If B-Town is hosting a series of Diwali parties, can its Telugu counterpart be far behind? Megastar Chiranjeevi opened his sprawling home in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills for a big bash over the weekend. The highlight of the evening was the bonding between four Tollywood biggies—Junior NTR, Ram Charan, Mahesh Babu and the veteran actor Venkatesh. While Jr NTR and Ram were last seen together in SS Rajamouli’s epic action drama, RRR, Mahesh and Venky had played on-screen brothers in Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu. Sources present at the party claim that it gave them a good opportunity to witness first-hand the brotherly bond shared by the four actors. Incidentally, Jr NTR, Ram, Mahesh and Venkatesh’s respective releases are eagerly anticipated by the trade and audience alike. Interestingly, one didn’t hear about Allu Arjun from this party. Wonder why!
Varun teaming with David again!
Almost three years after Coolie No. 1, Varun Dhawan is said to team up with director-dad David Dhawan again. While details of the project are being kept under wraps for now, we hear that the yet-untitled film will be produced by Ramesh Taurani. Interestingly, the father-son duo are said to have closed the deal for a combined fee of R40 crore, plus a profit share that will depend on the box-office collections of the action-comedy. This will be the duo’s fourth collaboration as actor and director. Varun had first worked under David’s direction on Main Tera Hero (2014), which was an adaptation of the Telugu hit, Kandireega (2011), followed by Judwaa 2, a redux of the veteran director’s 1997 hit with Salman Khan. Considering that at one time, the veteran director was contemplating a modern-day version of Biwi No. 1, let’s see what he has up his sleeve this time around.
Allu Arjun’s producer-father Allu Aravind triggered controversy with his candour during the teaser launch of Kotabommali PS. When asked about actors like Arjun hiking their fees after a hit, the veteran producer countered with an example of Kannada star, Yash, saying, “Who was Yash before the release of the KGF movie? Why did that movie make noise? It was that richness that led to the success of the movie.” Netizens were quick to remind Aravind of his actor-son’s rise. One user commented, “Even Allu Arjun was a small hero in tier-2 range, who used to compete with Vijay Deverakonda until his big hit, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.” Touché!
Batting for the environment
Satyajit Bhatkal, director of Zokomon and the television show Satyamev Jayate, has joined the jury panel of All Living Things Environmental Film Festival (ALT EFF). Satyajit, who is also the CEO of Paani Foundation, founded by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, says, “I was moved by [the films] I saw. They were emotional and gave an image to what we are otherwise only aware of intellectually. In fact, my thought was: How do we get these films out to a larger audience? This has been a fabulous opportunity for me to see what otherwise I don’t think I would have ended up watching.”
New year, new beginings
While it is known that Housefull 5 is in the works, rumours are rife that the film is set to go on floors around mid- January. The comedy franchise is a pet project of producer Sajid Nadiadwala and lead actor Akshay Kumar. The fifth instalment is being helmed by Tarun Mansukhani, who has previously made Dostana (2008) and Drive (2019). Riteish Deshmukh, who has been a constant since the start of the franchise, reunites with Akki. The producer and his actor-friend are keen to bring together the principal cast of the previous editions. Apparently, efforts are also on to rope in Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, who had reportedly expressed inability to sign up for want of bulk dates. Watch this space to know which actors will finally star in this laugh riot that will be extensively shot in the UK.
Adieu Matan Meir
Matan Meir, a long-term crew member on the web series, Fauda, who was also a reservist in Israel’s 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion, reportedly died in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The news was shared on the official social media account of the Netflix drama. While no details were shared, the post stated, “We are devastated to share that one of our Fauda family members, Matan Meir, was killed in action in Gaza. Matan was an integral crew member. The cast and crew are heartbroken by this tragic loss. We extend our condolences to Matan’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace.” The popular show spawned an Indian adaptation, Tanaav, set in Kashmir, the second season of which was greenlit a couple of months ago.
Nothing controversial about this
After sahelis Sara Ali Khan and Ananya Panday last week, the upcoming episode of Koffee with Karan season 8 has sisters-in-law, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Alia Bhatt. The teaser has evoked mixed response from netizens. Strangely, the sneak peek seems to focus more on Bebo than her fellow guest. Wonder if the criticism for Karan Johar going overboard with his praise for his protégée Alia is the reason. He also asked the Jaane Jaan actor if she skipped the Gadar 2 success party due to her tiff with Ameesha Patel, who replaced her in Kaho Naa.. Pyaar Hai (2000). We hear she has responded in her trademark moohphat style. Why rake up over 23-year-old feuds now, we’re curious to know.