Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a heartbreaking and uplifting saga of a troubled mother trying to find out who killed and raped her daughter. The film earns brownie points in so many departments – the performances are top-notch, the writing is first-rate and sharp and the characters are very touching. Each major character is nicely written and the way their point of view undergoes a change or gets even more rigid makes for a terrific watch. Talking of performances, it’s difficult to single one actor who stood out. No wonder after almost 26-27 years that two actors have got nominated for the Best Supporting Actor from the same film! Frances McDormand underplays her part very well on the whole and in some scenes, she gives goosebumps with her heart-wrenching dialogues. Woody Harrelson wins hearts with his performance and the character. Sam Rockwell essays an interesting role with lot of shades and he comes out with flying colours. Darrell Britt-Gibson is fair. Abbie Cornish is decent while Peter Dinklage gives a heartfelt performance. Caleb Landry Jones rocks in his final scene in the film the most. Don’t miss!

My rating - **** ½ out of 5!

Padmaavat collects 270.49 cr in 30 days; Aiyaary crashes badly; Black Panther holds well

Image result for padmaavat aiyaary black panther
Box Office India Trade Network

PADMAAVAT grossed a good 70-75 lakhs nett apprx on its fifth Friday which took its total to over 270 crore nett. The growth should be huge on Saturday as has been the case every Saturday though SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY may play spoil sport a little but to counteract the collections are at low levels. So 70-80% should not be hard.

There are reports that it may get a release in Gujarat over the weekend and this would give it another kick start though nothing like if it had released in Gujarat in week one. There have been reports of a Gujarat release before as well but nothing really happened so remains to be seen does it actually get screened.

The lifetime total of the film looks to be heading for around 277-278 crore nett if no Gujarat or Rajasthan release till the end of its run

The collections of PADMAAVAT till date are as follows
First Week - 1,59,47,00,000
Second Week - 66,93,00,000
Third Week - 30,09,00,000
Fourth Week - 13,25,00,000 apprx
Fifth Week - 75,00,000 apprx (Friday)
TOTAL - 2,70,49,00,000 apprx

The hold over from last week AIYAARY crashed with around 20 lakhs nett business on day eight taking its eight day total to 16.50 crore nett. The film will close on around 18 crore nett on a best case scenario

BLACK PANTHER had a fair hold dropping around 70% from its first day as it collected around 1.50-160 crore nett on day eight. The collections so far are around 32.50 crore nett and the film is a decent success in India though not the runaway hit that it is in the westerrn markets.

Image result for padmaavat aiyaary black panther

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety collects 6.50 cr on Day 1; Welcome To New York collects 75 lakhs

Image result for sonu ke titu ki sweety welcome to new york
Box Office India Trade Network

SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY grossed a very good 6.25-6.50 crore nett on day one with business being excellent in Delhi NCR and East Punjab. This area was always set to do open well but the good opening in other belts is what has pushed the film to a very solid opening day number.

The opening is less than FUKREY RETURNS and this is mainly due to mass circuits like UP, Rajasthan and CI where FUKREY RETURNS opened better as SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY is a more urban film than FUKREY RETURNS. But this film may show better growth over the weekend especially on Sunday.

The same team has opened at 6.20 crore nett with PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA 2 a few years back but that film had a following from the first PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA film. The first PUNCHNAMA film did not do the numbers at the box office but it had a very good sustained run in the cities and found appreciation with the youth which translated into numbers with the second film

The evening shows of SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY had strong occupancy which will mean a good jump today especially in Mumbai circuit as Gujarat was a slow starer but gained momentum in the evening.

The film grossed around 1.55 crore nett in Delhi/UP and 88 lakhs nett in East Punjab and PAD MAN in the latter was 92 lakhs nett.

The other release of the week WELCOME TO NEW YORK was a poor fare as it grossed 75 lakhs nett but with a spoof film there is always a chance it can be a big let down at the box office. This film will also grow on Saturday but considering the budget which is more than SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY it cant really go anywhere. The collections in Punjab were also very low due to the spoof content of the film as Mumbai might have a chance with this sort of stuff but North will reject outright.

