The lockdown has been extended, and we are wondering how lives of the influential people from various sectors of the entertainment industry are going. The ones who are always on our headlines, pap, and ruling over Page 3, thought of their daily lives is making us curious. Would they be experimenting with culinary skills, or might be productively using time in learning new things etc. So put a full stop on imaginations because we have brought you celebs talking about their ‘quaran-time’ activities.
Actor Aparshakti Khurrana feels that everything happens in life for a reason. There can be no better time than quarantine phase to rejuvenate your relationships with your loved ones. “I am having a great time with my family after so long. We always complain for not getting enough time. But now when we are having all our 24 hours with us, I am spending them in enjoying all the magical relationships I have been blessed with in life. Infact, everyone should realise that not the material happiness, but real relationships make our life worth living.”
Apar hasn’t forgotten about his responsibility towards his fans inbetween everything. His regular Instagram live sessions and interactions with his fans, friends, and followers are the proof.
Aparshakti Khurrana, or the ‘multi-tasker’- both mean the same. The person carrying this name has received so much love and affection from cine industry and his fans worldwide in such a short period of time. But this success holds the record of hardwork and efforts. “My initial plans were to go for cricket. Acting was there, but in the second priority. When it didn’t click, I started working on my acting, and vocal skills. My brother Ayushmann Khurrana was doing theatres, street plays since his school days. Luckily, my journey started after I got into the radio world, and then television hosting. It took off with my Bollywood debut in ‘Dangal’ where I played the narrator and the brother of Phogat sisters.’
From then, there was no looking back for Apar. However, the multi-tasker is a passionate musician. “Music is more of a passion for me. I haven’t thought of making it a career. It is my point to find solace you can say. I might plan a live jamming on Instagram soon,” he says.
According to Apar, it is always necessary to be grateful for all the bad and good phases of life. The reason says that every incident has lesson associated which makes an individual grow wise and decisive.
Actress Anupriya Goenka is using her quarantine time to do away with her pending paperworks. “I usually don’t get time for this. But since I am home now having all the time in the world, I decided to finish the pending work of my finances, other offical paperworks. I am also looking after my father’s business, and working to fine my skills for upcoming projects.”
Anupriya is a keen watcher of movies and web series. “I am watching a lots of things on Netflix and other web releases these days. You can say that I am investing my time in watching them because I feel that web contents are so much advanced and improvised. It’s a treat to the quarantine.”
Having worked in YouTube series, television episodics, web series like Criminal Justice, Asur, and bollywood movies like Padmaavat, Tiger Zinda Hai, last year hit War, Anupriya says that acting happened to her by the chance of destiny. She is glad having worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Siddharth Anand, Kabir Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff and other such huge talents of cine industry.
She was earlier into corporate, but always had a soft inclination towards acting. “I remember having done theatres long back during my high school days. That time, I felt really great while performing infront of the audience. Even while working in corporate with my father’s business, I felt I to take a chance for this part of my life. Then eventually I realised that it is impossible to balance corporate and acting on one space and started devoting my time wholly to acting.”
Like everyone else, Anupriya has also some first things to do post lockdown. “I will go and meet my parents. Lockdown happened around when I was shooting for an upcoming project. My parents are old and live in Thane. So I decided not to visit them and avoid risk till this crisis ends. Besides that, I also got some time with myself. I might discover new things as an artist soon.”
Apart from cinemas, filmmaker Anurag Basu is well-known in the entertainment industry for his extravagant celebrations of festivals. However, he is sceptical about both the things keeping in view of this year’s scene due to COVID-19 outbreak. “Be it filmmaking or festival, both hold the same space for me. I consider my work as my first worship. But seeing the situation, we all need to maintain safety first. I feel that atleast next 9-10 months are very crucial which will govern our steps in future,” he says. Basu also advises our readers to maintain hygiene and sanitation even after this pandemic comes down. “The good habits always need to be cultivated and implemented in our regular lives.”
