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Rashmika Mandanna Steps In as Samantha Exits Bollywood Debut Project

In a surprising turn of events in the Bollywood film industry, Samantha, who was widely expected to make her big-screen Bollywood debut with the film “Vampires of Vijay Nagar,” directed by Aditya Sarpotdar, is no longer part of the project. Industry insiders suggest that her withdrawal was due to scheduling conflicts resulting from delays in the production timeline. Consequently, Rashmika Mandanna has been signed to replace Samantha as the leading lady opposite Ayushmann Khurrana.

Months after the initial announcement of Ayushmann Khurrana’s collaboration with producer Dinesh Vijan for this horror-comedy, the production is now set to move forward. With Rashmika Mandanna joining the cast, the team is currently concentrating on finalizing the screenplay and dialogues. Filming is slated to commence in November, aligning with the schedules of both lead actors. Ayushmann Khurrana will have just concluded his work on a spy comedy directed by Karan Johar, while Rashmika Mandanna will have wrapped up her commitments for “Pushpa 2: The Rule” with Allu Arjun and “Sikandar” alongside Salman Khan.

Even as the excitement around “Vampires of Vijay Nagar” builds, Ajay Devgn continues to make significant strides in the digital entertainment space. He has greenlit a suspense thriller web series to be directed by Honey Trehan, a filmmaker transitioned from casting director. The plot and cast details remain under wraps, but production is expected to begin in December. This venture marks Ajay Devgn’s fourth foray into digital content creation, following the projects “Tribhanga” (2020), “The Great Indian Murder” (2022), and “The Trial: Pyaar Kaanoon Dhoka” (2023).

On the international front, actor Vikrant Massey expressed elation over the positive reception of his film “12th Fail” (2023) at the recently concluded Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). Reflecting on his experience, Massey shared that the event was packed and he was particularly delighted to meet Chinese fans who could speak Hindi. “It was phenomenal,” he said, adding that he missed the presence of director Vidhu Vinod Chopra at SIFF. However, he remains optimistic about the film’s prospective release in China, hoping to make up for lost time.

In other casting news, Arpit Ranka, known for his television roles as Duryodhana in “Mahabharat” and Kans in “Radha-Krishna,” is poised to make a comeback in the film “Kannappa.” Ranka will portray the antagonist Kaalmukh in this Vishnu Manchu-starrer, which also promises cameos by Bollywood heavyweights Akshay Kumar, Prabhas, and Mohanlal. Discussing his role, Ranka shared his excitement saying, “Every actor dreams of landing a significant role.

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. After a three-year hiatus, being part of a globally anticipated film with an iconic cast is like a dream come true.”

Meanwhile, the absence of Anil Kapoor from the third installment of the “Welcome” series, titled “Welcome to the Jungle,” has piqued curiosity. Kapoor, who immortalized the character Majnu bhai in the first two films, has refrained from explaining his absence. However, Nana Patekar, his co-star in the previous movies, disclosed that they turned down offers to join the new project. “They approached us, but we said no. The story wasn’t compelling enough,” Patekar stated. He further emphasized that the essence of “Welcome” would be incomplete without both him and Anil Kapoor.

Turning to politically charged cinema, Kangana Ranaut has finally scheduled the release of her directorial effort, “Emergency.” Based on the Emergency of 1975 imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the film plans to hit theaters on September 6, 2024. Kangana, who won a parliamentary seat from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, earlier this year, delayed the film due to her election campaign. She revealed on social media that “Emergency” draws inspiration from William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” examining the dire consequences of unchecked ambition.

Lastly, Varun Dhawan and his father, director David Dhawan, are teaming up for a new romantic comedy. Ramesh Taurani will produce the film, which features a love triangle filled with humor. Mrunal Thakur and South Indian actress Sree Leela, in her Bollywood debut, will star alongside Varun. This film aims to provide an entertaining launch for Sree Leela, with the Dhawan duo crafting a highly engaging narrative. Filming is expected to start next month, targeting an October 2, 2025 release.

The Bollywood industry remains as dynamic as ever, with new projects and talent shifts making headlines daily. Fans can look forward to an array of upcoming films promising entertainment, drama, and suspense.