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Neeraj Pandey is one of the finest directors we have; Aiyaary was great learning experience, says Rakul Preet Singh

Rakul Preet Singh debuted in Bollywood with Yaariyan and after a series of films in the south, she is all set to make her comeback in Hindi films with Neeraj Pandey’s upcoming spy thriller Aiyaary that stars Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra, and hits the screens on 16 February.

In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, the spunky actress talks about her comeback to Bollywood, difference in the working styles between South and Hindi films, and finally working with Neeraj Pandey.

Rakul Preet Singh. Facebook

Rakul Preet Singh. Facebook

Is it true that you had given your first ever audition to Neeraj Pandey, even before Yaariyan happened?

Yes, very much. After I shifted base to Mumbai, I got a call from a casting director asking me to audition for Neeraj Pandey’s film. This happened after he had directed A Wednesday! I faced the camera for the first time for a film audition. While that film did not happen, a few years later, I was offered MS Dhoni’s biopic, where I was to play Disha Patani’s role. Unfortunately, I missed out on the opportunity due to the unavailability of dates. Much later when I got a call from the casting director for Aiyaary I was thrilled because Neeraj sir is one of the finest directors we have. It has been a great learning experience and when you work with talented people obviously it rubs on to you.

What role do you play in Aiyaary?

I am a software engineer and a hacker in the film. When you see the film you will understand how between these ‘Aiyaars’ (tricksters) a hacker comes into play. Besides the romantic plot (with Sidharth), my character Sonia Gupta is a core part of the film. I’m not just around for romance. I have always believed that in Neeraj sir’s films everybody has an important part to play. Each character in the film has a reason to be there.

Since I missed out on the opportunity to work with Neeraj sir in M S Dhoni, I wanted to do this one. I was doing a lot of films in the South and decided that I’d only do a Bollywood film if it was worth it. Aiyaary was a great project to come back to because it has solid content.

What made you shift to the South?

It wasn’t intentional. I started shooting for my Telugu film in the gap that we had between finishing shoot for Yaariyan and its release which was exactly a year. My Telugu film became a huge hit and by the time Yaariyan came out I was already doing two to three films in Telugu. Also, there was a lot of positive buzz in the South. In four years, I have done 16 to 17 films in the South. I have been shooting every day of my life. I have reached a point where I won’t do just anything. It has to be worth the time and effort.

Today, Bollywood and the south industries have almost merged and are on equal platform. Akshay (Kumar) is doing a negative lead with Rajini sir. That is really huge. With Baahubali, even Hindi audiences have started watching south films.

What is the difference in the working styles between Hindi film industry and the South film industry?

There’s not much of a difference except that in the South we don’t shoot beyond 6pm, as there we have unions and they follow the call sheet. The shoot schedule is usually between 7 am and 6pm unless we have to shoot a night sequence. With this kind of timetable we can shoot everyday because you have the evening to yourself — to work on your craft, go to the gym, watch movies. We get four to five hours for ourselves. That is the only difference. Otherwise I have always believed that there are only good makers or bad makers, good teams or bad teams.

Culturally it must have been quite different for you. You are from Delhi, you shuttle between South India and Mumbai.

Look, I am a fauji girl. My dad is from the Army so I have travelled everywhere. I don’t know who I am. I am very adaptable. People in the South have been very welcoming and now I speak Telugu as fluently as Punjabi. At times I feel I am forgetting Punjabi. Besides movies, the reason I learnt the language is so that I could communicate with people, and they, too, gave me lot of love and respect.

How was it working with Sidharth in Aiyaary?

Rakul Preet Singh and Sidharth Malhotra in Aiyaary.

Sidharth is a very chilled out, grounded and extremely hardworking. We connected well as we both went to Delhi University and our grand parents’ house is just one lane apart. We went to the same gym; there were lot of common stories to share.

There were uncertainties regarding the release date of Aiyaary

As Aiyaary is an army film, it was initially supposed to be released on 25 January. Then, Padmaavat happened. Post that, our film and Padman shifted dates to 9 February. Unfortunately, there were some delay in the censor board clearance of Aiyaary post that. But we are all now geared up for the release of our film, which is on 16 February. Yes, it was very unfortunate that we were juggling with dates but everything happens for a reason. If your product is good, it will do well. We believe that we have made a good film.

Is this the first time that you are acting in a thriller?

No. Earlier, I had done a thriller called Dhruva with Ram Charan. The film did really well at the box-office. I think people want this film to be remade in Hindi.

After Aiyaary, what next?

I have already started shooting for my next Hindi film, which is with Ajay Devgn and Tabu. We have just finished our first schedule in Mumbai. The film is being directed by Akib Ali who is one of the finest editors; he edited Padmaavat. The film is a typical rom-com. Besides that, I am also doing a film with Suriya and Karthi each.

