Fenil and Bollywood

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Big B, SRK among several who catch Avatar premiere in Mumbai…

TIMES NEWS NETWORK (BOMBAY TIMES; December 18, 2009)

A lot of films try to lay claim to the old ‘most anticipated film of the year’ tag, but on Tuesday night, it was clear that Avatar was indeed the biggest Hollywood film of the year amongst Bollywood’s celebrity film buffs; it brought the Bachchans and the Khans onto the same blue carpet in a premiere rivalling the big Bollywood premieres. After 14 years of incubating in director James Cameron’s brain, Avatar, the once-ultrasecret project known as ‘Project 800’, finally premiered to an enraptured and appreciative Bollywood crowd. But before the 160-minute-long saga of 10-foot-tall blue aliens on a distant moon called Pandora began, the blue carpet was walked by larger than life superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Yash Chopra, Gurinder Chadha, Harman Baweja, Vivek Oberoi, Ram Gopal Verma, Rohan Sippy, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Anthony D’Souza, Rohit Shetty, Shirish Kunder, Tisca Chopra to name a few.

At the end of the film, as the news channels spoke to the guests leaving, some admitted to tears, many felt it would be difficult to watch “normal movies again” and most were ready to take another trip to Pandora right then and there. Networking sites were instantly flooded with more gushing praise.

Aryan had his school exams and couldn’t make it, but Shah Rukh Khan was so amazed by the experience that arranged a screening for his family and friends over the weekend. … Hrithik, who was stuck at the shooting of Guzaarish and couldn’t make it in time to the venue, is also looking to have a private screening of the film. Amitabh Bachchan told the media “It was a fabulous film, a wonderful experience!” Abhishek, who was not scheduled to come as he had to walk the ramp the same evening in the suburbs, rushed just in time to catch the film. He posted his views on a site soon after “It’s not a film. It’s an experience! James Cameron is Hollywood’s answer to my favourite director, Manmohan Desai! He could pull off anything. Avatar too is a Hindi film at heart. It’s definitely a ‘must watch’ for the experience.”

Rohan Sippy, who had seen a trade show just the previous day, loved the film so much he came to see a second screening and plans to see the film over the weekend, again. He said, “With Avatar, James Cameron has redefined what we can dream. It is a film of breathtaking scale and impossibly meticulous detail. But I think his real triumph is that he has used his total mastery over technology to make us really feel what it is to be alive and human…” Ajay Devgn and Kajol have also requested for a screening of the film for their family and close friends after hearing the premiere buzz from others. While Vivek Oberoi said, “It’s really amazing that the west can come up with films like this. I would’ve loved an Indian director to make a film like Avatar. It’s simply astounding!” “I saw Avatar in 3D. To say the least, it made me feel pre-historic in every way,” says Varma. Director Ken Ghosh, Fardeen Khan and Zayed Khan have also planned to block an evening entire show at a suburban multiplex for a private screening for friends and family. Looks like the general public might not get tickets for the film after all, looking at the number of private screenings and shows being blocked by the Bollywood fraternity itself. The premiere was hosted by Vijay Singh, CEO 20th Century Fox India and Big Cinemas.
Hrithik Roshan to undergo serious physical transformation for Sanjay Khan’s Welcome to the Jungle; will beef up for the role for a sporty, muscular look

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 07, 2009)

Hrithik Roshan is set to get under the skin of the character for his forthcoming film, Welcome to the Jungle, produced by Sanjay Khan. After the actor finishes shooting for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish early next year for which he will put on oodles of weight, he will lose it all to sport a muscular look.

A source says, “Welcome to the Jungle is an adventure film which will see Hrithik in a never-seen-before avatar. The actor will undergo tremendous physical transformation for his role. Hrithik, who plays a paraplegic in Guzaarish, was asked to put on weight as his role didn’t require him to be physically fit. Now, after the shoot ends, Hrithik will work out extensively to sport a muscular look for Welcome to the Jungle.”

Hrithik Roshan Sanjay Khan

Commenting on the project, Sanjay Khan says, “Welcome To The Jungle is my property and will be directed by Farukh Kabir. It is still in the scripting process and things have yet to be finalised. We haven’t finalised the cast yet, but Zayed Khan is one of the actors being considered for the role. Hrithik is also being considered. If he has the time and likes the script, he will be part of the film.”

