Filmfare-ME-April-2024

Page 1

Aakanksha Naval-Shetye aakanksha.naval@starzmediainc.com

Digital Marketing Executive

Shruti Nigam shruti.nigam@starzmediainc.com

Graphic Designer

Amit Panchal amit.panchal@aldanube.com

BUSINESS MANAGER - EVENTS

Mayur Panchal mayur.panchal@starzmediainc.com

Magazine Co-ordinator

Yunus Naik yunus.naik@starzmediainc.com FILMFARE

Chief Executive Officer

UAE and the faithful across the globe are gearing up for the Eid festivities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. With hearts filled with peace, gratitude and prayers, the blessed fasting, followed by the feasting at the Iftaars and suhoors, the joy of the festive spirit is in the air with the much-awaited Eid Al Fitr and the celebrations being looked forward to.

Each year, the Hindi film industry too offers its Eid treat to the movie-lovers with a mega-budget film lined up for release! This year all eyes are on Bade Miyan Chote Miyan starring two of the biggest action stars of Bollywood and our April Cover Stars - the ‘Bade Miyan’ Akshay Kumar and the ‘Chote Miyan’ Tiger Shroff!

Akshay - who has entered his 33rd year in the industry - continues to reign hearts and Box Office! His discipline, dedication to fitness is legendary and seeing him pull off those daredevil stunts and adrenaline pumping action sequences still has us in awe! With a comic-timing to match, his versatility whether its comedy or drama makes the Padma Shri actor and National Award winner one of the most loved superstars of the industry globally! Clearly an inspiration for the Gen Now pack that has Tiger as one of its front-runners. The young star completes a decade this year since his superhit debut Heropanti (2014) and has certainly come a long way. With his top-notch fit and hot-bod, kickass action, and smooth moves on the dance-floor, the actor is one of the most happening stars of this Gen.

The bromance between the two stars is something I witnessed first-hand as I joined them on the film sets in Jordan. Shooting for an energetic foot-tapping number, the two braved the chilly winds to flawlessly execute the dance moves on rocky and perilous terrains, choreographed by the brilliant Bosco Martis of the famed duo Bosco-Caesar. The filmmakers have clearly spared no expense in making this larger-than-life actioner one of the most-talked about high-octane entertainers of the year. We talked to the two Cover Stars – Akshay and Tiger – about it, got them to spill the beans on each other and also reflect back on their cinematic journeys. Check out our exclusive interview with the hottest action duo in the pages ahead.

We also have another reason to rejoice this month as we celebrate Filmfare Middle East turning SIX. Relaunched here in 2018 by Mr Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group and Dubai’s famed 1% Man, not only did he envision its success in the region, but backed it passionately. And we are proud to share that we have only grown stronger with each passing year. From hosting some of the most prestigious and looked forward to events to its now famed star-studded cover launches, and from associating with some of the biggest movies like Animal and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan as media partners to partnering at concerts with artistes like Lucky Ali, Jubin Nautiyal, Vishal Mishra, Atif Aslam, amongst many other acclaimed singers! A powerbrand in the region today, the magazine along with all its verticals is a name that stands for the best in entertainment and lifestyle and we promise to continue this success run and raise the bar constantly. Going ahead we are now gearing up for the 3rd edition of the Social Night that honours the biggest and most influential social media stars of the region! Stay tuned to our IG handle @filmfareme and website www.filmfaremiddleeast.com for more.

Till then, flip on the pages to get a lowdown of the 69th Filmfare Awards 2024 that rocked the Indian film industry (Jitesh Pillaai and team take a bow for pulling off yet another mega-blockbuster event) and do read our exclusives with the most happening names in the entertainment world. Also check out the best in Eid gifting and get inspired for the perfect Eid looks. On that note, here’s wishing each one of our readers,

Eid Mubarak!

EDITORIAL TEAM EDITOR
(INDIA)
Rohit Gopakumar
Executive
Anuradha Choudhary Brand Solutions Director Jyoti Verma PUBLISHED BY: Starz Media Inc P.O BOX: 18022 Dubai, United Arab Emirates REGIONAL PARTNER OF Worldwide Media Pvt. Ltd Copyright 2024 Starz Media Inc All 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. Printed and Published under license and permission from Worldwide Media Pvt. Ltd BROUGHT TO YOU BY Copyright 2024: 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
Chief Community Officer & Editor Jitesh Pillaai
Editor
MIDDLE EAST April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 3
on the celebrations!
Bring
4 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 Volume 73 |April 1, 2024 highlight interviews events mustwatch eid special 10 27 30 38 42 65 34 22 CHECK OUT THE GLIMPSES FROM THE MOST HAPPENING B-TOWN EVENT – THE 69TH FILMFARE AWARDS 2024 GET FESTIVE READY WITH THE EID COLLECTION RAVEENA TANDON IS DESTINY’S CHILD DIGITAL COVER STAR ELNAAZ NOROUZI GETS CANDID WITH AAKANKSHA NAVALSHETYE ABOUT EARNING HER STRIPES IN BOLLYWOOD DANUBE HOSTED ITS ANNUAL SUHOOR; CHECK OUT THE HIGHLIGHTS GET YOUR DOSE OF THE BEST ON SCREEN THIS APRIL DON’T MISS THE STARS WHO GRACED DUBAI SIDDHANT CHATURVEDI KEEPS IT REAL CHECK OUT THE COVER STORY POWERHOUSE ENTERTAINERS AND ACTION SUPERSTARS - AKSHAY KUMAR AND TIGER SHROFF - GET CANDID WITH AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT THEIR CINEMATIC JOURNEYS, REAL TO REEL BROMANCE AND RAISING THE ACTION BAR IN THEIR UPCOMING EID TREAT – BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN 14 PERFECT EID GIFTS 46 VASHU BHAGNANI SPILLS THE BEANS TO AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ON HEADING ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PRODUCTION HOUSES
YOUR VIEWS 8 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 ON THE GRAM READERS WRITE AND BITE BACK... WITH LOVE AND AFFECTION Post your reviews to Send us your views, opinions and suggestions to: Email: aakanksha.naval@starzmediainc.com FilmfareMiddleEast FilmfareME FILMFARE ME BEST INSTA MOMENTS Check out the super liked posts on our instagram...... LIKES : 225K LIKES : 530K VIEWS : 25K VIEWS : 23.4K VIEWS : 66.6K VIEWS : 47.4K VIEWS : 58.3K VIEWS: 44.9K

Highlights

Glimpses from 69th Filmfare Awards 2024

HOTSTEPPER!

Kartik Aaryan kicked off the event with an electrifying performance, making a grand entrance on a bike. He bedazzled the audience with his dance moves, grooving to some of Bollywood’s biggest hits of the year including Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (Title Track), Jhoome jo pathan, Main nikla gaddi leke, Leke prabhu ka naam, Chaleya, and Sun sajni. H e also rocked the stage with his own chart-toppers like Dheeme dheeme, Coca cola, Dil chori, Ankhiyon se goli maare and Gujju patakha.

TWISTER EFFECT

Sara delighted the audience by dancing to songs suggested by her beloved fans, infusing each performance with her unique style. . She grooved to her popular track Tere vaste with Odissi beats, added a twist to Tip tip barsa pani with Rajasthani beats, swayed to Saami saami with Gujarati beats, showcased her moves to Manike with South beats, brought energy to Kala chashma with Lavani beats, and rounded it off with Aankh maare set to Punjabi beat s.

HIGHLIGHTS
KARTIK AARYAN
SARA ALI KHAN

ROCKSTAR MANIA

Ranbir Kapoor dazzled the audience with his performances on all his smash-hit songs fromAnimal and Tu Jhooti Main Makkaar. He held the crowd spellbound with tracks like Arjan Vailly,Pyar hota kayi baar hai, and Pehle bhi main, where he shared the stage with Triptii Dimri.

Adding tothe excitement, he recreated the iconic glassstep from the popular song Jamal kudualongside his wife Alia Bhatt and wrapped up his act with a lively rendition ofShow me the thumka

DOWN MEMORY LANE

Janhvi Kapoor was at her ethereal best. She paid homage to the dancing queens of yesteryears, recreating iconic songs shot on Rekha, Mumtaz and Aroona Irani. She shot on songs like Chadhti jawani meri, Bangle ke peeche, Do ghoont mujhe bhi pila de sharabi and Pardesiya, taking the audience into another era with her dazzling footwork.

RANBIR KAPOOR
KAPOOR
JANHVI

VARUN DHAWAN MASALA MAHARAJA

12 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 HIGHLIGHTS
Varun Dhawan honoured his father, David Dhawan, with a captivating performance that energised the crowd. He showcased his dancing skills to classic songs such as Main toh raste se ja raha tha, Soni de nakhre, What is mobile number, and others, leaving a lasting impression on the evening. It was a wonderful unexpected moment when Karisma Kapoor joined Varun on stage.They danced together to the song What is mobile number? from the 1999 film Haseena Maan Jaayegi, directed by David Dhawan, bringing an additional touch of nostalgia and allure to the night. Later, Mrunal Thakur too joined in the fun, matching steps with Varun on the Kisi disco mein jaayein.
Varun Dhawan makes a grand entry Karisma Kapoor, Aanand L Rai, Sandeep Reddy Vanga and Bhushan Kumar enjoying the show Ramesh Sippy, Kiran Juneja, Shefali Shah, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Orry seen enjoying the show

DR.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN IN SUMMER?

FACE WASH TO REMOVE EXCESS OIL

In summer, oily skin can get oilier. Use a face wash that can deep cleanse and remove all the dirt and grime. People with dry skin would need a non-foaming cleanser.

OPT FOR A GOOD SKIN CARE ROUTINE

Choose gel-based (for dry skin) and water based (for oily skin) rather than cream-based products as the former are lighter and non-greasy.

INCLUDE ANTIOXIDANTS IN YOUR SKIN CARE REGIME

Antioxidant serums protect your skin from environmental damage, help to boost collagen, and scavenge free radicals to prevent damage to skin.

KEEP YOUR SKIN HYDRATED

You can use a hydrating face mask after you wash your face at night for some extra hydration while you sleep. Splash your face frequently with water or carry a facial mist to freshen your skin at regular intervals.

EXFOLIATE FOR HEALTHY SKIN

Use a face scrub at least twice a week to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin. Make sure you exfoliate the lips and the neck too.