Mira Rajput will always be my Padmavati-Shahid Kapoor

Shahid Kapoor
Meena Iyer (DNA; February 25, 2018)

Today is Shahid Kapoor’s birthday. The Bollywood star, who turns 37, is attending a satsang in Beas, Punjab, along with his family. When he flies back to Mumbai tomorrow, he has other celebrations planned. With his latest release, Padmaavat, crossing the Rs 285 crore mark in the domestic market, Sasha (as he’s popularly known) has a lot to smile about. At this joyous juncture, the people who matter the most to him — his wife Mira and daughter Misha — are on the top of his mind. Excerpts from a chat...

You are looking really young for a 37-year-old. Your looks belie your age...
(Smiles) I have a young wife, so I must keep fit. I have to keep up with Mira.

Do you feel you played a married man better in Padmaavat because you are settled in real life, too?
It’s strange, but true. Padmaavat is the first time where I played a married man who is in a complex relationship. I don’t think I would have been able to play the character of Rawal Ratan Singh if I didn’t enjoy marital bliss. Our marriage has been a huge journey for Mira and me. The two of us come from very different backgrounds. And we went through our own struggle because she had a complicated pregnancy. It was then that we formed a bond and fell completely in love because we only had each other. Misha was our first big project together. Somewhere, subliminally all that I was facing in real life has played its part in Padmaavat.

I do not think I would have been able to understand my on screen relationship with my queen and the dynamic of that equation if I hadn’t been married for those one-and-a-half years. For me, Mira will always be my Padmavati.

Is it true that filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali showed Mira the rushes of Padmaavat long before he shared them with others?
I don’t know who else Sanjay sir showed the rushes to. However, it was really sweet of him to show Mira the rushes. He called her and said, ‘Mira, come and see why I have kept your husband away from you for so many days.’

Tell us about Misha. Isn’t she your most-favourite person?
Please don’t make me choose between Misha and Mira, I have to go back home (laughs uncontrollably). I can’t see beyond my daughter and I think my wife is slightly jealous. I keep teasing her that it’s karma, everything is coming full circle because that’s exactly how it is in her house. My mother-in-law keeps telling me how Mira is her daddy’s girl and she is the third spoke in the wheel. She is the apple of her dad’s eye; just the way Misha is mine. So, my wife has to live with it.

Mira seems to have come into her own after becoming Mrs Shahid Kapoor. Your young bride has become quite a woman. What are your thoughts on this?
Taking charge without being in your face is Mira’s natural personality. When I met Mira for the first time, one of the things that struck me about her is that she has a certain aura. She is individualistic and holds her own. When we had get-togethers and met huge stars from the fraternity, neither did she get intimidated nor was she awkward. Even at our wedding reception, there were so many big people. Just the way she conducted herself made me proud. She is so self-assured and graceful. She is humble yet confident. When I entered the industry, it took me years to get used to the ‘larger-than-lifeness’ of my surroundings. But Mira was different from the start.

You know, I also think it was tough for her. She had barely finished college in Delhi when we tied the knot. She came to Mumbai by virtue of our marriage. It was a whole new world for her and she didn’t have her parents or two older sisters with her. She did everything on her own. I give her full credit for the way she has conducted herself.

She seems to be more outgoing than you?
The popular verdict on Mira is that she is confident and has her own personality. She is honest and straight-forward. I’m not so socially-inclined. Or let’s put it this way — I’m shy. But she is outgoing. She loves meeting people and talking to them regardless of who they are. She is so unassuming.

Now, you are depending on her to read your scripts…
Why not? Mira is a Literature student who scored 95 per cent. She knows things that I don’t. Also, she represents the aam junta with evolved sensibilities. She always has something different and new to say. In fact, she was the one who convinced me to do Batti Gul Meter Chalu. I was shooting for Padmaavat, so Mira read the script before I did. She has strong opinions, which is good because sometimes an actor can just miss a great story. But if a person around him/her is involved, it helps. Actually, when the script first came, it didn’t even have a director. No one knew that Shree Narayan Singh (of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) was going to helm it. However, when Mira read it, she told me that it dealt with electricity theft. She was the one who explained to me, ‘You guys living in Mumbai may not understand it, but it’s a huge problem all over the country.’ She insisted that I must do the film. So, I respect her opinion.

