Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘november 20

The most-awaited film this year, Kurbaan has turned out to be a turkey. We speak to trade analysts and industry insiders to gauge what went wrong with the film
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 24, 2009)


2009 has been a very bad year for UTV. After three films — What’s Your Rashee?, Main Aur Mrs Khanna and Kaminey — failed to set the cash registers ringing, they were heavily banking on Karan Johar’s Kurbaan, directed by Rensil D’Silva.

But their hopes of having a hit were dashed with Kurbaan proving to be a turkey at the box-office.UTV had bought the film from Karan for about Rs 50 crore and released it across 1,700 screens.

One could understand if the audience gave it a thumbs down after watching it. However, the shocker is that the film didn’t even get a good opening when it released on November 20. Despite being a solo release, it barely managed 35 per cent occupancy on the first day. The box-office collections thereafter have been far from encouraging, flattering reviews from film critics notwithstanding.

Endorsing the fact that the film did not register more than 40 per cent collections in its first three days, trade analyst Amod Mehra says, “Shockingly, the collections on Sunday were even less than that on Friday and Saturday. The film is a big blow to Dharma Productions and UTV. “

Mehra adds, “People are not interested in seeing terrorism any longer. New York did fairly well but that’s because it wasn’t publicised as a film based on terrorism. It looked like a very youthful film with fun elements by John and Katrina. The entire publicity of Kurbaan was wrong. If the heroine of Kurbaan doesn’t want her mother to see her steamy scenes with her boyfriend, how can one go with family members to see such a film?”

Distributor Ramesh Sippy says cautiously, “I don’t want to make any assessment. But yes, Kurbaan has not lived up to its expectations.”

We also spoke to some of the theatre officials. Manoj Desai (of Maratha Mandir, Gaiety-Galaxy) says, “I registered 80 per cent collections on the first three days whereas it did not go beyond 40 per cent in other theatres. However, the collections have nosedived since yesterday. Koi picture dekhne ke liye tayyar hi nahin hai. The overall feeling is that it’s a very serious and cruel film.”

An official from Cinemax, Andheri, says, “We had expected that this film would rake in around 85-90 per cent collections. But from day one, we knew that it wouldn’t be a hit. First day, we registered only 40-45 per cent collections. People have not related to the film, it has no repeat value. On Saturday and Sunday, we recorded only 50 per cent ticket sales.”

Vikram Varma, Fun Republic, communications manager, says, “We recorded 35 per cent in the first three days. But today (Monday), we only have 15-20 per cent occupancy. I think that too many films were released in the past few weeks and this has adversely affected Kurbaan.”

We then spoke to the public to find out why they haven’t gone kurbaan over Kurbaan. 23-year old Eka Lakhani from Lokhandwala says, “I was dying to see Kurbaan as I had heard a lot about it. The film started very well, but soon I realised that there was neither any love story nor any terrorism track. Kareena and Saif got lost in the second half and I had to look for their scenes together. The terrorism part wasn’t explained well either.”

34-year-old Menka Chandiramani from Seven Bungalows says, “I was quite impressed by Kareena and Vivek’s acting but the film hasn’t stayed with me. It had nothing new to offer. Moreover, I wonder why there was so much brouhaha about Kareena and Saif’s sex scenes. We have seen much more than this in Hindi films.”

The director of Kurbaan, Rensil D’Silva, put up a brave front. He says that people are trying to bring down his film. “That happens with every new film. But you know, I am getting a lot of calls and text messages from people whom I don’t even know saying that they have enjoyed my film. I am basically a creative guy. The best people to talk about this will be the distributors of Kurbaan (UTV).” However, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, CEO of UTV remained unavailable for comment.

Karan’s first film with UTV, Wake Up Sid raked in average returns but failed to be a profit-making proposition. And the audience’s thanda response to Kurbaan has only made things worse for Dharma and UTV.

