Wednesday, January 30

Rituparna Sengupta would Love to portray Glamourous Roles

Bengali film’s reigning superstar Rituparna Sengupta is trying her luck once again in Bollywood with mostly small budget, offbeat movies. After her critically acclaimed performance in Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh she will be seen in Mittal Vs Mittal, a film dealing with the sensitive issue of marital rape. Sengupta in conversation with TWF correspondent Ruhail Amin.


Your innings in Bollywood has not attracted the popularity, which you enjoy back home in Kolkata, what’s the reason for that?
Well, I won’t agree that my work has not attracted popularity in Bollywood. In fact my film Main, Meri Patni Aur Who had a very sensitive theme and I remember people praising my performance. I guess it’s not the actor but the narrative which makes you popular at the end of the day and I am waiting for the right script which will see me at the helm of popularity in Bollywood too.

What kind of role do you have in Mittal Vs Mittal?
Well, it’s a sensitive subject about marital rape and I am proud that filmmakers are realising the need to speak about such issues. My portrayal in the film is quite intense in the way that I’m shown as a woman who has strong character and who fights the odds in her life.

What made you sign such an intense and non-glamorous role when everybody feels that a bit of skin show sells?
I don’t believe that skin show is essential for an actress to be considered seriously for commercial projects. Though that doesn’t mean I’m against such practice. But, I believe that there is no need for unnecessary dependence on skin shows unless the narrative makes it imperative. I would always love to be a part of films, which require glamorous portrayals.

How has your experience of working with Karan Razdan and the co-stars Rohit Roy and Suchitra Krishnamurty been?
It has been a great experience working with Karan Razdan. He’s a director who knows his subject very well and he has the experience and finesse to see through a sensitive project like this. As far as Rohit Roy is concerned, I feel he is among the finest actors in the industry and Suchitra is simply a great actor and an equally wonderful human being. So, far we have finished only the first schedule of the film and the whole experience has been a great learning experience with loads of fun.

Are you doing any Bengali films at the moment?
Yes, there are a few Bengali films which I am doing, but I have decided to focus my attention on doing mostly Hindi films. There are many top producers in Bollywood who are keen on signing me in their future projects, which I guess is a great development.

Which are the other Hindi films that you are doing?
Well, apart from Mittal Vs Mittal which I am shooting at the moment, the other Bollywood releases of mine include films like Love Game, Saab, Chai Paani, Gauri and U Me Aur Hum.

Tuesday, January 29

Rakesh Roshan to direct another Krissh film

What will he direct next? Rakesh Roshan has more or less decided to make another super-hero film. "But we've to make sure that the screenplay goes beyond what we did in Koi…Mil Gaya and Krissh. And also all the other super-hero films that have come from Hollywood lately. The genre, I feel has been done to the optimum. The fight between a super-hero and a super-villain has to be pitched right. The content has to be really strong."

Hrithik had expressed a desire to play the super-villain. "But that is not possible," laughs Rakesh Roshan. "We need another big star to play the super-villain. The fight has to be evenly pitched." But before that in June, Rakesh Roshan starts his film with Anurag Basu. "He's very talented. I saw his Gangster and Metro. He definitely has a great script-sense."

Although the trailers of Rakesh Roshan's production, Krazzy 4 were supposed to start from Friday, enthusiastic exhibitors in Mumbai began screening the trailers from Wednesday. "I've had a tremendous response." Rakesh Roshan denies there was any problem between him and Shah Rukh during the item song that they shot for Krazzy 4 earlier this week. "There were two costumes to be changed, and we did them. He finished it with much grace. It's come out really well. Now Hrithik will be shooting the same song in February. But while Shah Rukh's version will be in the film, Hrithik's will be for the promotion and then in the end-titles."

Rakesh Roshan says Krazzy 4 has shaped up really well. "And I'm proud to say my daughter Sunaina is the co-producer. She attended all the shootings and was there hands-on in the project."

I was sure Aamir will make a Good Film, says Ajay Devgan

“We weren’t taking a dig on anybody. The people concerned have no issues, then, whose issue is it! And why should I answer this question,” said an angry Ajay Devgan replying to a question based on a news report in a tabloid stating that Devgan’s character in Halla Bol had taken digs at Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan. Known for stellar performances in films like Zakhm, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Company and Legend of Bhagat Singh, Ajay Devgan is a star who is an actor first for he always shines irrespective of the fate of his films at the Box Office. In a no holds barred interview with Bollywood Hungama, Ajay opens up about his forthcoming film, Sunday, first directorial venture U Me Aur Hum, how it was to direct wife, Kajol, and what makes him tick in spite of all odds.

How different is Sunday as compared to your other films?
I really don’t know. Sunday is a film on its own. I wouldn’t want to compare it with other films. It’s a comedy where as the title suggests that a day goes missing in Ayesha’s life and it happens to be a Sunday and we are all looking for it. On a concept level it’s different and the whole film has been treated on a lighter note.

You and Rohit Shetty share a similar family background as your respective fathers were prominent Action directors, he has assisted many of your films and then directed you in all his films so far…There seems to be a mutual admiration society between the two of you…When do we see you doing an action film together?
I know him for 15-16 years. We are like a family. What more can I say. If we get the right kind of script then both of us should do an action film.

Certain action sequences in Sunday have been shot in the congested streets of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. It’s an unusual choice for filming action sequences….
We did shoot there and it was managed very well. It was very well organized. There were more than 50, 000 people. Nobody really troubled us. They were very cooperative.

This is your first film with Ayesha Takia. How was the experience?
I think it was great. It’s always a pleasure to work with good actors. And she did very well.


Your male co-stars have always said good things about you. You are never accused of cutting other people’s roles. Why?
It’s the film. A film always works well when everybody in it works well and not just one person. If tomorrow I think that a scene should go from the film be it mine or somebody else’s, its not as if I want to increase my role or decrease anybody’s role. It is what works for the film.

Music of Sunday is catchy. What’s your favourite track?
Nice music. Title song is working well. In fact my favourite is Pyaar To Hona Hi Hai.

How different is it to Being Directed and Directing yourself?
Two different things altogether. Here every decision is yours. It’s your concept, it’s the way you want to make and the way you see it. The way you see your actors performing, including yourself, it is entirely the director’s vision. Filmmaking is one man’s vision and that’s always the director. You can question the director but you shouldn’t divert his vision.

The first promo of your directorial debut U Me Aur Hum was featured on Bollywood Hungama recently and the response was fantastic. It’s a very appealing video starting with flying birds, the beautiful sea, nice soothing music….
(Interrupts) That’s how the film has been shot also. Nothing extra has been taken out for the sake of the promo. People usually do that. They make some shots for the promotion of the film but what you see in our promo is all part of the film.

Kajol is looking mint fresh and your chemistry seems to be razor sharp as if it’s your first film together…
When things work, everything works. I think it’s in coordination with the whole script and it’s the way the director sees it. And, then the presentation. If these things work then everything works. If the film on a whole doesn’t work then nothing works. I don’t think there’s anything such as chemistry. If the characters are working then the chemistry is there. If the characters are not working then there’s no chemistry.

How easy or difficult is it to direct a fantastic actor like Kajol?
I think it is always a pleasure to direct great actors, good actors. She is a good actress. So, I had the leeway to push my buttons while writing the scenes because I know my actor can perform it.
U Me Aur Hum is your first film. Obviously there’s a lot of curiosity. What’s the film all about?
I think it’s too early to talk about the film. It’s a romantic film. It’s a film about relationships. It has its dose of humour and drama. I’ve just tried to say something that I believe in my heart. It’s a film that talks about positivity in life and in relationships. There’s so much of negativity around, I thought issues are there in everybody’s life and how to tackle them is the positivity. Tackle them with a smile. That’s what I believe in.

Who has done the music of U Me Aur Hum…it seems different and very nice?
Vishal Bharadwaj. I think he has done a fabulous job.

Apparently you’ve taken digs at Shahrukh and Aamir Khan in your film Halla Bol…
(Interrupts) Spoken by whom?

There are certain scenes in the film…
(Interrupts again) But spoken by whom?

There was a news report in a tabloid regarding the same…
But who created that report

The journalist who wrote the story…
Exactly…people concerned didn’t speak about it or even know about it. When we shot the film we didn’t have anyone in mind, we weren’t taking a dig on anybody. The people concerned have no issues, then, whose issue is it! And why should I answer this question.

