Sonali Bendre will be hosting a new series on Colors. Called Mission Sapne, the series will feature 10 celebrities living the life of a common man and earning for him for one day. “People often ask what can a celebrity do for the common man apart from signing a cheque. I want to contribute through something I know. I might not be able to reach out to lakhs but even if I can touch the lives of ten people, it is better than doing nothing.”

The series will see Ram Kapoor working as a taxi driver for a day, Salman Khan picks up scissors as a barber and Mika Singh becomes a tea vendor. Their earnings will go to people they replace for a day and Sonali will interact and narrate their journey from the studio. “I was touched by their commitment. Even youngsters like Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra chipped in.”

On her return to big screen, Sonali says she knows these are times where her style of conversational acting will work. “My husband, producer Goldie Bahl, often says that I was ahead of my times and should give it a shot once again but right now my priority is my kid and producers are not ready to bear my motherly tantrums. And the last thing I want is to return with a home production. I am in no hurry and will return only when I am confident that I can justify my different roles. Till then, I am happy with my television shows.”

Playing mother

After a long wait after Ranjhanaa, Swara Bhaskar has finally signed a film as lead protagonist. She will be seen as a young mother in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari's Nil Battey Sannatta. The title is taken from a colloquial North Indian phrase which means a hopeless or gone case. The idea is conceived by Ashwiny's husband Nitesh Tiwari, who is in news these days for directing Bhootnath Returns. Swara says she has been saying no to characters similar to Bindiya of Ranjhanaa for the last 10 months. "I have been asked if I was scared of being typecast in an older age bracket but I see it as an original idea that explores the mother-daughter relationship in a unique way. Nitesh has conceived a script that demands a great performance and I hope I will be able to deliver."

Story of courage

Director Sandeep Varma has finished shooting for the biopic of Manjunath Shamanugam, the IIM Lucknow graduate who was killed by the oil mafia in Lakhimpur Kheri. “The film questions whether Manjunath was naive or a courageous man doing his job. During the research, many of his friends said that everybody is aware about corruption and lawlessness in this part of the world and he should have been careful.” Varma says IIM graduates are expected to work in multinational companies and earn big bucks. Guys like Manjunath are either labelled as fools or heroes when the job they do and principles they stand for should be considered normal.

While Seema Biswas is playing Manjunath's mother, seasoned villain Yashpal Sharma will be seen as Golu, the man who silenced Manjunath when he failed to buy him. "Golu is not your usual filmy villain. He is an ambitious guy for whom everything comes with a price tag and he finds Manjunath a special creature. He tries hard to befriend him but fails in his pursuit to manipulate him for his greed. Yashpal helped me rewrite the character to make it more believable," says Varma. The film is slated for release on May 9.