But you delayed Batti Gul by almost a month…
Yes, I did. I was supposed to start shooting for it before Padmaavat’s release but I was so invested and passionate about the period drama that I requested my team to give me some time to ‘recover’ before moving on to my next. After Batti Gul..., I will start work on Imtiaz Ali’s film, so it’s going to be a busy time.

What is your takeaway from Padmaavat?
For me, the character of Rawal Ratan Singh is a tribute to the honour and valour of Rajput community and dynasty. You know there are characters like Tommy Singh (Udta Punjab) that you play and want them to get out of your system. However, when it comes to Rawal Ratan Singh I want to hold on to everything that he stood for. He was spectacular. When I did this film, I realised the kind of respect that he had for his wife, queen Padmavati. The best part about playing this character was that he was a king, who was sensitive towards the feelings of his wife and was noble enough to allow her to take decisions. We are living in such times today when women have come into their own but here was a man in the 13th century who encouraged his wife to do so. That was something special.

Coming back to Mira, would you call her your best friend?
I have other friends. But you can call her my best friend. Actually, we end up spending so much time together that every decision — whether it is which school or which play gym should we send Misha to, is discussed. How many layers of woollens should Misha wear, if she has a cold, how often should one medicate her — we end up making joint-decisions on everything. She is our first born, so everything is new to us. Also, I’m a bit of a homebody. I’m either working or at home. And, Mira is my favourite companion. I’ve other friends who I also enjoy spending time with and discuss about life in general. Mira is the not the only one I listen to because that would be stupid. However, I admit, she is my spine and my rock. I depend on her largely.

Kareena and Taimur join Saif Ali Khan, who's shooting for Navdeep Singh's next in Rajasthan?

Taimur Ali Khan
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; February 25, 2018)

Kareena Kapoor Khan has wrapped up work on her first film post motherhood, Veere Di Wedding, which releases in June this year. But she hasn’t signed any other project yet. Last time we spoke to Bebo, she had told us that she wanted to rest for three months till March to spend time with her son Taimur. The actress has already taken the first step in that direction. We have learnt that the mother-son duo left for Udaipur yesterday to be with Saif Ali Khan.

A source confirms the news, “Saif has been shooting in a village called Desuri in Rajasthan (that is two hours away from Udaipur) for the yet-untitled Navdeep Singh film, which also stars R Madhavan and Sonakshi Sinha in key roles. As he is stationed in Udaipur, Bebo decided to pay him a visit with Taimur in tow. They will zoom off to different places as they love to travel.”

Kareena and Taimur will stay there for a short duration. “Bebo will come back to Mumbai with Taimur in about three to four days as she has to finish her brand commitments. She has an ad shoot lined up next week in the city, which she’ll finish after returning from Udaipur.”

Judwaa 2 puts up record numbers even in its fourth screening on television

Judwaa 2 Box Office Collection Day 6: Varun Dhawan's Film Races Towards 100 Crore Bounty
Box Office India Trade Network

JUDWAA 2 is proving to be an insane blockbuster on television as its fourth screening sees better figures than many of the big releases. Even big blockbusters like BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN and DANGAL were at half the rate in their respective screenings though BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN was far stronger in first two screenings and had set records.

The film is proving to be the second biggest blockbuster on television in the post 2016 period after BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION. It is bigger than SULTAN and DANGAL with the only film that can provide a challenge is GOLMAAL AGAIN and that will depend how it rates on the next few showings. the first two have been huge.