Alright, let’s shift to greener pastures. You won a National Award for Zakhm and Bhagat Singh. You are one actor who talks with his eyes, whose silence speaks for itself! How do you internalize so beautifully?
If you ask me how I do it, I’d say I don’t know. I think I’ve been lucky enough to get the right kind of roles with the right kind of directors. I’m honestly there without any insecurities that I should do a little more than what I do, will expressions show on screen or should I overact. I just do it with honesty.

Amongst your own films, which are the ones that have been most satisfying?
I really don’t know. I think you work hard on all films. Some work, some don’t. But you’ve worked hard on all so you can’t say which is more satisfying.

But still if you have to choose say four five most satisfying works of yours, which one will they be?
You took a few names, like Zakhm, Legend of Bhagat Singh then Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Gangajal, Aparahan…and even Halla Bol where people have really appreciated the performance.

There are times when your films work and then there are times when they don’t. How do you deal with such phases?
Those phases come and go because you know it’s the right kind of films that work. And then you need to sit and think that what worked and what didn’t work. Then try not to make the same mistakes again. It’s better to make new mistakes.

Apart from you, one of your colleagues Aamir Khan also turned a director with Taare Zameen Par….
Whatever I’ve heard about the film, I think he has made a fantastic film. I think it’s great. He is a good actor. He is a sensible guy so I was always sure he’ll make a good film.

You guys gelled beautifully in Ishq. Any chances of doing another film together?
We should get the right kind of script that both of us should like and want to do. We would love to work.

What are your forthcoming films?
There’s Sunday, then U Me Aur Hum and then Golmaal Returns.

Monday, January 28

Shah Rukh Khan earns more from Ads than from Movies

Shah Rukh Khan, the Badshah of Bollywood, is an even bigger king of the advertising world, according to his tax figures.

The superstar has paid an advance tax of Rs.270 million ($6.8 million) on his estimated income during the current financial year of 2007-08, but a major share of it has gone into paying for his income from endorsing a slew of products and other sources.

Sources in the advertising agency for which the superstar has worked reveal that his income from endorsements fetches him Rs.1.5 billion ($38 million) a year, the highest for any Indian advertising 'model'.

In comparison, though Amitabh Bachchan endorses more products than Khan, earnings from his annual endorsements do not cross Rs.1.2 billion.

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, two other Bollywood stars who source a good part of their incomes from endorsements, earn a little less than Rs.1 billion each from advertising assignments annually. The rest of the Bollywood 'models' are all in the Rs.50- million income bracket.

Industry observers believe that apart from the top chair he occupies in Bollywood, Shah Rukh is going to maintain his prominent position in the advertising world as well for some more years as there is no one yet who can rival his charisma.

In the current fiscal, his earnings from this source may go a little above Rs.1.5 billion as he has been made brand ambassador of more products - and more are waiting, the sources added.

King Khan's earnings from endorsements stand at a notch much above the emoluments that he gets for starring in movies, which, according to his own admission, never goes beyond Rs.50-60 million per assignment.

A big chunk of his income from outside Bollywood in the current fiscal also came from hosting STAR Plus' Kaun Banega Crorepati quiz series for which he received Rs.10 million per episode.

Additionally, he also made a quick profit of Rs.400 million across the table by selling the world distribution rights of his home production Om Shanti Om to Eros International for Rs.750 million as against the production cost of Rs.350 million.

The profit that he earned from the deal was apart from the remuneration of Rs.50 million that he gave to himself for leading the cast in the movie.

Barring this, the actual figure of his earnings from starring in movies was only Rs.200 million, as he featured in four movies last year. Considering his current star-price, his income from movies in the current fiscal may not go beyond Rs.300 million, which is way below his average earnings from endorsements.

If Shah Rukh earns less from movies, it is because he is seen as the least greedy among the Bollywood stars. Any producer would vouch for it. While other stars generally hike their prices after each successful movie, Shah Rukh never increases his price as others do without thinking. Even after Om Shanti Om became a super-hit, he has decided against hiking his price.

'Shah Rukh chooses his movies carefully. First, the subject matter must appeal to him and, if it does, his opting to star in the movie would largely depend on the credibility and antecedents of the producer and the director,' said an executive of the star's production banner, Red Chillies Production.

'But once he has agreed to a movie, he would devote himself to it wholeheartedly and ensure that the producer never faces any problem in successfully completing it,' the executive, not wishing to be named, told IANS.

It is therefore no wonder that Shah Rukh has been seen to be working only for certain known banners in the last decade. It may even be said if any lesser-known production house rather than Yash Raj Films had approached him for a film like Chak De! India, he would have perhaps refused it.

'I have not seen him throwing star tantrums ever, like nitpicking on small things as most stars do. He comes to the sets and gets involved in shooting right away. As a matter of fact, on the sets, he never behaves like a star,' said a production controller, the professional who on behalf of the producer takes care of the needs of the stars during shoots.

In contrast, Shah Rukh behaves like a 'star' when he shoots for TV commercials. There he refuses to compromise on anything, particularly on his price.

Says he: 'Why should I compromise? TV commercials are what they are - commercials.

'The companies that manufacture the brands pay the advertising agencies to make the commercials and the companies do so in order to boost their sales. The agencies, on their part, use me as a prop to meet the demands of the companies. So there! If you use me as a prop to climb up, pay me. Unlike my price for movies, I have no fixed price for my appearance in commercials.'

But don't the producers sign him up essentially to boost box-office performance of their movies?

The superstar counters this question, saying he is beholden to Bollywood because it made him the superstar that he is today. He says his charging less for movie appearances is his little gesture of gratitude towards the industry.

'Had the industry not put me in a position where I am today, would the companies have chosen me to be their brand ambassadors?' he asks.

Is King Khan, then, robbing Peter to pay Paul? As one advertising agency executive put it: 'He is, but he has made his 'larceny' seem like a social service.' source

Sunday, January 27

Multifaceted talent Tom Alter to receive Padma Shri

In a career spanning about three decades, Bollywood actor, sports writer and novelist Tom Alter has played a variety of characters both in real life and reel life.
The multifaceted actor is now all set to receive the Padma Shri Award for his distinguished contribution in the field of art.

Fondly called the 'true blue Englishman on screen', Alter recently left stage buffs in a thrall in Oman with his solo play on the life, times and scholarship of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad.

The 57 year-old actor of American origin has his fingers in many pies - theatre, television, films, sports and literature. However, he is most prominently known for his work in the Hindi film industry.

Born in 1950, Alter, the son of an American missionary, is a native of Mussoorie who spent his early years between Landour and Mumbai, where he now lives.
Alter began his career with cameo roles in films like Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi in 1977 and played Lord Mountbatten in the movie on Sardar Patel in 1993.

The versatile actor, who last appeared in low budget blockbuster film Bheja Fry, forayed into big-time acting with Laila Majnu.
For years he got to play English characters, till filmmakers like Raj Kapoor in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Mukul Anand in Sultanat and Vidhu Vinod Chopra in Parinda created Indian characters for him.

His other celebrated works include Charas, Parvarish, Des Pardes, Kranti, Gandhi and Khoon Bhari Maang, to name a few.

Uniquely talented for his fluency in Hindi, Urdu and knowledge of the country's culture, he has worked with noted filmmakers like Satyajit Ray in Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Ismail Merchant in Sardar, the 1993 film biography of Indian leader Sardar Patel, which focused on the events surrounding the partition and independence of India.

The seasoned actor endeared himself to thousands of television serial buffs with his act in Bharat Ek Khoj, Junoon and Betaal Pachisi.

In 1996 he appeared in the Assamese-language film Adajya, and in 2007 acted in the theatrical reproduction of William Dalrymple's City of Djinns alongside Zohra Sehgal.

Tom Alter's first cousin Stephen Alter, also born and raised in India, is a notable author and teacher.

