Will Bollywood look beyond star sons and daughters?

This is not a critique of the kinds of movies that the Hindi film industry churns out. It isn’t a review of the style of acting or lack thereof either.
What this is, however, is commentary from an outsider. A well-wisher perhaps, an admirer even, of the reach and fight that Bollywood puts up in a global film market that’s dominated by the all-consuming juggernaut that is Hollywood.

And this commentary follows an opinion formed from hours of waiting at a barber’s and flipping through the pages of many a glossy Bollywood-centric magazine. The covers of which are usually adorned by men who seem to have the same workout regimen and acting coach, and women who have nicer poses than their male counterparts.

If the description below fits perfectly, the loudest of three cheers to an ability to memorize that I’m pretty sure I lack. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I find it difficult to remember the names of people I went to college with. But it’s simply my attempt to draw a vivid picture and nothing more.

Actor X, the son of former star Actor M and Actress Y who had been a promising star in the making till she gave up her career to marry Actor M and raise Actor X and his siblings, is excited because his debut film is a starring role alongside another debutante actress.

Let’s call her Actress B, and lo and behold, she also happens to be the daughter of a Bollywood couple, a father who was a known for his ‘negative roles’ and a mother who gave up her dancing career to be a good wife and mother.

But wait, that’s not the best part of this new generation starring twosome. The icing on the cake is that they are being ‘launched’ by a director whose father was a producer and at one point or the other worked with one or all of the starring twosome’s parents.

This and similar permutations repeat themselves in the mundane writing and interviews cliched to the brim that fight for space with even more inane and repetitive poses of the crème de la crème of Bollywood.

As an observer, I notice a theme. That most of Bollywood’s talent seem to be the sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces of anyone with any degree of recognition or pull in the film industry. And that they all state that a)Bollywood motion pictures is a constituent of their blood, and b)they have to work extra hard to prove that they belong on their own merit. (Footnote- I suck as a thespian of any worth, but I will keep appearing in movies because why the hell not, till something works)

My argument is this. If Bollywood is this premier Indian institution, this great machine of the representation of India and its numerous cultures, shouldn’t the stake holders look for talent and ideas from all over the country?

I’m a believer in the free market, and Bollywood studios are private entities are free to do whatever they like. But if you must for a moment, consider this suggestion.
There are amazing actors and actresses all over this country, in Ghaziabad, in Kerala, in Jammu and Kashmir, in Bhopal, even in Arunachal Pradesh or Mizoram, who will never get their shots because someone else happens to be the son of a mediocre actor whose uncle set up a film studio years ago.
What has Bollywood got to lose, really? There are so many stories that it can tell, so many different representations of culture and religion that it can portray.

Suriya, director Vignesh Shivan to team up for next

Tamil actor Suriya, who is currently busy with Tamil actioner S3, also known as Singam 3, will team up with Naanum Rowdydhaan director Vignesh Shivan for a yet-untitled film.

“Happy to associate with Suriya and Vignesh Shivan for our next project. Anirudh Ravichander has been roped in to compose the tunes,” read a statement from Studio Green, who will be bankrolling the project.

The Tamil film, which happens to be Suriya’s 35th film, is expected to go on the floors next month.
According to a source close to the film’s unit, the makers are most likely to rope in Keerthy Suresh or Nayanthara as the leading lady.
Suriya’s home banner 2D Entertainment will co-produce the film.

First Baywatch Pic is of The Rock’s Squad. That Means no Priyanka Chopra

The first still from the new Baywatch film is out and features the squad of lifeguards that star in the movie – that means a Priyanka Chopra-shaped hole among the red since she plays the main antagonist (name of Victoria Leeds, no confirmation on whether she is or isn’t a lifeguard).

The photo features Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandria Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach as Mitch, Matt, Summer and CJ – played in the original series by David Hasselhoff, David Charvet, Nicole Eggert and Pamela Anderson. Also in the picture are the characters played by actors Jon Bass and Ilfenesh Hadera.

