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Manoj Bajpayee: Homosexuals much more accepted in society

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New Delhi: The National Award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee believes that the majority has begun to accept the LGBT community and it’s the ‘minority’ who need to change their outlook towards homosexuals.

The country’s colonial-era provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalises homosexuality, continues to dread the homosexual community.

The National Award-winning actor, who is known for his power-packed, character-driven roles, is earning accolades for portraying the late Aligarh Muslim University academician Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras in Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh”. Siras was suspended from his job as a professor because of his sexual orientation. He was found dead in his apartment in Aligarh in 2010.

“I am treating this as the biggest truth and I am ready to believe that today homosexuals are much more accepted in society. It is just that this minority who is aggressive, violent and loud that we have to keep on making these films to change their mind, to make them think and to keep the debate going,” Manoj told reporters in a candid tete-a-tete here.

Dressed in a casual white shirt and light blue denim, Manoj’s eyes lit up while he expressed the view that society, unfortunately, tends to take this “minority” as the “majority” when it comes to rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders.

“I always believe in the thing that there is a minority in our society, which is very loud in their voices, who get this liberty from god knows where to invade into anybody’s privacy,” he asserted.

Manoj’s character in the film is a reserved mind, who loves Marathi literature, Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and whisky.

“He also has a very deep understanding of the word love and where he is talking about uncontrollable urge, which is very natural. This is what happens to me… I am heterosexual. It happens to me when I find a girl very attractive. When you love somebody, you love somebody completely…” the actor eloquently explained what love means to both Siras and him.

“You can fall in love with anything… With a certain kind of bird or a butterfly… Love has a broader meaning,” he added.

In 1998, Manoj captivated the imagination of Indian cinegoers as the underworld don Bhiku Matre in “Satya”. A year later, he stunned audiences as the honest police inspector Samar Pratap Singh in “Shool” and went on to do several memorable films before gaining mass acclaim as Sardar Khan in “Gangs of Wasseypur”.

Having done so much in films and theatre, the 46-year-old actor said he isn’t getting any younger. And he has shown it in his role of Siras, a sexagenarian.

“With age and experience, you only learn a lot about human beings. It is that and the craft… All of them together, along with research, which made me understand the minutest details of Siras. Understanding his soul, his state of mind, was very difficult and extremely important for me,” Manoj said.

However, he said that the techniques used by actors to get into the roles may not be understood easily by outsiders.

“The technique that we use is purely from actor to actor, but it is very difficult for an outsider to understand as to what we do, and what kind of workshop we conduct for ourselves,” he added.

Calling his role in “Aligarh” a “very challenging” task, Manoj said he had a “lot of responsibility towards the community and towards a life which was so pure and spiritual and dealing with a man who fought a very reluctant battle”.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court referred to a constitution bench the curative petition seeking a relook at its earlier verdict upholding the validity of Section 377. Manoj says he is “very hopeful” that the bench will come out with a “constructive decision”.

“Aligarh”, which also stars actor Rajkummar Rao, released on Friday. (Ankit Sinha, IANS)

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Sexual abuse is everywhere in the world, says Radhika

The actress believes that one should know how to say 'No'

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Radhika Apte's view on sexual abuse
Bollywood actress Radhika Apte says that sexual abuse is not only in B-town but in every part of the society. Wikimedia Commons

– Durga Chakravarty

Actress Radhika Apte feels that sexual abuse does not only exist in the world of showbiz but takes place in every alternate household.

“Sexual abuse takes place in every alternate household. So it’s not a part of just the film industry. You have so much child abuse, domestic abuse everywhere in the world, including India,” Radhika told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

She says it exists in “every field and household at some level or the other and that it all needs to be eliminated”.

Sexual abuse does not target just women, stresses Radhika.

“It’s also towards men, little boys and everybody. People exploit their power at every level.”

Radhika asserted that this needed to change.

“I think it starts from us putting our foot down and saying ‘no’ to things, however big your ambition is. You need to be brave about it, believe in your own talent, say ‘no’ and start speaking up because if one person speaks up, nobody is going to listen to him or her. But if 10 people do, then others would (listen to them),” she said.

The “Phobia” actress, who will be seen mentoring budding filmmakers in MTV’s upcoming digital show “Fame-istan”, says there has to be a more organised platform for people to work.

“There has to be more professional platforms as well as rules in place which is slowly happening.”

Sexual abuse has been a topic of debate in Bollywood and Hollywood. Prominent names from the entertainment industry are discussing how men in power take advantage of women in exchange for taking forward their dreams.

The sexual harassment saga started when a media house published a story in October revealing numerous accusations of sexual abuse against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

But why are no names taken in the case of casting couch in Bollywood?

“Because of fear, because people who have great ambitions are afraid. They think of what will happen to them if they take somebody’s name who has so much power. That’s what I am saying. Everybody has to speak up,” she added.

Radhika ventured into Bollywood in 2005 with “Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!” and since then has explored genres like thriller, drama and adult comedy with films like “Rakht Charitra”, “Shor in the City”, “Badlapur”, “Parched” and “Hunterrr”.

