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.

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.

How an injured shoulder conspired against destiny to churn out Brand SRK

From just Rs 1500 in his pocket when he reached Bombay to being Bollywood’s undisputed Badshah: Delhi boy SRK has never looked back

As youngsters we have always been fascinated by the aura of King Khan, Badshah Khan better known as SRK or by his maiden name Shahrukh Khan. While the Badshah has been a runaway hit among his fans, his rise is no less a rags to riches story.

While its common to say that some were born to be a star, Khan who has his roots in Delhi  and Afghanistan grew up fighting his way out to rise the social ladder. An actor, producer cum television personality, Khan has the distinction of appearing in over 80 films. He has won multiple accolades, including 14 Filmfare Awards. He has been conferred the Padma Shri, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Légion d’honneur.

He moved from Delhi to Mumbai to pursue a full-time career in Bollywood, and was quickly signed up for four films.

When Khan came to Mumbai, he had just Rs 1500 with him and wanted to earn a lakh at least.

Fortunately he claims even though he has had to take up roles rejected by others, he never seld his soul for stardom.

Today SRK owns a Rolls Royce Coupe costing Rs 4.1 crore. SRK also boasts of a Bugatti Veyron parked in his garage. Apart from that he has a Mercedes Benz S600 Guard worth Rs 2.8 crore. A fan of BMW cars, he has BMW 6 Series, 7 Series and BMW i8 parked at home.

Widely popular his homes are ‘Mannat’, Dubai’s Palm Jumeriah worth 24 crore and a villa in London’s Park Lane neighbourhood worth Rs 172 crore.

His dream vanity van is worth Rs 3.8 crore.

Born to a Muslim family in New Delhi his initial years were spent in Mangalore. He is grandson to Ifthikar Ahmed, a chief engineer of the port in the 1960s. His paternal grandfather, Jan Muhammad was an ethnic Pashtun from Afghanistan. His dad Meer Taj Mohammed Khan played the role of an Indian independence activist in Peshawar.  Khan’s mother, Lateef Fatima, was the daughter of a senior government engineer.

Brought up in Rajendra Nagar neighbourhood of Delhi his father was a businessman who had a restaurant, and they lived a middle-class life in rented apartments. A product of a school in Central Delhi, he excelled in studies and sports receiving the Sword of Honour. Inclined to enter the sporting arena he failed to make the cut with a shoulder injury coming in its way.

Then is when he took active part in stage plays and received praise for his imitations of Bollywood actors. He has always admired greats like Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, and Mumtaz.

An Economics student, he spent most of his time at Delhi’s Theatre Action Group (TAG)under Barry John. He has been part of National School of Drama during his early career in Bollywood. When his parents passed away, he took full responsibility of his sister.

He started off as an actor in the 1980 appearing in TV shows, his cinema debut  was in 1992 with Deewana . Khan’s first starring role was in Lekh Tandon’s television series Dil Dariya, that started rolling in 1988, but production delays led to 1989 series Fauji becoming his TV debut.

He carved a niche for himself with performances in Darr, Baazigar and Anjaam  each a stellar portrayl of a villian. He showed his romantic flair with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mohabbatein  and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

As a star his versatility came out as he donned the role of an alcoholic in Devdas, a hockey player in Chak De India, a NASA scientist in Swades  and a man with Asperger syndrome in My Name Is Khan. He raked in the moolah with ventures like Chennai Express, Happy New Year , Dilwale and Raees. Not to forget the very popular Don franchise.

Part of several reputed collaborations and cricket leagues, he is also much sought after on TV as a presenter lauded by World Economic Forum and UNESCO for his philanthropic work.

In SRK’s own account a lot of people helped him to be who he is today

He has in an interview said that the biggest names including Hema Malini imparted wisdom to him so that he would be able to make better choices. For the younger generation the message is loud and clear – It’s like that Survivor song – The thrill of the fight is to stand up and fight the challenge of the rival and always aim the eye of the Tiger.

बेपनाह मोहब्बत के बादशाह राज कपूर भी कभी अकेलेपन के शिकार थे

सारी दुनिया पर राज करने वाला शोमेन जब नरगिस से बिच्छरा तो यून लगा मानो तन्हाई उसकी सहेली बन गयी हो| उसके टूटे दिल को कोई तब संभाल ना पाया……

हम लोग ऐसे समय में जीते हैं जब लिंक अप और ब्रेक अप  आम बात है, पर कुछ किस्से  ऐसे भी हैं बॉलीवुड में जो इन सब के बहुत ऊपर है| क्या ग़ज़ब संयोग है की राज कपूर  की पुण्यतिथि के एक दिन पहले ही नरगिस दत्त  की साल गिरह मनाई जाती है| और ऐसे में उनकी मोहब्बत का ज़िक्र ना हो तो कुछ अधूरा सा महसूस होता है|

हाल फिलहाल में RK स्टूडियोस के बंद होने के बाद काफ़ी कुछ लिखा जा चुका है, पर बहुत कम ही लोग जानते हैं की राज और नरगिस की ही मोहब्बत पर आधारित था RK स्टूडियोस का लोगो जिसमे नरगिस और राज कपूर को पोज़ देते हुए देखा जा सकता है|

गौर से देखिए तो उस लोगो में राज के बिखरे बाल, सुडौल बदन और एक वाइयोलिन पकड़े नरगिस के साथ देखा जा सकता है| शायद ही कोई बॉलीवुड की प्रेम कहानी होगी जो इतनी प्रचलित हो| कपूर जो की इस साल 95 होते अगर वो जीवित होते, उन्होने एक बार कहा था की उनके बच्चों की मा उनकी पत्नी थी, परंतु उनके फिल्मों की मा नरगिस थी|

राज और नरगिस की पहली मुलाकात तब हुई जब नरगिस के आठ फिल्मों ने चार चाँद लगा दिया था, 1945 में, और राज नये नये कलाकार थे|

