News Round-Up: Abhishek Update, Padman and Sony, Sanjay Khan and Scandal, Shahid Kapoor and Comedy, Padmavati

Okay, I am going to try to catch up on every interesting news story over the past few days in one big post!  Some of these will be pretty short updates.  Also, be warned, I haven’t had breakfast and the Padmavati news is irritating me, so I am in a pretty bad mood about all of these stories with no time to be diplomatic about how I address them.

Abhishek and Aish Movie Rumors

I just can’t get over how many rumors there are about Abhishek movies, all of a sudden!  And constantly changing too, just a few days ago it was all “he’s in the Bhansali produced Sahir Ludhianvi biopic and focusing totally on that!”  Now it’s “he and Aish might be in a movie together again, with Amitabh there too!”  It’s just “buzzed about”, not official yet.  So, once again, Abhishek gets in the news in a good light, and if the movie falls apart, no one will judge him.

Oh, and I did watch his Lip Sing Battle episode!  It was fine.  Not noticeably different from any other episode, it’s all highly rehearsed and scripted and stuff.  Abhishek seemed fine, smiled a lot and said his scripted jokes and all.  Wore sunglasses a lot, but did take them off eventually.  It didn’t completely convince me that nothing was going on with him, but it also wasn’t proof that something is going on with him.

Image result for lip sync battle abhishek


Padman Produced/Released by Sony Pictures

Somehow this is being promoted as a big thing, but I don’t think it actually is?  Padman is being produced by Twinkle Khanna’s production house, her first film.  Also producing it is KriArj Entertainment, the ones who made Rustom and Toilet.  And now Sony Pictures has come in and declared they will be distributing it internationally as well as producing it.

This is our new production reality.  Back in the day, one person produced the film.  The Twinkle Khanna equivalent.  Funding was from your own money, or borrowed from the mob or elsewhere on your own name.  Funding was also a heck of a lot cheaper.  And then you sold the film to distributors and that was your profit.

Now, more and more little vultures are coming in to “help” produce.  KriArj, those are professional producers, they take someone else’s idea and massage it and “develop” it.  So Twinkle can’t just produce her film on her own, these guys have to come in too.

And then Sony, in the corporate money idiot role.  There’s the guy with the idea, and then the middlemen, and the middlemen get the money.  They sell the idea of the film to some massive corporation, get as much money as they can out of them, and then take off without worrying about if the film is a hit or not.

Image result for padman first look

So, I don’t know why this is being reported as though it is hugely exciting for Sony to be involved?  Maybe them distributing the film directly is different?  But so what, the film was going to be distributed internationally anyway, is it really that exciting to have a non-Indian company doing it?  Or is this just that odd thing where Indian press gets really really excited when they feel like some outsider is recognizing India as a real grown up country?


Sanjay Khan is Writing a Biography

Sanjay Khan is writing a biography!  This is Zayed and Sussanne Khan’s father, Hrithik’s father-in-law.  And back in the 70s and 80s, a bit of a heartthrob actor and a producer.  And rumored to have had a hot affair with Zeenat Aman.  So it is possible that this bio will have juicy gossip from the 70s through today.  But more likely will just be about onset hijinks and his favorite film roles and stuff, I have been burned before by expecting scandal and getting nothing!

Image result for sanjay khan zeenat aman

(Sanjay and Zeenat)


Shahid Kapoor and Comedy

After Padmavati (yes yes, story on that coming up), Shahid’s next film is going to be about electrical power scams.  By the same people that made Toilet.  Not KriArj, the actual talented creative people.  It was originally going to be a serious take on the issue, but now they have decided to go more of a comic route.

Shahid’s never had the best luck with comedy, so I don’t know if this is a good idea for him.  But I wonder if it is partly in response to Padmavati?  Which looks very serious and blah blah blah.  So maybe Shahid is looking to shake things up, make sure his next film is something totally different.  Ranveer is doing the same, some quick little films after Padmavati.  So it’s really only Dips that has everything riding on it, nothing firmly signed after, stuck with 100% focus on the promotions now, no time to try to line up something else.  Poor Dips!  Must be nerve-wracking having her whole career stuck on this one movie right now.


