Fenil and Bollywood

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The Chetan Bhagat-3 Idiots spat is playing out like a typical old-fashioned masala Bollywood film

By Mumbai Mirror Bureau (January 02, 2010)


Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone, was the starting point of 3 Idiots, is not only amazed that Vinod Chopra and Aamir Khan have not read the book but also that they have been repeatedly saying that the film is only five per cent like the book.

Chetan Bhagat

“Those that haven’t read the book (read Vinod and Aamir) should not be opinionating on it. Those that have read the book and seen the film put the contribution at around 70 per cent,” he says.

Though he has blogged about his disappointment at length, he insists it isn’t about suing them or about the money.

“I have truth on my side,” he says, “Even when Gandhi took on the mighty British Empire with just a small band of followers, he had truth on his side.”

He is just happy that the film has been to the movies what his book was to the book trade… a super hit.

Has it soured Bollywood for him? His answer is an emphatic no. “There are many good people around too.” Chetan’s third book, 3 Mistakes of My Life, is currently being adapted for film by Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On!!) and his fourth, 2 States is being widely courted by directors. “I took the heat when Hello (based on One Night at a Call Centre) failed,” he says, not saying but obviously meaning, why shouldn’t he get the credit for 3 Idiots?

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By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, December 24, 2009 – 18:27 IST

Chetan Bhagat Very few authors have managed to reach out to such a wide audience as Chetan Bhagat. The writer of international bestsellers like ‘5 Point Someone’, ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ and ‘2 States’ have been widely read and now he is all set to see yet another of his book being made into a film. On the eve of 3 Idiots release, Chetan Bhagat speaks to Bollywood Hungama and talks about why 3 Idiots is a special film, his next big project and lots more.

After ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’, yet another book of yours ‘5 Point Someone’ is all set to be seen in its celluloid version (3 Idiots). How does it feel?
It feels great. This time it’s a far bigger film, the buzz about 3 Idiots is enormous. We have done the right thing by putting the film ahead of us. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to reach out to so many people through the medium of cinema.

Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone‘. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times.

The screenplay has been written by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi…Would you have liked to be a part of the screenplay writing process?
Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone’. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that.

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar the film is to the book? Raju Hirani says that the film is just 10% of the book….your comments.
I don’t think Raju must have said something like that. In fact I just met him a few days ago and we spoke at length about the film etc. See…’5 Point Someone’ has over the years achieved cult status and has its own loyal fans. I am sure they would like to see each and every moment of the book on the big screen but that is not how the process works. Adapting a book and making it into a film is a relatively new thing in India. The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that’s why the makers have officially credited the film as ‘Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat’

You are but obviously not directly involved with the film and its promotional strategies…does it upset you?
Not at all…at the end of the day I want the film to be a good film and I am happy that a film whose base is generated from my book has generated so much response and is the talk of the town.

Aamir recently was on an innovative promotional spree travelling the length and breadth of the country…what do you think about this marketing strategy?
Chetan Bhagat When you have Aamir Khan, I don’t think anybody else needs to be involved in marketing of the film. Aamir is known for his innovative style of marketing. He will never directly say, ‘Please come and watch my film’ but he will do something that will grab your attention and make you go and watch the film. I am really inspired by his marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Moving on from 3 Idiots, how is work coming along on the film based on your book ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ being made by Excel Entertainment?

I am really inspired by Aamir’s marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Abhishek Kapoor (the director) is very conscious of the comparisons that will come between the book and the film and hence we (Abhijit, Pubali Chaudhari and I) are taking great care in writing the screenplay of the film. In fact even today as we speak, I am working on the screenplay of the film based on ‘3 Mistakes Of My life’. We are aware that after Rock On and 3 Idiots, there will be a lot of expectations from people and hence we are working very hard on getting the screenplay right. I think we should be able to finalise it soon and begin casting in a month or so.

Your most recent novel ‘2 States’ was launched a couple of months ago…how has been the response so far?
‘2 States’ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour. It’s a very good book for a lot of people to relate and enjoy. It also carries a nice message. Especially in the South, the book has done extraordinarily well. I think I have been able to meet my fans expectations which is the ultimate dream for any writer.

