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Have a Look At These Entertainment Changemakers

Superstardom is no longer just about box-office success

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In the 12 months coming up, Ayushmann will establish Bollywood's new definition of superstardom and entertainment - one that banks on content and characters and has nothing to do with glamour and six packs, unlike in the past. Wikimedia Commons

Ask anyone in Bollywood, and you would probably get the same reply on Ayushmann Khurrana. When it comes to this versatile actor for entertainment, picture abhi baaki hai.

Ayushmann goes into 2020 with seven straight successes spread over the past few years, ranging from hits to superhits. 2019 saw one superhit, “Dream Girl”, and two hits, “Article 15” and “Bala”. The year continued a glorious run that has also comprised “Bareilly Ki Barfi”, “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, “Andhadhun” and “Badhai Ho”.

Ayushmann has brought an important change into the Hindi film industry. He has proved that a successful star need not compromise on quality of his cinema and performances in order to entertain and reach out to maximum people and ensure hits at the box-office.

In 2020, he has “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan” coming up first. The comedy on homosexuality is spin-off of his 2017 hit “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, and is directed by Hitesh Kewalya.

His other film in 2020 as of now is “Gulabo Sitabo”. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan with him for the first time, and his directed by Shoojit Sircar, who brought him into Bollywood with the brilliant “Vicky Donor” in 2012. The film is a tongue-in-cheek account of the daily struggles of the common man, using the folk art of puppetry.

When it comes to Ayushmann, the success we have seen so far just seems like a preparatory phase in his bid to move to the level of glory. The actor’s USP has been setting off disruption in whatever he does – with release patterns, the roles he chooses and the projects he opts for. In 2020, he will continue reorganising the definition of Bollywood stardom with his quirky roles, as his line-up of the year seems to underline.

In the 12 months coming up, Ayushmann will establish Bollywood’s new definition of superstardom – one that banks on content and characters and has nothing to do with glamour and six packs, unlike in the past.

DEEPIKA PADUKONE’S CHHAPAAK TURN

At the title song launch of her new film “Chhapaak”, Deepika Padukone insisted the film, an unflinching account of an acid attack survivor, was not really a risk for a top mainstream star like her.

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With a strong role like “Chhapaak”, Deepika makes a case for taking the image of the mainstream heroine for entertainment beyond body beautiful, while imagining heroine-oriented scripts. Wikimedia Commons

She was probably understating facts. For one, not many superstar heroines in Bollywood have ever stepped out of their comfort zone of perfection to attempt such a drastic makeover, and portray such a grotesque face of realism.

From her ejhakaas’ gyrations in “Lovely” to the “Chhapaak” act in her upcoming release is a radical image overhaul for Deepika.

Irrespective of its box-office show, the Meghna Gulzar film will radically reorganise how mainstream Hindi cinema imagines its leading lady. More importantly, it also marks a progression for the leading lady as an entrepreneur. With this film, after all, Deepika, along with Meghna, has turned producer. While the Hindi film heroine turning to filmmaking is not new, the absolutely unconventional “Chhapaak” signals a very special turn.

The film shows that the Bollywood heroine has somewhere managed to find her feet firmly on the ground now, in the (still) male-dominated Hindi film industry after all these decades. She is now finally ready to finally tell the stories that she wants to, on her own accord and not driven by the need to get into Bollywood power lists or make a quick moolah.

The Bollywood heroine has been getting a few noteworthy solid roles in recent years. With a strong role like “Chhapaak”, Deepika makes a case for taking the image of the mainstream heroine beyond body beautiful, while imagining heroine-oriented scripts.

This is important to understand in the Bollywood context, where the biggest hits are still about hunky heroes waging a CGI-loaded formulaic war of machismo. Maybe, “Chhapaak” cannot change that reality overnight, but the fact that the film has become a talking point even before release shows Deepika Padukone has made a start somewhere with her debut production assignment in mainstream Bollywood cinema.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTARS

Superstardom is no longer just about box-office success. Instagram and Twitter have created a breed of stars such as Priyanka-Nick, Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha who manage to keep wooing fans on a daily basis despite the fact that they actually haven’t had much of real success at the box-office in a while.

