Vikas Bahl to sue Anurag Kashyap, Mahesh Bhatt upset by Vinta Nanda's #MeToo story, Katrina Kaif’s role in Thugs of Hindostan revealed, and other Bollywood Updates

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Bollywood Updates

MUMBAI: The world of Bollywood is buzzing with the hottest news. Sit back and read the spiciest Bollywood updates of the day that TellyChakkar has to offer.

Shilpa Shetty takes a dig at dating coach Anveshi Jain!

Anveshi Jain, a popular dating coach who has helped others find love is now on the lookout to find one for herself. Anveshi recently participated in Shilpa Shetty’s Amazon Prime Series Hear Me, Love Me. The show is about finding love Shilpa being her wingwoman. While talking about the show and Shilpa as the host, Anveshi said, ‘Hear me, Love me is an extremely unique concept that comes with all the laugh and luck for the contestants. Especially the fact that Shilpa Shetty is hosting the show made me excited during the shoots, as she is such a calm and composed person. With her as a wingwoman, you honestly couldn’t ask for any better.’

Shilpa took a sweet dig at Anveshi by asking her about being single despite being a dating coach herself. Laughing at the dig, Anveshi was all praises for Shilpa and the way she connects with the people. She said, ‘I have grown up seeing Shilpa Shetty’s movies and dancing on her iconic songs. Receiving advice from her is surely a wonderful experience. She is, to be honest, the wonder woman of our country. A lady with so many roles like an entrepreneur, a cook, a writer, a yoga instructor, an actor, and now a dating show host—unbelievably amazing.’

It is going to be a wonderful film, Sonakshi Sinha on Kalank

Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who is busy shooting for her forthcoming film Kalank, says that the Abhishek Verman directorial is going to be a wonderful film. Conceptualized by Karan Johar and his late father Yash Johar almost 15 years ago, Kalank is an epic drama set in the 1940s. Talking about the film to the media, Sonakshi said, ‘I am having a great experience shooting that film. I think it's going to be a wonderful film. I am playing a very different character, and other actors who are working in it are also playing different characters. I think the audience hasn't seen actors playing such kind of roles in their previous films, so it is very interesting.’

Sonakshi will also be seen in the recreated version of the iconic song Mungda from the 1977 film Inkaar, which was picturized on Helen and Amjad Khan in Indra Kumar's upcoming film Total Dhamaal.

‘I am very excited for it. In fact, it is my second song of Helen aunty this year as I did Chin Chin Chu in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi,’ said Sonakshi.

Reacting to the #MeToo movement, which is gaining momentum in India, especially in Bollywood, Sonakshi said, ‘Should women speak up when they have been harassed? Yes, of course, 100 percent, and should the men who have exploited women be punished? Yes, it's 200 percent yes. Having said that, I also feel that facts and figures should be verified before media and celebrities talk about it. If it's in the hands of law, then the law should take its course, but definitely, I feel that women should speak up and the men who committed these things should be punished.’

Kalank also stars Aditya Roy Kapur, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Dutt, and Madhuri Dixit Nene in lead roles. It is produced by Dharma Productions and is releasing on April 19, 2019.

#MeToo: Vikas Bahl to sue Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane

Queen director Vikas Bahl has sent a legal notice to his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, whom he has called ‘opportunists’ for making ‘defamatory allegations’ in the wake of the ongoing #MeToo movement.

Last year, Vikas was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the film collective Phantom Films for an incident that took place in 2015 in Goa. The allegation resurfaced as the #MeToo movement garnered steam in India. Anurag came out in support of the allegations last week in a HuffPost India report and Tweeted about it, while Vikramaditya called Vikas a ‘sexual offender’.

Vikas, through two separate but almost similar legal notices dated October 9 and sent to Anurag and Vikramaditya via email, has ‘denied all allegations and suggestions’ made by them. He has reserved his ‘right to take appropriate legal action’ against them, and claims the statements have been made as a ‘result of professional jealousy and with the sole intent to defame him, malign his image and destroy his career.

Anurag and Vikramaditya have been asked to withdraw their statements, tender an unconditional apology to Vikas via social media, stating the allegations are baseless, and to hand over all material and the name of the source through which they have obtained the information within a period of 24 hours from the receipt of the notice, failing which Vikas would initiate ‘criminal proceedings’ and a ‘civil suit for defamation’ against them.

The two directors have been accused of arriving at a conclusion based on hearsay material as they were neither a witness nor an alleged victim, but instead an ‘opportunist seeking to derive benefit based on unsubstantiated information’.

He has accused them of also using the opportunity to dissolve Phantom Films, making him look like the person responsible for the production house's fall. The disbanding of the company, which also included Madhu Mantena, was announced last week.

