Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Bombay Times

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: John Abraham pushes himself an extra mile

John Abraham believes if you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain…

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 5, 2010)

It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words. But this stark and screaming one of John Abraham pumping 140 lbs dumbells in the gym, does 473 actually. The Bollywood hunk himself believes it is a “wild, crazy and ugly” picture. “But it speaks the state of my mind,” he is quick to explain. He is at an inbetween stage. In between films. He’s finished Abbas Tyrewala’s 1-800 Love and has Nishikant Kamath’s
(Mumbai Meri Jaan) untilted action project lined up next. Then there’s Dostana 2 starting in June. Before which he has four months to himself. “To look at life, to introspect, to ask myself questions about things I’ve done and which need to be done, to solve 10,000 problems, my mind is caught in a melee,” carries on the actor, “there’s a lot of nervous energy, there’s tension waiting to be relieved, and the gym is my release. I’m not lifting heavy weights to prove a point. The gym is like my church and working out is like praying…”
He’s umindful of the fact that, like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, he’s stuck to doing one film a year only. There was Dostana in 2008 and New York in 2009. That’s it. “Like everybody else, I get offers all the time, but you’ll never hear I refused a film… I don’t take pride in saying that. The point is not to do everything you get… but to do the right thing,” says John. And right now, he’s not doing anything. Yet he’s the only actor, apart from SRK and Akshay Kumar, with a non-filmi lineage who’s hanging in there. Perhaps that’s because John has a huge and loyal fan following that’s got nothing to do with the success or failure of his films.
But it doesn’t worry him who’s doing what in Bollywood. “I’ve studied economics, so I know that if somebody else’s film works, so will I as an industry,” he says. And he’s busy benchpressing in the gym towards his own benchmarks. He’s got severe tendonitis in both elbows, shin splints, he fractured the bones, severed the veins in his left foot in a 2006 bike accident, he broke the navicular bone in his right foot last year… yet, as his T-shirt suggests, John Abraham is aware that pain is temporary, pride is forever. “If you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain,” he warns. “I’m trying to reach a pinnacle, at the gym, in films and life itself. I want to get to a point where I can say, yes, I’ve got what it takes.”

WHERE ARE THE ROLES? Lara Dutta, Bipasha Basu, Sonam and (above) Vidya Balan

They’re not studio hopping in 2010 because there’s no work

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 5, 2010)

The Bollywood men are sorted. Shah Rukh Khan is committed to doing one film in 2010 with Kareena Kapoor (RA 1). Aamir Khan may or may not even do that much. Salman Khan is introducing 20-something Sonakshi Sinha (Dabangg) to audiences. Ranbir Kapoor is romancing Priyanka Chopra (Anjaana Anjaani) and Katrina Kaif (Rajniti). Akshay Kumar is serenading Deepika Padukone (Houseful), Southern hottie Trisha (Khatta Meetha) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Action Replayy). Ajay Devgn wants Bebo (Golmaal-3)! The five or six men who matter at the box office have their screen partners more or less sorted. If they sign new films, they once again want the top five Bollywood girls to prance with them. So what happens to the rest? Well, well. “As usual the expiry date for heroines in Bollywood is getting shorter and shorter, their shelf life is cramped,’’ says trade consultant Amod Mehra. He continues, “Except the top four girls actually —whichever order you place them in — whether it is Kareena, Katrina, Priyanka and Deepika, the other girls have slipped into oblivion.’’ A top hero (from the lot mentioned above) adds, “One of the heroines is so desperate for work, she is actually contemplating doing a film with an art film actor. The reason for her desperation is understandable. Last year we saw B-town beauties Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherji being phased out. In 2010, at least half-a-dozen girls of the existing lot will be quietly shown the gate.’’ Another trade source points out that Bollywood has enough talent and glamour to keep it going. However, the men on top definitely want either the Top 5 or they want someone completely ‘virgin’. Vidya Balan says she would much rather do just Ishqiya that revolves around her completely and follow it up with one Chenab Gandhi — again a pivotal role for her. But the fact of the matter is that even a volcano of talent like Vidya is left with little choice. Honestly, how many regular films can she find herself fitting into? Bipasha Basu and Lara Dutta also have just one/two films on hand. Asin Thottumkal hasn’t shot for a single film all through 2009. Post Ghajini she greenlighted only London Dreams and the 19th Step. London Dreams tanked and the 19th Step was shelved. Youngsters like Genelia D’Souza and Sonam Kapoor have promise but are still to make the box office grade. The fact is that 90 per cent of the B-town girls are more visible at advertisement commercial shoots, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, stage concerts and television reality shows. It is the money from these add-on revenue streams that keeps their world going around. Films? Well, what’s that?
IN TELLYLAND: Shah Rukh Khan, AkshayKumar and (top) Rani Mukerji with guest Shahid Kapoor, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapur on their TV shows
How worthwhile has it been for channels putting Bollywood stars on TV?

