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Ashim Ahluwalia's class is in session

Making his digital entertainment debut is National Award-winning director, Ashim Ahluwalia— best known for critically acclaimed films, including 'Miss Lovely' (2012), 'Daddy' (2017), among others. The filmmaker-screenwriter is helming the Netflix series, 'Class', which is an adaptation of the popular Spanish series, 'Elite'. The series takes a deep dive into the intricacies of social status and privilege by showcasing the life of three working-class students and their wealthy classmates. Shouldering the massive responsibility of adapting the Spanish series for Indian audiences, he says, “Rather than just making a localised copy, I used the Spanish show as a source novel—as a starting point for something new. It’s not just about recreating a show for Indian audiences, but also about bringing a unique perspective and cultural context to the story.” Set to stream on the platform on February 3, the director says he is pleased with the final outcome of the series starring Zeyn Shaw, Ayesha Kanga, Chayan Chopra, Naina Bhan, Chintan Rachchh, Moses Koul, Cwaayal Singh and Madhyama Segal. “My work comes from a cinematic place. Class was a great opportunity to use the forms I love in a longer and more immersive way. The series shows us a side of India we haven’t seen on screen before,” says Ahluwalia. The Spanish series has recently been renewed for a seventh season. Also Read: Rajat Poddarr: Since I’m Ray’s fan, Shah Rukh Khan chose this book for me

29 January,2023 07:11 AM IST | Mumbai | Uma Ramasubramanian
Left- Sanjeev Maurya; Right- Still from Trial By Fire

Exclusive! Sanjeev Maurya on casting for 'Trial By Fire'

Prashant Nair-directed eight-episode series 'Trial By Fire’ on Netflix has been receiving rave reviews. Starring Abhay Deol and Rajshri Deshpande in the lead role, the series bring together an interesting ensemble cast including Ashish Vidyarthi, Ratna Pathak Shah, Shilpa Shukla, Rajesh Tailang, Atul Kumar, Anupam Kher, among others. The casting for the series was done by Sanjeev Maurya who has previously worked on projects like 'The White Tiger', 'A Suitable Boy', among others.  Abhay Deol essays the role of Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, a man who lost both his kids in a tragic fire in Delhi. Talking about casting Abhay for the role, Sanjeev Maurya told mid-day.com, “Abhay Deol is known to have an inclination towards the best of the uprising content. I believe he has a vision for deeply conflicted characters that he has played, as it seemed, effortlessly and with conviction. We had a belief in our story, and also the conviction that he’ll bring in for Shekhar Krishnamoorthy.  Rajshri Deshpande as Neelam Krishnamoorthy has also been praised for her nuanced performance as the distraught mother who pulls all stops to seek justice for her deceased kids. “Rajshri Deshpande simply came on board because of her extraordinary performance. As the story, and especially Neelam’s character was so moving, every one we tested for this character, gave their best. We saw some amazing performances in the auditions, but when we auditioned Rajshri, both Prashant and I believed in her,” said Sanjeev about casting Rajshri.  'Trial By Fire' is based on the book of the same name by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy. The series details the 25-year struggle for justice of the couple whose daughter and son were among the 59 people who died in a fire caused by negligence at Delhi’s Uphaar cinema on June 13, 1997. “Believability was the core of the brief, as we had to make sure that people connect with the characters on a ground level,” said Maurya on what brief they got before they began their casting process. “We were given detailed research on the Uphaar tragedy and the people involved in it. Obviously, each character came with a separate brief and description, but we did not get any scripts for them, just a project bible. And we relied on situational improvisations with the actors in the audition room to get an essence of their understanding of the character and their performances, which in itself was an amazing experience," he added. Also Read: Seen fame take toll on people: Abhay Deol The lead characters of 'Trial By Fire' are of South Indian origin. While the team auditioned many actors from the South Indian industry they eventually were convinced by the performances of Abhay and Rajshri. Sanjeev, himself believes in casting people belonging to the same community as that of the characters. “Representation is an important aspect in cinema. An actor/person aligned to the beliefs of a certain community always brings in something new naturally to the character. Whom better to cast than someone from the community itself.” Having said that, one must understand the relevance of those beliefs in the story itself. Taking the example of ‘Shekhar Krishnamoorthy’, he hails from the south of India, but has been living in Delhi for a very long time, he doesn’t have a south Indian dialect either, nor to the story any of the cultural aspects of him being a south Indian were relevant. If you look at the character as per the story, also the way we wanted the audience to perceive, it’s the story of a father who lost his kids to a tragedy. So such criticism is irrelevant in certain situations,” he added reacting to criticism of casting people outside of the characters' community.

28 January,2023 02:59 PM IST | Mumbai | Athulya Nambiar
Pic Courtesy: PR

I became an actor to live and experience different lives, says Sumeet Vyas

After having won hearts and attention with his portrayal in, Sumeet Vyas can now be seen in the series ‘Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke’, which is being premiered on Zee 5. Mid Day Online caught up with the actor for an exclusive interview, wherein he spoke about his take on playing the antagonist in the series amongst others. Also Read: Sumeet Vyas is a lady’s man To start with, Sumeet, you are playing an antagonist in the series ‘Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke’. How does it feel to play a negative character?I think the simple fact that nobody would ever imagine me in a part like this is enough to intrigue the audience. It’s like Samar Khan, Srijit Mukherji and ZEE5 were taking a chance on me and I am truly grateful to them for lending me this opportunity to express myself as an actor in a slightly different way. This was precisely my first thought in choosing Tauriq as a character. How easy or difficult was it to get into the skin and understand the psyche of your character?Trust me when I say that it was indeed fulfilling. The whole point of me choosing to become an actor was to be able to live and experience different lives. To feel, speak and think differently. After essaying a negative character, I hope to not turn into a negative person in real life (laughs) but always remain positive. I operate on straight lines. This was a welcome break for me, and I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone. Also Read: ZEE5’s upcoming crime thriller ‘Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke’ goes on floors – the shoot commences in Meghalaya Was the process of playing this character daunting? Were you able to switch on and off from your character easily?The show is inspired by true events but the characters are fictional and imaginary. Tauriq’s character is an amalgamation of all the incidents that they must have come through while researching for the project. Tauriq is not inspired by one real character; it is a fictional character. Also, I believe I was able to switch off from my character and come back. Having said that, when you trick your brain into believing that you’re someone else you start thinking and believing like that person for a short period of time. Carry on ….Impersonating a character does take a toll on you and once you finish shooting for a series like this especially playing a character like Tauriq you need a small recovery period to resume to your regular life and undo your brain again.In the long run, what is it that you feel about everyone and their life/ career?It’s a good question. In the long run, what I feel is that everyone is on a quest to find out if they are normal or a silly person at the end of their career. Correct me if I am wrong…. (smiles).    

27 January,2023 05:52 PM IST | Mumbai | Satish Sundaresan
Sharad Kelkar with Indian Police Force team

Sharad Kelkar joins team of Rohit Shetty’s 'Indian Police Force'

Actor Sharad Kelkar seems to be the busiest actor on the block. He has an amazing lineup of projects for the year and now the big breaking news is out. Actor Sharad Kelkar has joined the cast of Rohit Shetty’s much-awaited cop drama 'Indian Police Force'. He shared a picture on his social media this morning with Rohit Shetty, Siddharth Malhotra and Niktin Dheer and captioned it as "The unbeatable FORCE🇮🇳. Thankyou @itsrohitshettysir 🤗 #indianpoliceforce @primevideoin @sidmalhotra @niktindheer @shilpashetty." Additionally, he said "Police force is an action-packed series with lots of action, suspense and thrill. And when it's Rohit Shetty's cop universe it's always an anticipated one. It was really great to work under Rohit and with Siddharth and Shilpa. Now it's just the time you wait and watch till the mystery unfolds".           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sharad Kelkar (@sharadkelkar) Sharad Kelkar recently appeared in the Marathi historical epic, 'Har Har Mahadev' which has been winning hearts.  He will also be seen in the upcoming biopic on Srikant Bola titled 'SRI' directed by Tushar Hiranandani. Also Read: Shilpa Shetty jets off to Hyderabad for the last schedule of 'Indian Police Force' Meanwhile, Sidharth recently wrapped the shoot for the series. Announcing the wrap on Instagram, he wrote, "He penned down his experience of working in the film and with the team, "It's a wrap ! What a pleasure it was to work with @itsrohitshetty sir! Can't wait for you guys to witness an action packed series like none before. He has an incredibly hard working, honest and a warm team. Can say it was one of my best experiences being on the sets of #IndianPoliceForce. Thank you to the entire cast and crew for this wonderful journey. Really excited to bring you guys INDIAN POLICE FORCE soon."           View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Sidharth Malhotra (@sidmalhotra)

26 January,2023 08:43 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Still from the show

Upcoming: 'Maharana,' a tale of the lone warrior who remained undefeated

Tales of one’s bravado outlives the pages of history and inspires generations to hold their fort come what may. Bringing you an epic story of Maharana Pratap, Disney+ Hotstar announces their upcoming Hotstar Specials’ Maharana, a tale of the lone warrior who remained undefeated till the end. Produced by Trimitik Production Pvt Ltd and Showrunner, the stalwart of period dramas ‘Nitin Chandrakant Desai’, Hotstar Specials’ Maharana is now filming and will soon release on Disney+ Hotstar. Showrunner, Nitin Chandrakant Desai, said, “With Maharana, we aim to bring to audiences interesting aspects of India history. We had a massive vision with this period drama in terms of the look, tone and feel of the series, and we are elated that we are able to turn this vision into reality. Working on a period drama is always challenging and interesting at the same time. It involves a great deal of research and eye for detailing in order to depict the facts with authenticity. We are extremely excited to begin filming this show with a platform like Disney+ Hotstar  and looking forward to this collaboration with them.” Nitin Chandrakant Desai is a noted Indian art director and production designer of Indian cinema turned film and television producer, most known for his work in Marathi and Hindi Films, like, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Lagaan (2001), Devdas (2002), Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015). During his career spanning twenty years, he has worked with directors like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He has won National Film Award for Best Art Direction four times, and Filmfare Best Art Direction Award three times. In 2005, he opened his ND Studios. Also Read: Watch Video! Bobby Deol: I want my son to finish his education

26 January,2023 08:37 PM IST | mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Bobby Deol

Watch Video! Bobby Deol: I want my son to finish his education

Bobby Deol has been part of OTT shows like Class of 83 and Aashram and was seen in ‘Love Hostel’ co-starring Sanya Malhotra and Vikrant Massey.  The actor played a ruthless mercenary, who hunts down couples in love in the film. Speaking about his baddie avatar the Bobby said, “Shankar (director) had already decided that he wanted the character to look rustic. He had this thought where he wanted my beard to be long and unkempt, not maintained. I had to colour my hair white to match with the beard. I had to have a burn mark which we did with prosthetics and a bent nose. A lot went into doing that, which is why the look is interesting.” Recently Bobby’s photos with his sons had gone viral, with fans speculating they are ready to make their debut. The actor says, “I really want my son to finish his education first. This is an advice I give to everyone watching us right now, whoever wants to be an actor. Education is important so you are prepared to get into another profession if you cant make it as an actor. Acting is an uncertain profession.” Watch video to know more! Meanwhile, here are some adorable pics from Bobby's childhood. Check them out! That's chubby baby Bobby sharing some precious moments in dad Dharmendra's arms A li'l older Bobby up to some mischief and captured by the camera while at it Another adorable click with dad Dharmendra. That smile is unmistakable isn't it? The actor will soon be seen in Apne 2 with Sunny Deol, his son Karan Deol, Dharmendra and others. He also features in Animal with Ranbir Kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna. Also Read: Bobby Deol Birthday 2023: The actor takes a trip down memory lane

