ojha the movie has so far generated just about £3m at the box office; it’s budgeted at £5.2m.

Malhotra, whose cop series ‘Indian Police Force’ released on ( Prime Video earlier this year, plays the lead in the thriller.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Randeep Hooda, centre) in
Swatantrya Veer Savarkar

Another movie, ‘Swatantrya Veer Savarkar’, which released on March 22, hasn’t found much success at the box office either – to date. Randeep Hooda, who plays Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the biopic, debuted as a director for the film. He received wide appreciation for the physical transformation he underwent for the role. The actor even drew comparisons with Christian Bale, who had lost weight for ‘The Machinst’. Despite all the publicity, the movie’s box numbers remain modest. Made on a budget of about £2m, the film has just about collected £1.2m so far by Friday, March 29) – though some do report a more modest uptick recently and the movie’s word of mouth among certain groups, ahead of a General Election, isn’t doing it any harm. But experts agree – it needs more this to gain traction as other releases have come along this week. The film is a biopic of Indian freedom fighter who many regard as the intellectual founding father of the current ruling government in India.

Another actor who debuted as a director in March is Kunal Kemmu.

Pratik Goradia (Pratik Gandhi/Pinku), Ayush Gupta (Avinash Tiwari) and Dhanush Sawant/Dodo (Divyendu Sharma) in ‘Madgaon Express

His movie, ‘Madgaon Express’, which also features Kemmu in a special appearance, released on March 22. The comedy, which revolves around three friends, who embark on a vacation to Goa, has found few takers at the box office with collections of just about £1.1m; it’s believed to be budgeted around £2m; and still doing slightly better than Hooda’s.

On the morning of March 28, the cast and crew of the movie ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’ got together at Bandra’s famous Mehboob Studio along with hordes of journalists and camera crews. The event, the trailer launch of director Imtiaz Ali’s latest offering, which will premiere on Netflix on April 12. Ali is also credited for writing the movie. Music maestro AR Rahman, who has composed for the film with lyrics by Irshad Kamil, was also in attendance.

Amar Singh Chamkila (Diljit Dosanjh) in ‘Amar Singh Chamkila

The movie is based on the life of Punjabi folk singer-songwriter and live performer Amar Singh Chamkila, the highest record-selling artist of his time and still regarded as one of the best live-stage performers that Punjab has ever seen.

Hailing from an impoverished family, Chamkila rose from being a mill worker to gain massive fame. He was eventually assassinated by gunmen at the tender age of 27 along with his wife and two band members at Mehsampur, Punjab in 1988. Actor Diljit Dosanjh plays Chamkila, an Elvis Presley type figure for Punjab in the film, while Parineeti Chopra, who returned from London for the event, plays his singer partner and wife, Amarjot Kaur.

Ali spoke about how Dosanjh had immersed himself in his character and despite having “conquered the world with his stint at the Coachella (US) music festival, it was just the start of world domination for the phenomenon” that the singer is, he outlined. Dosanjh broke down after hearing his director praise him.

The trailer shows a young man (Dosanjh) being introduced to an audience at a live performance in a Punjab village. He objects to his name being mispronounced as Chamkila but the organiser convinces him to go with it and perform as no one would remember it. As his music resonates with the villagers, especially among women, many object to the lyrics of his songs. Later, he even finds a singing partner (Chopra).

With March behind us, and a promising line-up awaiting us, April seems like a promising month as far a movie fare is concerned. Let’s hope for the best, Happy Easter to all!

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture