Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘munnabhai

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.
3 Idiots’ Omi is an established actor in the US, now in Bollywood

By Lekha Menon (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


His distorted Hindi speech is one of the biggest talking points in the recently released 3 Idiots. In reality, it was an almost similar monologue that fetched Omi Vaidya,  (who prefers to be called Omi) an LA- based actor, the role of Chatur Ramalingam in the Aamir Khan-starrer.

On a trip to Mumbai to check out the Bollywood scene, Omi was asked by a friend to appear for an audition. The first audition went off without a hitch, but at the second he was given a dialogue from Munnabhai… to mouth. “I just rattled it off without exactly understanding the words… almost like the speech scene in the film,” says Omi. The next thing he knew, he was pencilled in for the role of the accented, mark-obsessed NRI geek in the film.

The instructions he received from the makers were clear: Don’t take Hindi classes, stop watching Hindi movies and put on weight.

Omi followed them to the T and now of course, he is revelling in the compliments coming his way for his role in the blockbuster. “I am still flabbergasted by the response. I guess people have liked the character because he is so relatable. In a way, this character’s negativity brought out the essence of the message more forcefully,” says Omi.

Incidentally, he began his acting career at the age of six, performing for Marathi Mandals in the US (also the reason why his Marathi is much better than his Hindi). He pursued a serious acting career in his teens, graduated in film studies from NYU and did roles in  Bones, CSI Las Vegas, The Office and Arrested Development, besides ads.

But being Asian or Indian, it’s still a tough task to break into Hollywood,  says Omi. “It’s difficult for Indians to get into the mainstream. At the most, you might be cast as an IT professional or other stereotypes.”

Omi in 3Idiots

That’s when he thought of exploring Bollywood, though there were other apprehensions. “The Hindi film industry is still not taken that seriously in the West. There are myths that it is unprofessional, and is mainly about songs and dances.”

But all his fears were put to rest once he joined the cast. “Here, there is a personal touch, unlike Hollywood. Even if they don’t pay you by the hour and there is no extra time, there is warmth and care. I basically saw my Bollywood innings as a challenge. A lot of credit also goes to Raju and Abhijat Joshi for the way the character came across on screen.”

Not surprisingly, after the stupendous success and appreciation, he is here for the long haul. Omi, plans to divide his time between the US and India and work in films ‘that don’t necessarily typecast him as an NRI but are dynamic and enjoyable.’

And for the record, he has now started taking Hindi classes as well.

STYLISH: Aamir Khan sporting a Millionaire attire in Three Idiots

Raju Hirani relies on Munnabhai design store to dress up Aamir for hit song in new film

SMITA ROY Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 28, 2009)

While 3 Idiots has already become a box-office hit and its popular song Zoobi Doobi has climbed the music charts at full speed, one person who is as happy as Raju Hirani and the film’s cast is Siraj Furniturewala of Millionaire who dressed up lead actor Aamir Khan for that number. Siraj and his fashion store have been associated with Hirani ever since the filmmaker made Munnabhai MBBS. “Raju is as particular about what he chooses as is Aamir. And I take it as a compliment for Millionaire to have such a long association with him. We provided the clothes for Zoobi Doobi as well as the wedding scenes in 3 Idiots where we dressed up all the lead actors including Kareena Kapoor, Sharman Joshi and R Madhavan,” said Siraj. Dressing up Aamir, given the actor’s demand for perfection, was not a problem at all “It took three sittings to decide on the kind of stuff he’d need. My brother Afzal and I, and the whole team of 3 Idiots, worked on this together and Aamir selected the clothes which were apt enough for the situations in the film,” revealed Siraj, adding, “to be appreciated by Aamir in itself adds another feather to the cap of appreciation.” He’s looking at an even longer association with Hirani as well as Vidhu Vinod Chopra. “Both of them, with their inputs on the style and the look, helped us get better in our designs,” he said.

Although 51 weeks had passed in 2009, it still seemed incomplete. There was not a single Hindi flick this year which could be happily showered with never-ending appreciation and 5/5 ratings. Thankfully, 3 Idiots has arrived in the final week and given us the much needed ‘film of the year’! To tell you the truth, I am finding it difficult to express my satisfaction and happiness in words. Rajkumar Hirani has come up with an extremely superior product. And like his previous Munnabhai flicks, 3 Idiots also entertains and at the same time enriches! And the enlightment is such that will remain with you for a long time and would not vanish away after coming out of theatre! Needless to say, it’s a must watch!!

