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John Abraham doesn’t want to follow Kabir Singh trend, prefers doing something different

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He is on a roll at the box office, for sure. After all, John Abraham has delivered four back-to-back hits including Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, Satyamev Jayate, RAW and now, Batla House. Even as trade world looks at him as a ‘bankable star’, the actor says his “major motivation is solid content.”

“To me, being bankable is all about cutting the cloth according to its length, so that it [a film] can work for everyone,” says John, adding that he doesn’t yet “have the luxury of extremely big budgets.” “So, I focus on creating very strong content. And when I create that kind of content, no amount of money can match the guts that I have. You know, my ideas are usually bigger than my budgets (laughs).”

The Force actor is clear that “following trends” isn’t his thing. “After Kabir Singh’s success, I am sure there will be whole lot of flights that will go towards south India (laughs). But I don’t think I’d follow that trend. I would rather do something different. In fact, the minute people ask me, ‘why are you doing this [different] film?’, I know in my mind that I am going to do it,” says John, who will next be seen in Pagalpanti, followed by Mumbai Saga and Attack.

As a producer too, John aims to create a strong image for his production house. “To me, it’s very simple. If audiences get to know that I’m producing a film, then they should feel that they ought to watch it as it’s going to be completely different. They must be like, ‘this guy comes with interesting stories,’” says the actor, who has clearly come a long way from the days when the phrase, ‘models can’t act’ used to be commonplace.

Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and John Abraham pose during the promotion of their films Mission Mangal and Batla House.

“I think that phrase came about at a time when actors also couldn’t model (laughs). So, maybe, it was a case of sour grapes,” he says. But when he gets praised for his work in films such as Madras Café, Parmanu, RAW and Batla House, has he followed any special mantra? “It’s strange but with every film, people were like, ‘man, you have done it this time.’ But if you look at my filmography, they are like, ‘oh, you were great in films such as Zinda, Taxi No. 9211 or so funny in Garam Masala,’” he says.

John feels since he had “just about started my career” at that time, no one noticed his work. “Also, we had a lot of catchphrases at that time. And then an actor also becomes a prisoner of his own image. Since that was my image then, a lot of people said that I don’t deserve to be here. But with all due respect, they are the ones, who aren’t here anymore. Time has changed and the new generation has totally accepted the kind of films and performances I am coming up with. Batla House is a case in point,” he says.

Back in 2005, when John teamed up with Akshay Kumar for the first time in Garam Masala, audiences lapped up the film. Now, almost 20 years later, John says he is open to work on part two of the comic caper. “We [Akshay and I] should do it. Once I mentioned it [the sequel] to him, and he was like, ‘tere ideas acche hai, tu likh (laughs). When I see Garam Masala today, I realise how funny it is. I wish there is part two just for the sake of the audiences. When I think of it from people’s perspective, I think they will really enjoy it,” says John.

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Shah Rukh Khan reveals two Oscar-winning films that have inspired him to make ‘great cinema’

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Actor Shah Rukh Khan in a recent interaction has revealed the two Oscar-winning films that he says inspired him to make great cinema. In a video shared by a fan club, Shah Rukh was asked to name his latest favourite movie.

He said that a film that has inspired him recently is Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which on Monday won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Film. “It’s an amazing coincidence,” Shah Rukh says in the video, perhaps alluding to the film’s sweeping Oscars performance. He said that while he wouldn’t call it an all-time great — he reserved that distinction for Sholay and Dirty Harry — he was greatly inspired by it.

Shah Rukh also said that he loved Joker, the dark comic book film which won actor Joaquin Phoenix his first Oscar on Monday.

This isn’t the first time SRK has praised either Joker or Parasite. On October 8, the actor was asked to comment on Joker on Twitter, to which he replied, “So well nuanced. So felt…quietly screaming…” On October 31, Shah Rukh wrote that he watched Parasite at the insistence of his kids. “Just saw Parasite the South Korean movie on my kids recommendation. What a delightfully discomforting film. A bizarre look at social status, the state of the world…and the parasitic nature of the Materialistic Hope we all feed and live off!!” he raved.

