Bollywood buzz: Remembering Sridevi, Sushant Singh Rajput's Sonachiriya, Netflix's latest docu and Sharman Joshi's next
A few days before Sridevi’s first death anniversary, I was in filmmaker Gauri Shinde’s office. The reception area has two open trunks filled with simple saris. When Shinde came out of her office, she said, “These are Sri’s saris from English Vinglish. I could not bring myself to send them to the godown so they have been here with me and now I feel I should do something special with them.” It was a poignant moment especially as I was there to talk to Shinde about the star of her debut movie that subsequently became her friend. Shinde recalled fond and fresh memories, including Sridevi’s thoughtful hospitality, which meant that she always had fish curry on the menu for Shinde and South Indian dishes for her husband, R. Balki (Paa, Pad Man). “Sri loved being a homemaker and was very hands-on with food. Even in her Chennai home, the spread would include my favourite dishes. She loved mushrooms, so during the shoot, we always tried to have something with mushroom in it. She always discouraged me from eating junk food. She was very conscious of not just her own health and nutrition, but that of others too,” Shinde reminisced.Su
Wild, wild country
After Udta Punjab tackled issues surrounding substance abuse, director Abhishek Chaubey shifts focus to a dacoit movie. His multi-starrer Sonchiriya, which releases today, follows the story of one bandit, played by Sushant Singh Rajput, and the gang members that surround him. A story of inter-gang rivalry and core questions of beliefs and caste, Sonchiriya also stars Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee and Ranvir Shorey. A fan of the genre, Chaubey says his top-pick bandit movies are The Wild Bunch, Bandit Queen (“one of my all-time favourite movies”) and Once Upon A Time in the West which he describes as “masterful”. Speaking of their influence on his dacoit movie, Chaubey says, “Though I have loved these films, I lost interest in them as references for my film very early on because I didn’t want to use conventional North American Western cinema tropes.” In other words, do not expect to see a low angle shot of the hero dressed in a cloak and hat walking into the sunset. His bad boys are wearing torn clothes and broken footwear.
After the fictional series Selection Day, the next cricket-based series to premiere on Netflix is a documentary called Cricket Fever. The eight-part series that releases on March 1, goes behind the scenes and onto the field to capture the action surrounding the popular IPL team, Mumbai Indians, during the 2018 season. From locker-room briefings to wind-down sessions at the iconic home of the team’s owners, the film captures interviews and candid moments as well as fly-on-the-wall details on players such as Rohit Sharma, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Ben Cutting, coach Mahela Jayawardene and owners Nita Ambani and Akash Ambani. This sure sounds like a clever marketing tool in the run-up to the 2019 edition of the IPL.
How’s the Joshi!
Sharman Joshi, last seen in the ensemble drama Three Storeys last year, and his next based on the real-life incidents surrounding Australian missionary, Graham Staines. Joshi plays the role of a reporter in The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story, which revolves around an incident from 1999 when Staines, known for his charitable work with lepers in Odisha, was burnt alive allegedly by fundamentalists who believed he was luring his Hindu patients into Christianity. Worse still, Staines’ two sons, aged 10 and six, also died brutally. Joshi’s character is entrusted with an undercover investigation into the missionary’s activities. The film has been directed by Aneesh Daniel and also stars Stephen Baldwin and Shari Rigby. For fans of Joshi’s work, particularly in Rang De Basanti, Golmaal and 3 Idiots, there’s good news. He has two other projects brewing.