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Tabu as a Mentor in Hollywood

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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New Director for Sacred Games | When Ties Don’t Entirely Snap

When Tabu was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences some weeks ago (along with other Indians like Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor and Ali Fazal), she wasn’t quite sure what it involved. But having worked on ‘legit’ Hollywood productions like Mira Nair’s The Namesake (2006) and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012), she realised the value of the honour and accepted the offer.

Since then, she’s reportedly committed to participating in the Academy’s mentorship programme and sharing her wisdom with newer professionals. It’s something she’s often done back home in India. Recently, on hearing that a talented young actor had been conned into doing a ‘sub-standard’ film in America in exchange for a Screen Actors Guild card, she volunteered to sit down with the actor and take him through the process of acquiring one, crucial for those seeking acting work in the US.

In Bollywood, she’s been filming with old friend Ajay Devgn for Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018), director Luv Ranjan’s next production, even as her film with Sriram Raghavan, Andhadhun, gets ready for an October release. She’s got a big project lined up that she’s itching to begin work on, but won’t speak about it till the producers announce it. Just know that it reunites her with one of her favourite directors, and it’s an epic project, likely to generate much excitement when it goes into production. Watch this space.

New Director for Sacred Games

The cat is out of the bag. Saif Ali Khan revealed to me recently that Vikramaditya Motwane won’t direct the second season of Sacred Games. “He was under too much stress both directing and being the showrunner on the series. As a result, he wasn’t able to enjoy himself on the job,” Saif said, adding they were bringing in someone new to take over from Motwane. “It’s someone quite exciting,” Saif teased.

It appears that the Masaan (2015) director Neeraj Ghaywan has been offered the gig, and will likely take it on. If the makers adopt the same approach as the first season, Anurag Kashyap will shoot the flashback portions featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Mumbai crime-lord Ganesh Gaitonde, and Ghawyan will helm the modern-day track starring Saif Ali Khan as Inspector Sartaj Singh.

Saif also revealed the second season would deliver “more action”, delve deeper into Sartaj Singh’s relationship with his ex-wife, and “go more into the ‘sacred’ part of the story”. Those who watched the first season may have also noticed that Pankaj Tripathi’s character, Guruji, was poised to have a more central role as the narrative progresses.

When Ties Don’t Entirely Snap

Last year, rumour had it that a top star had fallen out with his director after their last film bombed at the box office. Those close to the actor said they weren’t even talking now, after having made three films together. Some said the star was upset the director had insisted on giving the film a tone contrary to the star’s image and on sticking with his ‘vision’ despite the star’s reservations. Others said the actor had been led to believe there were irregularities in the budget. Either way, plans for more films together seem to have been scrapped.

In the months that followed, the actor had taken another director under his wing, and the filmmaker in question had announced both an ambitious mini-series for a streaming platform and a film with another top actor. They weren’t seen together at social gatherings or even the actor’s birthday celebrations—the message was loud and clear.

Throughout, however, the director’s wife kept up social graces, ‘liking’ and commenting on Instagram posts by the actor’s family, especially his sister. Earlier this week, she agreed to host at an event involving the actor and his family. It’s hard to predict if the men will patch up, but it’s refreshing to see things don’t have to remain ugly.