Nimmi: Raj Kapoor’s Doe eyed Barsaat discovery

As Nimmi quietly left this world at a Santa Cruz hospital in Mumbai; Uttar Pradesh, especially Taj City, Agra lost its daughter who brought the city name and fame and a place to cherish in the cinematic map of the world. At 87, Nimmi had been facing hard times with failing motor movement, leading her to take to the wheelchair.

Cremated on March 26, she had attained the epoch of stardom in the 50s and early 60s. Making her debut in ‘Barsaat’ winning the hearts of people, films like ‘Amar’, ‘Daag’, ‘Didar’, ‘Basant Bahar’, ‘Mere Mehboob’, ‘Kundan’ gave her much critical acclaim for her performances.

Having her roots in the Hindi heartland, Nimmi’s father hailed from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and was born in Agra. Nimmi’s mother was associated with a studio. Raj Kapoor saw Nimmi for the first time in Mehboob Studio itself. Seeing her beauty, Raj Kapoor asked her to work in his film ‘Barsaat’. But for this, he sought approval from director Mehboob. Nimmi did not know anything about acting but her mentor became Raj Kapoor, who taught Nimmi the nuances of acting.

Her success was often attributed to the timely spotting of her talent by the Showman Raj Kapoor himself. Originally, Nawab Bano she changed her name to Nimmi.

She was best known for her roles in ‘Udan Khatola’, ‘Aan’, ‘Bhai-Bhai’, ‘Mere Mehboob’ and ‘Pooja Phool’. Married to S Ali Raja, who died in 2007, she had adopted her sister’s son.

An actress with mass appeal, Nimmi featured alongside big actors like Dilip Kumar to Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra among others. Nimmi made a film with Dilip Sahab. Which was India’s first Technicolor film.

From ‘Jia Bekarar Hai’, ‘Humse Mile Tum’ and ‘Tirchhi Nazar Hai Patli Qamar Hai’ ‘Nimmi’ had all shades covered in songs. Born in Agra, she became a Bollywood star.

In the Black and White era, every big actor was desperate to act with her. Showman Raj Kapoor gave her the first break in ‘Barsaat’.

The popularity of Nimmi’s performance can be gauged from the fact that poets used to write poems on her beauty. Famous actor Prithviraj Kapoor praised her when famous poet Kaka Hathrasi once recited a poem on Nimmi at a poet conference in Mumbai.

At that time it was common knowledge in Mumbai that Nimmi was an actress who worked in films on her own terms. No director could get Nimmi to film bold scenes. Perhaps for this reason, she did not get an opportunity to work in more films in Bollywood. Nimmi did just 39 films in her film career. She was counted among the star actresses in the 50s and 60s.

COVID 19: The Contagion Connect

Contagion and popular literature along with media predicted COVID19 but humankind took the warning bells lightly

India wakes up to the global pandemic unleashed by the Novel Coronavirus or the COVID – 19. With millions of lives at stake as cities across the country are mulling a perpetual lockdown, cinema reportedly had long back predicted a fallout that could follow in times to come.

Gwyneth Paltrow starrer, 2011 film, Contagion had shown scenes that are eerily similar to what is happening now. The film has been climbing up the iTunes rental charts so as to process reality.

Hollywood has been a laboratory of fantastic directions based on science. An outbreak remains among a recurring theme in movies, much like the science fiction writers who write about a viral ctrain that makes good superhit churners. A longtime staple of science fiction. Be it “The Omega Man,” “World War Z” and “Pandemic.”

Early examples include the 1971 thriller “The Andromeda Strain”  adapted from a book by Michael Crichton. There was also 1995 film “12 Monkeys” and “Outbreak.””Contagion” correlates directly with the current danger. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z.  Contagion follows the path of a highly contagious virus from Hong Kong to Chicago to Minneapolis

The virus in Contagion spreads much like corona, the virus’s origin being a bat. Major pandemics in history have been noted to be Black Death, Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS, cholera, the infamous Black Plague among others. The Japanese smallpox epidemic, the New World Smallpox Outbreak, London’s Great plague, Yellow Fever, Hong Kong Flu, Ebola, Swine Flu all have roiled the world.

Experts widely point out that larger cities, more exotic trade routes, and increased contact pushes pandemics further. COVID-19  has since 31 December 2019 and as of 20 March 2020 shown over 242 488 cases of COVID-19 globally, including 9 885 plus deaths. The deaths have been reported from 199 nations including Italy, China, Iran, Spain, France, United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Indonesia, Philippines, San Marino, Iraq, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Brazil among others.

A Criminal's Nemesis: Making of a Bhaukaali encounter specialist

Muzaffarnagar is going through turbulent times. It is being dubbed as the crime capital of India. It is seeing criminals of the highest pedigree rule the roost running riot across section of society. Even the state government is finding it hard to nip the crime syndicates in the bud. As the police and administration are on the lookout for a supercop who would yield his gun to eliminate the rein of crime in the Hindi heartland, in comes Navniet Sekera, a man who is now reminiscent of a larger than life character like that portrayed in Nana Patekar’s Ab Tak Chhappan and Salman Khan’s Dabbang. This scene set about a decade and a half back, found kidnappers, organized crime mobsters, thieves and mafia shudder with the mere mention of encounter specialist Navniet Sekera. Cops in a highly planned and organized fashion cracked down on miscreants whom the people used to fear, with them taking the rule of the khaki seriously.

The story of the elimination of miscreants during that period of IPS Navniet Sekera, who emerged as a ‘Super Cop’, is being shown in the web series Bhaukaal on MX player. Navneet Sekera’s character in the film is named Naveen Sekera, some other characters have also been renamed. In this series, Seikera is played by actor Mohit Raina known for his role of ‘Lord Shiva’ in the famous serial ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’. This series is based on the tenure of Navniet Seikera when he was posted as SSP in Muzaffarnagar, UP. All the shooting of this web series has been done in Lucknow and surrounding areas.

The name of IPS Navniet Sekera came into limelight after the encounter of hard core criminal Ramesh Kalia in Lucknow. After this, such an image of this IPS was created that the souls of criminals and goons are shaken as soon as they hear his name. Wherever his posting happens, the crime graph goes down.

In fact, in the Muzaffarnagar district of IPS Navniet Sekera, during his 15-month tenure, criminals with prizes and vicious criminals were killed. Extortion, kidnapping and murder were common. After the deployment of Navniet Sekera, the local gang was wiped out and Muzaffarnagar, identified as a crime district, turned into a quiet district. Seikera’s style of turning the police into wedding party to eliminate gangster Ramesh Kalia had grabbed major eyeballs. An encounter specialist team was formed specifically for Ramesh Kalia’s shootout and an intricately crafted operation which saw the criminal fall to a rain of bullets. The Operation went down into criminal history books as ‘Operation Kalia’.

This was the period when crooks were flourishing afresh after the shootout of Sriprakash Shukla in UP. By 2003, Mafiaraj was once again on the rise in UP. In the east, gangsters like Mukhtar Ansari and Brajesh Singh had setup their base, often considered close to Ajit Singh and Akhilesh Pratap Singh. In December 2004, Sekera was made SSP of Lucknow. Navniet was known as an encounter specialist. The situation was that during his deployment in Muzaffarnagar, known as the Crime Capital of UP where Sekera put to death a long list of criminals.

Sekera rose to prominence under the Samajwadi Party rule when the Mulayam Singh Yadav tenure was witnessing a law and order situation.Navniet held a meeting with his officials and issued directions that he needed a list of top 10 mafias in and around Lucknow and their criminal records and that too within 24 hours. An immediate raid on mafia and goons started in Lucknow. Many were put behind bars, many were killed. At the instance of the DGP, Muzaffarnagar’s fast-moving SSP Navneet Sekera was brought in.

Hailing from Etah in UP, Navniet Sekera son to an ordinary farmer, he did not get everything easy. A student who rose from the rural hinterlands, he was always intelligent in studies but at that time there were no good schools in the village.

A teacher of Navniet Sekera told his father that this boy can do well in studies because of an inquisitive bent of mind. Feeling good, the father started taking extra care of his son’s education. When he came to class 6, he first learnt English. At that time there was no college in Etah, there was only one college, Government Inter College, so he studied there and passed intermediate in Hindi medium.

After intermediate he reached a Delhi college for B.Sc admission. When he approached the form counter, the clerk sitting at the counter came out and poked fun at his rustic background, even paying Rs 5 for the fare for him to return.

From then on Seikera decided that he will be a self taught person and rise above the Hindi speaker tag. He started his own line of education, where he not only gained knowledge but took copious notes about varied subjects. When he did not have the money he would photocopy books to gain access to expensive book titles. Hard work paid off and he completed engineering from Roorkee. He cracked exams like IIT and GMAT in one go. Navniet achieved this success with his hard work and dedication, not on anyone else’s strength.

Then came the next turn. His father was fighting for his ancestral land. When his dad approached the cops, the man in uniform misbehaved. That triggered his interest in wearing the uniform and changing the system.

He started preparations and was already selected in IPS in one attempt. Navneet is a 1996 batch IPS officer of UP cadre. Navniet Sekera started the women’s helpline 1090 project for the first time in UP, which was later implemented across the state. He keeps sharing tips for the youth on Twitter. His inspiring sentences have shown success to thousands of youth.

Today Navniet Sekera motivates the youth to work hard and move forward. He has millions of followers on social media. He keeps sharing tips for the youth on Twitter. His inspiring sentences have shown success to thousands of youth. IPS Navniet Sekera has done more than 60 encounters so far.

Sekera, who did engineering from IIT Roorkee, brought great relief to the people of the district by a tight surveillance. On the encounter of Bittu Kail at Thanabhavan, the then DIG Chandrika Rai had given him the title of Shikari. Currently Navniet Seikera is IG UP Police.

In an interview he had said if there is courage in the mind, blessings of elders, no one can stop you. Whenever people comment about you, do not panic, just remember that in every game the spectators make noise, not the players.

Kajol’s Devi brings out deep rooted perversion that goes beyond age

As India continues to wait for that day when the rapists of Nirbhaya will be hanged till death, the repeated delays and twists and turns in the hanging fast begs us that question, what kind of a lala land are we turning into. A country where the criminal continues to breathe while an innocent girl is brutalized, tortured and left to die, often dying a painful death. A country where one worships a goddess, but the feminine form of the goddess, in real life is shamelessly scarred for life.

Kajol starrer Devi, a 13-minute short film made under the Large Short Films Banner pushes the boundary further to show us where we are reaching, as not even a young child is safe. Set inside a room, the film has women of all hues who have fallen prey. A housewife, a woman in burkha, a group of old Marathi ladies, a student preparing for her exam, a corporate worker and a rich young girl addicted to alcohol. Some burnt, molested, raped or some facing an acid attack.

The list of traumatic experiences continues. As such people away from the curious eyes of the public jostle for space in a small room where multiple victims spend time, a report suddenly starts bothering the people there as yet another person of the fairer sex has been violated. A fight breaks out on who would play the sacrificial lamb so that the victim can get a safe haven. It is the conversations that start that bring out the emotions around how age, dress sense, professional arena and relations aside, a man often veers away from the right track and scars a woman for life.

Bringing out how even a burqa clad woman is as susceptible to rape as a mini skirt wearing lass. It also says the most gruesome of rape modus operandis might exist, but the shame that it brings with it is far more deep and painful. The climax comes in the form of a little child who walks in with Kajol who typifies the deep rooted perversion that has seeped in. In India, every 22 minutes a woman is raped.

As per a Thomson Reuters report India is the most insecure interms of rapes. Indian courts have a backlog of more than 1 lakh rape cases. Each day close to 90 rapes are reported in India. The conviction rate in rape cases is just 32%. Crime rates in rape cases are higher in India where nearly 80% of women worship goddesses. Film stars women like Kajol, Neha Dhupia, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve, Rama Joshi, Sandhya Mhatre, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shruti Haasan, Yashaswini Dayama. It is produced by Ryan Stephen and Niranjan Iyengar and Directed by Priyanka Banerjee. It has been edited by Sanjeev Sachdeva.

Kamathipura’s reigning mafia queen who left Nehru gobsmacked

Having made it a habit to get heads rolling with unconventional roles, Alia Bhatt has already got people talking about her next with the release of the poster of Gangubhai Kathiawadi.

Gangubai Kathiawadi was the only girl child born in a well settled Gujarati family. Pampered by her parents to the extremes, she lived a royal childhood with everything at her beck and call. Having completed her schooling at a local government school she did not pursue academics any further.

Hailing from Kathiawar, Gujarat, Gangubai Kathiawadi was madly in love with the accountant at her father’s office at 16. She married and left home with the man. They came to Mumbai and settled down there. Just when she was dreaming of starting a new life, cheated by husband, she was sold off for a paltry sum of Rs 500. Harbouring the aspirations of always wanting to be a starlet, she admired divas of her generation like Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, and Meena Kumari. Ditched by her husband she was forced to became a sex worker. According to S Hussain Zaidi’s book, Gangubai was raped by a member of Karim Lala’s gang. Gangubai went to Karim Lala and pleaded. She tied a rakhi and made him brother. On Lala’s command Gangubai was officially coronated as a mafia queen.

Notorious as a gangster cum brothel madam in Mumbai’s Heera Mandi her real name was Gangubai Harjivandas. Gangubai slowly rose to prominence with links and social networking in the underworld. Someone who had gone through the rough and tumble of life, she went on to operate a number of brothels earning the sobriquet of the Madame of Kamathipura. A powerful mafia queen, she rode nothing less than a Black Bentley, the only brothel owner to have one in those times. Her most prominent den was the Heera Mandi red light district.

A very influential figure in Mumbai through the 60s, Gangubai tirelessly rallied for the rights of sex workers and well being of orphans. As someone who was for the end of the flesh trade market in Mumbai, even today the statue of Gangubai at Kamathipura, Mumbai is testimony of why she meant good for those she held dear to her. She was a strong votary for the point that their job didn’t authorise anyone to violate them.

A story goes that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was approached by her to ask him to do something so that lives of women in sex work could change. Legend has it that not only did she earn the respect of her own community, she also impressed Pandit Nehru by her wit and clarity of thoughts. When Nehru told her why don’t you find a good man and settle down in life and leave all this. Pat came the reply from Gangubai – will you marry me? To which Pt Nehru was left dumbfounded.

Of late, Alia Bhatt is creating quite a buzz after the poster of her next on the infamous Mafia queen Gangubai Kathiawadi was released and netizens are going gaga. The film based on the most powerful underworld personalities during the 60s  is written  and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Produced by Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada, it takes inspiration from a chapter of journalist turned author S Hussain Zaidi’s book Mafia Queens of Mumbai.

The film hits the silver screen on 11 September 2020. Making her debut as a young child actor in 1999 thriller Sangharsh, her big break was in KJo’s college drama Student of the Year.  Teaming up wth Johar proved fruitful for her with films like 2 States, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Dear Zindagi in her kitty. Her recent outings like Udta Punjab, Highway, Raazi and Gully Boy have won her massive praise.

History justifiably so it seems has been kind to the reigning queen of Kamathipura.

Siddharth Anand’s War: Two patriotic men and their Magnificent mean machines

Produced by Aditya Chopra and directed by Siddharth Anand, WAR typically does not give you the RAW is WAR feel but the makers have turned this film into a heady cocktail of ISIS, uber cool women and speeding bikes and cars packed with stunts, so that you stay glued to the edge of your seat till the time the film finally winds up.

Opening with Kabir played by Hrithik Roshan killing his own, the film establishes an agent turning rogue. A flashback elucidates how he met Khalid (Tiger Shroff) and both later join ranks in an intelligence agency. The twist comes in after once pupil is now pitted against the mentor to fish him out. Khalid must find out why Kabir went astray. And hence unfolds a story that looks into the past and present of the two leads.

Vaani Kapoor only appears in the film in its second half, and before you can even understand what her role in the plot is, she disappears.

And you’ll feel the same for supporting actors too. Fine performers such as Ashutosh Rana and Soni Razdan are wasted in War, even though they somewhat justify their screen time with whatever little comes their way. Anupriya Goenka, however, does make her presence felt.

Shot in choicest of locations across the globe and with a fine eye at camera angles, the film captures the India Pakistan rivalry in the garb of terror plots and subplots.

Kabir (Hrithik Roshan), a rogue agent, kills his own compatriot VK Naidu in the pretext of eliminating globally designated terrorist Fareed Haqqani. A character that draws inspiration from the head of ISIS, Abu Baqr Al Baghdadi. The film maps a plot where an intelligence agent wages a war against his mentor turned rogue. All this as India wants to be saved from the terror of Rizwan Ilyasi.

Through a flashback sequence, it is established how he met Khalid (Tiger Shroff) who went on to join his unit in an intelligence agency. Story takes an interesting turn when Khalid, who has always worshipped Kabir as his mentor, is assigned the task of finding and arresting him.

Throughout War, Hrithik and Tiger’s onscreen camaraderie is on point.

The 20-minute forced cameo, with a song thrown in, doesn’t impress one bit.

To top it all when you have two of the hottest hunks in Bollywood – Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff in one frame then how can one not see their dance moves setting the theatre screens on fire. Jai Jai Shiv Shankar proves to be that one faceoff that many might call a paisa vasool moment in the entire film, among the multitude of moments.

The film brings out a unique camaraderie between a duo who quite possibly don’t see eye to eye. Old aches and pains flash past the duos eyes, there are moments of deep cuts that are brought back to memory, but the mission must be completed to uncover a deep nexus of terrorists to reach one man who has turned the world into a terror haven. The reference here is to a character who in the original reference is Abu Baqar al Baghdadi.

Both leads in the mission have an axe to grind. The message is loud and clear – one wrong call or action, or worst any miss – it will be understood that it is a direct assault on the person leading charge. Kabir in this case.  With one or more mission members turning rogue, here is a situation where the fight now more than the external enemy is with the enemy within and hence unfolds the story of an ugly war where people of the nation are bartering secrets only to endanger their own motherland, leaking critical secret information. This is when the story of the mission leader turning rogue unfolds and a massive mission to trace Kabir is launched. And the rest is what one sees in the film.

Racy action scenes in the film mostly featuring the two Greek Gods of Bollywood Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff are taken to a different level with well with well toned bodies and sharp cuts and jabs. Vaani Kapoor as Hrithik’s love interest and Ashutosh Rana as Colonel light up the screen with their performance.

It is safe to say that the film rests on the shoulders of Tiger and Hrithik – where dance, fights and duels on racing bikes and cars in scenic cobbled streets or cold icy streams makeup a major chunk of the film.

Anyone having seen Nicolas Cage and John Travolta starrer Faceoff – he or she will definitely find something similar in the movie, with the concept of fae swapping very much a part of the plot.

War brings an amalgamation of Ankhein, Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai, Agent Vinod, Mission Impossible, Fast & Furious, and Hrithik’s earlier outings Dhoom 2 and Bang Bang.

The Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff movie with Rs 13.20 crore collection on Sunday, has shot up to Rs 271.65 crore so far in India. War is the 11th highest grossing Hindi film. It is Yash Raj’s fourth highest-grossing film after Tiger Zinda Hai, Sultan and Dhoom3.

Real story behind Nikkhil Advani’s Batla House

Having grossed close to 40 crore at the box office, Bollywood hunk  John Abraham has returned to the silver screen with Batla House, featuring Mrunal Thakur in the lead. Released on Independence Day it is in direct contest with Akshay Kumar’s sci-fi flick Mission Mangal.

While the film is doing good the Nikkhil Advani directorial, Batla House tries giving an insight into the 2008 encounter relating to the terrorist plot around the Jamia Nagar locale by the same name.

While John plays ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, a real life key figure in Delhi Police’s special cell, the film tries to recreate the encounter and the consequent aftermath, as per reports.

To prep up for his role, John Abraham spent time with Special cell DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in order to understand the incident.

The film in some ways tries to show that the encounter was not fake, while dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Receiving mixed and negative reviews, here is an attempt to understand what really transpired at the Batla House episode in real life.

It all started with five bombs ripping through Delhi at different places which covered GK’s M Block, Connaught Place and Karol Bagh’s Gaffar market.

On the fateful day of Sept 13, 2008, a week ahead of the Batla House encounter about 30 people died and over 100 were injured.

Thankfully 3 bombs were defused in time to avoid massive destruction. These were part of a number of serial pan India blasts witnessed in other places like Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.

Following the mayhem, seven cops of the Delhi Police on Sept 19 led by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of Special Cell of Delhi police stormed flat– 108, L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar alleging a suspected terrorist was hiding.

As one officer went in search for the terrorist, the others blocked all exist of the locality. The cops aping a representative of Vodafone made the first move. Once information was confirmed, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was given the go.

Wearing the casual attire, Sharma and his men came to the flat eventually leading to a scuffle and gunshots.

Popular folklore was alleged terrorists fired and hence followed a 20 minute encounter.

As per reportage out of five terrorists, two terrorists Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid  were killed. Mohammad Saif was arrested and Shahzad and Junaid escaped.

Among the dead were a minor and a student of the MA Programme in Human Rights.

Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma sustained bullet injuries in encounter only to die.

After the encounter happened there were multiple speculations by journalists and human rights activists that there was massive foul play. Even politicians called it fake.

In a chargesheet against Shahzad, Ariz Khan, Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid on 28 April 2010 they were accused of killing Inspector Sharma on 19 September 2008.

Saquib Nisar, a friend of Atif Ameen was arrested. He even confessed of knowing Atif. This led to his arrest for being part of the blast conspiracy.

Even caretaker of the house Abdul Rehman and son Zia Ur Rehman who were also arrested on charges of forging the rent lease agreement and framing the blasts respectively.

After a year passed, the terrorists who escaped was arrested.

After a year, a suspect Shahzad was picked up from Azamgarh in Feb 2010. Even as cops said he was discovered based on a passport recovered from Batla House, the details in response to an RTI had no such mention. The police, blamed sloppy paper work.

The court while failed to find involvement, after three years of trial and 77 witnesses, he was sentenced to life in 2013 with fine of Rs 95,000,  accusing him of killing Sharma, attempting to kill other officers and destructing evidence.

As per court it was based on circumstantial evidence, with no direct proof of Shahzad’s presence in the house on that day.

Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association published two books about the alleged framing of the youths by Special Cell of Delhi Police.

In Batla house  John Abraham plays Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, then-inspector who is now a DCP posted with Special Cell. Sanjeev Kumar Yadav was under the scanner over charges of a fake encounter.

Judgementall Hai Kya? fuels yet another plagiarism debate in Bollywood

Kangana Ranaut – Rajkumar Rao starrer Judgmentall Hai Kya has run into rough weather after the film faced charges of plagiarism. Days after it hit the silver screen on July 26, the film has now entered into yet another problem with an international artist levelling charges of the film poster being a ripoff.    

From the very beginning the film has been witnessing controversies. Despite garnering a good response, in the past the film has had to change the title. A noted Hungarian photographer Flora Borsi has now accused Balaji Motion Pictures run by Ekta Kapoor of copying original work  without permission in the latest film poster.

The poster in its digital form was introduced few days ago and featured main leads, Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao with cats and mice juxtaposed on each other’s face.

The artist Flora Borsi took to Facebook to share the collage of her artwork with the Judgementall Hai Kya poster. She wrote, “Are there similarities? It was a famous Bollywood film poster called “Judgmentall Hai Kya”. They did not ask permission or reach me. It’s a shame for large companies to copy the work of freelance artists … “

Some netizens, supporting Flora meanwhile have been critical of the policies in India. “This however was clearly crititcized by the artist saying targeting a country was not her main idea.

She wrote, “Bollywood has nothing to do with this. It’s all about the art department and creative directors.”

Interestingly this is not a first when Bollywood has been mired in a controversy over plagiarism. Content “creators” more often in these days have had the liberty to lift or get inspired by”viral” things floating around across the globe. Unlike now earlier the cheater did not have to face the music from a grand 5 million furious followers on Twitter or Facebook.

Bollywood has a long and illustrious history of plagiarism.

Anu Malik and Pritam have often been founding lifting tunes from hear and there in songs.

Songs like Suniye To of Big Boss, Sholay’s “Mehbooba Mehbooba”, “Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko”, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’s “Koi Mil Gaya”, “Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle”, Mohra’s Tip Tip Barsa Paani are some of the many songs that have been lifted from some other international number. Hits like The final Countdown and I Just Called to say I Love You too have their Indian versions.

On the films front Raabta got caught in the eye of the storm when makers of the 2009 Telugu blockbuster Magadheera  accused the director of copying the film. Even as the Telugu production house withdrew the case, Hidi films have been known to copy paste once in a while.

Hindi Medium was lifted from 2014 Bengali film Ramdhanu. Dear Zindagi was a copy of Canadian comedy-drama TV series Being Erica. Manjhi-The Mountain Man filmmaker Ajitpal Singh accused director Ketan Mehta of making the film on Dashrat Manjhi based on his debut movie idea. Murder3, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Rowdy Rathore and Hulchul have all seen similar charges being levelled.

Rani Mukherjee starrer Mardaani was charged of being a ripoff of Children of War.

Similarly Ek Villain was accused of being copied from Korean film I Saw The Devil.

Many such films over the decades got caught in the ugly complex act of plagiarism.

Be it Dangerous Ishq, Murder 2, Wanted, Ghajini, Krazzy 4, or the recent Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Bala films have increasingly faced the ire of people who thought it was wrong to use content without permission.

In more interesting news, Arya Stark plunging her Valyrian steel dagger into the Night King scene from the Game Of thrones now seems has an Indian avatar.

Only recently a Redditor u/Jugal0707 tracked down a similar scene from a soap opera on Sony Sab TV called Aladdin: Naam Toh Suna Hoga.

Bollywood’s tryst with copying has seen interesting trends with films like The Godfather, Reservoir Dogs and Mrs Doubtfire getting their Indian versions running in Indian cinema theatres.

With caste as underlining factor, Article 15 makes noises in an uneven world

The idea of Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is loosely based on the infamous Badaun gangrape and the various twists and turns the case sees over the course of the investigation. The film opens with a song—“Kahab to lagi jaaye dhak se” being rendered in a group where talk of disparities is foremost.

It speaks of how the Dalit community is having to bear the brunt of a deep wedge on castelines. The film is also about how the police are playing in the hands of highly placed people who would go to any extent to harm humankind, especially girls and stoke passions.

Murders, violence, lynching in West UP often referred to as the Wild Wild West has become the order of the day.

Entering the story with Bob Dylan’s iconic Blowing in the Wind, the film is a strong comment on how media and the police both crawl when asked to bend by the high and mighty. A murder most foul where it is suspected a gangrape has occurred, is causing terror in the minds of the people of Lalgaon.

People are tightlipped, meanwhile the cops are trying to hush up things so that the minister is away from harm’s way.

Even as the rape case starts to develop as a ghastly and heinous crime, newspapers and media are turning a blind eye.

 GDP news makes it to Page 1 but this story from a non descript village does not. Parallels are drawn between Nirbhaya and Lalgaon.

Question here is why does only the national capital make up a part of news agenda. FIRs take ages to lodge. The cops are lackadaissical. Concocted FIRs, half baked truth, false post mortems give the viewer reason to believe that a dangerous game is at play here.

The film makes a fleeting reference to Bhim Sena chief Chandrashekhar Azad and how the Hindutva card has often been a poll time rhetoric especially to garner votes.

The film also shows how the tension is kept simmering so that Brahmins and Dalits do not combine forces, since they are considered a lethal combine.

Dialogues like – We are Harijan, bahujan but not jan. Power ki alag hi jaat hoti hai and Us kitaab ki hi ye nahi chalne dete jiski shapath lete hain are indirect but important references to the Constitution of India which was shaped by the Father of the Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.

As a tough cop, Ayuhsmann Khurana is charged of being prejudiced towards caste, who notably raises the point of how a Dalit is not given a 3 rupee wage hike in daily wages for their caste affiliations.

As a CBI officer who takes over the case tries to act smart with the cop, pat comes the dialogue from Ayushmann – Delhi mein yes sir yes sir ki jagah no bolna chahiye zyada se zyada maar hi diye jayenge

 A film tailor made for Ayushmann after the actor wanted something on the lines of Mulk, the actor does justice with a not so run of the mill performance proving his class, beyond his chocolate hero image.

Ayushmann has an impact which is measured and natural cutting through the usual star-struck film culture with not many popular faces

The film revolves around the main character Ayan played by Ayushmann Khurana. Supporting character Nishad is equally captivating. Ayan as a character is also in some ways symbolic of the clear disconnect between the urban and rural milieu.

Isha Talwar as Aditi is good in parts. The writer Gaurav Solanki and filmmaker Anubhav Sinha address those who can dismiss caste talk. The core point in the discourse is – Sab barabar ho gaye to raja kaun banega?

The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Ronjini Chakraborty, Nasser and Ashish Verma

A 130 minutes film it captures well the Una floggings and the Badaun gangrape.

Ayan’s friend Satyendra’s character remains vague and undetermined.

The tagline of the film states —“Farq bahut kar liya, ab farq laayenge.

With this film after outings like Mulk, Anubhav Sinha is finally back. Unlike Sairat and Dhadak, Article 15 drills the point hard.

Article 15 falls under Part III of the Constitution of India, dealing with fundamental rights of each citizen. It secures them from discrimination by the State on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any other.

In Badaun, two minors from Dalit Maurya community were kidnapped, gangraped and hanged from a tree in Badaun in May 2014. Something condemned strongly by even the United Nations.

All five key accused, including two cops are arrested. Politicians then called for a thorough probe, meanwhile a Special Investigation Team is formed to investigate the brutal killings. even as contradicting statements come in,

CBI drops charges against five accused – Pappu, Awadhesh and Urvesh Yadav (brothers) and constables Chhatrapal Yadav and Sarvesh Yadav. Later in October 2015, POCSO court rejects CBI closure report.

Shweta Basu Prasad in Tashkent Files is a reveting tribute to journalism

Each journalist must watch The Tashkent Files because following your conviction and sticking to your stand is not easy today

Tashkent Files is a clever attempt at paying homage to the legendary Lal Bahadur Shastri. It not just attempts decoding, even if flatly the historical facts behind the death of Shastri, but it also talks about how a journalist in today’s times stands for a certain conviction which is hard to demolish.

Shweta Basu Prasad as a journalist is frustrated. She has her job at stake with her boss giving her an ultimatum of performing or perishing. She has to prove herself at all costs. With a job to save she is in search of that perfect scoop. One fine day she receives a call which changes all that. It is all planned. She has got all the leads of a story which will change the course of her career. A mystery that has for generations been a part of public discourse. The death of Shastri and the mystery around it.

Written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, it stars Shweta Basu Prasad, Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty in lead roles. Released on 12 April 2019 it has been deemed politically motivated in light of the 2019 general elections.

Considered India’s first crowd sourced thriller, the film reflects research as well as attention to detail promising to be an apolitical film about a political leader.

While critics argue that the film might be inspired by Hollywood cult-classic 12 Angry Men, Mithun Chakraborty and actress Shweta Basu Prasad garnered rave reviews for their acting.

While some compliment the storyline, there are those who criticize the lack of content.

The film starts dedicating it to all honest journalists of India. In clear cut terms it blasts various establishments saying NGOs are “social terrorists”, Supreme Court judges are “judicial terrorists”, writers and historians are “intellectual terrorists” and the media, of course, are “TRP terrorists”.

While the film could make a captivating thriller with many conspiracy theories but the filmmaker uses the film to take down left, secular and socialist ideologies and institutions, in a fashion that is unintentionally comical.

The film  appropriates terms like “anti-national”, “presstitutes” and “fake news”, which are famously the armour of the current regime and its followers.

There are also facile and tokenistic “balanced” arguments, as a historian character, Aiysha (Pallavi Joshi) puts it, which are bound to throw off right-wing ideologues completely.

The film refers to the Emergency in multiple ways. The filmmaker does not take names and censors them in “official documents” but not in a very subtle manner. The characters do not shy away from being shrill and loud. Agnihotri’s disdain for a person like that is evident as is his distrust in NGO head, Indira Joseph Roy. She explains Russian words like dacha (bungalow) during closed room discussions.

Pankaj Tripathi’s character, a scientist, makes a significant contribution when he stokes communal discourse against Muslims. He is soon shut down. Raagini Phule plaed by Sweta Basu Prasad is a pleasure to watch who is shown as the only voice of reason. Driven by truth to such an extent that when strangled in Tashkent and asked who does she work for, her response is, wait for it.

Agnihotri hammers the message hard backed by strong research. The film is more drama than reality. But here is one of possibility: this was a well-crafted propaganda film that released a day after India went to polls, slipping under the Election Commission radar? says a reputed media house in its review.

Let’s admit we all called Zaira Wasim un – Islamic

Two things happened in life side by side for me. One side there were reports that Zaira Wasim was quitting Bollywood because there was a clear contradiction between her career and her religion. Back home there were reports that next time you go to Bada Imambara you will have to dress up well so that you do not look or seem to violate the set regressive thought that pervades a certain section of people. In a country where we all have equal right to speak, if a Mohua Mitra has the right to speak up with immense force, so does Zaira who has achieved something if not a lot in the industry.

There are reports that the there were Fatwas issued against the actress but I guess the problem starts when we start dictating a woman’s choices. Who decides what a 20 plus girl should do with her life. Why should people call her ungrateful. At 20 something maybe she is not good enough a chooser of words but I guess the intent is not to harm.

Does it behove of the senior tribe in the industry and the illuminati to give her lectures on how she is a product of Bollywood and her whole soul identity is nothing but that. The fact that an actress was handpicked by perfectionist Aamir Khan and she rose the ladder should be a great thing.

The fact that a girl from the valley dares to chase dreams out of a strife torn region. The fact that she comes to Mumbai, she rules and conquers hearts that is the biggest thing in life. Whether Bollywood is unIslamic is not the debate, whether she does wrong by writing online a message is not the debate, the debate should be on why we shamelessly amplify the Islamic credentials of the actress taking a cue from the letter.

How many of those giving her lectures and certificates have actually reached out and helped the girl when she needed a moral boost when she needed it the most. The comparisons with Nusrat Jahan do not hold water. One is a politician, the other a star. And more importantly Zaira Wasim is one independent individual.

Does not sound nice to compare two diametrically opposite individuals. Just because yesteryears stars Saira Banu, Waheeda Rehman, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Shahrukh or an AR Rahman did not feel threatened does not mean that Saira cannot. More than a generation gap, the industry and its working has seen a seachange and society at large too has increased pressure on what is ok and what is not. And today threats fly thick and fast.

The Tarek Fatah’s, the Swami Chakrapani’s and those issuing Fatwas can hence find something better to do. As a citizen of this great nation I think it is much more than religion or politics. It is about someone’s personal choices and aspirations. Let her have the last laugh in the loudest way possible.

Heated TV debates and twitter gyanbaazi needs to stop because it is a 23 year old’s life and why dissect her choices and decisions in public domain.

In a crystal clear letter that Zaira Wasim putout  justifying her decision, she mentions, “For a very long time now it has felt like I have struggled to become someone else. As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle, it was only for me to realise that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here.”

Very simply, she says, “I am not truly happy with this identity i.e the line of work”.

It is even more important for us to respect Zaira because eight out of 10 employees in the country are not happy with their work as per surveys.

Its common. A dislike stems from long hours, low pay, an unsupportive boss, lack of recognition, no scope for promotions, work-life balance, sheer boredom says a report.

Such people crib, complain, evade work and make mistakes.

Flexibility and choice are two most important things says a Gallup report.

It would not be wrong to say that we as a nation and the Bollywood industry failed her because in 2016 after photos of Zaira Wasim surfaced with trimmed hair for Dangal she faced a massive online backlash. She was repeatedly branded un – Islamic. Her meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti too attracted the ire of the common folk with her receiving death threats. Her apologies too saw controversial twists and turns courtesy the media.

She had also  been harassed mid-air on an Air Vistara flight UK981 between Delhi and Mumbai. The accused, Vikas Sachdeva of Chandivli in Mumbai was subsequently arrested and charged under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), given Wasim was a legal minor.

Zaira will always be remembered as a recipient of numerous accolades, including a Filmfare Award and a National Film Award. She also has the distinction of winning the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement by Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India in 2017.

Her debut was in Dangal, where she portrayed the role of Geeta Phogat.

The highest grossing Indian film it grossed more than ₹2,000 crore (US$290 million) worldwide. She got a lot of appreciation for the musical drama Secret Superstar ranked among the highest-grossing Indian films. Awards like the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress kept her in good spirits as a professional.

In June 2019, she announced she would be leaving the industry

Her last film will be the Sky is Pink helmed by Shonali Bose.

AIB: Subtle Art of Fucking up in true blue Bakchod Style

AIB from the pinnacle of glory fell into the deep pit of oblivion with them getting trapped in a sexual misconduct case which did not just damage livelihoods but even wiped out one of the most promising standup collectives from the comedy scene in India

Comedian Tanmay Bhat recently shared a message on his social media handle where he spoke of suffering from clinical depression. He in the video claims that he has been feeling a little mentally checked out.  Bhat has been out of the comedy scene, eversince the axe fell on him for alleged inaction on his longstanding team member Utsav Chakraborty for being involved in a sexual misconduct case.

Having risen to fame with comedy group AIB, he says – I feel almost paralysed and unable to participate socially, online or even offline. For most of my adult life I worked at a company that I was trying to build. And having to watch the letting the office go, all the people who worked with us, having to say good bye to that took a toll on me mentally and physically which finally came to a headway around the end of the last year and doctors told me that I am suffering from clinical depression and told me to consider doing something about it.”

Not long back AIB made it public that Bhat would no longer be their CEO.

Artists of all hues have come out in support of the standup act. Singer-composer Vishal Dadlani wrote – ” No rush, no pressure, take time you need to figure it out, but know that there is a world of love for you out there.”

Comedian Kenny Sebastian wrote: “Gone through so much and come out wiser and stronger, this will be no different.”

All this love has come at a time when Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba have been dropped from Prime Originals Comicstaan 2 and Gormint.

While action on AIB has been prompt, comedian Kanan Gill still has figured in Comicstaan 2.

Not long back even Hotstar cancelled On Air with AIB in the midst of third season. Even the Mumbai Film Festival shelved AIB’s Chintu Ka Birthday from the lineup.

Even Gursimran Khamba has been accused of sexual misconduct and was sent on indefinite leave.

In a statement issued from the team, they were clear All India Bakchod (AIB) is broke and the YouTube channel is dead. This was attributed to “business going to zero,” with them not being able to “sustain outgoing costs.”

Having started as a small podcast by Bhat and Khamba in Mumbai in 2012, the name conjured up humorous appeal and a satirical take on politics and beyond.

The team saw the entry of Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya as co-founders after its conception, and the four turned the gamble into a full-fledged creative company with uniquely original stand-up shows and often branded content.

The team sailed into rough weather when they did a first of it’s kind roast in india. In 2015, AIB’s controversial roast show ‘AIB Knockout’ had ruffled quite a few feathers with activist Santosh Daundkar filing an FIR against 14 people appearing in it. Featuring the likes of Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, among others the country was taking note wth them having entered the big league.

In a year these stars were featured in a ‘India’s top 10 YouTube superstars’ list that termed them role models. Featuring alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Forbes India’s 2015 list as top earners the country was seeing their rise.

Venturing into an advertising arm Vigyapanti and then a stand alone writing programme First Draft turned them into a unique communication agency.

With each controversy that came their way, AIB grew stronger. The ability to take on the Prime Minister, speaking up on free speech, or the Snapchat dog filter fiasco, captioned #wanderlust”.

But there moment of retrospection came when the #MeToo movement turned AIB into those who themselves had scant regard for women. This completely shattered their image creating deep divisions.

Utsav Chakraboty on 4 October 2018 was charged of misconduct by writer-comedian Mahima Kukreja.

After a string of apologies, AIB finally succumbed saying they had messed up consequently spelling doom for AIB.

But the broader point is that AIB had been consistent in putting out content speaking of feminism, critiquing oppressive structures, and speaking truth to power.

Despite his suspension being lifted, Bhat is no longer CEO, Khamba now plans to have his own venture called Light@27.

As of date AIB remains broke, no CEO, no office and barely any employees. Co-founders Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya have been holding fort all this while. The loss though is for those 3.5 million YouTube subscribers.