Aakanksha Naval-Shetye firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Executive-Digital Marketing
Deepali Tanna email@example.com
Amit Panchal firstname.lastname@example.org
Arabic Content Writer & Translator Hanan Yehia Mulazem email@example.com
BUSINESS MANAGER - EVENTS
Mayur Panchal firstname.lastname@example.org
Marlene Cruze email@example.com
Yunus Naik firstname.lastname@example.org
The summer is upon UAE with all its might. And even as many of the tourist attractions in Dubai are busy winding up for the season, there’s clearly no dip in the influx of footfalls drawn to the city to experience all the spectacles that it has to showcase!
Adding to that glitz and glam and setting the temperature soaring higher is our Cover Star this month – the sizzling hot Malaika Arora! The stunning diva who spells style and substance with every turn of her head was in Dubai where she unveiled the Filmfare Middle East May Cover at the uber-luxe press conference held to announce the launch of Fashionz by Danube. Getting the adrenaline rushing - her svelte figure and smile, both timeless in their appeal, literally took our breaths away as she came onstage! Read my Cover Story with this Boss Lady, in which she talks about learning with each step and living life on her own terms – Absolute Queen-Size!
The launch of Fashionz by Danube itself was a two-day spectacular extravaganza attended by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who not only congratulated Mr Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group on this newest project, but also added that it will prove to be a trendsetter for Dubai in real estate. Hosted by FashionTV’s Ania J, the event saw performances by Kanika Kapoor, Zahrah S. Khan and had internationally renowned designer Michael Cinco showcase his latest collection as well.
Chief Executive Officer
D eepak Lamba
Chief Community Officer & Editor
Executive Editor Anuradha Choudhary
Brand Solutions Director
PUBLISHED BY: Starz Media Inc
P.O BOX: 18022 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Bollywood’s stunning beauties Chitrangda Singh, Iulia Vantur, Esha Gupta sashayed down the ramp amping the glam quotient with every step, while Malaika as the showstopper was the perfect finale! Also present at this super glitzy event were the gorgeous stars – Nushrratt Bharuccha, Shriya Saran, Amyra Dastur, Sunny Leone, Shibani Akhtar, and the Bollywood Wives stars Seema Sajdeh, and Maheep Kapoor with hubby Sanjay Kapoor. Check out all the razzmatazz of the glamorous evenings in the pages ahead!
Our Adventure Issue will also help you prep up to push that adventurous spirit in you. So turn the pages and check out some of the ultimate hotspots to satiate the adrenaline junkie in you and also the must-haves you can’t do without on your wild trips. Also read our action-packed interviews with Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Sunil Grover, Aditi Rao Hydari and many more industry stalwarts. There’s much buzz and excitement as Dubai also gears up for the second edition of Filmfare Middle East Social Night 2023. The grand finale is scheduled to be held on 31st May at Palazzo Versace Dubai at a glittery event that will have in attendance the region’s leading and top influencers. So get on the bandwagon and vote now on www.filmfaremiddleeast.com/social-night/ to make your faves win!
We also celebrate the Mother’s Day internationally this month on 14th May – a day dedicated to the one who gave us love in its purest form. So, to every heart that has held love and to every soul that has felt another’s pain, you are a mother, with or without a child… and this day is to celebrate all those hearts and souls across the world!
Happy Mother's Day & Happy Summers All!
Printed and Published under license and permission from Worldwide Media Pvt. Ltd BROUGHT TO YOU BY Copyright
Reproduction in any manner in any language in whole or part without prior written permission is prohibited Aakanksha Naval-Shetye Filmfare Middle East takes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs or material | ALL PHOTOGRAPHS, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED, ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY LOG ON TO WWW.FILMFAREMIDDLEEAST.COM FOR OUR DAILY UPDATES! Editor Filmfare Middle East
REGIONAL PARTNER OF Worldwide Media Pvt. Ltd Copyright 2023 Starz Media Inc
rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors within.
MIDDLE EAST May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 3
STUNNING DIVA AND FASHION ICON MALAIKA ARORA GETS CANDID WITH AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY HERSELF AND ALL THINGS
THE LAUNCH OF FASHIONZ BY DANUBE - CHECK OUT ALL THE RAZZMATAZZ AT THE MOST HAPPENING EVENT THAT DUBAI HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT
ACE COMEDIAN AND ACTOR SUNIL GROVER CHATS UP WITH AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT HIS NORMAL
THE STARSTUDDED PRESS CONFERENCE OF FASHIONZ BY DANUBE WAS A STUPENDOUS SUCCESS
THE SUHUR WAS AN EVENING TO CELEBRATE AND REMEMBER
4 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 Volume 62 |May 1, 2023 highlights get adventurous events interviews 09 10 28 32 35 40 46 50 42 HERE’S WHY SRK CHANGED THE CLIMAX OF MAIN HOON NA! ZAHRAH S KHAN ENTHRALLED DUBAI WITH HER SIZZLING PERFORMANCE ADVENTURES CHECK OUT THE MUST-HAVES FOR THAT WILD TRIP
DEVGN TALKS ON EXCELLING IN
ROLES OF LIFE
ADITI RAO HYDARI
AND PERSONAL WITH MANOJ
LIFE AND LOVE 12 COVER SHOT BY : SOHAIL STYLED BY : MANEKA HARISINGHANI ASSISTANT STYLIST : CHINTAN SHAH MAKEUP BY : MEGHNA
HAIR BY : MADHAV OUTFIT BY : CLUBLLONDON NECKPIECE BY :
BAG BY : AHIKOZA
HEELS BY :
SUNITA SHEKHAWAT JAIPUR
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN WORLD
TO SUBSCRIBE LOG ON TO: www.filmfaremiddleeast.com FOLLOW US: FilmfareMiddleEast FilmfareME SUBSCRIBE NOW Available in English & Arabic EMAIL US AT : email@example.com SCAN THE QR CODE TO SUBSCRIBE
VIEWS : 1.1M
LIKES : 28.8K
VIEWS : 48.9K
LIKES : 2559
VIEWS : 56.3K
LIKES : 17K
VIEWS : 43.3K
LIKES : 88.6K
LIKES : 18K
VIEWS : 12.3K
YOUR VIEWS 6 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023
WRITE AND BITE BACK... WITH LOVE AND AFFECTION Post your reviews to Send us your views, opinions and suggestions to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FilmfareME FILMFARE ME BEST INSTA MOMENTS
out the super liked posts on our instagram......
ON THE GRAM READERS
VOUCHERS WORTH AED 100* VOUCHERS WORTH AED 100* VOUCHERS WORTH AED 349* 349 AED SUBSCRIBE NOW WORTH VOUCHERS & OVER AED 749* AS CASHBACK 1306730 Concept & Design by Twistedweare.com SUBSCRIBE ENJOY TRUSTED NEWS & REWARDS APPLY FOR A FINANCIAL PRODUCT AND GET A COMPLIMENTARY KHALEEJ TIMES SUBSCRIPTION* SAFE & SECURE: PAY ONLINE CALL email@example.com E-MAIL 800KT *T&C apply VOUCHERS WORTH AED 100* VOUCHERS WORTH AED 100*
a bird’s-eye view of show town’s happenings
MAIN HOON NA’S CLIMAX WAS CHANGED BY SRK SALMAN KHAN AND SAJID NADIADWALA TO REUNITE FOR KICK 2
Suniel Shetty is one of the biggest action stars in Bollywood and has given several memorable performances in lms. The actor is now reuniting with Hera Pheri stars Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal for a sequel. During a media interaction, the veteran revealed how SRK altered the climax scene of Main Hoon Na. “SRK is the most secure man I have ever seen. In the Main Hoon Na climax scene, he stepped down and said, ‘I can’t beat Suniel Shetty up. Let me do something — like he took the pin off the bomb — saying physically I can’t beat him. You are talking about men here who are so secure in their own skin,” Suniel said.
SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI TO REVIVE INSHALLAH WITH ANOTHER ’90S SUPERSTAR
Ace lmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is well-known for his movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Bajirao Mastani, Padmavaat and Gangubai Kathiawadi, is reportedly planning to revive the shelved Salman Khan’s starrer Inshallah with another superstar from the ’90s. As per the latest report, the lmmaker is silently considering approaching the other two megastars to check on their availability and interest. Meanwhile, on the work front, Bhansali is currently busy shooting for his digital debut, Heera Mandi. The series is presently on the oor and is expected to be wrapped up by October 2023.
Sajid Nadiadwala had dropped out of the Salman Khan starrer, Kisi Ka Bhai... Kisi Ki Jaan.... While Salman wanted to start the shoot, Sajid was keen to rework the script and the duo decided to part ways. However, the best friends are soon going to reunite, for a sequel to one of their hit collaborations. Salman Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala will join forces for Kick 2, whose screenplay is currently being penned. Salman will also be seen in Tiger 3, which is slated for an end-of-year release.
MICHELLE YEOH ONCE WANTED TO WORK WITH AAMIR KHAN
Michelle Yeoh recently won Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards, becoming the rst Asian woman to win the award. In a throwback interview that has been making the rounds, the actress revealed her love for Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan. Michelle said she has never worked with Aamir Khan but both of them represent an environmental NGO. She continued by stating that she was a huge admirer of his work. She also hoped to get a chance to work together with him soon. Michelle was asked if she had watched the superhit lm 3 Idiots to which she replied, ‘Of course, I don’t think there is anybody who hasn’t seen that’.
VARUN DHAWAN TO PLAY AN IMPORTANT CAMEO IN STREE 2
One of the most successful movies in the horror-comedy genre, Stree was one of the biggest hits of 2018. Starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor, the movie was based on the urban legend of Nale Ba, which rocked Karnataka a few years back. Last year, Amar Kaushik, who had directed Stree, went on to helm the Varun Dhawan-Kriti Sanon starrer Bhediya and created a parallel universe of sorts. The crossover was further brought to light when Bhediya’s mid-credit scene showed that Abhishek Banerjee’s character Janardan was actually Jana from Stree reports are rife that Varun Dhawan will play an important cameo in Stree 2 will be a key part of the whole narrative of the sequel. While Shraddha is currently basking in the success of Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar opposite Ranbir Kapoor, V will soon be seen in Bawaal with Janhvi Kapoor.
Malaika Arora slayed the ramp as the showstopper for Michael Cinco, while Zahrah S Khan enthralled the guests with her stunning performance at the launch event of Fashionz by Danube in Dubai hosted by Rizwan Sajan
JANHVI KAPOOR OPENS UP ABOUT MAKING HER SOUTH DEBUT
The makers of NTR30 have con rmed that Janhvi Kapoor has joined RRR star Jr NTR in director Koratala Siva’s upcoming lm. A saree-clad poster of Janhvi was also unveiled on social media which created a frenzy among the audience. The actress has now shared her excitement about her much-awaited South debut. “Working with Jr NTR has been a dream. I manifested it. I prayed every day for it. In every interview, I used to say that I want to work with NTR sir. This lm might be the rst time this (approach) worked for me.” She’s lucky the Universe listened to her. The lm is likely to release in mid-2024.
AJAY DEVGN GIVES THE WITTIEST REPLY ABOUT YUG’S DEBUT
Ajay Devgn recently took to Twitter and conducted a #AskBholaa session interacting with fans. A fan asked, “Sir Yug ko kab launch kar rahe ho?