The ratings of JUDWAA 2 on its first four screenings are as follows. The numbers are impressions which are the number of television sets viewing the film.
First - 1,52,66,00,000
Second - 92,78,000
Third - 63,78,000
Fourth - 64,53,000
TOTAL - 3,73,75,00,000

The ratings of first screenings of some big films of last year were as follows and JUDWAA 2 is still beating them despite being on its fourth screening. The ratings were the below films were not great but they were not bad also.
Shivaay - 62,92,000
Raees - 52,56,000
Baadshaho - 52,03,000

Aiyaary disaster; Black Panther semi hit; Pad Man drops; Padmaavat rock steady

Image result for aiyaary black panther pad man padmaavat
Box Office India Trade Network

AIYAARY is a box office disaster as it grossed around 16.25 crore nett in its first week. The film started poorly and could not do much over the weekend and then collections came down very fast over the weekdays. The occupancy was very low over the weekdays which has led to limited shows in week two with multiplexes giving it just one or two shows and that too in metros. In the rest of the country it is practically out and the film will not reach the 20 crore nett mark.

The Hollywood release BLACK PANTHER has done pretty well with first week business of 31 crore nett apprx. The film started very well and even held well on Monday but the falls were likely as the collections were better than the appreciation of the film as far as India goes.

The film will probably see a drop over the second week but it has still done well enough in the opening week  to emerge a success and is a Semi Hit/Average fare

PAD MAN saw a drop of 78% in its second week. The film has done pretty well in places like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata where collections match a 100 crore nett plus film like JOLLY LLB 2 released at the same time as PAD MAN last year but its the core Hindi markets which have not really performed for the film.

In the Mumbai city/Thane belt PAD MAN has collected 11.25 crore nett in two weeks while JOLLY  LLB 2 had grossed 11.50 crore nett in two weeks but In Delhi city its a huge gap with JOLLY LLB 2 at 9.50 crore and PAD MAN at 6.50 crore nett. The first two week collections of PAD MAN are as follows
First Week - 62,00,00,000 apprx
Second Week - 13,50,00,000 apprx
TOTAL - 75,50,00,000 

PADMAAVAT did very well in week four with collections of 13.25 crore nett which is the fourth highest week four ever after BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION, 3 IDIOTS and DANGAL though on fair value its higher than 3 IDIOTS and DANGAL because if it was screened all over India, it would have collected 16.25 crore nett. BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION is another different level with 29.11 crore nett. The films was rock steady in the Tue - Thu period. The collections of PADMAAVAT till date are as follows
First Week - 1,59,47,00,000
Second Week - 66,93,00,000
Third Week - 30,09,00,000
Fourth Week - 13,25,00,000 apprx
TOTAL - 2,69,74,00,000 apprx

Aditya Chopra is who he is and that suits me-Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; February 24, 2018)

As I meet Rani Mukerji on a balmy evening, I realise that despite staying away from the arclights for four years, her passion for cinema and zest for life remains the same. Tell her about it and she says, “Thank God, people feel that I haven’t changed at all. I can breathe now,” she chuckles as we start our conversation. In a candid chat, the actress talks about her comeback film Hichki, being drawn towards strong female characters and why she is always going to be Aditya Chopra’s real heroine, even if not on-screen. Excerpts...

In your earlier interview to this paper, you had said that when Hichki was offered, you were wondering if you had forgotten to act. Why did you feel that way?
Adira was a premature baby, so the doctors and nurses had advised me to do certain things. As a mother, I was like a tigress trying to protect her cub. Nothing really interested me except spending time with my daughter. Adi (Aditya Chopra), who is my husband and friend, saw that I was getting obsessed with motherhood. He constantly told me that I should get back to films as that’s where I belong.

Around the same time, director Siddharth P Malhotra and producer Maneesh Sharma approached me for Hichki. There was something unique about its script. I asked them, ‘What if I come on set and don’t know what is happening around?’ After that, I was working with the team on the scripting stage when Adira was just nine months old. By the time I went on shoot, she was over a year already. It took me that much time to prep and get back to the sets, so it was valid for me to think that I had forgotten how to act (smiles).

What did you like about the script?
After having my daughter, I always wanted to do something special in order to stay relevant. I felt the script should have something worthwhile which would let me go away from her. I liked the fact that I was getting to play a character with Tourette’s Syndrome. The story has many layers as we are speaking about how the society treats a person with a condition, the education system and the discrimination that underprivileged kids face.