2 States‘ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour.

That book would make for an interesting Bollywood potboiler…any plans to adapt that book into a film too?
There have been many offers but I know that my fans would like me to be involved with only A-grade Bollywood. I don’t want to sell the rights to any filmmaker just for the heck of it. It should go into the right hands so that it emerges as one of the best films of the year

What else are you busy with these days apart from tweeting….the buzz is that you are scripting a film?
Twitter is a great way to stay connected with my fans. Yes…I do want to script a romantic comedy. Abhishek Kapoor has taught me a lot about screenplay writing. The best part about working with Abhishek is that he has shown me how the screenplay language works and also how to use restraint. Rock On was such a film that expressed so much more in spite of being subtle. My books tend to be quite filmy sometimes (laughs). It’s ironical that a filmmaker is telling me to be less filmy but I am forever indebted to Abhishek for teaching me these things about screenplay writing. Now I am hoping that I can do a better job.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Although 51 weeks had passed in 2009, it still seemed incomplete. There was not a single Hindi flick this year which could be happily showered with never-ending appreciation and 5/5 ratings. Thankfully, 3 Idiots has arrived in the final week and given us the much needed ‘film of the year’! To tell you the truth, I am finding it difficult to express my satisfaction and happiness in words. Rajkumar Hirani has come up with an extremely superior product. And like his previous Munnabhai flicks, 3 Idiots also entertains and at the same time enriches! And the enlightment is such that will remain with you for a long time and would not vanish away after coming out of theatre! Needless to say, it’s a must watch!!

The story of the movie: Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) are in search for their college friend, Ranchoddas aka Rancho (Aamir Khan) who has vanished after the convocation. They missed him terribly as he was a special friend. He was different from others. He reaffirmed the simple ideas of life which were left behind by everyone for ‘textbook knowledge’ which results in profitable future. He propagated his ideas in a humanistic manner without fear and thus, challenged even the head of college, Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani). He inspired Farhan and Raju to think out of the box and to not end up mugging knowledge. Watch the film to find out where Rancho had disappeared and why.

3 Idiots is a winner from the first scene! The essence of the film could be explained even in serious manner but then that would have been too boring. Rajkumar Hirani smartly uses his smart technique of making us laugh (like hell) throughout the film but at the same time, giving us some important lessons of life. Also, what is immensely likeable about Hirani’s style is the protagonist’s character sketch. In all the 3 films, the lead actor is a source of positivity, giving important teachings in a sweet manner and spreading smiles everywhere. Rancho is also Munna Bhai and vice versa!


The film is wonderfully structured and perfectly comes back and forth (the flashback portion is running parallel in the film). The first scene, where Madhavan exits from the plane which has already taken off sets the mood. Then the ragging session where Rancho enters the film and teaches a nice lesson to the seniors was simply outstanding scene! Undoubtedly, the funniest scene in the film was where Chatur aka Silencer (Omi) gives the speech on Teacher’s Day. Believe me, it would bring the house down for sure! After a loooong time, I was laughing uncontrollably for 5 minutes continuously! This reminds me-the humour in the film is not slapstick or crass-it’s novel and something that would surely tickle your funny bone!

The intermission point was bewildering but the mystery unravels beautifully in the 2nd half. The best thing about 2nd half is you can never guess what will happen next. When a conflict arises, it is solved well in time and when you feel the film is ready for the climax, another conflict surrounds the main characters. However, one doesn’t get bored and doesn’t get impatient for the film to get over. Everyone will enjoy and get engrossed to whatever is dished out by Hirani.

The delivery sequence (involving Mona Singh) was just fabulous. It shows that quick and out of the box thinking can save the day when all our knowledge fails. Just brilliant! As for the climax, it was totally justified. The film touches various topics concerning student life (including student suicide) and depicts and debates in a just manner.

Each character had a purpose in the story and not a single one was unnecessarily added. Aamir Khan, without a shred of doubt, was the most important character of the film and needless to say, he was amazing! The best part is the way he slipped easily into the character of a student and came out with flying colours. Notice the manner in which he scratches his head and ears, the way he walks, his mannerism and body language-all matched with that of a restless and mischievous student. Also, seeing Aamir as Rancho, you’ll forget all his past performances. You’ll forget that he is the same Aamir who played the ferocious amnesic in Ghajini or the lovely teacher in Taare Zameen Par. Like all his recent films, 3 Idiots will also be remembered for a long long time to come!

R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi also maintained a strong position throughout the film. Madhavan is the narrator and does a great job in it. Also rocking was his beautiful performance in the airplane scene and his confrontation with his father. Sharman, on the other hand, did full justice to his character which was no easy task.

Boman Irani rocks! I had mentioned earlier too that it’s extraordinary that this actor plays a different kind of character in all his films and each performance stands out from the other. Here, he was great as strict disciplinarian and watch out for his dialogue delivery! Kareena Kapoor (as Pia), too, has an important role and looked lovely in the bespectacled look. Nice to see that after delivering 3 flops in this year, she finally came up with a winner! Omi was exemplary! Everyone will surely love his chamatkaar speech! What an actor he is! Mona Singh has amazing screen presence. Although her role here was miniscule, she would hopefully receive more offers after this film. Jaaved Jaaferi and Parikshit Sahni were alright in their small roles. Others were good.