#AskBholaa.” To which, Ajay gave a typical ‘Indian father’ reply. He said, “Launch ka pata nahi, abhi toh woh sahi time pe lunch karle wahi badi baat hai (I don’t know about the launch but it would be a great deal if he eats his lunch on time).” Now, who said Ajay is all serious and doesn’t have a sence of humour?
Priyanka Chopra has been out and about promoting her upcoming series, Citadel. She made an interesting pick when asked which current actress she thought deserved to be the next Bollywood superstar. While at rst Priyanka replied, “Alia Bhatt,” she corrected herself, saying that the actress was already a ‘superstar’. PeeCee then went on to name Alaya F and revealed why she thought the actress t the bill. “I really like Alaya Furniturewala, she is Pooja Bedi’s daughter,” the actress said and revealed, “I told her when I met her that I think she is just cool and has a unique perspective. She is not trying to be like everyone else. I think we’ll nd out in a few years.”
HRITHIK ROSHAN, DEEPIKA PADUKONE SHOOT INTENSE SEQUENCES FOR FIGHTER
Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone are set to collaborate for the rst time on Fighter. All eyes are on this lm after the success of Pathaan since it’s directed by Siddharth Anand. Recently, the team nished the Kashmir schedule of the lm. And now, as per a report, the cast and crew is preparing for some intense sequences to be shot in Mumbai in the coming days. Recently, Siddharth said in an interview that Deepika’s character is giving a ‘takkar’ to Hrithik’s character in the lm. Hence, the actress is also expected to pull off some hard-core, never-seen-before action. Fighter, which is touted as India’s rst aerial action franchise, also stars Anil Kapoor in a key role, alongside Karan Singh Grover and Akshay Oberoi
PRIYANKA CHOPRA PICKS ALAYA F AS THE NEXT SUPERSTAR
(Left to Right) International fashion designer Michael Cinco, FashionTV CEO - Maximilian Dennis Edelweiss, FashionTV Founder - Michel Adam, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group - Rizwan Sajan, May Cover Star Malaika Arora and Vice Chairman of Danube Group - Anis Sajan at the unveiling of the May issue of Filmfare Middle East
RAM CHARAN SAYS HE WOULD LOVE TO PLAY VIRAT KOHLI IN HIS BIOPIC
Ram Charan has now become a global star, thanks to director SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus RRR, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. The movie has managed to bag an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for Naatu naatu featuring Ram and Jr NTR. While Ram has played a variety of roles on the screen, the actor expressed his desire to work in a sports biopic. He added that he would love to portray former Indian skipper Virat Kohli if given a choice. “I would like to play anything to do with sport. It’s been long due. Maybe a sports-based lm,” When he was suggested Virat’s name, he said, “Fantastic, he is an inspiring soul. I think given a chance, it will be fantastic, as I look similar also.”
DIMPLE KAPADIA SLAPPED RANBIR 15-20 TIMES FOR TU JHOOTHI MAIN MAKKAAR
Veteran actress Dimple
Kapadia, who plays Ranbir
Kapoor’s mother in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, slapped Ranbir about 15-20 times while lming a scene. The lm has a scene in which Ranbir gets slapped by Dimple, but what’s interesting is that particular shot took 15-20 retakes. The director of the lm, Luv Ranjan, got the perfect shot in the second take. But just to tease the team, he repeatedly said one more take. This made everyone ask Dimple Kapadia if she was actually slapping Ranbir. Turns out, Ranbir’s timing was so perfect that he was ducking the slap at the right time.
PRIYANKA RECALLS CRYING TO HUBBY NICK JONAS AFTER BEING BODY SHAMED
Priyanka Chopra was left in tears in front of her husband Nick Jonas after being body shamed. Taking part in a panel recently, the actress revealed that a hurtful body shaming was the cause of her breakdown “Someone told me yesterday that I wasn’t sample-sized; I was hurt, and I discussed it with my family, and I cried to my husband, and my team,” she confessed. “And that’s a problem, apparently. But most of us are not. The sample size is size 2.” Unfortunately, the incident was not a rst for Priyanka. “I’ve been told many things that are dif cult to hear,” she candidly stated. “In my job, the pressure is so intense you can’t really see the chinks in your armour.”
DR. SANA SAJAN Director of American Aesthetic Medical Center
WHAT HAPPENS TO SKIN IN THE SUMMER?
Extra sunshine in the summer naturally causes the skin’s environment to change. This requires us to take extra measures to ensure we are protected. More hours spent in the sun make it absolutely crucial to apply (and re-apply) adequate UV protection to avoid skin cancer, brown spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin.While many would describe tanned skin as a “healthy glow,” skin actually darkens when exposed to sunshine as a protective measure against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays.There are also aesthetic treatments you can book at our Dubai office to ensure you are practicing the best summer skin care. The skin specialists at AAMC are here to keep you looking and feeling your best all year long, no matter your skin type or concerns. Here are our suggestions for med spa treatments to book for the best summer skin care of your life!
Dermaplaning is an amazing start-of-summer skin resurfacing treatment. If you have dry, uneven, rough, or sensitive skin, dermaplaning offers gentle exfoliation to reveal smooth, radiant skin.We gently glide a surgical blade over the skin to remove dead skin and vellus hairs (AKA “peach fuzz”) to give you touchably soft skin that’s ready for summer (and SPF 30+, of course). Makeup glides on beautifully!
Microneedling involves the use of a handheld device with a sterile cartridge tip made up of “micro” needles. This triggers the body’s natural healing response, which in turn stimulates and creates new collagen growth. Plus, topical product penetration is increased.
The Green peel Skin Renewal Therapy Treatment is the ultimate summer skin pick-me-up. This treatment is a patient favorite and The most requested skin treatment at our office. SaltFacial utilizes a threestep process to restore, replenish and rejuvenate all skin types, delivering amazing results after just one treatment, without any downtime or sun sensitivity
The clinical facials, especially our Signature° facial, at American AESTHETICS are specially formulated and designed to treat your unique skin concerns. Whether you experience acne, dull skin, rough texture, or a number of other issues, we can create a clinical facial that works for you!
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 11
Ask for your consultation now! Call us at 80085555
12 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 COVER STORY Shot by : Ruchir Vashishtha | Styled by : Maneka Harisinghani | Assisted by : Chintan Shah | Makeup by : Meghna Butani | Pantsuit by : Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna Silver high neck top by : Label Rsvp By Nikhil Thampi | Jewellery by : Khanna Jewellers | Heels by : Public Desire Malaika Arora Aakanksha Naval-Shetye decodes the stunning diva and fashion icon Malaika Arora in this exclusive interview
MALAIKA ARORA SETS TEMPERATURES SOARING AND HEARTBEATS RACING
EACH TIME SHE GRACES THE SCREENS. BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO THIS GLAM-GODDESS THAN JUST BEING A SCREEN-SCORCHER! STRONG, FIERCE, INDEPENDENT, INTELLIGENT, WITTY, WARM, AND WISE, THE FASHION-DIVA PACKS IN A PUNCH IN ALL HER ROLES – BE IT AS A MODEL, A MOTHER, AN ACTOR, A REALITY JUDGE OR AS AN ENTREPRENEUR – AND TRULY EPITOMIZES EMPOWERMENT IN THE TRUEST SENSE OF THE WORD. A FACE FOR LEADING GLOBAL BRANDS, SHE HAS ALSO TAKEN HER PASSION FOR YOGA AND FITNESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL AS THE CO-FOUNDER OF DIVA YOGA – AN ELITE CHAIN OF YOGA STUDIOS AND SARVA. I CAUGHT UP WITH THIS STAR OF STYLE AND SUBSTANCE IN DUBAI WHERE SHE WAS READYING TO WALK THE RAMP AS THE SHOWSTOPPER FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGNER MICHAEL CINCO. HER CALM AND COLLECTED DEMEANOR - EVEN AMIDST ALL THE CACOPHONY OF THE EXCITEMENT AND DRAMA BACKSTAGE – IS SOUL-SOOTHING AND BELIES THE EXTERIOR OF THIS TOUGH-AS-NAILS SASSY BOSS-LADY! THIS SENSE OF PERFECT BALANCE REFLECTS NOT ONLY IN HER PROFESSIONAL, BUT PERSONAL LIFE AS WELL. LIVING BY HER OWN RULES, SHE HAS REDEFINED NORMS AND ALWAYS STOOD HER OWN GROUND WHEN IT COMES TO MATTERS OF THE HEART. AND IN THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, THE STUNNING MALAIKA ARORA GETS CANDID ABOUT BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY HERSELF AND ALL THINGS LIFE AND LOVE!
WHAT MAKES MALAIKA ARORA SUCH A POWER STATEMENT?
Well, power statement or not, but I firmly believe in ‘you do you’ policy. Do what you believe in whether you succeed or fail… rest will follow!
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Fiercely independent. Unapologetically me.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO BEING CONSTANTLY RELEVANT AND REINVENTING YOURSELF, YET MAINTAINING THAT DISTINCT UNIQUENESS OF BEING YOU?
To get along with time is the key to staying relevant. Always welcome the change
and adapt yourself to the changing times but on your own terms. That’s what keeps you unique.
DO YOU FACE THOSE MOMENTS OF DOUBTS OR FEARS, WHO DO YOU TURN TO THEN?
Yes of course! I am a human being and doubts and fears often consume me, but only momentarily. When in doubt, turn to your mother… mothers have the unique power to make everything feel okay.
YOU ARE SUCH A FASHION ICON! SO, WHAT’S YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS LIKE WHEN IT COMES TO STYLING YOUR LOOK?
PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
ABOUT WHAT A WOMAN IS WEARING, WHO IS SHE DATING, WHERE IS SHE GOING, HOW MUCH IS SHE EARNING, IS SHE WORTH IT OR NOT. AND WHAT NOT.
THESE QUESTIONS ARE NOT OFTEN ASKED TO MEN IN THIS INDUSTRY
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 13
Needless to say, it’s a team effort. Right from putting a look together to achieving it is a process. Believing in the people you are working with coupled with your personal style can open new and unchartered avenues of fashion. I just believe in the process.
WHO ARE THE DESIGNERS YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?
There are lots to name just a few.
A CLICHÉD QUESTION, BUT YOU HAVE BEEN JUGGLING MULTIPLE ROLES ON SO MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS… WHICH ROLE DID YOU FIND IT EASIER TO GET INTO AND SUSTAIN AND WHICH ONE CONTINUES TO BE THE MOST CHALLENGING?
Honestly, everything that looks easy and seamless on the surface is a result of immense expression and innumerable hits and misses. Be it being a mother, a fashion icon, a dancer or now an entrepreneur… Every role comes with its own set of challenges. While the others I have mastered now after so many years, being an entrepreneur is something that I’m still learning and it’s not easy.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEARNINGS ALONG THE JOURNEY?
You have to be a learner. The day you think I have become an expert at this… is
14 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 COVER STORY
BODY IS BEAUTIFUL AT EVERY AGE, AGE IS BEAUTIFUL AT EVERY STAGE. LEARN TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY AND IT WILL LOVE YOU BACK.
the end of the path to evolution. You have to keep evolving every day. That’s the biggest learning.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH THROUGH IT ALL? WHERE DO YOU DRAW THAT FROM?