Since the entire world is under a pause button, entertainment industry is no different. Nonetheless, it has influenced lives of daily paid workers of cine world. However, Basu says, “They are one of the strongest pillars of our industry. And their union body is even stronger to stand with them during this catastrophe. They might lack with privileged facilities, but their payment is quite good in comparison to normal wage workers. Sustainability is not huge issue for anyone as long as the government is taking adequate measures.”
Basu informs his fans that the release of his upcoming film ‘Ludo’ which stars actors like Aditya Roy Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao etc. has been postponed due to pandemic. However, he assures it will soon be on screens.
Quarantine has led everyone to explore creativity. Basu has said to be spending his time in three different ways. “I like to help in household works which I am doing quite a lot these days. People may find it weird but it makes me happy. Then I am doing away with my pending works, both offical and unofficial for which usually don’t find much time. And now that I have time, I want to finish everything that had been longing for days. Lastly, I love to read books. Books are a great secret escape of one’s mind. Even in our profession, you can’t structure a story unless you don’t read it. I am reading in solitude quite a lot nowadays.”
Celebration is half relished if you haven’t moved and grooved on Chhaiya Chhaiya, Marjaani, Dhan te nan, and not to miss, Chak De India track on national achievements where whole nation becomes one soul. So when the world is on rest, let’s hear from the veteran singer himself Sukhwinder Singh about his quarantine period activities. “The major portion of my daily routine is occupied with workout and vocal practicing. I was a sportsperson in my early days so I feel fitness is very important for everyone.”
According to Sukhwinder, devoting some amount of time in practicing art is what brings the greatest peace. “During this testing period our mental sanity should be taken care of. Though going outside and socializing is forbidden, we are blessed that we are with our families, living beautifully with minimum requirements, and following a healthy lifestyle. The COVID-19 pandemic can only be tackled by cooperation. And for that we need to keep our minds healthy. Follow your art, and practice creativity for peace and drive away the inner chaos.”
“Consistency in practice of art brings peace, followed by positive energy and happiness. But you have to enjoy and feel passionate about the art. It can be singing, writing, dancing, cooking, basically, anything. And most importantly, there should be no possession of ego, self obsession, and similar negativities,” he says.
However, Bhubaneswar has a very special place in Sukhwinder’s life. Having performed several times in the temple city, the artist feels a cosmic connect with the place. “I guess I had shared a very special period in Bhubaneswar in some lifetime that. Even whenever I read any story or something which has Bhubaneswar, my keenness in the subject rushes to the top.”
To his fans and admirers, Sukhwinder gives a candid advice that “Past cannot be a graveyard, but is a great experience, a great teacher. But I believe to live in the present. Because this is what defines my further journey.”
After working in two hits under T-Series label, singer/composer Rangon is quite seriously working on his music skills. “I am working on few projects. I am also doing away with all the household works and trying to cook a new dish everyday. Quarantine has made me a staunch reader. I am reading a lot and have become quite active on social media. I am also watching series on Netflix like ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Bojack Horseman’ etc.”
Rangon says that from many, one big lesson that lockdown has taught is to manage household work and professional life simultaneously. “Unless you don’t do the task, you don’t know how efficient you can be. Other than that, another very good thing that has happened is I have started writing poems once again. It’s a part of my life I used to pursue during my school days.”
Positivity is an important part of life. Catastrophes happen to teach us what real things are to be valued. “We have started valuing small things in life. Earlier many of us who are staying away from families forgot to talk to them regularly. We were becoming emotionally distanced. Now, while struggling for survival we have understood how blessed we are,” says Rangon.
Rangon has worked as a composer alongside Kunaal Vermaa on two big projects under T-Series- ‘Tootey Khaab’ that featured Armaan Malik, and ‘Phir Mulaqat’ for the movie ‘Why Cheat India’ featuring Emraan Hashmi. He has collaborated with Mohit Chauhan for an upcoming release called ‘Tanhaaiyan’. “I feel blessed having worked with Mohit sir and so many talents. I have worked couple of other projects including my single, but can’t be sure about its release in the forthcoming days seeing the situation.”
The song ‘Tanhaaiyan’ has a special connect with Odisha because singer/composer Anurag Mohapatra has put his efforts to credit. He was one of the top contestants of ARRived series, India’s first digital singing reality show by A.R Rahman.