Winners of Max Stardust Awards 2008

STAR OF THE YEAR - MALE
Akshay Kumar (Heyy Babyy)

STAR OF THE YEAR – FEMALE
Kareena Kapoor (Jab We Met)

EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARDS FOR BEST ACTOR
Shahid Kapoor (Jab We Met)

BEST FILM AWARD
Jab We Met

THE DREAM DIRECTOR AWARD
Farah Khan (Om Shanti Om)

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Vivek Oberoi (Shootout At Lokhandwala)

ACTOR PAR EXCELLENCE
Dharmendra

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Irrfaan Khan (The Namesake)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Tisca Chopra (Taare Zameen Par)

BEST ACTOR IN A NEGATIVE ROLE – MALE
Arjun Rampal (Om Shanti Om)

SUPERSTAR OF TOMMOROW - MALE
Ranbir Kapoor (Saawariya)

SUPERSTAR OF TOMMOROW - FEMALE
Sonam Kapoor (Saawariya)

HOTTEST FILM PRODUCER
Anil Kapoor (Gandhi My Father)

HOTTEST YOUNG FILM MAKER
Shimit Amin (Chak De India)

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE – MALE
Shreyas Talpade (Om Shanti Om)

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE – FEMALE
Kangana Ranaut (Life... In a Metro)

THE NEW MENACE
Shilpa Shukla – (Chak De India)

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE BY LYRICIST
Sandeep Nath – Saawariya ('Yoon Shabnami Pehle Nahi Thi Chandni')

NEW MUSICAL SENSATION – FEMALE
Anoushka Manchanda – Cash (Aye Chori)

NEW MUSICAL SENSATION – MALE
Krishna & Salim Merchant – Chak De India (Maula Mere)

STANDOUT PERFORMANCE BY A MUSIC DIRECTOR
Monty Sharma (Saawariya)

I don't feel pressure to compete, says Salman Khan

Bollywood's Salman Khan told, BBC Asian Network that he doesn't feel any pressure to compete with Bollywood A listers like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan or Saif Ali Khan. Speaking on Love Bollywood to Raj and Pablo Salman said, "I don't compete with anybody. I don't compete with Shah Rukh I don't compete with Aamir, Saif or anybody. I don't compete with myself. So, they don't have a problem with me and they know that my house is an open house..."


"I like the people that I work with, if I don't like them, I won't work with them..."

Presenters Raj and Pablo asked Salman why he is so cagey about the work he does for Charities, to which Salman replied, "I think it's a big fraud thing to publicize the stuff that you do 'coz I've seen people going and doing stuff and the whole press is there".

"That's what I used to think actually, earlier. But today I feel that since I've opened this charitable trust, (The Salman Khan Foundation). I have realized that you have to go out and you have to publicize that and I'm still not coming to terms with that because I feel like a fraud. I've seen a lot people who are doing a lot of good things with the all the wrong intentions and I don't think that works but if I can turn that around..."

"...the way I'm trying to do that is that I'm putting a lot of my own money into the foundation which people do not do".

"I've started painting and from my art the money goes into my organization and if I cannot support those many, if I cannot help those many lives with my kind of work that I do with whatever I do that amount 10-20 percent that goes into my charitable organization I still can't support that many people I still can't treat that many people I will start begging, I will start extorting!"

Saturday, January 26

Tete-A-Tete with Ayesha Takia

Possessing a beautiful face and a mesmerizing smile, Ayesha Takia is one such actress who is capable of winning over people with her performance as well as sweet talk. Another interesting thing about Ayesha is that the cutie has been able to win applauses from the audience both for her roles in serious films as well as in comedy. Soon Ayesha will be seen in an interesting role in Rohit Shetty's comedy thriller Sunday. Recently, we caught up with Ayesha and during a brief encounter she talked about her film Sunday, her upcoming projects and plans for the future. Here are the excerpts...

Q: Tell us something about your character in Sunday.
A: In this film, my character's name is Sehar who works as a dubbing artiste for a cartoon network. She is a very forgetful kind of a girl and cannot remember things of the past and as a result she is often in problems.

Q: This is the first time that you are portraying a dubbing artist. Did you need to take any special preparation for this?
A: Actually Vikash, who had trained Tussar Kapur for the dumb character in Golmaal, has helped me a lot in doing this role to perfection. Simultaneously, I used to watch a lot of cartoon films at home to prepare myself for the role which demanded that the facial expressions of the artist should match his voice. While doing this role I have often noticed that the expressions of some dubbing artists are very loud and on the other hand, some people's appearances are so funny that I often used to feel ashamed. I loved doing this role as it provided me with an opportunity to learn a lot of things.

Q: While preparing for the role you have watched a lot of cartoon shows. Which among them is your favorite?
A: I personally liked 'Donald Duck' and 'Mickey Mouse' a lot and this is also because of the voice-overs in these shows. I also liked 'Tom and Jerry', but this is a silent cartoon show and hence I did not get much to learn from this show.

Q: Would you call this a return to your childhood days? A: (Laughingly) No, it is nothing like this. But it is also true that I have never spent so much time watching cartoon networks and now it looks so strange. I remember initially when I used to watch the cartoon networks, my dad used to come and tease me saying that I was watching cartoons at this age and I used to smilingly reply that I am merely preparing for my role. Then he used to remind me that I would do the same thing when I was a kid.

Q: What has been your experience working with co-stars?
A: I have enjoyed a lot working with everyone. There were four men - Ajay, Arshad, Irfaan and Rohit - in the film and I was the lone girl. But I have never felt any difference working with them and even joked with them. Ajay is not only a sporting person, but also very protective. Many people have told me that he is prankster, but I have always found him to be an introvert. Irfaan too is very much like Ajay, but Arshad is a funny person and always made us laugh with his jokes and pranks. And what should I tell about Rohit, he was the director, but still one of us. While working he was serious, but rest of the time, he was like a friend.

Q: In this film there is an incident where you miss a Sunday. How do you spend your Sundays in real life?
A: (Laughingly) Sundays were very attractive to me since my school days as it would be a holiday. I always feel very upset when I miss a holiday in real life. On Sundays I wake up late and do all my work leisurely. And there is a special fun in watching television shows on this day.

Q: After Sunday what else is in the pipeline?
A: I am working in Boney Kapoor's Wanted which is a remake of Pokhri in Tamil. I am doing the role of a gym instructor who doesn't have a father and she works to look after her mother and younger brother. I am also working with Nagesh once again, but I don't know whether the film will be titled 8 BY 10 or Tasveer. This is a big budget psychological thriller and here I am opposite Akshay Kumar. The film is a story about a couple from Canada. In addition, I am doing De Taali for E Nivas and the film is based on the topic of friendship. Aftab is opposite me in this film, which is a wonderful movie like Socha Na Tha.

Q: Since the beginning of your career you have concentrated on career-oriented films rather than masala films. What is your take on this?
A: Actually, I am fortunate that in the initial days of my career I have got good offers. I am also grateful to the audience who has appreciated my performances in Socha Na Tha and Dor, otherwise these days an artiste's fate is sealed between hit and flop films. This year my first release is Sunday and I have a lot of expectations from this movie as not only the film is good, but also because it involves good actors and a talented director.

Q: According to you, are you a serious actor or a comedy film actor?
A: I consider myself both. For instance, Dor is such a film that even after 20 years I would feel proud to talk to my children about my performance in the film. On the other hand, I have done some light or comedy films. I am of the opinion that as an actor, I should act in both kinds of films because acting in a particular type of film would not only put a stamp on an actor, but also bore him or her.

Q: Which do you feel was a turning point in your career?
A: Frankly speaking, till date I have not come across any point in my life that I can call a turning point. But I am really hoping for a turning point in my life. All I need is a super-duper hit film and a character that no one has performed so far, so that I can satiate the artist in me. However, I am quite happy with my present situation.

Q: What was the reason that made you accept a film like No Smoking after doing a successful movie like Dor?
A: Look, there can be no comparison between Dor and No Smoking. I don't want to do any film that will have all the ingredients of a Bollywood masala, but the film should provide me with ample opportunity to perform.

Q: Some of your films like Salaam-E-Ishq and Fool And Final flopped despite having big names and great casting. What is the reason behind this?
A: It has often been seen that when we expect a lot from something, it generally deprives us. It is mostly a matter of luck and chance. As you just said, Salaam-E-Ishq flopped despite having a big star cast. It feels very bad because it was basically not a bad film, but definitely a long one. The problem with Fool And Final was that people took this as a serious film, when we had made it clear in the promos that the audience should take the movie lightly. Although these are not thought-provoking films, I enjoyed doing them very much.

Q: In Bollywood, the audience generally appreciates male comedians rather than female comic actors. Do you feel that the audience will do justice with your performance in Sunday?
A: I sincerely pray that the audience appreciate my performance as a comedienne in the movie. My favorite women comedians in Bollywood are Sridevi and Juhi Chawla and I am sure that everyone will accept this. To tell you honestly, I would prefer to do comedy roles to wearing low cut blouses like the present day heroines.

Friday, January 25

Himesh Reshamiya seeks Rishi Kapoor's blessings for Karzzzz

Himesh Reshammiya is not taking any chances.

After the disastrous fate of remakes like J P Dutt'a Umrao Jaan, and Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, the singer-turned-actor is making sure that his second film, Karzzzz -- a remake of Subhash Ghai's 1980 film -- starts off on a good note.