Padmavati Conflict

I’ve been ignoring this story because, frankly, I find it really boring!  I did a close discussion of the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil issue a year ago, and there’ve been plenty of other movies with the same kind of issues over the years, and it’s just plain dull at this point.  And besides being boring, I don’t want to in any way appear to be taking this story seriously.  Because it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

The Rajput branch of the reactionary idiot brigade has decided that Padmavati is insulting.  Or has decided to pretend they think Padmavati is insulting.  And they have convinced the usual group of hangers on and drama fiends that this is something they should care about using the usual “it’s our Indian/ethnic/manly identity under threat!” arguments.  And these idiotic drama fiends range all the way from members of the censor board down to commentators on websites and the man on the street.

(Speaking of Dips movies, lets have a nice happy song as a refresher from all this stupidity)

What is really frustrating is that everyone is accepting the premise of the argument.  That they are insulted because the film doesn’t follow the “real” story.  Which is the same argument made about Jodha-Akbar.  And, just like then, THERE IS NO REAL STORY!!!!!!!!!!  This is historical legend and myth, not fact.  The “real” is something they have made up in their own heads, it’s a lie just as much as the film being made now is a lie.  You could just as easily say “I am upset because Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak does not follow the real story of Romeo and Juliet“.

That’s a legitimate argument, by the way.  You can absolutely say “this is a legend that has been told and retold for years and I have a deep connection to the story that I have been told and I don’t like you thinking you can write it better”.  But if you say that, it doesn’t get the people all riled up.  If you say “it’s not based on the ‘true’ story”, it makes you sound wise and knowledgeable and better than other people and gives them an excuse for their feelings.  Makes them want to be wise and superior too.  Much better than having to acknowledge that they are in love with a story that is just a story and nothing more.  Or try hard to make a legitimate argument about why the original version was a better narrative than this one.  Not morally better, dramatically better (like, “I don’t like the way QSQT changed the Romeo and Juliet ending because it was more powerful having a misunderstanding cause it all, showing how ultimately immature the couple was”).

(Also had them run off together)

Bhansali always does this, this is his pattern.  Okay, not the first two movies, so far as I know Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam were entirely original.  But then he took Devdas and radically changed and Bhansali’d the story.  He did the same with The Miracle Worker and Black, and Diving Bell and the Butterfly/The Sea Inside and Guzaarish.  And then Romeo and Juliet and Ramleela, and finally the legend of Bajirao-Mastani and Bajirao.  And now the legend of Padmavati.  But saying “I find Black insulting to the memory of Helen Keller” isn’t going to get you headlines, or give people that sweet little righteous anger high, so he got by with those.  It’s only when he stumbled across the fake history that has been peddled to the Indian masses and used to form a false identity for themselves, that’s when he gets in trouble.

Anyway, the film industry is doing what they do, standing up for themselves.  And they are selling their own myth, that it is about “freedom of speech” and “art” and blah blah.  Sure, maybe, somewhere that is in there.  But it’s also about Padmavati being the best chance for a blockbuster hit this year and everyone really really needing it to come out.  Not just the people actually involved in the film, but everyone.  If Padmavati hits, it will keep theaters open, keep the audience coming out to the movies, and funnel money to the distributors who may then turn around and spend the money on other films.

Essentially, though, this is just really boring.  Padmavati is too big not to come out, so it’s coming out no matter what.  Maybe not in Rajasthan, but everyone there will just watch a pirated version on streaming instead.  And anyway, Padmavati was always going to make most of its money overseas and in urban centers, just like Bajirao did (Dilwale ruled the heartland).  So who cares if it isn’t released in Rajasthan.  So all of this back and forth, this is just people going through the motions of what they have to do to get to the inevitable ending.  Like I said, boring.


39 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Abhishek Update, Padman and Sony, Sanjay Khan and Scandal, Shahid Kapoor and Comedy, Padmavati

  1. Re Shahid next film, remember the film Katiyabaaz, which translates to The Electricity Thief , came out earlier this decade? It’s a documentary but with a black comedy undertone (think Michael Moore) and Phantom (Anurag Kashyap) backed it after production. Maybe there is a relationship btwn the two movies/stories.


    • I bet there is a connection. They were saying it is based on a true story but not really. Which would fit with taking the idea from a popular documentary/story and then fictionizing it.

