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Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi film to feature Suresh Oberoi as Peshwa Baji Rao II

National Award-winner Krish Jagarlamudi’s upcoming biopic on Rani Laxmibai, Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, is on a casting spree ever since the project was announced. Although, Kangana Ranaut playing Laxmibai was an already known fact as her inclusion in the project was as early as the conceptualisation of the film.

Suresh Oberoi in Kangana’s Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. Images via Facebook

Later, it was revealed that popular TV actress Ankita Lokhande will don the role of Laxmibai’s close aid Jhalkaribai in the film. Now it is being reported by Mumbai Mirror that veteran actor and father of Vivek Oberoi, Suresh Oberoi will portray the role of Peshwa Baji Rao II.

Historically, it is known that Laxmibai’s father Moropant Tambe was a royal advisor in the Peshwa’s court.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, about his role, Suresh Oberoi said, “I was initially fascinated by another character but Krish said that given the way I sit, speak and behave, I am best suited to play the Peshwa. It’s a fantastic script. I was so excited that I even agreed to shave my head for the part.”

Oberoi also spoke about his to-be-co-actor Ranaut in high regard. He said, “I have seen her double role in that film [Tanu Weds Manu Returns] and I was convinced she belonged to the states where the story is set. I am a fan. That role must have required a lot of homework.”

The film chronicles Laxmibai’s struggle and fight for independence, and it is being reported that Ranaut trained in horse riding, sword fight and other warfare skills to prepare for the role even before the shooting could begin.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a trilingual film written by Prasoon Joshi and V Vijendra Prasad, writer of Baahubali and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It is being produced by Kamal Jain from Zee Studios and the movie is slated to release on 27 April 2018.

Published Date: Jul 17, 2017 08:24 pm | Updated Date: Jul 17, 2017 08:24 pm

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AAP MLAs seeking appointment with LG 'ousted' by police: Somnath Bharti

AAP MLAs Somnath Bharti, S K Bagga were forced out of Anil Baijal’s house after they refused to leave following a meeting.

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AAP MLAs forced out of L-G's house

AAP MLAs Somnath Bharti, S K Bagga were forced out of Anil Baijal’s house after they refused to leave following a meeting.

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Peek raises $23M and inks partnership with Google in push to digitize travel activities

Peek, a U.S. startup aiming to digitize the travel activities industry, has pulled a $23 million Series B round of financing and uncorked a partnership with Google that will help increase its visibility.

Founded in 2012 by Ruzwana Bashir (CEO) and Oskar Bruening (CTO), the startup describes itself as “OpenTable for the activities market” in that it aims to make booking activities as seamless and straightforward as a restaurant or even a flight.

Peek raised $10 million two years ago, and this new round is led by Cathay Innovation with participation from existing backers that include ex-Yelp COO Geoff Donaker, Kayak founder Paul English, 2BF and Manta Ray. Peek has plenty of well-known angel backers, including Pete Flint — founder of Trulia and NFX — former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. This new round takes it to $40 million from investors to date.

In addition to the money, the startup has announced a tie-up with Google that will see its inventory added to Google Search, Google Maps and Google Trips. That’s sure to help visibility and spike bookings, and it adds to other partnerships that Peek has struck with platforms that include Yelp.

Peek is taking aim at the global activities market which Bashir estimates is worth some $150 billion, with the U.S. being the most lucrative market on the planet.

“It hasn’t gone through the analog-to-digital transition like other industries,” she told TechCrunch in an interview. “So we’re building the infrastructure and software that emerged in other industries ten years ago.”

Peek’s business model is similar to two well-backed Asian companies, Klook — which has raised over $90 million from the likes of Sequoia China and Goldman Sachs — and KKDay, which was recently backed by Japanese travel giant H.I.S.. Despite that, Bashir said that the problem of digitizing the space isn’t just limited to Asia or emerging markets.

“When you look at businesses in the U.S., over 70% don’t have real-time online booking, you still have to call the business or email them,” she explained.

That’s an important point, and it underlines the approach that Peek has taken. Unlike its Asia-based rivals, the company has a dual approach which starts by offering booking software that allows travel companies to actually take bookings and sales online. It also allows them to run their businesses from mobile, which is increasingly important.

That’s the hook that gets them into Peek, and from there the company offers more services under its ‘Pro’ offering and also the consumer-facing platform that travelers (or, rather, action-seekers) can use to book activities. That distinction about ‘travelers’ is important since Bashir said that around one-third of Peek bookings come from people doing things in their own town, so not everyone is traveling.

Peek founders Oskar Bruening and Ruzwana Bashir.

Peek claims to offer 10,000 experiences in the U.S. and Mexico, while it has 500,000 reviews and ratings which are verified since users can only leave them if they have booked, paid-for and done their activity.

Bashir said, in addition, that the company’s software has scaled to handle “hundreds of millions of dollars” in booking volume. She declined to give specific financial details, including revenue and profit/loss, but did say that the company’s unit economics are “highly profitable” but it is seeking growth right now.

“Part of this round is allowing ourselves to go out and reach more businesses,” she added.

For now, Peek is keeping its focus on the U.S. but it has also expanded into Mexico since that is a well-trodden destination for U.S.-based travelers. That focus will continue following this round, with Bashir adamant that with an estimated two percent of activity spend taking place online, there’s plenty of potential growth to be had at home before tackling international markets.

She did, however, say that the decision to work with Cathay Innovation — which raised its inaugural $320 million fund last year — was partly borne out of an awareness that when it is time to overseas, the firm has experience and networks that will be helpful.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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