All posts by Sunny Malik

Sunny Malik is a freelance Bollywood and entertainment journalist. His articles have been published in Ishq Magazine (Germany), The Asian Today, Asian Sunday and online on BollySpice, DigitalSpy, PinkVilla, Ikonz, OneIndia, UrbanAsian and Mirror.co.uk among other outlets. BollyNewsUK.com, a UK-centric online Bollywood portal, is also run and managed by Sunny. Sunny also specialises in social media marketing and has handled the UK social media campaigns for Bollywood films Highway and Happy New Year and The Asian Awards 2015.

20th Century Fox to release ‘Kalank’ in UK cinemas

20th Century Fox UK will release Kalank starring Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sonkashi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur in UK cinemas on 17th April 2019.
One of the most-anticipated films of the year, Kalank, the saga of love set in 1940s, has been in the news ever since its announcement. The first teaser of the film was launched in Mumbai this week. The cast came together for the event with Varun Dhawan flying in from London for a day, where he has been filming for Street Dancer 3.

Helmed by Abhishek Varman, the film is close to Karan Johar’s heart, as it was his father, producer Yash Johar’s last project that he conceptualised 15 years ago. Karan wanted to direct the film himself following the release of Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), but unfortunately, it got pushed to the back burner.
With screenplay & directed by Abhishek Varman, the film is produced by Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta & co-produced by Fox Star Studios. 
The star cast of KALANK at the teaser launch in Mumbai this week.

Zee Studios International to release ‘Kesari’ in UK cinemas

This March, the roar of 21 Sikh patriots will be heard once again: Megastar Akshay Kumar stars in one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, KESARI. An epic period drama based on an unbelievable true story, KESARI is heading to the cinemas in the UK through Zee Studios on 21st March 2019.

Starring Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Bhagyashree, and Mir Sarwar, KESARI is a true testament to bravery, courage and heroism.  The film tells the untold story of the British Indian contingent comprising 21 Sikh soldiers who were attacked by around 10,000 Afghans. The 21 Sikh soldiers decided to hold fort and fight with valour, for a battle which is considered as one of history’s greatest last-stands.

KESARI is directed by Anurag Singh and produced by Hiroo Yash Johar, Aruna Bhatia, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Sunir Kheterpal. The film is also co-produced by Amar Butala and written by Girish Kohli and Anurag Singh.

The film was shot on location at Wai in Maharashtra and Spiti Valley in India, with no expense spared in recreating the historic battle. Audiences can expect state-of-the-art visual effects blended with live stunts for some of the film’s most exciting scenes. With spectacular choreography, stunning visuals and grand sets, audiences will be transported to the battle of Saragarhi.

KESARI also features a powerful soundtrack, filled with romance and stirring tributes to Sikh pride and power that will rouse the patriot in every audience member.

Speaking about his role in the film, Akshay Kumar said “I have had one of the best times doing the action sequences for KESARI because they were so raw. It was completely out of the world. The very premise of the film is something which swells my chest with pride.”

KESARI promises to inspire audiences with an action packed and poignant story of true bravery, valour and the meaning of sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds.

KESARI-STILL9

Radhika Apte to attend UK Asian Film Festival

One of the most sought after, new gen Indian actresses, Radhika Apte, will be attending UK Asian Film Festival 2019, the world’s longest running South Asian film festival outside of India. Apte will be discussing the changing face of Indian film and entertainment consumption globally and shifting audience habits on Sunday 7thApril, BAFTA 195, London.

The actress has championed both commercial and arthouse cinema and television, featuring in critically lauded and commercially successful films such as the biographical drama, Pad Man, and black comedy, Andhadhun – among 2018’s most successful Indian films spanning commercial and indie genres. A leading star of the Netflix generation, she has featured in the unanimously lauded thriller series, Sacred Games; as well as horror miniseries, Ghoul; and anthology film, Lust Stories. 

Additional artists attending UK Asian Film Festival will be one of the most revolutionary actresses in the history of Indian cinema, Zeenat Aman. The Opening Gala on Wednesday 27th March, The May Fair Hotel, London will feature the game-changing actress, beauty queen and reigning star of the 1970s and 1980s, sharing her extraordinary journey in Indian cinema onstage. 

Veteran actress, Shabana Azmi, will be presenting the World Premiere of the documentary film Kaifinama on Sunday 7th April, BAFTA 195, London and on Friday 12th April, Glasgow Film Theatre. The film looks at the life and art of Azmi’s father, progressive, Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi, celebrating his birth centenary. Shabana Azmi will also be conducting an Actor’s Masterclass on Saturday 6th April, Phoenix Cinema, Leicester. 

The Closing Flame Awards Gala on Sunday 7th April, BAFTA 195, London will feature an In Conversation with Ramesh Sippy, veteran director and producer, whose film credits include one of Indian cinema’s most iconic films of all time, Sholay. This will be followed by the presentation of the UK Asian Film Festival Awards.  

One of the most celebrated masterpieces of Indian cinema, Pakeezah, will be screened on Monday 1st April,The British Library followed by a Q&A with Tajdar Kamal Amrohi, director, producer, writer and son of the late, legendary Pakeezah filmmaker, Kamal Amrohi.  

At a time of significant change, UK Asian Film Festival this year marks its 21st anniversary with a curation inspired by the theme of Revolution. Historically known as Tongues on Fire and then London Asian Film Festival, the festival is also synonymous with championing South Asian feminist films and supporting pioneering, female artists and auteurs.  

Festival Dates: 
London: 27th March – 7th April
Edinburgh: 29th March – 31st March 
Glasgow: 21st March – 4th April
Leicester: 3rd April – 6th April 
Manchester: 30th April – 4th May

Interview: ‘Live-in relationships are such a big taboo in India’ – Kriti Sanon

Bollywood beauty Kriti Sanon made quite a mark since her first UK theatrical release ‘Dilwale’, the sixth highest-grossing Hindi film here, released. Her Bollywood debut film ‘Heropanti’ didn’t get a UK release, but its availability on Netflix definitely helped Kriti’s popularity in the UK among Bollywood fans.

Hailing from a middle-class family out of India’s capital Delhi, Sanon moved to Mumbai to make it big in Bollywood. With over 18 Million followers on Instagram, the 28-year-old actress has amassed a pretty good fan following since she rose to fame in 2014.

Her new film ‘Lukka Chuppi’ also starring Bollywood’s new heartthrob Kartik Aryan, is a comedy of errors. In the film, the two fall in love while working on a news report and move in together to test whether their relationship would last. They decide to get married but in a comical twist their conservative neighbors and families believe they’re married in secret already.

Kriti spoke to BollyNewsUK about her new film, her social media presence and her experience of recently filming for ‘Housefull 4’ in London.

Talking about the reaction to the trailer which has been viewed almost 50 Million times on YouTube, she said: ‘The trailer is a true glimpse of the film. I felt that everyone who saw it, liked the world we presented. There is much more in the film that is funnier and better than what we’ve already put out there. I’m excited about the funny scenes in the film which we couldn’t include in the trailer as it would have given away too much.’

Discussing live-in relationships as shown in the film, Kriti said: ‘Live-in relationships are such a big taboo in Indian urban cities anyway and the film takes that concept into a small town, where you will be judged openly’

She further added about her character in the film, saying: ‘I don’t need to relate to the characters I portray. The character needs to intrigue me and I need to find it interesting. There must be layer to it and something quirky about it for me to notice it. It needs to be believable to audiences as well. I feel, its interesting to play a character that is nothing like yourself. I end up finding a few things that resemble me in most characters that I have played eventually anyways. I relate a little bit more Rashmi, the character I play in ‘Lukka Chuppi’. She is modern, educated in Delhi and chooses a life partner for herself.’

 

Kriti Sanon

 

Kriti also opened up on how much she has changed since ‘Dilwale’, which released in 2015 and how she is more confident now having a string of successes behind her: ‘I was still trying to figure out things and finding my way in the industry. I’ve tried to grow and become better with each film. After ‘Dilwale’, a lot has changed in how I approach performing a scene. I’ve also opened up a lot more as a person. When I came to Mumbai from Delhi, I didn’t have to make independent decisions. I lived at home with my family. I also had a very strong sense of right and wrong, it was very black and white. I’ve met a lot more people and have had lot of conversations over the years. I’ve opened up much more as a result of that and started seeing things from a different point of view. My performances in my recent films have also been appreciated and that gave me confidence to go out of my comfort zone. I feel very comfortable now – so yes, a lot has changed.’

Lukka Chuppi’s popularity can also be attributed to how the soundtrack of the film primarily features remakes of popular Bollywood and Indian pop songs. This has however, also drawn some criticism from fans calling the songs unoriginal.

Kriti clarified why they chose to only feature remakes in the soundtrack and how she likes them more than original songs: ‘It doesn’t bother me that people complain about the songs being remakes. I love listening to remakes and there is a recall value to them. The original Coca-Cola song has been on my playlist for ages and the new version is very cool. Remakes also tend to get more popular than original songs. That’s why the producer felt that it’s not fair to include one remake in an original soundtrack album as the remake would overshadow it. It upsets the composer of the original music album. He decided to only create remakes for the entire soundtrack. Coca-Cola has already reached over 94 million views and the view count is rising. The artists also like that being on a Bollywood soundtrack gives their songs a wider medium.’

 

With Bollywood stars now primarily only posting professionally taken photographs on their social media pages, Kriti still prefers to be true to the platforms.

‘I also share professional photographs on and off on my Instagram, as well as cover shoots and posters etc. That is work and professional. Social Media for me is a way to interact with audiences and my fans. I want to share a part of my real life. I share family photos and a lot of content with my pet as well. I randomly make videos from my bed as I just want to show that I’m normal like other people. I’m a simple middle-class girl who doesn’t really like dressing up normally. I want them to know that side of me too. I love hosting live chats and in those you can’t use photoshop (laughs), so that’s great.’

The actress was in London last year to film the highly-anticipated ‘Housefull 4’ releasing in the summer later this year. Speaking about her first time filming in the British capital she said: ‘It was amazing filming in London. It was almost like a paid holiday. We had a blast and I didn’t mind the crowd watching us filming. The weather was lovely, and we got some great shots and also had time shop (laughs). I wish our schedule was a bit longer though. The Housefull movies are always set in London and they’ve always filmed for a month or so but this time we only had nine days, which was a bit disappointing. You will know, when you see the film why it was so short.’

