Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘money

The Chetan Bhagat-3 Idiots spat is playing out like a typical old-fashioned masala Bollywood film

By Mumbai Mirror Bureau (January 02, 2010)


Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone, was the starting point of 3 Idiots, is not only amazed that Vinod Chopra and Aamir Khan have not read the book but also that they have been repeatedly saying that the film is only five per cent like the book.

Chetan Bhagat

“Those that haven’t read the book (read Vinod and Aamir) should not be opinionating on it. Those that have read the book and seen the film put the contribution at around 70 per cent,” he says.

Though he has blogged about his disappointment at length, he insists it isn’t about suing them or about the money.

“I have truth on my side,” he says, “Even when Gandhi took on the mighty British Empire with just a small band of followers, he had truth on his side.”

He is just happy that the film has been to the movies what his book was to the book trade… a super hit.

Has it soured Bollywood for him? His answer is an emphatic no. “There are many good people around too.” Chetan’s third book, 3 Mistakes of My Life, is currently being adapted for film by Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On!!) and his fourth, 2 States is being widely courted by directors. “I took the heat when Hello (based on One Night at a Call Centre) failed,” he says, not saying but obviously meaning, why shouldn’t he get the credit for 3 Idiots?

Raghubir Yadav, aka Mungerilal, is wanted for constantly remaining absent in court. Cops haven’t been able to nab him, though he was shooting till a month ago

By Vinay Dalvi (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 29, 2009)


While actor Raghubir Yadav may be a known face in every household, thanks to the popular TV serials Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne and Chacha Chaudhary, for the police he remains untraceable for the past two months. This, despite him having been involved in shooting of a film right up to last month.

Meanwhile, Yadav’s estranged wife Purnima says he has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon

Yadav is wanted by the police after a warrant was issued against him for constantly remaining absent in court.

On the lookout for Yadav, the Aarey police visited the address mentioned by the family court in Bandra. But not finding him there, they submitted a report to the court stating that they have failed to locate him.

On September 19, the family court which is hearing a case against Yadav filed by his estranged wife Purnima, had issued an arrest warrant against Yadav. The court had earlier issued summons to Yadav for failing to appear in court for some time.

“We went to the given address of Roshini Archreja, who worked with Yadav in TV serials, and whose residence Yadav was said to live at. But she denied he ever lived there,” said Inspector Ashok Duliye of Aarey Police Station. “On Monday, we informed the court that he is not available at the given address,” Duliye added.

“I have been fighting for maintenance for a long time,” said Purnima. “He has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon.

How come the police say they cannot trace him? I got married to him in 1988, and we have not been living together since 1996. I don’t have money to educate my son Achal. I’ve done odd jobs at the National School of Drama, but they were all on contract basis, and today I don’t have a job. Even my rent is paid by my friends and old neighbours,” said Purnima.

When contacted, Anusha Rizvi, director of Peepli Live, confirmed that she had done some dubbing with Yadav for her film about a month ago.

However, a police officer said, “In court cases, we usually search only the address given to us by the court authority, as problems can arise in identifying a person. On the other hand, if it’s a police case, we hunt for the accused everywhere.”

Despite repeated attempts, Raghubir Yadav could not be contacted.

MY SPACE: Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif
Ranbir Kapoor, Bollywood’s newest superstar, refuses to court controversy

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 24, 2009)

It’s being whispered in Bollywood that 2009 could well mark the birth of Ranbir Kapoor, the film industry’s next superstar. He won accolades for Ayan Mukherjee’s Wake up Sid and Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh-Salesman of the Year. And, he rocked the box office with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. Coming as he does from a family that has ruled the roost in Bollywood for 75 long years, the 28-year-old actor is likely to keep that legacy going in the coming decade. As he embarks on a brand new calendar year Ranbir agrees that 2009 has been truly gratifying. “I hope I made my parents proud,’’ he says. Adding, “The industry and the audience have given me the kind of love and support that I didn’t think would happen. Honestly, I’m humbled and while I love all the compliments coming my way, my career has just begun. I want to continue doing good work — and if it gets the box office that Wake up Sid or Ajab… got, well I’m thrilled. However, I still believe in something like Rocket Singh. Jaideep Sahni and Shimit Amin are talented guys, they had a message to give in the film. And, I stand by it.’’ Ranbir admits that epithets like ‘superstar’ and the ‘next big thing’ make him delirious. “But it also means loads of responsibility,’’ he says. Refuting rumours that his remuneration has shot up to Rs12 crore, the actor says, “For an actor to talk about the money he charges is disrespectful. Honestly, the only thing that I truly want is for my work to get recognition. Money, fame, adulation will come; but it can never be the focal point of my existence. With modesty I must say that I haven’t grown up wanting anything. My parents gave me a privileged lifestyle. So how much money I charge can never be the deciding factor to gauge what heights I have scaled.’’
He is also well aware that the flip side of superstardom means that he will now live in a glass house with everything from his love life to his moods getting unwarranted attention. “I certainly don’t think discussing my relationships with my co-stars comes with the territory of stardom,’’ says the actor. “I will not talk about Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif. It is disrespectful to them as women and to their families. Who I date is really very personal.’’ So there you go. With the adulation, Ranbir has also got the attitude.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

ROCKET SINGH GOES THE ‘THE HANGOVER’ WAY!

I always believe that promotion is of utmost importance for a film to succeed. It helps to create hype and arouse curiosity which in turn helps the film get a good opening. But some producers don’t stress too much on promotion, presumably for two reasons:

-> The producer doesn’t have enough money to publicize his product. Or maybe, the budget of the film went so high that the producer couldn’t afford to spend additional 2-3 crores on promotion

-> The producer is supremely confident of his product. He is confident that he has come up with a winner and come what may, it will attract audiences and do a great job commercially.

The second reason seems applicable as to why Rocket Singh-Salesman Of The Year, releasing tomorrow, isn’t promoted much.  Obviously, YRF aren’t short on funds so first reason can be ruled out. And going by Ranbir Kapoor’s confident declaration that Rocket Singh is his best film till date, it seems that the film will turn out to be a great entertainer. In his words, “I can proudly say that Rocket Singh… is not just my greatest film till date but also one of the greatest films made in the recent times. Believe me, it belongs to a different world altogether”.

Maybe, Ranbir did this as a personal publicity campaign on his part; after all, actors always do this, isn’t it? But it’s a fact that whenever the Chopras adopt a negligible promotional strategy for their film, then that film works wonders. ‘Chak De! India’ was also badly promoted and many trade pundits had predicted that it’ll fail. It even took an average opening. But the response was extremely positive and from the 2nd day, the film began attracting audiences in large numbers. It later turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters of that year, 2007. Similarly, last year, Chopras went slow in promoting Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which was very successful at the BO.

Another classic example is the case of The Hangover. How many of were aware of this film or had planned to see it when it released? The film had no famous stars and it also wasn’t promoted well across the world. In India, it released with a Hindi biggie, New York and Hollywood biggie, Terminator Salvation. The first day collections were pathetic. But the critics’ positive response and equally satisfying response of junta compelled moviegoers to catch this flick. In big cities, it ran for as many as 6-7 weeks (a rarity for Hollywood films) and was running with 70%+ occupancy even in weekdays!

So the point is-promotion is most vital but when your product is top-class and you are confident about its success, it’s okay to not promote the product much. Even ‘A Wednesday!’ and Mumbai Meri Jaan weren’t marketed well but later turned out to be two of the most loved films of 2008.

Coming back to Rocket Singh, the other reason why its promotion is low is because of Ranbir Kapoor’s presence in the film. He has received immense appreciation from his last 2 films, Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and is already on his way to become superstar. So maybe, YRF is of the opinion that Ranbir’s presence is now enough to get people to theatres. Also the title of the film, title song and the fact that it’s directed by Shimit Amin (director of Chak De and Ab Tak Chappan) has created some curiosity. If the film really turns out to be exciting as Ranbir has said, then he would be immediately crowned as the superstar for sure! Let’s hope for the best!
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CELINA’S AWARD WINNING FLICK NOT RELEASING IN INDIA

Many moviegoers and even those in industry were shocked to hear that Celina Jaitly got the Best Female Actor award for her New Zealand flick Love Has No Language at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF)! A popular Bollywood screenwriter’s status on Facebook read, “Celina has won the Best Actor Award at CIFF. I’m trying to find out whether Stevie Wonder, Ravindra Jain and Nasser Khan (of Shadow fame) were the judges”! Such reactions were expected as Celina was never considered as an ‘actor’ anytime by majority. So this news came as 440 volt ka jakta!

Talking about the film, it has released in several countries but it still hasn’t got a release here in India and now Celina has confessed that the film won’t see a theatrical release here-it would come directly on DVDs. It pains to see inferior treatment being meted out to India so many times. The lead actress in the film is from India, she has even bagged a prestigious award and yet the film won’t release here-doesn’t sound fair, does it? Even Slumdog Millionaire got a very late release in India and it didn’t do a great job as people had already seen the film by downloading from the internet. Somewhere, this should stop!

CHECK OUT THE PROMO OF LOVE HAS NO LANGUAGE HERE

(Ranbir and Celina’s quotes taken from Bollywood Hungama.com)

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chidprllp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk78

Aamir Khan may be the most powerful man in Bollywood today giving successive hits as actor, producer and director but his eyes still gleam with unexpected animation as he sits down to do an interview. Here he is, candid and uncut

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)


• In 3 Idiots you play a guy from 20 to 24 years, while you are actually 44. How old are you in your head?

I still imagine myself to be 18 or 22. The other day I was at the birthday of someone who I had always thought of as older than me in my head, an uncle type person. I asked him, how old he was that day and he said 30 and I got a shock because suddenly I realised that I was 14 years older than him. I am, of course, 44, which is middle-aged, but somewhere in my head I am lost in the 18-20 age group.

 

• Did that help you play this character?

No. But given that it is necessary to get into the head of a character when you are jumping age lines, it gets more challenging. Jumping age lines, jumping accents, or jumping sexes like my playing a woman is always tough. I had actually told Raju to take someone younger but he insisted he could see me in the role. He said, “In real life, you are so close to Rancho, (the character that I am playing) I feel if you are saying what Rancho is saying people will believe it. What Rancho says is the philosophy of the film and I need someone who people will believe in.”

• You exude a lot of confidence on screen. Are you really a very confident person inside?

I think I am average, in the sense that most people are confident to a certain degree, people go through self doubt. I too go through self doubt. I am given to thinking, “Am I doing the right thing?” I only do things that I enjoy, that’s my first rule. I must be happy in what I am doing. If I am not happy doing an ad, I won’t do it. I don’t do it for commercial reasons. Yes of course I am earning money while I am doing it, but that’s not the core reason for doing it. This ultimately shows in my work, otherwise I am as confident or diffident as the next man. I also need reassurance like everyone else. I also need people to say “I liked your film”.

• When you were directing yourself in Taare Zameen Par was there anything about you as an actor that disturbed you as a director?

I have to say no. The actor and director in me saw eye to eye. Yes, when I see the film today, there are moments where I feel the scene could have been pitched differently. But that is in retrospect. That’s the corrective process in me when I am watching any of my work.

• In hindsight which of your successful films needed the most correction?






One of them would be Fanaa, the other would be Ishq, both highly successful films. In the first half of Fanaa, the character was pitched too filmy. I would have pitched him slightly different. In fact, Kunal (Kohli) and I had a long discussion about it. I would have made the character more real and more layered because as human beings we don’t have a singular emotion. When I am playing a character my attempt is that it should not be single dimensional, it should be layered. Ishq again had a lot of broad strokes and it’s also a very successful film.

• As a director do you have an actor wish list?

I am not sure whether I am thinking as a director right now. I think at heart I am still an actor. Of course now that I have taken the first step and directed one film, I am more open to listening to stories. Actually I have a very strange answer. While I am not in the mood of a director just now the opposite is also true. I think like a filmmaker. Coming back to your question, my wish list would really depend upon what the script is. So my casting would really be based on who can best play a certain part and who will suit the role. Each and every person connected to the film should feel that he is in love with it.

• Does success isolate you?

Success can be extremely isolating. And often, for multiple reasons. When you are successful, a celebrity, especially an actor, your stardom is like a magnet. It’s like the sun. (In fact, I wonder who coined this term ‘star’. Because every star is actually a sun). Because you are a star, every one is attracted to you for different reasons, some valid, some invalid. Some honourable, some not so honourable. But, as a human being our bandwidth is limited. So often what happens is that we need to shut off. It is humanly impossible to deal with so many things.

Have you noticed that stars, never make eye-contact when they are out in public. The moment you make eye-contact, you have to engage. And it’s not that we don’t like engaging. I love engaging with people. But I get tired. How many people can I engage with? That’s the nature of the beast. That’s the nature of my profession.

You have been reportedly meeting people you met on social networking sites. Does engaging with them help you perform in some way?

