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New Cop on the Block

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Release Date Trouble | Nepotism Again

Rohit Shetty has already announced that his next film will be Simmba, an action comedy starring Ranveer Singh as a cop by the name of Sangram Bhalerao aka Simmba. Few, however, are aware that the filmmaker has big, ambitious plans to merge the worlds of Simmba and his other successful cop franchise Singham in the not-so-distant future.

Initially contracted to remake Ram Lakhan for Karan Johar’s banner, Shetty was reportedly dismayed when the project failed to take off. Johar will now co-produce Simmba.

But the Golmaal Again filmmaker hasn’t scrapped his plans to do a two-hero movie. Insiders say Shetty wants to establish the Simmba character through the standalone Ranveer Singh film, then he’ll likely make a buddy cop movie with Ajay Devgn’s Bajirao Singham character and Ranveer’s Simmba.

Johar will more than likely not be involved in the Singham- Simmba crossover project, given that the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai filmmaker and Devgn are not friends (far from it). But since the intellectual property rights of Simmba rest with Shetty, he will be free to take the character outside Dharma Productions and do with it what he chooses.

Release Date Trouble

According to the Bollywood grapevine, Akshay Kumar is not pleased that the makers of Padmavati (now Padmavat) have scheduled their release on the same date as his film Padman. This being the first film under his wife Twinkle Khanna’s production banner, and the fact that it’s a relatively ‘small’ film with a social message, Akshay was hoping no big film would release that same weekend.

After all, Akshay had swooped in on the Republic Day window for Padman when the makers of 2.0 (the Rajinikanth starrer in which he plays the villain) pushed their VFX- heavy sci-fi to April. He didn’t put up a fight when his Baby director Neeraj Pandey decided to release his new thriller Aiyaary on the same date because that film is a similarly modest-budget project. But when Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom18 began circling the Republic Day slot for their film, Akshay reportedly balked.

Insiders reveal that the actor reached out to Bhansali (who was one of the producers of his hit film Rowdy Rathore) and the studio, asking them to consider another date for Padmavat. But when they appealed to his emotions, pointing to the storm they had weathered in just getting the film ready for release, Akshay reportedly called off the pressure. He has said subsequently that there’s enough room for two movies that weekend, and that he has confidence in his film.

That’s the spirit!

Nepotism Again

It’s been learnt from someone who spotted them, that two young actresses who played siblings in a blockbuster movie not long ago were having lunch at a quaint little Juhu eatery with a young actor who played a key role in that film. In between servings of sangria and salads, the trio of ‘outsiders’ (who’ve each been warmly embraced by Bollywood since their breakout) could be heard sharing stories about the strange experiences they’ve been having with film folk. They also indulged in some harmless gossip, specifically about a pair of young actors who’re being launched in an ambitious remake of a recent Marathi hit.

The trio made observations that the second- generation star-kid looked older than the sibling of a top star that she’s starring opposite, and that the young fella should’ve waited before rushing into the movies.

The gossip was mostly inoffensive but it wasn’t lost on my source that it rankled the trio—each self-made and taking baby steps in the business— that ‘insiders’ had it much easier and yet many of them continued to pretend that nepotism (yes, that dreary word again) doesn’t exist in Bollywood.