Abrar Alvi, writer of classics Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool, passed away on Wednesday

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)


 

Abrar Alvi with his niece Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam


Abrar Alvi, who passed away on Wednesday due to a stomach complication, lived most of his life as Guru Dutt’s resident writer. He was 82 years old. His health gradually deteriorated after he suffered a paralytic attack four years ago.

Though he wrote some films outside Guru Dutt’s banner including four back-to-back Vyjanthimala starrers Suraj, Chotisi Mulaqat, Sungharsh and Saathi between 1966-68, his name remained associated with Guru Dutt for whom he  directed the classic Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and wrote the dialogue and/or screenplay for Aar Paar, Mr & Mrs 55, Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Chaudvin Ka Chand.

Gulzar saab had a very interesting encounter with Abrar Alvi in 1968 .”Abrar Alvi saab was the uncle of one my favourite protégés Salim Arif. I was asked to write from scratch a screenplay earlier written by Abrar Ali Saab for HS Rawaail’s Sungharsh. The screenplay and dialogue had to be re-written from scratch by me, on the behest of the film’s leading man Dilip Kumar as they just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. It was one of my first  writing assignments in films. We spent a lot of time together during those days. He was a very warm, humane and cultured man. He remained associated with Guru Dutt’s cinema. He hardly wrote for anybody except for Guru Dutt and his brother Atma Ram. I’d never pass by his home in Janki Kutir without stopping by to pay my respects. Another pillar has fallen,” says Gulzar.

Asha Parekh got to know Abrar Alvi during the making of Shikar in 1968. “Shikar was directed by Guru Dutt’s brother Atma Ram. Abrar Alvi wrote that film. I’d sit and chat with Abrar saab. He knew so much about many things besides cinema. He was a very sensible, refined , cultured and educated man.  One by one all the stalwarts are going away,” says Asha.

Abrar Alvi is survived by his wife, two daughters and three sons.

Abhishek Bachchan to enter the premiere of Paa carrying his father, Amitabh Bachchan, on his back

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)

The premiere of Paa in Mumbai on December 3 will be memorable for more reasons than one. This film is AB Corp Ltd’s first home production in five years, making it all the more crucial for the Bachchans, who are sure to pull out all the stops to make the event a grand success.
The venue of the premiere will be decorated to resemble a child’s nursery.

 

However, the best part of the premiere will be Abhishek entering the premiere by carrying Amitabh piggyback, replicating a sequence from the film. Incidentally, this is something Abhishek insists on doing, despite Amitabh being worried about the effect it will have on his son’s back.

Director Balki confirms the news and says, “Paa is a film that celebrates the spirit of childhood and Amitji does play a 12-year-old in the film. So we thought that the premiere venue should have a child-friendly ambience. We had initially planned to have Amitji dressed and made-up as Auro, his character in the film, standing at the main door of the premiere to receive guests. However, this plan was too impractical. The makeup artiste Christien Tinsley would have to be especially flown down for a day all the way from LA. Besides, Amitji as Auro for an entire evening would have been somewhat distracting for the guests.”

Now Amitabh will receive the guests at the premiere with six child actors from the film – Taruni, Pratik, Nimit, Dhruven, Varun and Gaurav, all of who play Auro’s best friends in Paa.

The father and son are personally inviting all their friends for the premiere. “Plus, there are all my friends from the ad world. It’s going to be quite a night,” promises Balki.


Despite the probe into Mahesh Bhatt’s son’s alleged links with a terror suspect, Basu plans to revive Rahul Bhatt’s acting debut film, Suicide Bomber

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)

The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) probe on Mahesh Bhatt’s son, Rahul’s alleged links with terror suspect David Coleman Headley have not deterred filmmaker Anurag Basu’s plans.

He is set to revive Rahul’s Bollywood launch, Suicide Bomber.

Confirming the news, Basu said, “I have been missing Bhatt saab and his production house Vishesh Films. I did two films with them, Murder and Gangster, which put me on the filmmaking map. Rahul is a good boy and I owe him a good break in Bollywood.”

