Kangana biopic takes shape... Ayushmann's new film... Why Oscar winner Olivia Colman visited Bihar...Subhash K Jha's Bollywood Buzz...
For those of you out there who just can't get enough of Indie hip-hop in Zoya Akhtar's pitch-perfect Gully Boy, there is heartening news.
Gully Boy will have a sequel or rather an extension in a new film where hip-hop/rap culture gets expanded.
"My co-writer Reema Kagti and I feel there's so much more to be said on the hip-hop culture in our country. And yes, another film exploring the theme is being scripted and planned," Zoya tells me.
Again, there will be no Farhan Akhtar in it. Gully Boy is Zoya's first film that doesn't feature her younger brother.
"He just didn't fit into Gully Boy. And we're both sorry about it. Also, his image from the Rock On series is affiliated to an entirely different genre of music. It would have been a bit of a culture shock for the audience to suddenly see him swerve from stadium-rock to hip-hop."
After Mulk, Article 15
Director Anubhav Sinha is shooting Article 15 -- his second politically relevant film after Mulk -- near Lucknow.
"Article 15 prohibits any kind of discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion," Anubhav tells me, speaking from the location. "My film is about the discrimination we practice on various levels."
The film's shooting began on the outskirts of Lucknow on March 1. Anubhav hopes to complete the shoot by the first week of April.
After Mulk, has Lucknow become Anubhav's favourite shooting spot?
"It certainly seems like it. Or maybe I just use shooting as an excuse to dig into the exquisite cuisine that Lucknow has to offer. But seriously, it's just that Lucknow renders itself well to the theme and location of Mulk and now Article 15."
The director says he's enjoying the process of shooting with Ayushmann Khurrana.
"I was very sure I wanted him for the character of the cop protagonist. When Ayushmann said yes, everything fell into place," says the director.
"I didn't plan to make Mulk or Article 15. Nor did I anticipate that Mulk would be seen as a new beginning in my career. It's just that these were stories that had to be told," Anubhav adds.
"The times are such when any Indian with a conscience would refuse to keep silent. Article 15 is an investigative drama where the audience too is an accused party. A very challenging film that needed an extraordinary actor like Ayushmann. Delighted to have him on board."
Adds Ayushmann, "I am always intrigued by the socio-political situation of our country. We hardly see films which present the situation in an unbiased way. Anubhav Sinha is one such director who understands the complexities of our country. I loved Mulk. It is the most balanced film based on communalism and extremism. And it will be an absolute pleasure to work with him on Article 15."
Now, a Kangana biopic
When Kangana Ranaut loftily announced she would star in her own biopic, there was understandably some scepticism about her intentions.
Putting an end to all speculation, the distinguished Telugu-Hindi writer Vijayendra Prasad who scripted Kangana's Manikarnika, reveals he is writing Kangana's biopic.
"I am writing it, but I'm not directing it," says Vijayendraji, who also wrote the Baahubali films which his son S S Rajamouli directed.
Kangana will direct the project herself. We can assume Kangana won't shy away from the more controversial aspects of her life.
Those who crossed swords with her have reason to be scared. Very scared.
Oscar winner travels to Bihar
Olivia Coleman, who won this year's Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the dark period comedy The Favourite, travelled all the way from London to Kishanganj in Bihar recently.
Olivia was searching for information on her great great great grandmother Harriet who lived in Kishanganj in 1807.
Sources from the town say the British actress's visit created no stir whatsoever.
"She came to Kishanganj as an ordinary tourist with no baggage, no entourage," Kishanganj resident academician Bholashankar Singh tells me. "She travelled alone and seemed to the locals like just another tourist."
"No one had seen her films. And this was just months before the Oscars. If she had come after the Oscars, I am sure more people would have known who she was," adds Mr Singh.
"I don't think she wanted to be recognised and was happy meeting locals like an ordinary British tourist desirous of finding out more about her ancestry."