He has decided to seek the blessings of Rishi Kapoor, who starred in the original, before leaving for the film's 45-day shoot in South Africa on January 25.

According to sources, Ghai may also give his blessings for the new film.

Himesh has already composed eight songs for the film, including a number from the original.

Producer-director Inder Kumar's daughter, Shweta Kumar, will make her debut in this film. She will play Tina Munim's role. Urmila Matondkar will play Simi Garewal's character in the remake.

The film also stars Raj Babbar, Danny Denzongpa and Gulshan Grover, and will be directed by Satish Kaushik.

Thursday, January 24

Here comes Jackie Chan's son Jaycee Chan Jo-Ming

There's another Chan in town and he goes by the name of Jaycee.
Born Jaycee Chan Jo-Ming, this 26-year old American actor, singer, composer, lyricist and guitarist (whew!) is the son of Hong Kong's famous martial arts star Jackie Chan. His mother is Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-Jiao.

Jaycee, whose film, The Drummer, written and directed by Kenneth Bi, was screened at the ongoing 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 23 in Utah, USA, was born two days after his parents got married in Los Angeles.

After studying in Hong Kong till the age of 15, Jaycee returned to Los Angeles.

While we don't know if he could match his Dad's action stunts, Jaycee has some talents of his own. The guy, who plays the piano, drums, and bass guitar, released his first, self-titled, CD, Jaycee in 2004, which earned him many music awards in Asia for Best New Male Singer.

People Don't Respect Actresses, says Tanushree Dutta

Tanushree Dutta says she had no choice but to slap a man who tried to act fresh with her at an event in Bangalore and she doesn't regret it.

'I didn't speak about it because so much has been written about my best friend Koena Mitra and I and our experience in Mumbai on New Year's Eve. But what happened to me in Bangalore on New Year's Day takes the cake. I wouldn't wish even my worst enemy to start a New Year in this manner,' said Tanushree.

Koena was attacked by a stalker inside the Sahara Star Hotel on New Year's Eve after she had performed there.

In Tanushree's case it all started when the actress, who recently featured in Good Boy, Bad Boy and Speed, was invited to perform at the Garuda Mall in Bangalore for an event sponsored by Arvind Mills and Lee.

'I knew the organisers. So I gave up the chance to be with my parents, who've recently moved from my hometown Jamshedpur to Mumbai to be with me, and flew to Bangalore on New Year's. Little did I know what horror awaited me there!

'The security at the mall was practically nil. And there were thousands of people there. I was petrified because I was unaccompanied. On being assured that I'd be safe, I began to move to the stage. But on the way some guy broke the cordon and held my hand. I responded instinctively and slapped him hard.'

Tanushree doesn't regret turning violent.

'A girl, whether in the industry or out of it, has to protect herself. In our film industry I've realised actresses are not respected at all. On top of that I've this hot and sexy image. But I was wearing jeans and a top on New Year's Day.

'I was covered from head to toe. I was still attacked. I hate it when the moralists argue that some women 'look for it' by dressing provocatively. That's another reason I kept quiet about the incident.'

There's another reason too for Tanushree's silence.

'Those organisers of the Bangalore event haven't paid me yet. I thought they eventually would. But it seems they have no intention of doing so. I now got to know that the same people have also been less than fair with Bipasha Basu and other actresses. At least these other actresses didn't have to spend their New Year day in an alien city all alone stranded at the airport.'

That's what happened to Tanushree that evening.

'After the fiasco at the event, I refused to go on stage again when the organisers asked me to. Come on, just because I'm an entertainer it doesn't mean I don't have any dignity!

'I insisted they take me straight to the airport. They dumped me there and left. There I was, alone. And my flight, which was to leave at 11 p.m., got delayed by two hours. So I finally reached home at four in the morning.'

Tanushree's trauma raises the whole question of actresses and their safety at live events.

'The security at these events needs to be beefed up drastically. Not that I ever feel secure in public. No matter where I go, I always feel unwanted eyes following me. It's a dirty world out there,' Tanushree can barely contain her disgust.

Wednesday, January 23

Salman becomes Sardar for Heroes

Salman Khan may have almost finished two decades in the film industry but he still keeps on getting newer and unexplored challenges even now.

The handsome actor who has played a variety of characters in his films would now be doing something which he hasn't done before. Hold your breath, Bollywood's very own bad boy would be seen playing a Sardar for the first time in his upcoming film Heroes directed by Sameer Karnik.

One casual look and you may feel, he is just another Sardar wearing the turban and sporting a beard. But a closer look and you will see those eyes that drive a zillion female fans crazy.

Apart from Salman, the film in question, Heroes, stars Sohail Khan, Vatsal Seth, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Preity Zinta, Amrita Arora, Riya Sen and Mithun Chakraborty. Sallu plays a military official in this road-trip film which is apparently inspired by the cult classic The Motorcycle Diaries. In fact, to make the look more authentic, Sallu even grew his own beard for three weeks and has really worked hard on getting the look right.

One thing is for sure, when the film hits the box-office, die-hard Sallu Fans will surely queue up to see their favorite 'HERO' in his brand new look. source

Tuesday, January 22

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone to appear in Salman Khan’s Movie

Salman Khan has pulled of a coup of sorts here. According to sources, the actor has managed to sweet talk most of his star friends to make an appearance alongside him in brother Sohail Khan's film, Mr And Mrs Khanna. Shah Rukh Khan leads the impressive list followed by Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone.

SRK readily agreed to do a guest appearance and the generous superstar is not charging a single rupee for that. The actor is known to make appearances for his close friends and mentors. He has just shot an item number for Rakesh Roshan in Krazzy 4 and will do a cameo in Mr and Mrs Khanna.

Where the ladies are concerned, Preity is a close friend and the two have also starred in many films together like Har Dil Jo Pyar karega, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and Jaane-e-Man. She is a regular visitor to the Khan residence. Just like Kareena Kapoor, who is playing Mrs Khanna in the film, Priyanka Chopra too has just made up with the actor. The two buried their differences and the actress agreed to do the film the moment Sohail approached her.

As for Deepika, she has been the frontrunner ever since producer Sohail and director Prem Soni started casting for the film. It is believed that Salman is very impressed by the newcomer's charm and ease on screen and had suggested her name. Sohail has also tied up with UTV , who are going to be the film's co-producers. The film is scheduled to go on the floors in March.

Saturday, January 19

Beyonce Knowles to attend Grammy Awards despite writers' strike

Beyonce Knowles has declared her support for the Grammy Awards after confirming that she'll perform at the event even if striking writers boycott the ceremony.

The former Destiny's Child singer will join the Foo Fighters, who announced earlier this week that they'd cross picket lines to perform at the Grammys on 10 February.

Event organisers are resolute the show will go on as scheduled, regardless of the threat of protest from the striking writers, reports Contactmusic.

Writers Guild of America (WGA) union members insisted the Los Angeles music ceremony was "unlikely" to receive a waiver, halting potential picket action, earlier this week.

Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent and Jon Bon Jovi have are said to have pledged their loyalty to the WGA members, who have been on strike since November (07) over new media royalties.

Friday, January 18

Hema Malini kicks off Mumbai Fest

Bollywood's Dream Girl Hema Malini performed at the Mumbai Festival 2008, held at South Mumbai's historic Gateway of India.

The Bharatnatyam artiste formally opened the festival on January 17 with Ganesh Vandana, a prayer in dance form to invoke Lord Ganesha.

The colourful festival, which will include jazz concerts, plays, movie screenings, evening cruises and culinary classes, will end on February 3.

Hollywood's Richest Couple

Mexican beauty Salma Hayek and businessman beau Francois-Henri Pinault have been judged as Hollywood's Richest Couple, in a poll conducted by In Touch Weekly. It was the pair's combined fortune that made them win.

Pinault's luxury goods company PPR, which owns Gucci Yves Saint Laurent, is said to be worth over 14 billion dollars.

Others making to the Power Pair Top 10 list were Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel , and American Idol judge Simon Cowell and Teri Seymour, reports Contactmusic.

Jessica Simpson and American football star Tony Romo also made it to the list.

Thursday, January 17

Kareena Kapoor breaks her silence on sister’s ex-flame

Kareena Kapoor tends to be at the centre of controversies and war of words more often than not. Interestingly, the fiery actress chose to clarify some of the recent ones doing the rounds.

