Alex Reece to play a British spy in Sarabha – Cry for Freedom

Alex Reece, who played the main villain in the Diljit Dosanjh-starrer Sajjan Singh Rangroot, will play the bura gora once again in Indian born British director Kavi Raz’s historical drama Sarabha – Cry for Freedom.

Being made in Hindi, Punjabi and English, the movie will be based on the life of an important but yet unknown personality Kartar Singh Sarabha from the history of Punjab. Starring Japtej Singh and Mukul Dev in lead roles, the movie will depict the emerging of the Ghadar movement in America and its relation to the beginning of independence movement in India.

Alex, who will be seen playing a Hindi speaking British Intelligence officer named Hopkinson, says it’s early to divulge more about his character. But this is not the first time Alex has a spy connection to his role. The British actor who has worked in Hollywood flicks, is also known for his appearance in a mega-budget James Bond commercial starring Daniel Craig.

“We just had a very exciting schedule in Canada and I’m super excited to be part of Sarabha,” says Alex. He is learning Hindi from some time now. “There is so much culture and history embedded in the language, that if an actor wants to be able to contribute and integrate his performance into Indian cinema, I think learning the language is a necessity.”

“Learning Hindi not only helps me communicate, but emote with a better understanding,” he adds. Must say, this is one foreign actor who seems to love India so much that he is prepared to take uncalculated risks and even learn a new language. Impressive indeed.

Dakshata Patel shines for her sincerity in Tennis Buddies

With sparkling eyes, a radiant smile and being a champion in tennis, 19-year-old Dakshata Patel recently made a sincere debut in the film Tennis Buddies. Receiving praise from many, Dakshata now wishes to turn a new page in her career.

“It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for me. And I am so grateful to my parents, the makers and so many who supported me during the making of the film. The encouragement and appreciation I have received throughout and continue to receive, fills my heart,” says the young sportstar-cum-actress.

The level- headed an grounded newbie got started at tennis at the iconic Rama Rao’s academy Practennis at Andheri and then honed her skills to perfection under the eagle eyes of Praja and Srinivas Kola at Leo Tennis Academy.

Among the top five players of Mumbai, Dakshata ranked 30th in women’s tennis category in India. She was the lead player of the Mumbai University team which won the Inter University trophy, and was instrumental in winning the team a trophy for Maharashtra during this year’s Inter State Women’s Tournament.

Ask her what the future holds for her and Dakshata is quick to say that “I have got so much in life at such an early age that my confidence has shot up. Now I want to look at things which take me to a higher ground and help me grow from where I’ve reached.” Here’s wishing this upcoming and dynamic girl all the best.

John Abraham’s RAW and Vivek Anand Oberoi’s Modi looks breaking the internet

As John Abraham-starrer RAW and Vivek Anand Oberoi-starrer PM Narendra Modi near release, both the films have come out with videos about how National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh transformed their looks for the films. Both the movies which rely heavily on get-ups and prosthetics, have been a revelation for fans who have been lapping up every bit.

Last week, a behind-the-scenes video of the Modi biopic was released on YouTube. It began with Vivek sharing that prosthetics required almost five-six hours to be applied on his face and could be used only for the same duration while shooting.

In the video Vivek remarks, “We managed to stretch our shoots from six hours to twelve hours, and from twelve to sometimes even eighteen hours, and the make-up and prosthetics held up. Prosthetics are internationally famous, par ussmein humne apna desi tadka laga hi diya.”

Director Omung Kumar and producer Sandip Ssingh reveal that at one point during the look test, they thought of dropping the idea as they felt, the looks didn’t match so well. Which is when Preetisheel tried a new technique that totally worked out.

And just as Vivek’s looks for PM Narendra Modi were breaking the internet, comes in John Abraham’s designer looks in Robbie Grewal’s spy thriller Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW). John has released a video centered around one of his most difficult looks, where he takes on the avatar of a bearded old man.

The film has John taking up several get-ups to do a secret service officer’s job on alien soil, and he will be seen masquerading as a Pakistani local in several scenes in the film. A tribute to spies, RAW is set in 1971, when India and Pakistan were on the verge of a war.