Shantanu Moitra’s music was melodious and ‘ear-catching’ (can I use this phrase?!). Best song was of course Aal Izz Well. Zoobi Doobi’s picturisation was amazing. Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe was quite touching.

Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga and Shantanu Moitra’s background score was perfect. C K Muraleedharan’s cinematography was flawless and he’s one of the contenders for Best Cinematography for sure. Watch out for the lensman’s amazing aerial shots in the song Behti Hawa Sa!

The film is loosely inspired from Chetan Bhagat’s first novel Five Point Someone. Hirani has smartly adapted only some portions of the book and interpreting and modifying it to suit the story. Hirani along with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi wrote the screenplay which was brilliant to say the least!

Finally, Hirani came up with the story and directed the film too. Like his previous flicks, here too, he raised questions but didn’t turn the situation overdramatic or serious. He kept it light by adding jokes and funny situations and at the same time giving us an important lesson-do what you feel like in life. Even ‘Rock On!!’ had touched this topic but 3 Idiots will have a wider reach. Also note the outstanding way in which he handled Sharman’s suicide sequence beautifully! Hats off to these geniuses! Keep delivering such meaningful flicks!

Some of the best scenes of the film:

1.       The first scene
2.       All songs
3.       The ragging session
4.       Rancho in the first lecture
5.       Viru Sahastrabuddhe aka Virus tells Rancho to teach in the class (amazing!)
6.       Rancho and Farhan at Raju’s place
7.       Rancho meets Pia in the wedding
8.       Rancho and Pia bring Raju’s dad to hospital
9.       The intermission point
10.     Farhan and Raju with Jaaved Jaaferi (hilarious!)
11.      The chamatkaar speech!
12.     Drunk Rancho enters Pia’s room
13.     Rancho and gang trying their best to make Raju normal
14.     The last 25 minutes

On the whole, 3 Idiots is undoubtedly the best film of 2009! Whether you are a student or parent or professor, this one’s a must for all! Needless to say, missing it can be a big crime! Commercially, the film should be the 2nd film after Ghajini to cross 100 crore collections in domestic market! All Izz well indeed!

My rating-***** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/3_Idiots-182740-1.html

CREATING MAGIC: Deepika Padukone and Farhan Akhtar in a still from the film
Farhan Akhtar is fida over his hot co-star Deepika Padukone…

SHARIN WADER BUTANI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 9, 2009)

It’s difficult to separate the director-producer and actor in Farhan Akhtar, for he’s forever honing his acting skills, thinking of a marketing strategy to promote his films or of different angles to make his stars look larger than life. But today he’s in a different mood. He keeps aside the Don 2 script he’s been working on and gets talking about his hot costar from Kartik Calling Kartik, Deepika Padukone. “There are no words to describe her beauty, she’s extremely beautiful. Many will identify with me when I fall deeply in love with her in the film. In the hot quotient, she ranks among the top three actresses in Bollywood… need I say more,” he asks.

Farhan feels that the two share a wonderful chemistry but he wanted to be doubly sure so he held a focus screening where he invited people from different age groups to come and watch it. “I called my driver’s children and their friends, college students, housewives… and they felt the same,” he says. Once on the show that he was hosting, Deepika had turned up as his guest, standing tall, towering over him. “In reality, we are of the same height. I actually measured her with a measuring tape,” he laughs and adds, “she’s got long legs, her pose and posture make her look tall… unfortunately, I have neither.”

In all his films, Farhan has always given his actors a “hair-raising” experience, thanks to his wife, hairstylist Audhuna. Aamir had the spiked look in Dil Chahta Hai, Hrithik sported a crew cut in Lakshya while Preity Zinta went bob, Arjun Rampal had to grow his hair and Farhan himself was seen in a hairband in Rock On. And for KCK, Deepika had to chop off her hair. “I have a secret pact with Tirupathi Balaji, I cut their hair and send it there… but for Arjun in Rock On, we made hair extensions from the hair that we had cut during Dil Chahta Hai,” he laughs. “My actors shouldn’t look the same in my film the way they did in some other film. The audience should be able to see the character than the celebrity in them,” says Farhan, who plays a lovable loser in KCK. “I can relate to the character because in the past, I have been one myself. Like the crush I had on this girl but never admitted for the fear of being rejected,” says Farhan, who will be playing a fullfledged romantic hero in the film.

