Not People Like Us

Star Chemistry

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Fortune Cookie | Curtain Eraser

So there are reports that the makers of the Hrithik Roshan- Tiger Shroff film that comes out in October might have found their title. Directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Aditya Chopra, the action film may be called— wait for it—Fighters. Underwhelmed much?

Rumour has it that the plot of the film involves a top- notch senior assassin training and grooming a promising junior, who is subsequently assigned the job of taking out his mentor. Presumably Vaani Kapoor plays the romantic interest of one (or both) of them.

Tiger, a self-confessed ‘die-hard fan’ of Hrithik ever since he joined the industry, has described the opportunity to do this film as a “dream come true”. Based on Hrithik’s steady stream of praise for Tiger on social media, it appears that there’s a mutual admiration society going on here.

Fortune Cookie

Arjun Mathur, the talented young star of Made in Heaven, really had to wait for his big breakout moment. Despite having worked with Zoya Akhtar (in Luck By Chance), Mira Nair (in her short film Migration) and Karan Johar (in My Name is Khan), it took Arjun more than a decade to land the part that would showcase his impressive range. The success of Made in Heaven has brought him more attention than any of his previous gigs—and a well-deserved place on the roster of Matrix, the artist management agency that represents Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan—so it’s a good thing he didn’t get cynical waiting for his star to rise.

In fact it wouldn’t be a stretch to draw parallels between his real journey and at least one of the roles he’s played. In Luck By Chance he was cast as the best friend and roommate of Farhan Akhtar’s character. Both men played struggling actors seeking the big break. As the film’s title suggests, a stroke of luck sees one of them (Farhan) land the lead in a major production. The other (Arjun), in one of the film’s most affecting scenes, attends the premiere of his friend’s film, witnesses the attention being showered on him and wonders why Lady Luck didn’t shine on him.

Arjun laughs at the suggestion, but doesn’t dismiss it. “I’ve never told anyone this, but you know Zoya was having a lot of trouble casting the lead for that film. She went through a bunch of actors, and at one point she gave me the script and spoke about me doing it. I thought, ‘This is it. My life is going to change.’ Then Farhan got the role, and she offered me the best friend.” Arjun says it was hard, but it fuelled his performance as Abhimanyu, the character he went on to play in the film.

It was Zoya, of course, who was responsible for him landing Made in Heaven. But this time, it was he who nearly didn’t take the role. “I’d played gay twice already, and while I have no reservations about it, I didn’t want to get stereotyped. But I only had to read the script to change my mind and literally jump at the role,” he says. In his hands, Karan Mehra, the wedding planner and best friend/business partner of Sobhita Dhulipala’s character Tara Sharma, is so much more than just ‘a gay character’. In the show’s final episode Karan reconnects with his childhood lover but they don’t get a ‘happily ever after’. Arjun reveals that he has “no idea” where his character goes in the second season but jokes that he’s hoping Tara and Karan “get to go abroad to plan a few weddings”.

Curtain Eraser

The story is that this big-shot producer is trying every trick in the book to avoid releasing his next film. Apparently, he’s in advanced talks with streaming

platforms, negotiating a straight-to-service release. Word on the street is that the film has turned out to be ‘not-so-extraordinary’, and he prefers to avoid another splashy flop.