WEAR SUNSCREEN

The sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays can give you a stubborn tan, they can cause premature aging, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. A good sunscreen with SPF 30-50 is vital for the summer months for all skin types too.

AVOID HEAVY MAKEUP

Heavy makeup prevents the skin from breathing. Consider using a tinted lip balm and a tinted moisturiser if you need to wear some makeup.

USE A GOOD TONER MOISTURIZE WELL

The maximum number of sebaceous glands are found on the T-zone of the face. To prevent sweat and oil from clogging these pores, use an aloe vera or cucumber-based toner as they are lighter.

Choose a non-greasy formula based on your skin type. But look for ingredients like antioxidants like vitamins A and C. If it has SPF, even better.

Use a face scrub at least twice a week to remove like vitamins A and C. If it has SPF, even better.

Ask

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 13
of American Aesthetic Medical Center
SANA SAJAN expert advice Director
for
now!
us at 80085555
your consultation
Call
Kareena Kapoor Khan touches base with Orry Elnaaz Norouzi Aanand L Rai, Kartik Aaryan and Rajkummar Rao enjoying the proceedings Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Vikrant Massey greet one another Karan Johar, Varun Dhawan and Ayushmann Khurrana engage in a bit of a banter Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor try their version of Jamal kudu

Akshay Kumar & Tiger Shroff

BOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR - THE BADE MIYAN OF ACTION - AKSHAY KUMAR AND THE GEN NOW ACTION STAR TIGER SHROFF TALK TO AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT RAISING THE BAR IN THEIR SOON-TORELEASE HIGH-OCTANE ENTERTAINER BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN, AND ALSO DECODE THEIR PASSION FOR DISCIPLINE AND THE ADRENALINE-PUMPING ACTION THEY UNLEASH ON SCREEN

FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST COVER STORY April 2024

Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff are shooting for a rather challenging song sequence in the rugged terrains of Wadi Rum in Jordan for the soonto-release Eid treat Bade Miyan Chote Miyan as we spot them pull off an intricate hook-step choreographed by Bosco. The chilly winds and the harsh surroundings are clearly no dampener for the bromance and the camaraderie the two of the fittest action stars of B-Town share. Clearly in their elements, the chemistry between them is unmissable and the real-life fondness and admiration trickles on reel too, assimilating as an integral part of their high-octane actioner. Bade Miyan Akshay’s fondness for his Chote - Tiger is quite evident as he reveals that the star reminds him of his younger version, while the Chote Miyan is all praise for his big bro! Together they are the formidable pair on screen and ready to raise the heat and the bar of action in the entertainer directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Jackky Bhagnani, Vashu Bhagnani and Deepshikha Deshmukh’s Pooja Entertainment.

In our exclusive interview, we ask Akshay about his super-successful reign as he continues to rule the marquee for over three decades now, having created his own legacy, his passion for discipline and fitness, his advice for son Aarav and continuing to push the envelope on screen whether in comedy, drama or action, and we also talk to Tiger about his own take on redefining discipline and raising the heat with his hot moves!

Akshay Kumar

You've been the ultimate Bollywood action superstar, but did you feel that you had to push yourself even further with all the highoctane action in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan?

I’ve been looking forward to being pushed to my limits since Sooryavanshi. Action is part of my nature, I look for it around every corner, but the best thing about Bade Miyan Chote Miyan is sharing that passion with Chote Miyan, Tiger Shroff, who is an even more disciplined version of myself. It’s been amazing battling alongside him. I knew going into this that I was over 20 years his senior,

but he brings out the child in me that I’ve missed whilst filming heavier dramas recently. Tiger always brought his A-game be it action or dancing, and it’s been an absolute pleasure being his childhood idol and watching him become the master of action himself. I may have had to push myself hard in this film, overcome injuries and push my limits, but it was worth every ounce of pain, for Tiger never fails to make me feel like his big brother.

What ’ s been the most fun or memorable aspect about this film?

The most fun would

have to have been the horse riding action sequence and the beach volleyball game for the title track, a portion of which we shot on the Abu Dhabi Beach. Those are the days I can’t help but love my job, we rode jet skis in the Bay till sunset, and played till our heart’s content. It was a fun experience in the middle of a very tough sequence in the desert.

How was it working with Tiger Shroff?

I see so much of myself in him, maybe a bit more refined version. We’ve done some amazing stunts together, we work out together, we talk fitness, and then we play some volleyball until we’re

The real Akshay Kumar is nothing other than a product of my parents, I’m not gifted, or talented, I’m just driven, motivated and refuse to give up, on anything or anyone. I now fight for others more than I fight for myself
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 15

all out of energy (laughs). He’s so focused and a thorough professional. There’s so much I’ve learnt from him. And I mean it when I say I had the best time of my life. And to be honest, I’m going to miss shooting with Tiger. He’s really my Chote, IRL.

He has often been compared to you when it comes to his level of dedication to fitness and action.

What advice does the Bade Miyan have for Chote Miyan? I have absolutely no advice for him because I think he’s already better than me, maybe even a notch higher. Tiger is always striving to be the best version of himself every single day. And there’s so much so many people could learn from him, including myself.

Have the challenges of doing such extreme action sequences - like the kinds you do and are known for - gotten easier as compared to yesteryears considering all

I see so much of myself in Tiger, maybe a bit more refined version... He’s so focused and a thorough professional. There’s so much I’ve learnt from him… And to be honest, I’m going to miss shooting with Tiger. He’s really my Chote in real life!
16 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 COVER STORY

the advancement in equipment and technology like green screen, etc?

I actually prefer what we call ‘outdoor shooting’ compared to greenscreen. I respect the safety and controlled environments of studio work, but I am in my element when I am outdoors doing what I love for real. I understand the necessity of greenscreen sometimes, but I know I’d personally not enjoy making a Marvel kind of film, that once the mask is on everything becomes computergenerated. That’s why I really enjoyed working with Ali Abbas Zafar (director of Bade Miyan Chote Miyan) where we used absolute minimal greenscreen, and did maximum on location action, and pushed for the importance of real instead of unbelievable.

How has your approach to films and filmmaking – be it choosing films or acting - changed over the three decades?

As you know I started my career doing odd jobs, from waiting tables, to selling kundan jewelry, to teaching martial arts. When one of my students suggested doing a modeling assignment, the money that one day of work fetched me was equivalent to my one month’s salary. And that’s when I made the switch. So it was only by chance that I came into the field of entertainment and at that time the sole motivation was to earn money. So

honestly the first decade or so of my career, there was no scope of choice but to do as much and earn as much money as I could. I’ve always had this greed to do more, which I feel has kept me relevant over three decades because till date I never say no to any work that comes my way.

Are Thursday nights ahead of your film ’ s release any different now from earlier? No matter how many Thursdays you’ve experienced in your life, the night before release will still make you anxious. But it was very early on in my career, that I learnt to give myself only the weekend to mope if the film didn’t work and pick myself up and move onto the next on the following Monday. I feel back then we didn’t have as many sources/resources to know what’s in store. Now there are various tracking agencies/industry experts who announce the fate of your hard work with a mere tweet. So somewhere maybe you’re a little more prepared now, because you already know what day one or weekend numbers to expect. But even then the audience has and can have a mind of their own, so that scope of surprise is always there. So you can never be fully prepared.

You are still one of the fittest superstars … What ’ s kept you so dedicated and motivated over the

years?

Because I believe if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be here today. I can’t expect myself to be an Action Hero and not have the discipline to match it, I’d be either seriously injured or even dead if I wasn’t. The most important thing when I make an Action movie, is

My toughest, most challenging and rewarding role in my life would be fatherhood, it’s my favourite part of my every day, as well as the scariest. I’d rather jump out of a burning building blindfolded than let my kids down. Stunts don’t scare me half as much as what they do (laughs)
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 17

that my audience knows and believes I’ve put my all into this and what you see is the real deal. If I wasn’t dedicated to my craft I probably wouldn’t exist in this industry, so I kind of owe everything to the dedication my parents instilled in me.

How would you describe the real Akshay Kumar?

And what has changed in him from the Akshay who was a newcomer 33 years ago?

The real Akshay Kumar is nothing other than a product of my parents, I’m not gifted, or talented, I’m just driven, motivated and refuse to give up, on anything or anyone. I now fight for others more than I fight for myself.

The one advice you wish you could give to the 25-year-old Akshay Kumar?

Trust no-one, there’s a reason why it’s darkest before dawn, and kindness goes further than greatness.

Do you remember, at what point did you feel that you had it all?

What was that defining film or moment when you felt that you had achieved what you wanted to?

Actually I’d probably have to say at my wife’s 50th birthday in December just now, I had only my wife and kids surrounding me, OMG 2 had proved it’s worth, my wife just earned her Masters degree, my kids were happy and healthy, we were just riding around our villa on pedal bikes and I knew then, I was the luckiest man alive, not just for me, but because those I love the most were the happiest I could wish them to be, I had everything I could ever wish for, health, family, happiness, and dreams.

What ’ s the one lesson you ’ ve learnt here over the years that you hold close

and would also want to share with your son when he steps in the industry?

Not that I think my son wants to enter the industry, but the best advice I could offer is do something you love, work is only work if you don’t love what you do. Thankfully Aarav is all about creativity and kindness, he makes me proud just by being my Son. I don’t care about his grades, his job, his successes, they are bonuses, I care mostly about his happiness and that will never change no matter what he chooses to pursue.

What ’ s your take on newcomers and the youngsters, how are they different from when you were a newcomer? Do you think they come in better prepared and are more media savvy? Any advice for them?

I think there are pros and cons to this.We were more easy-going and not as conscious, there was a sense of rawness. Nowadays, the newcomers definitely have better resources and are way more prepared. Every shot/every appearance is picture-perfect. Like how they say, ‘I did it for the gram’ They are living the gram life in real life, there’s an innocence which I feel is missing.

They are way more anxious, and worried about what’s being said on social media and have access to too much information which if you’re not thick-skinned can really get to you. So my advice would be to let experiences happen to you because that’s the only way to grow. Trust me you’re never going to be prepared for what life has in store, so let life happen to you and stop worrying. Live a little (smiles)!

A superstar, a doting dad and

a loving family man What role has been the most exciting and challenging?

