Trailers! 1 Dhadak, 2 Sanjus, and 5 Weddings

So many videos while I was gone!  Oh well, I will try to catch up with them all now, plus 5 Weddings because filmilibrarian asked for it.

Dhadak is the big news today, just came out, all the celebs are tweeting compliments about it and so on and Karan is re-tweeting them.  Before I say what I think, I will just let you watch it for yourself.

I still haven’t seen the original Sairat, so I am not as qualified to discuss this as those of you who have seen it.  But from what I understand, the power of Sairat was how everyday it was.  Everyday love between two average kids is still magical.  And them being separated is still tragic.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and beautiful and like a movie to make us care.  And it was also a reminder that this isn’t a perfect beautiful romantic movie problem, this is an every day problem.  10,000 honor killings a year in India (according to NGO estimates).  A boy and girl falling in love across caste lines and being forbidden from seeing each other isn’t just a thing from movies.

But this trailer makes it feel like a movie just a little more.  The most powerful moments, to me, are the ones that don’t feel like a movie, the way Ishaan’s voice cracks when he sings, the shy way they exchange Holi powder, like that.  But Jhanvi’s perfect pale skin and flowing hair, the big dramatic pronouncements, even the big songs, that kind of kills it.

The other thing that occurs to me is that Shashank Khaitan really has a familiar way of handling a romance.  Which is okay, according to auteur theory it is even good.  But it feels wrong here.  This isn’t Varun and Alia, this is another pair of actors, the boy shouldn’t have to play a stubborn and strong on the inside but slow thinking charmer and the girl shouldn’t have to play almost too clever for her own good and confident and flirty.  And this isn’t that kind of story either, this should be a story about two real average people who fall in love, not a sparkling beautiful rich girl and the noble brave poor boy who wins her over.

On the other hand, both the leads seem to be doing a decent job, Ishaan more than Jhanvi just based on what we see here.  And it’s been a while since we had an out and out young romance.  And the trailer hints at least one big song sequence.  So that’s all good, it probably won’t be torture to watch it.

Now, Sanju!!!!  Two songs came out, and I have two very different problems with both of them.  And also things I like.

First the young love song.  I like that it shows Sanju/Ranbir’s charm, why people would be friends with him.  And I like that it presents Sonam/Tina as a sweet innocent young woman in love.  I do NOT like that it feels as though Sanju’s charm is lost in Ranbir’s charm somehow.  I had to really struggle to see the Sanju in this performance instead of the Ranbir.

Next song!  The rehab and recovery song.  I like how it shows Nargis as part of his journey, the way it shows his family just patiently enduring and waiting for him to save himself.  I do NOT like the way it changes Sanjay’s story.  Unless there is something I missed in all the research I did, he never lived on the streets, not like this.  He got high in Bombay and was brought home days later when his family didn’t even know where he was.  And later he was in rehab in America.  But he didn’t wander the streets of the world begging for food. It makes me very nervous because I don’t want the story to be Sanjay’s sufferings of homelessness etc. as an addict, both because that minimizes Sanjay’s real sufferings that did not happen to involve homelessness and because it insults actual homeless people.  And I really really don’t want them to pretend you can recover just by trying really really hard and having visions of your dead mother, without getting into rehab too.  Heck, Sanjay himself knows that!  He is trying to open rehab centers in India for exactly this reason.  I kept waiting in this song for the scene in a group therapy session, or talking to an addiction counselor, or anything like that, and NOPE.

Okay, now 5 Weddings!  Filmilibrarian is right, it is super cute.  Mostly because Rajkummar Rao is just scrumptious.  And it is an interesting general concept, ABCD reporter Nargis is sent to do a story on Indian weddings because India is “hot” right now.  She is assigned a police escort, cute cute Rajkummar.  And then finds her real story, the Hijra’s who come to the weddings.  But it causes issues between her and Rajkummar just as she is getting the story.

Some of it feels perfectly specific to me.  The way Nargis is wearing the wrong clothes to the wedding because she borrowed from her hippy mother, that is perfect.  And the way she pushes for the Punjabi word for “reception” which is completely puzzling because there isn’t one, perfect!  Essentially the conflict between the outsider American view of India, the ABCD struggle to fit in and understand, and the reality that India (like anywhere else in the world) moves on and changes constantly and there is no one way of being.

