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I punched and broke a piece of Madhavan sirs tooth while shooting Saala Khadoos: Ritika Singh

Ritika Singh - Kartik (2) (1)
Ritika Singh (Photo by: Kartik Thakur)

It’s often said that the life has a plan for everybody and no matter what you do, that plan will take its course! That plan turned professional kick boxer Ritika Singh in an actress. The national level boxer who represented India at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games played the lead in the Rajkumar Hirani produced, R Madhavan starrer 2016 movie Saala Khadoos, which had boxing as the central theme. Who knew that Ritikas boxing career would land her in a role in a Bollywood movie! In an interview with Nation Next, Ritika Singh speaks about her first released movie Saala Khadoos, the respect she has for ace filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, dynamic actor R Madhavan and her future plans.

Excerpts:

You belong to a boxing background and fortunately your first film Saala Khadoos was about boxing. You worked with talented people like R Madhavan and Rajkumar Hirani just in your first film. Do you feel lucky?

Absolutely! It’s still unbelievable for me. I never wanted to be an actor and it happened by chance. Once, we were doing a look test for the film for the poster shoot. I was at Rajujis place in front of a mirror and a lady was straightening my hair as I have naturally curly hair. Rajuji, his wife and Madhavan sir were there and talking to each other and Rajujis son was taking my pictures for making a video. And I thought, Just two hours ago, I was at my place when my mother sent me to fetch milk and now I’m sitting here! Nobody can be luckier than me. From a fighter to an actor in Rajkumar Hiranis production, it was just destiny!

Did you feel burdened by the expectations as it was Rajkumar Hiranis production?

There’s was a lot of pressure considering the fact that I was playing the lead role in the film and Maddy sir was the co-actor. When we were shooting for the film, I was the only one with no experience of acting whatsoever. Maddy sir had an experience of 52 films, Nassar sir had an experience of over 500 films and Mumtaz Sorcar who played my sister in the film had an experience of 26 films. I’m person who loves to learn new things. I knew nothing and I kept learning.

You’re very candid in your demeanor. You blasted the Boxing Federation in the past and even went on the record to say that boxers generally do sexual favors for the coaches. Now, you’re in an industry which is perceived to be very diplomatically correct. Don’t you feel that being so outspoken can go against you in the film industry?

I did not say exactly that! The media turned it around. I said that exploitations and harassments happen everywhere but at certain places they are highlighted even more. Many people say that film industry bahut galat hain! When I got into it, people told my father, Kahaan bhej diya! Achchi fighter hain, bigad jayegi! It happens everywhere but people don’t talk about it. I spoke about politics and favours. If you’re the coach and I’m the student, the students keep enquiring if the coach wants water or other things. Students don’t realise that they are not servants; they are there to learn.

You were fantastic in Saala Khadoos. You played the role of a tomboyish girl in the movie. Howre you in real life?

I’m actually like a boy! My natural tomboyish trait helped me in the movie. The kind of clothes they gave me in the movie, the surroundings in the movie helped me to behave in that way even more. I used to sit in the fish market all day so I became that person who doesn’t care about how she looks. In the movie, I look like a female who I want to punch! I don’t look so bad even when I’m sleeping! But that character, my surroundings and my clothes just made me that and I never cared about anything and went for it.

You come from a boxing background and the basic premise of the film was boxing. Did it help you in any way?

It helped me a lot but in some cases it also went against me. During our fights, we fighters get beaten up a lot but we never reveal our pain because if you do, the referee might tell you to stop. As I fighter, I never show that I’m hurt or tired; I’m always ready. That’s the way I’ll show my confidence. Whereas in films, you as an actor have to show the emotions; you have to show that you’re tired. I had a head guard and a gum shield on during some scenes in the film, so I had only my eyes to express things and it was very difficult.

Boxers generally have a never say die attitude. Do you think that this never say die attitude and your outspoken behavior will help you and give you an edge to take your Bollywood dreams further?

I have had this attitude since I was a child. I have been doing martial arts since I was three years old. When I lose in a fight, I become a different person. I become lonely, switch my phone off and don’t talk to anybody. I just don’t like it. The worst part about my life is that I’m a kickboxing and a karate champion. All my fights have been exceptional. I have had 5 seconds round and in one kick I have knocked people out! These fights are not on the internet. The fights which I have lost unfortunately were broadcasted on the TV! I lost and got bashed up by people in those fights! I can’t cope up with that because I know I have the potential and people are watching the wrong side of me. It just irritates me. But yeah, I have that never say die attitude and I think it’ll help me and I’ll never give up.

Saala Khadoos was a movie about boxing. In the future there are possibilities that you will land up in more glamorous role of sorts

That’s what I want to do! I want to do and experience something different. I want to test myself and see what I can do.

So, no boxing henceforth?

It’s my dream to bring light to the sport. Deepika Padukone is not playing badminton any more but if she does in one of the tournaments today, the whole of the world will watch the match that day! The sport can be glorified this way and can to brought to people’s attention. Some day, if I’m offered a big fight, I’ll take the fight because I want people to see it and encourage the sports scenario.

 Who’s your favourite boxer?

My favourite fighter is Rhonda Rousey because she has a killer instinct and a never say die attitude. I don’t want to be a fighter like her because as a fighter shes really arrogant and I can’t be that. I want to be the person she is. I want to have her confidence and do whatever I believe in.

 Were there any nervous moments while filming Saala Khadoos

As a person I’m very sweet, respectful and calm. I don’t have an anger and Saala Khadoos made me realise that if I get that anger and aggression in me, there’s no fight that I’ll lose in the world! On the first day of the shoot I had to shout, get angry and throw punches on Madhavan sir. I was very nervous. Madhavan sir calmed me down and told me to punch him and make the shot real. I got really pumped up and the moment Sudha maam said action, I punched and broke a piece of his tooth!

