Punjabi screen, changing trends
Now, here’s something new for Punjabi films. Amid the very few women directors in Pollywood, Anuja Sachdeva, who makes her debut with Aashiq Patthey, is out to make her mark…
Jasmine Singh

Even without making it sound unbelievable, the ‘growing-everyday’ Punjabi cinema has ushered in many trends. More and more Punjabi singers —known, unknown, popular — are making a beeline to the sets! And yes, the recent addition is women donning the director’s cap. Now, this definitely classifies as ‘new’ and fresh. Anuja Sachdeva makes her debut as a director with her first Punjabi film Aashiq Patthey starring H Dhami (the well-known UK Punjabi singer) Sarrtaj Gill, Soni Barring, Keeya Khanna, Yuvraj Goel, Deedar Gill,Om Puri and Mukul Dev.

Anuja starts shooting for her movie in Punjab from April 13 and this pretty woman feels fulfilling a dream is always the biggest challenge. Having acted in films like Teen Patti, Anuja has taken to the director’s role with elan!

Directing dreams

“I have a lot of Bollywood in me; I have grown up in that ambience. I always wanted to act and direct. Aashiq Patthey came along as a good opportunity; it had a good script and I had no reason to say no,” she says. Zeroing-in on Punjabi cinema was a deliberate decision? “I am a Punjabi; I wanted to work in this genre first. Besides, it is a growing industry with very few women directors,” she can’t control that impish smile when she mentions how she wants to prove people wrong. “I am sure many people are wondering what would a woman do, the challenge here is to prove them wrong.” She finally acknowledges the word challenge and how she enjoyed working on it!

The challenge

“I am blessed to have a nice team, I haven’t had any problem with them,” says Anuja, who didn’t have any trouble in calling the shots on the sets. “The only time I faced a problem was when I couldn’t understand chaste Punjabi words in the script. This is where my writer intervened to explain; in fact it was quite a learning experience for me as well.”


Comedy is the success mantra for Punjabi cinema and everyone’s making hay while it is there. Anuja, however, feels her work has to be a reflection of her attitude. “I want to make people happy; I want to entertain them, giving them a reason to smile, which is why I chose comedy as a genre. I want that the audience should get value for their money,” says the director, who is inspired by the works of Farah Khan.

The movie

This is the story of two boys who don’t believe in any work and how they track the richest girl in the college to end their problems. “It is a complete family entertainer with loads of fun-filled moments. Every character is well-etched out with no boring moments,” says Anuja.

Dream debut
(Third from left) Anuja Sachdeva with Om Puri
(Third from left) Anuja Sachdeva with Om Puri

Hartinder Dhami, known for his British India act, makes his debut in Punjabi movies with this film, which he feels is no extra work. “The character I play is quite a bit like me, so comedy comes naturally,” shares Hartinder, son of Palvinder Dhami, lead singer of the 1980s prominent bhangra team Heera Group UK. Hartinder released his debut album Sadke Java in 2008. It includes collaborations with Roach Killa, Chaaya and Mumzy Stranger. It has been a roller-coaster ride for the singer, who has been travelling a lot, since then. “We should be proud of our culture; if the message sent through music and films is brilliant.” All set to release his second album, Dhami will be out with the single very soon. As of now: “I am reading the script of the movie.”


Of fields & feelings
Software engineer Harpreet Singh has found his passion in photography and he has gone back to the roots to create magic…
Manpriya Singh

It’s an affair with the resplendent mustard fields, starting from the outskirts of village, taking a detour into the woods, catching up with grazing cattle on the way and all along celebrating the radiance of River Satluj. The merry-go-round ends only at dusk, with veils and firewood, only to begin its journey!

Colors of Punjab, stands true to its designation and brings out the beauty of a place that we have always acknowledged but perhaps, never pulled over to observe. Surprisingly,

Harpreet Singh, also known as Harp farmer, couldn’t ignore the farm and the fields, even post a degree in software technology. He shares, “Currently I am based in Hoshiarpur and after I passed out from my college, I would just set off with the camera, discovering the villages and the beauty of the interiors of Punjab. Initially, I did not even have a professional camera.” He adds, “Each photograph shows my thoughts.”