Published Date: Feb 13, 2018 15:53 PM | Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 15:53 PM


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Berlin Independent Film Festival 2018: Aditya Kripalani’s directorial debut Tikli and Laxmi Bomb wins Best Film Award

Author-filmmaker Aditya Kripalani’s Tikli and Laxmi Bomb have bagged the Best Film Award at the Berlin Independent Film Festival 2018, reports Mumbai Mirror. Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is a film featuring Chitrangada Chakraborty and Vibhawari Deshpande as sex workers and marks the directorial debut of Kripalani. The story of the film has been borrowed from the director’s third novel of the same name.

Poster for Tikli and Laxmi Bomb. Image from Twitter/@brand_banter_m

Poster for Tikli and Laxmi Bomb. Image from Twitter/@brand_banter_m

The feminist drama has an all-women technical crew, according to the same report and was lauded by the critics following the screening on 16 February. The film bagged the top prize on 18 February at the 10th edition of the prestigious film festival, which aims to bring small-budget, indie films to the fore.

Not just Berlin, Tikli and Laxmi Bomb has been garnering praise at other international festivals too. It happens to be the only Indian film to be screened at New Zealand Asia Pacific Film festival. “But what is greater than the win at the Berlin Independent Film Festival is that we’re also screening at London’s oldest cinema house on 21 March as part of the UK Asian Film Festival, where two powerful films — Lipstick Under My Burkha and A Death In The Gunj — were also screened,” an excited Kripalani tells Mumbai Mirror.

The film is set in Mumbai and follows the life of Laxmi and Putul, who take over the reigns of the sex trade.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 10:53 AM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 11:37 AM

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Alicia Vikander, who plays Lara Croft in upcoming Tomb Raider, says she loves ‘being drawn into big adventure films’

IANS

Feb,20 2018 12:10 41 IST

Los Angeles: Oscar winning actress Alicia Vikander says she loves “independent and arthouse” cinema, but is also attracted towards the big adventure films.

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Twiiter/@TombRaiderMovie

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Twiiter/@TombRaiderMovie

The actress, who will be soon seen as Lara Croft in the forthcoming film Tomb Raider, also shared that she found training and muscle-building exercise for the role, empowering.

“My mother, who’s an actress (Maria Fahl Vikander), introduced me to the world of theatre and film. I loved independent, arthouse films, but like most people, I also loved being drawn into big adventure films, like the Indiana Jones movies,” Alicia said in a statement.

“So, with Tomb Raider, I had the chance to work on something that’s very different from my previous work, but which has long been close to my heart: a big action and adventure film,” she added.

Tomb Raider is based on a popular reboot of a video game with the same name. The Warner Bros Pictures project will release in India on 9 March.

Talking about her role, the actress said, “Along with that came the opportunity to explore my physical side on a film. I come from a dancing background, so when I learned that playing Lara would involve three or four months to get in shape — well, that kind of preparation and the chance to create a new physique are gifts. I found the training and muscle-building to be empowering.”

Tomb Raider is directed by Roar Uthaug with Oscar-winner Graham King producing under his GK Films banner. It also features Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Nick Frost.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:10 PM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:10 PM


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Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 to reportedly be remade in Hindi; Will Ajay Devgn play lead role of top cop?

While Kamal Haasan will be soon seen in S Shankar’s Indian 2, the filmmaker is also planning a Hindi remake of the same and will reportedly approach Ajay Devgn to play the lead role of a cop.

Kamal Haasan. Facebook

Kamal Haasan. Facebook

DNA reports that the details of the plot of the sequel, titled Hindustani 2, are not known yet but Shankar, who is currently awaiting the completion of one of the biggest sequels and movies to be ever be made in India, the Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar starrer 2.0, a sequel to the 2010 smash hit Enthiran or Robot, looks all set to reboot one of his earliest hits after twenty two years. 2.0 is currently delayed due to massive VFX work and the Rs 400 crore magnum opus has been deferred even further than the previously announced 27 April release, with no new date announced yet.

Meanwhile, Devgn is currently busy with another sequel, Indra Kumar’s Total Dhamaal, along with Raj Kumar Gupta’s Raid, where he plays an honest income tax officer from UP.

The original Indian was a story of an ex-freedom fighter who is disillusioned by systemic corruption turns vigilante while his son indulges in illegal activities. Haasan had essayed both the roles, of father and son, and the film was known for its iconic use of prosthetic makeup, a landmark in the 90s for an Indian movie. The film also starred Manisha Koirla and Urmila Matondkar and featured music by AR Rahman.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:33 PM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:33 PM

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Neeraj Pandey is one of the finest directors we have; Aiyaary was great learning experience, says Rakul Preet Singh

Rakul Preet Singh debuted in Bollywood with Yaariyan and after a series of films in the south, she is all set to make her comeback in Hindi films with Neeraj Pandey’s upcoming spy thriller Aiyaary that stars Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra, and hits the screens on 16 February.

In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, the spunky actress talks about her comeback to Bollywood, difference in the working styles between South and Hindi films, and finally working with Neeraj Pandey.

Rakul Preet Singh. Facebook

Rakul Preet Singh. Facebook

Is it true that you had given your first ever audition to Neeraj Pandey, even before Yaariyan happened?

Yes, very much. After I shifted base to Mumbai, I got a call from a casting director asking me to audition for Neeraj Pandey’s film. This happened after he had directed A Wednesday! I faced the camera for the first time for a film audition. While that film did not happen, a few years later, I was offered MS Dhoni’s biopic, where I was to play Disha Patani’s role. Unfortunately, I missed out on the opportunity due to the unavailability of dates. Much later when I got a call from the casting director for Aiyaary I was thrilled because Neeraj sir is one of the finest directors we have. It has been a great learning experience and when you work with talented people obviously it rubs on to you.

What role do you play in Aiyaary?

I am a software engineer and a hacker in the film. When you see the film you will understand how between these ‘Aiyaars’ (tricksters) a hacker comes into play. Besides the romantic plot (with Sidharth), my character Sonia Gupta is a core part of the film. I’m not just around for romance. I have always believed that in Neeraj sir’s films everybody has an important part to play. Each character in the film has a reason to be there.

Since I missed out on the opportunity to work with Neeraj sir in M S Dhoni, I wanted to do this one. I was doing a lot of films in the South and decided that I’d only do a Bollywood film if it was worth it. Aiyaary was a great project to come back to because it has solid content.

What made you shift to the South?

It wasn’t intentional. I started shooting for my Telugu film in the gap that we had between finishing shoot for Yaariyan and its release which was exactly a year. My Telugu film became a huge hit and by the time Yaariyan came out I was already doing two to three films in Telugu. Also, there was a lot of positive buzz in the South. In four years, I have done 16 to 17 films in the South. I have been shooting every day of my life. I have reached a point where I won’t do just anything. It has to be worth the time and effort.

Today, Bollywood and the south industries have almost merged and are on equal platform. Akshay (Kumar) is doing a negative lead with Rajini sir. That is really huge. With Baahubali, even Hindi audiences have started watching south films.

What is the difference in the working styles between Hindi film industry and the South film industry?

There’s not much of a difference except that in the South we don’t shoot beyond 6pm, as there we have unions and they follow the call sheet. The shoot schedule is usually between 7 am and 6pm unless we have to shoot a night sequence. With this kind of timetable we can shoot everyday because you have the evening to yourself — to work on your craft, go to the gym, watch movies. We get four to five hours for ourselves. That is the only difference. Otherwise I have always believed that there are only good makers or bad makers, good teams or bad teams.

Culturally it must have been quite different for you. You are from Delhi, you shuttle between South India and Mumbai.

Look, I am a fauji girl. My dad is from the Army so I have travelled everywhere. I don’t know who I am. I am very adaptable. People in the South have been very welcoming and now I speak Telugu as fluently as Punjabi. At times I feel I am forgetting Punjabi. Besides movies, the reason I learnt the language is so that I could communicate with people, and they, too, gave me lot of love and respect.

How was it working with Sidharth in Aiyaary?

Rakul Preet Singh and Sidharth Malhotra in Aiyaary.

Sidharth is a very chilled out, grounded and extremely hardworking. We connected well as we both went to Delhi University and our grand parents’ house is just one lane apart. We went to the same gym; there were lot of common stories to share.

There were uncertainties regarding the release date of Aiyaary

As Aiyaary is an army film, it was initially supposed to be released on 25 January. Then, Padmaavat happened. Post that, our film and Padman shifted dates to 9 February. Unfortunately, there were some delay in the censor board clearance of Aiyaary post that. But we are all now geared up for the release of our film, which is on 16 February. Yes, it was very unfortunate that we were juggling with dates but everything happens for a reason. If your product is good, it will do well. We believe that we have made a good film.

Is this the first time that you are acting in a thriller?

No. Earlier, I had done a thriller called Dhruva with Ram Charan. The film did really well at the box-office. I think people want this film to be remade in Hindi.

After Aiyaary, what next?

I have already started shooting for my next Hindi film, which is with Ajay Devgn and Tabu. We have just finished our first schedule in Mumbai. The film is being directed by Akib Ali who is one of the finest editors; he edited Padmaavat. The film is a typical rom-com. Besides that, I am also doing a film with Suriya and Karthi each.