But then other parts just don’t work.  Nargis, for instance, acts no better in English than she does in Hindi.  So I guess it isn’t just a language barrier.  She was slightly better in the scenes with Rajkummar, but I think that is just because he makes everyone better.  I would have really loved to see Hannah Simone from New Girl in this role, or Mindy Kaling (although it’s kind of beneath her) or any other of the American born desis who must be capable of handling this sort of performance better than Nargis.

I am also kind of “over” Hijras.  I mean, they’ve been known about in the West at least since I was in college when we studied them as one of the alternate genders specific to various cultures.  And it feels kind of oddly tone-deaf for even an American desi not to know about them, I mean, I’ve been told that they show up at weddings in the American suburbs just like they do in India.  Not told by journalists and so on, but by people who were at American weddings in the suburbs and were irritated because they had to have money ready to pay off the Hijras.  It feels like there was a strong idea of the ABCD journalist struggling in India to use her “heritage” because her ignorant editor thinks it will help, and of the romance with patient Rajkumar, and then for the plot to move forward they had to throw in something substantive and picked on the Hijra story.  If you need a plot device at that point to give her a “real” story, then dowry demands, or wedding gauging (caterers charging higher prices and then bringing cheaper food, something like that), or a look at shaadi.com and others and the new era of arranged marriages would all be a little fresher.  And still let her find a fresh take and prove herself as a person of substance, and drive a wedge between her and Rajkummar.

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60 thoughts on “Trailers! 1 Dhadak, 2 Sanjus, and 5 Weddings

  1. Dhadak looks leaden and the trailer makes me think this was way too big a debut for Jhanvi to handle. That’s the disadvantage the star kids seem to have, they start out in big movies right out of the gate before they learn their craft.

    I don’t like either of those Sanju songs. Still want to see it but so far the music is meh.

    5 Weddings reminds me of that Bollywood hybrid film about the rice researcher (can’t remember the name of that bomb). This doesn’t look quite as bad but it isn’t good either. I do appreciate Rajkumar as a romantic hero and I’d love to see more of that from him.

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    • Nothing extraordinary about the Dhadak trailer. I’m more interested in the potential of Ishaan than Jhanvi. I just hope he won’t be another Prateik Babbar because he kind of reminds me of him.

      Basmati Blues. Exactly what I thought when I saw 5 Weddings. Didn’t see that one, but I will definitely be seeing this one. I don’t dislike Nargis as much as Margaret;) But I totally agree with her that Hannah Simone would have been amazing in this role!

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      • no one dislikes Nargis as much as me, NO ONE!!!!

        I’m more interested in Ishaan as well. Although to be fair to Jhanvi, Ishaan has had more training than she thanks to his “soft launch” in City of Heaven, while Jhanvi was just thrown out there in this movie with nothing else in back of her. It also looks like Ishaan has the more interesting role, the stubbornly in love poor boy instead of the slightly spoiled rich girl.

        On Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 10:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Well, in the original Sairat, ‘the slightly spoiled rich girl’ had a more interesting role, and more interesting character arc as well, and the actress playing that role won a National award for her portrayal as well, and she was only 14 when the movie came out..

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          • I wonder if Jhanvi, or whoever, might have done a more interesting job with the role if she was younger? Jhanvi just feels so brushed and polished here, I wonder if she were younger, she would come off as more natural.

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    • Kareena was so smart to turn down Kaho Na Pyar hai and take Refugee instead. A big movie, but one where she was ably supported by a large cast and a large plot, instead of this where Jhanvi and Ishaan have to carry the whole thing.

      I think the director is struggling under a similar problem. His first movie, Humpty Sharma, was something he had spent years working on and writing and planning and it was a surprising hit and an excellent film. And then Karan started throwing other movies at him, ones that he hasn’t had years to plan for and so on, and of course they aren’t going to be as good. If his first movie had been a little less successful, he would have had to struggle longer before getting his second, and ultimately it probably would have been better for him, instead of rushing into these projects before they are fully ready.

      Yeah, the music really is so-so. PK’s music wasn’t that great either. Some directors seem to inspire great songs, but I don’t think Hirani is one of those directors.

      I still haven’t gotten around to see Dolly ki Doli, Rajkummar’s one straight rom-com (so far) and you are inspiring me to move it farther up the list!

      On Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 9:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I really like Dolly Ki Doli and think you would, too. However, I wouldn’t exactly call it a rom-com. It ends up not being what you think it is.