The exhibits take you on a picturesque tour of Moga, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Barnala, Amritsar and Ludhiana. On the way, telling us stories of the yore. There’s the game of kabaddi and the tale of toombi, an instrument that symbolises the land of celebration; the creation of Jatt Yamla, the tunes that keep sorrows away. Shares Laure Guyot, the cultural coordinator, “We have an art committee that screens the exhibits. It’s a good cultural overview of Punjab.”

Harpreet Singh says, “To me, photography is more about art than technology. None of the pictures in the exhibition have been tampered with technologically or photo-shopped or even colour-corrected. I wanted them to be as true to real life as possible. So they had to be natural.”

Fresh from the farm

Moving on, there’s the story of a farmer, a character that’s central to the place. “I myself am a farmer, so exhibiting their thoughts, predicaments and situations came naturally,” he says. There’s a frame that shows the wheat grains in the hands of one, yet another zooms in on a gentle son of a farmer, who’s aware of the pesticides that eats into his father’s farm. “Before I go on and click any photograph, there has to be an impromptu urge to freeze that sight.” From the checkered headgear to Punjabi jutti, each one transports you to the reality of the interiors.

Meanwhile, the affair with the Land of Five Rivers continues. There are pictures of goats, reeds and sparrows, paths with pebbles, turquoise blue cyan and not to forget the resplendent mustard fields.


(On at Alliance Française till May 4, 2013)

Zayed Khan talks Desi Magic
Zayed Khan
Agony uncle: Zayed Khan

Zayed Khan was last seen in Love Break Ups Zindagi in which he did pretty well. The movie was sweet but it flopped. He will be seen in Desi Magic next opposite Ameesha Patel.

I play

My role in Desi Magic is that of a really cool photographer who plays an agony uncle to people. He is an understanding and mature guy. He is in love with Ameesha's character, a hot, rich, spoilt girl who throws tantrums and he handles her well because he understands her very well.

Filmy take

I was really hooked on when the script was narrated to me. I felt like I was watching the movie which is why I signed it. It is a full-on entertainer whether in terms of drama, emotions or comedy. I liked the pitch of the film. Ameesha has a double role in it and the cast is impressive and interesting. The music is by DJ Aqeel, my brother-in-law. I am looking forward to that too because his music is such a hit, always.

Perfect Fit

Sahil Shroff is making his debut in this movie and I am very happy for him. He is a good friend of mine and we meet at fashion shows and parties. He is tremendously good-looking and is a perfect fit for his role. He is really cool and has a very clean heart, I look forward to working with him.

Business venture

I have been really busy reading so many scripts and they are all very interesting. I am choosing which one to do. Some of them I might buy and develop through Born Free Entertainment, my production house with Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha.

Producer partner

I just bumped into Kuunal Goomer one day as we both stay in Juhu and he offered me the role in Desi Magic. He came home and things just fell into place. I do not know him very well but from what I do, I can say that he is very driven, patient and motivated. He is humble and resourceful and passionate about what he does.

Team work

After Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Anushka Sharma and Imran Khan will be seen together once again in a commercial for a coffee brand. The two actors have replaced Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra to endorse coffee brand Bru. Anushka and Imran are happy that they got to share each other's company once again after Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. "A good cup of coffee is what keeps me going through the day, keeps me active and energised. I like it hot, I like it cold, I like it in every sense of the word. When Bru approached me for this campaign I was happy to come on board. Also, I got to work once again with Imran who is a fabulous co-star. It's a perfect combination for me," Anushka said in a statement. Imran said, "Anushka is always extremely energetic and an absolute pleasure to work with. Till date I invite all my friends over for coffee, where we chat and catch up on the latest events. Now that I've associated with Bru, I have even more reason to call them over more often." The duo will be part of the brand's campaigns throughout 2013.

Get to know this Russian beauty

Dream journey: Kristina Akheeva

Kristina Akheeva makes her debut in Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 starring the Deol family and directed by Samir Karnik. The Russian beauty is 26-year-old. She shares her take on films:

Fashion and films

I did a short course in acting at the Film and TV Academy in Melbourne, Australia. I have done modelling in India and abroad for various brands. I love travelling and doing salsa.

Indian favourites

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is my favourite actress, Aamir Khan is my favourite actor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is my favourite director. I think Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 is the best launch I could have got. The Deols are extremely kind and warm people.