Now people know that it’s me on the blog, but there was a time when they didn’t. The idea behind it was to interact with strangers. Because the minute a person knows who I am, he reacts to me in a particular way. He may or may not share certain ideas with me. Or the attitude of sharing will change. The fiber of the communication will change. But if the person doesn’t know who I am, which the Internet allows, then he’s freer. That was the kind of interaction I valued a lot. There were a few people who I found to be particularly engaging. Or unusual. And those were the few people to whom I revealed who I am.

If I felt that I had a certain rapport with someone, then I no longer felt comfortable hiding, or lying about who I am. If I have reached a level of engagement of this kind, I need to tell the person who I am. So then it happened that I took three-four people into confidence.

• Since you have just completed 3 Idiots with Raju Hirani, the director of the Munnabhai series, tell me an instant recall of a Munnabhai moment?

I would say jaadu ki jhappi. That’s my big recall moment from Munnabhai. Both, Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai are my favourite films in the last five-seven odd years. They are great wholesome entertainment, which connect with you on a human level. Really connect with you on a human level.

Going back to one of your earlier questions, one of the key reasons for me doing this film, despite the fact that I am double the age of the character is Raju. I was so keen to work with Raju and I could see that Raju was excited about casting me in the film. Iske saath mereko film karne hain yaar. Agar isko lagta hain main bees saal ka ho jaata hoon toh main ho jaata hoon. Kyunki ye itna kamaal ka director hai, iske saath mereko kaam karna hain yaar.

Over the years all my professional decisions have been absurd. Its absolutely right for someone to tell me – ke tu 42 ka hain aur tu 22 ka character play kar raha hain. It may be an idiotic decision but all my decisions are idiotic. 3 idiots ka idiotic decision.

When I told anyone that I was making a film on dyslexia, they said I was mad.

When I signed Rang De Basanti, usse pehle Bhagat Singh aur Azad Singh par char filmey aa chuki thi. It was a crazy decision. My sister called me up in the evening and asked, “What are you doing?” I told her I signed a film, it’s the fifth remake of Bhagat Singh.She started laughing. She said abhi flop hui hain chauthi, aur tum paanchvi karoge. It was a bizarre decision.

Lagaan is another example. Today it is known as successful film but at that time it was a disastrous decision. None of my decisions have been practical.

How easy or difficult it is to forgive past mistakes?

Earlier, I was much more unforgiving as a person; not only towards others but also towards myself. I was extremely unforgiving of my own mistakes. In the past four or five years, I have undergone a change as a human being. I have become more forgiving of myself and others. I see it as a very positive change in myself. One of the powerful things in the world is the power of forgiveness. Its what Jesus Christ and other great philosophers have said.

Also, forgiveness comes with the genuineness of the person’s intentions. If someone has done something to hurt me and then comes and says, “Sorry Aamir”, but does not feel it, then forgiveness does not come into the picture. But if a person genuinely feels ki usse galti hui hai, then you should forgive him. It’s the same for yourself, if you realise that you’ve done some wrong, you should forgive yourself. It’s one of the most healing things.

Today we have become very unforgiving people. It may be an ethnic problem, or a community’s problem or a country’s, or in your relationships, with your wife, children, parents, we get very very unforgiving and we hold that against them. We wear it as a badge which says ‘main tujhe kabhi maaf nahi karoonga’.

I used to be like this.

Like two peas in a pod

Sometime ago we had asked Imran Khan to rate himself and Aamir on a scale of 1 to 10, according to a few parameters…

Aamir rates Imran according to the same parameters…

 

Good looks

Aamir - I won’t rate myself as I don’t like it. Imran is exceedingly good looking. I’d give him a 9.
Imran - I would put us both at a 7 at this point just because of how young and great he is looking

Patience

Aamir on Imran-
8 or 9
Imran - Aamir is a 10 and I am 9.5. We are both tremendously patient people. Again because I’m younger, I’m that 0.5 percent less patient but I am the supremely patient being that you’ll meet

Quest for perfection

Aamir on Imran- He is extremely committed so 8
Imran - Aamir is a 10, I’m probably an 8

Spontaneity

Aamir on Imran- 8
Imran - Aamir is 6, I’m a 7

Acting talent

Aamir on Imran - 6. He is good but he has a long way to go.
Imran - I put myself at a 6, I put him at a 10. I so honestly think he is the best actor in the country today

Communication skills

Aamir on Imran - 4
Imran - Mine aren’t too good. I’m not good at all, so 5 for me and him I don’t know, maybe a 7. Yeah he is better than me.