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

Abhishek Bachchan is stepping into his father’s shoes by hosting a game show on TV. What prompted Bachchan Jr. to give a nod to the small screen? Was it a lucrative offer? Perhaps, because it’s money that draws film stars to television. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Rani Mukerji, Karisma Kapur… the list is endless of Bollywood stars who made the big crossover.

Akshay, reports said, was paid a whopping Rs 2.5 crore per episode to host the second season of Khatron ke Khiladi. And Salman Khan was apparently given Rs 89 crore for the first season of Dus Ka Dum! It’s big money all right for the stars, but is it worthwhile for the channels to shell out such big bucks for the star value?

Statistics prove that shows with Bollywood stars have never topped the overall Television Rating Points (TRP) charts. Only Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, that changed the face of Indian television years ago, saw TRP success. All other shows hosted or judged by stars have raked in average or dismal TRPs. Yes, there is a fair amount of curiosity and people are bound to watch the show at least once for the star’s sake, but after that it’s content that sells. Meanwhile, TV actors are unhappy with the ‘filmi’ invasion but will not complain openly for fear of antagonising the channels. “Does it make any sense to pay film stars in crores? No show has zoomed up the TRP charts,” said a popular TV actress. “The TRPs that these stars have got, after the initial few episodes and special episodes, is the same that any other anchor has got! Did Rani’s presence lift the show up so much… wouldn’t it have been the same if it was somebody else? And what big difference did Karisma make?” Another veteran actor added, “In the name of recession TV actors had to go through paycuts, but film stars on TV continued to rake in the moolah!”

Channels have their reasoning. Programming head Ashvini Yardi explained, “We go in for film stars for three reasons: It boosts perception… the brand image of the star rubs on to the channel. For instance, having Akshay’s show gives the channel a fresh, adventurous and risk-taking image. Second, reality shows help bring in a fresh audience, especially the men and youth, who are not regular soap watchers. Also, shows with film stars rake in huge money in terms of advertisements.” What’s important though, pointed out Ashvini, is to make the right choice while choosing a film star. “The show has to go with the star’s brand,” she said. TV serial producers, however, believe that since it’s serials that hold the top slot in the number game, more attention should be paid to them. “Instead of cutting down on our budgets, channels should cut down on paying so much to film stars,” grumbled a TV director. Producer-director Rajan Shahi’s glad that top film stars are now also TV stars. “I hope TV stars get the same treatment in films,” he said. Talking about B-town’s foray on the small screen, he added, “I’m sure taking film stars has some benefit that channels see. In the past film stars have given huge TRPs… may be the magic will work again. For me, Rakhi Sawant has been the most successful film actor in terms of success on TV.”

CANDID CHAT: Kareena Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor says she is guilty of just that…

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

It has been a year of fluctuating fortunes for Bollywood’s most powerful actress — Kareena Kapoor. The janta and her sceptics will never let her forget that she had three duds in 2009 with Kambakkht Ishq, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna and Kurbaan. But just when they were nailing her coffin, she bounced right back with the biggest hit of them all.

Like a cat that has swallowed the cream, Kareena smacked her luscious lips and said, “There I was licking my wounds when God above answered my prayers. Honestly, I’m delirious. To think that I started 2009 with a whimper and ended it with a bang. Someone up there heard me.’’

Just before she set off on a tour of England with Saif Ali Khan, the incorrigible Bebo said, “2010 has a lot of promise. I sincerely wish the Midas touch continues. I’ll start the year with my idol, Shah Rukh Khan, with whom I’m travelling to Miami for RA 1. Then I’m going to be traipsing the globe with Saif in Agent Vinod. And, if Aamir keeps up his promise to me, the two of us will end up in a romantic film by the end of the year.’’ Jumping like a child, she asked, “Listen, is it wrong to love more than one Khan at a time? I’m guilty of just that. Shah Rukh and Gauri are my close friends. I love Saifu. And as for Aamir, well, what can I say? He’s the new Khan on my block.’’