Basu was supposed to launch Rahul in Suicide Bomber two years ago. This was long before Basu got busy with Rakesh Roshan’s Kites. “In fact, I was supposed to make Suicide Bomber with Rahul before Life In A Metro for UTV. However, at that point of time, the script about global terrorism seemed premature. However, in the last two years there have been so many films on the subject including New York and Kurbaan. So, reviving Suicide Bomber seems right,” added Basu.

 

Anurag Basu Rahul Bhatt

Besides being fond of Rahul, Basu has another reason to return to the Bhatt camp. He elaborated, “Suicide Bomber is the only film that I co-wrote with Mahesh Bhatt saab. Otherwise, all my scripts have been written solely by me. I certainly want to make the film and that too only with Rahul.”

Some time ago, when asked about his son’s launch, Mahesh Bhatt had also made it clear that he wanted to launch his son with no other film but Suicide Bomber. He had said: “Suicide Bomber is my idea and our company has registered the title. My son has made it clear that if and when he gets into the world of acting it will be with Suicide Bomber. I only want to make Suicide Bomber if the world is ready to hear the so-called enemy’s point of view. If we want to stop the bloodshed we’ll have to hear their voice. My son’s film doesn’t have a happy ending.”

The film is expected to start next year.

CREATIVE: Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani

SHARIN WADER BUTANI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 20, 2009)

Remember how hatke Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani were about their venture Rock On? The filmmakers took the same passion with them to Istanbul when they went there along with director Abhinay Deo on a recce for their film Crooked with Abhishek Bachchan. Taken up by the beauty of the place, they drove around thinking of a song that would suit the location, then called up Javed Akhtar and asked him to compose one and send it to them in 24 hours. Javed got Shankar Mahadaven to compose his lyrics and sent the song to Istanbul, where they continued driving around playing the song in their car, until Abhinay found a spot he thought the sequence would look best. The film goes on the floors on January 14. And Farhan and Ritesh are now on the lookout for a new face to play opposite Abhishek. The hunt is on for a girl, but not on foot or in a car all over Istanbul. Which is a pity, because the women there are of exceptional beauty as well.

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

STILL FRIENDS? Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone keeps herself busy with work

MEENA IYER Times News Netowrk (BOMBAY TIMES; November 19, 2009)


A few days before Diwali, Deepika Padukone was a girl deeply in love. Despite her own work assignments, the leggy beauty was shunting between Mumbai, Bangalore and Bhopal just to be able to spend quality time with beau Ranbir Kapoor. Just when they were crowned the hottest couple of Bollywood, came the news that they had decided to part ways. BT even heard a diva, with chocolate-like complexion, telling people on the sets of a comedy film that the hotshot couple had made a clean break. But if rumours are to be believed, the embers haven’t died down yet. True, Ranbir and Deepika are no longer the couple they used to be, but the two still exchange a dozen phone calls everyday. While one may or may not give credence to this, it’s very clear that the young actors don’t want to ruin a friendship they’ve shared even if the ‘fondness’ levels have dipped. Besides, both are smart enough to understand that being in the same industry, they will cross each other’s paths everytime. Meanwhile, instead of wallowing in self pity, Deepika has decided to keep herself immersed in work. The girl has green lighted Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Khelien Hum Jee Jaan Se with Abhishek Bachchan; Kunal Kohli’s next with Imran Khan and Pradeep Sarkar’s film with Neil Nitin Mukesh. She’s expected to fly to the US on a work assignment around November 20, do two new commercial endorsements and then there’s also Kartik Calling Kartik and Houseful which she has to complete.