‘There have been ongoing discussions between all four directors at Phantom to part ways amicably owing to creative and personal differences. You have, thereafter, falsely and conveniently portrayed to the media that the reason for parting ways is supposedly the alleged incident of May 2015, which is false and done in bad taste,’ read the notice, sent by law firm Jayakar & Partners on behalf of Vikas.

As per the allegations of the unidentified woman, Vikas reportedly insisted on dropping her to her hotel room after an event on 5 May 2015, pretended to pass out drunk on her bed, and later masturbated on her. The notice further pointed out that the alleged victim herself has referred to Anurag's media statements as ‘sudden moral enlightenment’, making it clear that ‘there is personal agenda’ and a trace of ‘personal vendetta’.

Vikas says his Queen contributed immensely to Phantom Films' growth trajectory, and now, as he is on the verge of releasing a Rs. 100 crore budget film, Super 30, starring Hrithik Roshan, Anurag and Vikramaditya by design ‘after having remained silent about the alleged incident and alleged victim for three years’ have come forward and supported the alleged victim. The notice claims that the two directors attempted to ‘bribe’ another employee of Phantom Films to make a similar complaint.

Amyra Dastur speaks about facing harassment in Bollywood and South film world

Actress Tanushree Dutta opening the floodgates for the #MeToo movement in India has led to several celebrated names coming out to speak about their unsavoury experiences. Actress Amyra Dastur says she has been a victim of ‘harassment’ at the hands of ‘men and women’ herself. However, she says she doesn't have the guts to name and shame them.

Amyra made her acting debut in Bollywood with Issaq in 2013 and was later seen in Hindi films like Mr. X, Kaalakaandi, and Kung Fu Yoga, which was also dubbed in Mandarin and English. The 25-year-old actress has also featured in Tamil and Telugu movies like Anegan, Manasuku Nachindi, and Raja Gadu.

Asked if she had faced the casting couch or harassment in her journey, Amyra said, ‘To be honest, I haven't faced casting couch in the south or Bollywood. But yes, I have faced my share of harassment in both industries. I don't have the guts to name them because they are powerful people—men and women who made sure I felt helpless.’ She says that one day, she will ‘definitely call them out on it’.

‘But until I don't feel safe and secure, I won't point fingers. They know exactly who they are and what they have done. What I will say for now is that they better stop their discriminating ways because there's definitely a wave of change coming and their status won't be enough to protect them from Karma,’ she added.

Citing an incident, Amyra said, ‘I have had an actor squeeze himself up against me during a shot in a song and whisper in my ear that he was so glad that I was in the film with him. When I threw him off me and refused to speak to him again, he made my experience miserable. My director told me to suck it up and honestly couldn't care less. I was constantly called early to set and made to wait for hours and hours for my shot. I was made to shoot 18 hours a day and slept for 4–5 hours if I was lucky.’

The actress, who started her career at the age of 16 as a model, says that ultimately, she was made to apologize to the actor. ‘To top it all, I was made to apologize to the actor for my difficult behaviour (as I kept ignoring him) by the producer,’ she said.

Amyra says that on another film set, the director would yell and scream at her every single day of the shoot. ‘Sometimes, he would call me early to set, make me wait all day in my vanity van, and then send an assistant director after 12–13 hours to tell me I wasn't going to shoot. He told me I should be 'grateful' that he even took me for this film.’

The #MeToo movement in India started after Tanushree in September recalled an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar from the sets of Horn OK Pleassss in 2008. After that, a slew of controversies surrounding Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, and Alok Nath have emerged.

#MeToo: I feel fearless, says Vinta Nanda

Writer–producer Vinta Nanda, who has made allegation of sexual assault against Alok Nath, on Tuesday said to the media that for the first time in 20 years, she is feeling fearless to talk about the incident.

With the #MeToo movement gaining momentum in India in the past few weeks, a new case emerged late on Monday evening. In a chilling post, television producer–director Vinta accused actor Alok Nath of sexually assaulting her when she was the producer of popular 1990s show Tara (Zee TV), which had the actor in a lead role.

Alok Nath, known as the ‘sanskaari bapuji’ from family dramas, reacted on the incident, saying he ‘neither denies nor agrees’ with Vinta’s allegations and that ‘only what a woman says will be considered’.

When we asked Vinta to comment on Alok Nath’s stand on the issue, she said, ‘He is obviously disempowered. You need guts to come out and say yes to what had happened and seek apology for it. He didn't deny even in 2003–2005 when I talked and wrote about it in the media, so he is not in a position to deny my claims even today. For the first time in 20 years, I am feeling fearless because I have spoken out which I had to.’

When asked whether she approached the media and the TV channel concerned when the incident happened with her, Vinta said, ‘That wasn't the time... When I opened my mouth, so many cameras and so much press wasn't around me. When I spoke then, not a single person asked me whether it had really happened. It was all brushed under the carpet...Everybody in the channel also knew about it, and the press had reported the incident due to which he was thrown out of the serial. If you go back to the archives, you will see all those reports.’

