ICYMI: Entertainment Stories From September We Should Care About, Film Companion
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There’s a lot going on in the world of entertainment- announcements, allegations, open letters, obituaries. Here we are filtering out from the noise, the most note-worthy things that happened in the world of entertainment this past month 

Ayushmann Khurrana on Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People Of 2020’

Khurranna was one of the few Indians (including Bilkis, Modi and Sundar Pichai) on the coveted Time’s list of influencers. Deepika Padukone penned the note on Khurrana- on why he deserves this coveted spot because of how he “has successfully and convincingly transformed into characters who challenge those very [masculine] stereotypes.”

Khurrana’s filmography in the past year included Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan where he played a gay man, and Gulabo Sitabo where he played a lisping, conniving loser. In the past he has played a cop tackling casteism, a bald man, a man in drag.   

Chaitanya Tamhane’s Disciple wins big at the Venice International Film Festival

Tamhane, director of Court, presented his film Disciple, on the struggles of an Indian classical vocalist, at the Venic International Film Festival. Alfonso Cuaron, who mentored Tamhane, serves as an executive producer. At Venice, the film won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize presented by the International Federation of Film Critics and the Best Screenplay award. The last Indian film to be awarded the FIPRESCI Award was Adoor Gopalakrishnan Mathilukal (1990). 

Kate Winslet regrets working for Woody Allen, Roman Polanski

In a candid Vanity Fair interview promoting her latest film Ammonite, Winslet admitted, “What the fuck was I doing working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski? It’s unbelievable to me now how those men were held in such high regard, so widely in the film industry and for as long as they were.” Allegations of sexual abuse have been made against both Allen and Polanski. This statement brings the Art Versus Artist debate front-center, yet again. 

The Oscars’ Diversity and Inclusion Standards for Best Picture nominees 

On September 8 The Academy announced changes to the Best Picture category in an attempt to make Hollywood more diverse by increasing inclusion of underrepresented groups—people of color, women, LGTBQ+, and people with disabilities—both on screen in terms of stories, characters, and behind the screen, in terms of the production team, the marketing, and even the paid interns. 

The rules won’t kick in until the 2024 Oscars. This is only for the Best Picture category; a film not meeting these standards can still be eligible for other Academy awards. 

There has been some discussion on whether this will actually have any impact on the film’s diversity given how easy it is to fulfill these requirements. Films like The Irishmen full of white men and even Greenbook which received some flak by whitewashing race in America, according to this Vox article, would fulfill these requirements. 15 years of Oscar films, in fact, breeze past the standards.

Kamal Haasan in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s film 

Lokesh Kanagaraj known for his action-thriller films Maanagaram (2017), Kaithi (2019), and the yet-unreleased but highly awaited Master (2020) made an announcement via a fan-made motion poster for his next film with Kamal Haasan, tentatively titled KamalHaasan232. It is looking for  Summer 2021 release.  As noted by Baradwaj Rangan in his column, this announcement “shattered the notion that Kamal will only work with “yes men” directors, and not with new-gen filmmakers who have a very clear vision.”

Incidentally Santosh Sivan will direct the Hindi remake of Kanagaraj’s Maanagaram; Vikrant Massey has been signed to play the lead role.

Jaya Bachchan’s parliament speech and the Producers Guild Of India’s open letter in support of Bollywood 

Speaking in Parliament on September 15, Jaya Bachchan, a Samajwadi Party MP slammed the ongoing campaign to malign Bollywood. “The entertainment industry which provides employment everyday to 5 lakh people … People who have made their name in this film industry have called it a gutter. I completely disagree! I hope that the government tells such people who have earned their name and fame here to stop using such language.” Following the public furore and trolling Bachchan received, Mumbai Police has provided additional security outside Jalsa, the Bachchans’ Juhu bungalow. 

The Producers Guild Of India also penned an open letter about the weaponizing of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death to defame the industry, “The tragic death of a young promising star has been used as a tool to defame and slander the film industry and its members…A picture has been painted of the industry as a terrible place for outsiders to aspire to; a place that treats those who dare to enter it with contempt and derision; a murky den of substance abuse and criminality.”

Suriya speaks out against the courts, government for allowing NEET 

Suriya Sivakumar wrote a Twitter note in Tamil slamming the courts and the government for forcing students to appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) test during the COVID-19 pandemic, “The courts which conduct online proceedings fearing for their lives during the time of the coronavirus, order that students should write exams without any fear.” He called such examinations ‘Manu Dharma’ tests, a strong anti-caste statement. This note came after three medical college aspirants committed suicide a day before the test. 

Following this statement, Madras HC judge S.M. Balasubramaniam judge sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras to begin contempt of court proceedings against the actor. 

Through Suriya’s Agaram Foundation he has been vocal about the inequalities in the education system. His recent turn to activism can also be seen in his film choices as well- his upcoming film Soorarai Pottru’s released song has a strong anti-caste element to it, with shots of “self-respect marriage” with images of Ambedkar and Periyar. This statement is seen as a radical shift in Suriya’s political proclivities, given its strong anti-state, anti-caste phrasing. 

Schitt’s Creek’s Historic Win At The Emmys

The six-season series swept each of the top four acting categories in the comedy category at the Emmys ceremony (Catherine O’Hara for Best Lead Actress, Eugene Levy for Best Lead Actor, Annie Murphy for Best Supporting Actress, Dan Levy for Best Supporting Actor), plus the coveted outstanding comedy series trophy. This is historic as this show is the first comedy to win all four main acting awards in one year. It also is the most awarded comedy in a single year. Schitt’s Creek picked up nine awards in total, breaking the record previously set by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix. 

Also Read: The Emmys 2020: The Great Leveller

Delhi Crime, Arjun Mathur, and Four More Shots Please nominated for International Emmys

The International Emmys announced its list of nominees. Made In Heaven star Arjun Mathur has been nominated for Best Actor, while Delhi Crime fetched a nomination for Best Drama Series. Four More Shots Please bagged a nomination in the Best Comedy series category. The International Emmys take place on 23 November.  

SP Balasubrahmanyam’s Death

The veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, known as SPB, passed away last week. SPB, who has been singing for more than 50 years, from his debut in 1966, with the Telugu film Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, is the recipient of 6 National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages- Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi.

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