Meanwhile, Preetisheel is also elated for the glowing feedback she has been receiving for the Qasim Khallow film Gone Kesh released last week. A light-hearted take on alopecia, Gone Kesh has the heroine Shweta Tripathi braving out her fear and conquering societal norms of beauty.

It can be noted here that Preetisheel gathered accolades last year with her work for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk and Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun. She began this year by curating the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray in the movie Thackeray directed by Abhijit Panse and presented by Sanjay Raut.

Real tennis star Dakshata Patel to debut in Bollywood reel life with Tennis Buddies

Dakshata Patel hopes to shine with Bollywood’s first tennis film Tennis Buddies

In recent times, Bollywood has seen some very interesting movies on sports. Starting with the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Chak De India on hockey, we witnessed Salman Khan and Aamir Khan in Sultan and Dangal focusing on professional wrestling. Akshay Kumar came up with Gold on football, and R.Madhavan with Saala Khadoos on boxing.

We even had biographical films like the Farhan Akhtar-starrer Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on champion runner Milkha Singh, Priyanka Chopra-starrer Mary Kom on boxing, and the Emran Hashmi-starrer Azhar and Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story on the lives of the great cricket stars.

This week the film industry gears up for another film on sport, but with a difference. Highlighting tennis for the first time in Bollywood, the upcoming release Tennis Buddies, will actually have a real tennis star Dakshata Patel playing the lead. What’s more! The girl is making her Bollywood debut at the young age of 19 along with powerhouse performers Divya Dutta and Ranvir Shorey in pivotal roles.

No wonder that during the promo launch of the film sometime ago, tennis legend Leander Paes turned up in support of Dakshata’s endeavor. “Tennis Buddies has been a big challenge not only because I am young or a tennis player in real life,” quips Dakshata.

“It’s been a revealing journey for me to bring sport and entertainment together,” adds the introspective newcomer. The trailer of the film has her bringing freshness and innocence with versatility in her expressions. She well understands that only sport wouldn’t attract the viewers.

“The film has a lot of human interest angles to make it an entertainer. But most importantly, it showcases a beautiful father-daughter relationship, which all parents and kin would identify with,” she remarks.

Dakshata hopes the audiences would accept Tennis Buddies as it hits the theatres this week. And who knows! If this works, it can even be the start for a fledging career as an actress for her. For now, she has her fingers crossed. Presented by CFSI and Kandell Media, Tennis Buddies is directed by Suhail Tatari with story and screenplay by Anoop Wadhwa.

John Abraham’s designer get-ups for RAW stun viewers

From quite some time, there has been a lot of speculation about how John Abraham would carry the various get-ups he prepared to don in Robbie Grewal’s Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW). Finally, the cat is out of the bag. John’s varied avatars seem to compliment his role of an undercover spy in the movie to the T.

In the trailer, we see that John lies to his mother about being posted to another city in relation to a bank job. But in reality, he is being sent to Pakistan, on an undercover mission, to gather tactical information about the enemy side. It is now that his identity as an Indian agent will be put to test and John has to tread cautiously, while saving himself and his country from being exposed.

The film required John taking up several get-ups to do an officer’s job on alien soil, and he is seen masquerading as a Pakistani local effectively in several scenes during the two-and-a-half minute trailer.

Makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh who worked on all the looks, is thrilled with the response to the trailer. “For a prosthetic designer, a film like this where one gets to curate so many looks, is a dream. And the response to the trailer is mind-boggling. The faith John put in my work has gone a long way in getting these results,” she says.

Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW) featuring John Abraham, Sikander Kher, Mouni Roy and Jackie Shroff in pivotal roles, is inspired by real incidents. A tribute to spies, it is set in 1971, when India and Pakistan were on the verge of a war.

Ace photographer Vickky Idnaani receives Power Brands Award

Ace photographer Vickky Idnaani recently received ‘The Photographer Of The Year Award’ at Power Brands: Bollywood Film Journalist’s Awards 2019.

