Anyone who thinks the three Khans are slowing down, well, think again. Sure, Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha has been delayed, partly because of the social media outcry around the actor’s location search in Turkey, even though it was with the permission of the government. Sure, he’s had to wait for the snow to melt to shoot the last portion of the film in Kargil. But director Advait Chandan has been editing as he shoots and much of the film is ready for a December release this year. Aamir is using this time to listen to scripts—he may well be doing Subhash Kapoor’s Mogul, based on the life of music king Gulshan Kumar. He is also re-connecting with his vast extended family. So much so that he has given up his mobile phone, which had started to consume much of his downtime. Now anyone who needs to get in touch with him has to call his new manager, daughter Ira. Shah Rukh Khan has also used this time to revel in the company of his children, the two older ones, Aryan and Suhana, who were returning home after eight years spent abroad studying, and his youngest, AbRam. He used the time to read several scripts thoroughly as well and will be doing two or three movies on the trot after he completes Pathan. Rajkumar Hirani’s immigration drama is probably next in line but he is also signing off on Red Chillies’ movies that don’t star him, the latest being his co-production with Alia Bhatt’s new company Eternal Sunshine, Darlings.
Covid-19 came as a fortunate, though unintended, break for Salman Khan. Salman has been working non-stop now for three years with a lot of wear and tear on his body. Having completed hosting Bigg Boss, now produced by his own company, he is wrapping up his extended cameo in Pathan at YRF Studios in Mumbai, and is getting ready for the third iteration of Ek Tha Tiger. He also had to face many delegations of desperate exhibitors who want him to stick to the Eid theatrical release date for Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai this year—despite the considerable blandishments offered by streaming services. Scripts for Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali and the sequel to Kick are also being worked on. The three Khans may be turning 56 this year, but they don’t seem done yet.
Netflix is walking the talk on gender and sexual diversity in the stories it tells. In the forthcoming anthology of young love Feels Like Ishq, musicians Saba Azad and Sanjeeta Bhattacharya play two women who fall in love with each other. For the executive producer Shivani Saran, it is particularly great given she is queer too.
The Rise of Vijay Varma
He was Jaideep Ahlawat’s batchmate at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune and, like the latter, his career is on the rise. After playing a series of second leads, the Hyderabad-born Vijay Varma has finally landed leading man roles. Four of them, in fact. There’s Darlings with Alia Bhatt, a Disney+ Hotstar series OK Computer with Radhika Apte, an Amazon Prime Video series Fallen with Sonakshi Sinha, which is directed by Reema Kagti, and Hurdang with Sunny Kaushal and Nushrratt Bharuccha. Expect to see a lot more of him this year.
88 and Not Done
Farrukh Jaffar was the querulous and clever begum in Gulabo Sitabo (2020) who outfoxed Amitabh Bachchan’s Mirza. She is back with her favourite co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui in their fourth film together, Jogira Sara Ra Ra, currently being shot outside Lucknow, where she lives. Jaffar was with Siddiqui in Peepli [Live] (2010), Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa (2013) and Ritesh Batra’s soulful Photograph (2019). Their scenes usually end up bringing down the house. Expect more of the same in Kushan Nandy’s Jogira.
Did You Know?
Sonu Nigam has decided to join the ranks of memoir writers. To be published by Bloomsbury, the singer promises to revisit the lane and bylanes of “ever-so-personal and undisclosed details of one’s glorious life”. Ah. Sounds like he’s already written his own review.