Radhika Apte, Kal Penn to Co-Star in Guneet Monga’s The Ashram

Indian film producer Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment is taking her first step into making international language cinema with The Ashram, for which she has roped in actors like Kal Penn, and Melissa Leo and Radhika Apte.

With Ben Rekhi as the director, the film, also starring Sam Keeley and Hera Hilmar, is an English-language spiritual fantasy thriller set in the mystical world of Himalayan yogis.

Guneet Monga

“Telling stories from India for a global audience has always been exciting. This is my first step in English language. I am looking forward to working with the amazing talent from both the worlds,” Ms Monga told IANS.

Kal Penn wrote in his tweet on Thursday: “Pumped for this and excited to finally be working with @guneetm!”

The project went on floors on Thursday in Manali in northern India. The American actors will join the shoot next week, but Radhika will reach the hill station on Friday.

The Ashram revolves around an American sceptic Jamie, who upon receiving a cryptic message, travels to the Indian Himalayas to pick up on the trail of his disappeared girlfriend. What he uncovers during his journey forms the rest of the plot.

Ms Monga is best known for co-producing films like Gangs of Wasseypur and The Lunchbox, both of which garnered critical acclaim. And she is now looking forward to make more films for the world.

Ranvir Shorey in Konkona’s directorial debut

Aparna Sen went on to become one of India’s most accomplished filmmakers, daughter Konkona Sen Sharma is now following in her footsteps. The actress is all set to make her directorial debut with A Death In The Gunj. The film, shooting for which will start this month, stars Tillotama Shome, Ranvir Shorey, Vikrant Massey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Tanuja and Om Puri.

Tillotama, who had earlier worked with Koko inNayantara’s Necklace, says, “Konkona is a dear friend. We haven’t started filming yet, but her approach to filmmaking has filled me with a renewed sense of vigour. The script is the protagonist of the film.I’m essaying a character called Bonnie. Gulshan and I play a couple.”

About the ensemble cast, she adds, “Being friends and having worked with Kalki and Gulshan before, makes it easier. In fact, Kalki, Ranvir and I met each other every day for two months for Macbeth’s rehearsals. So, there’s an organic sense of trust.”

Gulshan, meanwhile, is confident that Konkona will excel as director.”I’m sure Konkona will excel as a director. In fact, when she was reading us the script, she was so clear about her expectations. During the workshops, we all put in our suggestions and Konkona was willing to accept them all.”

‘Singam 3’ to get new title

Suriya-starrer Tamil actioner ‘Singam 3’, which goes on the floors this week, is all set to be rechristened. The makers are planning to announce the new title on Wednesday. “The new title will be announced on Wednesday midnight. We’re changing the title for a special reason, which we plan to reveal shortly,” said a source from the film’s production unit. To be directed by Hari, the film will be produced by Suriya’s home banner 2D Entertainment. Anushka Shetty and Shruti Haasan have been roped in to play the female leads.

Sanjay Dutt Arms and Ammunitions case

Sanjay Dutt has been serving his jail term after the Supreme Court sentenced him to five years in jail due to his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.

After being arrested from the airport in 1994, the actor had confessed that mafia don, Abu Salem, had visited his home in January 1993 with Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala, proprietors of Magnum Video and alleged close associates of underworld don, Dawood Ibrahim. Sanjay Dutt had said that they had brought three AK-56 rifles with ammunition, and he had kept one. He claimed that the gun was to protect his family as they had received threats during the Mumbai riots that followed the demolition of Babri mosque in December 1992. Sanjay Dutt also said that after he heard of the Mumbai serial blasts and Samir Hingora and Hanif Kadawala’s arrest, he asked his friend, Yusuf Nulwalla, to destroy the rifle. However, he later retracted his statement. Soon after he was arrested and charged under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or TADA for conspiracy in the blasts and receiving weapons from Abu Salem.