Gamely she takes the blame for her duds. She knows the critics dipped their pens in poison when she did KI and MAMK. “My funda is simple,’’ said Bebo. “Actors should be like scientists, always willing to experiment. I experimented and I failed. That doesn’t take away from my acting abilities. If I don’t experiment, the same guys will write — she’s a plastic doll on screen. One does take chances with one’s roles and if the films fail, I’m more heartbroken than anyone else. Don’t forget films are all I live for. I give my films everything I have. So failure does affect me. But to write me off each time I have a flop is unfair.’’

Maybe, but that’s the way things in Bollywood work. One Friday you’re a handmaiden, the next Friday you’re the Queen. And, if you’re lucky, you can get an extended lease at the box-office. Like Bebo just managed. meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

ON A SONG: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in My Name Is Khan and (below) Karan Johar

Karan Johar releases Sajda, the first track of his new film, today

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 3, 2010)

Today music lovers will have a special reason to groove. For the soulful, melodious, Sajda track from Karan Johar’s romantic drama My Name is Khan will play across every satellite channel and radio station.

The fortunate few who have already heard the track sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma say it holds the promise of becoming the anthem of 2010. Karan Johar says, “I’m glad Sajda has got an ovation.’’ He adds that working with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on this track was indeed different from the previous experiences of Kal Ho Na Ho and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna — both chartbusters in their own right…but both more similar to each other in a way.

“On the other hand, for MNIK, we decided to have music which is a sharp contrast to the visuals that may dominate the screen. The music has a rustic and soulful feel; the songs aren’t your regular lipsynced numbers, as is the normal practise, yet each track is a haunting melody and will leave behind an indelible mark.’’


Candidly Karan admits, “I’m besura, I can’t sing to save my life, I can’t play a single music instrument, yet if my films do throw up songs that find a following, it is simply because God has blessed me with the ability to say yes or no to a track that is suggested to me by my composers.’’

Explaining how Bollywood film music has been his raison de etre for 30-odd years, Karan says, “I’m obsessed with Hindi film music. Be it on my radio or my iPod you will find me listening only to Hindi film songs. I have grown up listening to music from the 40s until now; and in a way, I can say I have developed a keen ear for it.’’ Praising his composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the filmmaker says, “I don’t know how the three of them work in such perfect tandem. But they do. If I had to have a co-director, I’d probably kill the person. But these guys are amazing.’’ The trade also has given Sajda a thumbs up. This track which has a sufiana kind of feel climbed to the eighth spot on the charts within minutes of it being aired. Of his lead pair, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, on who the MNIK tracks have been picturised, Karan says, “If Kajol loves a song, she’ll say so instantly. As for Shah Rukh, most of the songs he vocalises seem like they are owned by him because he is one actor who gives 300 per cent to every song he sings. SRK’s tracks have that evergreen quality because when he is on screen singing them you just feel the song was made for him and none other.’’
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

THREE’S COMPANY: Sushmita Sen, Shah Rukh Khan and Fardeen Khan in a still from Dulha Mil Gaya
With SRK and Sushmita Sen teaming up again

BINA TRIVEDI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

Sweeping aside the sceptics, Mudassar Aziz’s Dulha Mil Gaya — a comic caper shot for the most part in the Caribbean Islands, is slated for a mammoth release worldwide on January 8.
The film’s leading lady Sushmita Sen says DMG is a passionately told story and it has a delightful plot line. For her fans it is important because she teams up with Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan after their last super-hit
Main Hoon Na.
SRK has a pivotal role as Raj, while the film’s leading man Fardeen Khan (playing Shashank) has his own share of fun and romance.
It is now official that PVR has tied up to distribute this magnum opus through their network in Delhi, UP, East Punjab and Mysore. Morpheus Media Ventures, the films presenters, and Viveck Vaswani are gung-ho about their PVR tie-up. And the film will have a colossal release in terms of prints across the globe.
The title track of DMG is already a hit this wedding season with “baraats” all over blasting it. And for some live publicity action, on January 3, Fardeen will even dress in his bride-groom gear and drive in a chariot to a Mumbai mall to claim his bride Isshita Sharma.
What’s more, Bollywood Hungama has registered in excess of 1,75,000 hits on Dulha Mil Gaya’s theatrical trailer (more than any other forthcoming film), in less than one month. “I’m elated,” says writer-director Mudassar Aziz, “we made this music and this film only to entertain our audiences, them enjoying it leaves me gratified.”
“It has been a long but exhilarating journey. It’s been the best example of teamwork that I have ever seen. The unit stuck together through thick and thin. The scale of the film has to be seen to be believed,” said Viveck Vaswani, the producer.