Responding to whether the #MeToo storm in India is a positive step towards getting justice, she said: ‘When I was posting my experience on Facebook, I didn't have any idea that it would become such a huge issue, because every other day, I post something or the other there. My intention was to let it out of my chest.’

‘I feel the movement which is happening now is very motivating and encouraging. That is the reason I have come up with this horrible experience again, because I knew that what didn't happen earlier despite speaking about it will happen now. Within one hour of putting up the post, it went viral and I started getting support which I am very grateful for, because without that support, one wouldn't get confidence to speak before the media about such issues.’

She said she is not afraid of anything after speaking the truth.

‘I am over 50 now. I don't think if I go out, people will harm me, so I am not afraid or ashamed. The man who has done it to me is the one who should feel ashamed. I am speaking here, because he should be shamed as he has lived for so many years believing that he has got away with it.’

Talking about taking a legal recourse on issue, Nanda said, ‘I have spoken whatever I felt like and there will be ramifications of it. I have to take this to a logical end whether I like it or I don't. I haven't planned what is going to happen, but I truly feel that perpetrator should be punished in every case. I think the #MeToo movement has just started here and it will give strength to our future generations.’

Kajol thinks parents tend to underestimate their kids

Actress Kajol, who plays the role of an overprotective mother in her upcoming film Helicopter Eela, says that parents tend to underestimate their children. She feels parents should discuss important issues with their children openly.

‘Somewhere down the line, we underestimate our kids. As they are born in this world, so they know this world much better than us in a lot of ways. Today, our main duty is to disseminate the information in the right way,’ Kajol said during the promotion of her film.

She feels that modern-age parents need to discuss morality, ethics, compassion, and dignity with children. ‘Our kids should be able to come up and ask us all kinds of questions,’ said Kajol, who claims to be a mix of an overprotective and a cool mother in real life.

Sharing her view on the ongoing #MeToo movement in India, the actress said, ‘The most important thing about #MeToo is by taking away the shame and embarrassment associated with owning such incidents, the younger people, or anybody who feels that they come into opposition like this, are able to have the guts and draw that line and say no more after this.’

Kajol will be seen as Eela in Helicopter Eela, which is directed by Pradeep Sarkar. It also stars Riddhi Sen, who plays Eela's teenage son. Kajol says the film is not ‘just a mother–son story’.

‘The film is about a relationship. I think in every relation be it mother–son, husband–wife, best friends, or even brother–sister, if one person becomes over possessive, then there is a sense of suffocation,’ said the mother of two. She reveals that the film was inspired by the social media hashtag 'helicopter mom', where the mother is a bit cynical, interfering, and even checks her child's phone and pockets at times.

‘It is neither the fault of the mother nor the child,’ she said.

Pradeep Sarkar says he doesn't want the cinema hall to shake with ‘huge applaud, but I expect the audience to forget clapping watching the film’.

Varun Mitra bullied by Rhea Chakraborty on the sets of Jalebi

Vishesh Films’ upcoming venture, Jalebi, featuring Varun Mitra and Rhea Chakraborty has captured the attention of the audience with the chemistry between the lead pair. Varun revealed that Rhea used to bully him on the sets.

Mahesh Bhatt upset by Vinta Nanda's #MeToo story

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt wonders why veteran writer–producer and friend Vinta Nanda didn't confide in him about getting sexually violated by actor Alok Nath, known for his ‘sanskaari’ on-screen image.

Nanda, writer–producer of the ahead-of-its-time 1990s' show Tara, has accused Alok of sexually violating her almost two decades ago. She shared her experience through a long, heart-wrenching Facebook post.

Asked for his reaction, Bhatt said, ‘She is a friend. I am quite devastated... We have sat down and she has spoken about her personal issues, financial issues and her relationship problems and never brought this out. What was it that was keeping her (from talking about it)? By saying “Why are you saying it now?” I am not doubting her. I am saying, '”Why didn't you tell me?” When Mallika Sherawat said somewhere that she was being solicited by men when she was working, I said “Why didn't you tell me. You should come and tell me everything about what's happening.”’

‘I am just curious. I am not saying that you are (Nanda is) lying,’ added Bhatt, who was here to promote his forthcoming film Jalebi.

Vinta recounted the experience, sharing that Alok raped her after she left a party at his house at 2 AM. She says her drinks were mixed and she was sexually violated. Bhatt's wife Soni Razdan tweeted, ‘Oh Vinta Nanda, so sorry you had to deal with this all alone so many years ago. Can anything be done? What is unacceptable is the fact that the channel did nothing to protect the girl in question amounting to the most abject callousness on its part. Things really need to change. And I wish you would file an FIR as well.’