When Rangon was asked about the era of remakes and Masakali 2.0, he put his views as that the recreation needs to pay justice to the original composition. “When you recreate, you first create. The comparison with the older version will always be there. So the music composers have to be very particular about what they are recreating. We have listened to many recreations and we liked them. But recreating a new one which already has new sounds in it, I don’t think is a wise decision.”
While we all are into plans to meet up with friends, hanging out to places after lockdown, actor Prit Kamani has plans to gorge some street delicacies like Sev-Poori after entertaining us in his new digitally released movie ‘Maska’. This multi-talented artist tells us, “I love to be alone, so being in home quarantine is not disturbing for me. Rather, I am spending time with family, and improving my skills.
Prit followed his call and debuted in the entertainment industry as an anchor of the show ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’. Later, he was featured in ‘Hum Chaar’ by Rajshri Banner, and then there was no looking back. He also hosted ARRived series of A.R Rahman- India’s first digital singing reality show, and owns a YouTube channel called Jumbo Jatts With Shankar, and currently has showcased his acting skills in Netflix’s ‘Maska’ alongside Nikita Dutta, Shirley Setia, Manisha Koirala, and Javed Jaffery. “I feel great that I got chance to work with such huge talents and veterans and entertained people at such hard phase. My character is of a non-actor guy trying to act. It was challenging indeed and I learnt a lot in the process.”
But not known to many, this treasure house has another talent of singing. “Singing is a source of meditation for me. I feel grateful and blessed as an artist that I could reach people’s hearts in multiple ways. However, I haven’t thought of singing professionally yet, but definitely would soon with a big deal.”
The new talent in town Prit is a big admirer of Shahrukh Khan. He looks forward to work with filmmakers like Ayaan Mukharjee, Rajkumar Hirani, Rajkumar Santoshi, Sriram Raghavan in future.
Infact, quarantine days could be said as a blessed period for writers and poets to curate new pieces on paper. Bollywood screenwriter & lyricist Manoj Yadav believes that this time perfect for personal writings. “I think for professional commitments, moving out, observation, face to face discussions with the team are important. It makes a lyricist understand the requirement of the content in a better way.”
Two of the recent music releases of Manoj- ‘Main Dooba Rahoon’ by Aditya Narayan and ‘Nah Woh Main’ by Shreya Ghoshal have become chartbusters. He has received the prestigious Mirchi Music Award for one of his non-film songs. “This quarantine phase happened all of a sudden which must have disturbed many people mentally. We as artists and writers are glad that we delivered some good, postive vibes and thoughts to our listeners. Since the releases, we have been receiving great responses from people,” Manoj shared.
Manoj also said that music is a great healer. If one out of fifty lives have been influenced with positivity by a particular song, then the purpose of music is accomplished.
Manoj has showcased his mastery in versatile writing ‘Azhar’, ‘Gabbar Is Back’, ‘Saaho’, ‘Piku’, ‘Ungli’, ‘Madari’ and many more. He says, “Sometimes I become a pen for me, and sometimes for professional commitments. But the job of the pen is same i.e to eradicate pain. My writings are inspired from everything present around me. And my efforts will always be to enlighten lives of others.”
Tarsame Mittal is a big name in the talent management business and bollywood. However, the pandemic has hugely affected the entertainment industry. Shoots, live shows etc., have stopped. However, according to Mittal, every present situation has one solution, be it even business. “We are are running with estimates and assumptions. But factually speaking, those are taking us nowhere. Unless we haven’t found the vaccine to stop the spreading of COVID-19, nothing can exactly get normalised.”
Mittal is a believer of promoting fresh talents to the forefront through his recently launched music label TM Music digitally. The label has released their first single with rapper Badal. “This music label is primarily for new and fresh talents. We preponed the release during lockdown because we feel that music is more of what soothes soul through heart. It’s less of a visual thing, at least for the time being when every commercial work has stopped in the industry. Our focus is more on independent or non-film music. The music scenario has changed. New, young, enthusiastic talents deserve the opportunity and platform. And that is what we aim for.”