When quizzed about the physical transformation that Hrithik will undergo for the film, he says, “Yes, there will be a major transformation as you say. But I haven’t finalised or signed anyone. The actors signed will have to undergo a drastic change as compared to their current look. It is a good family adventure story for the masses and all age groups.”

By Joginder Tuteja, November 2, 2009 – 15:43 IST

Anthony D'Souza This has becomes a trend of sorts. No sooner does a film hit the screens or is ready for release, stories start floating around how its maker is ready with the plans of making his next. It may be mere speculation, a PR plug or a confirmed report but the fact that it does get the film (which is about to get released) noticed. In certain instances a filmmaker knows the origin of the news. However, there also have been cases where he himself is flabbergasted with such information floating around. What may just turn be a thought over a mug of coffee is elevated to the scale of being confirmed to such an extent that it appears as if the film would get on floors within a week of the news making headlines.

Diwali releases went through the same syndrome with glowing announcements around the next projects of Rohit Shetty (All The Best) and Prem Soni (Main Aurr Mrs Khanna). While Rohit was said to be caught in a dilemma of choosing his next film between the sequel to Golmaal and All The Best, Prem confirmed that Salman Khan had green lighted another project for him.

Something similar happened to Anthony D’Souza as well who happened to share certain thoughts about his next assignments with a few associates. The next thing he heard, there were projects like airborne thriller Aerial and a sequel to Blue all set to be kick started. What’s more, he had apparently also signed one of his favourite actors from the industry and close friends – John Abraham.

However, a fortnight after the release of Blue, Anthony D’Souza a.k.a. Tony is ready to term this information as sheer rumour that doesn’t come with any basis. He denies working on either Blue 2 or Aerial and also dispels the theory that he has signed John for his next.

“All of these are mere speculations and I have no clue from where have they originated. All I said was that I would love to work with John since he is a close friend. He is the one who got me in the industry and I owe him a lot. Tomorrow if a project works out well for both of us then we would be game for working together. However, this isn’t something that I am stating today after Blue; I have maintained this for a year now. If this admiration and gratitude of mine is sensationalised by some and posted as twisted headlines, then I can’t help it, right? On a lighter note, I have always been forthcoming in admitting my love for Hollywood. However, that doesn’t mean that Francis Ford Coppola has sanctioned a film for me”, jokes Tony.

There have also been talks that other than John, the principal cast of Blue is coming together with him again. What does the filmmaker has to say about that?

Anthony D'Souza “As much as I love John and would want him in my films, there is no project for which he has signed on the dotted line yet. Neither is that the case with Mr. Akshay Kumar, Mr. Sanjay Dutt, Zayed, Lara or Katrina. They are all great actors and I would love to work with all of them together again. But no, there is no film which is happening with them at the moment”, Tony sets the record straight.

Where does that leave so-called announcements like Blue 2 and Aerial? The moment Blue hit the screens and took a very good opening; a sequel seemed to be offering. Also, knowing Tony’s penchant for action adventure, it was being stated that he would now take his cast and crew in the air with Aerial. There have also been theories around him making a trilogy of such action adventure cinema.

“These are nothing but overzealous minds at work”, laughs Tony, “For the records, I am neither doing Blue 2 nor Aerial. These are all speculations. Yes, I have a penchant for making action flicks and my next would belong to that genre as well. However, it won’t necessarily have an adventure element to that. Whether it would be Blue 2 or something else? Well, for all you know, it could be Red or Yellow“, he laughs, “Seriously, it’s too early to be even talking about it. I am still in the process of fleshing out a subject. Let things take their due course and we would make the right announcements. Till then, let’s enjoy Blue.”

Well, with another rumour biting the dust, one looks forward to how the trend continues for weeks to come. Whether there would be more in the offering around adventures of Aladin? Whether London Dreams may lead way for New York Dreams? Would Ranbir have many more stories to tell after Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani? Or if Aamir Khan would be bringing in four idiots for his next assignment after Three Idiots?

Of course, we are waiting!

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Katrina hobnobbed all night with Shah Rukh, Shilpa Shetty couldn’t stop showing off her engagement ring and Gauri Khan danced enthusiastically till the cops came in and repeatedly asked host Hrithik to stop the loud music late on Sunday night

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 27, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan Gauri Khan
Nandita Mahtani and Dino Morea Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty

A near stampede resulted outside Hrithik Roshan’s building Palazzio, Juhu late on Sunday night when Hrithik threw a party to celebrate his wife Sussanne’s birthday. The who’s who of Bollywood attended the do and a throng of fans stood outside the gate to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars.