WHAT’S ON HIS MIND? Karan Johar

Karan Johar has a karmic connection with the actress of his Friday release

OMAR QURESHI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 17, 2009)

JLo is probably eating her heart out. ‘Coz the new toast of the debonair circuit has slightly different initials — KJo. But envy won’t get her (or anyone else) anywhere, simply because Karan Johar has worked his butt off — planning, focusing and making his dad, Yash Johar’s banner, Dharma Productions, proud. Suddenly it’s an unstoppable juggernaut. Dostana, Wake Up Sid, now Kurbaan with My Name Is Khan and Stepmom to follow, even as his team of directors is plotting the next scripts. “These young directors today, Tarun, Ayaan, Rensil, Siddharth and others directing for Dharma, they’re geniuses,” says the stylish producer. “They’re steps ahead of the way we thought earlier. They’ve taken cinema to another level. Look at the themes — comedy (Dostana), adolescence (Wake Up Sid), terror-sensitivity (Kurbaan), poignancy (MNIK) … it’s incredible. I only wish dad was with us today. To see us take his legacy of honesty and credibility forward. Yes, hits help us financially, but we’re not greedy. We also want to give back quality cinema with conviction and good viewing. Otherwise, right now I have only Kurbaan on my mind. I’m very excited about it because it has been a subject close to my heart for a while now and I’d been tossing it around in my head. Then I asked Rensil (D’Silva) to write it and develop it for me. And I was so taken by his passion for the subject, that I asked him to direct it himself. And the result is crackling.”

Elaborating on the November 20th release, Karan says, “The story addresses the perpetually looming threat of terrorism, the film lends emotion into that graph. It has a point of view. That’s the path. Of presenting this threat in a logically, emotionally, sensitively cinematic manner. I’m quite delighted with the final product.” But there had been a thought in Karan’s mind, some time ago, to cast SRK in the lead role in this subject. “Maybe it was a thought a long time ago. Simply because SRK is emotionally a part of everything I do. Even before I wake up to box office figures, Shah Rukh calls asking, ‘How’re the collections dude? … How’s it going?’ He’s part of Dharma. However, that said, after the way the film has shaped out, Saif and Kareena are ideal casting,” smiles KJo. And how dissimilar is My Name Is Khan from this subject? Isn’t that Karan-directed venture also a ‘terrorism’ subject? “Not at all. My Name Is Khan is totally different in as much it doesn’t deal with terrorism at all. That’s all media conjecture. Wait for that one as well.” What we couldn’t wait for was his response to Kareena’s recent joke that KJo was like a ‘witch’, that everything he said was almost prophetic. Karan couldn’t stop laughing: “We have this strange Karmic Connection and I feel the need to be as protective about her as ever. I love Kareena to death. We fight too. We didn’t speak for a year. I hurt her and she hurt me. But one only fights with those one loves. Now that we’re past the initial hurdles, we’re the best of friends. And you have to see her in the film to believe what she’s capable of. As for the ‘witch’ part, I wish I could prophesise the success of Kurbaan for starters … that’s all I pray!”

I don’t know what the trade pundits have to say about Karan Johar’s Kurbaan, but Saif Ali Khan, whose first film this is opposite Kareena

Saif Ali Khan

Saif Ali Khan More Pics

Kapoor, is very confident about the November 20 release.

MARK MANUEL (Bombay Times; November 5, 2009)

“I’ve a good feeling about it,” he told me. We were talking on the phone because he’s here, there and everywhere promoting the film, and just not available in Mumbai.

Tuesday he was in Delhi, yesterday London, next Dubai. “There’s more to life than shooting,” he sighed. In the background, I could hear Kareena prompting his replies. They’re not doing all the promotions together, because she’s busy making Stepmom with Karan at the same time, and Saif… well, after this he swore he’s taking a month off in December to “train and get into serious shape” before they start shooting for his home production Agent Vinod. His idea of training is not the same as Aamir’s or, say, Salman’s.
“I won’t get a funda trainer… but just kill myself in the gym. It’ll be a combo of yoga and weights. You don’t need a NASA scientist to get a great body,” he chortled.