Foremost being Abhishek Bachchan's refusal to work with her in Tarun Mansukhani's film. "It's true that he didn't want to work with me and that's fine. It's necessary that both the hero and heroine are comfortable because we spend almost 200 days with each other on the sets," said the no-nonsense girl and added that it's not just Abhishek but even her decision as well.

But prod her further as to why they have chosen not to work together considering they made a good pair in their debut film Refugee and later in Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon along with Hrithik Roshan, she said matter-of-factly, "This should be asked to him. You should tell that to him! I am not to be blamed for what happened between him and Karisma."

However, Kareena decided to whitewash the rumours doing rounds that Hrithik also didn't want to work with her in Zoya Akhtar's film. "No problems there as both of us had agreed to do that film. However, Zoya's script changed and Hrithik decided that we do another film. But then I didn't have the dates," she clarified.

Monday, January 14

Shooting of Aishwarya Rai- John Abraham film Delayed

John Abraham and Aishwarya Rai fans will have to wait a little longer to watch them come together on screen.

It seems that the actress, who had given her nod to Sriram Raghavan's new film with John, is now delaying the shooting.

A source informs us that the shoot was to start by mid-January, but it had to be postponed because Ash did not allot her dates. The source also told us that John was very upset because of the delay, and even contemplated walking out of the project.

To make matters worse, his vacation with Bipasha Basu in Kenya also got cancelled because of the political turbulence in the country.

After the critical acclaim for his last film, Johnny Gaddar, Raghavan was gungho about his new film, and the casting coup. Let's hope his hopes aren't dashed.

Killing look of Kareena Kapoor in Tashan

Post the super success of Jab We Met, actress Kareena Kapoor is on cloud nine, specially after winning the Screen best actress award. She recently revealed that she was confident about the success of the Imtiaz Ali directed flick, but did not expect it to become such a big hit. However, the show goes on and so does Kareena aka Bebo.

The lady is now concentrating on her next release, Yash Raj's Tashan. Kareena is very excited about her role in the film because this will be for the first time that the pretty actress is attempting action, and that too the gun-totting type. Talking about her role, Kareena reveals that she sports a rugged Kill Bill type look, that is quite cool and funky. In fact she is curious to see how the audience reacts to it.

Well, we can assure Kareena that both Tashan and her role will be lapped up by the audience, if our trade sources and public reactions to the scintillating promos are anything to go by!

I'm a person who is always okay, says Bhumika Chawla

Life is looking great for newly wed actress Bhumika Chawla. Her performance in the latest Telugu film, Anasuya got rave reviews.

And now with another film, Swagatham with Jagapathi Babu and Anushka (directed by Dasrath) slated for release, Bhumika has every reason to cheer. Read on as she tells Radhika Rajamani about her films and more.

Excerpts:
You play a TV journalist in Anasuya. It's a fairly substantial role for a female actor. Normally female actors in most Telugu movies do not get such large roles. Did this aspect make you sign the film?

This was the major reason that made me pick up the project. Opportunities like these do not come very often, and when Ravi Babu narrated the script to me, I was quite thrilled. I said to myself this is a challenge, and I am going to do this project.

In what sense is it a challenge? Is it because it's a character you never played before?
Yes. I had never done a role like this in any language and I did not want to miss this chance.

Sunday, January 13

Shah Rukh Khan got injured

The one quality in Shah Rukh Khan that seems more appreciable than all others is the generosity with which he supports his friends and protégés. The most recent beneficiary of his largesse is the My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves wanna-shine Nikhil Dwivedi. Not only has Shah Rukh been supporting Dwivedi’s starry dreams he has also been making sure the boy is seen in public places with the superstar.

After making his presence felt at the music release of Nikhil's film, Shah Rukh showed up at the film's premiere on Wednesday night with his leg obviously in pain. The star had injured his leg while rehearsing his steps for the Screen awards. "It was really very nice of him," says Nikhil. "The injury was an old one. But he hurt himself in the same leg while rehearsing for his performance at the awards." Shah Rukh couldn't stay for the whole film. Nevertheless, promised to catch up with My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves in a couple of days.

A R Rahman to set up Music Conservatory

Music director AR Rahman is planning to set up a state-of-the-art music conservatory called KM Music Conservatory in Chennai to create a 'world-class orchestra' that could score music for Indian composers and to train students in vocal as well as instrumental music.

Announcing the KM Music Conservatory and KM Music Symphony Orchestra Synthesizers, Rahman said, "Electronic sounds played a significant role in the evolution of music in the 80s and 90s. As this fresh sound captivated listeners, they began to lose appreciation and interest in live classical compositions. Should this continue, future generations will be deprived of the joy that is live classical music."

The KM Music Conservatory is an attempt to recreate a world-class orchestra for the enjoyment of India's people. Currently, Indian composers have to go abroad to find orchestras to record. KM Music Conservatory aims to eliminate this obstacle and provide orchestra in India.

"I feel, as a modern classical musician, having the knowledge of both music performance and music technology is invaluable. Only having the skill to perform an instrument may not necessarily be lucrative, however having that skill as well as excellent music production capabilities will ensure many more career opportunities and financial security. That way they learn to use the best of both worlds," added Rahman.

The KM Music Conservatory and Audio Media Education, India 's first Apple authorized training centre located in Chennai, will be offering a program in music and music technology. The conservatory faculty will include Indian and international professors and musicians who will educate students in Indian and western classical music.

The school will currently be auditioning and accepting singers and students who play flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double bass, and percussion. Courses will include western vocal and instrumental performance, Indian classical vocal, western and Indian music theory, music appreciation, ear training, piano, audio engineering, an Apple certified course in Logic Pro, and a Digidesign certified course in Pro Tools.

Scholarships will be offered to deserving students from the A R Rahman Foundation. Students can also audition for the professional KM Music Symphony Orchestra upon completion of the program.

Saturday, January 12

Cousins Kareena Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor to revive RK banner

After the male members of her family and her sister Karisma Kapoor, it's Kareena Kapoor who is carrying forth the fame and name of the Kapoor 'khandaan'. And now she has the support of her promising and handsome cousin, Ranbir 'Saawariya' Kapoor. Kareena is very keen on reviving her home banner, RK Films, named after her illustrious grandfather, the original showman, Raj Kapoor. Of course she will be helped in her endeavour by Ranbir!

While there are definite plans of a new venture under the RK Banner, with Kareena and Ranbir giving the 'in house' star power, no details are available as yet. But as always, we bring you the latest progress on the subject.

As per Kareena herself, she is listening to scripts and will give preference to an emotional drama. Why an emotional drama one may ask? And pat comes the reply from the pretty lass, because emotional dramas and characters are more popular with the audience, with more scope for histrionics. And of course, this is in keeping with the tradition of the RK banner.

Sanjay Dutt to gift Nano to his girlfriend

Industrialist Ratan Tata may have found his brand ambassador for the new Tata car, Nano, priced at Rs 1 lakh.

Sanjay Dutt told reporters at an Auto Expo car event in New Delhi that he will gift the Nano to his girlfriend, Manyata (inset).

Dutt was clearly impressed by the small car, and chose it over a Rs 4 crore car -- the Ambierod luxury car, which was launched at the Auto Expo, by his close friend and ace car designer Dilip Chhabria.

The actor has always loved his cars. Among the cars that he has been seen in are Ferrari, Lexus, Toyota Innova, Honda and a Harley Davidson motorbike.

Friday, January 11

Blueberry Cheesecake Is Better Than Sex, reveals Madonna

A 70-year-old lady, dressed in a purple sari, shuffles up to the bodyguard, and smiles good naturedly. "May I get an autograph for my grandson? He's a huge fan..."

Before she can finish, the guard dismisses her with a wave of the hand. After further entreaties, he finally deigns to conversation.

"Madonna will not sign autographs today. Please respect her wishes," he says curtly, in a European accent.

And there she is -- Madonna. I've had a hell of time finding her, vaguely circling the hotel in which she's staying -- Taj Hotel in Colaba, South Mumbai -- in the hope of catching a glimpse, eavesdropping on fellow reporters and trying to pick up a lead. But now she's larger than life, within an arm's reach.

It's 2:30 pm, and we are at Moshe's, a restaurant in Cuffe Parade, South Mumbai. Madonna is at the table next to mine, sitting at the head. She wears all-black: a light top, trousers and black leather boots. A simple red shawl drapes elegantly over her shoulders and runs down her back. The rest of her party -- husband Guy Ritchie, Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts and other companions -- squeeze into a wrap-around booth opposite to her.