How was the first day of the shoot?
When I was heading to the sets, I was howling in the car. I didn’t know I had become so vulnerable. I had the fear that I was leaving Adira and going to work. It was strange because I was getting back to doing what I always loved — acting. I still felt that I love something else more than my work. However, once the camera started rolling, everything fell into place and I told myself, ‘This is who I am’.

When you play such a character, is there a pressure to not make it look caricaturish?
The idea is to create awareness about the condition. When you have those motor ticks during Tourette’s Syndrome, people who are not aware of the person suffering from it, might misunderstand you. Especially in schools, teachers may think that a student is doing it on purpose as he/she’s a mischievous child. It would be tougher if parents don’t accept their children’s condition. People need to be aware of all this. In the US, there are stand-up comedians who have Tourette’s. They feel, ‘You want to laugh at me, come pay money and laugh’. They have turned their disadvantage into advantage. That’s what we are celebrating in the film. My character’s story is inspired by American motivational speaker and author Brad Cohen, who is a principal now and married with two children. You make such films in an entertaining format, so you let go.

Why haven’t we ever seen you in Aditya’s directorial venture yet?
You should ask him that question. I don’t know why he’s not making a film with me. I keep telling him to do so. But that’s his prerogative.

But don’t you discuss this at home?
Of course, we do. I keep telling him, ‘You’re the biggest loser as you don’t have me in your movie (laughs).’ But jokes apart, he’s always been the director who has maintained that he chooses actors according to his script. The first time we met was for his movie. Incidentally, it was called Dulhan. That film never happened, but I became his dulhan (smiles).

In a partnership, both the individuals imbibe each other’s qualities. Have you turned more reclusive like Adi or has he become more extroverted like you?
We fell in love with each other knowing who we exactly are. In my case, I’ve always been very lazy. If I had my way, I would be in my room, watching television and films the whole day. Adi is who he is and that suits me. He doesn’t like going anywhere. I’ve married a person who isn’t outgoing, so in a way, he’s just like me.

Everything is out there-Ileana DCruz when asked if she's married

Ileana D’Cruz will not admit that she has married long time beau Andrew Kneebone; says she’d love to bring Uzma Ahmed’s story to the screen
Shravan Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; February 24, 2018)

What are you doing in a film on an income tax raid with Ajay Devgn in the lead?
Even though the film is about the raid with Ajay (Devgn) as an income tax officer, I do have a pivotal role. I admit, in terms of footage, it’s not large, but it’s an interesting part of the film. My character is not a demure biwi from the ’80s, she is sensible, speaks her mind and is the quite a force behind him. The equation between them comes out in the songs and in the emotional scenes where you realise she is worried for him yet tries to put up a brave front.

Buzz is, after Baadshaho and Raid, another Ileana-Ajay collaboration is on the cards?
There’s no plan as of now, but I’d love to work with Ajay again because he’s been doing a lot of content-driven films and is a nice, positive person to hang out with. On the sets, he was always chatting with his daughter (Nysa) or son (Yug) and since I was invariably listening in, I now feel I know his whole family.

Talking of family, what was your photographer beau Andrew Kneebone’s reaction to the Raid trailer?
(Laughs) He hasn’t seen it yet.

A lot has been written about your relationship and now it’s being said you are married. On Christmas you posted a picture of yourself and mentioned that it was taken by ‘hubby’.
It’s exactly what you see. What’s great about the social media is that I can let people in to an extent but I don’t like talking about my past… How the relationship started and where… in interviews. It’s too personal. I won’t hide it and I won’t deny it. Everything is out there for everyone to see, don’t ask me too many questions about it. I’ll tell you what I want to tell you. Period.

So is Ileana D’Cruz married?
(Laughs) Like I said, everything is out there, I don’t need to answer your question.

Any chances of Andrew becoming a Bollywood cinematographer or a glamour photographer?
I don’t know, I’ve never asked him. That would be a really big move but I also know that he is someone who would love to do something like that. He’s taken some really cool pictures of Varun (Dhawan) and Alia (Bhatt) on a flight, Ranveer (Singh) and Salman (Khan) during a show I did with them. He’s great with photos but him moving here and making a career in Bollywood is something only Andrew can answer. I think he’ll totally be up for it!

Does he watch your films and give you feedback?
He does and is amazingly honest. He spoils me with his compliments. He’s like, “You’re such an amazing actor, you’re really good!” and I’m like, “You don’t have to say that just because you love me.” But I think he really means it and it means a lot to me because I know he is someone who will never lie even to me. Sometimes, I’m really upset if a film hasn’t done well and he’ll watch it and tell me what he felt was wrong. It matters to me what he thinks.

Your Bollywood debut with Barfi! got you nationwide recognition but after that your career has seen a series of highs and lows. Do you ever sit down and analyse it?
Of course I do, I go a little cuckoo in the head because I over-analyse. At times, I go through all the films that I said “no” to and if they have done well; I ask myself if I should have done them. But later, I’m happy with what I have done. It is a nice mix of different films that I’m proud of and always wanted to do. Very rarely do you get what you actually want in the film industry.

Are you getting what you really want to do?
Not right now and that is why I haven’t signed a film in a while and am waiting for the right offers. In all these years, in Bollywood and down South, I’ve done so many different kinds of films that now I don’t want to do just anything anymore. I’m looking for a content driven script that will really push me and take me into an unexplored territory. Possibly something heroine-centric, something that people wouldn’t expect me to do.

Like a biopic?
If it challenges me as an actor, I’d like that.

Buzz is, you’ve been approached to play Uzma Ahmed? The Indian National who was forced to marry a Pakistani with four children at gunpoint and sexually assualted before she fled to the Indian high commission in Pakistan and after appealing to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and a brief but traumatic legal battle, she was brought back to India.
Yes, I’ve been approached for that. I wasn’t going to say anything about the offer because I am very superstitious but the director spoke about it. I had a lovely meeting with them, it is a brilliant story but I think it will take a while for it to take off and it would be unethical of me to talk about it when nothing has been finalised. So all I want to say is that Uzma is an unbelievable woman, her story needs to be told and I’d love to do that film.

Any films down South?
Thanks to some rubbish that came out recently, people believe I don’t like the South Indian industry, which is untrue. I was quoted saying that I was working only for the money which is just a fraction of what I said. I was 18 when I did my first film and it was all about earning a lot of money then. But later, I realised that I wasn’t giving the job my 100 per cent and slowly started giving my inputs and that’s when I fell in love with my work. The industry down South had a lot of faith in me and if I go back, it will have to be a really good film. There have been some offers, but nothing great.

Any Hollywood offers?
I did get a few actually. One was quite interesting and even I met with the casting director but things didn’t work out. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t do it because although it had a great cast, the film didn’t do well. But I would like to do a Hollywood film someday.

Varun Dhawan slashes his fees by more than 50% for October?

Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; February 24, 2018)

Having delivered two hits — Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2 (both 2017) — in a year that otherwise witnessed a drought at the box office, it was reported that Varun Dhawan had hiked his fee. But in an interesting development, midday has learnt that the actor apparently slashed his remuneration for Shoojit Sircar’s October.

A source close to Dhawan says, “When Shoojit approached him with the script, he made it clear that it would be another small-budget film, along the lines of what he is known to make. Varun was quite taken by the story and knew that he had to be a part of the project. He readily agreed to cut down his fee for the director.”

While many actors opt for a lower remuneration and hold a stake in the film’s profits, the source adds that Dhawan decided to forego the option.

Another trade insider reveals that although Dhawan had indeed hiked his fee to a whopping Rs 25 crore after the success of Judwaa 2, he did not want to burden the Banita Sandhu-starrer with his market price. The trade insider says, “If you see his filmography, he has consciously mixed the masala fare with films like Badlapur (2015) and now, October. Varun understood that October needs to be made on the right budget to be viable and recover its cost. Since the film was envisioned on a budget of Rs 20 crore, he slashed his fee by more than 50 per cent.”