      On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Shahid’s career is becoming more and more interesting to me…he’s always been one of my favorites and early on, after Hrithik, he was the second Indian actor that I got into…(3rd was Vikram!). Anyway, you’re right that he doesn’t have a great track record with straight comedy (that Phata Poster Nikla Hero movie was so forgettable and Shaandaar was a bomb though I loved it!). He seems to do better with dark comedy when he does that (Kaminey, even bits of Udta Punjab, and I kind of saw potential in the bits of masala comedy in R…Rajkumar). I think this next film sounds like a great choice for him actually. Now that he’s shed his pretty boy image and done a few very serious roles and become a father in real life…he should start doing the more mature, social issues films…besides Udta Punjab and I guess Haider…I can’t think of any other films he’s done that have had any clear social commentary.

    I do think Deepika has to pick her next film carefully since she’s starting to be really picky…she needs to pick really good ones. I think her sights are really set on more Hollywood projects, so I wonder if she continues to keep dates open on purpose. I doubt it would happen since I suspect Priyanka would have first dibs on it, but her cast as the lead in the Madhuri Dixit tv project would be really interesting!

    Liked by 2 people

      • No, what? I’m seeing that Red Chillies is producing a Netflix series, and there are slightly more solid but still not concrete Don 3 rumors.

        Is there something else I am missing?

        On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:51 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


        Liked by 1 person

          • No, it looks like just a series Red Chillies is co-producing to me. For one thing, it’s not being reported as excitedly as if he was starring. Or promoted as excitedly, just a joint press conference that focuses on the book it is based on.

            Still interesting because of the streaming and film studio connections and so on, but not super super exciting.

            On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 10:06 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • I got so excited when I read the first tweet from RCE about it that my husband thought Trump was getting impeached, lol.

            It’s unclear if SRK would star–he’s being thanked as the inspiration behind it all–but that would be so amazing! Based on my quick googling of the book it would be a very juicy and age-appropriate role for him.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Haha, procrastinatrix! I also looked up the book and I totally want to read it and think it sounded like the perfect role for SRK, too. And age appropriate for sure.

            Liked by 2 people

          • If I remember right ShahRukh talked about RedChillies going into producing a series for Netflix he would not star in some time ago (which i find a good idea as it is a new venture replacing the shelved one to get into TV-series production (in addition Netflix’s reach is more global).
            Bilal is a skilled writer who could easily extend his work into more than being a close member of ShahRukh’s entourage. (I like him more than Mushtaq…but that is only a feeling.)


    • Shahid went through this 5 year period where he seemed to be desperate to stay afloat/reach a higher level. He was always giving interviews about how excited he was about his next project in terms of his career, and performing at stage shows, and just generally putting the word out that he was ready willing and eager to do anything for anyone if it might help him get bigger. And nothing worked.

      But now, I agree, it seems like he has finally turned a new page. He is no longer trying to be “the next big thing”, he is happy just making interesting projects and knows that his work can stand on his own. Rangoon flopped baaaaaad, but he didn’t seem that worried about it, or desperate to promote it in interviews, or anything. He seemed fine sharing the blame equally with the other 2 stars, just as he would have been fine sharing the success.

      Maybe it’s partly just his long innings at this point? He’s been in the film industry well over 10 years now, never really dropping below a certain level of fame, so he is solid now. He isn’t going to completely disappear, he will always have work and fans and be recognized at the airport. Hopefully it makes him more willing to take risky roles and interesting films, instead of chasing the blockbuster.

      Dips, meanwhile, is right in that zone of being careful and worried about her career. It seems like she only has 3 options now. She can stay a top actress in Hindi films, which means taking the occasional boring heroine role, doing an item song, making appearances at places, working 80 hour weeks essentially, just to stay relevant and famous. Or she can do what most actresses do when they reach the top, get married and semi-retire, a respectable way to slow down and step back, which would still let her take the occasional interesting role. Or she can go overseas and try to start her career fresh. Or she could have done what Anushka and Sonam are doing, not trying to be the most famous and sought after heroine, but rather balancing their career between acting and production almost from the start, so they can easily transition to more production once the acting jobs start slowing down. But Dips missed the window for that, announcing a production house now would feel like changing to a new a career, giving up on acting a little bit.

      I’d be worried about her trying for an overseas career. I kept trying to think of something Hollywood would offer her that India wouldn’t, and there isn’t really anything. She could get the lead in a TV show, but she could do that in India too. She could get the lead role in a really interesting film with a smaller market and smaller release because it is female lead, but India already gave her Piku. She could play a supporting role in a string of movies, but India would give her more than that. And the real danger is if she fails and tries to go home again, there is not a good history of the Indian industry welcoming it’s deserters back with open arms. Especially since she is also dating Ranveer. Either she breaks up with him and goes overseas and everyone is mad at her for abandoning him. Or she marries him and then goes overseas, and is seen as a “bad wife” for not spending enough time with him. He’s too big to just follow where she leads, so there’s going to be a conflict.