The photographer’s category was recently included in the awards and the winner was selected by the jury comprising of leading members of the media. “A journalist is the one who leaves no turn unstoned,” joked Vickky, as he dedicated the award to all his friends from the media.

Others who won the Bollywood Film Journalist’s Awards included names such as Sushmita Sen, Farah Khan, Malaika Arora, Sanjay Khan and films like Badhaai Ho, Andhadhun, Padmaavat and Tumbbad. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to veteran actor Manoj Kumar.

It can be noted here that Vickky began his career, shooting covers for Femina magazine with Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif. Among other achievements, he is also known for his recent book covers of Rishi Kapoor and Hema Malini. His film work includes publicity stills for directors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Hansal Mehta and Omung Kumar.

Vickky has shot many other top names from Bollywood, including Abhishek Bachchan, Arbaaz Khan, Ayushman Khuranna, Ekta Kapoor, Govinda, Hrithik Roshan, Huma Qureshi, John Abraham, Juhi Chawla, Kaajal Agarwal, Mithun Chakraborty, Nargis Fakhri, Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazuddin Suddiqui, Rana Daggubati, Shraddha Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Sridevi, Sunny Leone, Sushmita Sen, Tabu, Tamannaah Bhatia, Urvashi Rautela, Vidya Balan and Yami Gautam.

Preetisheel Singh glad about makeup and prosthetics finally getting recognition

National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh recently received an award for ‘Best Make Up and Hair’ for Padmaavat in the winner’s category of Power Brands: Bollywood Film Journalist’s Awards 2019. It can be noted that this is the second consecutive year she has bagged a Power Brand award.

“I am glad to see that my profession is beginning to finally getting appreciation at various awards. But some mainstream brands such as Screen Awards, Zee Awards, Stardust, Filmfare and IIFA are yet to give makeup and prosthetic industry the kind of appreciation and encouragement it deserves,” says Preetisheel. “Hundreds of makeup and prosthetic professionals give that glitter and shine to most films, but its only in recent times they are getting recognition,” she adds.

Preetisheel’s words matter much, as she is not only the foremost in makeup and prosthetic in the Indian film industry, but is also one of the rare names from Bollywood, who received a National Award for her work; that too for the very first movie, Sartaj Singh Pannu’s Nanak Shah Fakir.

Last year, she not only mesmerized the audiences as she went on to curate the look of Alauddin Khilji for Ranveer Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, but also received rave reviews for her work in Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk and Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun.

She made a roaring start this year by curating the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray in the movie Thackeray directed by Abhijit Panse and presented by Sanjay Raut. “Preetisheel was a valuable asset for my film,”  remarks director Abhijit. “Nawaz delivered exceptionally well as Balasaheb, but for him to look like Balasaheb, Preetisheel’s contribution was immense.”

The director continues the praise, saying, “Her (Preetisheel’s) seemingly effortless but perfect work to make Nawaz look like Balasaheb has definitely contributed to the success of the film. Not only Balasaheb, but the looks of Indira Gandhi, Manohar Joshi, Morarji Desai and Dattaji Salvi were so apt, they helped transport the thoughts of audience to that era.”

Randhir Kapoor presents memento to Chaitanya Padukone for book R.D.Burmania

Illustrious actor-filmmaker Randhir Kapoor (also the grandpa of cherubic baby megastar Taimur) shared a warm bonding with legendary composer-singer R.D.Burman (famously known as Panchamda).

Mention RDB’s name and the senior RK’s eyes light up with admiration. The other day, in his office cabin, within the iconic R.K.Studios, Randhir presented a mini-bust memento of Pancham to eminent senior film journalist and author Chaitanya Padukone, in appreciation of his popular memoirs book R.D.Burmania.

Incidentally, the affable Randhir has given an exclusive, sentimental tribute to Panchamda in the book, where he reveals the reason he agreed to accept the posthumous Filmfare Award trophy in 1995 for late R.D.Burman for the landmark movie 1942-A Love Story.

“Not only did the experimental genius compose evergreen chartbuster songs for my films, RDB even cooked fabulous food which I would fondly relish during the late nights we spent together. Honestly, his innovative music was instrumental in boosting my acting career to a great extent, whether it was for Jawani Diwani or for Rampur Ka Lakshman, or my own directorial movie Dharam Karam,” recalls Randhir.