From my rock solid family and amazing set of friends. The strength I get from them gives me confidence to take on anything that life has to throw at me. Keep your circle small if you want, but keep it strong.
LOOKING BACK, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS CHANGED THE MOST ABOUT YOU?
I am much more calmer! I have learnt that things that are not in your control are not worth spending your energy on. I now choose my battles and not stress about everything that’s not going right.
TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT PROBABLY VERY FEW KNOW?
If not in this industry, I would have become a teacher.
IF THERE WAS ANY ONE ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO YOURSELF BACK THEN, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Just walk your path. People who matter the most will join you in your journey and life will be beautiful. Worrying will gain you nothing!
YOUR LIFESTYLE HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNDER SUCH A SCANNER, DO YOU THINK WOMEN HAVE IT HARDER THAN MEN HERE?
In this industry… Yes! People always have something to say about what a woman is wearing, who is she dating, where is she going, how much is she earning, is she worth it or not… and what not.
These questions are not often asked to men in this industry.
WOMEN WHO PURSUE THEIR HAPPINESS OFTEN TEND TO BE JUDGED RATHER HARSHLY, WOULD YOU AGREE AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
Yes. This is true. You have to choose what you want to react to or ignore. You can’t control everything. And what you can’t control, you let go and move on.
YOU HAVE ALSO BEEN QUITE AN INSPIRATION TO WOMEN OUT THERE, WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO THEM ACROSS? You do you. Do what you believe in, leave what doesn’t make you happy, follow your path or carve a new one if required and help and uplift other women along the way.
ONE ADVICE TO WOMEN WHO ARE EXTREMELY AGE OR BODY CONSCIOUS? Body is beautiful at every age, age is beautiful at every stage. Learn to take care of your body and it will love you back.
ALSO AS A MUM, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR ADVICE TO YOUR SON ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO DATING AND ALL THE TEEN GROWING ISSUES!
Whatever is the case or situation, always come and tell mumma… this is all that I have told my son. We are best friends. Although Amu (sister Amrita Arora Ladak) is also someone who he goes to for such conversations.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA TENDS TO PUT AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PRESSURE ON A CELEB, HOW DO YOU TACKLE IT, ESPECIALLY THE TROLLS? IGNORE!
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD SAY HAS ARJUN KAPOOR BROUGHT INTO YOUR LIFE THAT WAS MISSING? Stability and security.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 15
One thing you can’t do without? My family!
Adventure / Party / Romantic Date – your first pick would be?
One secret health tip you swear by!
Yoga! Tom Cruise. I just want to ask him… How?!!!
If you could slide into anyone’s DMS... who would it be and what would you want to ask them?
Your fave make-up hack?
Just use a cheek and lip tint for a naturally blushed look.
16 FILMFARE MIDDLE
“...EVERYTHING THAT LOOKS EASY AND SEAMLESS ON THE SURFACE IS A RESULT OF IMMENSE EXPRESSION AND INNUMERABLE HITS AND MISSES. BE IT BEING A MOTHER, A FASHION ICON, A DANCER OR NOW AN ENTREPRENEUR... EVERY ROLE COMES WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES.
Shot by : Sameer Belvalkar | Styled by :
| Assisted by : Chintan Shah | Makeup by : Reshmaa Merchant | Hair by : Madhav Outfit by : Dar Sara |Earrings & Rings by : Zoya Jewels
Celebrity makeup artist
Mumbai-based celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist Daniel Bauer has A-listers like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Ananya Panday on his client list. Look at his work and you know he’s had a great time curating beauty looks for Katrina Kaif in recent times. Be it her Harley Quinn avatar during the promotions of Phone Booth or her beautiful wedding, she looked scintillating. He sure knows a thing or two about colour palettes, skin tones and facial shapes. Recent highlights include Priyanka Chopra’s eye makeup, which was an instant headturner at the launch of the Bulgari Eden, Garden of Wonder collection. Whether it’s soft brown eyes for Deepika Padukone during the Padmaavat collection, or Priyanka’s graphic square liner with hints of electric silver and graphite shimmer inlay, Aishwarya’s classic dark-kohled eyes with nude lips, or Katrina’s winged liner with a little colour towards the inner eye - he truly uses his brushes to speak about his immense talent. In a candid conversation, he reveals his journey from Sydney to India, the evolving Indian beauty standards without gender discrimination, and being on the speed dial of most Bollywood divas. Excerpts…
final stages of arriving...
India is one of the most exciting makeup markets in the world right now. The Modern makeup revolution is taking place in India.
How do you differentiate between curating makeup looks for editorial shoots, bridal looks and ad shoots, you’ve worked in all formats. We’re all salespeople. We are always selling something. Great makeup artists are great at listening and hearing what is not being said. On an editorial shoot, we are selling a vision or an idea, and we use makeup to sell this concept; sometimes it needs to be strong and powerful and at other times it needs to be gentle and delicate. The same is true on a brand shoot... We all need to know what we are selling and how we can sell what we are hired to do. Being able to use creativity to sell an idea is one of the most magical jobs in the world. I feel that makeup is where the world gets its wonder.
If you had to pick a movie for beauty inspiration and a star as a beauty icon, who would you choose?
From Sydney to India, how rewarding has your career been as one of the leading celebrity makeup and hair stylists?
Moving to India was one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made.
I moved to India at a time when a lot of international magazines and fashion brands were opening their Indian operations. It was a super
exciting and creative time, but more importantly, it was a time of freedom and experimentation. Sometimes the best work comes when things don’t go according to plan. After all, creativity is finding and creating the unknown and the unseen. In the early days, a lot of people were willing and were allowed to experiment and
make mistakes. And we all created some really magical and exciting work.
How do you think Indian beauty standards have evolved over time? Indian beauty standards are being redrawn and are evolving every day. The world’s most iconic makeup brands are all in India or are in the
Before my great Indian journey, there was one movie and one actress that I was in awe of. But I couldn’t correctly pronounce the name of the movie or the name of the movie actress that I was in awe of. I remember watching this movie in Sydney and Many years later, I was asked to do her makeup for an event in Mumbai. Because I couldn’t pronounce her name, I decided to just call her Aish... and the movie was Devdas. And so my life changed beyond my wildest dream—all from this movie I loved and the actress I adore.
Working with such big stars as
20 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 FASHION & BEAUTY
Bauer shares his philosophy, Tanisha Bhattacharya is all ears
Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone. Tell us about your understanding of the Indian skin tones.
The joy of being a freelance makeup artist is having a new client every day. With every day different from the last, you need to be always prepared. But more importantly, you need to be prepared to listen. What you might be familiar with and what you might assume, rarely become reality. All senior makeup artists understand skin tones; it’s the basics of the job. However, being a makeup artist backstage entails far more than just applying makeup. We are hired to create a perception and message with makeup... Makeup is a tool and working at the very top of this industry, you need to know how to use it with pin-point accuracy; there is no room for error... Anything less than perfection is not acceptable. To paraphrase Coco Chanel, shabby makeup, they remember the makeup; impeccable makeup, they remember the woman.
Given the power it possesses, makeup is increasingly being used as a form of self-expression today. A new generation of makeup lovers is emerging. Liner is out and graphic creations are in, classic red lips are out, and ombre and overdrawn have been everywhere over the last few fashion seasons. A new generation of designers and makeup lovers are breaking the rules together to make beauty more democratic and individual. Rules for makeup are being found and redrawn... The new generation loves to draw outside the lines. Why choose between smoky eyes and liner when you can have both? Supernatural skin is the way forward, and makeup is in the most beautiful and wonderful place right now. We are playing and standing out,
not blending in. Every generation rebels against the previous one. Some through music, some through fashion and this new generation is making their voices heard through makeup. It’s incredible to witness.
Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s was one of the biggest celebrity weddings ever; could you elaborate on how you perceived the kind of modern-day bride look for Katrina? Katrina herself is very aware of the technicalities when it comes to makeup. Having worked with Katrina for almost 15 years, I can count at least 30 times I’ve created a bridal avatar for her, be it for movies, magazine covers, brand shoots etc. So even I was curious and a little apprehensive to know how I was going to make Katrina look the most unique, radiant and spectacular that she has ever looked. In the end, the answer couldn’t have been simpler and Katrina had it; she just needed to look like herself and no one else. A staggering 12 million likes for her wedding photos on Instagram say she got it perfectly right. The only bridal makeup trend to follow is the one that makes you, well, you. And lucky for me, makeup loves Katrina and Katrina loves makeup. I’m lucky, I have a special relationship with Katrina and at the heart of this is trust, loyalty, and good humour. I had a job to do at Katrina’s wedding, and I wasn’t going to let anything interfere with me doing my best for her. At the end, this was Katrina’s wedding and it was a privilege to be a part of it.
Even for bridal makeup, Alia Bhatt and, quite recently, Kiara were all about fuller brows, minimal
eye makeup, and nude lips. What’s so enticing about this beauty trend? I’m lucky because I get to work with some of the most stunning brides at the most spectacular Indian weddings you can imagine. The drill is that you meet the bride-to-be before and discuss the makeup and hair. And on the big day, you turn her into the most beautiful Indian bride in the world. Every bride has a clear point of view on how they want to look. My sole advice to them all is: Be you, creating a memory that will last a generation and more. When your grandchildren look at your wedding photos, they will be far less interested in what beauty trends inspired you; they want to see their grandma and
marvel at how she looked. Trends are for bloggers and influencers. Leave them to it. If you’re a bride-to-be, be yourself; create a timeless version of yourself... whether it’s with bold or subtle makeup... as long as it’s you.
These days, there are so many male beauty inﬂuencers too who are doing incredible work with their talent for makeup looks; do you see it as a step forward to embracing beauty in all forms, irrespective of gender? Beauty influencers, no comment. Loving makeup is great, but making people feel inferior because they don’t live up to the beauty goals some beauty influencers dictate is just not cool. Let’s celebrate everyone and all the gorgeous imperfections that make us all unique. Perfection is boring. Celebrate and embrace you, all of you. You can’t be anyone else because everyone else is taken.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 21
I moved to India at a time when a lot of international magazines and fashion brands were opening their Indian operations. It was a super exciting and creative time, but more importantly, it was a time of freedom and experimentation
Katrina Kaif Bhumi Pednekar
Viva La Vida
2023 Pantone colour of the yearViva Majenta is here for a style upgrade
In contrast to last year’s selection, Very Peri, which was about embracing it, the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2023, Viva Magenta, aims to put the strangeness of the last few years behind us with a bold new beginning. This year’s colour, a crimson red tone, is unapologetically bold and vibrant, designed to convey a strength while also encouraging happiness and optimism. Top fashion houses have already taken notice, with Viva Magenta appearing in many of their most recent collections. The Pantone Color Institute describes the colour as “an unusual shade for an unusual time” because it is both warm and cool. Over the past few seasons, the eye-catching colour has appeared in the collections of some of the most prestigious fashion houses. Now, this shade is Bollywood-friendly as well because our actresses have sported traditional sarees and captivating dresses in Viva Magenta.
The Pantone Color Institute describes the colour Viva Majenta as "an unusual shade for
because it is both warm and cool
FASHION & BEAUTY
an unusual time"
PRIYANKA CHOPRA JONAS
SARA ALI KHAN
Despite the fact that it is still early in the year and our winter clothing is still in season, the fashion memo for the spring and summer of 2023 has already been distributed. The sheer trend is expected to reign supreme in every store and beyond, catering to the party palette, off-duty glamour and daily errands. As the theme for 2023 appears to be daring, sheer is here to up the ante on the baring game. See-through outfits, which were once thought to be a revamp of flashy and feisty, are now thought to be a subversion of the ideal feminine body type as observed by the male gaze. The barely-there fabric embraces the idea of choice feminism, giving a woman the choice of how much or how little skin she wants to flaunt. It also affirms the woman’s autonomy over her curves. Bollywood divas have also hopped onto the sheer bandwagon and are flaunting it.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 23
KIARA ADVANI DEEPIKA PADUKONE
"The sheer trend is expected to reign supreme in every store and beyond, catering to the party palette, off-duty glamour, and daily errands."
Making sultry waves with its chic aesthetic, the sheer fabric continues to be a top favourite
The Ultimate adventure adrenaline Bucket List
Welcome to the world of adrenaline adventures! Here’s an adventure bucket list that will get your heart racing and your blood pumping. From skydiving to cage diving with white sharks, these adventures are not for the faint-hearted. They will push you out of your comfort zone and give you a rush like no other.
Jais Flight is the longest zipline in the world. Soar across jagged mountain peaks and swoop through deep ravines at hair-raising speeds of up to 160 kmph. Three minutes of adrenaline-pumping adventure at 1680 metres above the Arabian Gulf will leave you with a once-in-a-lifetime sense of superhero magic.
Trek to the Everest Base Camp Trek
There are two main base camps for Mount Everest: the South Base Camp in Nepal and the North Base Camp in Tibet. The South Base Camp is located in Nepal, at an altitude of 5,364 meters (17,598 feet) above sea level. It is accessible via the town of Lukla, which can be reached by a short flight from Kathmandu. The trek to the South Base Camp takes around 10-12 days and passes through beautiful Sherpa villages and breathtaking scenery.
24 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 FEATURE
Ras Al Khaimah
Skydiving in Dubai
Skydiving in Dubai is a popular adventure activity that offers breathtaking views of the city and the Arabian Gulf from high up in the sky.
The most popular location for skydiving in Dubai is the Palm Jumeirah From here, you can experience an exhilarating
Cage Diving With Great White Sharks
For diving with great whites in crystalclear water the color of peppermint mouthwash — allowing you to see the sharks approaching from very far away — there’s no place like Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. With sparse vegetation and curtains of fog that roll off it, this cragged, volcanic outcropping some 160 miles off the west coast of Baja is the perfect backdrop to great white encounters. A host of great whites patrols the waters here from summer to late fall.
Masai Mara Safari
Masai Mara is a wildlife reserve located in southwestern Kenya, that spans across Tanzania and Kenya. The reserve is named after the Maasai people who inhabit the area and the Mara River that flows through it.
Masai Mara is known for its diverse wildlife, including the “Big Five” game animals - lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and Cape buffalos. The reserve is also famous for the annual wildebeest migration, which takes place between July and October, Aside from wildlife viewing, Masai Mara offers a range of other activities, including hot air balloon safaris, cultural visits to Maasai villages, bird watching, and guided nature walks.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 25
COMPILED BY - AMIT PANCHAL
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL ADVENTURE TRAVEL GEAR
HYDAWAY ADVENTURE TRAVEL KIT , COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE, TRAVEL CASE, 15L BACKPACK, AND CLEANING TABS
26 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 FEATURE
BIOLITE ELECTRICITY GENERATING & USB CHARGING CAMP STOVE
GOPRO HERO 11 BLACK MANFROTTO MONOPOD INSTA360 X3
DICAPAC WATERPROOF CASE PROMASTER RUGGED
CANON R5 MIRRORLESS CAMERA LACIE RUGGED MINI 5TB EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
ANKER SOLAR POWER GENERATOR
PACSAFE TRAVELSAFE 3L ANTI-THEFT PORTABLE SAFE
SEA TO SUMMIT TRAVELLER SLEEPING BAG & BLANKET
GRAYL GEOPRESS WATER PURIFIER BOTTLE
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 27
LIFESYSTEMS FIRST AID KIT
CELESTRON OUTLAND X MOTOROLA WALKIE TALKIES
NINJA MULTITOOL CARD
ANTI MOSQUITO INSCET CONTROL SPRAY
ZIPPO MAG STRIKE
PRIMUS LITE XL OUTDOOR COOKING KIT
FENIX PD36R PRO COMPILED BY - AMIT PANCHAL
KELTY TANGLEWOOD MUTUACTOR HIGH STRENGTH POLYESTER CORD WITH CARABINER
BEAR PARACORD BRACELET PARACORD KEYCHAINS WITH CARABINER
PHOTOGRAPHS: JITU SAVLANI | STYLIST: AMANDEEP KAUR | MAKE-UP: HARISH WADHONE | HAIR: TEAM HAKIMS AALIM (ARIF) | LOCATION: HILTON MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Blazer: Huemn | Shirt: Suket Dhir | Sunglasses: Rosvin Bugs | Boots: Alberto Torresi | Chain: Inox Jewelry
ACTOR, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, PARENT… AJAY DEVGN HAS EXCELLED IN ALL THE ROLES HE’S PLAYED. SUMAN SHARMA TAKES NOTES AS HE EXPLAINS HIS PHILOSOPHY
Bholaa, Rudra, Shivaay— There seems to be a connection between these titles. I was telling this to another person the other day. I think this wasn’t really done intentionally. The title of Rudra wasn’t decided by me. When I made Shivaay, I just wanted to make a film in the mountains. Bholaa, I feel like the name suits the character. Kai baar kuch cheezen bas ho jaati hain, without any plan. How easy or difficult is it to direct a film in which you’re also starring? When you do two things together and are passionate about them, everything becomes easy. If you don’t want to do them, everything becomes difficult. The only thing required is hard work, which I love doing, so I don’t have a problem. Since the beginning of my career, I used to operate the camera, assist, and have had this passion to direct. Then I became an actor. I’m just following my passion, that’s all. You just have to be more prepared. The clarity is important because you are doing two to three important things on the set at the same time. Once you have that clarity things run smoothly but if it isn’t there, it is going to mess you up.
Tabu has an important role in Bholaa. You both share an equation right from Vijaypath (1994) Not just from Vijaypath I have known her since we were 13-14 years old. Humara equation dosti yaari aur gaali-galauz wala hai. There is a certain comfort zone. I think that equation has never changed. It has remained the same over the years.
You both have another romcom coming.. Yes, there is one. I think it is too early to talk about it.
You once said that you love to break the norms. Can you elaborate on that? I break the norms in the sense that I have my own style. I have my own rules. You can see that in Runway 34 too. During the most dramatic scene, there is an emotional song playing in the background. The base of any film has to be an emotion. It could be a funny emotion. It could be a sad emotion but without emotion, nothing works, not even comedy. And action doesn’t work at
all. When there is emotion behind a kick or a punch, people clap. But if someone is hitting the other person without a reason, no one is going to feel anything, even if the shot is perfect. So emotion has to be present.
As a filmmaker, what changes do you perceive in Hindi cinema?
Our cinema is undergoing a bit of a struggle currently, after the pandemic. The mindset of the masses has changed. In Hollywood too, for example, the films with emotional quotient may get the Oscar but they are mostly watched on OTT. It’s the superhero movies or the big budget action films which are drawing in the crowd into the theatres. Now, we have to decide which films need to be released theatrically and which need to be released on OTT. Some films the viewers would like to watch with their family in the comfort of their homes and others they would prefer to watch as a community in theatres. So there’s better scope for all kinds of cinema today.
You made your debut with Rudra on OTT. How was that experience? It was the same as shooting a film. I thought it would be a little different, but on the set, it was the same people, the same cameras, the same pattern of shooting— everything is the same. The only thing is that sometimes it gets a little confusing because when you are doing six episodes, all the scenes using the same set are done at the same time. So that is the process. Otherwise, there is no difference, it took as much time as it takes to make a film.
There are so many conversations today about pan-Indian films and South remakes. You have been part of all those worlds. What is your take on the debate
You don’t try to make panIndian films, they become pan-Indian films by default. The film that works all over the country is called a pan-Indian film. But when it is being made, I don’t think they plan it that way. They hope it becomes one because we are one industry, the Indian film industry.
Language is a barrier but when the product is good, the barrier gets broken down. And now with movies being dubbed into different languages, everything has become pan-Indian. I think Pathaan was dubbed into South languages , so that worked. It’s good for all of us.
A pan-Indian film you were part of, RRR, has bagged some incredible laurels. It won the Oscars and the Golden Globes for Naatu naatu... It’s fabulous. SS Rajamouli is a great director. He really is so dedicated. I mean, working on one film for five to six years, a lot of people won’t do that. He works hard and you can see the result. When you work that hard and are that dedicated, you will get the results.
Did you both share a bond as filmmakers, just talking and understanding movies?
I was watching him while he was shooting, and the way he thinks is fabulous. He had completely memorised all the characters and the story of the Mahabharata. The epic contains many characters for every kind of emotion possible. That one
book is such a big school for filmmaking and storytelling. All kinds of heroes or villains are present in the book. All kinds of characters, be they negative, positive, romantic, stoic, cruel, kind-hearted, naive, worldlywise - everything is present in this one book. There is so much to learn from it. He has completely memorised it. That’s what he told me. He also reads some portions of Mahabharata everyday. So that type of
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 29
IN MY FILMS, WHERE THERE IS ACTION, YOU WILL SEE THE SHOOTING STYLE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. THE ACTION IS NEVER COPIED FROM ANY HOLLYWOOD FILM
education is unique. Another South remake, Drishyam 2 did extremely well at the theatres... The credit does not go to me, it goes to the audience and to the film. Drishyam has become a big brand, so people were waiting for it. And if, on top of that, the film is good, then the best things happen. The audience should have the excitement to go watch a film in the theatres. People have the best of cinema in their hands at home. So unless you give them something different or equally good, they won’t bother going to the theatres. And Drishyam gave them the incentive to hand over their hard earned money and buy a movie ticket.
You, Akshay Kumar, SRK, Salman Khan, and Aamir Khan have been ruling the roost for years. What’s the secret of this long span?
I don’t know. I follow my heart and, as I said, passion and hard work. Other than that, I don’t understand all these publicity stunts and all. Even if it works, it is only until a certain point; after that, it is your work, your dedication and your performance towards work that speaks. That is what takes you the long way. How do you balance between star stature and creativity? There is nothing about stature that you need to balance. Creativity is there in everything, whether it’s niche cinema or even our cinema. In fact, it is harder in our cinema because you need to provide today’s audiences with a presentation that shouldn’t look like buffoonery or stupidity but that they should enjoy. So walking that thin line is hard.
What is the secret of your successful marriage? What seems remarkable about your marriage is that Kajol and you have retained your distinct identities. There is no secret; there can never be a secret. It is just that you have to make compromises, you have to be happy in life; otherwise, I can’t guide anyone on some kind of secret. Things either work or they don’t work.