International favourites

My dream role is Elizabeth Taylor's in Cleopatra and my favourite movie ever is Scarface. Al Pacino is such an incredible actor.

Akshay Kumar defies his no work on Sunday policy

It is common knowledge that Akshay Kumar shoots only six days a week. He keeps the Sunday for his family. The last time he worked on a Sunday was when he was shooting for Priyadarsan's Bhagam Bhag way back in 2006. Years later, he has broken the rule for Balaji and Milan Luthria's forthcoming Eid extravaganza, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai...Again.

"Milan has been down with viral. Therefore the shoot had to be cancelled for three days. So Akshay agreed to work on April 7 (Sunday) to make up for the lost time," remarks a source. Incidentally, Akshay is expected to be working next Sunday as well.

star track
Balancing act

Shilpa Shetty has started to work. She has discussions with music director Sneha Khanwalkar for her film post ten pm after she puts her son Viaan to sleep and then Sneha works on the music during the day. One devoted mother Shilpa is!

Mommy first: Shilpa Shetty

Saif shoots back

Saif Ali KhanSaif Ali Khan has shot back at the Goan government who accused him and Illuminati Films of showing Goa in a bad light in Go Goa Gone and promoting smoking which is against the Cigarette Smoking Act. So he has said that they are actors and not mothers who will tell their children what to do and what not to do.

In defence: Saif Ali Khan

Actor prepares

Adah Sharma Adah Sharma who debuted in 1920 and has been a sweet girl so far in her movies will be seen mouthing expletives in her next movie. She has got a good response to her hat ke role. She practiced her lines at home in front of her family before shooting them. Some dedication!

Different take: Adah Sharma

Rani scores over Vidya

Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan Rani Mukerji has been signed for Pradeep Sarkar's next movie Mardaani instead of Vidya Balan. The film is raw and gritty and a big project. We wonder how Sarkar will pull it off with two duds in the past. It will roll towards the end of 2013 and is Rani's eleventh film for YRF.
Competitive co-stars: Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan

Chatter Box
All work, no play
Hiten Tejwani
Hiten Tejwani

Actor Hiten Tejwani, who mesmerised the small screen audience in Ekta Kapoor’s serial Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, is a busy man these days. Hiten is currently doing two daily soaps for Balaji telefilms and has gone ahead and signed another show, Savdhan India, which he will be hosting. Although, the 3 shows luckily have the same location but he still ends up being on set for a good 16-17 hours at a stretch. As per a source, “Hiten is shooting 3 shifts daily which tend to become hectic at times, but its something he enjoys so its fine.”

As per Hiten, “Anchoring is very challenging as it allows me to talk to the audience as “Hiten Tejwani” unlike in the other shows.” The main Highlights of Savdhan India for Hiten are the moral values that he imparts to the audience during this show.

New role

If we trust the buzz, Juhi Aslam of Baba Aiso Var Dhoondo (Imagine), will be seen in Zee TV’s show Qubool Hai.

She will be playing the role of an assistant, Dolly, to an immigrant officer Dhurandar Watavdekar( Rakesh Bedi), a man who holds the records of deportation.

In the upcoming episodes of Qubool Hai, Dolly will barge into Asad (Karan Singh Grover) and Zoya’s (Surbhi Jyoti) house and inform them that Zoya’s visa has expired and she will be deported.

According to a source, “This is when Asad will confess his love for Zoya, which, in turn will be an emotional hit for Dolly.

Dhol, disco & jashan..

Celebrating togetherness and a new beginning in the show, the cast of Colors show, Bani… Ishq Da Kalma recently had an impromptu jashn on the sets. Shooting the engagement of Rajji played by Neha Bagga with her NRI husband, Amrik, the scene involved a dhol and dance sequence in the show.