Was it a conscious decision to act less in commercial entertainers?

Radhika said: “Nothing like that. You have to choose from the work that you have. You can’t say that ‘I want that’ if that’s not been offered to you. So, whatever is offered to you, you choose from that. You make your choice whatever you feel is going to be more challenging or something that inspires you or excites you.”

She says she makes her choices in the “spur of the moment” with whatever she feels intuitively. “I am not a very big planner.” (IANS)

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Sridevi’s daughter Jhanvi Kapoor all set to debut in Bollywood

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Daughter of Sridevi
Jhanvi Kapoor is the daughter of veteran actress Sridevi and Director Boney Kapoor

Radhika Bhirani

“Let me tell you, I feel like a newcomer,” Sridevi asserts, breaking into a giggle almost reminiscent from her ahead-of-times 1991 film “Lamhe”, even as she prepares to let her elder daughter loose in the Bollywood world. She says nothing comes easy in life, and she is sure her Jhanvi is ready to face the challenges.

Jhanvi, who is frequently followed by the paparazzi in Mumbai, will reportedly foray into films with a remake of Marathi hit “Sairat”.

Steering clear of divulging details about Jhanvi’s debut, Sridevi told IANS over phone from Mumbai: “She has chosen this path and profession, and I have been in this industry for long. So I am mentally more prepared than her. She has been watching me, and knows what she is getting into.”

“Nothing is going to be a cakewalk in any profession. So you have to work hard, and there will be challenges. I’m sure she is ready for it.”

The charismatic actress made a powerful comeback of sorts with “Mom” earlier this year — five years after her delightful plain Jane avatar in “English Vinglish”.

As “Mom”, which will soon release in Russia, nears its world television premiere on &Pictures on Saturday, Sridevi — who also has daughter Khushi — spoke about her worries as a parent.

“I’m of course worried when they go out, but luckily, they know their limits and they are very responsible children. When you have responsible children, half the battle is over. So, you don’t have to worry. But you are concerned. The concern will never go, and you’ll always be conscious about them,” said the 54-year-old.

Sridevi has been a big screen delight since her Bollywood debut with the 1978 movie “Solva Sawan”. But acting is something she started when she was all of four. In Hindi cinema, “Himmatwala”, “Mr. India”, “Chandni”, “Sadma”, “Nagina”, “ChaalBaaz”, “Lamhe” and “Khuda Gawah” are some of the films which established her footing as a performer who took woman power seriously.

The trait has continued with “English Vinglish” and “Mom” — in both of which she played the strong role of a mother effectively.

While most women actors in India complain about lack of roles for older actresses, Sridevi retorted: “Let me tell you, I feel that my career has just started, haan (giggles). I feel like a newcomer, and I feel that my career is going to start now. It’s not finished, it’s going to start now.”

She is also unlike many others — even much younger actors — who are putting their life story into books.

“Arre, maine kuch achieve nai kiya (I haven’t achieved anything), where I write about my story or my book. There’s a long way to go. There’s nothing, nothing like this,” she said, sounding almost ignorant, but humble, of the fan followers of her emotive power and fluid dancing skills.

At this point, she is just enthused to deliver more.

“There are definitely two films that are coming up, but it’s too early to talk about it. (There’s) Nothing I can say right now,” she said.

Over the years, Sridevi has not just embraced the changes in Indian cinema, but also opened up herself to an environment where celebrities — as opposed to her own shy self in her earlier days — need to go all out to promote her projects.

“Look, with the time, I have definitely opened up. I am definitely introvert and shy, and have never been rude to… I’ve definitely been shy, but thanks to my children, I have opened up. Somewhere, you have to change with the time.

“You can’t be like what you were… It doesn’t work that way. And do that (change) within your comfort, not by going out of it.”

That besides, she says a positive frame of mind, helps her look forward to what life has to offer.

“Be in a positive frame of mind, be happy, fulfil your goals, work hard… It never goes waste.”

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Manoj Bajpayee is an amazing actor and a team player on set: Sidharth Malhotra

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

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Actor Sidharth Malhotra
Actor Sidharth Malhotra. Wikimedia Commons

November 7, 2017: Actor Sidharth Malhotra, who will be seen sharing screen space with Manoj Bajpayee in “Aiyaary”, says the National Award winning actor is amazing and a team player.

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

A user asked the “Student Of The Year” actor about his experience working with Manoj in “Aiyaary”.

Sidharth replied: “He’s an amazing actor and a team player on set.”

“Aiyaary”, set in Delhi, London and Kashmir, revolves around two strong-minded Army officers having completely different views, yet right in their own ways. It is a real-life story based on the relationship between a mentor and a protege.

Presented by Plan C and Jayantilal Gada (Pen), the project is produced by Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Motion Picture Capital.

When asked about the development of the film, Sidharth replied: “Awesome. Excited to show it in a few months.”

Sidharth, 32, also described his “Brothers” co-star Akshay Kumar as his “brother from another mother.”(IANS)