I believe that if aap apne
kaam se kaam rakho toh things work, whether at work or at home.
Why did you dedicate your Valentine’s Day post to the camera and not Kajol?
(Smiles) Mujhe Valentine’s Day samajh mein nahi aata (I don’t understand the concept of Valentine’s Day). Genuinely. Now I feel like laughing when someone says today is chocolate day, rose day, hug day, or kiss day. Matlab kya hai in sab ka? I think this is all propaganda to sell merchandise, that’s all.
You and Kajol are parents to two teenagers. They’re at an age where they start questioning authority. It is extremely difficult because a teenager’s mindset is completely different. They haven’t yet reached maturity, but they don’t even rationalise much, and they think very differently from us. That is why we need to find a balance while dealing with them.
What advice do you want to give them as a parent?
You cannot give advice. You can only set an example for them to follow. Everyone goofs around when they’re young and learns from that as they grow up. One mustn’t forget that while trying to deal with one’s kids. You have to show lots of patience and unconditional love. They see how I interact with their mother and how she interacts with me. They pick up on every little thing. And that forms the basis of their own conditioning. So you have to be at your best, always, if you want them to grow up as well-mannered, cultured individuals. It’s not what you say to them, it’s what you show them that counts.
Who is more strict?
Depends; some things are hers, some are mine.
Do the children enjoy watching your films?
My son Yug has now started watching them. My daughter Nysa doesn’t watch our films. She
30 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023
PEOPLE HAVE THE BEST OF CINEMA IN THEIR HANDS AT HOME. SO UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING DIFFERENT OR EQUALLY GOOD, THEY WON’T BOTHER GOING TO THE THEATRES
Leather Jacket: The V Renaissance Knit: Selected | Chelsea boots: Escaro Royalé
doesn’t have any interest in watching them, at least not yet.
In an interview, Kajol once said she has learned a lot from her kids. Has this happened to you too? We learn a lot. In fact, the younger generation sometimes says such deep stuff. Sometimes they say such simple things—like they make the thing we are worrying about simple because their minds are not as complicated. They are like, “Just do this or that; what is the problem?” This clarity and thought that today’s generation have is different and unique. And in our industry, especially, it is important to maintain that connection with this generation because you learn so much. You have worked for 30 years with some of the biggest directors who have become outdated and still believe what worked 20 years ago will work now. But you understand what the audience actually wants from this generation. To express an emotion, we used to say 15 lines, ab aaj wahi baat bacche ek line mei samajh jaate hain. Unka matlab hai baat samajh aa gai na ab aage badho. Ab wahi baat aap filmon mei karenge toh nahin chalega. (We used to say 15 lines of dialogue to express something but kids today understand that sentiment in one line. They won’t watch that
kind of cinema anymore as it’ll bore them) Learning this is very important.
What sets Kajol apart as a person and as a performer?
Kajol is one of the best performers we have in the country. She is extraordinary. I think as parents, we both have a middle-class mentality. Both my family and her family are from the middle class. Paise se soch nahi badalti. That is the best part of her upbringing. That’s what I like about her. So the kids learn that, and that is a good thing.
Does the constant spotlight on Nysa and Yug bother you?
Yes, it does bother me a lot because you cannot change that. You really don’t know what to do. Because a lot of the time, there are some things written that are not even true. But if you react, they multiply. So it is a tricky situation.
How do you explain the incessant trolling to your children?
You have to constantly explain to them that they shouldn’t be bothered by what they read online. The trolls form a miniscule per cent of your audience. Normal people have thousands of worries of their own to bother about films and film stars. They’d watch a trailer and if they like it, they’d perhaps watch the film. And after watching a film, they’d perhaps discuss it with their friends and family.
I don’t think they’d post comments online about a trailer or a film. I’ve asked around and people have told me they’ve never done it. So, I don’t know how such negativity happens. I’ve learnt to ignore it and have asked my children to do the same. I don’t even understand what they write sometimes, so I haven’t let it bother me.
Friendships in this industry are supposed to be fickle but you’ve remained friends with your co-stars and haven’t let rivalries besmirch that. We may not be meeting in person that much but we still talk. In fact, everyone is just one call away. And we support one another when the need arises. Akshay, Salman, Shah Rukh, Abhishek, even though he’s younger to us, Amitji, Suniel Shetty, Sanju…we trust one another and have been there for one another and we know we can count on one another’s support.
Actors are said to be selfobsessed. Is it true in your case? Some people are like that, especially those who surround themselves with 15 yes men all the time. But those who’ve grounded themselves in reality aren’t like that. My feet are firmly on the ground. I know our career fluctuates every Friday. So I’m not self-obsessed about success or failure or about my star status, for that matter.
What is Ajay like in real life? Are you really a very serious person? I’m like an open book. I don’t socialise much or party and I believe in being straightforward all the time. I’m the same both at work and at home. There’s no hidden agenda behind my thoughts and actions. I do things from the heart.
Maybe your reticence has helped develop misconceptions about you?
Yes, it has happened.
There’s a misconception that I’m arrogant. But people who’re close to me know the truth. And even outsiders now know that I don’t party and I don’t mingle outside of work. Even they’ve realised that’s my real nature so that misconception has lessened somewhat.
What makes you angry?
Lots of things and nothing. I don’t want to get angry because there is no point. No one is going to be bothered by your anger. Everyone has their own life. If you’re wasting your time being angry, it’s your problem. Earlier I used to get into fights and quarrels when angry but now I don’t care. And people can think what they want. I can’t make everyone happy.
What makes you happy? My work makes me happy, my children make me happy. When I am not shooting, I prefer spending time at home with them.
What have you learnt in the last four decades of your career? You never master anything in your life, your work, or your personal life. The day you stop learning, you should stop your work and leave everything behind. Because no one will ever know everything. Even if we do the same thing for 10 days, we learn something new. The scope for improvement is always there.
You’re one of the fittest actors. What motivates you to get out of bed and hit the gym every day? I don’t hit the gym every day. I want that kind of motivation. I have to run around so much for work that my motivation to do that for the last six-eight months has become less.
What works in the industry, according to you?
I would say, luck is definitely an element. But nothing works like hard work, dedication, and honesty in your work. That is the only thing that works. n
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 31
Aditi Rao Hydari
There’s an innocence to her that you pray remains with her always. A fragility that becomes palpable on screen. And this vulnerability isn’t just limited to screen time. Looking at her, you find it hard to believe that she hasn’t just survived but thrived in the dog-eat-dog world of showbiz. Hearing her waxing eloquent about movies, you realise she’s genuinely enthusiastic about being part of cinema. In fact, she considers her position a privilege. Her goals are simple, she wants to be relevant for as long as she can be. Perhaps it’s that determination which drove her to seek meatier roles down South. And which is driving her to push the envelope on OTT. She’ll be seen in two period drama series. While Taj: Divided By Blood, is set in the Mughal times, Heeramandi is set in the pre-partition era and tells the tale of a generation of courtesans. She talks about both with candour and wit.
DO YOU THINK OTT PLATFORMS ARE A GAME CHANGER, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO PORTRAYING FEMALE CHARACTERS IN A BETTER LIGHT?
We all love theatre. We love to see largerthan-life films and it’s magical. However, OTT gives content creators a certain creative freedom to tell so many different stories in so many different ways. And our audience wants to consume different stories and content as well. They are open to it and they are choosing what they want. It’s about the stories without any kind of market pressure. The audience is consuming all kinds of things and not investing in a set formula. The makers as well as the actors have recognised that maturity
and are paying heed to the change. It’s an interesting time for everyone and not just actresses.
WHAT MADE YOU SAY YES TO THE SERIES, TAJ: DIVIDED BY BLOOD?
When I heard that they wanted me to play Anarkali. I was like, “What? No chance.”
How can there be another Anarkali? In fact, Anarkali ke naam par sirf Madhubala ji yaad aati hain (You only remember Madhubala as Anarkali). I feel there can be no second Mughal-e-Azam. So I said no. I forgot about it. Then the director and producer came to my house to meet me. They stated that they viewed this as a global and an universal story. Because of this love story, everything else follows in the way things unfold. The way they narrated it, I was like, “This is not at
all Mughle-e-Azam. It’s gritty and darker.” It’s an amalgam of history and imagination. Anarkali from the 16th century was just a girl and I played her as such. A girl in captivity who had fallen in love with a prince and who showed spirit and courage and stood up to the emperor and was loyal to her love.
YOU’RE PLAYING A COURTESAN AGAIN IN SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI’S PERIOD DRAMA, HEERAMANDI. Sanjay sir has so much respect for women and female characters. He has
so much love and passion for the stories he is making; that’s why people remember his characters. He doesn’t just make her a cardboard cutout. There’s much to do in the series and of course, I’m surrounded by such fabulous co-stars. That was indeed a bonus.
WAS IT A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO FOCUS ON SOUTH FILMS AND AVOID HINDI FILMS?
I love to work with good directors. For me, films are like beautiful stories that the director shows you on celluloid. Stories
SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI SIR HAS SO MUCH RESPECT FOR WOMEN AND FEMALE CHARACTERS. HE HAS SO MUCH LOVE AND PASSION FOR THE STORIES HE IS MAKING. THAT’S WHY PEOPLE REMEMBER HIS CHARACTERS
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 33
ADITI RAO HYDARI IS IN LOVE WITH SHOWBIZ. SUMAN SHARMA SPILLS THE BEANS ON THE AFFAIR
aren’t bound by language. It’s about the directors and what they bring to life. People like us, who are outsiders, have limited access. We wait for the right place at the right time. Agar Mani Ratnam sir jaise director ka apke paas call aa jaye… (If a director like Mani Ratnam calls you...)you feel lucky and then you get more good offers.
YOU’RE BRINGING THE NEPOTISM DEBATE INTO PLAY WHEN YOU SAY YOU STRUGGLED BECAUSE YOU WERE AN OUTSIDER. Everyone has to struggle. But the difference between a star kid and an outsider is that they’ll get ten opportunities. And we will get only one. However, it is ultimately about people liking you, accepting you, directors choosing you. And you being relevant for a long time. Talent should be lasting. That is the main thing, right?
YOU DID MANAGE TO WORK WITH SOME OF THE BEST DIRECTORS, BE IT SUDHIR MISHRA, SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI, OR MANI RATNAM...
They are really great filmmakers. The audience remembers their movies for a long time and keeps going back to their films and talking about them. Those films became cult films. I am like a baby and cannot talk about legends. I feel blessed that I get the opportunity to work with them and with really amazing directors. They push, challenge and also protect the actor in you.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE FOUND YOUR
PLACE IN THE INDUSTRY?
To be honest, my dream was to be a Mani Ratnam or a Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroine. When I was a kid, I had these dreams. You can say I’ve realised those dreams. But trust me, I still struggle. If there is no struggle, then how will I learn? What am I looking forward to? So I still want to do more. I still have dreams. If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, this is the place to be. I still think – Will I be able to give life to the vision of my directors? Will the audience accept me in my new role? All those things are still there.
HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO STAY POSITIVE DESPITE ALL YOUR UPS AND DOWNS?