And not to forget — RDB also sang the foot-tapping playback number “Kal Kya Hoga Kisko Pata, Abhi Zindagi Ka Le Lo Mazaa” for Randhir’s film Kasme Vaade. It can also be noted here that R.D.Burman’s 80th birth anniversary is being observed this year.

Fenil Seta’s short film Bawraa to be screened at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Director Fenil Seta’s short film Bawraa, which has been making waves since some time, will be screened at Mumbai’s popular Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2019, as the festival opens the gates to its twentieth 20th edition this week. It is a prestigious moment for the new-age upcoming filmmaker, as the film is among the only twenty, selected out of hundreds for the screening.

Apart from having written and directed the film, Fenil, who has also co-produced Bawraa says, “The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is attended by thousands and it’s one of the major attractions of Mumbai city, where I’m born and brought up. I have been visiting the festival since more than a decade. Hence, to see my film being screened here, is a great feeling.”

The 28-minute film revolves around the story of a Mumbai-based lonely boy searching for love. One day, he gets a Facebook friend request by a mysterious girl from Pune and both get talking. The story takes some dramatic turns from there and moves towards a climax full of surprises.

Fenil has managed to get an interesting set of actors to play the characters. The lead is played by Shreyas Porus Pardiwalla, who has appeared in popular Hindi films such as Yaariyan and Sanam Re, and also directed plays like Giant and Strangers In The Night. Harsha Chopda, who was seen in the web series I Love Us and the famous crime serial Savdhaan India, plays his love interest.

It can be noted here that Bawraa has earlier been screened at LIFFT India Filmotsav and Mrunaltai Short Film Festival. Moreover, at the 1st International Short Film Festival, Dombivli, the film also won an award in the Best Supporting Actor Award category.

The film is co-produced by The Collective Mediaworks (Mihir Karkarey and Saptesh Chaubal), cinematographed by Devang Gole, edited by Pranjal Rajadhyaksha and Hitesh Savant, having a background score is by Rugved Deshpande. Apart from Shreyas Porus Pardiwalla and Harsha Chopda, it stars Aishwarya Tapase, Pravin Gang, Reshma Merchant, Kishan Chouhan, Harsha Gupte, Punit Rajveer, Mable Mathew and Padmanabh S in key roles.

Preetisheel Singh begins her 2019 innings with a bang!

January 2018 saw the National-Award winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh curate the look for Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat. In January 2019, she came up with the look of Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray in the movie Thackeray directed by Abhijit Panse and presented by Sanjay Raut.

In fact, last year she had four successes in movies such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk and Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun. Now she has a tough trail to follow. Will she be able to maintain the success streak this year? By the looks of it, the feat seems possible.

The lady is soon going to be talked about all over again for various looks she has designed for Ali Abbas Zafar’s film Bharat, John Abraham in Robbie Grewal’s RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter), Vivek Anand Oberoi in Omung Kumar’s film PM Narendra Modi, all the old and young looks in Nitish Tiwari’s Chhichhore, and for Southern actor Ataharvaa Murali in the Tamil film Boomerang.

And as if that isn’t enough, her work will be showcased in many more flicks such as Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Radhika Apte-starrer Raat Akeli Hai directed by Honey Trehan, and Om directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu (earlier, Preetisheel bagged the National Award for her first film Nanak Shah Fakir helmed by Sartaj).

And then there is the multi-starrer Housefull 4 having Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Kharbanda, Bobby Deol, Pooja Hegde and Rana Daggubati as the new laugh-riot team in this Sajid Nadiadwala production, directed by Farhad Samji.

The list doesn’t end here either. After working with Bhansali Productions for Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat, Preetisheel has just been signed for the makeup and prosthetics for two more of their projects. Attagirl.

Madhuri Murli to release new single Pehchaan

San Francisco-based singer, composer, writer, lyricist, choreographer and philanthropist Madhuri Murliis all set to release her new music single Pehchaan, recorded at Audio Garage, Juhu, on her recent trip to Mumbai.