The story of the movie: Farhan (R Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman Joshi) are in search for their college friend, Ranchoddas aka Rancho (Aamir Khan) who has vanished after the convocation. They missed him terribly as he was a special friend. He was different from others. He reaffirmed the simple ideas of life which were left behind by everyone for ‘textbook knowledge’ which results in profitable future. He propagated his ideas in a humanistic manner without fear and thus, challenged even the head of college, Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani). He inspired Farhan and Raju to think out of the box and to not end up mugging knowledge. Watch the film to find out where Rancho had disappeared and why.

3 Idiots is a winner from the first scene! The essence of the film could be explained even in serious manner but then that would have been too boring. Rajkumar Hirani smartly uses his smart technique of making us laugh (like hell) throughout the film but at the same time, giving us some important lessons of life. Also, what is immensely likeable about Hirani’s style is the protagonist’s character sketch. In all the 3 films, the lead actor is a source of positivity, giving important teachings in a sweet manner and spreading smiles everywhere. Rancho is also Munna Bhai and vice versa!


The film is wonderfully structured and perfectly comes back and forth (the flashback portion is running parallel in the film). The first scene, where Madhavan exits from the plane which has already taken off sets the mood. Then the ragging session where Rancho enters the film and teaches a nice lesson to the seniors was simply outstanding scene! Undoubtedly, the funniest scene in the film was where Chatur aka Silencer (Omi) gives the speech on Teacher’s Day. Believe me, it would bring the house down for sure! After a loooong time, I was laughing uncontrollably for 5 minutes continuously! This reminds me-the humour in the film is not slapstick or crass-it’s novel and something that would surely tickle your funny bone!

The intermission point was bewildering but the mystery unravels beautifully in the 2nd half. The best thing about 2nd half is you can never guess what will happen next. When a conflict arises, it is solved well in time and when you feel the film is ready for the climax, another conflict surrounds the main characters. However, one doesn’t get bored and doesn’t get impatient for the film to get over. Everyone will enjoy and get engrossed to whatever is dished out by Hirani.

The delivery sequence (involving Mona Singh) was just fabulous. It shows that quick and out of the box thinking can save the day when all our knowledge fails. Just brilliant! As for the climax, it was totally justified. The film touches various topics concerning student life (including student suicide) and depicts and debates in a just manner.

Each character had a purpose in the story and not a single one was unnecessarily added. Aamir Khan, without a shred of doubt, was the most important character of the film and needless to say, he was amazing! The best part is the way he slipped easily into the character of a student and came out with flying colours. Notice the manner in which he scratches his head and ears, the way he walks, his mannerism and body language-all matched with that of a restless and mischievous student. Also, seeing Aamir as Rancho, you’ll forget all his past performances. You’ll forget that he is the same Aamir who played the ferocious amnesic in Ghajini or the lovely teacher in Taare Zameen Par. Like all his recent films, 3 Idiots will also be remembered for a long long time to come!

R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi also maintained a strong position throughout the film. Madhavan is the narrator and does a great job in it. Also rocking was his beautiful performance in the airplane scene and his confrontation with his father. Sharman, on the other hand, did full justice to his character which was no easy task.

Boman Irani rocks! I had mentioned earlier too that it’s extraordinary that this actor plays a different kind of character in all his films and each performance stands out from the other. Here, he was great as strict disciplinarian and watch out for his dialogue delivery! Kareena Kapoor (as Pia), too, has an important role and looked lovely in the bespectacled look. Nice to see that after delivering 3 flops in this year, she finally came up with a winner! Omi was exemplary! Everyone will surely love his chamatkaar speech! What an actor he is! Mona Singh has amazing screen presence. Although her role here was miniscule, she would hopefully receive more offers after this film. Jaaved Jaaferi and Parikshit Sahni were alright in their small roles. Others were good.

Shantanu Moitra’s music was melodious and ‘ear-catching’ (can I use this phrase?!). Best song was of course Aal Izz Well. Zoobi Doobi’s picturisation was amazing. Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe was quite touching.

Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga and Shantanu Moitra’s background score was perfect. C K Muraleedharan’s cinematography was flawless and he’s one of the contenders for Best Cinematography for sure. Watch out for the lensman’s amazing aerial shots in the song Behti Hawa Sa!

The film is loosely inspired from Chetan Bhagat’s first novel Five Point Someone. Hirani has smartly adapted only some portions of the book and interpreting and modifying it to suit the story. Hirani along with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi wrote the screenplay which was brilliant to say the least!

Finally, Hirani came up with the story and directed the film too. Like his previous flicks, here too, he raised questions but didn’t turn the situation overdramatic or serious. He kept it light by adding jokes and funny situations and at the same time giving us an important lesson-do what you feel like in life. Even ‘Rock On!!’ had touched this topic but 3 Idiots will have a wider reach. Also note the outstanding way in which he handled Sharman’s suicide sequence beautifully! Hats off to these geniuses! Keep delivering such meaningful flicks!

