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Brutal Endings

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Playing Hard to Get | Trouble in the Air

Angel-faced Vicky Donor discovery Yami Gautam—when she isn’t busy clarifying the status of her relationship with Pulkit Samrat, or responding to his wife’s accusations that she broke up their marriage—is fast consolidating her position as the go-to girl for filmmakers seeking to cast the role of the brutally tortured girlfriend or wife whose death or beating the film’s hero will go on to avenge. In Badlapur, she played Varun Dhawan’s beloved missus who meets her end at the hands of Nawazuddin Siddiqui during a bank robbery that goes awry. Varun spent the rest of the film engaged in a cat-and-mouse chase with Nawaz, plotting a fitting payback.

In the eminently forgettable Prabhu Deva-directed turkey Action Jackson, she was Ajay Devgn’s better half, attacked most unsympathetically in an underground parking lot. Reportedly she will meet with another messy end in Sanjay Gupta’s next, Kaabil, prompting Hrithik Roshan to go on a mad hunt for the perpetrators. But the twist this time is that both Yami and Hrithik are playing blind characters.

Playing Hard to Get

The drama over Padmavati continues. While some catty rivals are referring to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s troubled opus as ‘Panauti’, a sprawling set for the film is currently being constructed in Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio, thus confirming that the project is very much on track.

Also, it appears that the director’s ploy may have worked in the end. You might remember Ranveer Singh was said to be dilly-dallying over committing to the project when Bhansali reportedly refused to give him a bound script. But turns out that after rumours surfaced that the filmmaker was in talks with both Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan to replace Ranveer as the male lead opposite Deepika Padukone’s titlular heroine, his Bajirao Mastani leading man met him and discussed the prospect of doing the film after all. When asked by the media if he was in fact going to star in Padmavati at a promotional event recently, the actor evaded the question without committing either way.

Meanwhile, last week eyewitnesses saw Ranveer and Shahid Kapoor bonding at a Bandra gymnasium where both happen to work out. Shahid, who has already started growing out his hair and beard for his (supporting) role in Padmavati, was spotted joking and laughing with Ranveer, possibly about all the drama unfolding over Bhansali’s ambitious historical.

Trouble in the Air

Word going around studio corridors and the offices of Bollywood bigshots is that an A-lister’s next project may be in hot water. The actor, who recently suffered a crippling blow after the abysmal box-office washout of his latest film, had agreed to star in the remake of a popular Hollywood hit from the 80s, but industry insiders are saying the film could be in trouble.

For one, the film’s strictly mediocre director, who will turn producer with this project, is demanding a Rs 150-crore budget that multiple studios have reportedly balked at. He also wants to be paid an astronomical directing fee, and refuses to cough up any investment from his end despite insisting on 'producer' credit and complete control of production.

The cold reception that his leading man’s latest film received has only added to the tensions of prospective financiers, making it hard for them to justify bankrolling a project of this scale at this juncture. At least two studios and one moneybags producer are believed to have passed, and others have apparently asked for the costs to be considerably trimmed before they can consider funding the action film.

One actor familiar with the script reveals that he doesn’t think the original film lends itself organically to a Hindi remake. While the slick American film went on to become a breakout hit and launched the career of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and heartthrobs, the actor says the subject and the setting can’t easily be transposed to an Indian landscape.