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          • SPOILER ALERT I think I recall reading that the initial ending was supposed to be more HEA, but I really like what they did instead. If I recall, Pulkit Samrat’s character was the male lead and Rajkumar was supporting. And there’s a perfect cameo in there, too.

            I’ve been wanting to see the two Rajkumar Rao romcoms that came out last year Behen Hogi Teri and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. And he’s got a string of lighter romantic roles this year bookended by the very intense roles in Omerta and Mental Hai Kya. Despite his artsy actor cred, this guy clearly wants to be a commercial actor, too, and that’s why he always sounds a bit bitter and whiney when he’s calling out nepotism in the industry. I get it but he’s kind of got a SSR ego thing going.

            And back to Pulkit Samrat being under the radar. I know he’s done a couple of really cheesy romantic roles in flops, but his turns in Fukrey, Dolly Ki Doli and a serious role in 3 Storeys are starting to put him on the map. I like him, I think.

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          • Shallow as it is, I like Rajkummar more than SSR just because he DIDN’T dump his long time girlfriend once he hit it big.

            On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:16 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I wasn’t overly disappointed with Dhadak trailer considering it is a Bollywood remake which is fair warning that glitz & embellishments will take priority & the actual content-which is pretty solid in Sairat-will be diluted like the sambhar in Udupi hotels.I liked Ishaan. He seems natural & free flowing.The driving force in Sairat is the heroine who is the ‘man’ in the whole story & breaks all the traditional gender roles. It’s obvious KJo chose this script specifically for launching Janhavi because it is a very well written role & one that was beautifully performed by the 14 year old Rinku Rajguru in her debut performance. She was the perfect mix of cockiness, arrogance, naivety, innocence & girlish loveliness & its a role to die for. My heart broke on seeing Archi reduced to another village belle type in designer, embroidered ghagras, bangles, jhumkas & with no emotion whatsoever. I will blame the makers for not pushing to get the best out of whoever they cast in this role. When they had this good a script to begin with, why not spend some more time guiding & mentoring the obviously-less-talented-actors to perform better instead of say, elaborate costume & set-piece designing(the sets & titles reminded me of Raanjhana)glossing.The general reasoning seems to be that dressing up,lineage equates to acting & praise from fellow filmy people makes it great acting.

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    • It’s not only a Bollywood remake, but a Karan Johar remake. Considering all that, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

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    • I’m also going to criticize, again, the choice of Shashank as director. It needed someone who isn’t afraid to really go dark. He just made Badrinath, which was fine for what it was, but clearly skated around real issues using humor and songs and glamour and so on. He is not the person I would hire to drag a deep complex performance out of a young first time actress and balance light and dark in a love story. The only person I can think of at Dharma who might have been able to pull this off is Karan Malhotra who made the new Agneepath. Everyone else is just too happy, too light weight.

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      • I agree. Not the director I would pick either. Especially because I hate Badrinath and think he doesn’t really know how plot and tone combine to be problematic.

        I would have gone with someone like Habib Faisal, but he’s already done the same basic story in Ishaqzaade so perfectly. Then a woman instead, I would love to see how a female director would do with this story.

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        • Ashwini Tiwari, the Bareilly Ki Barfi director, would have been amazing I think. Good handle on female characters, and able to do a film that doesn’t feel “filmi”. It also would be a good career step for her, from advertising films to a low budget sleeper hit (Nil Battey Sonnata) to a more crowd pleasing while still small film (BKB) and finally something officially Dharma with semi-big names in it.

          On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:21 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, she would have been exactly the one I would have picked once I remembered all of the options!

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  3. On the Dhadak trailer — I seem to be one of the few that don’t see anything so outstanding in Ishaan. What mainly struck me about him was that he looked much younger than Jahnvi, so that didn’t quite fit the needs of the story. Both of them I thought were fine. The heroine in Sairat is very much of a brat, to the extent that I didn’t like her character very much while watching the film. It was only much later, after I ‘d read about what the film was trying to show, that I realized that she was deliberately designed to be that way. Jahnvi on the other hand, comes off as sweeter and gentler than the character in Sairat. Whether that is because the character changed, or because her innate nature is coming through and she couldn’t pull off the brashness of the original, I can’t say at this point.