26 January,2023 08:15 PM IST | Mumbai | Natasha Coutinho D'souza
Regina Cassandra in Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke

Exclusive! Regina Cassandra on playing an IPS officer in 'Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke'

Regina Cassandra who is a popular name in Tamil and Telugu cinema made her Hindi film debut with the 2019 film ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’. In the film, she essayed the role of Sonam Kapoor’s love interest. From there, the actor has made her presence felt with distinct performances in the Hindi cinema/series space. Regina is currently seen on ZEE5's original show ‘Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke’. “It is a pretty heavy title. Even when I heard it, I felt it is going to be a lot to take this on my own shoulder and this is my first OTT where I am playing the protagonist and everything is on my shoulder. It is all very interesting because I have done 4 OTT shows now and four shows later, one entire show mounted on you is definitely a scale-up and very grateful for it,” said Regina while talking to mid-day.com. 'Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke 'throws light on officers in uniforms and their selfless dedication and the sacrifices they make and what goes on in their daily lives. Regina plays the central character of Kavya, an IPS officer. She is spontaneous, devoted, and head-on with all of her missions. Kavya gets appointed as the lead investigator in an ISIS-K bomb attack case, where her psychological strength is put to test. “When it came my way and I heard that Srijit Mukherjee would be directing it, there was a lot of curiosity in me to see if I could pull it off; to see how the show is going to be. I also play a mother and there are so many aspects to this role that I thought would actually interest me as an actor and as someone who would like to take the next step higher,” the actress shared. Regina’s two recent projects- ‘Saakini Daakini’ and ‘Shoorveer’ saw her playing characters that are part of the forces. Terming all the roles ‘quite different', Regina said, “This is the first time I am playing a cop. In ‘Shoorveer’, I played an air force pilot. In ‘Saakini Daakini’ I was a police trainee. Although it is all part of the force, there is so much to do, and so many stories to tell, I think it is important for everyone to see this. I think it is educative in a way plus there is liberty where you can add in fiction, you can add in so many things, so it really depends. Every filmmaker is different in their way of telling a story. In ‘Saakini Daakini’, I play a 19-20-year-old who is gone into police academy training and is young. In ‘Jaanbaaz’, I am playing a 34-35-year-old Superintendent. It is a very different treatment. What I really liked in the first season of ‘Jaanbaaz’, Srijit (Mukherji) sir has shown the balance in Kavya Iyer's life where there is an equal  amount of struggle in the personal and professional life of a woman.” The show also has an interesting ensemble cast including Barun Sobti, Sumeet Vyas, Mita Vashisht, Gayathrie Shankar, and Chandan Roy. “I think our cast has a great set of actors. You will see Sumeet in a very different avatar which is something I am looking forward to. I think he has done absolute justice to the role. Mita ma'am, she plays the head of NIA. She is top-notch. I was so happy to get to work with her and we had quite a few scenes together. Even working with Gayathrie, she is a star in the south. We are friends and never got to work together. It is nice to see the south infiltrating national content that the national audience can watch. I was very fortunate to share different bonds with each person,” she added. While Regina has some really intense scenes in the series and plays a rather serious character, she says that she is not one of those actors who stays in character outside of action and cut. “I have never been like that. I have always been the kind of actor who the moment the director says cut cannot be in character. I am a very quiet person on set unless I am spoken to or I need to talk. I am not necessarily quiet. I don’t know, but I am not always in character for sure. I don't believe in that.” Regina had earlier said that it was only after the response to 'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga' did she realize the kind of impact cinema and actors can have on people. When asked if she is more mindful of the impact her choice of roles will have, she said, “Yes, and no. For me, it is important, what I am putting out there for sure. That has always been the thought process behind doing anything. But I am more aware of the impact that it creates because as you do more work and as more people see you, you are get more recognition. So yes, I am pretty mindful of the roles that I play. But do I now necessarily think that I am doing this to create an impact, and this has to? No. But I am very mindful of what I am doing.” Also Read: Regina Cassandra: Audience more eager to watch new content, new actors, and new storylines