Tarsame Mittal is the founder of many creative verticals like Truly Musical, Music Plus, TM Music. Apart from this, Bollywood Music Project, and the biggest music conference of India ‘All About Music’ are Mittal’s brainchild and Intellectual Projects. He also informs that this year’s conference will be happening on the decided date. “There’s going to be many restrictions on travelling and movements in the forthcoming days. But we will be holding All About Music partially or fully digital. Infact, two pre-event sessions of All About Music have taken place digitally. Because let’s face it, everyone is going through a though time, people are lacking with ideas and disillusioned against creativity. At time, such discussions and presentations will help a lot. Besides that, it will increase the viewership. People from all over the world can participate.” Besides that, TM will be launching its production house soon.
Mittal believes that the right time to do anything is ‘now’. “There is less competition which is next to ‘no’. If you are clever enough, this is time you can click with your dreams,” he says.
Eminent entertainment journalist Rajeev Masand is conducting virtual interviews with celebs during lockdown. However, he says that virtual interviews are very different from the real ones. “My interviews with celebrities are based on valuable contents. Audience get to know a different interpretation. But now, everyone in the industry is facing almost the same situation being at home. They are having no shoots and on going work these days. Conversations are more fruitful when they have something valuable to share.”
However, OTT platform is a source of time utilisation for Rajeev. “I am currently watching ‘Crown’, and ‘Pushpavalli’ on Amazon prime,” he says. ‘Pushpavalli’ is the brainchild of Sumukhi Suresh, the renowned comic. She has features herself along with Manish Anand in the series.
While the entire world is facing crisis, the condition of daily wage workers of entertainment industry of India is also miserable. “They are the unsung heroes of our industry you can say. While we have a better level of life, the situation is unexpected and unjustified for them. Their survival depends on how much earing they take home everyday.”
Rajeev Masand is a big name when it comes to reviewing films and interviewing stars. Infact, it’s a great remark for any celebrity who has featured in Rajeev’s show. Earlier, Rajeev used to host his show ‘Masand ki Pasand’ before moving to ‘Now Showing’ on leading TV channels. “As a journalist, I do a good research before going with the content on the floor. The content first goes on the channel professionals for my show ‘Now Showing’ and then segments on my YouTube. I do not only believe, I try to do something new always. Since Hindi is not my cup of tea, I mostly have English in my content.”
The best way to utilise quarantine is by working on self. According to Rajeev, this is a great time to improve oneself. “I am having a good self-recharge period now. The things we generally overlook in day to day life, we are now facing and accepting them with time and consideration. I am reading quite a lot. As I am a film critic, I am watching more movies these days. Because I feel that we all can face this situation sanely by focusing on and doing things that makes us feel positive.”
The chartbuster ruler Dhvani Bhanushali is quite busy in learning music classes online. Thanks to internet, she says, “I am continuing my music classes through video calls. It’s also feels great spending most of the time with my family.” Dhvani is also exploring her culinary talent from her sister.
But before that, she has a message for her fans regarding the present situation- “Just stay indoors. Keep a check on your hygiene and do not panic. Maintain social distancing for yourself and for the safety of others as well. We all are in this together and we shall come out of this very soon.”
But has the lockdown affected music affairs of the industry? “Not really. Infact artists are getting more time to work on their music,” Dhvani says. Some great melodies are on progress maybe!
This year or that, Dhvani’s voice has been on top of everyone’s playlist. From ‘Vaaste’ getting so much of love and appreciation worldwide to her bagging the Mirchi Listeners Choice Independent (Indies) award at Mirchi Music Awards Dhvani’s journey has been so overwhelming for her. “The year and my journey so far has been so surreal. This is my first award and it couldn’t have happened without the entire team who worked tirelessly on the song,” she says.
Fan’s love is somewhat the biggest boost for Dhvani in her musical life. She recently has released a motivational song ‘Jeetenge Hum’ dedicated to the people working at the frontline. “The response and admiration I recieve from my fans, are the actual gratification for my hard work. Their love motivates me even more. I love making music which everyone can listen to. And, I love the fact that fans find something in my songs that they can relate to,”expresses Dhvani.