    I really doubt that there will be any mention of caste in this film. No mainstream commercial Hindi film has dealt with any caste related issues for at least 30 or more years. And if KJo takes that away, it removes much of the reason for the story. My heart sank anyway as soon it was announced that KJo was remaking Sairat, as I knew that all that made it so appealing would be lost in the Hindi version. So let’s see what it turns out to be.

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    • It’s a pity, but the character of Jahnvi definitely seems a few shades softer, a scene from trailer shows Jahnavi holding a gun to her temple, apparently threatening suicide, Archi from Sairat was the opposite, threatening goons with the gun type..

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    • If we didn’t bat an eyelid at her brother slapping his college teacher & rationalised it as the expected brattish behaviour of a rich, upper caste boy in a small town, why would Archi-coming from the same previlage-be any less? I’m not saying it’s the right behaviour for either of the kids-just that usually heroines from rich family are shown as magically retaining their sweet, loving nature(thereby making it easier to fall in love with them?) while their brothers brought up in same household are spoilt, cruel men. Sairat was brilliant in showing that girl or boy, entitlement makes for stupid, cocky individuals.If the heroine’s character has been altered to be a loving, gentle soul in Dhadak, it would be another reason(along with the non-addressal of caste theme)to ask -why did this remake ever get made?

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      • That’s exactly what I’m asking myself – there are already two northern versions: marathi and punjabi, it will be very hard to beat the original and we all know how the story ends. I’m so uninterested, I didn’t even watch Dhadak trailer.

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        • Without having seent he original, just knowing the outlines of the plot, it seems like what makes the difference is the tone. If they are remaking it, but remaking it with all the sharp edges worn down, then why even bother with an official remake? Just call it a new movie and use the same plot as QSQT, Bobby, Dil, and dozens of others.

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          • The trailer very much gave the impression that it was another happy go lucky Dharma rom com. So either the film is going to be a complete travesty of the original, or the audience is going to come out really, really mad that they were sold on one product but were served something entirely different.

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          • Ishaaqzaade had a bit of a similar problem, but I think the trailers and the film as a whole were a little cleverer about it. There was a tinge of darkness in even the lightest moments, something as simple as having everyone always carrying guns in the background already tipped you off that it wouldn’t be completely happy. But this movie, they definitely had moments of total happiness that make you think it’s going to be all “falala, happy happy!”

            On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:54 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Exactly why I love Ishaqzaade so much. It was edgy from the word go…you knew it wasn’t going to end happily.

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    • What’s very strange is that, unlike with a southern remake, there isn’t necessarily a market for this remake. A large amount of the box office for Hindi films still comes from Bombay, where (presumably) everyone already saw Sairat. There are only two reasons to do a remake, one because the story artistically speaks to you and you think you can do something new with it (doesn’t seem likely here), and two because you think you can benefit somehow from the success of the original. In this case, they might end up doing better if they hadn’t pretended to be a remake, you will just make people avoid it if they have already seen the original and have unhappy comparisons.

      Oh, and Dabangg! Don’t take that away from it, actually directly addressed caste. It wasn’t the central point of the plot, but it was clearly there.

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      • Great point about most of the audience having already seen the film & the comparison with original bringing up the flaws. The only other reason I can think of why this film was made is that it’s a great script & great role to launch anyone you want to hail as the next Alia Bhatt. Inevitably the nepotism charges are going to come up which can be countered by ‘but look-what a performance, what a talent, what a find’. Only like you said, Shashank Khaitan is no Meghana Gulzar or Imtiaz Ali to do the gritty, dark themes well & extract realistic performances from the actors.The recipe seems to have gone a little wrong this time.

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        • Yeah, in an odd way it might be a problem of not giving enough credit to the actors. Humpty Sharma was a great movie with great performances, but I think that might be a little more due to Varun and Alia than Shashank and they didn’t necessarily get the credit for it. Good script and all that, but their performances and chemistry brought it to a higher level. With this film, the script looks like it might have been a little diluted, and two first time actors just don’t have what it takes to bring their characters up without a director guiding them. Humpty came for Alia and Varun after they had already worked on Highway and Badlapur.

          On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:43 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes, I knew you would bring up Dabangg, but Salman pretty much blunted out the caste angle completely in the final product (it was only mentioned in passing once or twice), while in Abhinav’s original script, it was very much central to the plot (which was about the two politicians, not the police officer, btw).