‘Lukka Chuppi’ is out in UK cinemas nationwide with English subtitles on 1st March 2019.

Kriti Sanon and Kartik

Katrina Kaif scorches the screen in #Zero’s ‘Husn Parcham’ 

The internet was set ablaze after the makers of Zero released the teaser of their next song ‘Husn Parcham’ featuring Katrina Kaif, and now as the song is out we know why.

Shah Rukh Khan starrer ZERO features Katrina Kaif as an actor Babita and the song showcases her in one of her hottest avatar.

Looking smoking hot in a white animal print blouse paired with a glittery sequined shorts and jacket, the lady grooves to the catchy lyrics like no other. The teaser stills of the song were enough to make her fans curious and the song is just what they would have expected.

Showcasing Shah Rukh Khan as the vertically challenged Bauua, and Katrina Kaif as a Bollywood Superstar (Babita Kumari), the Zero trailer has piqued the interest of the audience to witness one of the most anticipated films of the year. 

Red Chillies Entertainment and Colour Yellow Productions have come together to  create ZERO. Produced by Gauri Khan, starring Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif and Shah Rukh Khan, the Aanand L. Rai directorial is all set to release in UK cinemas on 21st December 2018.

Husn Parcham

Sonam K Ahuja in conversation with Arianna Huffington for Thrive Global India

After turning guest editor for Thrive Global India , Sonam K Ahuja earlier today joined Founder of Thrive Global & Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief , Huffington Post ,Arianna Huffington for a special discussion. 

Thrive Global India hopes to pioneer the conversation few are having in India: The importance of well-being and productivity in leading meaningful lives.

Apart from discussing how to create opportunities for more female representation in the professional arena , Sonam K Ahuja & Arianna Huffington also discussed sisterhood and self belief in women.

Ariana Huffington and Sonam Kapoor

Said Sonam K Ahuja, “The only way to live is to not think about it too much,and have incredible self belief. You need to really centre yourself and be in the moment and say – I’m amazing, I can do this and I’m the best version of myself. You need to have self belief”.

Arianna Huffington added , “I think there’s so much we can learn from the ancient wisdom of India, which is now validated by modern science. I think it’s all about the combination of ancient wisdom, modern science and then new role models, because in the end people learn through stories. Live life as though everything is rigged in your favour.

Ariana Huffington and Sonam Kapoor (2)

The evening also saw other panelists, primarily social influencers, including Amish Tripathi and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, discuss the Indian approach to believing and thriving.

Thrive Global India ,is a platform dedicated to ending India’s stress and burnout epidemic.Thrive’s website thriveglobal.in and its social media channels will present stories—including videos and podcasts—and science-based solutions to inspire and engage India’s new digital audience

Here’s how Deepika Padukone rules the month of December!

Bollywood’s leading lady Deepika Padukone who has had an eventful year, ends it with a bang with major accomplishments in the month of December. 

The actress started the month with an uproar on social media with the pictures from her grand reception in Mumbai. 

Deepika Padukone reclaimed her throne of the sexiest Asian Woman on the planet as a UK Asian newspaper crowned the actress in their annual list. Bagging the position for the second time in three years, Deepika Padukone has achieved the title soon after her marriage.

Emerging as the only woman to win a spot in the top 5 list of the richest Indian celebrities by Forbes, Deepika Padukone has set new precedents. Deepika is not only the highest paid actress in Bollywood currently but also the most commercially viable actress. As her film Padmaavat entered the 300 crore club earlier this year, Deepika became the only actress to have shouldered a woman-led film to the coveted club. 

DP Forbes

Sizzling on the cover of GQ for the December edition, Deepika Padukone graced the first magazine after her wedding. The pictures have been soaring the temperatures owing to her oozing sexiness. 

Earlier in the year, Deepika Padukone also featured in the TIME Magazine list of 100 most influential people in the world, Variety Magazine’s International Women’s Impact report amongst other accomplishments. 

DP GQ cover

On the work front, Deepika Padukone will be next seen in Meghna Gulzar’s next based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. 

Anita Dongre to showcase her designs at Aashni + Co Wedding Show 2019

One of India’s leading fashion luminaries, Anita Dongre,will be among the curated portfolio of top tier South Asian designers to present their latest bridal collections at the UK’s leading, South Asian high fashion, bridal and beauty extravaganza, Aashni + Co Wedding Show, taking place at The Dorchester, Mayfair on Sunday 13thJanuary 2019. 

An industry trailblazer, Anita Dongre has been at the forefront of Indian fashion for over 20 years. A connoisseur of craftsmanship, her designs showcase Indian aesthetics for the global woman of today. Internationally, her designs have been worn by personalities such as Kate Middleton, Hillary Clinton, Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Sophie Trudeau to name a few, while her designs are a favourite with Bollywood A-listers such as Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt and many more.

Anita Dongre designs sustainable, cruelty-free clothing and accessories, thereby representing fashion with a conscience. She has helped revive dying crafts and provide opportunity to hundreds of artisans in the rural villages of India in the comfort of their homes. Nestled in the hills of Navi Mumbai, the House of Anita Dongre headquarters have been ergonomically designed to optimise the use of natural light, have a compost pit as well as a plant that helps recycle their water.