You should always believe in yourself. Never complain about not having enough and instead count your blessings. Never say the glass is half empty. It’s always half full. Always be aware of your worth and you’ll never feel low, you’ll never feel unimportant. I’ve always believed in the magic of cinema. I always feel that I’m in a profession which, for a short while at least, gives people a chance to escape their mundane lives. That’s kind of empowering, indeed. I take it as a blessing that I’m in this profession. This thought always fills
HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS AN ACTOR AND AS A PERSON?
As an actress? Let the audience be the judge of that. But as a person, I feel I’ve definitely grown. When I first came to Mumbai and landed Yeh Saali Zindagi (2011), I had no idea how to survive in this city. All I knew was that I wanted to live here and make my name as an actor. But being an outsider, I had no one to guide me. I learnt the ropes on the way and I’m not that unsure or hesitant person any more. But I’m still like a kid on the sets. A kid lost in a playground. A kid who loves to explore. Who’s always dreaming of tomorrow. But who has more clarity now. So she can plan out her steps to achieve those dreams. The clarity of purpose wasn’t there before. Now I not only know what I want to do but also have the vision to achieve that.
EVERYONE HAS TO STRUGGLE. BUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STAR KID AND AN OUTSIDER IS THAT THEY’LL GET TEN OPPORTUNITIES. AND WE WILL GET ONLY ONE
me up with positivity. And I don’t bother about things that are beyond my control.
WHAT IS ADITI LIKE IN REAL LIFE?
I am a happy person. I love to make people around me happy. I am very transparent. You can always read what I’m feeling on my face. I’m loyal. I do get angry and I cry when I’m angry. I’ve experienced that anger too is good sometimes. I’ve a video imagination. You tell me anything and I start imagining it in colour. In fact, that’s how I approach my characters. I’ve already imagined them vividly during the narration. So enacting them becomes easier as I feel I already know them. n
34 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 INTERVIEW
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT HAVING ENOUGH AND INSTEAD COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Manoj Bajpayee talks about life and career choices. Suman Sharma records his sombre explanations
Manoj Bajpayee. He’s one actor who infuses his characters with a sense of grace. There’s a stability to every role that he essays. In the recently released OTT movie, Gulmohar, he plays a middle-aged man who is searching for validation from his family members. He’d been adopted as a child and the fact that he doesn’t belong to his milieu always haunts him, despite the love showered on him by everyone. And he doesn’t need dialogue to make his angst felt. Perhaps it’s all so real because in a sense, despite being an insider now, Manoj in his mind still sees himself as an outsider to the film industry. Someone who thinks he isn’t truly accepted even after all these years. Perhaps his aloofness, his reticence, stems from that. The only place which truly frees him is in the front of the camera and that’s where he lets go of all inhibitions and becomes the character he’s playing. Presenting excerpts from an interview where the talented actor is caught in a reflective mood…
Your recently released film, Gulmohar, is getting so much love on OTT. And you are all set for Family Man season 3. You must be enjoying your popularity on OTT? Yes, Gulmohar is doing so well. Every day it’s growing bigger and bigger, which is humbling. A small family film that has become a national favourite. OTT is a democratic space. If you are part of a good project and your performance is good, people will send their love to you. And they also immediately point out even the smallest of flaws. So it’s democratic and also brutal. One has to be sure of the project and character that one is taking on. You can’t be lazy while approaching the character.
OTT has taken away the box-office pressure from the actors… There is no pressure to perform well at the box office. but there is always a fear of getting lost in the clutter. That is why it is important that you choose carefully. The amount of content that is available is staggering. So
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 35
PHOTOGRAPHS: MEETESH TANEJA | STYLIST: HARIPAL NAKAI
OTT IS A VERY DEMOCRATIC SPACE.
IF YOU ARE PART OF A GOOD PROJECT AND YOUR PERFORMANCE IS GOOD, PEOPLE WILL SEND THEIR LOVE TO YOU. AND THEY ALSO IMMEDIATELY POINT OUT EVEN THE SMALLEST OF FLAWS
if you don’t choose well, the audience might just skip your show.
How was the experience of working with Sharmila Tagore in Gulmohar?
I couldn’t believe that I was sharing the camera with her. I kept humming my favourite song from Daag, Jab bhi jee chahe nai duniya, in her presence. She brought back all of my childhood memories of watching her films with my parents. I felt so humble and honoured working with her. She keeps on sending positive energy to everyone, so not only me, but everyone else too, benefited from her presence. She takes good care of you if she likes you. She is quite straightforward and doesn’t mince her words. She is brutally honest and if she doesn’t like something, she says it right to your face. And if she likes something, she’s warm and generous in her praise. She got a lot of love and respect from everyone while we were shooting.
You love to play complex characters. You can’t call yourself an actor if you only go for straight roles. The fun is in dealing with complexity. All human beings are complex. I love to play the kind of characters I did in films like Aligarh and Gali Guleiyan. They are not easy characters to perform. They demanded a lot of work and I gave them my all because I loved the challenges they brought.
Which are some roles you are truly proud of?
It’s difficult for me to name my favourite. I can say that my most challenging role ti ll now was in Gali Guleiyan It pushed me to the brink of a nervous breakdown. The mindset of the character didn’t leave me for a long time.
Take us through your acting process
Going through the script a number of times, noting down all the details, making sure of the back stories and getting the characterization in place. It’s a long process that goes on behind the doors, away from everybody’s eyes.
Did theatre help you grow as an actor?
Theatre is an actor’s movement. Actors are on stage without any editing, colour correction, sound editing, or background music to elevate their performance. You are there for a few hours on stage without any exterior help. So, theatre actors have to work hard on their craft.
You have to be fully prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. You have to know that there is no shortcut to that. I would advise and request all the newcomers to do theatre for two to three years and then come into the demanding business of cinema. Because in films, they are not expected to learn on the job; they are expected to deliver. Theatre prepares you to deal with all the problems that come with acting in front of the camera.
What do you love about being an actor?
That I continue to be showered with love from unexpected places. People show so much love for you and your work. They give so much love and respect that I feel overwhelmed at times. I am open to people’s opinions and perceptions. I try to be as real as possible. So take the love graciously and don’t let it get to my head.
In a recent interview, you mentioned that the industry doesn’t like you, that you survived because of your
Yes. Because not everyone wants to hear the honest truth. Everyone wants you to say things that they want to hear, and that is difficult for me. IfI don’t get to say what I feel in my heart, it becomes difficult for me to sit in a company where I am only saying yes. And that goes both ways. You should feel comfortable telling me what I am doing wrong and vice versa. It is important to be honest with each other. In an industry like this, which is competitive, nobody wants to hear where they are wrong or what is wrong. When I watch my films, I don’t like my performances at all. I’m open
to criticism, and likewise, people should have the grace to listen to it, as it’s productive.
In our last interview, you said that you’d now like to workfor money. (Laughs) I keep saying I will work for money now because we do need money. When it comes to choosing that, I always fail to do so.
What was the toughest phase of your life and what have you learnt from it? My initial time in Mumbai was truly tough. My films Pinjar and 1971 didn’t do well at the box-office. After that, I stopped getting offers. That too after winning two
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 37
I CAN SAY THAT MY MOST CHALLENGING ROLE TILL NOW WAS IN GALI GULEIYAN. IT PUSHED ME TO THE BRINK OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
The Family Man
National Awards and three Filmfare Awards and after being part of a blockbuster like Satya. I had nothing. Somehow I survived till I got Raajneeti
What kept you going even during those tough times? When there is no work, there is a lot of work, that is what I believe in. I was working on myself, I was reading a lot. I was working on my acting more and more to be ready for the opportunities that would come my way. I was conducting and attending workshops. I went back to my native place, my village, and connected to everything that had been a part of me earlier.
Which actor do you look up to?
I am a big fan of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi. They both have managed to create a very respectable name for themselves. Earlier, Amitabh Bachchan used to be my inspiration. And he continues to inspire us all even now. And how can I not mention Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah. I also learnt a lot from Barry John. I will always be indebted to him for the support and trust he has given me.
You always keep a low profile, what keeps you grounded?
I believe that if I don’t live a real life, the inspiration for the stories and the characters will never come to me. I have to find a connection with people, who watch my films and try to be like them. I’m just another professional doing my job. In fact, I’m no different from anyone else who has a desk job.
How would you rate yourself as a husband and as a father?
(Laughs) If we go by my wife Shabana and my daughter Ava Navya, I would say 60 per cent.
I am always scolded and shouted at by both the ladies in my house. I’m always analysing aspects of my forthcoming characters in my mind. When I am not working or meeting people, I love to be at home. But even then, my mind is occupied with thoughts about my roles. Since they know it, this aspect angers them sometimes.
You have achieved everything. Is there anything left to achieve?
EVERYONE WANTS YOU TO SAY THINGS THAT THEY WANT TO HEAR, AND THAT IS DIFFICULT FOR ME.
IF I DON’T GET TO SAY WHAT I FEEL IN MY HEART, IT BECOMES DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SIT IN A COMPANY WHERE I AM ONLY SAYING YES
I want to be part of great projects until I hang up my shoes. I am in love with this craft and this love story will never end as long as I’m alive.
What kinds of roles would you like to explore in the future? It all depends on the offers I get. I don’t have any dream role in mind. I take the roles given to me and try to choose the best out of them. After OTT, the good scripts are way too
many. And I’m glad I’m in a position to choose the best of the lot. I am a patient person, I will never be in a hurry. I am always ready for a good project.
Would you even take up direction? Right now, there are a lot of amazing projects on my plate. I would like to use this time as an actor, and if there is anything that I should direct, I will definitely do that.
38 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 INTERVIEW
ONE OF THE MOST-LOVED COMEDIAN AND POPULAR ACTOR OF THE INDIAN SCREENS, SUNIL GROVER IN A CANDID CHAT WITH AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE REVEALS HIS ‘NORMAL’!
With an impeccable comic-timing and his straight from the heart performances, actor-comedian Sunil Grover has given Indian screens some of the most memorable and iconic comic characters. Interestingly, he’s proven his mettle as an actor even when dabbling on the other end of the spectrum when he played a negative character in Tandav and all that lies in between with films like Bharat. With films like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jawan and the series Sunflower 2 on the cards, he is currently been garnering praise for the comedy series United Kacche on Zee5 Global. And as I try to tap into his reservoir of funny, in an exclusive interview, the actor shocks me as he reveals that the normal Sunil Grover is boring! Unbelievable, coming from the mouth of an actor who could send you on the floor reeling with laughter, right? Well, read on as he makes several other shocking revelations about himself!
You’re very popular as a comedian, but you are also quite a versatile performer and we have seen you go to the other extremes too like in Tandav. So, what makes you decide on your next role, is there a preference of genre? See, nothing happens according to my wish. I can only choose out of the kind of roles that are offered to me. So for example, when United Kacche was offered to me, it excited me because it’s a show, and I would congratulate Zee5 Global to think of a slice-of-life comedy series based in the UK. Not many people would try that because it’s not an easy show to make, to shoot abroad. And for a sitcom to have a setup like we had in UK. This idea I loved and I liked it, so I wanted to be a part of this show.
The show and your performance in it has been garnering much praise,
tell us more about it!
So, in United Kacche, the Kacche stands for illegal immigrants. People who are living in UK or any country abroad illegally can relate to it easily. So the series is all about this bunch of ‘Kacche’- there’s a Pakistani couple, there’s a Bangladeshi guy, there’s Indian, the landlord is a Gujarati Indian, I’m a Punjabi. So, all of us, whatever dhamaal chokdi we create, situations are such that bring a smile on their face, inspite of the difficulties that they face during their stay there as illegal immigrants.