CREATIVE: Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani

SHARIN WADER BUTANI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 20, 2009)

Remember how hatke Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani were about their venture Rock On? The filmmakers took the same passion with them to Istanbul when they went there along with director Abhinay Deo on a recce for their film Crooked with Abhishek Bachchan. Taken up by the beauty of the place, they drove around thinking of a song that would suit the location, then called up Javed Akhtar and asked him to compose one and send it to them in 24 hours. Javed got Shankar Mahadaven to compose his lyrics and sent the song to Istanbul, where they continued driving around playing the song in their car, until Abhinay found a spot he thought the sequence would look best. The film goes on the floors on January 14. And Farhan and Ritesh are now on the lookout for a new face to play opposite Abhishek. The hunt is on for a girl, but not on foot or in a car all over Istanbul. Which is a pity, because the women there are of exceptional beauty as well.

By Taran Adarsh, October 30, 2009 – 08:26 IST

In real life, if you feel your colleague is far more superior to you in intelligence, talent, charisma, efficiency, chances are you might feel the heat. Jealousy, generally, stems from there. In the process, the best of relations get strained. LONDON DREAMS, directed by Vipul Shah, talks of two musicians, thick pals actually, and how jealousy drives a wedge in their friendship.

Let’s clear a few myths before discussing the positive and negative factors of this film. LONDON DREAMS is not BAIJU BAWRA. LONDON DREAMS is not ROCK ON!!, ABHIMAAN, YAARANA or SAAJAN either [a section of the industry wants us to believe that]. The truth is, LONDON DREAMS borrows from Milos Forman’s brilliant film AMADEUS [1984], which was based on Salieri and Mozart’s life. In fact, Suneel Darshan too had made a film based on AMADEUS called SHAKALAKA BOOM BOOM [2007; Bobby Deol, Upen Patel].

BY BOLLYWWOD HUNGAMA.COM

LONDON DREAMS is a complete departure from Vipul Shah’s earlier outings, AANKHEN, WAQT, NAMASTEY LONDON and SINGH IS KINNG [produced by Vipul, directed by Anees Bazmee]. This film is about relationships and tends to get very real and intense, in the post-interval portions specifically. The scale of LONDON DREAMS is gigantic and the execution of concerts [it’s about a band] sweeps you off your feet.

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In terms of execution, it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that LONDON DREAMS is amongst Vipul Shah’s most accomplished works to date. Also, it boasts of incredible performances by Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn. But there are hiccups too and it’s these deficiencies that bog the film down!

They were childhood friends. But they had little in common except their family’s connection with music. While Arjun’s [Ajay Devgn] life was consumed by a passionate drive to get on stage and realize his grandfather’s unfulfilled dream, Mannu [Salman Khan] was content with remaining a child at heart with no higher ambition than enjoying the good things in life.

As Arjun forges a band with Zoheb [Rannvijay Singh], Wasim [Aditya Roy Kapur] and Priya [Asin], a music enthusiast from a conservative South Indian family, far away in Punjab, music becomes a survival tool for Mannu, who takes to playing in wedding bands in his village.

Arjun gets Mannu to London and makes him a part of the band, but soon realizes he’s created the biggest threat and obstacle to his own ambitions.

Mannu, with his inherent musical gift, becomes an instant darling of the crowds. Arjun’s unbearable pangs of jealousy and insecurity only worsen when Mannu also unwittingly woos and wins his secret love, Priya. As he battles his inner demons, Arjun slowly devises a sinister plan to destroy his best friend.

It takes time to get into Ajay’s world [its Ajay who’s narrating the story here]. The film moves back and forth and it’s only when the two buddies, now adults, meet that you realize where the story is headed. The first hour depicts the two extreme characters – Ajay, who’s an introvert and who cannot think of anything but his goal and Salman, a happy-go-lucky guy, laidback and fun-loving, least focused.

The narrative has some interesting moments in the first hour, but the actual story unravels only towards the second half. The first half, frankly, only sets things up for the explosive drama that is to follow. The wheels start moving when Ajay plays a vicious game and hatches a conspiracy to ruin his buddy’s career.

It’s the second hour that does the trick. You can’t help but carry several sequences in your heart, even after you’ve made an exit from the auditorium…

  • Note the scene when Salman makes four different tunes from the original tune created by Ajay.
  • Note the scene when Ajay meets an inebriated Salman and professes revenge, while Salman is completely clueless about Ajay’s sinister plans.
  • Note the scene when the band arrives in London after a 3-city concert and they’re received by aggressive mediapersons.

But there’re roadblocks too. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is a downer. LONDON DREAMS is about a rock band, about music, about concerts and the music had to be the soul of the film. Unfortunately, it’s not! The songs have been filmed in the most energetic fashion, but how one wishes the music was one of the strengths of the film.