Aashni

Her latest bridal collection, Odyssey, comprises silks and Benarasi weaves adorned with intricately embroidered motifs, inspired by the wildlife of Ranthambore, in the label’s signature craft of gota patti along with handcrafted dori, sequin, pearl, zari, zardozi and cut dana work.  The colour palette presents a variety of jewel tones such as deep reds, greens, blues, and softer pastel shades, enthused by the colours of the vibrant birds and lakes of Ranthambore. The lehengas are classics with varied styles of cholis and contrasting dupattas.

Continuing to surpass itself and the expectations of discerning fashionista’s and brides-to-be annually, Aashni + Co Wedding Show 2019will once again transform one of the world’s most iconic, luxury venue destinations into a wonderland of bridal and beauty luxe. Some of India and Pakistan’s most celebrated designers will once again descend on the Capital to present their latest bridal and couture collections on one high-end platform, from established, A-list fashion houses tothe most sought after new-gen talents. Showcasing alongside them will be the leading names in fine jewellery, accessories and wedding/ occasion services, with visitors having the opportunity of meeting their favourite and wish list designers and suppliers in person, accessibility being key to the show. 

Previous participating designers have included a who’s who curation of the leading fashion and bridal brands from India and Pakistan, uniting heritage fashion houses with the crème of new gen such as Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra, Anamika Khanna, Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Rimple & Harpreet Narula, Gaurang, Shyamal & Bhumika, Varun Bahl, Anushree Reddy, SVA, Ridhima Bhasin, Ridhi Mehra, House of Masaba, Faraz Manan, Elan, Shehla Chatoor and many more. 

2018 being the year of the Bollywood celebrity wedding, with A-list actresses Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra tying the know in true Bollywood grandeur and style, inspired brides-to-be will have the opportunity of shopping the collections and bridal trousseau’s of some of the leading fashion designers for the Bollywood fraternity at Aashni + Co Wedding Show. 

Style council will also be provided during the day through a series of masterclasses with some of the most internationally respected names in styling, makeup artistry, wedding planning and the fashion and beauty blogosphere. The full list of participating exhibitors and influencer panelists will be announced shortly. 

The luxe backdrop of The Dorchester will be further transformed through floral styling and production design by Zita Elze, an award-winning artist, designer, teacher, creator of the Living Embroidery Bridal collection and design consultant. 

 

 

Aashni + Co Wedding Show

The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA

Sunday 13thJanuary 2019, 11.00am – 6.30pm

Ticket purchase via website:www.wslondon.com

Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar & Zaira Wasim to star in new Bollywood film

Priyanka Chopra is back in Bollywood with a bang!

Priyanka Chopra,Farhan Akhtar and Secret Superstar sensation Zaira Wasim will be coming together for National Award winning filmmaker Shonali Bose’s next directorial to be jointly produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Ronnie Screwvala, under their banners Roy Kapur Films and RSVP.

Title Track - Priyanka & Farhan
Priyanka and Farhan have previously worked together in Dil Dhadakne Do

Prep and script readings have been on in full swing for this stellar star cast. The film is based on an inspiring true life story. The shoot will start in Mumbai on August 8th.
This will be Priyanka Chopra’s first Hindi film to go on the floors in India after she was seen in Bajirao Mastani almost 3 years ago!

The film marks Priyanka Chopra’s 5th association with Roy Kapur and Screwvala. In the past they have collaborated on some landmark films like Fashion, Kaminey and Barfi.

The dialogues of the film will be written by National Award Winning writer Juhi Chaturvedi and Music is to be scored by Pritam.

Pooja Hegde: Farah Khan is great fun to work with

Pooja Hegde who has just wrapped the Housefull 4 schedule in London was quite excited to shoot a song recently, since it was choreographed by  ace choreographer and filmmaker Farah Khan.

Pooja Hedge

For Pooja, it was “the most incredible experience”. She said, “Farah Khan is great fun to work with. It was a fun shoot. The song is a catchy number and by the end of it, the entire unit was singing along. I was working with Farah for the first time and really looking forward to it.”

“I have learnt Bharatanatyam for around 10 years and it definitely helps. Also, Bollywood dance is not a different genre, we do incorporate a lot of other dance forms. It’s all about just enjoying the music. For this film, I am also working on my comic timing, as comedy is serious business,” she added.

Sajid Nadiadwala’s Housefull 4 wraps its first schedule in London 

After much anticipation, the fourth installment of the superhit franchise Housefull went on floors a few weeks ago in the Queen’s city and has already wrapped its first schedule.

One of the most popular franchises in Bollywood, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Housefull series has always found London at its heart as the earlier films were shot there as well. 

Wrapping the first schedule of 25 days in London, the team celebrated the wrap of the first schedule by cutting two cakes and will now fly down to Rajasthan for the next schedule.

Sajid Khan who had directed the first two films in the Housefull franchise would return to direct the fourth installment in the series. Interestingly his sister Farah Khan was roped in to choreograph a song pictures of which had been making the rounds of the internet piquing the interests of the audience. It was a full house with Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol, Pooja Hegde, Riteish Deshmukh and Kriti Kharbanda grooving to Farah’s cues. But what gave the song its twist were doppelgangers of the royal family.