दोनो की जुगलबंदी जो 1948 के आग फिल्म से शुरू हुई वो श्रोताओं के सर चढ़ कर बोलने लगी और बरसात फिल्म आते आते हर एक के ज़ुबान पर था| नरगिस को राज इतने पसंद थे की उन्होनें मन ही मन राज को अपना हमदम मान लिया था|

 उन्होने समय, मन और धन सब उनके फिल्मों पर क़ुरबान कर दिया जिससे राज को फायेदा हो| जब पैसों का संकट RK स्टूडियोस पर आया तो उन्होने अपने सोने के कंगन बेच दिए| बहुत सारे चर्चित प्रोड्यूसर्स के साथ उन्होने उस दौर में इस लिए काम किया की कुछ धन राशि जुटा सकें|

राज, जिनके लिए माना जाता है की उन्होने मोहब्बत के बारीकियों को हिन्दी सिनिमा को सिखाया, उनके लिए नरगिस एक प्रेमी, अभिनेत्री, दोस्त और प्रोत्साहन के स्रोत के अलावा एक जीवन संगिनी थी| 

नरगिस का प्यार इतने ऊफान पे था की राज को नरगिस से फिल्मों में जुदा करना मुश्किल था|

इतनी शिद्दत से मोहब्बत के बाद जब, नरगिस ने सुनील दत्त से शादी करने का मॅन बनाया तो राज टूट चुके थे|

उनको इतना ज़ोर का धक्का लगा था की वो शराब पीने लगे गम भूलने के लिए और अक्सर रोते थे| नरगिस और राज की दूरी तब बढ़ने लगी जब उन्हे ये महसूस हुआ की उन्हे मन पसंद क़िरदार जीने को नही मिल रहे थे|

चाहे वो श्री 420 हो या फिर और फिल्में, एक ऐसी टीस दिल में नरगिस के घर कर गयी की उन्होने मदर इंडिया के लिए अपनी हाँहि भर दी. जब पिक्चर रिलीस हुई तो राज के लिए बुरी खबर आई की सुनील और नरगिस एक दूसरे के हो गये थे|

राज के लिए सुनील की ये सबसे बड़ी गद्दारी थी और इस सब के चलते राज कपूर के करियर पे गहरा असर पड़ा|

यहाँ तक की जब कॅन्सर पीड़ित नरगिस ने आखरी साँस ली तो राज आए पर दूर से ही आखरी अलविदा बोल के चले गये| उन्होने तब कहा था मेरे सब दोस्त चले जा रहे हैं| काले चश्मे के पीछे उस दिन की उदासीनता को बहुत कम ही लोग भाप पाए थे |

राज कपूर जिनको भारत का चार्ली चॅप्लिन भी कहा जाता था वो ना केवल आक्टर थे, उन्होने आचे फिल्मों की लंबी लड़ी लगा दी थी देश में. पेशावॉर में जन्मे राज  ने फिल्मों को हर पल जिया|

राज कपूर ने 1987 में दादासाहेब फाल्के पुरस्कार जीता. उन्हें 1971 में पद्मा भूषण से नवाज़ा गया|

फिल्मों के युगपुरुष और महानायक के रूप में आज भी राज कपूर को देखा जाता है|

उनके कलात्मकता की छाप आग, बरसात, श्री 420  और आवारा में बखूबी झलकती है|

भारत से लेकर रशिया तक “आवारा हूँ, या गर्दिश में हू आसमान का तारा हूँ,” “बरसात मैं हमसे मिले तुम साजन तुमसे मिले हम,” “मेरा जूता है जापानी, यह पतलून हिन्दुस्तानी,” “घर आया मेरा परदेसी,” “दम भर जो उधर मुँह फेरे ओ चंदा,” और “प्यार हुआ इकरार हुआ है प्यार से फिर क्यों डरता है दिल,” जैसे गाने आज भी हूमें उनकी याद दिलाती रहती है|

उनको सुरीला पहचान देने वाले मुकेश जब गुज़रे तब राज ने कहा था की आज मेरा आवाज़ चला गया|

राज की फिल्म संगम ने फिल्मों की दुनिया में नये कीर्तिमान स्थापित किए थे|

राज और राजेंद्र की फिल्मों को ख़ासा पसंद किया गया|

अच्छी सब्जेक्ट पे फिल्म बनाने वालों में से एक, राज ने गंगा पर आधारित राम तेरी गंगा मैली हो गयी बनाया तो लोग वाह वाही करते थक नही रहे थे|

हिना, मेरा नाम जोकर और काग़ज़ के फूल ने भी राज को ये दिखाने का मौका दिया की वो अपने समय के कलाकारों से बहुत आगे सोचते थे|

राज जिन्हे शोमन का खिताब मिला था उन्हे 3 राष्ट्रीय सम्मान, 11 फ़िल्मफेर पुरस्कार और उनके आवारा  को टाइम ने सर्वश्रेस्थ 10 अभिनायों में जगह  दी| विदेशी मूल के क्लार्क गेबल से उनकी तुलना कई बार की गयी है|

उनके करियर का सबसे पहला फिल्म था 1935 का इंक़लाब |

आखरी सफल फिल्म उनकी थी 1964 का संगम|

राज ने 1946 में आख़िरकार कृष्णा मल्होत्रा से शादी कर ली|

राज और कृष्णा के तीन बच्चे थे – रणधीर, ऋषि और राजीव. उनके दो बच्चियाँ थी ऋतु नंदा और रीमा जैन|

कहा जाता है की राज का व्यजयंतीमाला और दक्षिण भारत की पद्‍मिनी से भी प्रेम प्रसंग था|

उनके कई फिल्मों में देश प्रेम का भी संदेश था| आज के युग में जब बॉलीवुड में 250 से 350 फिल्में बनती हैं, एक और राज और नरगिस की ज़रूरत है जो कला और फिल्मों की पाकीज़गी को बरकरार रखे|

Not so sensational hard toil that goes into being Deepika Ghose

Deepika Ghose is a sensation and a stunner. When she waves a flag at an IPL match, she gets heads rolling.

