» Movies » 'I just keep staring at Manisha Koirala'

'I just keep staring at Manisha Koirala'

By Subhash K Jha
June 19, 2018 10:19 IST
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Know what Judi Dench said when Ali Fazal sent her mangoes?
Subhash K Jha gives us Bolly Gupshup.

IMAGE: Ali Fazal with Manisha Koirala on the sets of Prasthanam. Photograph: Kind courtesy Ali Fazal/Instagram

It was a wonderful Eid for Ali Fazal.

The young actor is currently shooting for Tigmanshu Dhulia's Milan Talkies in his hometown Lucknow. And the timing could not be better.

"It is Eid and my mother is thrilled to have me home," Ali says. "I have been shooting here for some time now and I'll be here till July. So my family is very happy."

"I was shooting on Eid, but the team was kind enough to wrap up the shoot quickly so I could go home to my sewaiyaan and kababs.

Ali co-stars with Shraddha Sreenath, the Southside actress who makes her debut in Bollywood with Milan Talkies.

"She recently did Vikram Vedha in Tamil with Madhavan. She is a fabulous actress," Ali gushes. "It's a joy to be working around someone so gifted."

Ali is also happy to be around Manisha Koirala in Prasthanam, which stars and is produced by Sanjay Dutt.

"She plays my mother in Prasthanam, a remake of the 2010 Telugu hit," Ali says. "I'm her biggest fan. Every time we shoot together, I just keep staring at her. I wonder what she thinks of me!"

Ali is in touch with Judi Dench, his co-star from the 2017 British drama, Victoria & Abdul.

He sent her some mangoes this summer, and guess what her reply was?

"She thanked me saying, 'I wish it was you in that box instead of the mangoes'," Ali says with a laugh. "I'd love to meet up with Judi again."



Where is Dibakar?

IMAGE: Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor with Dibakar Banerjee on the sets of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. Photograph: Kind courtesy Parineeti Chopra/Instagram

Dibakar Banerjee went into a shell after his period detective drama Detective Byomkesh Bakshy failed at the box office.

But he's back with a bang.

He directs a segment in Netflix's Lust Stories as well as the feature film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, starring Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor.

The film is almost ready, but will only release in March 2019.

Speaking of his absence from the public eye, the director -- who has made path-breaking films like Khosla Ka Ghola, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, Love Sex Aur Dhokha, Shanghai -- says, "It was a voluntary withdrawal. I went through a long period of introspection."

"Also, my second daughter was born. I wanted to be with her, as she turned one, two and three. It's been a rewarding time for me."

He feels Lust Stories and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar are new beginnings for him.

"No two films of mine are similar," he says. "So it's like putting extra pressure on myself each time. When I started making Sandeep Aur Pinky, everything -- from the cast to the plot to the locations -- was new to me."

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is a heist drama in the Bonnie & Clyde space, but with a desi tadka.

"We would have released the film this year, but then it got delayed by a month. Because of that, we lost our release date. There are too many big films coming up for the rest of the year, so we have to wait."

Doing a segment of Lust Stories did give Dibakar a sense of déjà vu. He has done an omnibus with the same producer, Ashi Dua, and the same set of co-directors, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar. But the theme and presentation is different this time.

"This time, we were exploring a new world of emotions. I also got to work with the wonderful Manisha Koirala for the first time," he says.


No Bollywood for Mahesh Babu...yet

IMAGE: Mahesh Babu. Photograph: Kind courtesy Namrata Shirodkar/Instagram

Reports that Mahesh Babu will make his Bollywood debut soon have been shot down by Namrata Shirodkar, the Telugu superstar's wife.

"These reports are completely false," she says. "Mahesh is not looking at Bollywood. While returning from a two-month vacation from Europe, Mahesh did stop by in Mumbai while the rest of the family proceeded to Hyderabad."

"He was not in Mumbai to meet a Bollywood producer," Namrata adds. "He was there for a look test with hairstylist Hakim Aalim for his next Telugu film, to be directed by Vamshi Paidipally."

As far as doing a Hindi film is concerned, Mahesh is open to the idea, but there is no burning ambition to make that move.

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Subhash K Jha