Revolving around the theme of reincarnation, the film follows a non-linear narrative and all the flashback sequences will be shot in Rajasthan. A lavishly mounted set is being built in Mumbai for the finale. Chunky Panday, Johnny Lever, Boman Irani and Nana Patekar are also a part of the House.

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under the banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Housefull 4 will release in UK cinemas around Diwali 2019.

Irrfan watches his next, Karwaan in London.

KarwanIrrfan who has been away from the city for four months for treatment wanted to see his upcoming film Karwaan. As the film’s release date is approaching, Irrfan wished to see the final edit of his film before it hits the cinemas

Producer Ronnie Screwvala arranged a special screening of the upcoming road trip film Karwaan in London at Henry Wood House, a business centre in London.

The screening was also attended by his wife Sutapa Sikdar. “He seemed happy to see me. His wife and some close friends were also present at the screening. After the film, we spoke about it. He had some minor suggestions for the team but overall, his family and he seemed pretty pleased,” informed dialogue writer Hussain Dalal.

Meanwhile, debutant director Akarsh Khurana informs that after the trailer came out, the actor was happy with the response it was getting, particularly all the love his character Shaukat had received. 

“He spoke to me at length after the screening in London and I was happy and relieved with his response and that of his family”.

“At this point, we don’t want to burden him with promotions. His approval and blessings are with us, and that’s all that we need. He sounded good when we spoke and we’re all hoping that he bounces back from this challenging phase soon.”

Hussain who was also present for the screening told me about everyone’s reactions which were, thank God, rather favourable,” exults Akarsh.

Sharing memories from the shoot, Akarsh exclaimed, “Honestly with Irrfan sir and Dulquer in the same frame, I often had to remind myself that I was the director and not a fan. The whole shoot felt like a working picnic.”

Karwaan starring Irrfan and marking to be the debut of Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar, revolves around 3 oddballs from different walks of life who are thrown together on a somewhat bizarre journey which helps them find normalcy in their lives.

The film has been shot in the beautiful locales of Kerala which will surely be a visual delight to all the masses. 

Produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s creative production house RSVP in association with ‘Ishka films’, Karwaan is directed by Akarsh Khurana and is slated to release on 3rd August 2018.

Deepika Padukone is coming to Madame Tussauds London

Today, actress Deepika Padukone took to Facebook to reveal that she will be joining the prestigious line-up of A Listers at Madame Tussauds London.

Best known for her roles in films including Piku, Padmaavat & XXX: Return of Xander Cage, the global superstar live streamed the announcement from her all-important sitting with the Madame Tussauds team. 

Madame Tussauds London Deepika Padukone sitting 23.07 (1)

Deepika Padukone said, “I am delighted and honoured to be joining the incredible list of achievers at Madame Tussauds London. Working through the ideas has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see the finished experience next year.”

Edward Fuller, General Manager at Madame Tussauds London, said: “Deepika has had huge success not only in the world of Bollywood but across the globe, even featuring in this year’s TIME 100. We’ve received regular requests to create her figure as her fan base continues to grow across the world and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Madame Tussauds London next year for a chance to party with their idol.”

The world famous attraction is remaining tight lipped about details surrounding Deepika’s figure until its arrival next year. The launch will coincide with the creation of a second figure for Madame Tussauds Delhi.

Madame Tussauds London Deepika Padukone sitting 23.07 (2)

Interview: Ali Zafar talks about #TeefaInTrouble

Ahead of the release of action-comedy, Teefa in Trouble, lead star Ali Zafar made a grand appearance in the UK after two exhilarating days in Dubai, interacting with fans and well wishers during several public appearances as part of the Teefa UK Takeover.

Ali sat down with BollyNewsUK Editor Sunny Malik to talk about his Pakistani film debut, setting up his production house and how he didn’t start working in Pakistan just because of the ban in India…

How has the transition from Indian cinema to Pakistani films been for you and how did the film happen?
Well, I would say it was almost like magic. When a film has to come about, it makes room for itself and everything just falls in place at the right time. I wanted to play a part in rebuilding Pakistani cinema and the industry. While I was working in India for all those years, I was always hoping and wishing for our industry in Pakistan tom attain a similar level and standard. I wanted to see content coming out of Pakistan of international caliber. Unfortunately, mostly we fell short of it over the years. This is an attempt to get there, break barriers and set benchmarks. I want to play a part in rebuilding the industry. With this, I want to give the industry and everyone around the globe a film that they would be proud of.

We’ve seen you in a lot of rom-com films in Bollywood. Teefa in Trouble has a lot of action too. Was that something you’ve always wanted to do?
I’ve always been an athlete and sportsman in addition to a huge action buff. I’ve always wanted to do action in the past but never got the chance to do it. My director, Ahsan Rahim, loves action too and we’d often discuss comic books and action films. We both wanted do action sequences in the film that have never been seen before in Pakistani cinema. I trained for about two-three months in mixed martial arts.

You’ve co-written the story with your younger brother and director. What kind of input did you bring to the script?
It was a very interesting and cosy process. We locked ourselves in my basement studio for seven days. I had already written the first draft by then but in those seven days we came up with the first draft of screenplay and dialogues. Our wavelength was very similar as Ahsan directed my first music video ‘Channo’. We’ve always wanted to do our first film together. My younger brother Daniyal studied film making in New York. We took his input as well, which was a fun process altogether.