My toughest, most challenging and rewarding role in my life would be fatherhood, it’s my favourite part of my every day, as well as the scariest. I’d rather jump out of a burning building blindfolded than let my kids down. Stunts don’t scare me half as much as what they do (laughs).

Do you ever look back at how far you have come and think about the legacy you have created?

Not unless someone makes me, I should probably reflect and reminisce more, but like a typical martial artist or any fighter, all I think about is ‘what’s now, what’s next!’. I’m grateful for the life I have, but thinking about the past won’t protect my future, I’m still creating my legacy, now isn’t the time to reflect, now is the time to create even more whilst I still can…

QUICK take

THE ONE THING YOU PROBABLY WISH YOU COULD LEARN OR TAKE FROM TIGER?

His ability to excel in everythinggggg.

ONE SCREEN CHARACTER YOU HAVE PLAYED THAT HAS BEEN THE CLOSEST TO YOUR HEART?

Probably Kesari, I think my mother, sister and myself cried more in Kesari than any of my films.

YOUR SECRET GUILTY PLEASURE…

My mom’s homemade Halwa that my sister makes for me now.

ONE THING THAT HAS EVER MADE YOU NERVOUS EVEN ONCE IN LIFE?

My wife being in labour, I wished I could take her pain away and do it for her, I was a nervous wreck on the inside, no crazy stunt made me more nervous than the day my Son came into his world.

18 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 COVER STORY

Tiger Shroff

As an action star how challenging or different was the action for you in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan versus your earlier action outings?

Each film presents its own set of challenges, but what sets Bade Miyan Chote Miyan apart is its unique blend of action and comedy. It was exciting to work on the action sequences while also ensuring they complemented the comedic tone of the film.

The bromance and the chemistry between you and Akshay Kumar is all the buzz. How was it shooting with him?

Working with Akshay Sir was an absolute pleasure. His energy and dedication on set are truly inspiring. We shared a great rapport both on and off-screen, which I believe translated well into our chemistry on screen.

Many in the industry say that you are like Akshay when it comes to fitness and discipline... What are the similarities you think you have?

Akshay Sir and I share a common dedication to fitness and discipline. We both believe in leading a healthy lifestyle and prioritising physical fitness.

He speaks very highly about you and your dedication to fitness and discipline, but what ’ s the one lesson you have learnt from him or one quality you wish you could imbibe?

Akshay Sir’s discipline and work ethics are unmatched. One quality I admire and strive to emulate is his ability to remain focused and be as excited as he is about his work, even after 33 years in the film industry.

You completed exactly a decade since your debut in 2014, how do you

Of course, I get nervous. It’s natural to feel a mix of excitement, nervousness and anticipation, but I trust in the hard work we’ve put into the film hope for the best and leave the rest to God and my audience.
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 19

look back at the journey so far?

evolve and improve with each project.

How challenging is it to keep pushing the envelope as an action star?

It’s challenging, but also immensely rewarding. I’m constantly pushing myself to explore new techniques and styles to keep the audience engaged and excited.

What would we catch you doing on a Thursday night ahead of your Friday release? Do you get nervous ahead of a film release?

Of course, I get nervous. It’s natural to feel a mix of excitement, nervousness and anticipation, but I trust in the hard work we’ve put into the film hope for the best and leave the rest to God and my audience.

You are known to be quite committed to fitness.

What ’ s the motivation behind pushing yourself with so much dedication?

Fitness is not just a passion for me; it’s a way of life. Staying fit and healthy allows me to perform at my best both on and off-screen. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever and helps me maintain a positive mindset.

Working with Akshay Sir was an absolute pleasure. His energy and dedication on set are truly inspiring. We shared a great rapport both on and off-screen, which I believe translated well into our chemistry on screen.

It has been an incredible journey filled with learning, growth, and unforgettable experiences. I’m grateful for the love and support of my audiences who have been with me every step of the way.

What has changed about you or your approach to working with this experience now?

With experience comes maturity, and over the years, I’ve learned to trust my instincts more and take on roles that challenge me both as an actor and as a person. I’m constantly seeking new ways to

QUICK take

AKSHAY KUMAR AND HRITHIK ROSHAN – WHAT ARE YOUR FAVE THINGS ABOUT THESE 2 COACTORS?

Akshay Sir’s humility and work ethic are truly admirable, while Hrithik’s dedication to his craft and versatility as an actor are inspiring. It’s been a privilege to work alongside both of them.

3 WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU...

Passionate, disciplined, and determined.

THE FIRST THREE THINGS ON YOUR WISHLIST ARE Continuous growth, meaningful roles, and the well-being of my loved ones.

AS A TEENAGER, YOUR ROOM HAD POSTERS OF...

Sly Stallone. And it’s surreal that I’m doing Rambo next in Hindi.

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE GIVEN BY YOUR DAD THAT YOU HOLD MOST CLOSE TO YOUR HEART

My dad has always taught me to stay grounded, no matter how high I soar. It’s a lesson I carry with me every day.

20 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024

This Eid Special Make

22 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 FEATURE
COMPILED BY - AMIT PANCHAL
PACO RABANNE ROXANNE ASSOULIN VIVIENNE WESTWOOD CAROLINA HERRERA MAGDA BUTRYM
JIMMY CHOO SJP L'OBJET
DOLCE & GABBANA
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 23
LADUREE BALMUDA THE SPEAKER LUSH BOSS LAKRIDS BY BULOW MIRAYA DYSON NEWBY LONDON INSTAX SAINT LAURENT BOSE INSTA360 SAMSUNG

Some like

Alia Bhatt was elegance redefined in an Anamika Khanna contemporary saree. It featured a corset fit around the midriff and a sweetheart neckline. Kareena Kapoor Khan looked beautiful in a red saree by Jadon. She kept the look neat with a hair bun, kohled eyes and a muted lip shade. Triptii Dimri strutted in a Marc Bouwer silver foil gown. Her nude lips, subtle shimmer eyes with dollops of mascara and a wavy hairdo were bang on.

FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024
Kareena Triptii Dimri Alia Bhatt  Kapoor Khan
69 th HYUNDAI FILMFARE AWARDS 2024 WITH GUJARAT TOURISM
 Nushhratt Bharuccha

it haute!

Tanisha Bhattacharya and Rupsha

Sen decode the ensembles worn by the divas at the red carpet of the recently held 69th Filmfare Awards 2024

FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 2024
Sara Ali Khan strutted in a black sequin gown with a thigh-high slit by Jean Louis Sabaji. A sleek bun, deep-kohled eyes, nude lips and matching studs highlighted her ensemble. Janhvi Kapoor went for a Marchesa black gown. The mermaid fit and floral detailing on the bodice were head-turners, as was her statement diamond necklace.
Mrunal Thakur Elnaaz Norouzi
Janhvi Kapoor
25
Sara Ali Khan  Tejasswi Prakash

child Destiny’s

RAVEENA TANDON MAY HAVE MOVED FROM BEING THE ’90S IT GIRL TO FINDING ACCEPTANCE ON OTT BUT HAS LOST NONE OF HER CHARM OR CHUTZPAH, FINDS TANZIM PARDIWALLA

Between Mohra, Andaz Apna Apna, and Daman, she broke the mould before it was a thing. And now, in her second inning, she is enjoying experimenting in the OTT space. Her streaming debut won her a Filmfare OTT Award for Best Actor, Series (Female), and she’s back for more with her latest, Karmma Calling. While she’s at it, Raveena is also mindful of the spotlight on her personal life, especially on her kids, Rasha and Ranbir. A seasoned actress, she is meeting every phase of her life head-on. She reveals how she does it all in an exclusive interview.

AFTER PLAYING SO MANY CHARACTERS ON SCREEN, WHAT MADE YOU SIGN UP FOR KARMAA CALLING?

I’ve been doing this for the past many years. I’ve been choosy with characters. A lot of actors are honestly comfortable just playing themselves on screen because it comes across the best. But I have intentionally, for a long time, been choosing characters who are not me at all. That’s what challenges me as an actor. For example, right from Shool, Daman, to Aks, to (these are a few of the films that I can name at the top of my head) and KGF 2 to Karmma Calling, These are characters that are totally different and varied, which I would have never even thought that I’d be playing one day. They’re so different from my personality. Then, getting into the skin of that one particular character that you’re trying to create, mould, and be completely someone else is a big challenge for any actor.

DID YOU WATCH THE AMERICAN SHOW REVENGE THAT KARMMA CALLING IS BASED ON?

I believe it’s essential for any adaptation to have its own unique identity. Karmma Calling is a project that brings a fresh perspective and cultural context to the storyline. Our team has worked diligently to create a version that resonates with the sensibilities of the Indian audience. I hope viewers will enjoy the distinctive elements we’ve brought to Karmma Calling.

YOU’RE PLAYING A MOTHER IN THE SHOW. There is actually no room to relate to her at all, because honestly, the way her life stands out and the way she is, it’s completely different. There is no point where I could identify my life with her because she is in such

a vulnerable state. There are times when everyone goes through those kinds of challenges in life. But the way she handled it and the way I would have handled that situation are two completely different things.

WHAT IS YOUR PARENTING STYLE LIKE?

I definitely am an involved parent. I’ve been quite a hands-on mom. Even Anil (Thadani) has been a very hands-on dad. We’ve not been helicopter parents. There’s a little difference in that. Yes, we are involved, and we would definitely want to do things for the betterment of our children, for sure. But we give them their space. So, that’s the only difference when it comes to the entire thing playing out. Nonetheless, I would say that for the rest, you’ll have to ask my children what they think of us as parents.

AS A STAR, THE SPOTLIGHT IS ALSO ON YOUR CHILDREN. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?

Well, initially, yes, I was protective in a big way. I thought that sometimes children were too young to understand. Why is the paparazzi giving them so much attention? So at that time, I kept them completely out of the media’s gaze. If I knew there was going to be a place where there was going to be lots of media, a premiere, or a place where they shouldn’t be, I would not take them. But now, for whatever reason, paparazzi are everywhere. So it’s something that you can’t prevent. But luckily, we are still not as far gone as the UK or US. So our paparazzi are, fortunately, understanding. If you sometimes request them and say, “Please don’t click,” they listen to you. They have that respect, and we respect them equally because of that. They’re also humans; they understand situations like these. Luckily, the media is humane, I would say. I always tell my kids that there’s nothing extra special about you guys. Achieve your own goals, and you have to go your own way. Make your own path. DO

ACTRESSES TO GET MEATY ROLES?

