Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘raju hirani

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, December 24, 2009 – 18:27 IST

Chetan Bhagat Very few authors have managed to reach out to such a wide audience as Chetan Bhagat. The writer of international bestsellers like ’5 Point Someone’, ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, ’3 Mistakes of My Life’ and ’2 States’ have been widely read and now he is all set to see yet another of his book being made into a film. On the eve of 3 Idiots release, Chetan Bhagat speaks to Bollywood Hungama and talks about why 3 Idiots is a special film, his next big project and lots more.

After ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’, yet another book of yours ’5 Point Someone’ is all set to be seen in its celluloid version (3 Idiots). How does it feel?
It feels great. This time it’s a far bigger film, the buzz about 3 Idiots is enormous. We have done the right thing by putting the film ahead of us. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to reach out to so many people through the medium of cinema.

Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone‘. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times.

The screenplay has been written by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi…Would you have liked to be a part of the screenplay writing process?
Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ’5 Point Someone’. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that.

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar the film is to the book? Raju Hirani says that the film is just 10% of the book….your comments.
I don’t think Raju must have said something like that. In fact I just met him a few days ago and we spoke at length about the film etc. See…’5 Point Someone’ has over the years achieved cult status and has its own loyal fans. I am sure they would like to see each and every moment of the book on the big screen but that is not how the process works. Adapting a book and making it into a film is a relatively new thing in India. The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that’s why the makers have officially credited the film as ‘Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat’

You are but obviously not directly involved with the film and its promotional strategies…does it upset you?
Not at all…at the end of the day I want the film to be a good film and I am happy that a film whose base is generated from my book has generated so much response and is the talk of the town.

Aamir recently was on an innovative promotional spree travelling the length and breadth of the country…what do you think about this marketing strategy?
Chetan Bhagat When you have Aamir Khan, I don’t think anybody else needs to be involved in marketing of the film. Aamir is known for his innovative style of marketing. He will never directly say, ‘Please come and watch my film’ but he will do something that will grab your attention and make you go and watch the film. I am really inspired by his marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Moving on from 3 Idiots, how is work coming along on the film based on your book ’3 Mistakes of My Life’ being made by Excel Entertainment?

I am really inspired by Aamir’s marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Abhishek Kapoor (the director) is very conscious of the comparisons that will come between the book and the film and hence we (Abhijit, Pubali Chaudhari and I) are taking great care in writing the screenplay of the film. In fact even today as we speak, I am working on the screenplay of the film based on ’3 Mistakes Of My life’. We are aware that after Rock On and 3 Idiots, there will be a lot of expectations from people and hence we are working very hard on getting the screenplay right. I think we should be able to finalise it soon and begin casting in a month or so.

Your most recent novel ’2 States’ was launched a couple of months ago…how has been the response so far?
’2 States’ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour. It’s a very good book for a lot of people to relate and enjoy. It also carries a nice message. Especially in the South, the book has done extraordinarily well. I think I have been able to meet my fans expectations which is the ultimate dream for any writer.

2 States‘ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour.

That book would make for an interesting Bollywood potboiler…any plans to adapt that book into a film too?
There have been many offers but I know that my fans would like me to be involved with only A-grade Bollywood. I don’t want to sell the rights to any filmmaker just for the heck of it. It should go into the right hands so that it emerges as one of the best films of the year

What else are you busy with these days apart from tweeting….the buzz is that you are scripting a film?
Twitter is a great way to stay connected with my fans. Yes…I do want to script a romantic comedy. Abhishek Kapoor has taught me a lot about screenplay writing. The best part about working with Abhishek is that he has shown me how the screenplay language works and also how to use restraint. Rock On was such a film that expressed so much more in spite of being subtle. My books tend to be quite filmy sometimes (laughs). It’s ironical that a filmmaker is telling me to be less filmy but I am forever indebted to Abhishek for teaching me these things about screenplay writing. Now I am hoping that I can do a better job.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

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.

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)

A crazy Aamir Khan fan has travelled from Jodhpur to Mumbai to grab the first 3 Idiots ticket

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 10, 2009)

Mahendra Singh Rathore

Here is another idiot er…. crazy fan of Aamir Khan. 42-year-old Mahendra Singh Rathore wants to be the first person to be issued the 3 Idiots ticket. If that happens, he will gift Rs 11,000 to Aamir Khan or Vidhu Vinod Chopra, whoever helps him fulfill his wish.

The man is travelling by train all the way from Jodhpur to reach Mumbai today. A TV producer will guide him to Aamir or Vidhu’s office. Rathore will meet Aamir with the request to arrange for the very first ticket to be issued to him only.

During his train journey yesterday, Rathore informed us, “I will stay in Lokhandwala Complex in Mumbai till 3 Idiots releases (December 25).  I hope I don’t go back disappointed.”

