Fenil and Bollywood

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Kannada matinee idol Vishnuvardhan, passed away of cardiac arrest yesterday

By S Shyam Prasad \ Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 31, 2009)


At the age of 22, H N Sampath Kumar was rechristened Vishnuvardhan by legendary director Puttanna Kanagala and he had fame and popularity literally seeking him out overnight. The Mysore-born actor would often call his entry into films as dynamic and expressed a desire to have a graceful exit. It turned out to be an unexpected exit in the early hours of December 30; and not just from films.

At 59, none of his fans, friends or family expected him to perish. The late actor was suffering from diabetes and had developed cardiac problems during his last days. He is survived by his wife, Bharati and two adopted daughters.

Vishnuvardhan made his film debut with a small role in Vamshavriksha directed by Girish Karnad in 1972. In the same year, he appeared in Puttanna Kanagala’s magnum opus Naagarahaavu, where he played the protagonist Ramachari, which remains a much-liked character to date.

A polyglot who could speak six languages, his life changed when films beckoned him. As Vishnuvardhan would recall later in life, he had neither enthusiasm nor love for films. “I was not a hard worker, but a sincere worker,” he summed up his film career. When his first photograph appeared in Chitradeepa magazine after his film debut, what the young Vishnuvardhan aspired was to be recognised by girls as he walked around Gandhi Bazaar.

At the time Vishnuvardhan married actress Bharati, she was a bigger star than him. Their marriage lasted for a lifetime but the couple was childless. They adopted two girls. But the actor never spoke about this aspect of life.

Vishnuvardhan Akshay Kumar

In the last few years, Vishnuvardhan had become a disciple of Bannanje Govindacharya and taken up vows of silence from time to time. He would avoid public platforms that would necessitate him to make tough statements or take stands. However, he held on to his beliefs and would never waver from his somewhat radical views.

Akshay Kumar, who is holidaying with his wife and son in Goa, expressed his shock about the superstar’s death. Akshay says, “I worked with him in Ashaant (1993) and I think, that is the only Hindi film that Vishnuji did. We shot it in his home town Bangalore, and he was so popular! Men, women and children came to him to be touched by him. He was like God. Newly-born babies were named after him.”

Akshay remembers the good times that they had while shooting the film. “Vishnuji was disciplined, focused and hard working. I have learnt a lot from him. We did a Hindi and a Kannada version of Ashaant. The Kannada version was a super hit. The Hindi version was a flop. I guess he was a much bigger star than I could ever be. As I speak about him now all the memories of shooting during that film flash through my mind. I met him in Bangalore much later. He was warm and very friendly. Was he just 60? That’s no age to go.”

Presenting the dichotomy kid… Ranbir kapoor

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 05, 2009)

 

How much of the real Ranbir do we know?

 

Probably 30 per cent. And that too from the films I do because it’s only then that I actually give something of myself to the character. But when I am doing interviews, there is a certain amount of a façade. If you are an introvert or shy like me, you need to exude some confidence, some belief in what you are doing. But honestly, I am scared. I am not that confident an actor to believe and think that everything I do will be a success.

I believe, the remaining 70 per cent will eventually come through when I reach a point where I can really surrender to a character. I hope that role turns up some day. As I keep saying, I am very ambitious. I have lots of directors to work with, lots of roles to play. I hope to be a working actor everyday of my life, to be able to go on a set. I really don’t know what to do with my time when I am not on set.

// When you are not on your Segway that is…

(laughs) I do that every night. It’s my way of letting go. I know it sounds weird and stupid but it’s kind of spiritual. I do it at 2-2.30 in the night. The roads are empty, the weather is great and you just drive through.

A girl who has worked with you, describes you as a mixture of the three Khans. A bad boy like Salman, charmer like Shah Rukh and focused like Aamir.

That girl might be drunk or on some drug because I am not even close to any of these characteristics. The three Khans are living legends for me. Even using my name in the same sentence as theirs is an insult to them.