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You’ve not just written the film and acted in it but are also producing it under your home production studio that you’ve set up. How did that happen?
If you want to do something but can’t get it through someone else, then you have to do it yourself. The dream was to have my own production house to make films and music. This is the most expensive film to come out of Pakistan. I’ve received immense love from my fans I believe that you have to pay back somehow. This is my way of giving back. The idea was never to make money but make that one film that is avant-garde in many ways.

Is it not risky putting your own money behind the most expensive Pakistani film ever?
I did not want any creative interference, which is why I didn’t just get someone else to produce the film. My first music video was also made from my own money. There is a word in Urdu “barkat” (blessing). The money earned by “barkat”, which is hard-earned, has something else to it. I also didn’t want to be dependent on anyone. I also felt that no one else would’ve been willing to take such a big risk financially. However, I believe you can only achieve great success by taking great risks. If you play it big, hopefully, you are rewarded big too.

Some people may accuse you of using Pakistani cinema simply because of the blanket ban of Pakistani actors in Bollywood as you’ve previously never worked in Pakistani films before…
My studio was set up about two years ago and the process of writing the film started approximately five ears ago. The idea first came to me while I was filming for Chashme Badoor in Goa around 2013. It all into fell into place much later. It’s not like I started thinking about doing something in Pakistan only after what happened in India.

Although you aren’t working in Bollywood anymore, their biggest studio is releasing your film internationally…
My film is very entertaining with comedy, action, romance etc. but it also has a very important message in it. I feel my work should also engage people to think about certain things in life since the world has become very materialistic. I believe a mutual admiration and trust was earned after I worked with Yash Raj Films on a few projects. I had actually discussed my ideas with Aditya Chopra quite a few times. YRF’s reaction was very flattering once they saw the content. Then it just happened and we partnered up. I had envisioned my film with the same people that are now involved in it and Yash Raj Films were one of them. When magic is meant to happen, it just happens.

Directed by Ahsan Rahim and starring, written and produced by Ali Zafar himself, Teefa in Trouble will be released in cinemas globally on 20th July 2018, distributed in UK cinemas by Yash Raj Films.

 

Interview: Abhiraj Minawala talks filming Loveratri in London

Abhiraj Minawala is a former assistant director who is now helming Salman Khan Films ambitious production Loveratri, starring Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain. Minawala has previously assisted on films like Band Baaja Baraat, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, FAN and Sultan. 

His directorial debut Loveratri is set against the backdrop of Gujarat and the onscreen couple’s love story unfolds over the span of the festival of Navratri.Filmed extensively in the British capital, the film is set to release in UK cinemas on 5th October 2018.

Abhiraj spoke to Sunny Malik during the recent London schedule of the film and opened up about how his directorial debut film came about…

You’ve had press on set in London and are interacting with the UK Media even before the film has wrapped up. That is very unusual for Hindi films…
Yes, that’s true and I’ve worked with plenty of directors and never seen them simultaneously shoot the film and promote it too. It’s something different and new. I’m actually enjoying this process. Normally, we talk about the filming aspect just before the release of the film. Right now, the memories are fresh and I’m able to share the experience as I go along.

You’ve assisted on films like Jab Tak Hai Jaan and FAN, which were filmed in London. Is that why you chose London as a filming location for Loveratri?
More than me choosing the location, the script demanded it. It required us to be in London. When I read the script and London came up, the first thing that came to my mind was filming for Jab Tak Hai Jaan with Yash Chopra in London and then FAN with Shah Rukh Khan. It became a lot more special for me to be filming here.

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The most striking difference would’ve been that you were previously assisting on films which starred experienced actors. Did you feel that difference while directing Loveratri?
Not at all actually. I was very happy to start off my directorial debut with a new team and new actors. It has its own set of challenges and brings a certain level of freshness to the process. Everyone who is new, is creating a platform for themselves and all together make a solid base for that. It works for the better of the film.

What sort of challenging situations did you face so far during the making?
I would say working with multiple actors for one scene is always a bit challenging. Having four to five different actors in one scene is a task as you need to bring them all on the same page. But not just the actors, but also the crew behind the camera. That is a challenge but one that we have met with very well. I’ve come to a stage now where everyone who is on my set, knows what is required of them and what I want them to deliver.

Loveratri London

Do you feel being an assistant director in the past gives you a better insight into doing that more efficiently? 
Definitely. While I was assisting on films, I would often contemplate whether to take a sabbatical and go to film school. I wasn’t sure whether I should or not. For me, Yash Raj Films was my film school. It’s a place extremely close to me and everything I know about movies is from there. From working with different actors, technicians and directors, I believe it was all preparing me for this day. 

Till the late 2000’s most Hindi films were in plain Hindi catering to a pan India audience. We then saw movies bring in regional characters and dialects. Your film has a lot of Gujarati elements. Why is that so important now?
The perception audiences had, for example of Delhi or Delhites, was very cliched and that’s what we saw in Hindi films. Then films like Band Baaja Baraat came in and brought out the true characters of what people in Delhi are like. We then saw that with Uttar Pradesh and other places as well. According to me, someone watching a Hindi film in the UK will really enjoy watching a film where characters are portrayed in the right way. Even audiences in Mumbai get intrigued watching characters on screen from other states. They like to see how they talk and interact. It just adds to a complete cinema experience. I think the more real the characters are, the better, as audiences are more likely to connect with them.

