News Round-Up: Shahrukh Stuff I Don’t Believe, Kangana Manikarnika Oddness, Yash Raj Promotes Thugs and Sui Dhaaga, Item Songs Are Everywhere

Happy News Round-Up Day!  There is, as is often the case, very little actual news.  But I can still entertain myself by thinking about what is behind the particular kind of fake or empty news stories we are being fed.

Shahrukh Stuff I Don’t Believe

Almost everywhere is now reporting that the Meer Foundation donated 21 Lakhs to flood relief.  I believe Shahrukh personally donated money (he almost always does) and I believe his foundation also probably donated money.  I am interested that this story appeared, without any quotes or source, very suddenly through out the entire internet.  It’s not just in Bollywoodhungama, which is essentially as reliable as toilet paper, but also in NDTV which is slightly better (especially if the story has a liberal slant to it), and Quint, which is very very good.  So someone, either the Meer Foundation PR or Shahrukh’s PR team, or just some random person who decided to spread the story, sent a press release to every single news outlet simultaneously and asked for them not to give a source.  Very weird to me.  If Shahrukh wants to get serious about promoting his charity, he’s got to get the Meer Foundation a spokesperson so these stories can be confirmed through official channels without making it look like he is blowing his own horn. (Quint story here)

Oh, and Bollywoodhungama is also reporting that Suhana and either her mother or her father will be the first guest on the new season of Koffee that Karan just started filming.  And they are saying this based on one quote from a “source” which is repeated word for word on every single site.  Here, check out Bollywoodhungama.  Versus Deccan Chronicle .  Word for word, the same article.  Which also makes me not believe it.  If it was real news that leaked out, it would be leaked to one source who would write up the article their own way.  If it was real news being officially announced, it would be an official announcement.  This just means some PR person wants us to believe it is true, whether or not it is.  My guess is someone at Star TV saw how much Suhana was trending after her magazine cover and made this story up and sent it around to all the usual suspects.

I don’t think it is true, because Suhana isn’t being presented as ready for a Koffee appearance yet.  She’s still going to school full time overseas (so far as I know).  The Vogue cover made sense as introducing her as a full grown of age adult and getting the first interview over with, but it would be a terrible way to launch someone who was about to have their first real film.  Koffee would be too.  Wait and talk about the movie first, then do the promos of the person.  Sara Ali Khan is going around to parties and stuff, but she isn’t giving interviews or photo shoots until her film is ready to be released.  Alia did the same, so did Jhanvi.  It just doesn’t make sense to flip it around.  Heck, even the story says “now that her Bollywood debut has been decided”, which if DEFINITELY has not.  I mean, yes, she wants to be an actress, but there’s not even the beginnings of the rumors of the stories that would happen if she was ready to sign her first movie.  Again, we just went through this with Sara and Jhanvi, it was impossible to hide.

Image result for suhana vogue cover

So, yeah, two sourceless word for word the same Shahrukh stories.  Which proves someone (or two someones) somewhere has a really bad/good PR firm.  Bad because the stories are transparent, good because they knew the Indian media will print absolutely anything at all related to Shahrukh without a second thought because it will get them clicks.

 

Kangana Takes Over Manikarnika

This story seems really really weird to me, but maybe it isn’t.  We’ll have to wait to watch the film to find out.  According to reports that are most likely leaked from the film’s PR team, Kangana is supervising the post-production work on Manikarnika herself.  The director Krish is deep into work on his massive NTR biopic, the film CGI and rough cut work still isn’t done, so Kangana is doing it.  This is either the standard part of what a lead actor does, or just very strange and a bad sign for the film, or completely made up PR stuff, and I’m not sure which it is.

From the standard side of things, this really is not unheard of.  Kangana is clearly the lead actress in this, she has already helped directors with dialogue and so on and is aggressively moving into the realm of being a “male” style star instead of female.  And part of that is being able to understand filmmaking at a high level.  So maybe she has put in the work and is truly qualified to take on this challenge.  She is the one big name in the film and the lead character, so presumably she has a good grasp of the story and the needs of the film as a whole.

Image result for manikarnika

(Also, can the film possibly live up to the poster?)

On the other hand, she is really young to be doing all this!  Both in actual age (only 31, which is old to be an actress but young to take charge of post-production of a film) and in terms of film experience (only a few films old as a leading star).  The male stars didn’t start taking this kind of control of their films until they had that chief star position in several films, and were considerably older than Kangana is now.

Plus, doesn’t it seem strange that a director would just take off and start another project?  That seemed strange to me straight through, that these two massive projects with the same director were happening so close together.  Made me think he either had less faith/interest in one than the other, or Manikarnika was massively delayed in filming for some reason.  So there is a possible interpretation of this story of basically everyone but Kangana abandoning a sinking ship/refusing to work with her any more (her own description of her working methods on Koffee did not make her sound like a pleasant co-worker).

And then there’s the final possibility, that someone in PR heard Kangana was giving opinions on post-production and spun it into this whole story both to make her look like more of a Star and a power in the industry, and to make it look less like Krish just took off and left the film.

