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Everything you need to know about new Amazon Prime show ‘The Forgotten Army’ on Azad Hind Fauj

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Everything you need to know about new Amazon Prime show 'The Forgotten Army' on Azad Hind Fauj

Sunny Kaushal puts his best foot forward. Rohit Chaudhary contributes a few of the livelier moments.

The human memory – and misery – have vital significance in war sagas. They certainly do in Kabir Khan’s digital debut, The Forgotten Army – Azaadi Ke Liye, a five-part Amazon Prime original that puts Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose‘s Azad Hind Fauj and its soldiers under the spotlight. As the men and women of the Indian National Army (INA) fight to rewrite history and put an end to the horrors heaped upon an enslaved people, there is pain and pillage all around.

Synopsis

The Forgotten Army – Azaadi Ke Liye, is based on the true story of Indian soldiers who marched towards the capital, with the war cry ‘Challo Dilli’, to free their country from the reign of the British. The Indian National Army (INA), which was forged out of British defeat in Singapore during WWII, was led by the charismatic Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and had the first-ever women infantry regiment anywhere in the world. While these soldiers (men and women) fought against all odds and against the British army to free India, their struggle and story somehow got lost and they became ‘the forgotten army’. With the love story between two soldiers – Sodhi and Maya at the heart of it, the series raises several questions about identity, independence and the idea of the motherland and the cost of freedom. Freedom, that we often take for granted but the freedom that costs countless lives and sacrifices. Fighting to keep freedom alive is often more difficult than fighting to gain freedom.

Review

With broad Bollywood-style strokes, the script (by Kabir Khan, Heeraz Marfatia and Shubhra Swarup) gives full play to dramatic license and incorporates fuzzy romance in what is intended to be a historically accurate account of a chapter of India’s freedom struggle that has since been reduced to a footnote. The result is a significant dilution of the impact of a well-timed tribute to brave men and women who fought not for mere territory and control over minds but for an idea of a nation free in every sense of the word.

Notwithstanding its flaws and convenient generalizations, The Forgotten Army does a far better, and more honest, job of capturing history. It presents a sharp contrast to the shrill, jingoistic renditions of the past that contemporary Mumbai cinema foists upon us in a climate of bitterness and specious narratives. Kabir Khan colors The Forgotten Army just right. Its notions of nation and patriotism spring from a place of undiluted commitment to the idea of true freedom.

In The Forgotten Army, love for the homeland takes unequivocal precedence over narrow divisions of sectarian identity and gender as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose forges a fighting fit outfit made up primarily of British Indian Army soldiers captured by the Japanese after the Battle of Singapore as well as volunteers willing to lay down their lives in the struggle to free India from foreign yoke.

However, Khan, whose late 1990s documentary lies at the root of this long-in-gestation series, is unable to shrug off the Bollywood-induced tendency to let sweep and scale swamp out sharpness of detailing and layering. In the end, The Forgotten Army comes across as more a story of unrequited love than an account of a war that was destined to end in defeat and, as the series suggests, deliberate obliteration.

The Forgotten Army sees the INA’s forays through the recollections of a fictionalized officer, Surinder Sodhi, who was inactive combat in Singapore and Burma between 1942 and 1944. More than 50 years later, visiting his elder sister’s family in Singapore, he opens up to his grand-nephew Amar (Karanvir Malhotra), a journalism student who initially dismisses the old man as “a family weirdo.”

A large part of the story plays out in the first half of the 1940s, when the younger Sodhi (Sunny Kaushal), a man proud of his family’s service to the British Indian Army, is drawn into the INA fold after hearing a stirring Netaji speech which gives the men in the ranks – and, importantly, the women waiting in the wings – the defining marching slogan, “Chalo Dilli.”

The Forgotten Army is also set in 1996, the year the older Sodhi (M.K. Raina), who has been in his shell for decades to tide over the scars of battle, makes the trip to Singapore and then accompanies Amar to Myanmar, a nation in the throes of a pro-democracy uprising led by students and a military junta crackdown on protestors (sounds familiar?). Sodhi physically retraces the journey that he and his comrades – Arshad (Rohit Chaudhary), Rajan (R. Badree), Rasamma (TJ Bhanu) and, most significantly in the context of the narrative, Maya Srinivasan (Sharvari Wagh), a young photo-journalist-turned-soldier, undertook all those years ago.

Each episode begins with a brief voiceover by Shah Rukh Khan. The text of the introduction does not reveal anything that students of history do not already know, but it does spell out the enormity of the odds stacked against the INA and the bravery involved in plunging into the unknown without worrying about the consequences.

Filmed on location in Thailand and on sets erected in Mumbai, The Forgotten Army draws upon true stories and the documented experiences of real INA combatants and blends them with free-wheeling fictionalized elements. One example: a character is given the name Lakshmi (played by Shruti Seth, she is obviously modeled on Lakshmi Sahgal), while another is called Lata Swaminathan (Swaminathan was Lakshmi Sahgal’s pre-marriage family name).

