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Shaurya Thapa

Shaurya Thapa

Sub-editorshaurya.thapa@aajtak.com

Thapa harbours an interest in writing about Entertainment, Pop Culture, History, and everything else in between.

By Shaurya Thapa

Armie Hammer, cannibalism, controversies: House of Hammer trailer on Discovery+ is just the tip of the iceberg

It was last January when Armie Hammer was 'cancelled' and removed from all ongoing film projects, owing to allegations of sexual abuse and even 'cannibalism' claims! Now, a Discovery+ docu-series, House of Hammer, attempts to expose the actor's concerning behaviour from the perspectives of his exes.

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The political history of Raksha Bandhan, from Alexander and Humayun to Tagore

On the surface, Raksha Bandhan seems like a quintessential North Indian Hindu festival. And while this claim is true to a large extent, the festival's history shows how it has also been used to promote communal harmony on a pan-Indian level.

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Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha brings back the ableist problems of Forrest Gump

From the very first trailer of Laal Singh Chaddha, it is evident that the Aamir Khan-starrer is an almost frame-to-frame remake of Forrest Gump. While the latter is regarded as a classic, it hasn't quite aged well, especially with regard to the representation of disabilities.

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From Bandit Queen to Sher Singh Rana biopic: How Bollywood has wronged Phoolan Devi

Today marks the 59th birth anniversary of activist and Lok Sabha MP Phoolan Devi, arguably one of the most polarising figures in Indian history. While she is a Bahujan icon for many, her popular image has been tarnished by her violent past and a notorious biopic.

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As Brad Pitt rides a Bullet Train to theatres, here are 5 essential train movies

Brad Pitt's latest film Bullet Train released in theatres on August 5 and it promises to be an adrenaline-fuelled ride with most of the action taking place in the titular Japanese train. But when it comes to trains as a major plot point, both Hollywood and global cinema have a wide variety of options to offer. 

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If you want to summit Europe’s tallest peak, pay €15k for your funeral first

With modern day travel packages, climbing mountains has started attracting more and more people. But a French mayor still knows that this can be a deadly activity, the reason why he is pushing for unqualified climbers to pay a funeral deposit of €15,000 first before they summit Europe’s highest peak Mont Blanc. 

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From Singh is Kinng to a new BTS collab: The unexpected evolution of Snoop Dogg

K-pop group BTS is no stranger to cross-border collabs but their upcoming track Bad Decisions features quite an unconventional collaborators even for them: rapper Snoop Dogg. The track by American producer Benny Blanco, BTS, and Snoop Dogg will be released tomorrow but is already being teased on Blanco's social media. 

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On Barack Obama's 61st birthday, here are 5 of the wildest conspiracy theories on him

Today marks Barack Obama’s 61st birthday, so it is natural for people to look at the good and bad aspects of his tenure as a former American President. Before and during his presidency, Obama was also the subject of some amusing conspiracy theories.

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Why did DC cancel Batgirl movie? How will it fight the war with Marvel?

An upcoming superhero film on Batgirl was in the final stages of completion with a budget of over 90 million dollars, and what did DC do at the last moment? Cancelled it.

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From Burari to Butcher of Delhi, why do Indian viewers love bingeing on true crime documentaries?

This July, the first season of the true crime anthology Indian Predator dropped on Netflix and immediately become the most-streamed title of Netflix India for the weekend. What attracts Indian viewers to True Crime documentaries so?

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Why are Akshay Kumar movies flopping so bad?

Akshay Kumar has been pretty consistent this year serving consecutive flops such as Bachchhan Paandey and Samrat Prithviraj, and with #BoycottRakshaBandhan trending on Twitter now, it seems like his next film too might be ill-fated for the box office.

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The Legend, a Tamil millionaire's narcissistic attempt, is one of the best worst movies ever

The Legend is a Tamil film that has been trending on the Internet for all the meme-able reasons, joining the leagues of the worst movies of all time. Starring the owner of Tamil Nadu’s popular shopping outlet Saravana Stores, the so-bad-that-it-is-good film proves that money can truly buy anything.

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Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard court docs leaked: 10 bombshell revelations

It has been over two months since the jury ruled in favour of Johnny Depp but interest in the Amber Heard vs Depp trial is far from over. Some recently-unsealed pretrial court documents have made shocking revelations.

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Netflix's Blonde, Kim K's dress, modern feminism: Why we are so obsessed with Marilyn Monroe

Netflix recently dropped its trailer for Blonde, an upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic starring Ana De Armas in the title role. Joining Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala outfit and the Netflix documentary on her death, this is just one of 2022’s many pop culture attempts to immortalise the iconic heroine…but why are we so obsessed with her?

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How to make a Christopher Nolan movie: A recipe

The first teaser of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated biopic Oppenheimer dropped yesterday and the Internet is obviously abuzz with all sorts of reactions. Set for a 2023 release date, Oppenheimer would obviously satisfy the director’s loyal bhakts while probably reinforcing some of his common tropes. 

