Lost in Europe: Jab Harry Met Sejal is not even a visual delight

Harry and Sejal listlessly travel from one city to another, none of which is distinguishable from each other,

Even before Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal (JHMS) released last Friday, concerned voices had made themselves heard. “Why couldn’t they at least come up with an original title?” said a fellow Shah Rukh Khan fan to me. Indeed, the title was similar not only to the genre-defining 1989 romantic comedy classic When Harry Met Sally but also to Ali’s wildly successful Jab We Met (2007). In the run-up to the release, almost everything — the trailer, the songs — seemed to disappoint fans eagerly waiting for the old Ali or SRK-Anushka Sharma magic. Finally, on the big screen, all the fears seemed to have come true.

Within hours of the release, critics panned it almost unanimously. Rajiv Masand for News 18 wrote that SRK and Anushka deserved a better film, Anupama Chopra bemoaned the loss of the filmmaker Ali, who gave us Rockstar (2011) and Highway (2014) and could once combine stars and demands of mainstream cinema with raw narratives. Others were less kind: HuffPost said the film was everything wrong with Bollywood, and in a visceral review, The Wire described it as a 144-minute tribute to Shah Rukh Khan’s ego. In fact, the responses have been so devastating that the director and the leading man have been compelled to defend their project with such clichés as this film was not an intellectual exercise but aimed to appeal to masses.

But a look at the box office figures prove how this ambition, too, has been thwarted. In its first weekend, considered the most important in determining the success or failure of a film, JHMS managed to rake in only a dismal Rs 45.75 crore. This is a personal low for Khan in five years, and it prompted a Mint analysis piece: “flop show signals star power alone can’t guarantee success”. Read more

Woman battles open defecation in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Here’s the reality

The woman’s revolt leads to social change but women do not appear to be a position to rebel in India

 

Akshay Kumar’s movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (A love story), releasing on August 11, 2017 tells the story of a young bride who walks out of her marriage when discovers that her in-law’s home does not have a toilet. The satire deals with open defecation and Kumar calls it his “contribution” to the Swachh Bharat Mission spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The prime minister responded with words of appreciation for the film.

In the film, the young woman’s revolt leads to social change, but in real India, women do not appear to be a position to rebel–even if they are educated.

Women have limited decision-making powers in the construction of toilets in homes, according to a 2016 study conducted in Puri, a coastal Odisha district, by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Women and girls are most vulnerable to problems associated with open defecation.

In 80% of households, decisions on the construction of sanitation facilities were made exclusively by men, the study found. In 11%, the decision was made by men in consultation with their wives, and in no more than 9% was the decision made by women.

These findings are relevant because only 37% of households in Puri district have improved sanitation, according to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4). However, this is higher than rural Odisha’s average of 23% and state average of 29.4% of households with toilets. Read more

Bollywood’s smiling mom Reema Lagoo passes away in Mumbai

Lagoo, who had played on screen mother to Salman and Shah Rukh, died of a cardiac arrest, she was 59

Actress Reema Lagoo, best known for playing the modern-day Bollywood mother in films such as “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!” and “Kal Ho Na Ho”, passed away at a hospital here today. She was 59.

Lagoo, who came to represent the antithesis of the mournful white sari-clad mother of Hindi cinema through her roles, died of a cardiac arrest in the early hours of the morning at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

She was admitted to the hospital late last night after she complained of chest pain, the hospital’s Executive Director Ram Narain told PTI.

She is survived by her daughter Mrunmayee, who is also a theatre and film actress as well as a theatre director.

From Amitabh to Aamir, Madhuri Dixit, Bollywood mourns Reema Lagoo’s sudden demise

Lagoo’s son-in-law Vinay Waikul told PTI, “She was complaining of chest pain so we took her to the hospital at around 1 AM. She passed away due to a heart attack around 3.15 AM.

“She was perfectly fine and had no health issues… So it is really shocking for all of us that she is no more with us.”

Tributes poured in as the news of her sudden death spread.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Lagoo as a versatile actor who left a big impact in the film and TV world. “Her demise is saddening. My deepest condolences,” he tweeted.

Born in Mumbai, Lagoo’s acting career spanned almost four decades. She started her career with Marathi theatre.

She was just 30 when she came to the limelight as Juhi Chawla’s mother in Mansoor Khan’s hit film “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak”. Read more

Photos : India beat England by an innings and 36 runs

India take very little time to pick remaining four England wickets, and register a comprehensive innings and 36-run win over the visitors in the fourth Test at the Wankhede

The visitors failed to apply themselves and collapsed within the first 30 minute’s of the fifth and final day.

Ashwin picked another ten-wicket haul in Tests, and also took five wickets in an innings for the 24th time.

The series win is India’s fifth on the trot, under Kohli. The skipper’s incredible run with the bat, and as captain, continues.

The action will now shift to Chennai where India will play for 4-0 scoreline, and England will eye pride

Virat Kohli celebrates the wicket of England batsman Jonny Bairstow

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Priyanka Chopra among world’s highest paid TV actresses

Priyanka Chopra among world’s highest paid TV actresses

Priyanka Chopra has become the first Indian star to enter the Forbes list of highest paid television actresses in the world, after starring on American series “Quantico”.

Priyanka ranks eighth in the coveted list, which has retained American actress Sofia Vergara at the first position fifth year in a row.

The 44-year-old Colombian-American actress brought home a whooping $43 million before management fees and taxes, but not all came from her hit TV show “Modern Family”.

Vergara has an impressive array of endorsement deals as well as her line of products.

Priyanka, meanwhile, has earned $11 million. She made her international acting debut last year with ABC’s “Quantico” and now is gearing up for its second season.

Back home, the 34-year-old actress has starred in two Bollywood films in the past one year — “Bajirao Mastani” and “Jai Gangaajal”– and will make her Hollywood film debut with “Baywatch” alongside Hollywood heavy-hitters including Dwayne Johnson, the world’s highest-paid actor.(more)

Captain America: Civil War is MCU’s best yet

With Captain America and Iron Man locking horns, the world of superheroes comes alive on screen

In March this year, critics had a field day pointing out how and why DC Comics and Warner Bros went wrong with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Less than two months later, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War has hit theatres and this time there is little to complain about.

The Russo brothers (Joseph and Anthony) have taken the challenge of a superhero face-off head-on and succeeded in making an entertaining movie that completes the trilogy neatly. Take a leaf out of Marvel’s book, DC — this is how you make a clash-of-the-superheroes movie.

For the fans, the movie is a treat, with superheroes walking in and out of the frame. The very presence of so many Marvel characters meant that the movie ran the risk of being rushed and cluttered. The director duo, however, manage to keep things simple, the story and screenplay tight and the pace brisk.

In terms of screen-time, Civil War identifies Steve Rogers aka Captain America(Chris Evans) and Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) as the leads, each gaining depth in their character as the movie progresses. The rest of the cast — Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton aka Hawkeye), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson aka Falcon), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang aka Ant Man), Paul Bettany (Vision) and the others — come in, do their job and leave the screen.Read More