The mini-series devotes a great deal of footage to the founding of the all-women Rani of Jhansi Regiment. “An army is no place for a girl,” Maya’s mother (Amala Akkineni) asserts when she suggests that she has made up her mind to join Netaji’s army.

A pointed conversation between Maya and Sodhi in a subsequent scene puts the birth of the Rani Jhansi Regiment in context. The latter suggests that army positions are for “warrior races”, not for those that are “effeminate”. Maya shoots back: Who decides what’s a warrior race and what isn’t? Differences are sunk in an instant and love blossoms between the two although Maya already has a suitor, Shridhar (Akhil Iyer), who, too, follows her into the INA, setting up the stage for a love triangle. Mercifully, the war zone menage a trois stays on the fringes of the tale.

A little later, Sodhi regurgitates Maya’s words as he addresses the women cadets in his capacity as a training officer. He tells farmhand Rasamma, a victim of a sexual assault by a British officer: “I promise you Rasamma, we will fight together till our last breath for India you dream of.” In a way, that fight is still on, which is why The Forgotten Army is relevant in the present even as it deals with the past.

One of the more interesting aspects of The Forgotten Army is its diverse cast of actors and extras. Sunny Kaushal puts his best foot forward. Rohit Chaudhary contributes a few of the livelier moments. Sharvari Wagh is clearly a talent worth keeping an eye on.

Veterans such as M.K. Raina (whose presence lends gravitas to the series), Nizhalgal Ravi (as Maya’s father) and Amala Akkineni rub shoulders with actors who are just starting out in their careers – Karanvir Malhotra, Paloma Monappa, and TJ Bhanu. And watch out for prolific actor-filmmaker Takeshi Kitano in the role of a Japanese general who leads his force to victory in Singapore.

Bollywood

Sreesanth Hits Out At Robin Uthappa For Claiming That The Pacer Drops The Easiest Catches

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The Indian cricket fans are happy seeing their favourite cricketers getting engaged in Instagram live sessions and in interviews as it is providing them with the entertainment which they were deprived of due to the postponement of the IPL 2020 and other cricketing events on account of the lockdown imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some time ago, the Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa talked about the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup final which was won by India after defeating Pakistan. He also made a statement as per which it was destiny that made India win the match. He also claimed that Sreesanth was able to take Misbah-ul-Haq’s catch because luck was in his favour otherwise the Kerala bowler is known for dropping easiest of the catches.

Now, Sreesanth has reacted on Robin Uthappa’s statement and alleged that many complaints were made against Robin Uthappa in the last season as he dropped many catches while playing for Kerala. Earlier, Robin Uthappa used to play for Karnataka but now he has started playing for Kerala and Sreesanth also asked Uthappa to improve his catching.

The Indian pacer also gives a word of caution to Robin Uthappa as Sreesanth says that he will also be playing for Kerala in the domestic cricket and it won’t be good for Uthappa if he drops catches on his bowling.

Sreesanth says for Robin Uthappa that the junior team members may not have said anything to him after he dropped catches but if he does the same thing on his bowling, he must be ready for what comes to him after that. As per Sreesanth, he may have dropped only 4-5 catches in his complete international career and 10-15 catches when it comes to his entire professional career. He further adds that while training, even Jonty Rhodes who is being touted as one of the best fielders of the world drops catches.

If we talk about the catches taken by both the cricketers, Robin is far ahead of Sreesanth. 263 catches have been taken by Robin Uthappa and he has also done 48 stumpings as he plays a wicketkeeper-batsman for the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders.  Sreesanth, on the other hand, has taken only 35 catches till date in 8 years of his career.

Sreesanth was banned from playing cricket by BCCI after he was accused of spot-fixing in the IPL 2013 and since then, he hasn’t played any type of cricket match.

What is your take on this matter?

The post Sreesanth Hits Out At Robin Uthappa For Claiming That The Pacer Drops The Easiest Catches appeared first on RVCJ Media.

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Elton John recalls “Herculean effort” of getting his cocaine use noticed as he hosts ‘Rocketman’ watch party

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Elton John has spoken about his drug-taking past while leading a watch party of his biopic Rocketman.

The pop icon hosted the event on Twitter yesterday (May 29) and shared several anecdotes and thoughts along the way. One included him commenting on the “Herculean effort” it took him to get noticed for cocaine use in ’70s LA when such debauchery was widespread.

“It took a fairly Herculean effort to get yourself noticed for taking too much cocaine in the music industry of 1970s LA, but I was clearly prepared to put the hours in,” John wrote next to a gif of an inebriated Taron Egerton, who portrayed him in the 2019 film.

Elsewhere, John opened up about how emotional he got when he first saw the film. “I broke down the first time I saw this scene of me hugging Little Reggie. I’d spent most of my adult life running away from myself. It was time to re-embrace the real me,” he wrote.

He also said he was also moved by a scene in the film where his longtime musical partner, Bernie Taupin, warned him about his excessive drug and drink problem. “Seeing this scene for the first time also set me off sobbing again,” John wrote alongside a contemporary picture of the pair.

“Bernie was one of the people who tried to tell me to stop doing drugs and I wouldn’t listen, but he stuck by me and never gave up on me.”