Comedy in itself has so many facets, how do you decide what kind do you want your character to have?
Set-up decide karta hai, director decide karta hai. Pata chalta hai ki story kis type ki hai. Now this
I’m not much comfortable with myself. I’m more comfortable becoming someone else. When I’m playing a character, I just become, to whatever extent, that character and then start leading that life and it becomes easy
is basically drama and comedy so whatever you do, most of it has to be with a smile on your face. So, you conceive a character and situations are funny, so you need not go overboard. But there are some lines that you have to deliver in a certain way so it’s close to reality. I won’t say it’s completely unreal. But the situations are real. Since you are doing comedy, so you have to
change a bit of reality to call it a sequence and make a caricature out of it then you come back to reality. So, it’s like that. I conceived and director asked me to do it this way, so I did it.
Is there a struggle as an actor that the directors only see you or consider you for certain or particular kind of characters rather than seeing the characters that you are capable of doing?
I’m very lucky that
40 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 INTERVIEW
different kinds of roles are offered to me. And it is not easy to make anyone laugh, so I’m happy doing funny roles. But then if there is something which I believe I can do and the director offers it to me, then full credit to the director. I’ll give credit to Mr Ali Abbas Zafar for offering me Tandav. I had worked with him in Bharat, but then he thought that I could do a grey character and offered me Tandav. So, the credit goes to him to take the chance with me. But if people with such a heavy comic image on screen say a serious line and people laugh, then the scene fails. So it is his trust and belief that I could do it, he believed, and it happened. But I’m lucky that these kinds of roles are coming to me. With United Kacche also, it’s a very neutral, simple guy, sometimes smart, quirky but most of it is very simple ‘Punjab ka Munda’ who goes there trying to get his PR and get his identity there. So it’s nice to play a realistic kind of characters also.
What is the real Sunil Grover like? I’m not as funny as
Experience is a takeaway in itself. Good experiences are the remuneration of your journey
The past year was challenging health-wise, but you are back on track now!
sometimes I come on screen because I don’t wear saree most of the times (laughs). And I don’t wear Punjabi suit. But in reality, I’m all the moods that we all face. So, it’s nothing different. I’m very simple. But I’m not much comfortable with myself. I’m more comfortable becoming someone else. When I’m playing a character, I just become, to whatever extent, that character and then start leading that life and it becomes easy.
So do you find it difficult in where to stop being the character, especially when you’re playing a comic role or a realistic role? Of course, it takes over. But when you’re doing a funny show, your mind starts thinking of various lines during that process. And that day if you’re making a funny scene then your mind has to be tuned to that scene and if the scene is not very funny a certain day, then your mindset is different. So, each day comes with a different emotion. But of course, you have to switch on and switch off. I can’t live in that moment forever. I mean, once the job is over, work is over,
then I become normal.
So, what is normal you? Normal me is not very interesting. Normal me is boring. I like to kill time. I’m the best time-killer! So, when I’m doing nothing, I’m actually not doing anything. My favourite time pass is looking at people and I enjoy people and observing their behaviour pattern. And it is a ready-made web show for me all the time. I don’t need to pay any subscription. I just need to sit somewhere, and I just look at people and enjoy. And I keep doing the guessing game most of the time, that where is he coming from, where is he going? Is he single or married or has a girlfriend or what kind of family he would have or what does he eat normally. And sometimes I go and reconfirm with that person also. Most of the times I’m right. But there are times I’m wrong also. So, I like that game. But then again, it makes me very boring because I’m just sitting with myself and enjoying that. I am boring, but I never get bored.
By God’s grace, I’m enjoying and I think the doctors fixed it well. I mean they are good. And I’m leading a happy healthy normal life and I’m able to work and enjoy my time. I feel as I was. Rather I’ll say, I feel healthier.
You recently had United Kacche on Zee5 Global and next you have Jawan with Shah Rukh Khan. What are your other projects that we can look forward to?
So, there’s another movie which I’ll be talking about soon. And then Sunflower 2 is coming on Zee5 Global. I’m excited about that also.
What has been your biggest takeaway from all your experiences? Do you incorporate those in your performances too?
All experiences make you richer as a person and yes, they reflect in your work and your behaviour pattern too. If you’re looking at someone, their experiences show on their faces and it’s so beautiful. The struggles that they have faced, it comes in their personality. Present struggles or past struggles, all of it shows. Experience is a takeaway in itself. And good experiences are the remuneration of your journey.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 41
Dubai witnessed the spectacular launch of Fashionz by Danube and FashionTV, the city’s first branded residences project at a luxurious event by Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman, of Danube Group. His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan unveiled the project brochure, alongside dignitaries, media, and influencers from all over the world. The event was a resounding success, showcasing the project’s luxurious amenities, aspirational design, and unparalleled quality. Fashionz by Danube promises to be a game-changer in the industry, providing residents with a unique living experience that perfectly blends luxury, comfort, and style.
Founder and Chairman of Danube Group - Mr Rizwan Sajan, with H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and FashionTV CEO - Maximilian Dennis Edelweiss
Photo: Yasir Arafat, Osama Aman | Video: Jafar
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 43
H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Mr Rizwan Sajan
(Left to Right) Ali Quli Mirza, Amyra Dastur, Shriya Saran, Maheep Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Sunny Leone, Mr Rizwan Sajan, Mrs Sameera Sajan, Ms Shabnam Kassam, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Chitrangda Singh, Dr Sana Sajan, Seema Sajdeh
Malaika Arora with Mrs Sameera Sajan
Dr Sana Sajan
Mr Rizwan Sajan with FashionTV Founder - Mr Michel Adam Lisowski
H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Mrs Sameera Sajan
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Mrs Sameera Sajan and Dr Sana Sajan
44 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
Nushrratt Bharuccha and Ania J
H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan with Mr Rizwan Sajan, Mr Anis Sajan, Michel Adam Lisowski, Maximilian
Dennis Edelweiss, Alona Fischbein and Kashiff Khan
FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST
Esha Gupta, Iulia Vantur, Michael Cinco with Malaika Arora
Zahrah S Khan
Dr Sana Sajan with Azhar Sajan
Mr Madhusudhan Rao CEO Danube Group, Mr Anis Sajan, Syed Hussain, Alona Fischbein, Mr Rizwan Sajan, Kashiff Khan, Dhananjay Mulay, Tarun Jain and Maximilian Dennis Edelweiss
The press conference to announce the launch of Fashionz - Branded Residences by Danube and FashionTV was a star-studded event held at the Palazzo Versace Dubai. Addressing guests and media from across the world were Founder and Chairman of Danube Group - Rizwan Sajan, FashionTV Founder - Michel Adam Lisowski, FashionTV CEO - Maximilian Dennis Edelweiss, Vice Chairman of Danube Group - Anis Sajan, International fashion designer Michael Cinco and Bollywood star Malaika Arora with the host Ania J - the voice of FashionTV. The second panel of the event was a fun session with questions on fashion, real estate, and luxury hosted by Shibani Akhtar. On the panel was Bollywood’s glam brigadeNushrratt Bharuccha, Esha Gupta, Kanika Kapoor, Chitrangda Singh, Maheep Kapoor, and Sanjay Kapoor. The evening also saw Kanika regale audience with her peppy tracks!
46 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
(Left to Right ) Mr Anis Sajan -Vice Chairman Danube Group, Mr Michel Adam Lisowski - FashionTV Founder, Mr Rizwan Sajan - Founder and Chairman of Danube Group, Malaika Arora and Michael Cinco
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Malaika Arora
(Left to Right) Maheep Kapoor, Kanika Kapoor, Chitrangda Singh, Esha Gupta, Mr Rizwan Sajan, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Sanjay Kapoor
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 47
(Left to Right ) Mr Azhar Sajan, Mr Anis Sajan -Vice Chairman Danube Group, Maximilian Dennis Edelweiss - FashionTV CEO and Mr Sahil Sajan
(Left to Right ) Dr Sana Sajan, RitaKahn Chen, Ania J with a guest
RitaKahn Chen with Michel Adam Lisowski
(Left to Right) Dr Sana Sajan, Mrs Sameera Sajan, Shibani Akhtar, Sanjay Kapoor, Mr Rizwan Sajan, Ms Shabnam Kassam, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Chitrangda Singh, Esha Gupta,Maheep Kapoor and Kanika Kapoor
Mr Rizwan Sajan with the Media
Mrs Sameera Sajan with Esha Gupta and Nushrratt Bharuccha
48 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 49
ASuhur to Remember!
The Danube Group’s Suhur hosted by Mr Rizwan Sajan – Founder and Chairman of Danube Group – was a beautiful evening that brought together the media and influencer circle of Dubai in a celebration to remember! Check out the highlights of the fun-filled event
50 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
Mrs Sameera Sajan, Mr Rizwan Sajan - Founder and Chairman of Danube Group ,Dr Sana Sajan and Mr Adel Sajan - Danube Group Managing Director
Mr Sahil Sajan, Mr Anis Sajan -Vice Chairman Danube Group, Mr Azhar Sajan
Ms Shabnam Kassam with Mehreen Nisar Kassam Aishwarya Ajit
Voice of Dubai - Ahmad Haffar, Mr Adel Sajan, Ayman Al Yaman with a guest
Photo: Yasir Arafat, Osama Aman, Dawood Shaikh, Faisal | Video: Jafar
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 51
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Jumana Khan
Mr Adel Sajan, Dr Sana Sajan with Adnan Zafar
Abeer Hariz and Rita Kazazian
Sarah Shareef Kinda Sultan
Dr. Sana Sajan with Aparna Bajpai Mr Rizwan Sajan with Asmi Ahmad
Dr. Sana Sajan and Harjyot Oberoi
Dr. Sana Sajan and Priya Jethani
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Lara Tabet and guests
Mr Rizwan Sajan with RJ Sakshi Gautam, Palash and Shruti Nigam
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Kiko Chan
Mr Adel Sajan and Ajmal Khan
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Sneha Rebecca
52 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
Mr Rizwan Sajan with Team Filmfare Middle East Bassam Nader
Mrs Sameera Sajan with Arif Bhaldar
Dr Sana Sajan with Ronak Kotecha
Joel Thomas and Mariam George
Mr Adel Sajan with RJ Varun Dhawan
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 53
Mona Mobarak with guest
Team Danube Group
Taruna Sajnani and guests
Nafisa with guest
Mr Adel Sajan with Maz Hakim and guest
estive Look f
“Experience Alish Apparel’s festive collection - elegance meets celebration with vibrant hues, intricate details, impeccable craftsmanship. Essence of joyous occasions captured with traditional motifs, modern silhouettes, opulence, sophistication. Step into Alish Apparel, make a lifetime statement.”
Ms Shabnam Kassam Director - Danube Welfare Center Founder&Designer-AlishApparel
54 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 FEATURE
Ms Shabnam Kassam Director - Danube Welfare Center Founder & Designer - Alish Apparel with Mrs Sameera Sajan, Mehreen and guests
Photo: Yasir Arafat
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 55
Beauty with a cause!