We’ll see, if the film is a total disaster in the end result, I’m blaming Kangana (for being the biggest name in the film and driving everyone else away).  If it’s brilliant, I’m blaming her too (for brilliantly carrying this project through to completion).  And if it’s mediocre, I’ll go with the PR person theory (because they knew it was a movie that was neither good nor bad and just needed a little more buzz).

 

Yash Raj Promotion Team Strikes

I love Yash Raj stories, because everything just works so perfectly.  There’s no clumsy press release without sources, no feeling of them scrambling to hide mistakes.  They keep everything secret, and then publicly and openly release exactly the information they want to release in exactly the way they want to release it.  It’s just beautiful to watch.

First, for Sui Dhaaga, from the beginning they have been selling a sort of amorphous patriotic idea of “made in India”.  And focusing on the actual process of making things (Varun is taking sewing lessons and so on).  Not focused on the stars, not focused on the romance, just the “made in India” message.  Which is the real USP of this film, perfectly calculated for that kind of blandly political and no one can object sweet spot that you need nowadays to avoid internet hatred.  And so the publicity campaign next step, announced with quotes from Maneesh Sharma and Anushka Sharm and Varun, no anonymous sources here, is to travel around meeting young entrepreneurs. (story here)

Second, Thugs!  They’ve only got 2 and a half months to get this thing going, so now is the time for the leaks and rumors to stop and the actual stories to start.  First one to come out, they are editing the film in the YRF preview theater, not in an editing bay.  Because it’s a BIG movie and you have to watch it on the BIG screen and it will be India’s BIGGEST film ever and so on.  Big big big, that’s the message.  But it’s hidden within an actual semi-substantive story, that they are editing it in the preview theater.  That’s the kind of thing people will repeat to each other in real life and online because it catches your attention.  YRF is just so good.  Unlike the Manikarnika team that gave us a story which catches your attention and then makes you go “huh?  what?”. (story here)

Image result for aamir khan fatima

(Also, do you know how hard it was to resist the joke “Thugs of Hindostan: Everything is Big but Aamir”?  And I guess I didn’t resist after all, so it wasn’t just hard, it was impossible)

 

Item Songs, That Old Reliable

This isn’t technically fake news, because it is stuff that is definitely actually happening, but it is pretty empty and cheap news.  Malaika Arora is doing an item song in Vishal Bhardwaj’s next, similar (PR says) to Bipasha’s “Beedi” in Omkara.  And Sonakshi Sinha is doing an item song in Total Dhamaal.

And now everyone who wasn’t really interested in those movies is interested in the item songs.  And everyone who wasn’t really interested in Sonakshi and Malaika is interested in them because of item songs.  So basically what this news cycle is telling me is, Neha Dhupia’s statement is as true as ever, “Only Sex and Shahrukh Khan sell”.

(Really?  This kind of thing is enough to get you talking about a movie and actress you didn’t care about a second ago?)

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12 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Shahrukh Stuff I Don’t Believe, Kangana Manikarnika Oddness, Yash Raj Promotes Thugs and Sui Dhaaga, Item Songs Are Everywhere

    • It feels like an odd push-pull to me. On the one hand, Shahrukh doesn’t like talking about his charity. On the other hand, he knows for the foundation to grow, and for his own PR, he should. So you have a foundation, and it has a website, but he can’t bring himself to actually say anything on the website. Anyway, if you don’t know, he funds housing and treatment for kids with cancer, and for woman who are recovering from acid attacks. And I guess also just funnels his personal donations through the foundation for ease of bookkeeping?

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      • There was a politician who tweeted that SRK himself donated 5 crores for the Kerala floods but didn’t talk about it. It was a jab at the PayTM founder who gave a measly 10 thousand rupees and then bragged about it. It resulted in lots of anger and the PayTM guy had to delete his tweet about the donation.

        The Meer Foundation donation was separate. I think he knows he has to publicize his foundation if he actually wants it to have a larger reach and of course it helps to stave off the anti-national rants but he doesn’t like doing it and you can sense his discomfort.

        The article about Suhana was written by Subhash Jha – his name was there on some of the sites. His articles also go to other sites like Bollywood Hungama but I think they remove his byline. The desi media also has no ethics and tends to just copy things from each other. I think the show is supposed to film in September and Suhana would not even be in town because she would be away in school at that time.

        Jha, if you’re not aware, is one film journalist SRK absolutely hates. He had once in a rare outburst said he “hates” Jha and never speaks to him.

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        • the Suhana story is so ridiculous. It could be true, eventually, but this version is so obviously fake. How can they say in the same story “Suhana will open the season!” and also “we don’t know if her mother or father will be the one joining her”. So, you locked down the schedule of the 19 year old college student, but will just get whichever major international business person you want at the last minute to join her? If Suhana is opening the season (which I still don’t believe), it is something that would be prepped and planned to the nth degree, not something that is being thrown together at the end of August.

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          • I do think Suhana appearing on an episode is a possibility simply based on the fact that her parents are obviously allowing her to be more public or else they would not have okayed the Vogue cover.

