04032023-LSTL-01.qxd 3/4/2023 12:40 AM Page 1 c m y b TRIBUNE Up next Rajkummar Rao has dropped the teaser of his next film, a biopic on Indian industrialist, Srikanth Bolla titled Sri, which is likely to release in September this year. TMS LUDHIANA | SATURDAY | 4 MARCH 2023 GREAT INITIATIVE “Being born in Mumbai, there’s no way I will be supporting any other team but Mumbai. I think Harmanpreet Kaur is a great choice for Mumbai Indians captain, as she is captain of Indian national cricket team in all formats. Having said that, I think I am rooting for women in general not just my home team, as it’s a great initiative by BCCI. — PRANITAA PANDIT, ACTRESS KIARA ADVANI It’s a proud moment! Actress Deepika Padukone joins Oscars 2023 as a presenter Deepika Padukone has been setting milestones with her global journey. The actress, once again, is all set to represent India at The Academy Awards 2023, as she has been announced as one of the presenters. Deepika joins the likes of Emily Blunt, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Janelle Monáe, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Connelly, Riz Ahmed and Melissa McCarthy, among others. The 95th Oscars will air live on ABC channel on Monday (March 13) at 6.30 am India time. This is not the first time that Deepika is representing the country on a global platform. She was chosen to be the only Indian on the Cannes Jury in 2022. She even unveiled the FIFA World Cup trophy last year. Meanwhile, on the work front, Deepika Padukone will be seen in Fighter, opposite Hrithik Roshan, and Project K, which will be her first collaboration with South-Indian star Prabhas. —TMS As India hosts it’s first-ever Women Premiere League for cricket, fans sing, Yeh Toh Bas Shuruat Hai… Sheetal A HEAD of the International Women’s Day on March 8, as the firstever Indian Women’s Premiere League takes off, here is a look at all the entertainment planned for the opening ceremony. Also, celebs share the team and players they are rooting for. Star-studded affair The opening ceremony will be held tonight at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai. While Punjabi-Canadian singer AP Dhillon will be seen singing his songs as well as the WONDERFUL BEGINNING KRITI SANON THE INDIAN WOMEN’S CRICKET TEAM Shot in the arm anthem, Yeh Toh Bas Shuruat Hai, actresses Kriti Sanon and Kiara Advani will be the star performers from Bollywood, who will grace the event. The WPL will go on till March 26 with five teams — Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Captials and UP Warriors — competing against each other. While Kriti Sanon had previously performed in one of the IPL seasons, Kiara Advani and AP Dhillon will be debuting as premiere league performers. Kriti updated her fans: “See you guys there, super proud.” Dhillon had previously performed in a Mumbai concert, which was sold out. Kiara also shared the details on her Instagram story, “Excited to cheer our women in blue. Happy to perform at the opening ceremony of WPL.” Epic anthem AP DHILLON WPL theme song, Yeh Toh Bas Shuruat Hai, got a warm welcome on Twitter as well as other social media handles. If one user called it a better track than the IPL, another praised Shankar Mahadevan, the composer and singer, for giving such a good song. The female part in the song has been sung by Harshdeep Kaur, Neeti Mohan and Akriti Kakar. The theme song was launched on Wednesday while the mascot, ‘Shakti the Tiger’, was unveiled on Thursday. Jay Shah, BCCI secretary, shared on Twitter, “Fast, fierce and full of fire! She’s ready to set the field ablaze, lekin #YehTohBasShuruatHai!” Campaign right Viacom18 has also launched a song Har Zubaan Par Naam Tera, which crossed 2.3 million views mark in just two days. Not just in cricket, I would like to see female leagues in other franchise formats, such as Hockey India League and Pro Kabaddi League, too. So, in a way, I would like to take the WPL anthem song, Yeh Toh Bas Shuruat Hai, quite literally. — KATE KHARMA, ACTRESS ROYAL TOUCH I believe Royal Challengers Bangalore is the strongest team with homegrown talent, Smriti Mandhana, Renuka Singh, Richa Ghosh, and international stars like Sophie Devine, Ellyse Perry and Heather Knight. I will be rooting for Royal Challengers. International players will definitely provide more exposure to our players, which is a good thing for the overall development of sport. — HITANSHU JINSI, ACTOR NET, FLICKS & MORE Taj: Divided by Blood does not have the complexity and vision required to do justice to a significant historical period, yet is intriguing in bits and parts Refreshing bouquet GLORY Mona Three generations in a sprawling two-storey Gulmohar Villa come together for one last night of celebrations, before charting their own journeys. Each facing individual challenges, while some look forward to the freedom while others not quite. Director Rahul V Chittella, . who is also the writer of this story along with Arpita Mukherjee, paints a world with themes of adoption, ambition, & GORE Nonika Singh It’s a show that boasts of a stellar cast, a British director and a story that is full of intrigue and drama. Alas, Taj: Divided by Blood appears less than sum of its glorious parts. Mughal history has always fascinated historians, filmmakers and common man. In the lanes of cinematic history, Mughal-eAzam and Jodhaa Akbar have been befitting odes to its grandeur and glory. But as the story of Mughals with dollops of fiction once again leaps on to the small screen, for one it does not cover the Mughals in glory. Why even Akbar the great is not quite the invincible emperor, at least not in his ageing avatar. Indeed, that could have been the series’ strength for humanising heroic characters with their vulnerabilities intact is how we need to view history and history-makers. Here, complexity of blue-blooded royalty is rarely fleshed out. On the paper Naseeruddin Shah with perfect Urdu diction may have seemed a perfect choice for King