Shemaroo Entertainment to ring in Big B’s birthday by screening his cult movies

On the occasion of legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan’s 76th birthday, Shemaroo Entertainment, a leading content powerhouse, brings the screening of cult movies like Shahenshah, Namak Halaal, Hera Pheri, and Amar Akbar Anthony for Bollywood movie buffs. As a part of Times Moviecon, the screening of Shahenshah will take place at Dublin Square, Phoenix MarketCity, on October 12 at 6 PM. Fans of Namak Halaal, Hera Pheri, and Amar Akbar Anthony will get a chance to witness the magic once again at the Mulund and Andheri outlets of Carnival Cinemas in Mumbai and TGIP in Noida on 11 October at 7 PM. Fans can book their tickets on BookMyShow for faster and hassle-free booking.

Shemaroo Times Moviecon festival will be a grand celebration of the actor’s birthday, as fans will also be able to indulge in several activities alongside the screening of Shahenshah. Shemaroo Entertainment boasts of a movie library of more than 3500 titles and is enabling fans of Amitabh Bachchan to relive the golden era. The company is proud to have the rights to a wide array of the legendary actor’s movies.

Shemaroo also launched a social media campaign, #CelebrateAmitabh, wherein Amitabh’s fans are invited to share the greatest fan stories. Along with the social media celebrations, Shemaroo Entertainment’s merchandising platform, Yedaz, will organize a ‘Bachchan Bonanza with Yedaz’ where the fans will get an opportunity to win special merchandise with Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic dialogues.

Rana Daggubati emphasizes the need for literature in films

Actor–producer Rana Daggubati says there is a huge appetite for cinema, but very few people understand that if there is a need for cinema then there will also be a need for literature. In addition, if literature is not taken as the base of films, then it would be ‘very difficult’ to tell stories.

According to the Baahubali star, who was born in the illustrious Daggubati–Akkineni family, literature plays an important role in making a film or telling stories on the big screen.

‘If we look at the movie business 50 or 60 years ago, a majority of the content came from literature writers or scholars of that time. Today, that ecosystem is kind of breaking. There is need for more and more cinema, but very few people understand that if there is need for cinema, there is need for literature as well,’ Rana told a media portal.

‘So, unless we capture it... make literature as the base, storytelling will become very difficult.’

This is why Rana's Suresh Productions and Kwan Entertainment have joined hands to introduce a specialized division, Kwan South, as an entertainment marketplace with a regional focus.

Kwan South has put together a Literature Team or the Lit Team whose sole purpose is to generate the best content and to help this find an audience. The actor will mentor the team and overlook the complete process of taking the right stories to the right place at the right time.

They are open to all kinds of content. ‘India is a land full of stories, whether it is history, mythology, or folklore, which come from our own literature. As a film production company, our appetite is big and so is the consumer's appetite.’

‘There will be Telugu, Hindi and Tamil writers. It is understood that putting all of them together has made our way of working better than what we have been able to do in all these years,’ the National Award-winning producer said. The focus is mostly on the southern film industry, but he would like to hire writers from other regions as well.

‘We started from Hyderabad and Chennai. Obviously, we would like to hire people from other industries. That's the best way forward,’ said the actor, who has done films in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi.

Bollywood's love for South Indian films refuses to die. OK Jaanu, Drishyam, and Akira are some Hindi remakes of South Indian movies.

‘India is like a country and a continent too. We have advantages in this field. If it's a good story made in Malayalam, we can make it in four other languages and a different set of audience will get to watch it for the first time.’

‘It's not like an American can make a film in New York and remake it in Los Angeles. I, on the other hand, can make a film in Hyderabad and remake it in Mumbai. It's very important to tell good stories. So this way, writers from everywhere get to tell their stories in whichever language. Ultimately, language is only one functionality,’ he said.

Sharing an example, he said, ‘I read Ramayana in a different language, you read it in another language. It doesn't matter, it is still the same story. Story can be the same, doesn't matter which language you tell it in.’

But he also pointed out that content defines what language or industry it can go into.

‘Take a film like Gangs of Wasseypur, which is set in that place. I can't remake it in another language because it's regional and specific to that town or city. I can probably take reference and rewrite or adapt it. So, there will be some films that can be made for multiple languages like I did Baahubali and The Ghazi Attack. Both were made in Telugu as well as other languages like Hindi and Tamil,’ said the actor, who will be soon seen in N. T. R.

Katrina Kaif’s role in Thugs of Hindostan revealed

Katrina’s will play the role of a courtesan called Suraiyya in Thugs of Hindostan. Her role in the film is pivotal, but her screen time is about 15–20 minutes.

(Also Read: Deepika and Ranveer’s confirmed wedding date, Rajkummar in Life In a Metro sequel, Big B and Kajol reunite and other Bollywood updates)

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