Almost every celebrity uses social media to promote their films, but many use the platform to share a glimpse of their personal lives among fans. Even the biggest superstars such as Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar today owe a significant part of their popularity to social media. From sharing fitness videos to giving a sneak peek into their family life and expressing love for everyone from close ones to fans, our stars are more visible on the social media screens than the big screen.

Not only this, many celebrities have created personal applications or Youtube channels in order to develop a personal touch with fans. Alia Bhatt, Kartik Aaryan, Jacqueline Fernandes and Shilpa Shetty are among many others who have their own YouTube channels on which they can be seen chronicling their daily routine activities and other interesting events. Shah Rukh Khan may not have had a release in over a year now, but the media-savvy superstar intelligently uses social media to remain the eternal newsmaker. Recently, he conducted an ‘ask me anything’ session on Twitter wherein he was seen responding to his fans’ queries.

Younger actors – especially small screen stars who arrive in the industry from outside — have often said that their getting work these days depends a lot on their social media presence, that unless you are active on Twitter and Instagram, you often stand to lose out on roles. Clearly, being an actor is no longer merely about acting or glamour anymore, in the era of cyber frenzy!

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Almost every celebrity uses social media to promote their films, but many use the platform to share a glimpse of their personal lives among fans apart frrom entertainment. Pixabay

THE DIGITAL ENTERTAINERS

From Netflix placing big bets on India, to Amazon Studio strengthening its slate and foraying big screen production, to the much-anticipated launch of Disney Plus in India, 2020 will be a critical year for service providers, with the OTT platforms turning into a battleground for entertainment.

The various players who are vying for supremacy in the area of digital entertainment are not only looking to stealing the march on each other, in the process they are also redefining how entertainment is served to the consumer.

The digital platforms, after all, are adding star power by roping in veteran A-list stars. No longer are original web shows and films only about actors who struggle to get a break in films. Hosting digital concerts with big names attached to such gigs, bringing movies onto the streaming services within a few months of theatrical release and reviving cancelled shows on fan demand – all of these have helped OTT platforms set up an all-encompassing entertainment space of their own.

In fact, internationally, the digital platform has also started dictating the feature filmmaking process. Amazon and Netflix are both into producing full-fledged feature films. The logic is that gradually, these digital platforms hope to wean away the lion’s share of big screen audiences, and hence they want to dictate content of cinema, too, so that the content remains compatible for OTT as well. This year, Netflix and Amazon will continue making big-budget movies and taking them to the big screen, with the trend expected to come to India soon.

In 2019, OTT platforms paved a ‘digital’ route to the future with diverse and intriguing content, and 2020 will be a year to take big leaps.

Netflix will be pumping in Rs 3000 crore in original shows and films specifically made in India. Amazon Prime started the year with a bang by announcing Kabir Khan’s ambitious project “The Forgotten Army: Azaadi Ke Liye”. Hotstar crossed 400 million downloads, and registered double growth in installs in 2019, and addition of Disney Plus library this year will up the numbers, turning around the whole streaming game in India.

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From Netflix placing big entertainment bets on India, to Amazon Studio strengthening its slate and foraying big screen production, to the much-anticipated launch of Disney Plus in India, 2020 will be a critical year for service providers. Pixabay

It is evident that OTT platforms will continue to change the rules and create new ways of entertainment. But the question is how soon before it changes the TV and film industries of India?

HOLLYWOOD’S FEMALE SUPERHEROES

It’s going to be the year of female superheroes. The majority of superhero movies in 2020 will narrate stories of female superheroes, or at least have very strong female superhero characters, giving a feminist touch to the superhero universe.

The year will start with actress Margot Robbie coming back as Harley Quinn in “Birds Of Prey”. She will come with her gang Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary, and Rosie Perez’s detective Renee Montoya.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” will also be redefining the superhero universe with women power in focus. The film will bring back Scarlett Johansson in the avatar of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow as she traces her past to solve the puzzle of her life, in her first solo adventure as a superhero. It marks the beginning of Marvel’s Phase 4. The film is slated to release in India on April 30, 2020 — a day before its release in the US.