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  4. Nargis, for instance, acts no better in English than she does in Hindi.
    Haha this has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in a while Margaret!! 😀

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      • I’m going to start trolling you on this! She’s not that bad:) In Main Tera Hero and that Housefull movie she really blended in well with the rest of the ridiculousness.

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        • No, she is the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of Indian film. First there is Nargis, then there is censorship.

          On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 8:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • So far as I can tell. I kind of liked that, a duck faced girl and a frog faced boy, they could have a whole family of amphibians.

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          • Good burn:) Still like her and I really like his funny self-awareness. He was pretty good in Mujhse Dosti Karoge and the Dhoom series, you have to admit.

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          • Oh, I love Uday! For all of those plus Pyaar Impossible, in which he was self-aware enough to right into the script the nickname “Froggy”.

            On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 11:34 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I pity every newcomer in the filmindustry that is launched with a lame/watered-down remake of an energetic movie…
    Sanju the movie doesn’t give me the vibes of a biopic of Sanjay Dutt anymore but a fictional documentary about a person called Sanju.
    Nargis Fakhri (I can’t think of her as only ‘Nargis’ because of my respect and love for Nargis) isn’t an actress who left a mark on me, not even as Ranbir’s love interest in Imtiaz’ Rockstar nor as the leading lady in John Abraham’s Madras Café.

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    • Nargis has left a mark on me, unfortunately, as you can tell.

      It really is an unfortunate launch. I can see the thinking, that it would be a strong script and a guaranteed winner to help them on their way, but it ends up just making their flaws that much easier to see in comparison. Especially today when it is so easy to find and watch films in other languages. And especially with a Marathi film that would have been watched in the original language by much of Bombay. And really really especially with a film that got so much critical acclaim and was heavily promoted on streaming sites.

      On Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 3:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. I feel that kjo want to run on coat tails of superhighway movie sairat.

    The biggest talking point of that movie was zingat song which became pan India favourite and is still run after 2.5 years.
    . Heck he has selected farah Khan to choreograph.

    I won’t be surprised if this song leads the promotion like kala chashmah did now that he is facing super backlash.

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  7. The more trailers are coming out the more I am getting the feeling that it will be a redemption arc for Sanju. He will shown as a victim of circumstances due to which he got stuck.
    Heck they are not showing his first 2 wives and sonam is a amalgamation of all his gfs till maanyata.

    I won’t be surprised that they will throw vicky kaushal’s character under the bus and put the blame on him for introducing Sanju to drugs/drinks.

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    • I am wondering about Vicky because it mostly looks like he is playing Kumar Guarav, but then Kumar (I don’t think) was into drugs and all that even briefly, and I am getting that same vibe from his character, that he will “seduce” poor innocent Sanjay into drugs.

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  8. Now for 3rd news.

    NARGIS FAKHRI rajkumar why yyyyyy?
    You have so many movies you could have skipped this particular movie a d not missed on anything.

    NARGIS is close 2nd on list of worst actors ever after shraddha as at least NARGIS is not product of nepotism.

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    • I really hope it made Rajkummar a ton of good connections overseas, because that’s the only reason I can think of for him to act opposite Nargis

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      • Maybe he had signed and completed it before his break out last year and the film got delayed due to no buyers etc.

        His 2major releases dis year are definitely omerta and fanny Khan.
        From omerta he got critical a claim and fanny Khan might catapult him into higher league due to presence of anil sonam

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        • You are probably right about the 5 Weddings delay. And in the meantime, Nargis’ stock went down and Rajkummar’s went up.

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    • And think, 5 Wedding is supposed to be released 21th September, and 3 weeks earlier Stree – Rajkumar and Shraddha film. The guy was working so hard for years and now in one month his career can be destroyed. But really was he on drugs when he signed those movies?

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      • Maybe some anonymous donor paid him off? So that he can answer once and for all the question that plagues the world: Who is worse, Shraddha or Nargis?

        On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Rajkummar Rao is so cute, I’d love to see more of him! Also when Ishaan started singing to Janhvi, that feeling of realness that you were talking about really struck me, he didn’t sound like a fantastic singer, or have Arijit Singh’s voice come out of his mouth, he had a young, awkwardly adorable voice and I really really like that.

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    • They must have known they had something special with Ishaan’s singing scene, since they used it to bookend the trailer. Hopefully there is more of that in the film, and less of the glamorous perfectness.

      On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 4:44 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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