Fenil and Bollywood

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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

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Mumbai: The 3 Idiots drama off screen is becoming as engrossing as the film’s on-screen performances with the issue of opening and closing credits hogging the limelight.


On Wednesday, writer Chetan Bhagat blogged claiming that 70% of the film had been inspired by his book Five Point Someone (FPS). He also complained the script was not shown to him before release and that he was hurt because the producers did not acknowledge his contribution to the film in the opening credits.


On Saturday, director Raju Hirani refuted all charges levelled by the writer. He showed documentary evidence of the contracts signed by him with the production house. He also showed a non-disclosure agreement signed by Bhagat and categorically denied the charge that he was not shown the final script of the film.


“Pre-release, the makers of the film made statements that it was only loosely inspired by the book. After release, those who have read the book and seen the movie find the film to be an adaptation of FPS,’’ Bhagat blogged.


He also stated that his family was upset after they didn’t spot his name in the opening credits of the film and also the story credit was not given to him. But Hirani clarified that the rights of the novel, with complete authority to alter the text to suit the screen, was purchased by them. He said the contract clearly stated that Bhagat’s name would be in the end-rolling credits and the agreement was signed in September 2005.


On Bhagat’s statement that most of the narrative of the film was copied from his text, Hirani said, “This is irrelevant because we hold the rights to the novel. Using the book as a take-off point, the writers brought about massive changes both on the macro and micro level of the story.’’


Asked about Bhagat not being shown the film before release, Hirani said Bhagat “said he would watch it at the premiere, which he did with his family”. But when told that ‘Bhagat-3 Idiots’ drama is also being looked at as a publicity stunt, Hirani said, “It would be below our dignity to do something like this.’’


Producer says sorry
Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra apologised to the media for his rude behaviour. “I really think it was silly. I was provoked as you guys know but I should not have done that. It does not befit me. What I did was silly and am really sorry,’’ Chopra said on Saturday morning. TNN

Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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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.


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