(L to R) Ranveer Singh, The Thieves’ Disguise in Money Heist and Sanjay Mishra
Sometimes filmmakers and actors have a partnership that is rock solid. Rohit Shetty and Sanjay Mishra share one such bond, begun during the shooting of Zameen (2003) when both were trying to forge an identity for themselves. On the face of it, the maker of big blockbusters and the National School of Drama-trained actor seem to have nothing in common but both men are rooted. Mishra first earned big-screen fame as a comic in Shetty’s movies, with his tagline in All the Best: Fun Begins (2009), “Dhondu, just chill”, becoming iconic. Since Ankhon Dekhi (2013), Rajat Kapoor’s incandescent story of a man who will only believe what he sees himself, the world has come to realise just how fine an actor the Darbhanga, Bihar-born Mishra is, with his ability to make audiences cry with as much ease as he can make them laugh. Since then he has slowly unfurled his dramatic talent in film after film, from the heartbreaking Masaan (2015) to the moving Har Kisse Ke Hisse: Kaamyaab (2018), marching to the beat of his own distant drummer. He steers clear of the glitter of the film industry, focusing on living his life, listening to music (an eclectic mix ranging from Deep Purple to Ram bhajans), playing the sitar and cooking. It is this individuality that Shetty recognises that makes him cast Mishra repeatedly. Most recently, he cast him in Cirkus, his film with Ranveer Singh; Mishra was bowled over at how Shetty introduced him to the younger man: “Meet my Kapil Dev,” he said to the actor who is playing the cricketer in Kabir Khan’s much-awaited 83.
The Ranveer Singh Show
There has been much talk about who will take over from the three Khans as and when they retire. Among the frontrunners is Ranveer Singh, who has been absent from our screens since Gully Boy (2019) but has a long list of projects that are ready for release, among them Kabir Khan’s 83, Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi (in which he has a cameo), and Yash Raj Films’ Jayeshbhai Jordaar. Coming up are Shetty’s Cirkus, Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, and Shankar’s Anniyan (2005) remake that positions him as a pan-Indian actor. Ranveer had also taken over the IPL this year with the maximum number of brands that he endorses airing their commercials during the games and has signed on to host his first TV show on Colors called The Big Picture.
We Know What You Watched This Summer
So what are Indians going to watch as the pandemic peters out? Netflix is betting big on comedy with Comedy Premium League with 16 comics trying to outdo each other, on anthologies and on thrillers. They are also excited about the scripted reality genre, with Indian Matchmaking creating a star in Sima Aunty, Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives now shooting season two, and Masaba Masaba, also on season two, making an actor out of one of India’s premier designers. It is also noticing potential in documentaries. But during the pandemic, it has seen shows such as the Spanish thriller Money Heist, the Mindy Kaling comedy Never Have I Ever, the teen series Sex Education and Korean dramas take off.
One of the few bright spots of the pandemic was that the hair-make-up-stylist-travel bills of the stars, male and female, were drastically reduced because of the absence of promotional tours. Usually, the marketing of every movie or major streaming show would require at least a five-city tour which meant a daily cost of `5 lakh for each star. Now, with most promotions being conducted over Zoom, hair, make-up and stylist costs still have to be paid, but the bills are far lower. How long will this unintended consequence of the pandemic continue? Producers are hoping for a new kind of marketing strategy that prevents such wasteful expenditure.
Did You Know?
That The White Lotus, HBO’s hit satire on rich white people and their need for resort holidays, used the Gayatri mantra as a soothing lullaby in a scene? Yoga, ayurveda, turmeric latte aka haldi doodh—and now this.