Throughout the one and a half hour lunch, they discuss a wide range of topics: metaphysics, Mumbai's slums, the meaning of life and more. Surprisingly, Madonna takes a backseat for much of the conversation, while Roberts and Ritchie engage in philosophical debate.

"The key to life, the key that drives our actions is a simple desire," says Ritchie. "We all desire to improve our current situation, to feel better than we do right now."

Roberts disagrees, and then launches into an explanation of chimpanzee behavioural traits, and how humans exhibit the same.

The white wine flows freely, though Madonna does not partake. Instead, she opts for two cups of chai. It appears the artist responsible for hits Like a Virgin and Take a Bow cannot get enough of India's national beverage!

Throughout the lunch, she is playful and jovial. She reaches for, tastes and describes the various dishes, complimenting the chef, who stands nearby, with decided gusto. Ritchie joins her, saying, "There is nothing else you can bring us or do for us. It was perfection!"

"I made them a little bit of everything, a sample of the entire menu. There were salads, breads, cous cous and non-vegetarian food," the chef tells me later.

The customers who walk past, invariably, do a double-take, whirling around to their loved ones and raising eyebrows. Outside, a media circus unfolds, as dozens of cops push back hundreds of bystanders and cameramen. Children from the nearby Cuffe Parade fishing village stand on tip-toes at the gate, hoping to steal a glance.

But Madonna, tucked inside at a private booth, is completely engrossed in the meal and accompanying conversation. She laughs freely, and swings her legs back and forth like a schoolgirl. An impish grin frequently flashes across her face, particularly when she sizes up dessert.

Six creations artfully adorn the table, including carrot cake, blueberry cheesecake and chocolate mousse.

Madonna uses her spoon to slice off a generous portion of the blueberry cheesecake. She slowly moves the utensil to her lips and slides the morsel inside. "Mmm, God! It's better than sex. Seriously, try this!" She says between moans, repeating the claim more than once.

Somehow, the Material Girl has made even lunch at Moshe's a sensuous affair.

Thursday, January 10

I want to play a Psycho or a Drug Addict, says Tanushree Dutta

While 2007 saw her in four films- Raqeeb, Dhol, Speed and Good Boy Bad Boy - only one of them, Dhol, did decent business. But, Tanushree Dutta is unfazed. Ever the optimist, she is looking forward to her film Rama-The Saviour, which will see her in a completely different avatar. We caught up with the dusky beauty over a cuppa.
Excerpts:
Yet another New Year...Did you make any resolutions at the start of the year?
Not really. I don't have any resolutions. But yes, I have been eating too much and now since I have been working out for my film, I want to keep it that way. So my New Year resolution would be to keep fit and in shape.

You said you have been working out very hard for a movie. Is it Rama-The Saviour that you're talking about?
Yes, for my film Rama-The Saviour. I play an action oriented role. It's fun as I have never done action before. I had to workout and get fit for this role. It really tested my fitness!

Tell us about the movie...
It's a children's film with lots of adventure. There are quite a few animals too. We shot in Thailand. Can't tell you much about the story, but there is a lot of action. It's good because there are not too many films made for children here and kids are going to love it. Sahil Khan, who acted in Style, is playing the lead.

Seems like a lot of actress are turning to action! Priyanka Chopra is getting into the action mode for Drona and even Deepika Padukone's role in Chandni Chowk to China is a bit action oriented... Trust me; I don't think anyone has done what I have done with this film. Usually in Hindi films action for girls means slapping or pulling hair. But this film will see me in a proper action role just like the male actors. Of course, I haven't done them myself. All the safety measures were in place. So, I don't really do a summersault when I do it. Nevertheless, it has not been done by anyone before.

So, you are into action mode?
I would love to do more action roles. It's a lot of hard work but its fun. I enjoy doing it. Let's see how many gates open after this comes out. I am waiting for the results. For now, I rather show than talk.

We have quite a few heroines in Hollywood who are known for their stunts in action films. Do you have any favourites among them?
I like Charlize Theron. She has done some nice roles. She is a great actress.

So how did you train for this particular film?
We did train, but I would say it wasn't much. We didn't have much time before going to shoot. I just had a two-week training thing. It was not enough, but I didn't face problems as I have kept fit generally. We had a big international crew, which was really good at the work. They helped us.

Were you at any point afraid of the animals in the film?
Not at all. They are very cute and well behaved. In fact, the kids could be more dangerous than the animals. They came and did their work better than us! There are quite a few animals in the film actually. From pythons to snakes to chimpanzees! It was loads of fun.

You mean the kids were dangerous?
(Laughs) Not that. They are, in fact, more professional than most of us. Some children were more experienced than the rest of the crew and knew exactly what to do! Some of them have been facing the camera since they were just months old. They were better behaved than us. It was a pleasure working with children. They are quite a company and they know their work well. None of them would have mood swings and were much disciplined.

On a serious note, do you think that the film might have some problems with the animal rights activists?
I don't think so. The animals were treated really well. No one hit them once to get any thing done. There should not be any case of cruelty.

So did you have any dangerous stunts in the movie?
Since I have never done them before, they anyway appeared dangerous to me. But even then there were a couple of scenes which were tough. There is this scene when I had to do a summersault and land straight on my feet. I almost fell, but then there were suspenders and all other precautions were taken. So I did it fine and safe. There was one more scene when we had to cross this river with a strong current and we could not use any precautions as they could be seen otherwise. So we had to do it on our own. We managed it fine but it was tough.

So after turning an action girl, what next?
I want to play a psycho or a drug addict. I have always wanted to do such a crazy role. I think it would be quite a challenge.

You mean something like Urmila in Bhoot and Pyar Tune Kya Kiya?
Something like those roles. She did them pretty well. I would also like to do something like that in my own way.

Last year while your other films faded away, Dhol got you noticed...
I agree. Dhol is a film which got me much appreciation. Others didn't do well and I don't want people to remember them. They were bad films. Dhol was a chance to work with a great director like Priyadarshan. I have been getting most roles now from people who saw me in Dhol!

What exactly went wrong with Subhash Ghai's Good Boy Bad Boy?
I don't know. The script was good when it was brought to me. But I think something fell short while making it. So, it didn't do well.

Rajkumar Santoshi's angry touch from Ghayal to Halla Bol

Cinema is his passion, filmmaking his profession. Meet Rajkumar Santoshi.

After assisting Govind Nihalani on Vijeta and Ardh Satya, Santoshi was hand-picked by Dharmendra to direct the hard-hitting Ghayal for his banner, Vijeyta Films.

Interestingly, Ghayal was released on the same day as the Aamir Khan-Madhuri Dixit campus romance, Dil.

Ghayal, meanwhile, had a violent story of injustice to tell. As it turns out, both films were declared box office champs. The simmering anger and compelling intensity of Ghayal won several awards turning its hero Sunny Deol into an actor to be reckon with overnight.

The potency of this director-actor partnership was further enhanced in Deol's National-award winning turn as a sarcasm-spewing drunk lawyer out to seek justice in Damini.

Santoshi's ability to extract poignant performances, whilst keeping the realism intact, was also evident in their final outing together -- Ghatak. The scenes involving an ailing Amrish Puri and Deol, playing his do-gooder son were especially heart-rending.

Wednesday, January 9

Emraan Hashmi to join Himesh Reshammiya in Karzzzz

Himesh Reshammiya may be trying very hard to keep the cast of his next film, Karzzzz, a secret. But if sources are to be believed, Emraan Hashmi is the latest to join the cast.
He will play the role which Raj Kiran played in the original Karz.

As for the rest of the cast: Danny Denzongpa will play Pran's role, and Feroz Khan will play Premnath's role of Sir Judah. Urmila had already been finalised for Simi Grewal's role.

Though discussions are on in full swing about who will play Tina Munim's role. But if grapevine is to be believed, Kannada actress Jennifer Kotwal has been roped in already.

Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt together again

After a long gap, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt will be seen together in a film. The duo, who gave us the blockbuster film, Saajan, and last starred together in Chal Mere Bhai in 2000, will do a film for Dutt's banner, Sanjay Dutt Productions. Sujoy Ghosh, who made Jhankar Beats, will direct the film.

Salman has always maintained that Dutt was his 'best friend' in the industry. "Naturally, when he called Salman, Salman could not refuse the film," say sources.

Interestingly, when Shah Rukh Khan asked Salman to make a special appearance in the title track of Om Shanti Om, Salman insisted that he be a part of Dutt's group.

But first Dutt will complete Sujoy Ghosh's Aladin, which also stars Big B.