Madhuri describes Pehchaan as a song “about accepting who you are, being your own best friend, and a cheerleader for your dreams and aspirations. It’s about falling in love with your own self.” The lady also plans to come out with an enchanting video of the song and promises it “will touch chords in people’s hearts.”

What’s more! While in Mumbai Madhuri had her first-ever gig at Adagio in Bandra, where she sang some of her original compositions like Tera Khuda and Khushi, apart from mashups of some famous Bollywood numbers such as Teri Deewani (Kailash Kher) and Nachdi Phira (Secret Superstar) to a mesmerized cheering audience.

It is interesting to mention here that apart from her passion for performing arts, Madhuri is a computer science engineer by degree and a product marketing manager by profession at a tech company in Silicon Valley.

She has come a long way and not many have known about her journey. Her dad was an aspiring singer, but she lost him early in life to an accident. Heartbroken, but gritty — as a tribute to her dad — Madhuri finally launched a philanthropic music and dance brand called Flute Theory in California. Taking to live singing and performing, she slowly but steadily formed her own dance group and began singing and performing.

Today, Flute Theory partners with NGOs and donates most of the earnings from its shows to noble causes such as upliftment of underprivileged children, empowering women, relief funds, cancer associations, and even donating to the families of Indian martyrs via the Indian government’s initiativeIndia’s Bravehearts (Bharat Ke Veer). Must say, these are huge strides which began with small steps from a daughter out to make her father feel proud. Attagirl!

National Award-winning make-up, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh

After Bajirao Mastani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali repeated Preetisheel Singh for Padmaavat. She designed the looks of all the main starcast including Ranveer Singh (as the evil ruler Alauddin Khilji), Deepika Padukone (as the legendary queen Padmavati) and Shahid Kapoor (as the Rajput ruler Ratan Singh). Viewers and film critics alike, have been awestruck with the results, with Preetisheel emerging the undisputed No.1 make-up, hair and prosthetic designer in the film industry.

Videos of look tests during the making of Padmaavat:

She has worked on Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look earlier too in the movie Mom, where her make-up and prosthetic work was highly appreciated.

She has also done the make-up and prosthetic for actors in films like Shivaay, Haider, Hawaizaada, Housefull 3, Rangoon, Brothers, Talwar, Finding Fanny, Parched, Ghayal Once Again, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero and the Tamil/Hindi film 24.

She received the ‘National Film Award for Best Makeup’ for the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life of Guru Nanak, wherein she designedthe looks for all the characters in the movie. The film has recently re-released through Viacom18 Motion Pictures amid controversy.

Preetisheel’s work of creating believable ghost-figures for the recent horror film House Next Door has also been praised a lot. The film, which released in three languages (as House Next Door in Hindi, as Aval in Tamil and Gruham in Telugu) garnered critical acclaim and once again earned a lot of positive reviews for her work.

Preetisheel  also received a lot of acclaim once again, for her work in the film 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla. Shedesigned the looks for Amitabh Bachchan as a 102-year-old man, as well as for Rishi Kapoor playing his 75-year-old son.

More recently, she received abundant praise once again for working on Rishi Kapoor’s look of a devout Muslim in Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk.

After a success hattrick with Padmaavat, 102 Not Out and Mulk, shehas also begun receiving a lot of offers down South. She is handling the make-up and prosthetic for the upcoming Tamil film Boomerang, where she is working on the looks for famous Tamil actor Ataharvaa Murali.

Preetisheel has created the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s in Thackeray… the biopic being made on Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. The film is scheduled for a January 2019 release.

Coming up next is the look of Vivek Anand Oberoi in and as PM Narendra Modi. The first look poster of the film was recently released, generating a lot of discussion and debate in mainstream as well as social media.

Preetisheel is also working on John Abraham-starrer Romeo Akbar Walter (RAW) directed by Robbie Grewal, Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Salman Khan-starrer Bharat directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore with an ensemble lead cast.

Shehas also set up India’s first make-up and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab and her goal is to bring standards of make-up and prosthetic in India at par with Hollywood.