I think that time has changed now. Good days are happening, and there are better days to come. It’s all opened up now for a lot of us to be able to do stuff that we’ve been wanting to do for a while and experiment with things. It’s a good space that we’re all in now.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR ACTING PROCESS HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

I’ve come a long way. So during the initial 10 years, the initial decade of my career, I did do a lot of glamorous roles and super hit songs that are still alive in audiences’ memories. And that’s something that keeps an actor alive as well, hit music. To reach here, at this point, when I look back, whether it was Ghulam-E-Musthafa or Shool or Daman, I’ve been doing meaningful cinema for a very long time. Keeping that trend in mind, recently there was Aranyak and then there was KGF too. So I may have done less work in the past 15 years, but I know I’ve done quality work. And that’s what satisfies me, honestly.

DO YOU EVER RE-WATCH YOUR MOVIES?

Honestly, I haven’t. I’ve been sitting and re-watching some of my films with my kids. But I haven’t sat and watched anything before this. Rasha and I sit down and watch sometimes just to revisit those movies. My kids loved Dulhe Raja. They were much younger and small kids love comedy, right? So they loved Andaz Apna Apna All those funny films of mine they’ve enjoyed. Now, Rasha has started watching films of mine which are a little more serious. She recently saw Shool and Satta.

WHAT WENT INTO MAKING THE SHIFT TO OTT WITH ARANYAK?

I was offered a couple of shows earlier. But somewhere Aranyak is the one

A LOT OF ACTORS ARE HONESTLY COMFORTABLE JUST PLAYING THEMSELVES ON SCREEN BECAUSE IT COMES ACROSS THE BEST. BUT I HAVE INTENTIONALLY, FOR A LONG TIME, BEEN CHOOSING CHARACTERS WHO ARE NOT ME AT ALL
28 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW
YOU THINK IT’S STILL CHALLENGING FOR
Karmaa Calling
GOOD DAYS ARE HAPPENING, AND THERE ARE BETTER DAYS TO COME. IT’S ALL OPENED UP NOW FOR A LOT OF US TO BE ABLE TO DO STUFF THAT WE’VE BEEN WANTING TO DO FOR A WHILE

that I put my finger on because playing that character challenged me to create Kasturi Dogra of someone who’s from the hills and has a different accent and has a completely different power is something that excited me.

YOU’RE GOING BACK TO COMEDY WITH WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. HOW EXCITING IS THAT?

I’m happy I’m doing Welcome because I love doing comedy. So for me to do a whole out-and-out comedy film again, it’s something just that I’m looking forward to.

YOU WERE IN ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC COMEDY FILMS, ANDAZ APNA APNA. DO YOU PLAN TO DO MORE COMEDIES AFTER WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ?

I truly cherish the memories of being part of the iconic comedy film Andaz Apna Apna. Comedy has always been a genre I thoroughly enjoy, and my experience with Welcome to the Jungle has reignited my passion for it. The joy of making people laugh is incomparable, and I am open to exploring more comedic roles in the future. Laughter is a universal language, and if the right script and opportunity come along, I would love to delve into more comedy projects to bring joy and entertainment to my audience.

YOU WON YOUR FIRST FILMFARE AWARD IN 1991. WHAT DO AWARDS AND VALIDATION MEAN TO YOU AT PRESENT?

The Filmfare Awards hold a special place in my heart, as it marks my debut recognition in the industry as an actor. This award is particularly meaningful to me, symbolising the beginning of my journey and the acknowledgement of my work in the field. Awards not only recognise the hard work and dedication we put into our craft but also serve as a reminder that our efforts have made a positive impact. Each accolade is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the entire team behind a project. These recognitions fuel our passion and inspire us to strive for excellence in every endeavour. The appreciation from our peers and the audience encourages us to push our boundaries and continue contributing to meaningful and impactful work. Awards are not just trophies; they are a source of encouragement that drives us to do more good work and make a difference in the world. I am grateful for the support and acknowledgement, and I look forward to continuing this journey of creativity and growth. n

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 29
Aranayak

Rise Shine& Elnaaz Norouzi

AN ACTRESS, SINGER AND DANCER – OUR APRIL DIGITAL COVER STAR ELNAAZ NOROUZI - IS ALL THIS AND MORE, FINDS AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THIS YOUNG STAR

Young and sassy, Elnaaz Norouzi wears her heart on her sleeve and greets you with the warmest of smile and hugs each time. She’s in fact, like that ray of sunshine that makes you smile no matter what or where be it at the red carpet of the Filmfare Awards or on the Sharjah cricket grounds where I met her most recently. She was cheering for Mumbai Heroes at the CCL and her infectious energy was certainly hard to miss! An Iranian by birth, and someone who was brought up in Germany, she’s as much an outsider as an outsider in this

industry can get! Yet here she is – learning, growing and constantly inching towards her childhood dream of becoming a successful Bollywood actress. Her debut here the acclaimed OTT series Sacred Games put her on the map, but the actress insists that the struggles even after that are real. A singer and a dancer par excellence, with acting chops to match, She is fluent in seven languages. However as the actress points out, it’s a fact many in the industry are yet to find out. But she’s not giving up, she tells us in our exclusive interview!

DIGITAL COVER STORY
PHOTOGRAPHER: PRASAD NAIK | STYLIST: MANEKA HARISINGHANI | MAKE-UP: MEGHNA BUTANI | HAIR: MADHAV TREHAN
30 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 31

FIRST THINGS FIRST, DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ACTOR?

Yes. Even as a very young child, I always wanted to be an actor. I would watch TV, memorise the ads, like each and every ad that would come on TV, I would memorise the lines and enact them back word to word! So, yes for as long as I remember that’s what I’ve always wanted to be.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO COME TO BOLLYWOOD?

The fact that I always wanted to become an actor and at some point, I don’t know if I was 10 or 12, when I started watching Bollywood movies. I didn’t understand a word of Hindi back then so I would watch them in German, but the whole feel to it, the romance, the colours, the love, the dances, and I just knew that I wanted to be an actress in Bollywood. A lot of people always ask me why aren’t you in Iranian cinema? You’re an Iranian and Iranian cinema is so great and so big and one of the best cinemas in the world. But for me really, it wasn’t about that. I just wanted to become a Bollywood actress. That was always my dream.

YOU ARE FLUENT IN SO MANY LANGUAGES, INCLUDING HINDI NOW, BUT DO YOU THINK THAT THE FILMMAKERS OFTEN ASSUME OTHERWISE? Yeah, and it does feel weird to me, because my Hindi is actually really good. I have worked very hard on it, I learnt how to read and write as well. But obviously the main reason why a lot of producers or directors still think that my Hindi is not good is because it stands out for a foreigner who sounds like an Indian. But yes, sadly very few people know that I actually speak seven languages and it’s a huge advantage for me!

AS AN OUTSIDER, WHAT DID YOU THINK WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME?

As an outsider the biggest challenges I had to face was one, try and make the industry

or at least the directors understand that I am not just this good-looking, tall model, but I can act as well. The next challenge is making them understand that I speak, read and write in Hindi. I even ask for my scripts on set in Devanagari to understand how to pronounce something better that I might not know yet. Another challenge was that I really had to learn how to dance from scratch, the Bollywood form, that was something I was not familiar with and I didn’t really grow up learning all different dance styles like how an actor who is born to a Bollywood family knows by the age of 20 because they are being trained from their childhood to be able to actually make it into films when they grow up. I didn’t have all of that. For me all of this was new and I didn’t have anybody who could help me find a way to learn dance or learn a language, or how do I even get to meet the producers and directors. So, when you come to a country where you don’t know anybody, you don’t know the language, the culture, how things work and how you’re even supposed to find all these people you actually want to work with, it’s very challenging, it’s very hard.

SO, WHAT KEPT YOU GOING INSPITE OF ALL THE ODDS LITERALLY STACKED NOT IN YOUR FAVOUR THEN?

What really kept me going in spite of all the odds was the fact that I am not a person who likes to give up. I am not someone who would have lived easily with the fact that if I would have gone back to Hanover, my home-town in Germany and people would have said that Elnaaz, yes that one, she went to India and she wanted to become a Bollywood actress but it didn’t work out. I would have never been able to live with that fact. I am a person that can’t live with a ‘No’. I want a ‘yes’ always, and if I don’t get a yes immediately, I would work hard to get the yes and I just don’t give up. So that thought for me was not okay to live with. And yeah, also

I was 10 or 12, when I started watching Bollywood movies. I didn’t understand a word of Hindi back then so I would watch them in German, but the whole feel to it, the romance, the colours, the love, the dances, and I just knew that I wanted to be an actress in Bollywood.”

the fact that I really want to make my parents proud because for my parents, I’m the only child they live in a country where they don’t know many people either, granted I grew up in Germany but still my parents took me from Iran to Germany to have a better life to grow. So, I had to make them proud, I had to show them that all the hardships that they went through for me to have a better life was actually worth and that I have reached somewhere in life.

WHAT DO YOU MOST LOVE ABOUT BEING A STAR AND HOW

HAS THE ELNAAZ CHANGED SINCE? I think I have not really changed a lot. That’s what I hear a lot from people around me. A feedback that I usually get is that I am humble and I think I am one of the people who doesn’t let success get to the head. I don’t really change, I do appreciate the love when people recognise me and tell me how much they love my work or how

much they appreciate the kind of person I am. But it doesn’t change me, it is more of an incentive for me to become better and bigger. So, yeah, I’m kind of the same.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE TURNING POINT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY?

When it comes to my work in India, I think my very first project which was Sacred Games was also a turning point because it was so massive and considering it was my first project it really worked in my favour because I started with something so big so that kind of became my first and also at the same time the turning point. That’s what put me properly on the map.

SINGER, DANCER AND ACTOR… ALL ROLLED INTO ONE. DOES ONE GET A PREFERENCE OVER ANOTHER?

32 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 DIGITAL COVER STORY

A preference.. I think the preference would always be the acting part. Music has come to me lately. I chose acting and I think music kind of chose me. So I love singing and performing as well, but I think if you ask me which one is my favourite, I would always say acting for sure.

AND WHAT IS THE KIND OF SPACE YOU WANT TO ESTABLISH YOURSELF IN?

