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“Sooryavanshi” has been postponed. The Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starred cop action film, which was supposed to be Bollywood’s first mega release of the year on April 30, has been pushed, with no new release date announced. The reason, of course, is the current Covid situation in Maharashtra.
The buzz is the production houses backing the film — Reliance Entertainment, Dharma Productions, Rohit Shetty Picturez, and Cape of Good Films — were never keen on putting up “Sooryavanshi”, an extravagant Rohit Shetty entertainer, for a direct-to-OTT release. According to sources, the makers are now assessing the situation. They will make a formal announcement around April 10 if they plan to drop the film directly on OTT irrespective of whether it gets a theatrical release.
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“Team Sooryavanshi postponed the release of the film. The Honorable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray had a discussion with director Rohit Shetty yesterday. In the meeting, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray appreciated Rohit Shetty as he took the brave and difficult decision of postponing Sooryavanshi owing to the current COVID situation in the state,” a statement issued by the makers of the film on Monday evening reads.
While Bollywood is in a tizzy over the current shutdown of the cinema business in Maharashtra, one of the most important markets for Hindi films, the fate of “Sooryavanshi” could have ramifications on film trade trends far beyond just the film. Being one of the most important Bollywood biggies of the year, the decision whether such a huge film goes directly to OTT could set the course for other films as far as future exhibition trends go (at least for now), in an industry that is quick to adapt herd mentality.
When cinemas opened up after last year’s lockdown, Bollywood was quick to announce a rich line-up of films, beginning March this year right up to the year-end. “Mumbai Saga”, among the first big commercial films to release in cinemas, fared below expectations, what with the public maintaining a cautious stance about visiting theatres. Still, the big films of big banners were undeterred and insisted they would go ahead with the release.
Among the most-hyped films whose release dates were confirmed over the next months were the Ranveer Singh-starrer cricket drama “83”, Salman Khan’s Eid 2021 release “Radhe”, Akshay Kumar’s “Bell Bottom” and “Prithviraj”, the Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer “Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui” and the period drama “Shamshera” starring Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt.
While no announcement has been made on any of the above films yet, the release of the first lot of films, which were to open over the next few weeks, was already postponed even before the Maharashtra government officially decided to shut down halls owing to the second wave of Covid. These include the Amitabh Bachchan-Emraan Hashmi starrer “Chehre”, the Rani Mukerji-Saif Ali Khan starrer “Bunty Aur Babli 2”, and Rana Daggubati’s “Haathi Mere Saathi”.
Now, rumors abound that makers of many of these films are weighing the option of direct-to-OTT release and that negotiations might be on with digital platforms.
The film trade, however, would prefer to stay optimistic at this point. Most trade experts would rather take a wait-and-watch stance.
“These are speculations, we need to wait for the official announcements. The theatres have shut down so people tend to believe that big films will release on OTT. But let’s not speculate. These filmmakers might postpone and release in the theatres,” trade analyst Taran Adarsh tells IANS.
Filmmaker Atul Mohan feels the situation right now is definitely uncertain.
“We might have official announcements in a few days. Whenever a project is delayed, 10 to 15 percent of the budget is lost. You need to restructure the schedules, get dates. Plus, you have to pay interest on the budget. For a 100-crore film, 15 to 20 crore worth interest is charged in a year,” he says.
Mohan adds: “Theatres have been shut in Maharashtra and these account for more than 40 percent of box office collections. It’s a huge market and cannot be ignored.”
Film trade experts are unanimous in agreeing that, due to Covid, the film industry’s monetary suffering has only been worsening over the months since the first lockdown in March last year.
“In 2019, we made a profit of Rs 4,400 crore, but last year, in three months, we made only Rs 600 crore, and this year, we have made only Rs 55 crore. The profit was going up but now most of it has been lost. We lost Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in 2020. I don’t see movies making this kind of money in the near future,” says Mohan. (IANS/KB)
The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of the strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones. Will the 'drones for vaccines' be permitted in such a case? Allaying fears, a top official from the Ministry of S&T said, "The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it."
NAL has called the drone as 'Octacopter' and it can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc. NAL Octacopter is integrated with a powerful on-board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc., S&T officials had said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jammu, Vaccines, Medicines, Deliver, Drones, Centre
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.
Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."
According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."
"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Rajshree Bag
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods