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THE GRAPEVINE

Updated August 13, 2017

LOCARNO LAURELS

We always knew that Jami had the ability to go global. And he’s done that. On Aug 8, the Pakistani filmmaker won the Open Doors TorinoFilmLab (TFL) award at the Locarno Festival.

For the uninitiated, the award aims to develop the winner’s contacts at an international level and to help initiate commercial negotiations on the projects currently being developed. Two Pakistani producers, Jami and Mehnaz Alavi Diwan, were initially selected to be part of the Open Doors Lab.

The working title of the project for which Jami earned the award is Assassins.

Intriguing, isn’t it! It means we will now see the not-so-laidback side to the director. Expect gun salvos and fireworks.

TWO LEFT FEET

Poor Urwa Hocane. She can surely act, but dance … doesn’t seem like it. Anyone who has seen her attempt at pirouetting and twirling in the song 24/7 from the upcoming movie Punjab Nahin Jaoongi will endorse that the girl must’ve had a torrid time following the choreographer’s directions.

To be honest, it’s not her fault. The director of the film should’ve realised it. But then, we haven’t seen the movie yet, so the amateurish dance act could be part of a shtick. Otherwise, PNJ’s principal actor Hum­ayun Saeed is known for stopping films from being screened if they have readily detectable flaws.

FLU BLUES

See, showbiz celebs are just like us. The only difference is, they’re famous. Aamir Khan and his wife have been confined to their house for a week because both are down with H1N1 influenza (read: swine flu).
Since the disease is infectious, they can’t step out of their home until they recuperate completely.

On Aug 6, the couple were supposed to attend an NGO event, but couldn’t due to the beemari. So they requested Shah Rukh Khan to replace them as chief guest, which he did, willingly at that. It’s a good gesture on SRK’s part. And he needs all the goodwill he can get after the below-par performance of Jab Harry Met Sejal.

CUT AND THRUST

Now that’s what you call dedication to your work. Nawazuddin Siddiqui takes his job as seriously as any actor worth his salt. Some argue that he takes it too seriously, to the detriment of his health. Here’s why: the actor was shooting a song for a film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz and, during an improvisational moment, picked up a piece of metal and started drumming his fingers on it. While doing that, he cut his hand, which began to bleed. The actor, however, did not halt and completed the take.

When the director realised that he was badly hurt, he tried to call a doctor; the actor refused and instead wished to retire into his room. The cut was so deep that the doctor was eventually summoned and Nawazuddin S had more than a few stitches on his wounded hand. We hope he now understands that some methods don’t always work in acting.

COME RELIEF

Indian comedian Kapil Sharma’s physical showdown on a plane with Sunil Grover, who used to be an integral part of the team of his TV show Comedy Nights With Kapil Sharma, led to a bitter parting of ways. Ever since, the show’s ratings have dipped.

The smart cookie that Kapil S is, on Aug 3 he wished Sunil G happy birthday on social media. Much to his followers’ surprise, Sunil G responded in an equally positive mood. Now people have begun to harbour the idea that they will mend fences and Sunil G will rejoin the show, whose ratings were dipping, pretty soon. It proves comedians’ have far better business acumen than serious actors.

HIS DAYS ARE NUMBERED

Way to go Salma Hayek! True artists speak their mind, and she is one of them. While promoting her new celluloid project The Hitman’s Bodyguard in London, the actress was asked about US President Donald Trump’s intention of building a wall on the US-Mexico border (since she is of Mexican descent).

Salma H responded by saying that he couldn’t do that without the support of the Mexicans who are living illegally in America. She also claimed that Donald T’s days in the White House are numbered. Wow! The woman is sexy and gutsy, a combo that the US President doesn’t fancy.

OSCAR CALL

All you Pakistani filmmakers, roll up your sleeves, make nice little copies of your films released this year, and send them to the Pakistan Academy Selection Committee by Aug 20. Or don’t.

The committee has invited directors/producers to submit their films for Oscar consideration in the Foreign Language Film Award category for the 90th Academy Awards to be held in 2018.

Come to think of it, what remarkable film did any of the Pakistani directors make in the last 12 months? An extremely difficult question to answer.

Published in Dawn, ICON, August 13th, 2017