There are videos that go viral. Many go head over heels over her. Then the curiosity to know who she is arises. And then you have a barrage of online searches that lead to massive fan following of a quiet and hard working fashion stylist and writer who has a fair share of friends in high places. Some in the glitzy and colourful world of Bollywood.

Once a highly searched and followed person online, the story is lapped up by the media. This further leads to the narrative that she is a nation’s crush. Cool for the millennial but sometime, journalism is about educating people. A human interest story about how a young girl rose from humble beginnings to a person who now works with the biggest B town heartthrobs is a story waiting to be told.

But none of the media has tapped that angle yet. Perhaps it takes heart for someone to tell the world that here is a girl who has beauty with brains. Living in Maximum City, she too has made her presence felt by sheer hardwork. Here is a girl who has slowly but surely done fashion styling and contributed to the media world in her own unique way. Why should a woman like her be represented as someone who all men in this country have a crush on?

Far from the pics that you see on websites with juicy headlines, Deepika Ghose is adept at professional styling of covers, cover shoots, fashion shoots, product and beauty shoots.

As a young writer she is also proficient at writing luxury brand features, fashion features, work on trends, remarks, news pages, etc

Her portfolio comprises of communicating at all levels, coordinating events.

Her stints at Rolling Stone and Elle Magazine are well recorded.

Deepika has also majored in dance from Scripps College at Claremont in California. She is trained in contemporary, ballet, Bollywood, hip-hop, jazz, African dance and modern therapy dances. She has a number of theatre performances to her credit as well.

She has worked in Bangalore, Mumbai and Claremont. Her social accounts show her clicking pics with Shah Rukh Khan, Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Deepika has been called the biggest RCB fangirl cheering for her team with a Challengers flag.

Deepika Ghose has as many as 228 thousand followers on Instagram with 284 posts.

The young girl grabbed eyeballs when she was spotted at a Royal Challengers Bangalore match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. RCB trounced Sunrisers with a four-wicket victory.

Sriram Raghavan proves to be a flawed genius in Ayushmann starrer Andhadhun



The greatness of the film aside, one of the biggest flaws of Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun is that it symbolically lets the cat out of the bag by making the viewer realize that the protagonist can actually see and he is not blind. There are ample scenes when you can actually catch on. Had Raghavan not done so and ended at the scene where Ayushmann spotted an auto with Aishwarya Rai image on it or even where in a street abroad a beer can is swiftly knocked out of the way, the thrill would have gone up manifold.

The film has a terrific musical score and it is one of those few recent movies where the camerawork has made you realize that there is more to a camera than a pan, tilt or dolly. Take for example the opening scene where a hunter is on the prowl and in the next shot your realize you are  staring at a hare on zoom mode who runs to save his life.

There is madness, there is creativity and then there is the brilliance of Tabu that lifts you to a different world altogether. Playing the wife of Pramod, who she lovingly refers to as Pammi, she has mastered the art of adultery. Loves a cop and once caught in a compromising position she does the unthinkable by eliminating the yesteryears star, played by Anil Dhawan and then disposes off the body.

Akash a talented blind pianist spends time trying to give shape to his finest musical piece ever. The only one knowing Akash’s dark secrets are a neighbouring kid and a pet cat named Rani.

It all starts with a sudden coming together of Sophie (Radhika Apte) and Akaash (Ayushmann Khurana) through an accident. Playing good samaritan, Sophie offers to help and she gives him a ride. A conversation ensues and then is when the pianist side to Aakash is known. Aakash, the musical genius who seeks to sing his redemption song as an artist gets that much needed rush of excitement. He performs at a hangout Franco’s to his hearts fullest and starts getting handsome tips. It is here that Aakash comes face to face with Pramod.

Just as Radhika Apte starts falling in love and the usual stuff plays out, Pramod has an offer. Pramod is married to Simi (Tabu), he hands over a grand bundle of cash and wants him to perform some golden oldies for his wife on anniversary day. Ayushmann is at the venue the next day where he is first shooed away but later welcomed in for a private concert.

Even before Ayushmann, the not so blind guy can say Jack Robinson – a murder most foul is unfolding in front of his eyes and he has little to do about it.

Akaash goes to the bathroom where he sees Inspector Manohar (Manav Vij) hiding but acts as if he is unaware of him, since assumed to be blind.

In a flashback, it is revealed that Pramod had lied to his wife about a supposed trip to Bangalore, but had, in reality, gone to bring anniversary gifts as a surprise for his wife.

 It is the mad chase to expose the murderers that makes up Andhadhun’s story.

Simi manages to kill the neighbour who had also noticed Manohar’s entry into the flat, once again in the unwitting Akash’s presence.

Dr Swami played by Zakir Hussain portrays a organ racket kingpin with panache. He has done every bit of planning to ensure his next prey is Aakash, with some help from his assistants. But one mention of Lord Shiva and the supposedly evil hearts of the racketeers melt.

This is followed by a chain of events where Aakash first gangs up with the racketeers who were trying to take his kidney. Later the members of the troupe turn rebels. They tie up Simi and Aakash and escape. By the time Aakash and Simi are finally again baying for each others blood, Dr. Swami enters and the two of them including Aakash subdue Simi. Dr. Swami and Akash tie Simi in the trunk of a car and begin driving. Dr Swami reveals his plans to harvest Simi’s organs for six crore rupees and pay for Akaash’s cornea transplant, but Akash is morally perturbed by the notion.

Akash continues to try to convince him to let Simi go.


Hearing this, Simi drops Akash off but changes her mind later and turns around, intending to run him over. At this point, the hare (from the beginning of the movie) slams into her windshield, causing her to lose control and crash. The car explodes, killing Simi with it.

Two years later, in Europe, a travelling Sophie meets Akash (still apparently blind ) at one of his gigs in Europe, where he tells her the entire story.

Akash then tells her Simi over powers Dr Swami and then takes control of the car. And further how things unfold. After playing blind with utmost perfection, the movie ends on a scene where he hits a beer can from in front of him using a stick. The scene has got critics deciphering it in detail.

An  Indian black comedy crime thriller directed by Sriram Raghavan, Andhadhun is inspired by the 2010 French short film L’Accordeur (The Piano Tuner).

The songs are composed by Amit Trivedi, Raftaar and Girish Nakod. The lyrics are written by Jaideep Sahni, Raftaar and Girish Nakod.

Andhadhun clashed with Loveyatri at the box office. The film is being screened at a time when another Ayushmann Khurana starrer Badhai ho is running at a cinema near you.

From Antaheen to Ghoul, Radhika Apte is just getting started


Radhika Apte has had a great run in the Indian film scene and her latest hattrick on Netflix goes to show that she has surely upped her game over the years despite odds against her. Radhika has over the years grabbed eyeballs for the unconventional roles she plays. More over her dare to bare attitude has been much of a talking point in the media and the industry.

Being trolled off late, Radhika Apte has found support from Netflix itself. The streaming giant has come out in support of the star. While Netflix calls it a Radflix era to stand in solidarity with the star, Radhika believes that this three series back to back story is mere coincidence. She calls it a great opportunity.

Radhika has been featured in three productions namely — Lust Stories, Sacred Games and Ghoul — this year on Netflix.

Releasing a spoof video Netflix India backed her with a spoof video Omnipresent online, and captioned it: “Whatever the role, Radhika apt hai.”

The Radflix original film Omnipresent sees her playing multiple roles. She has also written, directed and given music to the movie.

Apte’s bold roles aside, her growth curve in the industry has been one to stand up and take note off. From a non entity in the entertainment scene three years back to a household name, Radhika Apte has come a long way.

Even as trolls and opinionated minds have a field day, she has as many as 5 more upcoming projects- Baazar, Bombairiya, Indian-American fantasy thriller The Ashram, Tamil film Ula and Andhadhun.

The first jokes that came to the fore were “Radhika Apte is to Netflix what Alia Bhatt is to Dharma.” Eversince it’s been a barrage of jokes and memes that have surfaced.

Apte started humble with a small role in Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi. Interestingly she made a foray into cinema with Pink director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Antaheen in 2009, that also starred Rahul Bose and Aparna Sen.

After a pretty long gap she played Tusshar Kapoor’s wife in Shor In The City in 2011. Post this good films like Manjhi: The Mountain Man, Parched, Padman and many more came her way.

Her recent Bollywood outing I Am was not commercially successful though critically acclaimed. Barring the big releases she also did a small role in in Varun Dhawan starrer Badlapur.

Apte though given limited roles in recent past never shied away from making best use of what came her way. Despite promising acts from her stable, she got mired in controversy over sex clips. The actress however has shown amazing grace and composure.

Born in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore her foundation years for cinema were spent in the theatre where she performed live sans the multiple takes. It is here that she realized the importance of good acting.

Apte over the years created a body of work in diverse languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, and Marathi-language.

She made her Marathi film debut in 2009 with Amol Palekar’s Samaantar. Films like Phobia and Parched only added to her repertoire as a star.

Apte played the romantic interest of the lead male character in the Marathi crime thriller Lai Bhaari (2014), the Tamil drama Kabali (2016) and the Hindi biographical film Pad Man, all commercially successful.

In 2010, she was seen in Maneej Premnath’s thriller The Waiting Room and later appeared in a significant role in Ram Gopal Varma’s Rakta Charitra and its sequel.

In 2013, she was seen in the Bengali film Rupkatha Noy.

Poster – courtesy

Apte is actively involved with theatre and has been part of several stage plays, mostly in Marathi language. Apte has said that she prefers to work in experimental theatre.

Radhika Apte has also acted in a number of short films, including Darmiyan, in which she played a college girl Ekta, and Vakratunda Swaha, filmed by Ashish Avikunthak over a period of 12 years. She played one of the lead roles in Anurag Kashyap’s 2012 short film That Day After Everyday. She played the title role in Sujoy Ghosh’s 2015 Bengali short film Ahalya as well.

An outspoken Radhika Apte has never shied away from speaking her mind out. She has spoken out against sexual harassment in Hindi film industry. She supported the #MeToo campaign in India. She is married to London-based musician Benedict Taylor since 2012. On the Bollywood front Radhika Apte will be next seen alongside Tabu and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Andhadhun.

Andhadhun notably is an upcoming Indian mystery thriller directed by Sriram Raghavan of Ek Hasina Thi fame. The film is loosely based on 2018 Hollywood thriller ‘In Darkness’


वो मखमली आवाज़ का जादूगर जिसने पंडित नेहरू को धराशायी कर दिया था


मखमली आवाज़ के जादूगर मोहम्मद रफ़ी एक बहुत ही हर दिल अज़ीज़ फनकार थे. जिस पाकीज़गी के साथ वो भजन गाते थे उसे सुनने के लिए हर शक़स बेताब रहता. अनगिनत हिट्स दे चुके रफ़ी उन चुनिंदे नगीनों में से थे जिन्होने ना केवल हिन्दी में बल्कि अलग अलग भाषाओं में अपने आवाज़ का जादू बिखेरा.

यून तो कई किससे रफ़ी साब के मशहूर हैं पर उनका एक किस्सा काफ़ी प्रचलित है. रफ़ी एक शाम अपनी एक कार्यक्रम के लिए पहुँचे. ऑडियेन्स में ज़रा सा भी जगा नही बचा था. उनके चाहने वाले जो उनसे बेशुमार मोहब्बत करते वो रफ़ी साब के एक दर्शन के लिए बेताब थे.