      What I would like to see Dips do is the traditional route. Marry Ranveer, then switch to only taking really interesting good roles. Like Kareena, Madhuri, Sridevi, Kajol, Hema Malini, Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon, and on and on and on all did before her. Marriage gives you the security to take those risks, you have a place in the industry that is will always be there and cover for any press backlash. Anushka and Sonam are finding that same security through their own production studios, but it’s too late for Dips to do that, so she should just marry Ranveer and downshift to the “I go to parties with my husband and take the lead in really radical art pictures” career.

      On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 9:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • I essentially agree with your take on what Deepika should do next, except for the marrying Ranveer thing…seriously anyone would be nuts to marry that dude. I spend way too much time thinking about these things, but I think it would be cool for her to reunite with Ranbir and settle down.

        I am always intrigued by how big Indian film stars interact with the global industries…so that explains my interest in her potential career beyond Hindi films. But in her US interviews for XXX she really didn’t shine like Priyanka does, who is inherently cooler and more at ease in interview situations. I think it might be a more interesting direction for her to make a name for herself in European or Middle Eastern cinemas as a side thing…wasn’t there something in the works with that big Iranian director?

        I also believe strongly that she’s the top actress in Hindi films now and she’d be silly to give it up. She should milk the glamorous heroine stuff for a few more years, then settle down with a good guy like Anushka and Sonam are doing and then switch gears and pick the more interesting roles like Piku more often. I could also see her continue to be outspoken on mental health issues and really do some good in that way, too.

        Hasn’t she already picked her next film, by the way? The gangster one with Irrfan?

        Liked by 2 people

        • I just googled the Irrfan-Dips project (thank goodness you are keeping me up to date!) and it looks like it isn’t quite firm yet. Really close to it, there are rumors of a shooting start date and all. But it could still fall apart since it hasn’t actually started, if Padmavati is a disaster the funding could disappear or they could drop Dips for someone else. So she can still be nervous.

          I also spend way too much time thinking about these things (or just the right amount of time?), and I want Ranbir to settle down with Mahira Khan, his rumored new romance. Pakistani, brilliant actress, and divorced single mother. Seems like exactly the sort of woman that will make him grow up and will benefit from some of that Kapoor glamour and media cover.

          And I want Kat and Salman to get married. And Varun to marry his long time girlfriend. And Alia and Siddharth to date for a while and then break up in a healthy fashion and date other people. Arjun Kapoor, I haven’t decided what I want for him yet. Beyond really hoping that someday he is able to build a relationship with his half-sisters.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Aww, I have the same hope for Arjun building a good relationship with his half-sisters, too! Maybe he can begin to mentor Jahnvi through their shared experiences of building a career and it will start that way.

            But, yes, way too much time thinking about these things…but then I don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about American celebrity gossip and this fills my quota!

            I also like the Ranbir-Mahira real life pairing for the potential of it somehow making Indo-Pakistan relations better and allowing Pakistani actors back into the Hindi film fraternity.

            Other potentially awesome real-life potential jodis for me would be…

            Kat and Salman, but only if he’s truly mellowed with age

            Alia and Ranveer, but only down the road when he’s sowed all of his oats…

            I still don’t believe that Siddharth and Alia are an actual couple, so I hope that Siddharth finds someone that makes him truly happy in the future and I’ll leave it at that;)

            It would be great if Varun marries his long time girlfriend, but that’s looking less and less likely, he’s no Imran Khan or Ayushmann Khurana…he wants the fame and I think he’s willing to do anything to keep it and if it means moving on from a childhood sweetheart because the relationship has become inconvenient, he’ll do it.

            And as much as I think Hrithik is a complete head case and probably has brought on a lot of his drama himself, I really hope he and Susanne reconcile and get married again. It doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility. They’re clearly handling co-parenting really well.

            And for completely random real life pairings I’d like to see…maybe Kriti Sanon and Arjun Kapoor because she deserves better than that ego maniac SSR.

            Liked by 2 people

          • At one point, Ranveer and Sonakshi were rumored. I could see that working too, she is tough and experienced in the film industry, would be able to whip him into shape and keep him in shape. And way way better than the user player she is dating currently.