Some of the best scenes of the film:

1.       The first scene
2.       All songs
3.       The ragging session
4.       Rancho in the first lecture
5.       Viru Sahastrabuddhe aka Virus tells Rancho to teach in the class (amazing!)
6.       Rancho and Farhan at Raju’s place
7.       Rancho meets Pia in the wedding
8.       Rancho and Pia bring Raju’s dad to hospital
9.       The intermission point
10.     Farhan and Raju with Jaaved Jaaferi (hilarious!)
11.      The chamatkaar speech!
12.     Drunk Rancho enters Pia’s room
13.     Rancho and gang trying their best to make Raju normal
14.     The last 25 minutes

On the whole, 3 Idiots is undoubtedly the best film of 2009! Whether you are a student or parent or professor, this one’s a must for all! Needless to say, missing it can be a big crime! Commercially, the film should be the 2nd film after Ghajini to cross 100 crore collections in domestic market! All Izz well indeed!

My rating-***** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/3_Idiots-182740-1.html

Sushmita Sen reached out to the usually reticent Akshaye Khanna on the sets of No Problem with a good morning hug and insisted on getting a good evening hug from him too
By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 25, 2009)
What happens when an actor, who is known to be reticent, gets visibly excited about the presence of a female co-star in the film? One would think of their interaction on the sets of the film being talk of the town. Talk of the town, it is but for a different reason.

// // // The story goes that during the casting of Anil Kapoor’s No Problem in May 2009, Akshaye Khanna who is known to be reticent got visibly excited about the prospect of working with Sushmita Sen. Akshaye had said, “Kangna Ranaut is opposite me. However, I am very happy that Sushmita Sen is in the film.”

(L): Akshaye Khanna (R): Sushmita Sen


However, once the film’s schedule began, Akshaye continued to be a recluse on the sets. Sushmita, who is just the opposite in nature to Akshaye, swung into action, to help her co-star shed his inhibitions.

A source from the sets says, “While shooting at Filmistan Studios in Goregaon where they had a 10-day schedule, the only person Akshaye mingled with was Anil Kapoor, with whom he had lunch everyday. Seeing Akshay’s reclusive nature, Sushmita, who is well-known to have people give in to her charms, thought upon a neat plan to reach out to the actor. The actress, who believes in Munnabhai’s jaddu ki jhappi theory, made a pact with Akshaye. Sushmita told Akshaye that she would greet him with a hug and a ‘good morning’ everyday and he had to reciprocate the gesture with a hug and a ‘good evening’ too. As per the plan, Sushmita was seen actually giving Akshaye a warm hug on the sets, after which the actor sported his brightest smile.”

Although Sushmita was not willing to discuss her secret pact with Akshaye because “then it is no longer a secret”, she did confirm about giving the actor a hug. All she says is, “We are in a people’s profession yet we hardly ever make the first move to reach out to someone who we don’t know too well. I for one am all for reaching out.”

Sushmita did not want to talk about her arrangement with Akshaye but sources on the sets confirmed the news.

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 24, 2009)


The much-hyped premiere of 3 Idiots promised what seemed impossible – bringing all the three Khans under one roof. Well, turns out that it actually is impossible. For while Salman Khan made a gamely appearance, Shah Rukh did not complete the picture of the happy Khan-daan. It was left up to an unchaperoned Karan Johar to pass on the good wishes for both of them.

Amitabh Bachchan was missing in action as well, taking some of the sheen away from the big premiere. Of course, other stars showed up but many of them are associated with the film or with director Rajkumar Hirani’s earlier Munnabhai series.

From (Left): Kareena kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan, Imran Khan and Avantika, Rajkumar Hirani and Vinod Chopra

Aamir Khan, always the professional, played the courteous host despite the fact that he was running a high temperature. His doctor had visited him twice yesterday and his fever had hit a raging 103 degrees. Dressed in a Sabyasachi suit, he received the guests with the cast and the crew of 3 Idiots at a multiplex at Wadala, while his wife Kiran Rao stationed herself on the first floor near the screens. She was seen discussing the film with Chetan Bhagat. Bet he was trying to figure out which bits from his book finally made it to the film.

Salman caused quit a stir when he appeared and had to be whisked away and he entered the venue from a different route. Kareena Kapoor, looking stunning in a saree, came in with a dapper-looking Saif Ali Khan. Mona Singh, who makes her debut with the film, was seen in a quiet corner with her father, keeping a low profile. Bhushan Kumar was heard saying that he had cancelled his family vacation for the premiere. Touching.

Mansoor Khan was the self-appointed babysitter as he was seen loading up on the popcorn for Aamir’s kids Junaid and Ira. Reema, Aamir’s ex-wife, was also present.

Sanjay Dutt came without his devoted wife Manyata, while a bearded Sonu Nigam decided it was better not to leave his better half at home.

Sanjay dutt Sharman joshi Salman khan

Aamir Khan, who at 44 plays a 22-year-old collegian, says in his mind he is stuck at 18!

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 22, 2009)

Aamir Khan, as you know, has gone into hiding to promote his new film that releases this Friday. In disguise, to people’s surprise, he has popped up in different parts of the country over the past week: at Varanasi, as a Banarasi babu; outside Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata as a cricket fan; in an Ahmedabad school, defying Narendra Modi’s fatwa; at the Chanderi village in Madhya Pradesh; then a Punjabi wedding in Faridkot; and, yesterday in Chennai. How this is helping the film, I don’t know; but I’m sure Aamir does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to Mumbai as Santa Claus on Christmas Day. He is hoping the festival will prove as successful for him as it did last year when he released Ghajini, and in 2007 — for Taare Zameen Par. Just before he went underground, Aamir told me over a quiet cup of tea at his Pali Hill home: “Christmas is a coincidence, but I’m hoping it will be third time lucky. I also believe for a film made well, any time is a good time to release it, otherwise no matter how you plan it…”
He has no doubts that this film has been made well. It’s been produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and directed by Raju Hirani. And, acting opposite him for the first time in his 20-year-career is Kareena Kapoor. Of his gorgeous co-star, Aamir said enthusiastically, “She’s outstanding, a great and
instinctive actress, extremely committed, a team player, we get along well, and she’s good looking… what more to ask for?” I agreed. The vibe between the two actors is exciting, and they look good together, the age difference between them notwithstanding. In the film, he plays a 22-year-old collegian. “That,” he told me, “was the biggest challenge for me as an actor at 44. I’m asked often if I feel my age. No, I really don’t. All of us are stuck in our heads at a particular age. And that age depends on your personality. I’m stuck at 18. And, I’ll be 18 till I die!”
He got into this film straight from Ghajini. Which meant, he had to shed that eight-pack streetfighter’s body painstakingly built up over 13 months for one raw scene of action. “It was heartbreaking,” Aamir revealed. “I didn’t want to lose it. But I had to look boyish. I had to stop training, get onto a careful and strict diet, and I began playing badminton… for three-four hours. Catch a 44-year-old doing that!” But he did it, because this is the same Aamir Khan who has always used his body as a tool in his films. “The way I look is important,” he admitted, “but for any character, it begins with how you feel in your head. What makes the character tick? You get into the mind of the character. From that flows how the body will look. My character in the new film is a free-spirited kind of guy, unusual in his thinking, and with a childlike curiosity about life and things around him.” He really didn’t want to play this role. “Get someone who’s 22,” Aamir advised Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra when they approached him. They told Aamir, “In real life, you are the character of this film, you don’t follow the path, you’re non-conformist, you do what your heart tells you. As for looking young – if you could build yourself up to look huge in Ghajini, now work on becoming small. Go for it.” And Aamir did. He said of Raju, “His big strength is that his films are not only entertaining, but also enriching. Like Munnabhai! You go home taking something valuable from the film.” And as for Vinod, who is rumoured in Bollywood to be arrogant and bold, Aamir said, “He is how he is, but he understands his director and creative team and supports them, and he has a passion for cinema. Being a director himself, Vinod is creative and he gives his films a great release. I look for that quality in a producer… whether he is able to give the film a good platform after I’ve worked so hard on it.” That Aamir Khan always does, whether he’s making the film for himself or some other producer. And he enjoys making one film at a time, which he will release on Christmas Day! “I could do more, in my lifetime I could do 500 films, but when I’m doing a film all my energies are into it. At that point, I don’t enjoy taking on anything else. I enjoy the space I am in. I’m not a factory or a huge production system. I’m… kya bolta hai… a handloom product. A one-machine-one person-one shirt kind of actor. I’m not a largescale outfit producing a million shirts. Numbers don’t excite me and are not my strength. I enjoy marketing a film. But towards the audience. My connect is with the audience. I enjoy dealing with the audience, not with exhibitors, distributors.” And that is what he is probably doing somewhere in the country right now, maybe in disguise! (Contributed by Meena Iyer, Aakansha Naval Shete)



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