FINGERS CROSSED: A R Rehman
A R Rahman has got two nominations for Slumdog Millionaire

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Newtwork (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

A R Rahman, the most talked about Indian of last year, is counting down to the 52nd Grammy Awards. They’re being held on January 31, at LA, and the Oscar-winning music composer has won two nominations for his soundtrack from Slumdog Millionaire. The song Jai Ho – which fetched Rahman two Academy awards and a Golden Globe – has been nominated for ‘Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’ and also for ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’. Rahman, naturally, is pleased. While he’s aware the Oscar Awards for Slumdog Millionaire required a whole lot of lobbying, the Grammy needs no such push. “All I’ve to do is wait and watch what happens. The Grammy is as exciting as the Oscar. It’s the ultimate music award, isn’t it? Although it’s a nomination for a film song, the Grammy is still another shot in the arm for Jai Ho. Any recognition is welcome. Jai Ho is an important song.” Not strangely, he feels a huge sense of responsibility. “I hope I never let down my country, my people, my music, my family and myself,” said the music genius who has just returned home after being in his “other base” — Los Angeles.

Rahman, meanwhile, is unhappy with the outcome of his first Hollywood soundtrack. “The music of Couples Retreat got a good response. But I feel my music was not used properly. It was a comedy. I guess you can’t expect music to have much of a place in a comedy. They were more into laughter than music,” he complained, adding, “The music has all been used. But not the way my fans would expect. I was prepared for the outcome when I entered this project.” So he’s not really disappointed by his first foray into Hollywood. “If I had waited for the perfect Hollywood vehicle, I might have had to wait endlessly. It’s not easy for an Asian to enter into Hollywood camps. It’s a new beginning for me. I got great reviews.”

He’s got a lot of offers but also has a tough schedule this year to be able to give any more time to new commitments. And, contrary to rumours, acting is not one of Rahman’s forthcoming commitments. “That’s completely false news,” he said shocked. “I am not going into acting. I’m going to be speaking in a documentary on my friend, the musician P. J. Mortan. We’ve known each other for some time. He collaborated with me for a track in Couples Retreat. That’s it. It’s not a feature film. I’ve no aspirations to go into acting. God has given me one skill and I’m very happy with it.”
The biggest hits of their career were NEVER meant to be theirs

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

You talk to any film director and he’ll give you gyaan on how such and such actor is in the film because he/she fit the casting to the ‘t’.

Yet, the reality of the matter is something else. It is usually who is available; and sometimes who is more saleable.

Take the latest: Aamir Khan was never meant to be playing the idiot in his latest film. It was to be Shah Rukh Khan. Since SRK and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra had a difference of opinion, the Bollywood Badshah was replaced by Aamir. And while the rest is history, there are innumerable such examples in the film industry.

History knows that Amitabh Bachchan was not Prakash Mehra’s first choice for Zanjeer. It was meant to be Dev Anand or Raaj Kumar. When both actors said no, the Big B stepped in. Jaya Bachchan even thanked Dev saab for refusing the Zanjeer role. The film gave her — her real life husband and it gave Bollywood one of its most revered screen couples.

Today you wonder how Dev saab would ever have fit into the angry young man mould. But that’s an after-thought.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted Raj Kapoor to play Anand. When he couldn’t, Hrishida sent for Shashi Kapoor but Rajesh Khanna wormed his way in. And till today Anand is synonymous with the 70s phenomenon.

Shatrughan Singh continues to smart that it was he who was to be Jai in the Jai-Veeru jodi of Sholay but because he was riding a crest of super-success then, he didn’t want to do a twohero film. Amitabh Bachchan got the role instead.
Aamir had been pencilled in for Yash Chopra’s Darr but at that point he ‘accused’ Yash of playing games. And SRK made a permanent place for himself in the YRF camp.
Ajay Devgn was to play Karan in Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun. But he was ousted by politics and next thing you know is that Salman Khan was in. Till today Karan Arjun remains one of the biggest hits of Bollywood and Salman’s career. And it may become film history because he and bete noire are unlikely to star in a movie again.