FounderBlushNCurlsLadiesSalonandSpa,SkinAnatomist andLifestyle/Beauty/Fashion/Travel/FoodInfluencerLavanyaVikramtalkstoAakankshaNaval-Shetyeabouther uniqueinitiativesfordomestichelp,theneedtouse chemical-freeproductsandworkingrelentlesslytocreate an awareness about it
YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VOCAL ABOUT SPREADING AWARENESS FOR THE NEED OF HAVING CHEMICAL-FREE PRODUCTS IN BEAUTY TREATMENTS, WHAT PROMPTED THAT?
The intention was very simple – to work towards a safer community - not just for the patrons, but also for the beauticians and staff who work at the salons. The ratio of salon workers who lost their lives due to cancer as a result of inhaling the hazardous chemicals which are life-threatening was as high as 62 per cent by the end of 2019. But this could easily be prevented by avoiding the harsh chemicals in beauty products used by salons. Hence we decided to bring this shift to make it safer for pregnant ladies, breastfeeding mums, kids, and teenagers. All the products we use are either organic, natural, or vegan.
YOUR SALONS HAVE GONE CHEMICALFREE SINCE A LONG TIME NOW, BUT WAS IT EASY TO IMPLEMENT? WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE REGARDING THESE PRODUCTS?
It was a roller-coaster ride to educate customers about why our products or services are different, especially when they look at the cost part of it and compare us with other salons. We definitely look like a regular salon and spa, but we operate in a very different way. From the moment we receive an inquiry to the process of service and post-service too, we maintain full transparency of the products we use. For two-and-a-half years, I would sit at the reception and educate every single customer about the need for these chemical free products, and also did television interviews, educated through our YouTube Channel and our social media and we still continue to explain our uniqueness and concept of going chemical free. We have received much recognition too along the way.
WHAT’S THE VISION AHEAD AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
The priority is to have a Blush N Curls in every part of UAE, so we cater to larger base. There are many more plans in terms of expansion and God-willing you will see
56 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST August 2022 INTERVIEW
many other segments too.
YOU’RE A FOODIE, A BEAUTY AND A TRAVEL BLOGGER, HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BALANCE THERE, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUR SKINCARE?
I watch what I eat. Although being a Food Influencer makes me try and explore new cuisines, I avoid foods that are too oily, fried, etc. If they can’t be avoided, I make sure to detox the next day by switching to healthy homemade stuff – salads, fruits, and workout and also drink a lot of water. So my skin doesn’t get affected now when it comes to skincare. Also I ensure I don’t overload it with many products, I read the labels, understand my skin, and use products accordingly. I try and avoid using makeup and if I use it, I ensure removing it as soon as I reach home and double cleanse and moisturize the skin. I exfoliate twice a week and apply a nice mask. I make sure to tone my skin every day, and apply a serum, eye cream, day cream, and SPF 30.
AS AN ENTREPRENEUR AND AN INFLUENCER, WHAT’S THE ONE THING THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD TELL AS MANY WOMEN AS POSSIBLE?
Dream with eyes wide open and never give up on them. Whatever your passion is, make it work and see how you could fly. For every negative comment think of it as a stepping ladder to move ahead. Make your criticisms your strengths, if it’s relevant… work on them and fly higher. So, work hard, have patience, and keep the persistence on.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CAMPAIGN OF PROVIDING FREE SERVICES TO DOMESTICHELPS?
We started this initiative in 2018 when two househelp came to our salon for a small service, but then changed their mind
Dreamwitheyeswideopenandnevergiveupon them.Whateveryourpassionis,makeitworkandsee howyoucouldfly.
Daily use of sheet masks, use of Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid as it’s not recommended for all skin types.
What’stheonebeautytip,youwouldadvisewomenacrossages should follow?
Love your skin and just as you eat well, hydrate your skin well too and make sure to take care of your skin by giving it proper nourishment and getting a proper facial which involves Massages and cleansing (not machine ones) at least once a month. Don’t experiment too much.
Threemake-upproductseverywoman’smake-upkitshould Matte lipstick, kajal pencil, loose powder
Cleanse and tone, Serum - Day Cream, SPF 30
Always carry loose foundation powder which would enhance your skin tone, matte lipstick you could add on lips, cheeks, eye-lids, and Kohl (Kajal) to define your eyes and you are ready to rock and roll.
as they felt AED 20 is too expensive for them. So we offered them the service free of charge! This had me thinking about how these women look at these things as luxury and not a basic need. So we started this initiative of giving free services to Househelps – where anyone can nominate their House-help and out of our four short-listed Luxury Services they could choose one and come back next month for another one and so on. As of today, we have approximately 260 House-helps enlisted with us as happy customers and we are really happy to be a part of their lives and give them one of their basic needs as a woman.
YOU HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF OTHER START-UPS AS AN INFLUENCER, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
I always tell aspiring entrepreneurs that if they are looking to start a business just for the heck of doing it without getting involved, then it’s better not to do it. If you have a passion for something and want to make it as a business, you will succeed with flying colors. Never give up no matter what situation arises as one door closes, another one opens. Persistence and patience is the key to success.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING PROJECTS. In terms of business, we are definitely expanding and you would get to hear something soon as Blush N Curls will arrive at one more new location. As far as the influencer part, I’m collaborating with some amazing brands and some amazing stuff will be up on my Instagram feed, so do check out @lavya2107
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 57
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 59
60 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 61
62 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 EVENTS
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 63
A TALE TO TELL
Writing and movies are a passion for Ozair Abdul Aleem, who has been a part of the advertising industry for over two decades now. And while Ozair admits that scripting and filmmaking have always been on his wish-list, acting was never on the radar! Interestingly however, Ozair has made a stunning debut in moviedom as an actor and creating waves internationally with his performance in Prataya Saha’s short film Mein Mehmood. Set and shot in Dubai, both - the film and the debutant’s role - have received accolades and won honours at several prestigious film festivals globally. We caught up with the writer-actor in Dubai for a candid chat as he tells us his plans to create more content-driven and entertaining projects from Dubai.
How did movie-making come about?
I have been a copywriter in advertising, and writing is something I love and enjoy immeasurably. Whether it was as my professional profile or my passion for writing – I wrote scripts, stories, even lyrics as I have always in some way been connected to music as well. My writing organically led me to scripting my first web-series. I had actually wanted to make a movie, but I realised I
Qzair Abdul Aleem
wasn’t ready for it then. So, in 2020 we decided to make that web-series instead and we did the pilot episodes too! Unfortunately Covid happened and just tossed around all our plans mercilessly and my web-series was put on hold. Post that I happened to meet Prataya Saha when I came to Dubai. He is a well-known director and several of his acclaimed films like Just Another Day, The Good Wife have won international awards!
So, we got talking and he suggested that we make a film together. He had this amazing story of an immigrant, a working-class guy who can’t speak English and I instantly loved the script. But then he surprised me when he suggested that I play that role! I thought he’s just kidding because I’m not an actor per se although I had done a role in that web-series that we could not complete. Back then too, I had acted only because the team had suggested it since
the character needed a certain dialect! But yes Prataya was serious about his offer and he called me the next day to do a screen test.
The entire ﬁlm has been shot very realistically and aesthetically… Yes, we shot on real locations, and with everything that was available there. Like even the basic pickle jar in one of the scenes was there naturally and was retained to add that realism. So this and a whole lot of minute
64 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST May 2023 INTERVIEW
OZAIR ABDUL ALEEM TALKS TO AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT HIS SHORT FILM MEIN MEHMOOD GARNERING ACCLAIM AND AWARDS AT SOME OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS
details were retained from real locations to maintain that feel of the real.
Being someone from a non-acting background, were you nervous about emoting more through your expressions and eyes rather than rely heavily on dialogues? Also is there more pressure of making an impact in that 10 minute runtime? Nervous? I must have been, but it didn’t overpower what I felt for the character. So, I forgot that I was acting and forgot everything around me. I just focussed on this simple, innocent guy Mehmood and put myself in his shoes. I observed people, I recalled seeing these immigrants when I was in Dubai during 199394, when I used to travel by the Abra, share taxis, and see these taxi drivers converse with them. I recalled how their body language was. I didn’t try to imitate them, but I thought of myself as them. I would say a great deal of credit goes to Prataya because he guided me every minute through everything. It felt real, the situation felt similar!
Mein Mehmood touches so many issues. It talks about hope, disappointments, the impact of Covid, immigrants, having your family in another country, it’s talking about English being a language barrier. Did all this get overwhelming at any point? I was given the gist of the story, but not the script. Prataya simply
told me that it’s about an immigrant who can’t speak English and he’s trying to keep his family and his work. And the reason was that he wanted me to look genuine as I go through those situations and feelings and react naturally rather than act. It was his experimentation. And it worked wonderfully. You’re seeing so many things about a man losing his wife due to COVID and that was a reality at that time. People were losing their loved ones. And as a person, I myself don’t know how to react to it. So, that was not just Mehmood, that was me in that scene where I cut the call.
Had you expected such a fantastic response that the ﬁlm and your performance has been garnering in terms of the awards and the recognition at so many international ﬁlm festivals? To be honest, I was just hoping that as a director, and an award-winning director at that, Prataya should not feel let down with his faith in me as an actor. I remember as the film got over, we didn’t even get to see the raw footage because Prataya had to leave the very next morning. Three days later I get a call from him saying that this was the best film he’s ever made. I thought aise hi mera dil rakhne ke liye bol raha hai, but then he said, you have to take up acting seriously. So I was happy, but still not expecting the kind of adulation we
got at these festivals. I read the reviews in the newspapers in the UK and heard podcasts and they all were speaking so well about my acting. That was really overwhelming and still surprising.
So have you now started thinking more seriously about taking on more projects as an actor? That’s a very tough call to make. Because I think I’ll act only in our own projects for now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to act for someone else. I don’t think I’m ready. I mean maybe if something really good comes up, then may be yes!.
You have already played two extremely opposite roles with great ﬁnesse. So why not try everything in between then?
I have certain reservations. I don’t know what they’re going to make me do. I should be convinced of the character.
What about writing?
Yes, that is always on! I want to make a thriller adventure series based out of Dubai and I’m working on that script. I have written a script for a Malayalam film too. It’s a thriller and the concept is such that suits the sensibilities of the Malayalam cinema better. So that’s one story and there’s another story on
What’s your take on the advertising industry today with the heavy inﬂux of ﬁlm stars and sports stars?
Advertising as an industry is more about pleasing others than your own creativity. So many ads don’t even make sense anymore and are just celebrity endorsements. Bring one big dude and it’s sold. But then, at the end of the day, it’s what the clients want, it’s their product being sold. Now it’s more of a factory. Banao package karo, nikalo. There’s nothing new or out-of-the-box. No imagination or creativity.
So you’ve found other platforms to express your creativity?
Yes, I think films are a great platform.
You are based out of India, but travel to Dubai often?
Yes, this time around I was here to reset this company called Black Book Media. Mein Mehmood was the first project and now we want to do more, we want to make corporate ads too. We have a great team, even in terms of postproduction we have an India team too. So, that’s why I want to start making films from here.
May 2023 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 65
Download Now maidubaiwater.com Order water on the go! Express delivery Seamless navigation Deals & o ers Ease and convenience E-Wallet