पब्लिक के बीच बैठा एक ख़ास शक़स आम आदमी की तरह सबके बीच बैठा रहा. रफ़ी साब आए और उन्होने अपना गायन शुरू किया. बेहद माँग पे रफ़ी साब ने चाहूँगा मैं तुझे सांझ सवेरे गाया. पल भर बाद वो ख़ास शक़स रो पड़ा. वो शक़स और कोई नही पूर्व प्रधान मंत्री पंडित जवाहर लाल नेहरू थे.

इस वाक़ये ने रफ़ी और पंडित नेहरू को काफ़ी करीब ला दिया था. दोनो एक दूसरे की इज़्ज़त भी करते और कभी मिल भी लेते. ऐसे ही एक मुलाक़ात ने एक और किस्सा दुनिया को दिया. उस दिन पंडित नेहरू चाट खा रहे थे. खट्टी दही से बनी चाट को जब नेहरू ने रफ़ी साब को ऑफर किया तो मालूम पड़ा की रफ़ी सेहत का ख़ास ध्यान देते हैं, ख़ास कर गले का जो गायक के लिए ब्रह्मास्त्र से कम नही होता.

जब रफ़ी ने पंडित नेहरू से कहा की माफ़ कीजिएगा मैं ये खा नही सकता तो नेहरू बोल पड़े अरे मैं आप को और कुछ खिलाऊँगा नहीं, ले लीजिए

इसके बाद जो रफ़ी साब ने बोला उसने नेहरू का दिल जीत लिया. वो बोले पंडित जी अगर मेरी आवाज़ सिर्फ़ मेरी होती तो मैं ज़रूर खा लेता लेकिन अब मेरी आवाज़ सिर्फ़ मेरी नही रह गयी है, अब ये पूरे हिन्दुस्तान की हो गयी है, जिसका ख्याल मुझे रखना ही पड़ता है.

नेहरू ने तुरंत रफ़ी साब को गले लगा लिया और उनके पीठ को थपथपाते हुए शाबाशी दी.

शायद उनकी खूबियों और गायकी के महारत की वजह से ही मन्ना दा ने उनके बारे में कहा था की रफ़ी सब कुछ गा सकते हैं, जो जल्दी हर कोई नही कर पाता.

रफ़ी ने अपने लंबे करियर में हर उस भाषा में गाया जो उनके रेंज के अंदर थी और उसकी फयरिस्ट लंबी है.

रफ़ी ने हिन्दी के अलावा तेलुगु, कन्नडा, गुजराती, उर्दू, पंजाबी, ओड़िया, बंगाली, भोजपुरी, मराठी, सिंधी और कोंकनी में गाना गाया. विदेशी भाषाओं में उनको डच, क्रीयोल, पर्षियन, सिनलीज़, इंग्लीश और अरबिक भाषाओं में भी काम करने का मौका मिला. OP नय्यर ने अगर आशा के साथ कई यादगार नगमे दिए तो पुरुष प्लेबॅक गायक में रफ़ी के साथ उनकी जोड़ी को काफ़ी सराहा गया.

अमृतसर के पास स्थित गाँव कोटला सुल्तान सिंग में रफ़ी आज़ादी के काफ़ी वर्ष पहले जन्मे. शास्त्रिय संगीत में अपने आप को माहिर बनाने के लिए उन्होने उस्ताद घुलाम अली ख़ान के सात रियाज़ किया. उन्होने संगीत जगत में पहला काम पंजाबी फिल्म गुल बलोच के लिए किया ज़ीनत बेगम के लिए, गाना था ‘सोणिये नि हीरिए नि’ कॉंपोज़िशन था श्यामसुंदर का.

“उड़े जब जब ज़ूलफें तेरी” और “दीवाना हुआ बादल” जैसे रफ़ी साब के गाने आज भी उनको जीवित रखे हैं.

उनके लाईव शोस मसलन—वेंब्ली कान्फरेन्स सेंटर और रॉयल आल्बर्ट हॉल आज भी मशहूर हैं.

पद्मा श्री विजेता मोहम्मद रफ़ी का बुरा दौर तब शुरू हुआ जब किशोर कुमार के सितारे आराधना के बाद बुलंदी पर थे. पर उनकी निष्टा और द्रन निश्चय उन्हे फिल्म्फैर अवॉर्ड और राष्ट्रिय सम्मान से दूर नही रख सकी. हालाकी ये भी उतना ही बड़ा सच है की किशोर और रफ़ी एक दूसरे के लिए काफ़ी संवेदनशील थे.

उनके करियर का आखरी गाना था लक्ष्मीकांत प्यारेलाल के निर्देशन में फिल्म आस पास का “शाम फिर क्यूँ उदास.”

कहा जाता है रफ़ी साब का मन गायिकी के तरफ तब आकर्षित हुआ जब उन्होने एक फकीर को गाते सुना. रफ़ी को एक गाने के लिए सबसे पहले एक रुपये मिले थे.

चाहे वो आप के पहलू मैं आकर रो दिए जैसा गज़ल हो, ओ दुनिया के रखवाले जैसा भजन हो, शंकेर-जैकिशन की कॉंपोज़िशन और शम्मी कपूर पर फिल्माया गया चाहे कोई मुझे जुंगली कहे हो, उनकी गायिकी को टक्कर देने वाला कोई नही था.

सुरों के सरताज मोहम्मद रफ़ी ने देशवासियों की आँखें नम तब कर दी जब वो दुनिया को जुलाइ 31, 1980 के दिन अलविदा कह गये. कहा जाता है लाखों की तादात में लोग शोक में डूबे थे

आर पार, बैजू बावरा, बरसात की रात, दोस्ती, एक मुसाफिर एक हसीना, हम दोनो, प्यासा, शहीद, तीसरी मंज़िल जैसे अनगिनत फिल्मों में गाने वाले रफ़ी जब परलोक सिधार गये तो मुंबई में एक जन सैलाब सड़कों पे टूट पड़ा उनकी अंतिम यात्रा में श्रद्धांजलि के लिए.