            I’m not sure what their plan is since she’s headed to college. What would be the point of publicizing her 4-5 years in advance of her debuting in a film? Maybe they just want to get her used to being a public person and learn to live with criticism. If she’s not able to handle it, she still has enough time to choose another career path.

            Aryan is older but the same push is not there for him so that’s interesting.

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          • I can see the logic of the Vogue cover before college. Ananya is getting a launch, her friends are moving forward meaning she will have that urge herself, and meaning she will be even more in the public eye as she goes to their parties and premieres and so on. So do one easy simple interview and photo shoot, and then pack her off to college. Sara did something similar. And there’s Jhanvi, which is a sad example of a girl who is giving her first interviews without parental support. I think you hit the nail on the head with your idea, let her try it out and see how she likes it before making any commitments. And they didn’t have to bother with Aryan, because he never wanted it in the same way.

            Koffee, that I just can’t see, there’s no win here. The guests who do well are the ones who are outrageous and over the top and there is no way a teenage girl should be doing that, especially as her first introduction to a TV audience. That’s what happened with Sonam and she’s had to live it down for years. And then the alternative is that she is bland and boring and dumb and then everyone will resent her for getting unfair opportunities. Which is what happened with Alia and they had to do rapid damage control. A good idea if she had a movie coming out or something and this was just one of many man interviews and any mistakes could get lost, but not if it is the one and only thing and everyone will be obsessing over it.

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  1. I think Aryan Khan is gorgeous and I hope they launch him at some point. He gives me the younger version of SRK vibe, but confident and well groomed. My guess is that they want to delay his launch until SRK moves away from the leading man/romance type roles.

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    • I’d be surprised if he is launched just because he has always avoided the spotlight so much while his sister his sought it. Not in an age inappropriate way or anything, just that Suhana is more likely to go to a party with her parents and pose for the photographers instead of running in the back door or just staying home. On the other hand, I could also believe he has more screen presence and power than anyone else in the family, maybe even acting talent, but might choose not to use it. It certainly seems like his parents aren’t the type to force him to join the family business if he doesn’t want to, and they made sure he has the education to do anything he wants outside of film. I think he’s in a filmmaking course now, but I could also easily imagine him, like, deciding he wants to be a doctor and moving to some small town in America and living out a life in anonymity. Like some of the Kapoor kids did, Kareena and Karisma and Ranbir are famous, but they’ve got loads of cousins who are just going about their lives completely unknown and happy.

      On Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 1:28 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • Oh I don’t see him going away into obscurity. SRK himself has said that Aryan is extremely ambitious and has told him he wants to be bigger than his father. I get the feeling Suhana is much more willing to use her father’s connections than Aryan is.

        I think the issue is what branch of films he’s going to. He’s studying filmmaking so he may become a director or producer and stay away from acting. That will give him some peace and keep away the excessive scrutiny an on-screen celebrity gets.

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        • He has the advantage of Red Chillies, if he wants to be really big and powerful, he could easily to a training period there and at other houses (Dharma, YRF), and then come back and take over management or whatever else he wants. Like Adi did with YRF, and Karan with Dharma, took what his father had built and rocketed off from it before they were 30. If that’s Aryan’s plan, it could explain Shahrukh’s push for film roles and Red Chillies growth, and founding the Meer Foundation. He’s looking at being able to hand Aryan a healthy company and then retire and move into doing weird movies that excite him and running the foundation instead of the day to day grind. Feels very desi, work and work until 55 and then hand down what you built to the next generation and enjoy an elder adviser position.

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          • It seems like the most likely path. He can take over Red Chillies and SRK can act and do whatever he wants without the pressure of running a business. Aryan is also learning quietly away from the hype. Last year he had assisted in the yearly competition Uber has for aspiring filmmakers to make an ad for them. The one he assisted (with his college friends) won the grand prize. Aamir’s son, for example, was assisting Raju Hirani and Aryan could be easily doing something like that but he is off doing his own thing.

            I recall SRK saying that as well meaning as his friends like Karan Johar are, he mainly sent Aryan away from India to keep him away from them. They were all pressuring him to become an actor and really want to launch him and he said Aryan was getting disturbed by it. He can stay away for a while and figure out what he wants to do without all these prominent people from the film industry hovering around him.

            Suhana of course is completely different. I fear that she wants it so badly that it may be really difficult for her if she doesn’t succeed.

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          • I would hope that the Vogue cover was a compromise between her and her parents. She can get a taste of fame and photos and all the rest of it, but then she has to go off and study and grow up a bit before leaping in. It would just be SUCH a bad idea for Suhana to be launched right now. Setting aside concerns about her being too young and not being able to handle the fame and so on and so on, the market is just at a terrible time for it. There’s too many young pretty legacy teen girls running around. And too much talk about nepotism. If she just waits a bit, the market will change and it will be better. Even if she were 22 right now and perfectly trained and mature enough for a launch, it would still be a bad idea, just because of market forces. If they’d launched her 5 years ago when she was a young teen, it would almost have been better.

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