Published Date: Feb 13, 2018 15:53 PM | Updated Date: Feb 13, 2018 15:53 PM


Readmore

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Entertainment

Berlin Independent Film Festival 2018: Aditya Kripalani’s directorial debut Tikli and Laxmi Bomb wins Best Film Award

Author-filmmaker Aditya Kripalani’s Tikli and Laxmi Bomb have bagged the Best Film Award at the Berlin Independent Film Festival 2018, reports Mumbai Mirror. Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is a film featuring Chitrangada Chakraborty and Vibhawari Deshpande as sex workers and marks the directorial debut of Kripalani. The story of the film has been borrowed from the director’s third novel of the same name.

Poster for Tikli and Laxmi Bomb. Image from Twitter/@brand_banter_m

Poster for Tikli and Laxmi Bomb. Image from Twitter/@brand_banter_m

The feminist drama has an all-women technical crew, according to the same report and was lauded by the critics following the screening on 16 February. The film bagged the top prize on 18 February at the 10th edition of the prestigious film festival, which aims to bring small-budget, indie films to the fore.

Not just Berlin, Tikli and Laxmi Bomb has been garnering praise at other international festivals too. It happens to be the only Indian film to be screened at New Zealand Asia Pacific Film festival. “But what is greater than the win at the Berlin Independent Film Festival is that we’re also screening at London’s oldest cinema house on 21 March as part of the UK Asian Film Festival, where two powerful films — Lipstick Under My Burkha and A Death In The Gunj — were also screened,” an excited Kripalani tells Mumbai Mirror.

The film is set in Mumbai and follows the life of Laxmi and Putul, who take over the reigns of the sex trade.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 10:53 AM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 11:37 AM

Readmore

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Alicia Vikander, who plays Lara Croft in upcoming Tomb Raider, says she loves ‘being drawn into big adventure films’

IANS

Feb,20 2018 12:10 41 IST

Los Angeles: Oscar winning actress Alicia Vikander says she loves “independent and arthouse” cinema, but is also attracted towards the big adventure films.

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Twiiter/@TombRaiderMovie

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Twiiter/@TombRaiderMovie

The actress, who will be soon seen as Lara Croft in the forthcoming film Tomb Raider, also shared that she found training and muscle-building exercise for the role, empowering.

“My mother, who’s an actress (Maria Fahl Vikander), introduced me to the world of theatre and film. I loved independent, arthouse films, but like most people, I also loved being drawn into big adventure films, like the Indiana Jones movies,” Alicia said in a statement.

“So, with Tomb Raider, I had the chance to work on something that’s very different from my previous work, but which has long been close to my heart: a big action and adventure film,” she added.

Tomb Raider is based on a popular reboot of a video game with the same name. The Warner Bros Pictures project will release in India on 9 March.

Talking about her role, the actress said, “Along with that came the opportunity to explore my physical side on a film. I come from a dancing background, so when I learned that playing Lara would involve three or four months to get in shape — well, that kind of preparation and the chance to create a new physique are gifts. I found the training and muscle-building to be empowering.”

Tomb Raider is directed by Roar Uthaug with Oscar-winner Graham King producing under his GK Films banner. It also features Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Nick Frost.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:10 PM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:10 PM


Readmore

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 to reportedly be remade in Hindi; Will Ajay Devgn play lead role of top cop?

While Kamal Haasan will be soon seen in S Shankar’s Indian 2, the filmmaker is also planning a Hindi remake of the same and will reportedly approach Ajay Devgn to play the lead role of a cop.

Kamal Haasan. Facebook

Kamal Haasan. Facebook

DNA reports that the details of the plot of the sequel, titled Hindustani 2, are not known yet but Shankar, who is currently awaiting the completion of one of the biggest sequels and movies to be ever be made in India, the Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar starrer 2.0, a sequel to the 2010 smash hit Enthiran or Robot, looks all set to reboot one of his earliest hits after twenty two years. 2.0 is currently delayed due to massive VFX work and the Rs 400 crore magnum opus has been deferred even further than the previously announced 27 April release, with no new date announced yet.

Meanwhile, Devgn is currently busy with another sequel, Indra Kumar’s Total Dhamaal, along with Raj Kumar Gupta’s Raid, where he plays an honest income tax officer from UP.

The original Indian was a story of an ex-freedom fighter who is disillusioned by systemic corruption turns vigilante while his son indulges in illegal activities. Haasan had essayed both the roles, of father and son, and the film was known for its iconic use of prosthetic makeup, a landmark in the 90s for an Indian movie. The film also starred Manisha Koirla and Urmila Matondkar and featured music by AR Rahman.

Published Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:33 PM | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 12:33 PM

Readmore

Continue Reading

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