Charm

Aamir on Imran - 8
Imran - I am more charming than he is definitely; he is not a charming person. He is 5. I’m an 8.

Tendency to lose temper

Aamir - We lose our temper, but we can handle it. We don’t react. So, I would give him a 2.
Imran - One and one

Fidelity to spouse or girlfriend

Aamir - He is scoring a 100 on that one right now. So 10.
Imran - That’s a 10 for both. We are both very staid, solid guys.

3 Idiots

By Taran Adarsh, October 23, 2009 – 13:54 IST

FRUIT & NUT, directed by Kunal Vijaykar, is one of those films that succeed in making you giggle intermittently. But how one wishes the film had a strong story in the first place. This one is a senseless comedy and the sad part is, the absurdities here are not too amusing.

FRUIT & NUT is about Jolly Maker, who is a simple, hard working middle class struggling bachelor in search of love, money, friends and success. He works as a clerk/accountant in the office of a greedy and corrupt builder named Khandar. He is typically nerdy and un-stylish. He is also accident-prone and leaves a trail of disaster behind him.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

One fine day, Jolly Maker’s beautiful, sexy, smart and snobbish colleague, Monica, gets mysteriously kidnapped. Through a roller coaster ride and series of comical mishaps, Jolly Maker finds himself in the middle of a plot that has been hatched by an insane Ex-Maharaja to destroy Mumbai.

Whether the poor, adorable, accident-prone Jolly Maker finally falls in love or not, gets his girl or not and above all, is able to save Mumbai or not, makes for rest of the film.

Director Kunal Vijaykar tries hard to keep you entertained, but the writing is just not captivating. Sure, you do laugh at a few jokes/situations, but there are times when the jokes aren’t too funny and also tend to get repetitive.

The performances are over-the-top, but go well with the mood of the film. Boman Irani glides into the character effortlessly. Cyrus Broacha is perfect. Mahesh Manjrekar is first-rate. Dia Mirza does a fine job.

On the whole, FRUIT & NUT has some funny moments, that’s it! A film like this holds very limited appeal.

Man of the moment: Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor fell in love with movies while still at school. He talks to Subhash K Jha about love, life and how actors are overrated
TIMES LIFE! (October 18, 2009)

RANBIR KAPOOR’S earliest memories of his grandfather Raj Kapoor make him smile as he gets ready for his first shot for the day in Bhopal where he’s shooting for Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti.

“I was his favourite grandchild. Whenever my mom shouted at me I would call him up and he would fire her. I, being his first grandson, was special. Every weekend, the grandkids used to go to his home in Chembur. He kept a bag of toffees and gave us one every time we salomed him. I once asked him for a suit when he was visiting Russia. He got back two bags of suits in every colour possible. He never shopped for anyone else.” Wonder if the suits had anything to do with it, but Ranbir became an ardent fan of
Raj Kapoor’s cinema in school. “It was during my last days of school. That’s when I realised I wanted to be part of the film industry. The first RK film I saw was Sri 420. It influenced me deeply.”

Ranbir’s father Rishi
Kapoor wanted his son to get a formal education before he became an actor. “I completed my Standard 12 in Mumbai. Then I went to film school in America although everyone suggested I go to business school. But I don’t think I ever could do anything apart from movies. My father supported that and agreed to send me to acting school.”

Ranbir loved the experience of living alone in the US. “I learnt to value my fami
ly and my money. I missed my parents. I met them three times a year in Mumbai. In New York, my friends and I would take a train to Queens to see new Hindi films. Being in touch with Hindi films and music during my stay in the US made me determined to turn a director at the earliest.”

‘I’M REALISTIC ABOUT LOVE’
Ranbir didn’t have a girlfriend in the US. “But I had my first girlfriend before that in school in Mumbai when I was in Class 7. I was really naïve then. I didn’t understand love. When that relationship ended I went into depression. I thought I would never fall in love again. Now I think I’ve become more realistic about love. Love is a beautiful feeling. It almost equals cinema in my list of passions.”

Ranbir’s parents have been married for over 30 years. “I firmly believe in marriage. Marriages today go wrong for temporary pleasure and lust. My marriage will be for keeps.”

The Wake Up Sid actor has
seen his parents’ marriage go through turbulent times. “That’s what makes any relationship stronger. My sister and I were never kept in the dark about my parents’ fights. If after marriage, God forbid, my wife and I fight, I’d make sure our children don’t feel insecure.”