ऐसे युग में जब हर कोई फनकार मानता है खुद को, रफ़ी जैसे सज्जन कलाकार आने वाली पीढ़ियों के लिए एक प्रेरणा स्रोत रहेंगे क्यूंकी उन्होने मेहनत, लगन और उपर वाले की रहमत से सबका दिल जीत लिया.

अमिताभ बच्चन का वो एक सीन जिसने करोड़ों धड़कनों को रोक दिया था


सदी के महानायक अमिताभ बच्चन को कौन नही जानता. आज भी उनको ऑनलाइन उतनी ही इज़्ज़त मिलती है जितनी की ऑफलाइन. उनके दीवाने ना केवल उनके घर के चौखट पर पहुँच जाते हैं, बल्कि उनकी एक छोटी सी तक़लीफ़ को अपनाने में कोई कसर नही छोड़ते. शायद यही वजह है की शाहेंशाह आज भी अपने लेख, और बातों में अपने क्रोर चाहने वालों को याद करने में ज़रा सा भी संकोच नही करते.

अनगिनत फिल्में और बेशुमार प्यार के धनी अमिताभ बच्चन के लिए आज का दिन एक बुरा सपना बन के हर साल आता है और चला भी जाता है. बच्चन आज भी इस बात को कुबूलते हैं कि अगर उनके शुभचिंतक नही होते तो शायद आज से ठीक 36 साल पहले वो इस दुनिया को ही अलविदा कह देते.

दरअसल आज ही के दिन उन्हे कुली के शूटिंग के बाद फिर नया जीवन दान मिला था. कुली के शूटिंग के दौरान उन्हे एक बहुत गहरी चोट लगी थी. साल 1982, ऑगस्ट 2 था.  बंगलोर यूनिवर्सिटी का कॅंपस था और दो तरफ दो महारथी. एक ओर पुनीत इस्सर, तो दूसरी ओर बच्चन. प्लान के मुताबिक़ बच्चन को एक टेबल के उपर आ के गिरना था पर ग़लत एंगल में गिरने के कारण उनको तेज़ चोट लग गयी. टेबल का एक कोना उनके पेट में भूक गया और उनमे इंटर्नल ब्लीडिंग और हेमरेज के चलते देश में मायूसी की हालत थी.

उन्हे तुरंत मुंबई के ईक बड़े हॉस्पिटल में ले जया गया. तुरंत ढेर सारे सर्जरीस और ट्रीटमेंट के बाद एक पल ऐसा भी आया जब उन्हे कुछ मिनटों के लिए क्लिनिकली डेड घोषित कर वेंटिलेटर पे डाल दिया गया. करीबन एक सप्ताह के लिए उनकी सेहत पे दवाई का कोई असर नही था. देश के नाना प्रांतों से लोगों ने मंदिरों में पूजा अर्चना की. कई लोग तो बच्चन के नाम की तीर्थ पे भी निकल गये, क्यूंकी हर कोई अपने सूपरस्टार को फिर से उसी रौब के साथ देखना चाहता था. कई लोग खाली पैर मीलों चलते.

एक अरसे बाद ऑगस्ट 2 को अमिताभ ने कुछ रेस्पॉन्स दिया जिसके बाद लोगों में थोड़ी बहुत उम्मीद जगी.

आंग्री यंग मान की ज़िंदगी ने एक और करवट तब ली जब खून चढ़ने के समय दूषित खून के चलते उन्हे हेपटाइटिस ब का शिकार होना पढ़ा.

कहा जाता है 200 लोगों से लिए गये 60 बोतलों में कुछ खून सही नही था और उससे अमिताभ की सेहत पे बुरा असर पढ़ा.  जानकारों का कहना है की उस समय हेपटाइटिस ब देश में सिर्फ़ तीन महीने पहले पकड़ा गया था. ऐसे में इसकी जाँच भी उतनी ही मुश्किल थी उस समय.

ऐसे समय में जब अमिताभ बच्चन हर घर में एक जाना माना नाम हैं, ये भी उतना ही बड़ा सच है की उस हेपटाइटिस ब बीमारी के शेलेट चलते उनकी 75% गुर्दे डॅमेज हो चुके हैं. 2000 के बाद उनके गुर्दे की हालत काफ़ी बिगड़ी है.

कड़ी मशाक़्क़त के बाद जन्वरी 7, 1983 को बच्चन ने फिर से फिल्म की शूटिंग की शुरुआत की. जिन्होने तब फिल्म को देखा था उन्हे आज भी ये बाखूबी याद है की उस भयानक सीन में कुछ पल के लिए स्क्रीन को फ्रीज़ कर उन्होने किस जगह पर बच्चन को चोट लगी ये दर्शाने की कोशिश की.  फिल्म निर्देशक मनमोहन देसाई ने ये सीन बच्चन के कहने पे दिखाया था.

माना जाता है की कुली में आखरी में कुली नो 786 को मरना था कादर ख़ान के कॅरक्टर के हाथोंन पर क्यूंकी देश में एक ल़हर दौड़ गयी थी बच्चन के पक्ष में, तो उन्होने बच्चन को फिल्म में ज़िंदा रखना उचित समझा. इस डर् से की पब्लिक गुस्सा ना हो जाए तो फिल्म को देसाई ने थोड़ा बदला आख़िर में.

आज जब बच्चन देश में एक बहुत बड़ा नाम हैं और हर बच्चा जो मुंबई जाता है उनके पदचिन्हों पर चलना चाहता है, तो ये वाक़या हर उस स्ट्रग्लिंग स्टार के लिए सबक है की ज़िंदगी में रुपेहले पर्दे पर दिखने वाला स्टार काफ़ी मशक़्क़त के बाद आसमान की बुलंदियों को छूता है.

Kabir Khan’s Tubelight has its heart in the right place


War is never an option, if you can conquer animosity and hate you can kill the seeds of war. This is precisely what Kabir Khan’s ‘Tubelight’ tries to tell its audiences by adapting a 2015 American Film ‘Little Boy’

Set in the backdrop of the 1962 Sino Indian War, Tubelight reinforces the need for mankind to have hope in the toughest of times.