Meanwhile, the actor has yet to announce his next film, after the critical and commercial failure of Zero. He is said to be juggling multiple options, including a film by Raj and DK, a long-gestating project from Rajkumar Hirani, and a collaboration with south filmmaker Atlee.

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LK Advani gets emotional at Shikara screening, Vidhu Vinod Chopra is ‘humbled’

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Veteran BJP leader LK Advani got emotional during a special screening of Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits and could not hold back his tears. The film, directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, tells the story of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from their homeland in 1989 and 1990.

A video was shared by the official handle of Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films on Instagram. “Shri L K Advani at the special screening of #Shikara. We are so humbled and grateful for your blessings and your appreciation for the film Sir,” the caption read.

In the 48-second clip, the director is seen kneeling beside the politician and trying to console him as he gets teary-eyed.

Meanwhile, Shikara has also received praise from Titanic director James Cameron, who called the film a “masterpiece”, as per a blurb at the end of its second teaser. Bollywood star Aamir Khan also endorsed the film.

Wishing Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the entire team of Shikara, Aamir wrote on Twitter, “Wishing you all the very best Vinod! Shikara is a film about one of the most tragic events in recent history. A story that needs to be told.”

Shikara, which hit the theatres on February 7, has performed above expectations at the box office. The film, starring newcomers Aadil Khan and Sadia in the lead roles, earned Rs 3.05 crore in the first two days of its release.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra told IANS that Shikara, which marks his comeback to direction after 13 years, has been his toughest film till date. “I have done much work in all these years but this was perhaps my most challenging as I had to remain dispassionate as a moviemaker to depict the truth, and yet make a compelling argument that the only solution to such hatred is love. That is at the centre of my movie. The love between Shiv Kumar Dhar and Shanti (the protagonists), Shanti is also my mother’s name by the way, is a binding factor which forces us to think beyond hatred,” he said.

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Alia Bhatt believes in living within a budget, owns houses in Mumbai and London and fancies buying a private jet

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Actor Alia Bhatt saw success rather early in life but comes across as a sensible person. Her financial planning too reflects that attitude. In a new interview with Economic Times’ Panache magazine, she said how she knows how to live within a budget and invests in bonds and mutual funds.

She said that she believed in the merits of living within a budget. She said, “I can live within a budget. I don’t spend that much. My chartered accountant often tells me ‘Why don’t you spend more?’”

Alia also mentioned how even as a teenager she was frugal with her expenses and would accompany her mother and sister for their holidays to London, reportedly the only place they went to as kids. She would often go to a store called Primark (known to be a budget store line across United Kingdom) to buy stuff in 5 to 6 pounds. She still buys her pyjamas from the said store. Speaking matter-of-factly she said, “Even now I buy my pyjamas from Primark. So what? They’re pyjamas. How different can they be?”

Alia also said that she doesn’t understand financial matters. She told the publication that over the years she has tried to understand the subject and revealed that she invests in mutual funds, bonds and FDs. She was quoted as saying, “I still don’t understand investing, but over the years, I’ve become keen to learn more. My home in Mumbai (Juhu, Mumbai) is the first property I bought. I invest in FDs and bonds. Mutual Funds are good, so I’ve been told.”

She does splurge every now and then though, on fancy bags and gym clothes. She said, “The first expensive thing I bought (as a teenager) was with my own money — a Louis Vuitton bag. I splurge most on bags. I love them. And gym clothes. I have every sort of trackpant from Lululemon.”

She also loves spending on holidays. She added, “I also splurge on holidays, but take one holiday a year — a New Year one. I spend on the destination and the hotel. I hate shopping when I’m on holiday.”

Alia wishes to own a private jet and a home in the mountains. “A private jet would be a luxury. I have chartered one before, but not for a holiday. A home in the mountains is a dream. I’ll fulfil it later in life. I had a dream to buy a house in London and I did in 2018. It’s in Covent Garden and my sister lives there part-time.”

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