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Your leading actor Aayush Sharma bonded with you on the sets of Sultan. Did that bond help you directing him more productively? 
I first met Aayush on the sets of Sultan where I was the first assistant director and he was assisting me. Salman Khan had brought him on to get him a complete understanding of the movie making experience. We hit it off really well and just bonded. He is like a brother to me. The best thing about directing him is, if I have something on my mind about how a scene needs to be performed, he will understand it right away. Similarly, at times when he is not comfortable, I can just sense it as well. He doesn’t have to say it or show it, but I’ll just know.

How involved were you with the script as the production house Salman Khan Films was already developing the story before you came on board?
At the end of the Sultan schedule, I met with Naren Bhatt, the writer of Loveratri who had the script already. At that time, Salman Khan had spoken to me a few times about directing a film. I told him that I’m meeting this writer who has a script. We then approached Aayush. Simultaneously, Salman Khan Films was attempting to secure a good script to launch Aayush but Salman Khan liked our script and so did Aayush. My mother’s family hails from Ahmedabad which is why I know a lot about Gujarat. I was able to contribute a lot to the script in that aspect. 

You then cast Warina Hussain, also a newcomer, for the film. Why not an established face to have a bigger impact?
Once you see the film, you’ll know why we needed a fresh face. Also, we didn’t want audiences to have any preconceived notions about the female actor in the film. 

Loveratri is produced by Salman Khan Films and releases in UK cinemas on 5th October 2018.

John Abraham returns to UK screens with Satyameva Jayate

John Abraham is back doing what he does best… in an heart racing action thriller that will have you questioning right and wrong. In true vigilante movie style, Abraham launches on to the screen as a kind, caring and immensely moral character, he has loved and lost… and now wants the corrupt to pay.

In a city of 200,000 policemen tasked with the safety of the people of Mumbai, a significant number don’t necessarily have the “cleanest” of vardis (uniforms).

When four such ‘dirty’ police inspectors are burnt alive in a series of merciless killings, the entire police force is rocked with terror. The media is looking for answers. The public is on the fence over these killings.

John AbrahamThese crimes reflect Vir (John Abraham) as a person. Bold, Calculating, and Unapologetic. He’s not scared of killing, or dying. It was clear that he had an agenda. A reason, a drive behind these deaths and he was far from done.

Fearing the next attack, the Commissioner calls upon one of their best bet to catch Vir. DCP Shivansh (Manoj Bajpayee) is what a proper policeman looks like. Strong, Courageous, Patriotic and most importantly, “Clean.” And of course, he’s the best at what he does.

What follows is a succession of events that will test his Probity to the fullest. He is up against Vir, who is a vigilante and will stop at nothing to complete his mission.

The trailer to Satyameva Jayate is a power packed three-minute ride… reminding audiences what makes Abraham such a great action hero. Adding more colour and depth to the film are two fabulous tracks released so far.

‘Dilbar ‘sung by Neha Kakkad is a reprise of the original track from the film Sirf Tum, and the new version sees former Big Boss star Norah Fatehi showing off some serious moves and helping the video hit over 76 million views in two weeks!

The second track ‘Paniyon Sa’ shows Abraham’s softer side with co-star Aisha Sharma. This beautiful track features the vocals of Atif Aslam and Tulsi Kumar.

Directed by Milap Milan Zaveri and produced by T-Series’ Bhushan Kumar and Nikhhil Advani, Satyameva Jayate stars John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, Aisha Sharma and  Amruta Khanvilkar.

The film releases nationwide on 15th August and is distributed by Rising Star Entertainment in the UK.

Fanney Khan takes a stand on body shaming

The much-awaited film of Fanney Khan starring Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Rajkummar Rao is not just a musical drama but a strong take on body shaming too.

As shown in the trailer Anil Kapoor plays a father of a teenager who is battling with her weight issues. Pihu Sand who plays Lata Sharma a 20 years old who had to put on weight for her role. Lata dreams of becoming a star performer while battling fat-shaming.

The actress had to put on a lot of weight for her role, when asked her about it she said, “I had to put on another 20 kg in six months for the role and the prep included planning Lata’s look, makeup and even her haircut. The fringe is an important part of the character.”

Pihu - Fanney Khan

Speaking about her transformation, the actress reveals that she reached 98 kg, which is the heaviest she has ever been. “Being fat was lovely because I am not shy about my body and everybody made me comfortable. Yes, I did have some health issues, but it was worth it because it was for something I love,” she asserts.

Quiz her on body-shaming remarks and Pihu admits that when she was in school, some of the boys would tease her and sometimes made her cry. “I was fat because of a medical condition. I gained weight after 12 years and I still don’t understand why being fat or thin is not okay. I connected with Lata because a few similar things happened to me in real life too,” she says, refusing to dwell on them.

The film has been making immense buzz ever since the announcement. The film brings back Anil Kapoor and Aishwarya together after 17 years.