Saif Ali Khan had qualms about playing a pansy in Dostana so John Abraham was brought in. John got male and female temperatures rising with this fun flick and is now a part of its sequel.

Kareena Kapoor asked for too much money for Kal Ho Na Ho; result — Preity Zinta landed this memorable film. Shah Rukh was meant to be playing Munnabhai but since he walked out after some miscommunication, Sanjay Dutt became Munna. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was in Chalte Chalte till Salman dropped in as an uninvited guest forcing SRK to call Rani Mukerji to replace her… and Rekha and Jaya would never have had their screen face-off in Silsila had Parveen Babi and Smita Patil done their roles.

Unlike real history, reel history is often made by default.

SMILES AHEAD: BT shot Akshay Kumar exclusively on the sets of Khatta Meetha

Akshay Kumar in his avatar as the Common Man

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 1, 2010)

The last decade in Bollywood has primarily been dominated by three Khans (Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman) and one Kumar (Akshay). And even as his brand equity is at an all-time high, Akshay Kumar’s business plan in the new year is to take his banner Hari Om Production (HOP) to greater heights.


The banner which is a late bloomer, swung into action with Waqt — The Race Against Time in 2005, but has already notched up hits like Namastey London, Singh is Kinng, the entertaining grosser De Dana Dan, and is now ready for its next three productions — Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha, Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan and Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House.

Says Priyan, a close associate of Akshay and the HOP, “Khatta Meetha is a satire on the system. It is about the road-mafia which is prevalent all over but more so in Bihar and eastern UP. The main plot line is inspired by R K Laxman’s famous common man. Based on a true incident, this film unveils the travesty of the common man. I have made this film in Malayalam earlier and it was wonderfully received. I’m sure it will be a winner in Hindi too.’’ Both Hari Om Productions and Akshay will move by leaps and bounds in 2010. While the banner will have two releases in Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan, the actor will also be seen in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Houseful and Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy. Of course, it is not all work and no play for this superstar. He is currently on vacation in Goa with his family. Asked what was uppermost on his mind when the clock struck 12, he says, “I sincerely want 2010 to be a year of peace and harmony. I wish BT readers a Happy New Year.’’

Rewinding to his recent Canada trip where he represented India at the Winter Olympics, the superstar says, “I can’t tell you what a proud moment it was when I was handed the Olympic Torch in Canada. It was very moving. In my opinion films and sports are the two passions that can bind any nation.’’ Having talked about his moment of glory on foreign soil, Akki adds, “I’m proud that New Delhi is the chosen destination for the Commonwealth Games. I pray for peace because I want this sporting event to go off really smooth. I want the world to know that India is safe and capable of hosting an event of this magnitude. As a true sports lover this is something uppermost on my mind.’’
SEXY! Priyanka Chopra

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 1, 2010)

Okay, Bollywood’s first big rumour of 2010 is that Priyanka Chopra and Akshay Kumar are going to reunite on screen in Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan. The buzz is that Priyanka, riding high on the success of Kaminey, is keen on being cast opposite the Khiladi again. Akshay, you remember, was the hero who galvanized her into the big league at the start of her career with Andaaz, Aitraaz and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi before the two decided not to work together. The buzz is that Priyanka has sent feelers to Farah for the female lead role in her film. The choreographer-director is herself said to be game for this hot-and saleable pairing. And Akshay, who was recently asked if he had any problems working with Priyanka again, had replied, “I’d love to work with her… provided the right script comes along.”

While none of the three involved parties are willing to comment on the Akshay-Priyanka pairing in Tees Maar Khan, Farah did reluctantly say, “By mid-January we have to decide. It will either be an absolutely new girl or a very established actress… go do your math!”


  • shaziya: Vidhu Vinod Chopra remained unavailable for comment. But we wonder, has he forgotten his Munnabhai Gandhigiri lesson?
  • shaziya: The team of Eros International’s Veer has been looking forward to this day with great anticipation as the mega project finally hits the big screens
  • hitesh patel: glad came to know that we indians have developed something amaging.I urge the govt to take step in making people study who are not financially capable
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.