Tuesday, January 8

Bipasha Basu and Koena Mitra celebrate their birthday

Two Bengali beauties in Bollywood turned a year older Monday.

Bipasha rang in her birthday with beau John Abraham in Goa.

'I'll spend my day tanning on the beach and trying to swim. I'll also be visiting a spa. And of course, I'll be gorging on delicious Goan food. My birthday is the high point of a divine holiday that I am enjoying.'

But Bipasha’s celebrations don't end there. 'We're coming back Tuesday to celebrate again with my parents and close friends. Like she does every year, my mom will cook all my favourite dishes, including gajar ka halwa.'

Koena Mitra is looking forward to her friends making the day special for her. 'I know Tanushree Dutta has planned something. But I don't know what it is,' she giggles.

Friend Tanushree is 'enormously' excited by Koena's birthday. 'She's my best friend and naturally I've plans. We will go to her house (in Mumbai) and crash after a wild party. During the day, we have little surprises planted for her all over her house.'

Monday, January 7

Yoga is the Sexy Secret of Shilpa Shetty

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty has launched a special edition DVD called 'Shilpa's Yoga'.

Speaking about the video, this is what the actress had to say: 'Yoga is a management system for life and it is the most holistic approach to life that I have come across. Yoga has had a spectacular impact on my life and I hope it does the same for you.'

The DVD promises Shilpa's 'fitness secrets for a lean, toned body while retaining all the feminine curves'. She shares instructions for stress and tension release, increased energy and vitality, weight loss, improved circulation and digestion. The video, shot on location in Kerala, also has her demonstrating specific sequences on how to improve concentration, agility and flexibility.

The programme is broken down into back postures, standing postures, sitting postures, stomach postures, neck and shoulder postures and the art of correct breathing. Bonus features on the video include Meet Shilpa Shetty, behind the scenes, a photo gallery and a 15-minute quick fix routine.

Often described as 'the best body in Bollywood', and with her ever escalating popularity there's no doubt Shilpa's instructional video will be a bestseller.

Saturday, January 5

Taare Zameen Par Applauded Worldwide

Aamir Khan's directorial debut Taare Zameen Par, being distributed by UTV Motion Pictures in the overseas market, has recorded grand collections worldwide. TZP collected more than $ 1.45 million alone in the US and Middle East at the end of second weekend, giving the film a bigger opening than Chak De! India in the US market.

In the Gulf, TZP collections crossed $ 600,000 on just 25 prints at the end of the second week and the film's collections have held strong over the weekdays as well. In the USA the film has raked in USD 850,000 opening with 71 prints on 66 screens in week one and has now expanded to 69 screens on 74 prints in week two.

The word of mouth is extremely strong on this film, which has sustained it during the weekday showings. There have also been reports of standing ovation for the film all across North America.

"Looking at the response of the film we are certain that it will be one of the top four Hindi films from India in the US," says UTV Motion Picture EVP marketing, syndicate and distribution Siddharth Roy Kapur.

"Every once in a while you are taken aback by a movie. It is a rare experience, especially coming from Bollywood," says owner of FunAsia, a multiplex chain with 27 screens across four cities in the US, Shariq Hamid.

"The movie is one of the best ones to come out of the Bollywood factory," he says. source

Oscar Buzz For Julia Roberts

It's been a while since Julia Roberts really got her teeth into a role.

Hollywood's most powerful actress virtually called it a day after Mike Nichols' dark 2004 relationship drama, Closer.
Since then, she's been taking care of her twins, daughter Hazel Patricia and son Phinnaeus Walter. Her third child, son Henry Daniel Moder was born in last June, and Julia's sparsely-updated filmography has included cameos and voicework, but no lead roles.

Finally, she comes back to the screen in Nichols' latest film, Charlie Wilson's War, written by West Wing scribe Aaron Sorkin and starring Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The warmly praised film, described by The New York Post's Lou Lumenick as 'A feel-good comedy about a covert US effort to fund resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,' features Julia in a powerful supporting role as right-wing Texas socialite Joanne Herring.

With three stars positively soaking in Oscar gold, chances for a Best Supporting Actress nod are high for Roberts.

Friday, January 4

Fire breaks out on the sets of Pappu Paas Ho Gaya

A fire broke out on the sets of B R Chopra's under-production film, Pappu Paas Ho Gaya, at Mumbai's Film City, in the western suburb of Goregaon on Friday morning. Luckily, no one was shooting at the time.

"We wrapped up the shooting of Pappu Pass Ho Gaya on Thursday by 10.30 pm. The fire started early in the morning," director Ravi Chopra says.

The reason for the fire was not immediately known but Film City sources say it could be due to a short circuit.

Chopra says that the fire will not cause a delay in the shooting. "It was a minor set. Another set has already been erected. We will start shooting in one week's time," he adds.

The movie Pappu Pass Ho Gaya stars Govinda, Lara Dutta and Tabu.

Ajay Devgan will become a Valued Character Actor, says Rajkumar Santoshi

Rajkumar Santoshi's Halla Bol, which releases on January 11, looks quite interesting. The film has Ajay Devgan play a struggling actor, who soon becomes a star. His humbleness is swiftly replaced by arrogance, as he basks in his success. Halla Bol also has shades of the Jessica Lal murder as Devgan's character witnesses a murder.

The film also stars Pankaj Kapur and Vidya Balan.

Santoshi talks to Arthur J Pais about his upcoming film, and also his new projects -- Ashoka and Ramayan, both of which will star Devgan.

How did Halla Bol come about?
For more than a decade, I have been thinking of making a film about how many of us shirk our responsibilities and claim we are neutral. But just because we are silent, we are not really neutral. I thought of taking up the film now and then, in the past decade. But other projects came up. However, the idea would not go away.

Why did the idea persist?
Because we are confronted by situations where we are expected to take a stand, all the time. But many of us turn away. I have been guilty of it too. It has been becoming increasingly clear to me that if I do not stand up to the person next to me, I am guilty of joining hands with those who are oppressing that person. And a time may come that I would be the only person standing, and there would br no one to defend me.

What would you say -- in a sentence or two -- is the theme of the film?
Raise your voice. That is the proof that you are truly alive.

What happens to Ajay Devgan's character in the film?
His soul slowly becomes corrupt as he becomes more and more successful in life. He loses his humanity. But the day of reckoning surely must be coming.

You love working with him, don't you?
He is a trusted friend. And I feel that I will continue working with him for many years. I never get tired of working with Ajay. He will be playing the lead in Ashoka and then in the Ramayan. Both will be made within two years. I am sure people will be astounded how he will interpret the two compellingly fascinating characters. Ajay is one of the few leading men in the industry today who will some day become a very valued character actor.

What do you feel most appealing in him?
He has never been a chocolate face actor. Though he has received a lot of praise for his performances and awards, I feel every time I work with him, there is so much more talent in him that is waiting to be exploited. Ajay surprises me every time we are doing a new film.

What kind of Ashoka would he make?
I am sure he will bring out well all the contradictions, weaknesses and strengths in Ashoka. I love history and I read extensively about historical people. I have been thinking of this film for many years, and Ajay was always there in my mind as Ashoka.

Some filmmakers would have been tempted to cast 'handsome' actor as Ashoka.

(Chuckles) That is the point. From my reading, I know that Ashoka was not a handsome person in the traditional sense. He was also a dark skinned person. One of Ajay's strengths is that he can get under the skin of any well-written role and make it his own. He has sharp, expressive eyes. And he appears to be very natural in all the challenging characters he has played so far.

People surely have asked this question before. There is already a film on Ashoka, starring Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Santosh Sivan. The film got mixed reviews and did not perform well.

What made you decide on another film on the emperor?
The answer lies in your question. It is not that I did not like the previous film. But I found it ended at a very important juncture, the Battle of Kalinga, that led to Ashoka getting horrified with the carnage on the battlefield and renouncing warfare.

My film starts where Santosh Sivan's film ended. I am fascinated by the life and times of Ashoka. I remember reading H G Wells, who considered Ashoka to be the most powerful emperor because of the moral strength he had in renouncing violence and seeking an ethical life for himself and his people. Wells considered Ashoka to be even greater than Alexander and Julius Caesar. It would not have surprised me to read an Indian historian calling Ashoka great. But a British historian recognising Ashoka's greatness? How can I resist the idea of making a film on Ashoka?