Ranbir feels Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh make the best ever pair on and off screen. “Just as Raj
Kapoor made the best onscreen pair with Nargisji. Me? I think I make the best pair with Konkona Sen-Sharma.”

He admits, “Yup, I think I have a wonderful life. But I want more. Much more. I don’t want my life to get perfect. Because then there’d be nothing more to strive for.”

The way he’s handling his career would have made his grandfather Raj Kapoor proud. If Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya brought Ranbir instant notice, his new film Wake Up Sid has given the young actor a cult status.

Ranbir isn’t taking the rave reviews seriously.
He pushes on doing his work, sometimes to the exclusion of a personal life. Girlfriend Deepika Padukone recently had to fly in to Bhopal to spend time with the country’s latest heartthrob. But when he’s shooting, Ranbir detests distractions. He’s so focussed on his work the people close to him feel left out.

For Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year, which releases next, Ranbir learnt to speak fluent Punjabi. “Rocket Singh made me a better human being. Not too
many roles do that. Though my mother is Sikh, I didn’t speak fluent Punjabi. But I started speaking Punjabi for the role of the Sikh. I wore a kadaa throughout the making of the film. I had a beard and turban. I read the Guru Granth. This film made me know and respect the Sikh culture and religion.”

‘ACTORS ARE OVERRATED’
Ranbir is all set to buy himself a home, “It’s just property acquisition. I’ll never live in it, not even when I get married. I can’t stay away from my parents.”

He also has a wishlist of 40 directors he wants to work with. It’s not just in his head. The names are diligently written down and being ticked off one by one. “For me, cinema and not just acting is a passion. I love filmmakers. Actors are generally just tools, and overrated.”

Ranbir reveals his plans as a director. “It sounds too pompous to say I’m already directing a film. But I’ve been inspired by the work of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy. My father made me watch their works. I’m not influenced by actors. I’m influenced by these directors. They made me passionate about cinema. I’ve a number of ideas for what I want to make. But I’m not a good writer. I would definitely like to cast myself because I know my film would be about a boy my age. And I’d like to believe no one else would fit the bill better.”

He lights up when he speaks about his father Rishi Kapoor. “I loved my father in Love Aaj Kal. He’s a source of inspiration. His passion for any film, good or bad, is exemplary.”

He has signed only one new film. “I want to take a month off. On the other hand, these are the best years of my life and I might as well make the best of them. Truth is, I feel guilty when I’m not working. I would rather be on a film set than anywhere else.”

Pausing to think, Ranbir says, “I think God has already made plans for me. How things turn out are not in my hands. All I can do is follow my conviction.”
timeslife@timesgroup.com

By Joginder Tuteja, September 30, 2009 – 12:26 IST

Rubina Ali ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’ is a very well written book. And for a celebrity, who is just a 9 year old, this book could perhaps be the first to come out in India. The girl in question is Rubina Ali, one of the many stars in Slumdog Millionaire who hasn’t quite enjoyed a fairy tale outing. From a poor life in slum to international adulation to charges being put against her father for selling her off to being back in a shanty and barely surviving, Rubina has lived a life which doesn’t quite justify a Cindrella reference.

Yes, she has enjoyed her months of glory but before and after that, this star has lived a slumgirl life that has seen dreams coming her way, though momentarily. ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’ gives a blow by blow account of this spirited girl who narrates her journey over the years, especially her experience of shooting for the film, the film’s Oscar run and life post that.

What actually works a masterstroke for this autobiographical tale is the coming together of writers Anne Berthod and Divya Dugar who interact with Rubina to translate her thought and statements into the printed words. They do well in sticking to Rubina’s innocence and childish antics and tell the world from her point of view rather than bringing to fore what they thought of her as a kid who became a star. So the entire narration of this 175 page book happens with Rubina telling her story and writers merely presenting it to the readers by refining it and smoothening the rough edges.

Anne and Divya do add their bit while keeping the essence of Rubina’s world intact. So while bringing to fore the kid’s point of view, they also get into finer details about the slums, the inhabitants there, the shooting experience, the coming together of an international crew, the wide eyed reactions of all the slum kids who were a part of the shoot, the five star hospitality, the return to India, the adulation, media pressure, a change in outlook of people and finally a regular day in the life of Rubina after coming face to face with the world pre-Slumdog Millionaire.