Actress Gal Gadot will also be back as Wonder Woman with edgier action for a new battle with new villains. The much-awaited “Wonder Woman 1984”, a sequel of the megahit 2017 DC film, is one of the most anticipated films of 2020, as it is dubbed to start a “new era of wonder”.

Then the superhero universe will be super-powered with “The Eternals”, with Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and Gemma Chan coming together to tell a tale about super-powered beings The Celestials and their villainous adversaries The Deviants in a war set millions of years ago.

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It’s going to be the year of female superheroes from Hollywood. The majority of superhero movies in 2020 will narrate stories of female superheroes, or at least have very strong female superhero characters, giving a feminist touch to the superhero universe for entertainment. Pixabay

It will not only be the year for women in front of the camera, but behind the camera as well. All the major superhero movies have been directed by women — “Birds of Prey” by Cathy Yan, “Black Widow” by Cate Shortland, “Wonder Woman 1984” by Patty Jenkins and “The Eternals” by Chloe Zhao.

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There’s also “Mulan” — a story of a warrior woman, Maisie Williams’ horror film “The New Mutants” which is set in the superhero genre and Milla Jovovich’s fantasy action thriller “Monster Hunter”. (IANS)

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Women Dedicating 1/6th of the Day To Social Media, Says Survey

A survey reveals, women spend nearly one-sixth or 4 hours of their day online, which is not work-related

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Women online
This survey is an attempt to understand where the urban Indian women are consuming content and information and the activities that interest her. Pixabay

Women spend nearly one-sixth or 4 hours of their day online, which is not work-related, reveals a survey. Nearly 54 percent of women picked Facebook, followed by 34 percent who said that their platform of choice was Instagram. While these emerge as the most preferred platforms, women are spending maximum time on WhatsApp, said the survey conducted by 80 dB Communications.

A majority of respondents, 67 percent, surveyed are working women, and this could account for their high usage of WhatsApp.

It also found that 60 percent of the respondents are comfortable making friends online with other women while 40 percent did cite their apprehension owing to fake online profiles. More than 40 percent of women said that they discover women having similar interests on social media sites, online forums, and special interest groups.

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Women are spending 4 hours of their day online, which is not work-related. Pixabay

“This situation with the global pandemic is unique, unknown, and still unfolding, both in terms of scale and scope. In the last few months, we have used the power of social engagement, research and surveys to assess consumer sentiment to help inform our communication campaigns and create purpose-driven and contextual storytelling for the brands we work with,” said Abhilasha Padhy, Co-Founder, and Joint MD, 80 dB Communications.

Also Read: Facebook to Now Verify People Whose Posts Go Viral Rapidly

“This survey is an attempt to understand where the urban Indian women are consuming content and information and the activities that interest her,” she added. (IANS)

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GoodwillforGood: Vidyut Jammwal Launches Initiative to Support Ideas of Entrepreneurs

Vidyut has also motivated his fans to stay physically and mentally fit during lockdown

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Vidyut Jammwal
Vidyut Jammwal, Angira Dhar and others snapped during Commando 3 promotions in Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

Bollywood actor Vidyut Jammwal has started an initiative to support ideas from different parts of India.

Vidyut has been helping and motivating fans to stay physically and mentally fit since the beginning of the lockdown in March, and now he wants to help people stay financially fit too.

Talking about the initiative, Vidyut said: “I am what I am today because of the love and support I have received over the years. GoodwillforGood is an initiative that is very close to my heart and it is my way of giving it back to society. I have come across many ideas that have the power to make a difference but what they lack is a platform to showcase it. Through this initiative, I will promote these brilliant minds and their unconventional proposals.”

Vidyut Jammwal
“I have come across many ideas that have the power to make a difference but what they lack is a platform to showcase it.”, says Vidyut. Pixabay

Also Read: Current COVID Testing Strategy Gives Priority to People With Higher Risk: Harsh Vardhan

The fitness enthusiast is best known for starring in the “Commando” franchise.

Vidyut will next be seen in the movie “Khuda Haafiz”. (IANS)

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Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

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social media
Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

Social Media
There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

Social media
Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)