Akbar. But a brilliant actor like him is let down by a regular script. Focusing on the succession war, surprisingly, in a series primarily about Mughals, it is Rajput valour and dignity which comes out stronger. Man Singh is a man of integrity willing to sacrifice his son for the crown. Equal- Film: Gulmohar Director: Rahul V. Chittella Cast: Sharmila Tagore, Manoj Bajpayee, Simran, Suraj Sharma, Amol Palekar, Anuraag Arora, Chandan Roy Rating: Web series: Taj: Divided by Blood Director: Ron Scalpello Cast: Dharmendra, Naseeruddin Shah, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sandhya Mridul, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, Aashim Gulati, Murad and Daniyal Mirza Rating: ly scrupulous is Maharana Pratap of Mewar, who refuses the bait offered by one of Akbar’s wily courtiers. Certain characters, especially Man Singh’s son Durjan, and the famed Birbal, appear endearing. But the same can’t be said about Akbar’s sons; all three are flawed, some to the point of debauchery. The script is relatively partial to Salim (Aashim Gulati). But even he is no saint, rather a womaniser and an un-empathetic husband and father. Thus, when he lectures his father on his treatment of women, it’s a misguided missive. Murad (Taaha Shah), Akbar’s second son, is merciless, almost barbaric and overtly religious Daniyal is gay. Daniyal’s character does have an arc; from a timid prince to vengeful one, Shubham Kumar Mehra Although the many subplots are difficult to process, the amiable presence of Sharmila Tagore and the masterful act by Manoj Bajpayee makes film a pleasant watch playing him gets his nuances right. Women actors even talnted ones like Sandhya Mridul and Zarina Wahab don’t get to do much. Catfights abound and one can understand the angst of Rajput princess Manbai (Anushka Luhar), wife of Salim. But the dialogues given to her, especially the abuses, seem totally out of place, if not context. As for the fabled tragic love story of Salim and Anarkali, well, it appears only an aside and fails to evoke the passion or emotion. The fictional twist to Anarkali’s character though interesting is too much of a flight of fancy to be palatable. Aditi Rao Hydari looks graceful and carries the soulful expression of pathos naturally. Yet if even today you can’t forget the beautiful Madhubala as Anarkali, Aditi’s isn’t a part that will stay with you for too long. In fact, more than the romantic angle, the series is on a strong footing when it plays up plotting and machinations of succession. Despite obvious limitations, the 10-part series is not an c m y b outright bore. War scenes are well mounted and the series may not go all out to create a spectacle, yet has the requisite finesse and flourish of an era gone by. The climax opens the door for the second season and whets our appetite too for the ensuing game of thrones, which is likely to get bloodier. For now, the bloodbath of the first season may not be India’s answer to the magnum opus Game of Thrones, but has enough drama, if not insight, to keep you interested in palace intrigues. (Streaming on Zee5) love, loss and longing. The story of the film Gulmohar follows Kusum Batra (Sharmila Tagore), whose decision to sell their Delhi house, where they had spent 34 years together, isn’t sitting well with her son Arun Batra (Manoj Bajpayee). His son Aditya (Suraj Sharma), along with his wife, doesn’t want to move to the sprawling penthouse they have zeroed-in at Gurgaon, but rent out an apartment with his wife elsewhere. Kusum’s grandchildren and her devar Sudhakar Batra’s (Amol Palekar) family are also stakeholders of this villa. Rahul V Chittella’s debut . feature weaves in a world that one can relate to. Amongst the multiple narratives, it’s the mother-son strand that stands out prominently. Sharmila Tagore makes it back to screen after 12 years and she has a gorgeous, gracious presence. As the head of the family, the dignified demeanour she carries through ups and downs, and the twinkle in her eyes, is endearing. Manoj Bajpayee is a bril- liant actor and he nails this role too — an adopted son, trying to keep the values instilled by his late father intact. His reverent attitude towards the mother, loving ways towards wife Indu (Simran) and concern towards his son Aditya (Suraj Sharma) reflects effectively through the different frames. In the loving way how he says ‘mamma’ or how his body language changes as the reality of the house papers is revealed, his mastery over the craft is quite palpable. The lead is well supported by the impressive ensemble cast. Suraj, as the struggling son, Santhy as house-help Reshma Saeed, Jatin Goswami as watchman Jeentandra, and Anuraag Arora, as cousin Kamal Batra, perform marvellously. One absolutely adores Talat Aziz as Avinash. It’s the music that wins your heart, right from the first frame. Dilkash Saza Yeh Deeje to Hori Mein, which concludes the film, are superb. Not just the numbers, the background score is amaz- ing. Kudos to cinematographer Eeshit Narain for capturing Delhi’s ‘long forgotten in smog’ beauty alive on screen. Chittella’s film carries hints of his filmmaker friend and mentor Mira Nair’s signature, and hints of Monsoon Wedding. However, the film that is a microcosm of the world, is let down by the numerous subplots. By the half-time, as the conflict hits a crescendo, one has already had too much. The viewer struggles to keep up with the characters and their respective storylines. The film talks about adoption, ambition, generation gap; has queer angle, talks of love marred by caste, class, education and religious divide. While one is all for the queer community, to add not one but two lesbian love stories is a little too much. On account of so many subplots, at 132 minutes, the film seems stretched. But it sure paints a happy picture, predictably with everyone getting their fair share of sun at the end. (The film is streaming on Disney + Hotstar)
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