The thoughts remain intact; it’s just that the emotions are projected clearly to make a connection with the reader.

It is this connection factor that makes ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’a difficult book to keep down. 10 pages into this really handy and comfortable book and you want it finish it in two hours flat. One of the major reasons for this is the simplistic writing which would make even a 10 year old connect with the chapters that follow. In fact the book’s target audience is, as the cliché goes, from 6 to 60, as the story moves ahead in a highly engaging manner with just about everything for everyone.

The book aims (and pretty much succeeds) in ‘not’ romanticizing the episodes in Rubina’s life, whether good, bad or ecstatic. Picture this: When the pages take viewer into the filthy surroundings of a slum, you cringe in your seat, get a bad taste in the mouth but still do not get turned away from checking what is in store next. Credit must go to Rubina here who doesn’t paint a sorry picture of herself and plain and simple explains what this world means to her ever since she was born.

On the other hand, the moments of ecstasy too are kept under the control. Whether it is Rubina’s shooting experience or the Oscar celebrations or the luxurious life that she enjoyed for those few days after the ceremony, you know that it is all going to end soon. Even Rubina is shown to be pretty much in check without allowing her emotions go overboard. It is this fair balance that ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’ maintains throughout its journey which helps in the entire ‘connection’ factor, as highlighted earlier.

Some of the many highlights in the book are:

- What had actually transpired when stories about Rubina’s father willing to sell her off to a Sheikh were making the rounds
- Rubina’s love-hate relationship with another slumkid Azhar
- A middle man cheating her of the money that she was promised for Slumdog Millionaire
- The first audition that just required her to run around the room along with other children
- Her fear for the much famous train scene that actually got canned in a single take
- The actual story behind her real mother coming back to take her custody post Slumdog Millionaire fame

One time and again complains that there are no books worthy enough being written for children today. Well, ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’ could pretty much be a gift for your young ones. And for the elderly who want to explore deeper into the past of Rubina and how she has managed to keep a stable head in spite of a roller coaster ride in the couple of years gone by, ‘Slumgirl Dreaming’ has enough meat in it to grab your attention.

Price: Rs. 195/=

Rating:

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

AR Rahman stops accepting Indian assignments; is trying to do the right things demanded by public appearances in the West

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 20, 2009)
So full are Rahman’s hands with current assignments in the West that he has decided not to accept any new films. “At the moment, I’m racing against time to complete the Indian projects I’ve on hand and that includes Mani Ratnam’s Raavana, Rajnikanth’s animation film Sultan and Tony D’Souza’s Blue. The last new assignment I accepted was Abbas Tyrewala’s 1:800-LOVE. I’ve stopped taking on anymore for now.”

Rahman is going through a schizophrenic phase. He says, “In the studio, my outer self has to be completely switched off. But when I’m at international public events, I’ve to be all there, shaking hands, making friendly talk. I’ve to ensure that I am saying the right things. I’ve to prepare myself physically, look into the mirror and make sure my hair and tie are in place.”

Rahman doesn’t mind letting his ‘outer self’ look dapper. But people around him don’t seem that comfortable with his upgraded look. Chuckles Rahman, “My south Indian friends say, ‘Oh look at him… he’s changed!’ And that makes me uncomfortable. I realise I have to go out there with a certain amount of dignity and even style. I know I’m representing my country and everyone is watching.”

It’s not easy being India’s brand ambassador in the West. And Rahman, shy and reclusive at the best of times, finds it tough to assume his new gregarious, well-groomed persona with international brands vying to dress him up from head to toe.

“It’s all new to me. I’ve just begun to get a hang of it. But I’m not uncomfortable,” he says. At the moment, Rahman is fighting off the temptation of taking on too many international assignments. He explains, “I take on what is physically possible. Money is not the main criteria. If I did anything for money, everything will fall flat. I want to do only those assignments to which I can give my fullest.”

However Rahman admits money is important. He says, “Money is not my dream. But it fulfils my dreams. The way I travel and accompanying expenses are costly. It is, for me, my family and my children’s future.”

With success, come the riders. He says, “My wife dreamt that one day I’d win an Oscar which I did. But after that I’ve been constantly traveling. The kids are growing up now and one of us has to look after them. I’m spending as much time with them as I can. Or trying to make them part of what I do so they can be with me.”

At the moment, Rahman has only one ambition. “I want to be happy.”



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