So you are saying that you are not a bad boy, charming or focused?

(blushing wildly) Actually I am. But I guess to a much milder degree.

So what is your charm?

I am just a happy person, I like talking to people who interest me. You just have to listen to people, I guess that’s what charm is. It’s not about corny lines, it’s not about the looks that you give somebody. It’s only about the attitude to and the conversations that you have with somebody.

Which Kapoor do you resemble as an actor?

As an actor, nobody. My grandfather, Raj Kapoor, was a stylised actor. I have always preferred him more as a director than an actor. Of course, though he was an amazing actor, his directorial abilities blew me away. Shammi Kapoor again had his own style. Shashi Kapoor had his own style. My father has always been a natural actor. So thankfully, I was never compared because you cannot compare natural acting. I would like to believe I have my own style and I am a natural too. I have my own good and bad qualities and I hope it remains like this. I anyway have the baggage of a lineage. If my acting reminded people of actors who they have worshipped earlier, I don’t think anybody would want to see me at all.

But you do want to direct at some point of time?

Yes, I do but it’s an immature dream. It is something I aspire to do one day. I am extremely passionate about movies, but right now I need to solidify my career as an actor. I need some bonafide blockbusters, I need people to have faith in me so that banks can give me money to make movies.

For a 27-year-old boy, you keep an extremely neat room. How come?

I am basically neat. I don’t like chaos, I can’t work like that. I like silence, I like loneliness. I like everything which is soft. I think because of my docile nature, it reflects in the environment I live in.

Even in your work?

Yes, of course, it just causes less confusion. But where my acting process is concerned, I am not bothered. I could be doing a scene in front of ten thousand people on the road, they could be loud and passing remarks, but it wouldn’t affect me. But I guess when the camera is rolling, you just change as a person.

Do you seek characters that are different from you as a person?

Not at all. An actor can only wish that these roles come to him. You can’t seek them. If I am not excited by a character, I can say no, irrespective of who the director or production house is. I need to connect with the characters I am playing.

One hears you were often beaten up by the principal in school?

My principal used to beat me up because I was very naughty in school. I used to do things which I should not have done as a student. I didn’t do it because I was somebody’s son. It was pure masti.

You were shy and naughty? That’s a strange combination.

I think I am just a confused soul. Confused, complicated and a bit complex. I am often told that. I think I am an amalgamation of everything.

And docile too?

That’s what I believe and that’s what my mother believes. I am just a calm soul.

Have you ever rebelled?

Not majorly, but I do believe that I have a rebel in me. I really don’t like to be told what to do.

You are most written about for your affairs…

It really hurts me that my affairs are being written about. I am suddenly acquiring this new image. It is not me. I have been in very few relationships in my life. Few have worked, few haven’t. And I am extremely sad about the ones which haven’t worked. I am not this lover boy, people think I am. The character I did in Bachna Ae Haseeno is not me. I am quite a romantic at heart, but at the same time, being in a relationship or being with a girl is not my priority. I do believe there are great things in store for me. I need to believe that if I need to move ahead. Women are lovely. I love and respect them, but that’s not my true calling in life. My true calling is cinema and acting.

Five films I can see again and againnd again:

1. Shree 420

2. Kaagaz Ke Phool

3. Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

4. Sanjay Bhansali’s Devdas

5. Andaaz Apna Apna

Six books that I can read again:

1. Songs That My Mother taught me by Marlon Brando

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

3. Dreams from My Father – A story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama

4. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

5. Ingrid Bergman’s autobiography

6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is cinematic in its writing. I could actually smell the kebabs in Afghanistan.

Six people whose lives I want to see chronicled in pictures:

1. Charlie Chaplin

2. Raj Kapoor

3. Michael Jackson

4. Amitabh Bachchan

5. Sachin Tendulkar

6. Lata Mangeshkar

Five songs always on my Ipod:

I can think of just one… Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar

//



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