Well, something that has always been on my mind and something that I always discuss with my team is the fact that obviously we do have a lot of pretty women, a lot of good-looking women in the industry, women who can dance well, all of that. As for me, I do sing, I perform, I act, so what I want is for everybody to be able to say is that “she can do all of that” besides the fact that she is pretty. I want to be that actress that is pretty and can act as well. Because I feel that is very rare. You won’t find that easily because usually for good-looking women the commercial space is a lot more than their artistic space. So, I would want to be able to

do both and just be someone who is an allrounder, right? Someone who can act, someone who can sing, someone who can perform. That is something that I’ve always wanted to do.

YOU HAVE WORKED IN MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES AND ACROSS PLATFORMS, ANY FAVOURITES THERE?

I don’t really have a favourite as such. I just love working in Bollywood, I love everything that I have learned in India and Bollywood has just really helped me a lot with every other aspect of my career as well. But having worked on two international projects as well lately with Kandahar, I just really love the way Americans lead a set. I think that would definitely be my favourite.

YOUR UPCOMING PROJECTS?

There’s Ranneeti. And then I have Sangeen coming with Nawazuddin Siddiqui which is a thriller. I have also done a special appearance in John

3 WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU? Persistent, disciplined, ambitious

Abraham’s Tehran with Maddock. And I would be recording my album this year in America. I’m doing my first actual album in the whole music scene with a producer in LA, so that’s happening. I am very bad with remembering what is upcoming but yeah that’s mainly everything I remember right now (laughs).

ONE OF THE HOTTEST ARTISTES IN SHOWBIZ, WHAT’S THE DATING STATUS LIKE?

Well, the dating status is a no, like always. I’m more focused on work, constantly trying to better myself to become better and bigger, working on myself and my craft and concentrating on the work that I do. And the dating world is kind of bad anyway. Ain’t no one around who you can really date. At least no one interesting around at the moment. So I promise Filmfare Middle East to be the first ones to know if there is any announcement (smiles).

WHOSE POSTERS WOULD WE HAVE FOUND IN THE ROOM OF A 13-YEAR-OLD ELNAAZ?

Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai

YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH IS Ryan Gosling

YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE OR SECRET INDULGENCE

WHAT’S THE ONE ADVICE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH ALL ASPIRING ACTORS?

The one advise that I would like to share with all aspiring actors, doesn’t have anything to do with actors and non-actors. I think an advise that I could give to anybody would be being persistent, not giving up, working on yourself every day, trying to become a better person, better at your craft. Just as I say on my Instagram bio - “good better best, never let it rest till your good is better and your better is best”. I think that’s my one advise for always and for everyone and forever. Because I think that kind of works in every field and even as an actor, it really helps. And I think just the fact that especially as an actor you have to grow every day, you have to be very observant, you have to learn people, you have to just never stop as an actor because there is so much that you can learn. So just keep learning. Read, read a lot.

HOW ROMANTIC ARE YOU AS A PERSON?

Very romantic, but I am super bad at showing itI’m actually a hopeless romantic but so reserved at the same time!

ONE ADVICE YOU WISH YOU HAD NOT FOLLOWED

In the beginning of my career in India I was told I don’t need to know how to act, I just need to look pretty… and that would be enough - I’m glad I realized soon that it’s far from the truth and I started working on my craft, but I did lose a couple of years because of that advice.

QOh guilty pleasure would definitely be eating cream with honey on bread - I grew up eating that for breakfast so I still crave it sometimes and it’s soooo bad for my diet!

ONE THING NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU IS I used to program robots , I learnt the programming language back in school!

WHEN NOT FACING THE CAMERA, WHAT WOULD WE MOST-LIKELY CATCH YOU DOING…

Reading books, meeting with my family and close ones, travel or work on myself and my future endeavours like music.

ONE LESSON YOU HOLD CLOSE TO HEART…

Not everyone you think is your friend is on your side.

IF YOUR LIFE HAD A THEME SONG, IT WOULD BE Supergirl by Anna Naklab

ONE SUPER-POWER YOU WISH YOU HAD

The ability to go anywhere at anytime - so I could be near to my dear ones more often and at the same time get to work instantly.

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 33
ick Take

LOST FOUND

SIDDHANT CHATURVEDI IS THE MOST DOWN-TO-EARTH BOLLYWOOD ACTOR WE HAVE TODAY, FINDS SUMAN SHARMA

Siddhant Chaturvedi wants to be known both as a star and as an actor. He knows it’s a tall order, that somewhere down the line, he has to choose one aspiration and stick to it. But, for now, he’s enjoying the ride. He isn’t in a hurry and wants to do quality work, rather than sign everything in sight. The 30-year-old actor says he has matured much since his big screen debut in Gully Boy in 2019, which turned him into an overnight sensation. He’s more secure now and more in sync with the reality of the film industry. Presenting excerpts from a tete-atete with the talented actor.

After spending seven years in the industry... Do you think you have finally arrived?

My parents and friends believe that I’ve arrived. But I feel like I need to do more. I need to work harder. I need to do something more.

I don’t feel like I’ve arrived. I don’t sleep well because of it.

I am still hoping that something magical happens at the next box office. I’m expecting a big film next, or if not, an International film. Because I have that, I want to be someone who can represent India on a global scale. All I have are my dreams. So, when I think I’ve arrived, I think point khatam ho jayega.

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan was very much appreciated by the audience and critics as well. Tell us, how do you identify with Imaad? I do not identify with any of the roles I have played. I always intend to choose characters who aren’t like me. Playing myself on screen is extremely boring for me. I just want to keep playing different characters and step outside of my comfort zone. So, honestly, you should not identify with anything.

I don’t think I’m a good rapper, I don’t think I’m funny, and I don’t believe

I cheat. The only thing in common is friendship, which I strongly identify with. I am like a guy who loves to have his friends around, and I am always there for my friends, so the friendship part is something that I understand.

What kind of equation do you share with Ananya Pandey?

It has always been enjoyable to spend time with her. We’ve been evolving as actors together since Gehraiyaan, and we complement each other well. On and off screen, we’re always dealing with the Tom and Jerry equation. And yes, she is a good friend. We’ve always had fun together, which is why the chemistry on screen is so obvious. We are fond of each other. We hang out, we party, and she’s become a good friend in the process and I hope to work with her again.

She’s a star kid. While working, does the thought of nepotism crop up, where you end up thinking that these kids get an advantage? Initially, I would feel this way because I have also experienced a lot of rejection. So there was a lot of sourness and hurt from the rejection. But eventually, I learnt to coexist. Because I realised with maturity and understanding that the audience chooses talent and true talent will never go to waste, regardless of where you come from. The business will have its own mechanism, and the end result will be what it is.

What’s your criteria for choosing a script?

Right now, I want to be part of romantic films because I believe they are becoming rare. I’d like to do something new and challenging that pushes the

boundaries. Cinematic boundaries may not be accepted by everyone, but I hope to learn something new. I believe that even if you cannot win the game, you can change it.

Is there any difference between a star and an actor?

An actor is somebody who is unaffected by the noise around them. A star is someone who also understands the noise around them and has their own responsibilities. Because a star has to listen to the audience, they want to see you in a certain way. An actor is like, I will play characters, I will touch emotions, and I will do it for the craft. So they both have their own responsibilities.

Which category do you place yourself in?

I want to find a middle ground,

find a nice, sweet equilibrium between stardom and being an actor where I am trying to do a bit different things and am doing it for the craft and at the same time, commerce is also being elevated and the audience is also happy.

What is stardom for you?

True stardom is where you have the choice. To be able to choose what you want to do rather than being pressured.

When you entered the industry, what was an eye-opener for you?

The PR culture was a real eye opener. Previously, I believed that a star did not need to do anything; he would do his films, and he is a star because of them. Later, I learnt that public relations is extremely important. I’ve studied marketing and come from a financial background, I denied it for the

I want to be treated equally, as I am and as I was. I never wanted to be a film star, have authority or power over anyone; all I wanted was the audience’s love
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 35
Gehraiyaan Kho Gaye Hum Kahan
My parents and friends believe that I’ve arrived. But I feel like I need to do more. I need to work harder. I need to do something more. I don’t feel like I’ve arrived

longest time. I said my craft would speak for itself because, like Gully Boy, I appeared out of nowhere. After the film was released, there was an unexpected boom. I realised that a star is also a product of marketing and public relations, which I am still learning.

Is it tough to be yourself? I want to be treated equally, as I am and as I was. I never wanted to be a film star, have authority or power over anyone; all I wanted was the audience’s love. When people treat you better in some way, when people will pull a chair for you, or when people will move aside because you are coming, I don’t like that. I’d like to walk with other people. I want to talk to people. I just want to sit and be with people, and that is

what I believe.

What inspires you to write poetry?

When I see the world now from a different perspective, that really inspires me to write my thoughts down. It is meditative in a way. Because there is so much noise you need to calm down and know where you are coming from or where you have to head. Writing down helps me kind of collect my thoughts, and I also share them with people as a way of connecting with them because a lot of people may be going through the same thing. It’s mostly my 19-yearold self speaking to the 30-year-old, where he is still innocent and manifesting and that’s what I want to retain. And that’s why I write those thoughts down so that I can read and understand where I come

from and not forget my roots.

Your take on love?

Love is comprehension. It is communication and the connection fades over time. Perhaps my parents don’t hold hands like that. But I’ve never witnessed a love like theirs. That maturity will eventually come. And it has been present in every generation.

What’s your rule for love and relationships?

Love with purity. Many times, you are unable to say I love you, but you love someone deeply, just as a father-son relationship. I haven’t told my father, “I love you, papa” until now.

I have not even told my mother, “I love you.” But I know there is a lot of love, and for me, love is something you should feel within yourself.

36 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW
Gully Boy
I do not identify with any of the roles I have played. I always intend to choose characters who aren’t like me. Playing myself on screen is extremely boring for me

What factors are important in maintaining a relationship?

Communication and transparency are key. When things aren’t going well, it’s best to talk them out and find a solution.

What is your deal-breaker in a relationship?

Not accepting my life, my family, and my friends. I am the product of all the people I’ve loved. These are the people I adore, so if you don’t accept them, you don’t accept me. So that’s a deal breaker for me.

What would be your relationship advice to the young generation?