A one of its kind musical comedy, Fanney Khan is a story about a father played by Anil Kapoor who wishes to fulfil the dream of his daughter who is an aspirational singer. 

The film also showcases Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing a singing sensation and 
Rajkummar Rao portraying the love interest of Aishwarya in the film. 

Starring an ensemble cast, Fanney Khan will see Anil Kapoor,  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,  Rajkummar Rao and Divya Dutta in pivotal roles.

Produced by Bhushan Kumar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Anil Kapoor, Fanney Khan is directed by Atul Manjrekar. The film is set to release in UK cinemas on 3rd August 2018.

First Look #ZERO: Superstar Katrina Kaif is lost amidst crowd

On the occasion of Katrina Kaif’s birthday, Shah Rukh Khan unveiled her first look from Zero.

Katrina Kaif in ZERO

After witnessing Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero avatar, the audience now gets to see Katrina’s intriguing look from the film. Enthralling and captivating, Katrina is out to hypnotise you with her dark expressions, lost amidst a crowd.

Sharing the first look along with a note, Shah Rukh Khan says, “There are so many lovely pictures of her, but this one speaks to me beyond my friends beauty….hope u all also give it love.”

Shah Rukh also shared a note which reads, “We know she is beautiful. We know she has our hearts fluttering. She has loved like she has never been hurt. She dances like nobody’s watching her. She has lived like it’s heaven on earth.
But all us actors wait for the moment when we can sink our teeth into a character deeper than beauty and it’s trappings.

Here’s my friend on her birthday braving to enthrall us in a new avatar.
You may ask ‘Why so serious..? Hmmm…
Aapka pata nahi, mujhe toh gusse mein yeh aur bhi haseen lagti hai…
Happy Birthday my brave and beautiful Katrina…

Love, Shah Rukh

Director, Anand L Rai also tweeted sharing, ” Hail the queen!!!! A queen that transformed into a king this time!!! Wish you a very happy birthday Katrina and thanks for making #Zero possible! “.

Zero is a story that celebrates life, the first look of the film featured Shah Rukh Khan as the adorable vertically challenged man piquing the interests of the audience to witness the unusual tale. The makers have gone on to mark the festivities, as they shared the first teaser of the movie this New Year,

Continuing the tradition the second teaser was launched on Eid, giving the fans another glimpse of this year’s big Christmas release and now followed by Katrina’s look.

Touted as one of the biggest films of the year, ‘Zero’ is eagerly awaited by the audience.

Red Chillies Entertainment and Colour Yellow Productions come together to bring ZERO, produced by Gauri Khan, starring Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif and Shah Rukh Khan, the Aanand L Rai directorial is all set to release in UK cinemas on 21st December 2018.

Katrina Kaif’s Birthday celebrations in the English countryside

Katrina Kaif has much reason to celebrate, fresh off the blockbuster success of Tiger Zinda Hai ,the star readies for her upcoming releases Thugs of Hindostan with Aamir Khan & Zero with Shah Rukh Khan.

The superstar whose performance was well received at the highly successful US & Canadian leg of the Dabangg tour, took the internet by storm with her performances. 

After the spectacular success of the show, Katrina is now in England to celebrate her birthday with her family. She then resumes shooting for Aanand L Rai’s Zero on 18th July.

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Out to sea 🌊

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Kaif took a train to the English countryside from Central London and is currently enjoying time with her siblings, as shared on Instagram.

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Haydreaming ….🦄💃

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan sizzles in Fanney Khan

Based on the 2001 Oscar nominated Belgian film Everybody’s Famous!, Fanney Khan is a
film that will have you rolling with laughter, crying at the injustices of society and cheering for the underdog.. and dancing in the aisles.

Starring Anil Kapoor, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Rajkummar, Divya Dutta and newcomer Pihu Sand, the film follows Prashant Sharma, a family man, who in his younger days, dreamt of becoming a singer and songwriter. His almost dead dream finds a new life with the birth of his daughter, who he ambitiously names Lata.

Pinning his hopes on his teenage daughter, he takes her to singing contests where the awkward and overweight girl struggles to belt out a tune, leaving one wondering if she really has the talent to be a star singer.

Featuring Aishwariya Rai in her role as Baby Singh, we see the ever-gorgeous diva show off her moves to a tune that will become a dance anthem for the summer!

Bachchan worked with star choreographer Frank Gatson Jr to hone her dance skills for the video – and it worked! Gatson has worked with pop stars Beyonce, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, among others, in the past. With lyrics by Irshad Kamil and the stunning vocals of Sunidhi Chauhan the track got the film off to a flying start.

Hot on the heels of ‘Mohabbat, ’ the second track from the film ‘Halka Halla’ released this weekend, is a romantic but catchy number romantic song is composed by Amit Trivedi and sung in the melodious voice of Sunidhi Chauhan & Divya Kumar. The video which features Aishwariya Rai Bachchan and Rajkummar Rao hit over 1 million views in less than 24 hours!

Fanney Khan starring Anil Kapoor, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Rajkummar, Divya Dutta and introducing Pihu Sand is directed by Atul Manjrekar and produced by Bhushan Kumar,Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Anil Kapoor.

The film releases nationwide on 3rd August and is distributed by Rising Star Entertainment in the UK.