He’s worked with Karan before in Kal Ho Na Ho, but that time, the filmmaker was completely involved in every aspect of the film. This time, Karan has left it to director Rensil D’Silva. “So the film’s got its own flavour,” explained Saif, “Rensil has brought his ad world sensibilities to Kurbaan, and this is not a filmi kind of movie… it’s a love story and thriller with a socio-politically relevant background. When I step back and see the promos, the posters, I’m like – wow!” Which means he’s confident about what it will do at the box-office. “But there’s also the risk of an off-screen couple being boring on-screen,” he admitted.

“Which means Bebo and I have to choose our roles carefully. We’ve got to present an exciting avatar on-screen… more than the usual pairing. And that we have done in this film. I was equally confident about Love Aaj Kal (his last film and first home production)… but there were moments of panic as well then. In this business, it’s tough to be consistent about your emotions. I can’t be like a rock. I go through ambivalence.”

There’s a lot riding for Kareena, as well, in Kurbaan… especially since her last film Main Aur Mrs Khanna, and Kambakht Ishq before that, didn’t exactly do much for her at the box-office. Saif, aware that she is listening to our conversation, defended his co-star and love. “I preferred her in Jab We Met,” he said cleverly.

“And I thought she looked stunning in Kambakht Ishq. It was a clever attempt at a commercial potboiler. Akshay was very funny. But people discuss Kambakth Ishq as if it was of great national importance. It was a fun film. Main Aur Mrs Khanna… I’m not sure, I saw a rough print, I don’t watch too many films, I’m not an authority… it was a sweet film, I don’t know what to say, baba! I think she chooses all kinds of films. She covers the entire spectrum of Hindi cinema in her choices… not all of them for the best! She’s done Kambakht Ishq and Main Aur Mrs Khanna this year, now she’s got Kurbaan, then 3 Idiots, and she’s working on Stepmom… all different. I think she works more for the audience than herself!”

They’ve worked together in Tashan earlier. The film, well, was disastrous… but it brought them close. Was Kareena different as an actress then, I asked. Saif hummed and hawed, then safely replied, “The same… she’s focused and a sensitive artiste, very concentrated. Also great fun to work with. I had just a couple of scenes with her in Tashan. So Kurbaan is really my first experience with her. There are few people I’ve met who are more passionate about their work. And I’m impressed with that. It’s not just about giving your shot… her knowledge of cinema is great and all round, and she has a deep interest, which I find very cool.”

Naturally, there must have been joys and pains in working with her. I pictured him giving her a backward glance then saying, “No pains, being together, creating something special, watching each other at work… those were the joys. I normally don’t have to worry about my co-star’s moods because I’ve not been so deeply involved with a co-star. But here we were connected. So I had to take time… to get comfortable… to find my own space… to figure out what to do between shots, how to unwind, I mean… we didn’t have to be together all the time. It’s a bit like working with your mom… she knows you so well, there’s no scope of impressing her!

” So, who’s your favourite actress, I asked Saif Ali Khan, the artful dodger. “Suchitra Sen, Zeenat Aman, Madhubala…” he began. Then, “Oh, you mean who I’ve worked with… I don’t know what to say… I’ve not worked with too many… but Rani’s a great co-star and Kareena’s fab… but my favourite actress, hmmm…” And Kareena Kapoor replied for him from the background, “Monica Bedi!”

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 20, 2009)

Unlike most producers, Karan Johar has realised that it’s no use shoving costly films into competitive zones on clogged Fridays.

Consequently, a wiser Karan has decided to release his Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer Kurbaan on November 20 instead of November 27 to avoid a clash with Priyadarshan’s Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer De Dana Dan.

Director Rensil D’Silva says, “We will be releasing Kurbaan on November 20 as no other film was scheduled to release on that day. We want to avoid a clash with any other film. Why not release solo when we have an empty slot? Clashes don’t help anyone.” Siddharth Roy Kapoor of UTV,  confirms the change of schedule and says, “Nov 20 is a better release window as we get a clean week, clear of any competition.”


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