My relationship advice would be to meet in person more often. Simply be transparent with whomever you are with, because many things may fade away over time. However, the person you truly love and the person who adores you will be there for you. If you have a fight or an argument with your partner, do not discuss it with your friends or family because you may reconcile. However, their perception of your partner may change, making it difficult for you to solve or resolve the situation.

Actors are said to be extremely critical of themselves.

I often criticise myself because I grew up in an environment where there was a lot of bullying in school. In a middle-class family, no one praises you. You are constantly told what’s wrong. All of this has been instilled in you to the point where you require validation in your life. I continue to criticise, but it does help you grow in some ways. That is something that helps me grow and improve because we are always undervalued. So we criticise ourselves sometimes, but that’s okay. It strengthens us and drives us to evolve. n

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 37
38 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 EVENTS
Celebrations! Check out the highlights of the Danube Suhoor hosted by Mr Rizwan Sajan, Founder and Chairman of Danube Group, at his residence PIC CREDIT: YASIR ARAFAT | DAWOOD SHAIKH VIDEO: JAFAR VETTIYIL
Blessed
Mr. Rizwan Sajan - Founder and Chairman, Danube Group Mr. Adel Sajan - Group Managing Director, Danube Group Mr. Azhar Sajan - Director Casa Milano, Mr. Anis Sajan - Vice Chairman, Danube Group, Mr. Sahil Sajan
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 39
Dr. Sana Sajan, Mr. Adel Sajan, Mr. Rizwan Sajan and Mrs. Sameera Sajan Mr. Rizwan Sajan and Baymammet Sarybekov Mr. Adel Sajan with Ahmed Ben Chaibah and guests Syed Hussain, Mr. Adel Sajan, with Ghayyour Khan Mr. Madhusudhan Rao - CEO, Danube Group
40 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 EVENTS
Mr. Rizwan Sajan with Mr. Anis Sajan Monica Woodman Aparna Bajpai and Aakanksha - Naval Shetye Munira Rahman Mr. Rizwan Waheed with guest Mr. Rizwan Sajan, Mr. Madhusudhan Rao with Team Filmfare Middle East Mr. Ravi Tharoor and Aditi Khare Team Curly Tales Asmi Ahmed and Mr Rizwan Sajan Team Radio Mirchi Mrs. Sameera Sajan and Ms. Shabnam Kassam with Ayesha Khan and guest Mr. Mohanaselvan Jeyapalan Priya Jethani
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 41
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar and Dr. Rajiv Yeravdekar with Mr. Rizwan Sajan Dr. Sana Sajan and Ayman Al Yaman Bassam Mr. Rizwan Sajan with Dr. Amrinder P Singh

DUBAI BOLLYWOOD! CALLING

CHECK OUT THE CELEBS IN DUBAI

MR RIZWAN SAJAN, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF DANUBE GROUP WITH (ABOVE) SALMAN KHAN; (LEFT) AR RAHMAN AND (BELOW) NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI

42 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 DUBAI CALLING
PHOTOGRAPHY - ABU SAMUEL

MR RIZWAN SAJAN AND MR ADEL SAJAN WITH KARAN

KUNDRRA AND TEJASSWI PRAKASH; (LEFT) ARBAAZ KHAN, (LEFT BELOW)

AIJAZ ASLAM AND FAISAL QURESHI AND (BELOW) SANGRAM SINGH

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 43

Opens its 25th store in the UAE at Dubai Mall

Flormar, the globally renowned beauty brand, celebrates its 25th store opening at the prestigious Dubai Mall, solidifying its presence in the UAE’s flourishing market. Under the revamped slogan “HAPPINESS IS YOUR COLOR,” Flormar introduces a refreshed brand identity, featuring a new logo, updated visuals, packaging, and store design, portraying a vibrant and joyful image. The store, operational since January 30th, 2024, is strategically located on the second level near Galeries Lafayette.

Matthieu Gomart, Flormar’s CEO, expresses pride in the brand’s evolution since its inception in Milan in the 1950s. With a global footprint in over 70 countries and nearly 30,000 sales points, Flormar aims to be among the top 3 brands in the mass segment globally by 2030. The Dubai Mall store showcases a colorful array of high-performance cosmetics, including the Festival Spirit collection, Open Up mascara, and Skin Lifting foundations, set against elegantly shaded interiors.

Vinod Adnani, MD & CEO of Multiplex International, highlights the successful partnership with Flormar and the expansion’s ability to cater to a broader consumer base. Flormar invites makeup enthusiasts to explore their latest offerings and stay updated through social media channels @FlormarUAE and @Flormar_UAE on Facebook and Instagram. Experience the joy of beauty with Flormar, where every color tells a story.

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 45 ADVERTORIAL
Adnani Marketing & PR Director with Vinod Adnani- MD & CEO Multiplex International LLC ( L-R ) Jacky Premjani - Operations Manager, Jennifer Lamigo - Category Manager – Color Cosmetics Retail, Anil Kukreja - General Manager Exquisite Retail Divison
Prathna Sarah Milad Blogger Meet

Blockbuster Meet the Bhagnani

ACCLAIMED PRODUCER VASHU BHAGNANI TALKS TO AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE ABOUT HIS PRODUCTION POOJA ENTERTAINMENT COMPLETING A BLOCKBUSTER 3 DECADES NEXT YEAR, HANDING THE BATON TO THE GEN NEXT JACKKY BHAGNANI AND DEEPSHIKHA DESHMUKH, AND THEIR LATEST EID TREAT BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN

VashuBhagnani

2024 is proving to be a very special year for you personally as well as professionally... Yes, this year I have fulfilled one of the biggest responsibilities as a father, which was my son’s (Jackky Bhagnani) marriage. And by God’s grace, it all happened so beautifully. I’m very happy as a father to welcome my daughter-

As one of the most popular and renowned producers of the Hindi film industry, Vashu Bhagnani has always had his finger on the pulse of his audience when it comes to entertainment. Little wonder then that his production house Pooja Entertainment has come to be synonymous with iconic blockbusters and super-successful entertainers. The production house that completes 3 decades next year has also seen his children - actor-producer Jackky Bhagnani and producer Deepshikha Deshmukh step up to take charge, infusing fresh energies into the supersuccessful production house that is especially known for its larger-than-life launches, pampering its artistes and extravagant productions. We met the celebrated producer in Dubai, and over cups of coffee indulged in a candid conversation about his journey, bringing back the No 1 titles, and looking forward to a blockbuster release in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Excerpts

in-law Rakul into the family. The wedding celebrations in Goa were very intimate and everyone was very happy. Everything went very smoothly and it’s a great relief for any parent. Now after this comes Bade Miyan Chote Miyan which is also an equally big responsibility of 25 years. Because the way David

(director David Dhawan) had made the earlier comedy with Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, it was a huge entertainer - the whole artistic team, the music, the comedy, it was just too good. So it’s a big responsibility to make that kind of a movie again, with the same elements of entertainment but making it like an

46 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW

entirely new film in itself and much bigger. Back when it was released in 1998, it was the biggest movie. It took a beautiful opening. In those days, that was big. And this day, this is the biggest.

How did that come about… Akshay (Kumar) was the first choice and I discussed the idea with him. He loved it but it was crucial to find the right Chote for this Bade! So that went on for about one and a half year. One fine day, he said, “Let’s do it with Tiger and make it a fully-action packed movie” and Jackky came back with director Ali Abbas Zafar. He makes very sensible entertainment with full action and Jackky insisted that we make this an action comedy. As an audience I was very happy and excited, and we decided to go grander with songs, so we decided to go to a different country where nobody in Bollywood has shot. So, we explored and shot across Jordan. We shot about 4 songs there and each song has a completely different backdrop and as an audience you will feel like we have shot across 3-4 different countries altogether. Jordan provided that huge a variety of landscapes. It was amazing. As a filmmaker, I think there is so much the country can offer and for us to explore.

The film was also shot in record time… Yes, we started shooting in January and finished it in record time. Of course the songs were shot much later. And now we are ready to release!

Next year you will be completing 30 years in the industry with Pooja Entertainment. In the past decades you have earned great credibility as a producer with multiple blockbusters and are one of the biggest names in the industry. So how do you look back at this journey and what’s the way forward?

Now, I want to transfer these things to my children, because both Jackky and Deepshikha (Deshmukh) are cinematically very sound and have been working with me for the past decade and more. So they have a good experience and I’m very happy. In another maybe two or three years, I’ll take a backseat soon. Now I have to do other things also, like enjoy time with my grandchildren! I’ve always had two passions – one is filmmaking and the other is construction. So now it’s time to pursue the other passion in a few years!

Yes, both Deepshikha and Jackky seem to have your business acumen!

Exactly. They are same like me. Like today also, whenever I work, I always feel that yeh meri pehli picture hai. They are the same when it comes to their approach, sincerity and dedication.

What’s been your advice to them…

That they should always have the

attitude of a learner. That’s the key to growing, developing and becoming successful. If you know everything, what will you do then. It’ll all end!

Did you never want to get into direction? You know what, a director’s job is much more difficult. Even more than that of a producer. As a producer, it entails more of a risk taking and people management, like how do you handle the actors, the director, the whole team and the kind of risk you are taking about what you are making. But a director has that pressure 24 X 7! He’s the captain of the ship, and manning those 400 people on the set. I’m not the captain of the ship. I maybe owner of the movie, but he’s the owner of the set, so he has more responsibility. When there are 40 horses running, and guns being fired, 200 dancers, all these are under his vison. I can just saunter in and out. I have been lucky to have worked with the best directors who are extremely good people too. So when we have brilliant directors like David and even his son Rohit, then there’s Ali too, toh why will I work on that!

Besides your larger than life launches, you are known to pamper your artistes to the max? See it’s not pampering. You have to love your people. Agar aap koi bhi kaam kar rahe hain, if you don’t love them, to fayda kya hai kaam karke. I like to have a happy and positive vibe around us on the sets or in the office. And treating everyone with love, respect and making them feel special is basic human call, not pampering for me. See, a film may work or not work, but that relation we share with our team will always stay. And be it 5 or 10 or 25, they will want to come back and work with you when you show that you appreciate their value and they feel like they belong to the sets, not like they are working for someone. I want people to remember me with happiness and have fond memories of having worked with us, that’s the legacy I want to leave. Whether I’m there or not there, you have to leave good things behind. That’s victory, that’s success! Positivity agar nahi hoga, logon ke saath agar pyaar nahi hoga, logon ke saath agar bada kaam nahi karenge, there’s no point of living only then.