While shooting the engagement celebration sequence though, the cast broke into an impromptu celebration, tapping feet and dancing to the beats. Dressed in typical folk attire, the beats of dhol and peppy Punjabi numbers just couldn’t stop them from dancing.  The leads of the show -  Bani, Rajji and Soham played by Shefali Sharma, Neha Bagga and Adhvik Mahajan respectively were seen really excited celebrating the joyous occasion on the sets. They even requested the dholwala to play the dhol.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: A risky day. Keep your mind focussed on work. Do not be tempted today. Once your working week is done, you can relax and socialise as much as you want. Romance will turn out to be a disappointment. Tarot message: Spend some time with family. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 32

TAURUS: You are likely to meet some old acquaintances and exchange interesting stories. No need to make any important moves today. Take care of your health. Love life is interesting. Tarot message: Feel good about yourself & be prepared for a mental battle. Lucky colour: Orange. Magic number: 28

GEMINI: A call or a visit from a relative you have not seen for ages brings an opportunity to catch up. Employment affairs will run smoothly. Past differences will cause quarrels today. Tarot message: Keep your finances in order. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 30

CANCER: Complete the household tasks and then socialise. You will encounter a turning point in a personal relationship. Push hard for the good results that you know you are capable of achieving. Tarot message: Grab the opportunities. Lucky colour: Yellow. Magic number: 31

LEO:The card “King of Wands” reveals best moments to relax and socialize with friends and loved ones. This is a good day for household repairs. Be sure to grasp the upcoming job opportunities. Tarot message: Focus on your goals. Lucky colour: Fuchsia. Magic number: 64

VIRGO: While socialising increases, you will instinctively know when to talk and when to put your head down and work. Avoid making fresh investments. An issue at home is harmoniously resolved. Tarot message: Invest in property to stabilise your financial situation. Lucky colour: Burgundy. Magic number: 42

LIBRA: Its time to catch up on the chores that you have been putting off for a while. Put some efforts in your relationship. You will be joining forces with an older person in an exciting venture. Tarot message: Do not be over-confident. Lucky colour: Beige. Magic number: 59

SCORPIO: Do not miss the opportunity to conclude all that unfinished business that seems to be weighing on your mind and spirit. New partnership will be formed. Try not to nag people about minor issues. Tarot message: Do not overspend just to impress others. Lucky colour: Peach. Magic number: 60

SAGITTARIUS: Use your flair of communication with creativity. Patronage from powerful individuals can validate your efforts. Share problems with loved ones. Take care of your health. Tarot message: Trust your instincts. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 40

CAPRICORN: Be positive in your approach. You will succeed with jobs that require team efforts. Love life is interesting. Do not make hasty decisions, take your time. Health will be strong. Tarot message: You will get the help you need if you ask for it. Lucky colour: Purple. Magic number: 57

AQUARIUS: The focus of everyone’s attention is likely to be on you today. Relatives will be sensitive and difficult to get along with. An improvement is indicated in the health of an older person. Focus on personal affairs. Tarot message: Be patient. Lucky colour: Green. Magic number: 52

PISCES: Do not get involved in any land deal. A secret love affair will bring some added pleasure. Make your boss aware of all the hard work that you have been putting in as it will increase your self-confidence. Enjoy being acknowledged. Tarot message: Be creative. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 63

New Releases

Film: Commando-A One Man Army
Producer: Vipul Shah
Director: Dilip Ghosh

Reliance Entertainment and Sunshine Pictures (Vipul Shah) next, Commando-A One Man Army is slated for release on Friday. The high octane, action-packed thriller stars Vidyut Jamwal and also launches Miss India 2009 Pooja Chopra. She makes her Bollywood debut with this movie. Her tryst began with the Tamil film Ponnar Shankar. Having won the award for the Best Male Debut for the movie Force, actor Vidyut Jamwal also promises some action packed stunts, mid air splits somersaults, and flip pouches. Hollywood’s ace action director Franz Spilhans has designed the film’s action to match Vidyut athleticism. This action drama is directed by ad filmmaker-turned director Dilip Ghosh.
A still from Nautanki Saala
A still from Nautanki Saala

Film: Nautanki Saala
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Ramesh Sipply, Roopa De Chaudhary
Director: Rohan Sippy

Theatre plays a pivotal role in this laugh-a-riot Nautanki Saala since both Ayushmaan Khurana and Kunaal Roy Kapur are stage actors. This one is an on-stage, off-stage kind of comedy, but not a flashy one. Instead the actors’ performances are the highlight of this film. The cast includes Pooja Salvi, Evelyn Sharma, Gaelyn Mendonca. Shot in parts of South Mumbai like Liberty Cinema, Fountain area near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, Nautanki Saala releases on Friday. — Dharam Pal

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