Kabir Khan Films tell a touching story of love, bonding, longing and a sense of hope that help one man achieve admiration even though he is slightly under developed mentally.

Lakshman Singh Bisht and Bharat Singh Bisht are siblings who share a unique relation. One cannot do without the other. They play in the park, share goodies, spend time at the fair together and even enjoy leisure time caring for one other, but it is war between neighbours India and China that do them apart.

While Lakshman is unable to make the cut in the army, it is Bharat who has to take that critical plunge to the battlefield for the greater good of everyone.

Set in a tiny fictional hamlet, where Lakshman is loved and laughed at equally the film has a good message with Salman Khan pulling of a good show playing a special person.

Coaxed by a relative played by Om Puri, it is Sohail Khan aka Bharat who leaves for the Border where the Chinese are repeatedly testing India’s might.

On one hand the protagonist is fretting for his one and only close companion, Bharat. On the other hand the world continues to mock Lakshman’s special abilities by branding him a dim wit calling him Tubelight.

Highly motivated by a chance interaction with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi at school, Lakshman is living with the audacity of hope. He believes he can do wonders because a magician Gogi Pasha once tricked him to believe that he could move a bottle just by staring at it. Yakeen Chattan Bhi Hila Sakta hai is a belief that keeps him going at every stage.

What robs the sheen off the Gandhiji reference though is the dialogue Salman belts out – “Pita ko sharaab ne maar diya, maa ko ghum ne aur Gandhiji ko humne.  Apart from the positive takeaways the film takes a look at some contentious issues — the national/anti-national debate, who is perceived to be an Indian and who is not eg- given the stress on a Chinese to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

To bring Bharat back Lakshman will have to beat the Chinese in their own game but he is taught to follow the path of Ahimsa.

He takes the confrontationist path. His friend attacks a Chinese family he spots while out cycling. Offers cold drinks, watermelon and ice cream to his little friend.

Lakshman’s new friend Gooo along with his mother live, breathe and love India.

At the end realizes he has a connect with them.

Lakshman has been missing his brother, on the contrary Gooo and his family have faced the wrath of Sino Indian rivalry from closed quarters. Many from the family are either in custody or have been troubled in the past. They had to leave Calcutta to live and survive in exclusion for fear of their lives.

Tubelight has its heart in the right place. An anti-war movie it illustrates pointlessness of battle and the need to shun hate in all forms. It is a remake of a 2015 American film Little Boy.

A bright Chinese actress Zhu Zhu and moon-faced child Matin Rey Tangu are effortless in playing the Chinese mother son duo.

From Brijendra Kala smiling to Yashpal Sharma and from Sohail, Salman to Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub each character is cleverly crafted.

A lot of the film has been shot in Ladakh. Tubelight is the third film where Kabir and Salman collaborated after Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Ek Tha Tiger.

Sandeep Singh: The Real Soorma


Hockey has never been a focus point when it comes to sports but the recent trends in Bollywood and on the field show that the wheels of fortune for the game are turning.

Chak De India to Soorma, the big guns in the trade are actually investing time, money and talent to create onscreen portraits of lesser known hockey heroes who deserve all the limelight.

As someone who likes reading about films and a not so avid sports fanatic, when I first saw Soorma’s trailer I presumed it was just another creative story helmed by a man like Shaad Ali. Once I started digging a little further I realized this was about a real life hockey hero named Sandeep Singh.

Played by singer cum actor Diljit Dosanjh, Soorma is the story of one of the greatest hockey comebacks of all time Sandeep Singh. A man who not just saw doom from close quarters but he cheated destiny to comeback on the hockey field to bag the title of ‘Flicker Singh.’

It’s been 12 years since that fateful day when a tragic accident proved a momentary turning point in Sandeep’s life on 2006, August 26.

Having a narrow escape aboard a train, a wheelchair bound Sandeep just managed to escape paralysis.

Sandeep was a player with a promise. Having debuted in international hockey in 2004, his career was on the boom. On way to join the national squad ahead of a departure to Germany to play the FIH World Cup, life took an ugly turn.

Travelling on the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express a Railway Protection Force jawan accidentally shot him. One bullet did unimaginable damage. It damaged his spine, kidneys and liver. Doctors had rung the death knell for him. Was no longer fit to play the game he loved the most.

Lying in his hospital bed at PGIMER Chandigarh he made himself a promise that he will get back on his feet and play.


After two years in a wheelchair, strenuous exercising and proper treatment he was back up on his feet. Returning to the national team in 2008, a year later he was captain of the Indian national team. Under his captaincy, India won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 after 13 long years. By stroking six of India’s twelve goals, he was declared Player of the Tournament. With physical agility, firness and an iron will now he was in the reckoning for the 2012 London Olympics.

Life for Sandeep after the London Olympics was not very rosy. After a hard fought loss he was out of favour and sidelined for nine months. Dropped from the Asian Champions Trophy, Azlan Shah Cup, Champions Trophy and World League Round 2, cricketer Harbhajan Singh entered his life as an angel. It was bhajji as he is popular as who said that he must spend quality time with family.

He returned to the national-fold for the FIH World League Round 3 in Netherlands.

In 2013, with the launch of the Hockey India League, the Mumbai Magicians bought him for $64,400 – the fifth highest-paid marquee player. Sandeep scored 11 goals from 12 appearances becoming the top scorer at the event.

Opening a floodgate of opportunities he was signed by the English field hockey club, Havant Hockey Club. Relocating to UK in 2014 he scored 24 goals for his team, becoming Havant’s top scorer.

Bought by Punjab warriors in 2014, followed by Ranchi Rays life was on a different high by now. His international forays included playing for St George Randwick Hockey Club in Australia and for Harvard Hockey Club in England in 2017.