But what triggered the need to offer the odd amount of Rs 11,000 to Aamir or Vidhu? Rathore explains, “Aamir or Vidhu certainly don’t need that amount but I will offer it to them as shagun, nothing else.

That’s my way of expressing joy. I want to be the first man to get the 3 Idiots ticket, that’s all. I love Aamir.

This man is just amazing. He never seems to fail. Saal mein ek film karta hai aur woh hamesha hit hoti hai. I have seen all his movies.”

3 Idiots
Aamir Khan, Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Nothing can ever mellow Vidhu Vinod Chopra (53) completely but he is certainly more tolerant and accommodating than ever before. In keeping with his wife’s directive to not praise himself or belittle others, he stays within accepted social barriers all through our chat, restricting all caustic comments and pithy observations for when the mike is switched off

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


• You don’t have too many friends? Why?
I value friendship. For me friendship is not a loose word. If I call myself a friend, I am ready to give my life and if need be the friend should do the same.That Bambaiya friendship where people call you a friend on your face and as soon as you turn around they call you a bi*** or a swine is not friendship. I told Karan Johar, ‘I want friends like you; I want to throw a party.’ He said, ‘I can make you social,’ he tried and then he gave up.

He told me nicely, ‘You are happy where you are.’ I have only four friends now, I started with two. Rakesh Maria, Rajesh Parekh (and Firoza Parekh) and slowly I acquired the third friend, Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, but now, I am not sure, I am perhaps acquiring a fourth, which is Aamir. So my house is full now. I mean if I have four friends in this city, I am the luckiest. I now get invited to social dos. We get wedding invitations, we get party invitations. We are invited to places we have never been invited to before.

What do you expect the audience will take away from 3 Idiots?
I could be wrong, but I personally believe that 3 Idiots is a step ahead of Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The other day there was a story in the paper of a kid who had jumped off the 19th floor when her mother was in another room and I told my wife that if this kid had seen 3 Idiots, she wouldn’t have jumped. I genuinely feel that if I had released this film a month ago, I could have saved that one life. I think 3 Idiots will save lives.

• Between Aamir Khan, you and Raju Hirani, if there is a clash of opinion, who wins?
We are very clear about this. Raju is head of creatives. At the moment, Aamir is head of marketing. There is no clash. But as head of the family I believe I have a veto and if I really want to use it, I can. I think the three of us are really the perfect 3 Idiots. I had heard horror stories about Aamir and he had heard the same about me but Aamir is the most unbelievable guy I have met in my life unless I am a fool, and he is performing all the time.  I have only nice things to say about Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan but Aamir is something else. His level of commitment, his level of dedication, his level of affection, his level of seeking excellence is exceptional.

• Have you forgiven Shah Rukh Khan for trying to woo away Raju Hirani?
Oh totally. I called him yesterday to invite him for my premiere and we chatted for half an hour. Life is too short for all this s**t! Khalil Gibran has said, ‘I use hate as a weapon to defend myself.’ To me hate and love are both very strong emotions. I love my wife and if I have the same degree of negative feeling for anybody, then I am giving that person the same importance as I am giving to the woman I love the most in my life. How ridiculous is that?


• You famously said your films reflect the mood you are in. Given the comedies your production house is bringing out like the Munnabhai series, do we conclude you are in a good mood?
Yes, I am in a very happy mood. I sing songs all the time. I think life is really kind to me and I am just very grateful. My little daughter writes poetry which I don’t understand and my son plays cricket with Sachin Tendulkar’s son. God has given me a movie like 3 Idiots, friends and two families, one in cinema and the other at home. I came to this city to make one Hindi movie. If I had died after making one feature film after coming from the village that I came from, I would have died happily.

• Are there any actors you can’t conceive of working with for any reason?
The list is long but to tell you honestly it isn’t about individual actors. It is about attitude. I will not work with actors who have the wrong attitude at this given moment. On the other hand if there is an attitude change, I would willingly work with them.

• What is delaying Munna Bhai Chale Amrika?
If after Lage Raho Munna Bhai we had churned out a Munna Bhai film a year, it would have made Rs 200-250 crores and even if they had been s**t, people would go and see them. But we didn’t and won’t till we are happy with the script. Now we are happy with what we have written and so hopefully we will do it next year.

• Is it tougher to write an original screenplay or adapt a book?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t read Five Point Someone on which 3 Idiots is based. The only person in the team who read it was Raju. But I believe our film is very different. Having said that, the starting point was Raju reading the book.

• If you were given the choice to remake a film with the intention of improving it, which film would that be?
Ram Aur Shyam with Aamir Khan. I love that film and now that I am an admirer of Aamir, I would love to make that film with him. I don’t think he can do it better than Dilip Kumar, who was absolutely superb, but it would be a challenge for Aamir and me.



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