(This interview was taken just after the release of Saala Khadoos in January 2016)

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Governance

Dharavi redevelopment to have dedicated areas for manufacturing: Devendra Fadnavis

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment will have dedicated areas for manufacturing…

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Mah Deputy CM says that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

As Dharavi redevelopment has been announced, doubts were raised on whether this locally evolved entrepreneurial hub will retain its spirit.  In a chat on Sansad TV with Sanjeev Sanyal, Member, PM’s Economic Advisory Council and a writer, on an Economic Sutra episode telecast on Nov 6, the Deputy Chief Minister had made it very clear how he foresees the future of Dharavi and Mumbai.

Saying that his government worked on clearing all the bottlenecks, he adds, “We understood that unless we have a place to rehabilitate people, which is nearby Dharavi, this project will not take off. We found out that there is around 42 acres of land which belongs to the Railways. We approached the Central Government and told them that we’ll free up your land. We’ll buy your land and we’ll give you a share in the profit and we entered into a definitive agreement and now they have handed it over to us.”

“The Dharavi Redevelopment project will be the most unique project ever done. In fact, this redevelopment was visualized by none other than Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 but nothing happened – until 2014 when Modiji came and we started governing Maharashtra. The redevelopment will be no less beautiful than BKC. Dharavi is just not a slum but it’s also a great manufacturing cluster, so what we did was that while planning this scheme we have created areas for this entire manufacturing industry along with planning for the rehabilitation of the people. Right now, this entire manufacturing sector is informal, but after this and over time they will come into the formal sector.”

Watch the full interaction here: https://youtu.be/FNeTrm0v0dw

Also, with Mumbai undergoing so many infrastructural changes, questions have been raised about retaining the quintessential character of “aamchi Mumbai,” which apart from being the financial capital of India is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities.

Speaking on the land issues, Fadnavis says, “The usable space in Mumbai is very little. It has length, but has limitations on the breadth so taking into consideration all these problems we wanted to design a very robust system for Mumbai for commuters and for vehicles. That’s why the all the new Coastal Road, which will decongest the western side of Mumbai. It will be a ring road type structure along the coast and this Western Expressway carries 60 percent of the Mumbai traffic right, so all that traffic will be mostly accommodated here.”

Commuting in Mumbai is a killer and every day Mumbaikars spend a lot of time on travel. Saying that he wants to reduce travel within Mumbai from anywhere to anywhere to an hour, Fadnavis explains, “Our Metro three is a very unique 40 kilometers of underground Network, which will be the lifeline of Mumbai. It is estimated to carry around 1.7 million passengers per day! All this work will be finished in two or three years and I want that from any place to any place in Mumbai one should reach within less than one hour – that is the planning. We are also trying to integrate the transportation system. Right now, our Suburban Railway is the lifeline of Mumbai. This Suburban Railway carries around 9 million passengers. The new Metro Network which we are creating will be carrying around 7 million or 8 million passengers, almost doubling the current number.”

Adding to this, the Deputy CM says that the 22 kilometers of Sea Bridge that will connect us to the hinterland, “so we have Mumbai, we have new Mumbai and that will be the third Mumbai that will be a land mass which will be bigger than Mumbai with new Mumbai airport. I think the future growth of Mumbai is on that side!”

Also read: Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Governance

Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm…

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm.

Dharavi

Is squalor for cameras, money more important than dignified living for the residents…  

Former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy’s Dharavi comments kicked off a storm when he said on Twitter that Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, ‘is not actually a slum but a tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of the weakest and smallest person fighting for his or her livelihood in Mumbai. It is also a model in collective coexistence in one of the toughest cities in the world, where nothing else matters. Not caste. Not faith. Not where you come from. But trust and togetherness.’

While this may be true, what is equally true is the squalor and subhuman conditions that reign supreme in this slum. Netizens felt that Nandy, by romanticizing poverty in this manner, was only feeding poverty porn and tourism. Nandy clarified that he was seeking to keep the spirit of Dharavi alive by “researching the architectural grammar, the cultural history that builds integrated and interdependent societies like Dharavi that have survived and flourished over decades and make that the base for the new redevelopment plans. Not just look at the future but also build in the past.”

The Maharashtra Government had on November 29, opened the financial bids for Dharavi redevelopment project.  While 3 companies Adani Realty, DLF and Naman Group had submitted bids, the Adani Group clinched the project with a INR 5,069-crore bid. The timeline for the entire redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, might take close to 17 years, the rehabilitation of slum dwellers should be complete in seven years. 

Also read: Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Crime

Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai
The Bombay High Court said ex-minister Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues.

Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court said, as per prima facie, 74-year-old former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said that when Deshmukh’s bail plea was moved on medical grounds, then a fresh medical report needed to be called for. 

Singh said, “There is a compilation that has been given now. There are medical papers attached. We need to go through it. Even though this is not a bail application on merit of the case, it is still being circulated under medical issues. He is getting medical treatment as required. Moreover, medical issues are not static. We need a check on what his condition is right now.”

Deshmukh’s advocate Vikram Chaudhari said the senior NCP leader was being treated but has been suffering from several ailments that require constant treatment and care. Chaudhary said, ”He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient.”

Justice MS Karnik said that the court would hear the bail plea on merits. He said, “I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailments (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative.” Deshmukh’s bail plea would now be heard on December 6.

The bench asked Singh whether he was ready to argue on the merits of the case immediately, to which Singh said he would require a week while Chaudhari said that he was ready to argue. However, Justice Karnik said, “We need to give them a fair opportunity.”

Also read: 10 lakh spectators across 50 km; PM Modi makes history with road show for BJP in Ahmedabad

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