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All Praise for Gully Boy

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Katrina Saves the Day | A Double-Edged Sword

Ranbir Kapoor has passed on a chance to work with Zoya Akhtar twice (she wanted to cast him in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with Imran Khan and Farhan Akhtar; she also famously wrote Dil Dhadakne Do with Ranbir and Kareena Kapoor in mind for the sibling parts that Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra eventually played), but the Sanju star is reportedly a big admirer of her work. An insider reveals that he sent her the warmest message after watching Gully Boy, telling her how much he loved the film. Sure, he might have a soft spot for the film because it stars his girlfriend Alia Bhatt, but my source reveals that it’s not the first time he’s reached out to Zoya with such generous praise.

Any chance she might be able to pull off what no one has succeeded in putting together yet—a film with both Ranbir and Ranveer? Seems unlikely at the moment, although her possible next project, a two-hero crime thriller, might be the perfect film to pitch both actors. But, again, very unlikely given the allergy that superstars have of doing multi-hero films. Remember, Ranbir turned down Karan Johar’s Takht, which will now star Vicky Kaushal alongside Ranveer. And 30 years in, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan still haven’t done a movie together.

Katrina Saves the Day

Katrina Kaif, who got the best reviews of her career for her convincing performance as a heartbroken movie star who finds solace in alcohol after being jilted by her lover in Zero, might be on to something. The actress has been telling friends she’s done some of her best work in the Salman Khan starrer Bharat, and is really hoping that the film is looked upon favourably when it’s time to hand out the National Awards.

She stepped into the film at the eleventh hour after Priyanka Chopra exited the project citing her impending marriage to Nick Jonas as the reason she would not be able to honour her commitment to Salman and director Ali Abbas Zafar. It was Ali, in fact, who went to Katrina (who he directed in both Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Tiger Zinda Hai) to take the role after PC left them stranded so late in the day.

Katrina has said it turned out to be a good choice for her since it’s proved to be one of the most challenging roles she’s been entrusted with yet. The film, which has been described as a sprawling epic whose story begins shortly before Independence and plays well into current day, is the official remake of a 2014 Korean film, Ode to My Father. Like that film (which was itself loosely inspired by the Tom Hanks starrer Forrest Gump), Bharat is the story of one man’s fictional life journey set against historical events. Salman’s character, the film’s protagonist, is expected to go from his twenties to his seventies, while Katrina will presumably play one of the women in his life. Tabu and Disha Patani also have key roles.

A Double-Edged Sword

A well-regarded senior film journalist who authored the official biography of a veteran movie star has an interesting story that points to the ‘special treatment’ that filmwaalas expect from those in the media who they think of as ‘friends’.

Not long after the release of her book, in her role as a film critic, the author in question happened to write a not-especially-flattering review of a new release that starred the actress daughter of the veteran movie star who was the subject of her book. Not for a moment did the author think she was expected to go gentle on the film because of the ‘connection’, but the actress clearly had different ideas.

She reportedly messaged the author shortly after reading her review, addressing her as ‘aunty’ as if to remind her of their personal relationship, and went on to disagree with her review of the film, stating that the audience’s reaction to the movie was very different from hers. The author says the actress was not satisfied with her explanation that the review was a personal viewpoint, or that she really did think the movie sucked.

The actress clearly felt ‘betrayed’, could not understand how a ‘friend of the family’ could be so ‘unsupportive’ and made her displeasure apparent the next time they met. It also became awkward for a while between the author and the actress’ father.

So much for film folk and their routine chant that reviews and critics don’t matter. Tsk, tsk.

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