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Lollapalooza India is here: What are indie artists expecting?

The biggest news in the Indian music world right now is Lollapalooza announcing its Indian debut. Naturally, artists and talent managers in the country’s indie music scene have their own expectations and concerns with this surprise announcement.

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How Hollywood is making masala hits like Top Gun Maverick and The Gray Man with India in mind

Heroes who can’t die, Indian actors cast in tokenistic roles, and universal threats that can be stopped only by a one-man army. By recycling and revamping such tropes, recent big-budget Hollywood productions like Top Gun: Maverick and The Gray Man are targeting global masses, clearly keeping the Indian market in mind. 

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Cancelling tours for mental health: How artists like Shawn Mendes are breaking stigmas

Shawn Mendes has cancelled his current world tour for his album Wonder citing mental health reasons. Fans have been pretty supportive ever since he announced a three-week-long break on social media, opening the space to discuss the pressures that touring artists might face.

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Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These is the shortest book on Booker 2022 longlist. It's just 112 pages

True to its name, Small Things Like These is a short read at just 112 pages (later editions adding up to 128 pages). The historical fiction novel by Irish writer Claire Keegan is one of the 13 books to be longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize, making it the shortest book to do so.

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Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka is on Booker Longlist 2022: What you need to know

This year’s longlist for the Booker Prize is out with Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka securing a spot with his satirical novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. The former Commonwealth Booker winner might just have a shot at winning if the Booker jury considers his past or the current crisis within his native country. 

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Netflix spent $200 million on The Gray Man, cast Dhanush to woo India. It still wasn't enough

The Gray Man released on Netflix on July 22 and is reported as the streamer's most expensive original, at a whopping $200 million budget. But given the unprecedented subscriber loss that Netflix has been facing and the terrible reviews that the movie has generated, The Gray Man might be the last of its kind. 

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The Bollywood Stalker Universe: Posing as spouse, slitting wrist, morphing pictures

Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal are the latest B-Town celebs to have been pursued by a stalker. From obsessive fans coming up with marriage proposals to some even resorting to self-harm, several Bollywood stars have unfortunately had their fair share of stalkers.

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Why did Ranbir Kapoor's Shamshera flop at the box office?

2022 can be Ranbir Kapoor's year with the highly anticipated Brahmastra but as for his recent 'comeback' Shamshera, the box office offers a bleak story. Not only is it a commercial setback for Kapoor, but also production company Yash Raj Films.

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How did memes even become our language?

In 2021, the Los Angeles Times began taking memes so seriously that their assistant director for audience, Samantha Melbourneweaver, started building her own “meme team” to connect more with younger readers. It might sound absurd but perhaps several other publications would have to follow suit if they wish to stay relevant for new-age audiences. 

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What you need to know about Toolsidas Junior, the surprise Best Hindi Feature winner at National Film Awards

The sports drama film Toolsidas Junior bagged two awards at today's National Film Awards, Best Hindi Feature Film and a Special Jury mention for the film's young lead, Varun Buddhadev.

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Suriya, Aparna, Sudha Kongara wins make it an out-and-out Soorarai Pottru day at the National Film Awards

Tamil film Soorarai Pottru dominated the Feature Films category at the National Film Awards, taking home Best Feature Film, Best Actor (Suriya), Best Actress (Aparna Balamurali) and Best Screenplay (Sudha Kongara, Shalini Ushadevi, Aalif Surti Ganeshaa) awards.

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Shamshera Twitter review calls it blockbuster. Box office tells a different story

The latest Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Shamshera has finally released in theatres and Twitter is going abuzz with positive reactions particularly directed towards the music and the acting performances. At the same time, some feel that the movie lacks depth while others point out that the ‘blockbuster’ still has had a moderately low response for an opening day. 

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Mike Tyson in Liger and 6 foreign crossovers in Indian cinema no one expected

The trailer of Vijaya Devarakonda-starrer Liger just dropped, and Mike Tyson's extended cameo is one of the biggest takeaways from it. With Liger, Tyson joins the league of Sylvester Stallone, Snoop Dogg, and others who have had unexpected collaborations with the Indian film industry.

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How Sanjay Dutt went from rowdy hero to reliable villain

Be it in real life or on reel, Sanjay Dutt has had a reputation of being quite a reckless and rule-breaking individual. An aged and post-imprisonment Dutt now seems to have embraced a villainous persona.

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Why Dhanush in Netflix film The Gray Man will make the West look past Bollywood

While Dhanush has been a mainstay in Indian cinema, he is making his mark in Hollywood with the upcoming Netflix action flick The Gray Man. Given that only a handful of Tamil actors have made their mark overseas, Dhanush’s role can hopefully be a gateway for more non-Bollywood actors to get Western projects.

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