Also, the film could’ve concluded when the two friends re-unite at the station. Adding one more song thereafter only dilutes the impact of the emotionally correct sequence that has just been witnessed. Besides, the song in question hasn’t been promoted either, so it only comes across as an aberration.

Prior to that, Ajay’s outburst at the end of the concert is far from convincing. The film has a real feel, real characters and real situations, but the outburst looks unreal and is one of the drawbacks, from the writing point of view. It’s just not convincing!

Besides, Ajay’s childhood character is shown fleeing from the airport and making it big in a foreign land [London], without any support whatsoever. It’s unpalatable!

Vipul Shah has handled this intricate subject well, but the writing could’ve been tighter. Sejal Shah’s cinematography is super. Brownie points for capturing the concerts brilliantly. Salim-Sulaiman’s background score matches international standards.

Both Salman and Ajay vie for top honours. Salman has a role that the junta would take to instantly and the actor too endears himself to the viewers. He’s stupendous. When it comes to displaying intensity on screen, very few can live up to the standards set by Ajay. To state that he packs in a power-packed performance would be an understatement. They, in fact, compliment each other wonderfully well.

Asin is admirable and pairs off very well with Salman. She is sure to have a new name after this film – Chennai Express [that’s how Salman addresses her affectionately, all through the film]. Om Puri has a brief role. Aditya Roy Kapur is very good and registers an impact. Rannvijay Singh doesn’t get much to do, except throw nasty looks at Salman. Manoj Pahwa provides some funny moments. Brinda Parekh is okay.

On the whole, LONDON DREAMS has superb performances from its principal cast and several emotionally-charged sequences as its two trump cards. But its biggest drawback is its climax and also the music, which is the weakest link of the movie. At the box-office, the film should appeal more to the multiplex audience than the masses. Business at big centres, especially at metros, should be better, but mini-metros and towns will be a contrast.

LONDON DREAMS OR ALADIN?

The following two Fridays are going to see the release of four big films two in each week. While Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Jail are releasing on Nov 6, London Dreams and Aladin are hitting the screens tomorrow, i.e. Oct 30.

ldLondon Dreams (LD) was originally to be directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi and he had planned the impossible-casting Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan together! Santoshi even managed to do a joint narration with Aamir and SRK. Both seemed genuinely interested while the narration was going on. But later, due to some unknown reason, both of them stopped responding to Santoshi’s calls and the project was put on the backburner. At that time, the film was titled Rashque (jealousy).

LD is now Vipul Shah’s venture and in place of SRK, he has casted Ajay Devgn and Aamir Khan is replaced by Salman Khan. Although the current version has created curiosity amongst moviegoers, I really really wished the film was made with the original cast. Just imagine, SRK and Aamir Khan together would have rocked completely. Even if the film was bad, just seeing them together would have been a paisa vasool experience!

LD has impressed overall everyone ever since its first promo was out. The song and the musical theme of the film have made it a must watch for everyone. Also, director Vipul Shah’s track record has been fantastic. All his past films (Aankhen, Waqt, Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng) were big time hits. Asin, who is very choosy when it comes to signing films, is also a part of this bid budget project. The film is expected to get a good opening and become a hit.

aladinSince LD will be the first choice for majority, the 2nd release tomorrow, Aladin, may suffer. Frankly speaking, Aladin seems more impressive than LD to me as somehow I have never been interested in films about music bands (I wasn’t even excited for ‘Rock On!!’ before it released). Coming back to Aladin, it has the finest special effects ever seen in any Bollywood movie so far. The film’s star cast is amazing and it may turn out to be a fantasy joyride. On the flipside, the film isn’t well promoted. Also, there are chances that the film may highly disappoint. In the past, there have been countless big budget films which were pathetic and Aladin may also turn out to be the same. Also, the co-producers of the film are Eros who had come up with a similar kind of film last year which became the disaster of the season. That film was DRONA! What if Aladin is also on the same lines? So I’ll prefer to wait for the response and then decide whether or not to go for it!

Which film will be your first choice? Do let me know!
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BLUE’s SEQUEL IN THE OFFING?

There is no certainty yet as to whether Blue has managed to recover its 80-90 crs (or maybe more) cost and yet, its producers are planning its sequel! According to the reports, Katrina will have a longer role in the sequel. Director Anthony D’Souza has announced that John Abraham will be a part of the sequel without even consulting him, thus, pissing off John! Anthony also says that this time the adventures will take place in the sky too!

I was just wondering-what will they name the sequel to Blue? How about ‘BLUE TWO-TH’?!!


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