            I really want Varun to stay with his girlfriend! In the Koffee episode last year, he was pretty firm both in letting their relationship be acknowledged, and defending her right to privacy. I’m somehow getting more of a vibe that she isn’t sure if she wants this lifestyle for herself (and “star wife” is really a whole lifestyle), but he is waiting for her. If she does dump him, I would almost expect him to start dating another outsider. I don’t know, he seems kind of Shahrukh like in wanting a part of his life that is completely private to balance how very public he is in other ways.

            Siddharth for Ayan Mukherjee?

            Also, I am now in love with Kriti Sonam and Arjun Kapoor as a couple, how can we make this happen?

            On Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 11:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • I am not really up-to-date in all the gossip doing the round but as for Deepika I would like her to quit SLB one and for all and doing a variety of roles in Hindi cinema (maybe there is one with ShahRukh in store…Farah again). And marrying Ranveer should not be an option for her, either (or getting back to Ranbir who may be in better hands with Mahira).


  3. Honestly, who knows who or what Ranveer will settle down with? I mean he could marry that weird boombox he carries around or a picture of himself…who knows! I don’t like the physical pairing of him and Sonakshi for some reason…she looks better with taller men like Arjun, but she’s definitely a tougher kind of girl who could put of with his schtick.

    And Arjun and Kriti are my new favorite pairing, but I’ll also allow him and Parineeti to happen as well. Just saw a picture of them for their new movie and I’ve always loved their vibe.

    Siddharth and Ayan Mukherjee would be perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we could make Sid and Ayan happen! Alia is co-starring with Ranbir in that terrible idea superhero trilogy and Ayan is directing. Alia and Sid are best friends, Sid visits her on set, gets to talking with Ayan, they go out for coffee, sparks fly, Ayan finally gets over Ranbir once Ranbir marries Mahira, and Sid and Ayan settle down together. And Alia and Kajol can be the “cool aunt” for their babies.


      • There was a blind item out there a while back that he likes to play music from his movies during “sexy times” with his girlfriends/conquests. And he’s starting to get a reputation for being kind of arrogant otherwise. Also, in interviews he really loves talking about himself and you can tell or he’s just trying too hard. I think he’s super-talented and I like him on-screen though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Did you miss the news that Abhishek’s next film will be a comedy directed by Priyadarshan? And that P chose A because he is “a great actor”, which is exactly what the role needs?


  5. Wait, Sanjay Khan was a 70s hearthrob? No way.He had a solid career.Better than what his son later had.But nope, never a heartthrob.As for Padmavati, I’m so sick of the controversy.She was forced to make a choice that ideally no woman should have had to make.Incredibly brave of her.But the way the fringe outfits make it out as if it’s the only option left for a woman in that position ! Even if she had chosen the other option – ie to survive it would also have been equally brave of her.


    • I thought that seemed odd! The heartthrob description. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a movie, but then the 70s-80s isn’t my strongest point, and all the news stories were saying “heartthrob”, so I just went with it.

      On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 7:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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  8. Update on the Padmavathi controversy:
    People like Varun, Parineeti and Sonam have made statements on twitter about the threats against Deepika. Meanwhile there’s still no sign of Ranveer or Shahid.

    Plus the release of Padmavathi is apparently postponed:


    • Boy, Ranveer is in a really tough spot now! He has to somehow do the right thing (in the eyes of the public) both as Deepika’s boyfriend and her co-star. If he is too emphatic in what he says/does, people could say “oh, that’s just because the woman he loves was threatened.” But if he isn’t emphatic enough, they could say “what’s going on, why isn’t he protecting her more, is something wrong?”

      On Sun, Nov 19, 2017 at 11:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Right! I never was a fan of Ranveer but I always had a pretty good impression of him. Now I just feel like he’s being a coward by being silent. I hope he does end up saying something.


        • Very different situation, but this kind of thing is why I started changing my opinion for the better about Salman. When Kat was getting all that grief for the bikini photo, Ranbir (her supposed boyfriend) was conspicuously silent, but Salman stood right up and defended her. He could have stayed silent, but he stuck his neck out.

          Now, Ranveer being silent, unless Dips actually asked him not to say anything (which i can believe, if she wanted to speak for herself), it just looks like a coward, like you said.


          • It’s fascinating, the face he presents to the world first is his worst face, the macho aggressive type guy. And then you learn about the stuff he hides from the world, doesn’t promote, and it’s all the good stuff!


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