Just as Bollywood returns to its partying ways, Mumbai’s municipal authorities issue a stark warning…
By Rodrigues C
WE ARE AWARE of the kind of scare the Omicron is causing in the UK: in India, the variant has created concern but due to the small number of people currently infected with omicron, not too many restrictions have been enforced – at least for now. As for Bollywood, it’s in recovery mode.
We know now too that omicron is not quite as deadly as first feared, but generally an atmosphere of caution and responsibility has descended on the film capital of India – let me explain.
Late November and early December were dominated by news of Katrina Kaif’s hush hush wedding to Vicky Kaushal in Jaipur.
Unexpectedly, few Bollywood actors attended the celebrations, which spanned over a few days. The low celeb turnout disappointed most star gazers, especially the Indian media, which had created a frenzy of sorts before the wedding.
Reportedly, some big names such as Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan were expected at the wedding but all we had is the likes of Alia Bhatt, Neha Dhupia, Kabir Khan and Karan Johar. Still.
In fact, last week, the wedding of Prajay Patel, the son of Maharashtra politician Praful Patel, attracted a far bigger turnout than that of Kaif.
Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty were some of the big names, who attended the event, which was also held in Jaipur. Praful is part of the ruling Mumbai administration and Prajay was marrying Shivaka Pungillia – the daughter of a Mumbai-based jeweler.
Videos of Khan and Kapoor grooving to the 2014 song ‘Jumme ki raat’ went viral. Though, both these weddings may not mean mean a a massive amount to film buffs, they do matter in the larger scheme of things; it’s a sign of life returning back to normal in filmdom and Kaif and Kaushal are a new Bollywood power couple.
In Mumbai, Bollywood is known for its flamboyant parties. Relaxed covid guideless meant going back to the old ways. But at times, these bashes have also landed many a star into trouble or created controversies. A few days back, filmmaker Karan Johar hosted a do at his suburban pad to celebrate the completion of 20 years for his hit ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’. The bash has been the talk of the town since. It was a small dinner compared to Bollywood standards. The guest comprised actors Kareena Kapoor Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Malaika Arora and Amrita Arora. Fashion designer Seema Khan and jewelry designer Maheep Kapoor, the wives of actors Sohail Khan and Sanjay Kapoor respectively also attended. Post the bash, Kareena, Amrita, Seema and Maheep tested positive for covid.
Thereafter, Mumbai’s municipal authorities came down heavily on all the celebs. Soon Kareena’s home was sealed. Then, the apartment block where Kareena and Amrita stay was sanitised, and other residents tested for covid. It may be recalled, Kareena and Amrita, along with actors Karisma Kapoor and Malaika Arora had also attended a Christmas party hosted by Anil Kapoor’s daughter, designer and film producer, Rhea Kapoor in the second week of December. After the incident, the mayor and municipal commissioner of Mumbai released statements criticising the celebs and asking people to celebrate Christmas and New Year responsibly.
Around the same time, it was widely reported that Kaif would be hosting a lavish post wedding bash at the Mumbai Marriott for her VIP friends. But after the Kareena episode, Kaif has postponed her celebrations till January. In fact, Salman Khan, who turns 56 on December 27, has also decided to curtail his birthday celebrations, which are scheduled at his farmhouse.
Now, let’s talk about films.
It’s the last month of the year and Akshay Kumar’s ‘Sooryavanshi,’ has raked in close to £29 million worldwide. But the film to watch out for from today (December 24) is the Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone starrer ‘83’, which recreates India’s 1983 cricket world cup victory on celluloid. The film’s trailer has already garnered 70 million hits. In the film, Singh plays India’s then cricket captain Kapil Dev (and played by Bollywood star Ranveer Singh – see below) while Padukone is Romi, his wife. Others, who play memorable roles in the drama, include Ammy Virk (Balwinder Sandhu), Sahil Khattar (Syed Kirmani), Chirag Patil (Sandeep Patil), Tahir Raj Bhasin (Sunil Gavaskar), Saqib Saleem (Mohinder Amarnath), Addinath Kothare (Dilip Vengsarkar), Jatin Sarna (Yashpal Sharma), Dhairya Karwa (Ravi Shastri), Nishant Dahiya (Roger Binny), Dinker Sharma (Kirti Azad) and Jiiva (Krishnamachari Srikkanth).
Kabir Khan directed ‘83’ is guaranteed to be a huge success as India’s victory in 1983 is special to the country, where cricket is considered to be a religion. So, while the world celebrates Christmas this week, India will walk down memory lane and witness how a squad of underdogs demolished a cricketing superpower, and brought hope, tears and cheers to an impoverished nation of millions. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
STOP PRESS: South Indian films are enjoying nationwide excitement and interest – the success of ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ an original Telegu film has surprised many – while its success in the South was somewhat predictable, considering it featured Telugu star Allu Arjun and Malayalam (Kerala) language star Fahadh Faasil, it continues to do brisk business in the North and is available in local languages, as well. About a sandalwood smuggling gang, a second instalment is planned for next year. And yesterday saw a nationwide event – Baahubali star Prabhas attended a trailer release gathering for his latest film, ‘Radhe Shyam’ in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. Thousands turned out at the sprawling studio area outside and under strict covid protocols to witness the two-hour plus show which was screened live on Youtube and some Indian TV channels. There was a brief chat with the star in his native Telegu towards the end and he did point out that ‘Radhe Shyam’ director Radha Krishna Kumar had waited five years to make this sweeping romantic epic, much of which takes place across Europe and features star Pooja Hegde as the romantic foil to Prabhas’s character. It was delayed because of the pandemic. Prabhas plays a palm reader who falls for Hegde but circumstances pull them apart. Equally impressive was the presence of three other directors, Om Raut, Sandip Reddy Vanga and Nag Ashwin who are both working on Prabhas’ next three films ‘Adipurush’, ‘Spirit’, and ‘Project K‘ respectively. The mild-mannered, softly-spoken humble actor, who spoke to acv when ‘Baahubhali: The Beginning’ came to the Royal Albert Hall in 2019, is one of India’s most popular film icons. His fame is built on the incredible global success of the two-part mythological epic that is Baahubali. (See links below for more on this).
Radhe Shyam releases on January 14 worldwide.
Now, Ranveer Singh has a message for you all…
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