26 January,2023 08:28 AM IST | Mumbai | Athulya Nambiar
Still from Class

Everything you need to know about Netflix series ‘Class’

Netflix’s Class is all about the changing relationship dynamics when two polarising worlds clash! What happens in an elite academy when three scholarship students join and friendships are at crossroads because trusting each other is not an option – no one’s loyal, everyone’s looking out for themselves, and nothing seems like it was anymore! The trailer for Netflix’s upcoming series, Class, recently dropped and it looks nothing short of incredible! With friendships, romance, family love and loyalty on one side and confusion, chaos, betrayals and an elite school full of secrets on the other, this series is definitely going to keep audiences on tenterhooks.  But there’s so much more to this show than simply this! Here’s everything you need to know about Netflix’s Class. 1. Class is an adaptation of globally loved Spanish series, Elite The Indian adaptation of the globally loved Spanish series ‘Elite’ is all set to come to India with its high-quality voltage drama. Setting par with the original show, ‘Class’ will definitely be a roller-coaster ride for the Indian audience. Set in a posh segment of Delhi in India, this fictional story has been localised to fit the Indian narrative with characters and a storyline making it a must-watch for the viewers. 2. Class is the first-of-its-kind young adult drama series for India ever!  Class delves into the lives of three scholarship students trying to find a place for themselves in this world. Set in an elite school Hampton International, the series follows their struggles as they try to fit in with the affluent students and forge different dynamics with them. With chaos, mayhem, secrets and a barrage of emotions taking over the lives, the series sure will be a roller-coaster ride that the Indian audiences will witness for the first time ever! Also Read: That '90s show with Vasan Bala 3. An award-winning Indian filmmaker is backing this project Award-winning film director and screenwriter, Aashim Ahluwalia is the name that’s helming ‘Class’. The filmmaker who broke into the scene as a director in 2005 received much acclaim after the world premiere of his feature-length documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival and its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. That’s not it. The filmmaker won a National award for the Best First Non-Feature Film. In addition to this, he also won India’s National Film Award - Special Jury Award and Best Production Design for his narrative feature film. Coming from such a sought after filmmaker, Class is sure to be a class apart! 4. Let the music play! It’s lunch time in CLASS Let’s turn up the volume in the Class. Yes, you heard it right - at Hampton International, it's all about the riveting music that weaves the spine-chilling thriller narrative. The hip-hop influence in the entire series will strike a chord with the young crowd capturing the hustle in their daily lives.  5. Fresh new faces and young talent are at the centre of this series The cast of the series comprises a young bunch of talent that is fresh, new and dynamic. From rising star Gurfateh Pirzada who was last seen in Netflix’s Guilty to popular model, singer to upcoming actor Anjali Sivraman, Piyush Khati of Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction fame and other heavy hitters such as Zeyn Shaw, Ayesha Kanga, Chayan Chopra, Naina Bhan, poet and well-known thespian Chintan Rachchh, musician Moses Koul, Cwaayal Singh and Madhyama Segal - the all-powerful ensemble cast come together for Class and are sure to create magic on-screen. Also Read: Tunisha Sharma’s last web series ‘Adiyal’ with Salim Diwan is set for release on OTT If this isn’t enough, the series is a first-of-its-kind murder mystery set in a young adult series like never seen before. A fascinating whodunnit replete with young energy, Class is set to become all the rage come February 3rd.