What’re the plans in the pipeline. The No. 1 has been your title, so any films with that? Yes, after Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, I want to make a film - Hero No. 1, then Biwi No. 1 and they all will be massive movies. Hero No. 1, maybe it can be a solo, vo badi banegi but not

I WANT PEOPLE TO REMEMBER ME WITH HAPPINESS AND HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF HAVING WORKED WITH US, THAT’S THE LEGACY I WANT TO LEAVE. WHETHER I’M THERE OR NOT THERE, YOU HAVE TO LEAVE GOOD THINGS BEHIND. THAT’S VICTORY, THAT’S SUCCESS!

that big. Biwi No. 1 will be really very, very big. There’s another movie that I have been wanting to make for over 10 - 15 years now called Beta No. 1. I had initially planned it with Amit ji and Abhishek (Bachchan). Each time I would look at them, I would always think of it, so that is still there on my mind. So, I do want to make that Beta No. 1. This is my wishlist from my old catalogues. Apart from these I do want to make some new ones too as business, but these will be from heart. Like BMCM is purely from the heart.

Who comes to your mind when you say Hero No. 1?

Hero No. 1 kaun hota hai, aaj humare Modi Ji (Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi) Hero No. 1 hain. Yahaan Dubai mein, when it comes to business, Mr Rizwan Sajan is a Hero No 1… So it’s a title!

But who would you want to cast in the movie?

That I haven’t thought of, but all I know is that what Govinda did in the film, you need a star who will do justice to that. No one can replicate Govinda, and we can’t let anyone spoil what that has come to mean to us. We have to accept that woh film, aisi family entertainer dobara ban nahi sakti hai. So, now when we make it, it won’t be a family entertainer at all. It will not have that comedy angle because I can’t make that movie again in my life. Woh banegi hi nahi. Aur banegi to chalegi nahin because Govinda ko koi cross nahin kar sakta hai. It is better to make something else altogether, like we did with Bade Miyan Chote Miyan.

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 47

LOOKING LOOKING BACK FORWARD

WHETHER IT’S LOVE, LIFE OR CAREER, GULSHAN DEVAIAH HAS ALWAYS BELIEVED IN FOLLOWING HIS GUT. HE SHARES HIS SURVIVAL MANTRAS WITH SUMAN SHARMA

Gulshan Devaiah started his career with Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl In Yellow Boots, alongside Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah in 2010. He’s a NIFT graduate and worked for 10 years in the fashion industry and also taught fashion for a while, while dabbling in English theatre in Bangalore, before Bollywood came calling. He’s known mainly for his greyshaded roles, though he’s trying to rectify that. In the series Dahaad, he played a strict police officer and in the film, 8 am Metro, he plays a middle-class man who accidentally finds love during his daily commute. The actor was in the news recently, as rumours of him getting back together with his ex, Kallirroi Tziafeta, surfaced online. The duo seem to be giving love a chance once more. The actor talks about relationships, career goals and what defines him as an artiste in a freewheeling interview.

Excerpts:

48 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW

According to the rumours, you seem to be courting your ex-wife Kallirroi Tziafeta again. We create relationships, but we don’t work on strengthening them. You have to look after that relationship. In order to retain whatever good remains in our relationship, it is important that we separate. Now we are focusing on building our relationship again.

Any mistakes in the relationship that you would never want to repeat again...

Many times, I say something that hurts the other person. If I am experiencing some pain, then I unleash it on the other person. Now I am trying not to do so. I could have communicated better after the relationship. I could have remained patient, which I did not. No matter how much patience I had, it was insufficient for my partner. This is a mistake that I will not repeat again.

You began your career with Anurag Kashyap but did not work closely with him. Why is that?

I didn’t work with Anurag Kashyap after Shaitan, but I’m now working on a film with him. He is my senior. He gave me work, so I respect him. When he married my friend Kalki Koechlin, we met frequently. When they both broke up, it impacted my relationship with him as well, because Kalki is a close friend of mine. But now everything is fine. I have been friends with Kalki since 2008. We both share a special bond. Kalki is not superficial. She is relaxed and genuine. We have everything—a difference of opinion, fights, as well as friendship. We don’t talk often, as she is busy with her daughter and her new husband. I met her recently in Goa. She is a bit stressed as her partner is from Israel and things are not going well in his country.

Nowadays, PRs build an actor’s image. Do you consider this a necessity?

Sometimes, this seems like the right thing to do. I have seen many actors move around in luxury cars but live in 1 BHK. I find this foolish. But later on, I feel that people form a perspective about them based on that. You can call this a PR strategy. People believe he can afford these things, which is why he is successful. Once, Kalki’s driver told me, “Sir, aap bhi badi gaadi le lo apka rate badh jayega.” I do not want a brand image. I am content with how I am. I dislike fake celebrities. Financial security is important, but I do not work on any projects for pay. But I will never deny that money is important. When you are financially secure, you can take risks in life. I have no EMIs to pay because I do not have any loans.

You don’t court the paparazzi either, I like dressing up fashionably. I style my own clothes. I create my own wardrobe. I am a happy-go-lucky person. I like interacting with people, hearing jokes and having a good talk. I like being real. I don’t like to call photographers wherever I go but

I HAVE SEEN MANY ACTORS MOVE AROUND IN LUXURY CARS BUT LIVE IN 1 BHK. I FIND THIS FOOLISH. BUT LATER ON, I FEEL THAT PEOPLE FORM A PERSPECTIVE ABOUT THEM BASED ON THAT

I do pose for them and interact with them if I meet them by chance.

What’s your definition of success? There are several levels to it. Financial security is one measure of success. Being carefree about your expenses is also a sign of success. Maintaining versatility and diversity in your career is also beneficial.I also consider this journey a success. I don’t consider having followers or being kind of successful. You should have a higher goal in life.

14 years in the industry. How do you seeyour journey?

I am extremely happy and satisfied. I’m an outsider. I’m from Bangalore.I learnt to act by participating in plays during my school and college years. Then I realised that I had something unique to offer to others. That’s when I moved to Mumbai. In 2009, I was fortunate to be cast in That Girl in Yellow Boots. Then I got Dum Maro Dum and Shaitan. Then Vasant Bala took me further ahead. People have struggle stories, but I don’t have any. I

found it easy to get to work. I don’t identify with the term struggle. People romanticise their pain and struggles. That’s not the case for me. Struggles are not necessary for development.

You were only offered the greyshaded or villainous roles but that’s changing now. Following Shaitaan, I was only offered the role of villain. Harshwardhan Kulkarni was one of the first directors to offer me a role similar to Amol Palekar’s in Hunterr (2015), which was also the lead. I liked this character. Following this, I began to get roles, but I did not receive any increase in money. Whatever I got was enough to cover my bills. When you don’t have financial security, your confidence drops. Ayushmann, Kartik and I made our debuts around the same time. When their careers took off, I was a little jealous. But I also felt satisfied that what I had was not any less.

Which were the other directors who presented you differently?

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 49
Guns & Gulaabs Ram Leela Dahaad

Raj and DK and Vasan Bala. With them, my equation is very different. To understand my character, I don’t have to converse a lot with them. I know their sensibilities. Their stories are never real; all are fictional. When Raj and DK offered me the role, I refused Guns & Gulaabs, stating that I would not play a villain. Then they claimed I should read it at least once. Then I realised that if I refused to play Aatmaram’s role, I would probably regret it later. That role is a gift to any actor. Raj and DK are very particular about certain details because they have already imagined the entire world of the film they intend to make. Their thoughts are clear; however, we do not have any input.

Has OTT changed the scenario now?

I wanted variety in my roles, which took 13 years to accomplish. Yes, after the pandemic, I received more OTT projects. I played three different characters in the same year: Duranga, Dahaad, and Guns & Gulaabs. OTT has provided many opportunities to writers. There is no box-office pressure here. That is why people feel liberated to tell

I LIKE BEING REAL. I DON’T LIKE TO CALL PHOTOGRAPHERS WHEREVER I GO BUT I DO POSE FOR THEM AND INTERACT WITH THEM IF I MEET THEM BY CHANCE
I DON’T IDENTIFY WITH THE TERM STRUGGLE. PEOPLE ROMANTICISE THEIR PAIN AND STRUGGLES. THAT’S NOT THE CASE FOR ME. STRUGGLES ARE NOT NECESSARY FOR DEVELOPMENT

their own stories.

You have worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Ram Leela; tell me about your equation with him.

People say Sanjay Leela Bhansali has a short temper, but this is not the case. Like other directors, he does not communicate openly with you. People are hesitant to talk to him. But I would share my ideas with him without hesitation. He became fond of me. He’d listen to me. He pays close attention to detail. He takes an entire day to frame a single shot. Perhaps some would find this strange, but when the film is finished, the meticulous detailing stands out. As an actor, he allows you to do whatever you want. However,

during editing, he will only retain what he has instructed you to do, not what you have done on your own.

How was working with Vijay Varma in Dahaad? Vijay Verma wants to do his best. He is passionate about his work. He has it all—success, financial security, and stability—but he still has a strong desire to work. He never feels satisfied with his work. He always wants to do more work.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am interested in history, boxing, and sports. I watched all these on YouTube. I watch the analysis of old matches. I like boxing because in it, two people fight with each

other, and that fight ends there. Besides, no matter how good a boxer you are, you will be punched in the face. What you will do after that depends on you— whether you will continue to get punched or get up and overpower the opponent. This is what happens in real life as well.

What more do you want to achieve in life?

I do not know. I am walking down the street, but I am unsure of my destination. I’m on the lookout for new roads and excited to explore them. We must prepare ourselves for the challenges that will arise. If you want to do something different and novel, you must be patient. If you want to go beyond money and fame, you must maintain your patience. n

50 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW
Shaitan The Girl In Yellow Boots

RADHIKA MADAN IS NEVER SATISFIED AS AN ACTOR AND WANTS TO BETTER HERSELF WITH EACH OUTING, FINDS SUMAN SHARMA

Radicallydifferent

Radhika Madan. There is a thehrav to her, a poise, a certainty that’s frankly mesmerising. You can sit with her in silence and she’ll still communicate, the sparkle of her eyes or the turn of her lips, which seem to be brimming with jest, remembering an inside joke only she’s privy to. She’s so sorted you want to open the account of your own life and let her tally the hits and misses. She’s enthusiastic as hell about acting. She can talk all day about her favourite performances without break and she’ll surely have a unique take on everything she saw. In an engaging interview, the actress talks about where life has led her and what more she wants from the journey. Excerpts:

How would you sum up 2023 for yourself? Did it meet your expectations?