Aiming for the Eye of the Tiger Sandeep practiced as long as he could. His passion for the Olympics made him emboss the five Olympic rings on his wrist.

Leading a stellar pack, it was under Singh that India qualified after eight years with a resounding victory over France in the finals of the qualifiers. Sandeep scored five goals – including a hat-trick entering sporting history books with a a 16-goal haul – the highest in the qualifiers.

From a wheelchair bound man who lost almost 40 percent of body weight to becoming one of India’s most dangerous dragflickers, Sandeep’s story is one that was waiting to be told. He went on to win the moniker ‘Flicker Singh’ with drag speeds of over 145 km/hour.

Reportedly actor/singer Diljit Dosanjh spent four months training with Sandeep Singh for the role. Even Diljit did not know about the struggles of Sandeep till he read the script.

Ahead of his film release he had been spotted on a train only recently with Director of Soorma, Shaad Ali and actor Diljit Dosanjh.

Even Sandeep Singh’s wife Harjinder sacrificed her own career as a hockey player for domesticity.

The two had met on the hockey grounds in their hometown Shahabad in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district. A long courtship ended in an engagement in 2008, followed by marriage.

After the birth of their son Sehajdeep, there was no going back to the game. But Harjinder has had no regrets.

He is now a consultant and a technical adviser to ‘Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods’ an initiative by the Tata Trust for grassroots hockey development in Jamshedpur.

When not playing, he doubles up as a 32-year-old defender and a DSP with the Haryana police.

His next big aim is to set up a rehab centre for sportspersons in recovery. He has already written to Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

In 2010, India recognized his contributions to field hockey with the Arjuna Award. As silverscreen celebrates legends like him, one can only hope that the game of hockey will get greater recognition and respect and not be a national game only on paper.

Rajkumar Hirani’s 200 crore baby ‘Sanju’ lacks spine



I don’t know if Sanju’s opening scene is made to state the obvious or is it about yet another scene in a film that slips off track as we proceed. Sanju opens with a writer reading the opening of a book based on the actor.

The writer Piyush Mishra in this case is reading the first lines as he compares Sanjay Dutt to Bapu ( father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi ). What strikes me at the end is what follows as Dia Mirza playing Manyata Dutt tells Sanjay Dutt ( Ranbir Kapoor ).

She says why don’t we get a writer who will tell the Sanju story from his perspective. Perhaps a master storyteller Rajkumar Hirani has also done just that. In a film that revolves around Sanjay Dutt, Manyata Dutt, Sunil Dutt, Nargis Dutt, Winnie Diaz and Paresh Ghelani aka Kamlesh the plot tries to justify each wrong deed of Sanjay Dutt.

The film makes sex, prostitution, drugs and terrorism the new normal and goes overboard at some places on double meaning jokes and sexual innuendos. A monologue by Sanju at his girlfriend Ruby’s house laced with sexist jokes reminds you of the 3 idiots Balatkaar speech.

Hirani uses the flashback model to go back in time to decipher the life of Dutt. The plot unravels by way of conversations between Sanju biographer Winnie Diaz, Dutt and his friend Kamli.

In a story that is more of an attempt to whitewash Sanjay Dutt’s journey so far, Hirani takes you through each moment – be it drugs, sexual encounters or his run in with the law with the disclaimer that it was because of some unforeseen circumstances. When he is down with depression and anxiety he is shown consuming drugs just to get a new high.

The idea that is passed on to the viewer is that it is because of a drug peddler that Sanju gets caught in a mess. The film does cover the times Sanju spends in rehab and how the family and friends standby him.

Sanjay Dutt’s relation with Paresh Ghelani aka Kamlesh comes out well as someone who would be the reformer for the already depressed and dejected Sanju. They have a common affinity for girls, they bond over some good times and will do anything for the other. It is no surprise that Sunil Dutt trusts him more than Sanju himself. The film tries to paint the media as the perpetrator and Sanjay Dutt as the victim when it comes to reportage of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

The hallucinations, inner turmoil and the insecurities aside the movie tries in great detail to question the alleged media hype that is created around the actor. Legal cushions in media parlance are clearly mocked without an iota of remorse saying sources are a mindless tool that media uses to tarnish a big guy like Sanju.

While senior cops in Mumbai past and present say that had Sanjay Dutt blown the lid on the sinister 93 plot before, life in Maximum City would have been different, Hirani’s film makes you believe that Sanjay Dutt was trying to protect Sunil Dutt. Are we to believe that he did not know that he was dealing with a terror monger.

Would it be prudent to tell the nation that post the Babri demolitions Sunil Dutt was under threat and hence his sonny boy coolly gave into requests to store a number of AK 56 rifles and rounds at home.

The film has just the right kind of elements that a Hirani helmed film has. It’s colourful in parts, has the jail years factored in. And for those who are Ranbir Kapoor fans its paisa wasool as he soaks in the mannerisms of Sanjay Dutt well. A master at aping Sanjay Dutt, he copies the voice, walking and talking closely. The story also scores on the research part. The makers have done their homework well. Musically it is a treat especially Kar Har Maidan Fateh uplifts you to a different level.

Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt is the best thing you will see in the film. Perhaps a great tribute to a great man. Vicky Kaushal as Kamli is fun and his camaraderie with Sanju is well captured. Jim Sarbh as the drug peddler is as usual a whiff of fresh air. Anushka Sharma as a scribe is true to form.

Manisha Koirala as Nargis is a short appearance but the senior actress does justice to the Bollywood legend.

Ahead of writing this I came across a scene from Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar where Piyush Mishra talks about Jordan the rockstar saying – Negative Chalta Hai Bas media Mein. My problem is no one can say in the media X is holier than all or we as the media are always right. But painting all with the same brush is wrong. Its also equally important to underscore that even saying Sanju Sahi Baki sab Galat is a terrible thing to do.

In case you have checked media reports they are also reporting that Sanju is part of the Rs 200 crore club and I’m sure many in the business would be popping a champagne bottle. Whatsay?