25 January,2023 10:12 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Marte Dum Tak

That '90s show with Vasan Bala

What drew Vasan Bala to Cinema Marte Dum Tak? “Nostalgia,” he says, hitting the nail on the head. After all, we have all watched the B-grade pulp movies of the ’90s, deriving joy from the predictable plot and hackneyed dialogues. “Samira [Kanwar] from Vice Studio had a vision for this show. The idea was to show the people behind this, in flesh and blood, and understand who they are and why their art is this way,” says the filmmaker, who serves as the creator on the Amazon Prime Video offering that has been co-directed by Disha Rindani, Xulfee, and Kulish Kant Thakur. In the six-episode series, ’90s filmmakers J Neelam, Vinod Talwar, Dilip Gulati, and Kishan Shah come together to revisit the pulp films of the time, from Main Hoon Kunwari Dulhan (2001) to the cult favourite Gunda (1998). Through interviews of performers Raza Murad, Mukesh Rishi, Harish Patel and Rakhi Sawant, the series attempts to understand the motivations behind such movies. Bala emphasises that the idea was to study the films, not mock or judge them.  Also Read: Sikander Kher: Vasan Bala brings unique cinema to the table “The challenge is to put a team together where everyone is on the same page. Once that discussion happened, it was organic. We were sure that we wouldn’t enforce our aesthetics, morals or judgments on the show; we tried to stay objective. We put [the four filmmakers] in the forefront, and let the people see them and decide. The show’s victory will be when 10 people will have 10 different opinions about it.”

25 January,2023 12:41 PM IST | Mumbai | Uma Ramasubramanian
A still from the series

Female at the forefront

From Begum Jaan (2017) to Shabaash Mithu (2022), filmmaker Srijit Mukherji has a knack for bringing stories that have spirited women at their centre. Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke is no exception. The upcoming series celebrates the courage of cops by telling the story of IPS officer Kavya Iyer, essayed by Regina Cassandra. When approaching women-led stories, Mukherji says the idea is to treat them on par with men, right at the outset. He explains, “I have always avoided underlining the fact that a woman is doing all this. Underlining it is a great disservice because then, you are assuming that she is not supposed to do so. I have treated it the same way as I would have if a man was doing it. The only addition is that she is [depicted] as a single mother. So, she has an additional responsibility.” Srijit Mukherji Also Read: Srijit Mukherji: The idea has haunted me for four years The ZEE5 series is inspired by true events, and sheds light on the complexities police officers face in fulfilling their duties. Finding the right balance between facts and fiction is key to such a project. “The first thing that we worked on is determining how much to fictionalise. Also, since it is inspired by events from across the country, we wanted to make it a pan-India show in terms of locations, and missions. We shot it in Shillong, Kerala and Jaipur.”

23 January,2023 07:41 AM IST | Mumbai | Uma Ramasubramanian
Karisma Kapoor plays a cop in the thriller set in Kolkata

Abhinay’s Brown at Berlinale Series Market Selects

Director Abhinay Deo couldn’t have imagined starting the year on a better note. His maiden web series Brown, led by Karisma Kapoor has been included in the Berlinale Series Market Selects 2023 that will take place between February 20 and 22.   Deo who is thrilled with the selection, enthuses “It’s an honour for me that my upcoming series Brown has been chosen to be showcased at the Berlinale Series Market Selects, one of the 16 shows chosen from across the world. The entire cast and crew has worked tremendously hard for the series and I’m glad that India debuts at the Berlinale film festival with this series.”  Also Read: Abhinay Deo and Neeta Shah partner to produce multiple films and web series under their banner RDP Pulp Fiction Entertainment Abhinay Deo The filmmaker adds, “The list of [the selected] series is incredible. One of them is the new show from the makers of Euphoria.” Deo's Brown is based on Abheek Barua’s novel City of Death, and sees Kapoor as a cop investigating a high-profile murder case in Kolkata.   As much as she was gripped by the subject, Kapoor was initially skeptical about fronting such a dark show. “Karisma has always been a glamorous actress and in this series she has done a complete 180 degrees flip to portray a realistic character and has gotten into the skin of the character,” says Deo.   The filmmaker is currently working on a slate of feature films and web series under his production house, RDP Pulp Fiction Entertainment, with Neeta Shah. Also Read: Karisma Kapoor drops lift selfie with Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan

22 January,2023 12:16 AM IST | Mumbai | Hiren Kotwani
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