There surely some people in the film business who think it is a risky subject?
I am sure. But the fact that I am all ready to make the film --- we plan to start shooting it in February --- shows my confidence in the subject.
What did you find most interesting about Ashoka's life?
I am tempted to look at what might have happened after he renounced war and he actually begin to believe in the renunciation. I don't think the transition was easy. I don't think he stopped fighting the demons within himself once he took that decision. I am often intrigued by, whether I read a novel or study history, the transitional period.

What made you choose Bipasha Basu for Ashoka?
I think Ajay and Bipasha have excellent screen chemistry. She plays the role of Kaurwaki. She has to be sensuous and also a person of determination. This could be one of the most challenging roles of her career.

There surely are people who will remind you about The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Did that film eventually make the money?
The producers of the film say they haven't recovered the investment. And yet, TIPS is so proud of the film, it is mentioned as their proudest achievement. Though the film was not a runaway hit, thousands liked it. It won many awards. Many people in India consider it to be one of the finest historical films made by an Indian filmmaker. source

Wednesday, January 2

Big B Signs Up For Toon Movie

We have seen him in various avatars. He has been the Shahenshah, Sexy Sam, Anthony etc. But now superstar Amitabh Bachchan has gone a step further in his bid to reinvent himself. This time he will be seen on screen as a cartoon character.

It is believed that the Big B has signed a deal with an animation company for a cartoon movie. The movie is expected to hit the screen in the next one year. It will be a full-length feature film with a cartoon character based on the Big B. The superstar has been giving a lot of ideas and the script is taking shape. But the production house is yet to find a director for the venture.

The agreement has been signed with the Thiruvananthapuram Toonz Academy, which co-produced the recent Hanuman Returns. Bachchan is said to be very gung-ho about the production and was quite involved in the look of the character in film which will be based on him.

Well, after Priyanka Chopra designed a toon character for Virgin Comics and Shah Rukh Khan lent his voice for the Hindi version of The Unbreakables, the race to leave an animated footprint is on in full earnest.

Bollywood Stars Make New Year Pledges To Improve Life

What is Brand Bollwyood's New Year's pledge? Little touches that add value to their lives and to the industry in general, say the stars.

In 2008, the promises include showing greater concern for the saving energy, loving oneself and practising austerity. Actress Koena Mitra wants to follow her heart to where it takes her while actor Manoj Bajpai wants to kick smoking. Here's a list of what the stars have promised themselves in 2008:

Amrita Arora: "I know being bad is good. But I want to be a better human being in 2008. I want to kick my habitual impatience and work much harder than I did in 2007."

Arshad Warsi: "In 2008, I'm really really going to start looking after myself. And I want to work even harder on my films. No more supporting roles for me. I'll now support myself."

Bipasha Basu: "In 2008, I want to be fitter and healthier. I also want some more interesting work to come my way. And I want to travel a lot more in leisure."

Dino Morea: "I seriously don't look at the whole year. I take it a day at a time. I see every day as a struggle to do the right thing. So, I guess in 2008 I'll struggle even more. The one resolution that will remain with me through the year is to be good, to myself and to those I love.

Kangana Ranaut: "In 2008, I want to find love...but not the way you'd think. I want to find it within myself. I want to love myself so I can be a better person myself and for others. And I want to learn more stuff...play new instruments, read new books, see the world. I want to fly."

Koena Mitra: "I don't like to restrict myself to rules and resolutions. I'm not a planner. I never planned anything. So in 2008, I want to be even more spontaneous. I want to follow my heart wherever it takes me. I want to make mistakes, so I can learn from them. I want life to be full of surprises, unpredictable and adventurous. Can I have all of this?"

Kunal Kapoor: "My new-year resolution? To shave at least once a week."

Lilette Dubey: "I see time slipping away. In 2008, I want to renew bonds with my family and friends. And I want to travel more. But most important of all, I'm going to make my first film. Yes, 2008 will be the year of my directorial debut. I love new challenges, always, Wish me luck."
Malaika Arora: "Oh, I make New Year resolutions religiously every year and break them throughout the year. 2008 will be no exception."

Manoj Bajpai: "After 18 years of smoking, I've kicked the habit. In 2008, I want to stay away from the cancer stick."

Neil Mathur: "My new year resolution is to make no resolutions. I make them every year and forget to stick to them."

Prashant Raj: "In 2008, I want to get serious. There will be a lot of focus on commitment in my life. At the same time I want to enjoy myself to the hilt. Is that a contradictory wish?"

Preity Zinta: "2007 was professionally stressful. I did some of my most complex characters and at the end of the year I needed a break. Now in 2008, I will do some fun roles. My New Year resolution is to let my hair down and never let down those whom I love."

Riteish Deshmukh: "Normally, I don't make any resolutions. But this year I'm making an exception. I want to become more energy-conscious his year. I'll make a conscious effort to save on electricity wherever I can."

Ruslaan Mumtaz: "This year, I want to spend far less money than I did last year. I recently went on a holiday and came back broke. I had to cancel my year-end holiday plans. In 2008, I want to stop using the credit card."

Raima Sen: "I really need to get more regular about my workouts. And I need to get more decisive this year. I have been giving in just to be polite."

Sammir Dattani: "I want to stop being the good sweet cute boy next door. I want to get really mean on screen. I want to play the villain in a slasher movie where I get to be ugly in looks and action."

Simi Garewal: "My new year resolution...to speak more Hindi as I am going to do more Hindi shows on television."

Saif Ali Khan: "To never smoke again, to take care of my health, be extremely regular with my workouts, make more time for those whom I love, to stay keyed into my work and to make sure that I enjoy what I do."

Sonam Kapoor: "The death of my grandfather at the end of the year made me realise how urgently I need to spend time with my family. My New Year resolution is to spend as much time as possible with my grandmother. I realise that at the end of the day it's those whom you love that you need to preserve the most. And since my grandfather would always joke about the fact that I don't have a boyfriend, I think I need to get one in my life. Where can I order one?"

Tusshar Kapoor: "My new-year resolution is to get more fitness-conscious. I want to get as physically fit as I can. And I've promised myself a holiday this year. One more thing, I've resolved to be more careful this year in selecting my roles."

Urmila Matondkar: "Why make new year resolutions? I learn from my mistakes throughout the year."

Upen Patel: "In 2008, I want to be a good human being. And I want to get love back into my life."

Kolkata Calling For Bipasha Basu

Bipasha has shed her tank tops, her tight tees and jeans and settled for a more demure look. At her first interaction with the media for Rituparno Ghosh's Sab Charitro Kalpanik, the actress was clad in a saree, with a bindi on her forehead and lots of chunky jewellery. Apparently, even her father received the shock of his life when he saw his daughter dressed like this.

Of course, Bipasha's saree-look fits in perfectly with her character in Ghosh's latest film, which is about a NRI Bengali who comes to Kolkata in search of her roots. The actress's co-stars in the film include Prasenjit, Jishu Sengupta, Sohag Sen and Pauli Dam.

Bipasha says that she can totally identify with her character Radhika completely. Radhika comes back to Kolkata after the death of her husband and uses his poems to connect and find herself. Joy Goswami has written the poems especially for the film.

The actress's Bengali is rusty as she hardly gets a chance to speak Bengali in Mumbai, unless she is with her parents. Ghosh admits that there a few syntactical errors in her diction but he overlooks them as he feels that it goes with her character. source

Tuesday, January 1

Shilpa Shetty Found Her Man

The cat is finally out of the bag.
After denying the relationship for almost six months, Shilpa Shetty has admitted that she is dating London-based businessman, Raj Kundra.

In a statement from her publicist, Dale Bhagwagar, Shilpa said, "I'm not denying it's him (Raj) but I hope when this comes out, it doesn't frighten him off!"

Raj, a leading businessman in Britain, is also responsible for the launch of Shilpa's perfume S2, and her new DVD on yoga.
He is also responsible for her Broadway show, Miss Bollywood.
Raj is also a film producer, and recently presented the Jimmy Shergill-Kay Kay Menon film, Strangers.

Interestingly, Raj had issued an apology to Shilpa and her parents six months ago, saying that they were not an item, and all media reports were baseless. His statement came after his wife Kavita stated that reason for their breakup was Shilpa Shetty.

Denying Kavita's allegation, Raj had said his wife's accusations that Shilpa was the reason their marriage breakup was untrue. 'I had no association with Shilpa at the time of our separation,' he added.
So is Shilpa planning to settle down in matrimony? "It's too early to speculate marriage," Dale says. "All I can say is that Shilpa is dating Raj. She's just started to know him better. So let's give her some time and not jump to conclusions."

Meanwhile, the actress is on a shopping spree in Las Vegas, and plans to spend New Year's Eve with her family. source

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