Definitely. I exceeded it. I never expected I would be a jury member at the Emmy Awards and that too as the youngest jury member. Also, I was the first Indian actress to serve on the jury at the Tallinn Film Festival. It gives me a lot of validation and reinforces my belief in art and it just neutralises me, like, why am I acting and why am I here?

As an actor, are you satisfied with your career and films thus far?

I am not sure if I will ever be satisfied. I don’t think I’ve gotten there and accomplished anything. You just want to live so many different lives, do so much more and discover yourself with each film. I can only say that I am deeply grateful for whatever journey I have taken.

How would you describe your journey?

There was never an easy

INTERVIEW

way. I’ve given countless auditions and continue to do so. Sometimes I am offered films, but I also insist on giving auditions because I need the opportunities. But I believe it is how you view your journey and struggles; you always learn from your low points in life and you must always keep your mind clear. You always need to get back to centre yourself and I have realised that life has been kind to me wherever I am dwelling in a struggling phase, something or the other happens and I actually get centred and return with renewed zeal and enthusiasm to deal with life’s daily ups and downs.

Has it been difficult for you to get work?

I’ll admit that I was fortunate to start with Vasan Bala and Vishal Bharadwaj. With Vishal ji, I went through four or five rounds of auditions, but I believe you are mentally prepared. I do not come from a wealthy background. When I moved to the city and decided to transition from television to film, I was mentally prepared for how I would get the project. I never had false hopes or assumed that it would be easy. I know I’ll have to fight for it; I’ll have to prove my worth in order to make a name for myself and

break into the industry.

It’s said you were told to undergo a jaw job. Would you ever undergo surgery to look pretty on screen? They all want a specific body type. When it comes to health, there is no room for insecurity. However, if you are talking about a specific nose size or jaw size, you are coming from an insecure place and are striving for perfection. We’re all imperfectly perfect. I believe in lots of self-love. I believe that we are all beautifully unique; we offer

something special; that is how you know nature created us.

It is critical for everyone to understand that everyone has acne, pimples, sugar, gains and loses weight—everybody goes through it. However, we only see airbrushed magazine covers and Instagram pictures. For me, beauty is defined by how authentic you can be, how much you can offer your unique self and how you

I never expected I would be a jury member at the Emmy Awards, and that too as the youngest jury member. Also, I was the first Indian actress to serve on the jury at the Tallinn Film Festival

believe in yourself and present yourself. I don’t want to pursue a specific shape or size, a specific face structure, a specific lip or nose, or anything similar. I believe I am extremely grateful for whatever nature has given me. That is something I own.

What’s your take on social media? It’s easy to become overwhelmed. It is easy to seek validation from it. We never post our low points on Instagram because we want to post the perfect picture on social media. So we cannot assume that everybody’s lives are going so well. We must understand we are all sailing in the same boat and it is so important to vocalise it. It is so important to let it be a part of your life and not let it control you.

Your film, Sajini Shinde Ka Viral Video, was about social media trolling. What kind of feedback did you receive for this film? We got nice critical acclaim for that. It is a very relevant film, especially in the need for social media and to just catch on to the body language or to the lisp, to crack the lisp that the character had, to make her relatable and all of that. It’s a really special film.

Every project of yours has been different from the others… The reason I became an actor was because I was bored with one life. And maybe that’s the reason that every film and every character are so different from one another. Because I cannot live a life twice.

You played a drug dealer in Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo and one could see you enjoyed your role in the series.

Homi Adajania is like family to me. I had a great time with him and he really pushes me to my limits. He noticed me in Angrezi Medium and offered me Saas Bahu. So I’d like to thank him for recognising my potential. It’s actually both sides of the spectrum; Angrezi and Saas Bahu are diametrically opposed. So I’d like to credit Homi for that. He recognised that spectrum in me and gave me the opportunity

because I have a lot of fire inside of me. It grows with each project and I am simply looking for opportunities or outlets to express my art.

What was your experience like working with Dimple Kapadia in Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo? She is a pleasure to work with and an inspiration, and simply being in her presence was a joy. Like Irrfan Khan, she remains a student of life. She is the most nervous before any scene and I’m like, “Why are you nervous?” You’re a phenomenon. You’ll just eat the scene. But she’s amazing. She’s consistently the best student. She keeps rehearsing her lines, asking questions and never takes things for granted. It’s a lesson for us to never stop learning. You always give your all to every project and never take it for granted.

Do you think you are lucky to work with Irrfan Khan? Working with him in Angrezi Medium really shaped me as an actor. Because he is one guy who always tells the truth. And he never makes a false note. He never stopped learning. I realised with Irrfan sir and Dimple ma’am that they never take their stardom or image; they are always learning. I miss him; I do watch his films and I also watched Angrezi Medium multiple times because sometimes I have to pinch myself to realise that I actually got to work with him.

Was Mumbai welcoming to you when you came here with your dreams?

I had no intention of becoming an actor; it was a stroke of luck. Everything was new to me from the moment I walked in; I had no preconceived notions. But I realised that no one knows the formula for success. They are all simply doing their best to make a mark.

So we’re all just finding our own ways to do things based on our perceptions of what works and what doesn’t. You simply need to keep being yourself, following your instincts and pursuing the

Everything was new to me from the moment I walked in; I had no preconceived notions. But I realised that no one knows the formula for success

truth because that is what is honest to you and the best thing you can do in life.

What have you discovered about yourself in the last few years? I’m celebrating my unique personality. I’m not trying to be anybody. I choose things that I truly believe in, which may or may not succeed, but I do not want to live someone else’s dream. I don’t want to pursue a dream that a director, my family, my agency, or my public relations department want for me. I want to live the dream that I have for myself. Even if I make a mistake, I’ll blame myself. I want to fail; I want to succeed, but it has to be my decision. I just want to do what my gut tells me to do. I don’t want to take myself too seriously. But I want to take my art seriously. n

54 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 INTERVIEW
Angrezi Medium Sajini Shinde Ka Viral Video Saas, Bahu Aur Flamingo
Eid Mubarak www.atelierdeglow.ae Dubai-based online destination for authentic Korean Skincare. Next-Day Delivery across UAE 20% OFF with code “EID20” ....ANDMANYMORE! Your Authentic and Curated Korean Skincare Haven
58 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 EVENTS
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 59

Sequin Sensation

Sequins are timeless and fun, here’s how to style them

From red carpet events to casual outings, sequins have transcended traditional boundaries, making bold statements and celebrating individuality. Designers experiment with sequins in various forms, including dresses, tops and even accessories, providing a versatile canvas for self-expression. The play of light on sequins creates an alluring spectacle, ensuring wearers stand out in any crowd. This trend not only embraces opulence but also encourages a fearless approach to fashion, making sequins a staple for those who dare to shine.

The play of light on sequins creates an alluring spectacle, ensuring wearers stand out in any crowd

OUR HOT PICKS

Retrofete

60 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 FASHION
Jenny Packham David Koma Alexandre KAREENA KAPOOR KHAN SAIYAMI KHER DEEPIKA PADUKONE JANHVI KAPOOR KRITI SANON Vauthier ALIA BHATT

estive The F Collection with

Alish Apparel perfectly captures the festive spirit with its splendid selection of Eid attire, tailored to celebrate the diversity of women. The collection artfully blends the timeless charm of Eastern designs with the chic sensibilities of Western fashion, providing a breathtaking wardrobe for Eid festivities. Available in an array of sizes, the line features opulent textiles, radiant with intricate needlework, lively patterns, and ornate accents. The range spans from majestic, bead-studded kaftans to elegant, A-line garments adorned with traditional zari craftsmanship, each meticulously designed to echo the celebratory ambiance.

Alish Apparel merges reverence for tradition with a keen fashion sense, presenting ensembles that are both culturally authentic and trendsetting. This Eid, the brand delivers more than just attire; it extends an invitation to celebrate in an ambiance of elegance, self-assurance, and collective joy.

62 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST April 2024 EID SPECIAL PIC CREDIT: DAWOOD SHAIKH
April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 63

DUBAI

THE FAMILY STAR

Director: Parasuram Petla

Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Mrunal Thakur

The breezy romcom sees the fresh pairing of Vijay and Mrunal for the first time. This one’s for all the romantics out there.

THANGALAAN

Director: Pa Ranjith

Cast: Vikram, Malavika Mohanan

The upcoming Tamil historical action drama tells the story of a tribal leader, Thangalaan, who rebels against the British when they try to seize his land.

WATCH LIST

BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Tiger Shroff, Manushi Chhillar, Alaya F

The high-octane entertainer stars two of the biggest action stars of Bollywood. Boasting of some of the best shot fight and dance sequences, this one’s a must watch this Eid.

KUNG FU PANDA 4

Director: Mike Mitchell

Voices : Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis

The martial arts animated comedy is the fourth installment in the hit Kung Fu Panda franchise. The film follows Po who must find and train his successor as the new Dragon Warrior.

THE FIRST OMEN

Director: Arkasha Stevenson

Cast: Nell Tiger Free, Tawfeek Barhom, Bill Nighy

The supernatural horror film is the prequel to the cult hit The Omen (1976) and is the sixth in the franchise. The film follows a woman sent to work at a church in Rome. There she uncovers a sinister plan that would bring about the birth of the Antichrist and spread anarchy. This one’s simply not to be missed if you are a horror buff!

MAIDAAN

Director: Amit Ravindernath Sharma

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Priyamani, Gajraj Rao, Rudranil Ghosh

The biopic is based on the life and journey of renowned coach Syed Abdul Rahim who revolutionized football in India. The sports drama of chronicles the struggles of the esteemed coach as he relentlessly works towards the Indian team playing the sport.

CIVIL WAR

April 2024 FILMFARE MIDDLE EAST 65
*Disclaimer: The
the article
subject to change CHECK OUT SOME OF THE MOST-AWAITED
OTT
TO HIT THE SCREENS THIS APRIL
release dates mentioned in
are
MOVIES AND
SERIES
GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE ALSO DO WATCH
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.