NME concluded in a five-star review of Rocketman last year that: “If you don’t adore it, you’re probably no fun”.

Meanwhile, John was recently praised by Lady Gaga for being “instrumental” to her life and for helping her on a path to recovery.

The post Elton John recalls “Herculean effort” of getting his cocaine use noticed as he hosts ‘Rocketman’ watch party appeared first on NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM.

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Who Did R2-D2 Belong To and How Much Does He Remember Throughout ‘Star Wars’?

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Star Wars is nothing without a good droid or two. But the droids to end all droids is R2-D2. He is such a prominent character, and one of the only ones to appear throughout all nine films. He’s served every Skywalker and was at every single major moment, at least for the first six. But who did that little, sassy droid belong to? Where did he come from? Does he remember everything? Here’s what you need to know. 

R2-D2 at the SiriusXM Studios to promote ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ on March 10, 2020 | Noam Galai/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’ Signals: Remembering Kenny Baker, the Man Behind R2-D2

R2-D2 made a mark on everyone while saving Queen Padmé Amidala’s ship

R2-D2 is a character that is so synonymous with Star Wars, that it’s hard to pinpoint who he actually belongs to. There is an answer, of course, about his origin, but he sort of seems to belong to everyone and no one at the same time. 

The first time R2-D2 is chronologically seen in the Star Wars universe is in The Phantom Menace as Queen Amidala, as her court is escaping Naboo. He was just one of the astromech droids on her ship, which is typical in their universe. Space travel is tricky and can be dangerous if your ship falls apart at any point in your journey. Because of all the commotion going on, and the Trade Federation shooting at their ship, the shield generator takes a hit, and the astromechs are sent to fix the problem while they’re still flying in space. 

Every other droid falls off into space. But not R2. He fixes the problem and makes it back onto the ship to much praise. He ends up tagging along wherever Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar go on Tatooine. And that’s how his journey in this franchise starts. 

RELATED: Why Chewbacca Needed Protection from Hunters While Filming ‘Star Wars’

He went on to become a trusted companion to Padmé, through her second term as Queen of Naboo. R2 then showed up with her on Coruscant in Attack of the Clones 10 years later, when she was Senator of Naboo. By this point, R2-D2 is already glued to her side and is the only droid she takes with back to her home planet with Anakin when she has to hide from her assassin. 

R2-D2 has a major part in all of the prequels and original trilogy 

As you probably recall, he’s such a major component in Padmé and Anakin’s lives. After Attack of the Clones, he leaves Amidala’s presence and sticks with Anakin from thereon out. That’s not without a trade between husband and wife, though, because Padmé keeps C-3PO with her instead. If you’ll remember, he’s the protocol droid Anakin fixed up from the time he was nine. Kind of sweet, right?

Anyway, R2-D2 is Anakin’s partner in crime through The Clone Wars. Ahsoka becomes quite fond of him as well. Anakin is so attached to the droid that he actually risks a lot to save him. Early on in the first season, Obi-Wan Kenobi has to reprimand Anakin for his attachment to the droid, which isn’t allowed within the Jedi. But, Anakin never wipes R2-D2’s memory (which he’s technically supposed to) which means Anakin is forced to find him. Although he’s happy he can. 

And beyond the prequel era, R2-D2 is essential in the original trilogy as well. After Padmé’s death and Anakin turning to the Dark Side, R2-D2 goes under the custody of Bail Organa, which is how Princess Leia has him at the start of A New Hope. R2 is the one who brings Ben Kenobi the message from her and helps Luke out. He goes on to take a very similar role in the lives of Anakin’s kids as he did with Anakin and his friends during the Clone Wars. 

RELATED: It Was Important That Ahsoka Didn’t Kill Any Clones During Order 66 in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ According To Dave Filoni

George Lucas said he’s the narrator of ‘Star Wars,’ the keeper of their stories 

Because Anakin never wiped his memories, and Bail Organa didn’t wipe it at the end of Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 is the only character who remembers everything from the first six movies. He was also there for every major moment. While it might seem like a coincidence, it’s not. R2-D2 is the narrator of Star Wars

In the book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor, George Lucas told animation director Rob Coleman that he had an “ultimate framing device” for the first six films, according to The Independent. 

“The entire story of Star Wars is actually being recounted to the keeper of the Journal of the Whills — remember that? — a hundred years after the events of Return of the Jedi by none other than R2-D2,” Lucas said. 

This 100 percent makes sense because the original title of the first movie was going to be Journal of the Whills Part 1, told by a narrator. Plus, R2-D2’s character acts like the hero of his own story. As io9 points out, he never makes mistakes, saves all his friends in the nick of time, and is overall the best. That’s not to say he isn’t, but if you’re telling a story you’re a part of, don’t you want to make yourself look like the coolest? 

R2-D2 has been around a long time, and has had the craziest adventures. He’s gone through so much sadness too, and lost many good friends. But without him, there’d be no Star Wars

RELATED: Some Fans Praised This ‘Star Wars’ Character for Quietly Teaching Boundaries and Consent

Read the original article from The Cheat Sheet

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