Guests at the party included Shah Rukh-Gauri Khan, Saif-Kareena, Katrina Kaif, Karan Johar, Parmeshwar Godrej, Tusshar Kapoor, Arjun Rampal-Mehr Jesia, Chunky-Bhavna Pandey, Shilpa Shetty-Raj Kundra, Zayed Khan, Kajal Anand, Neelam, Kunal Kapoor, Vicky-Gayatri Oberoi, Sonali-Goldie Behl and Farah Ali Khan,amongst others.

Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza came in together, as did Dino Morea and his now on-now off girlfriend, designer Nandita Mahtani. While Gauri Khan was having a great time dancing, Shah Rukh, who came in an hour after her, was in a rather sober mood. Parmeshwar Godrej was in high spirits and was one of the last guests to leave the party.

Hrithik looked dapper, as usual, in a black shirt and blue jeans, while Sussanne complemented his attire with an elegant black dress.

Incidentally, Hrithik’s favourite co-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan did not attend the party. A source close to the Roshans said, “Abhishek was busy shooting, hence Aishwarya decided not to come.”

Hrithik’s good friend Priyanka Chopra was also absent. The actress’s official spokesperson said, “Priyanka could not attend Hrithik’s party because she wasn’t feeling too well due to food poisoning.”

Unlike most parties where Ameesha is usually accompanied by her boyfriend Kanav Puri, this time she came alone and looked quite lost.

A rather plump looking Katrina Kaif managed to raise quite a few eyebrows by hobnobbing with boyfriend Salman Khan’s arch rival Shah Rukh Khan. A close friend of Salman said, “Never before have we seen Katrina get along so well with Shah Rukh. Has she broken up with Salman?”

When we asked why Hrithik’s sister Sunaina did not attend the party, the source said, “Sunaina is a loner.”

Since Shilpa got engaged to Raj on Saturday night, everybody wanted to have a look at her huge ring. “Shilpa proudly showed it to almost everybody who was around. She was the centre of attraction all evening,” added the source.

The revelry ended on an unpleasant note when an irate neighbour complained about the loud music reverberating from the building’s 10th floor where the party was on in full swing. A few cops reached the venue but failed to take stock of the situation. They had to call senior police inspector Sawant who asked Hrithik to mellow down.

Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan & Katrina Kaif

 

Hrithik Roshan has planned an exclusive party tomorrow to celebrate his mother’s birthday

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

Hrithik Roshan has planned a grand party tomorrow to celebrate his mother, Pinky Roshan’s birthday. While the Roshans had celebrated her birthday, which was on October 22, by having a quiet dinner party at a Juhu restaurant, Hrithik has now planned to throw an extravagant party to celebrate his mother’s birthday with his friends from the film industry. The party will be held at his Juhu residence.

A source said, “The entire Roshan family along with Sanjay Khan’s family had a private dinner on October 22 to celebrate Pinky Roshan’s birthday. For the party tomorrow, Hrithik’s guest list includes Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan, Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kunal Kapoor, Jeetendra, Tusshar Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Rakyesh Mehra, Ashutosh and Sunita Gowariker, Priyanka Chopra, Kangna Ranaut and many others.”

Hrithik has personally planned the menu and has paid special attention to the desserts and sushi, which his mother is extremely fond of.

Pinky and Sussanne Roshan & Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan

Kareena Kapoor & Kangna Ranaut

Hrithik Roshan,  Karan Johar & Saif Ali Khan

BEAUTIFUL: Katrina Kaif. For more pictures of the actress, log on to http://photogallery.indiatimes.com
John Abraham to be part of sequel film too

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 22, 2009)

For those who cribbed about Akshay Kumar being without a leading lady in Blue, here’s news. The film’s sequel will feature Katrina Kaif, who had an eightminute role opposite Zayed Khan, this time round with Akshay. The story brings together Akshay and Katrina, Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta, and Zayed Khan with a new leading lady — Neha Uberoi, who is Sanjay’s business manager, Dharam Uberoi’s daughter. The film is likely to be titled Aasman (Akshay’s suggestion) and a role is being written for John Abraham who will have Sonal Chauhan cast opposite him. Director Tony D’Souza said, “I really want to work with John. All I can say is the producers are ready to back me with my next project with the same budget as Blue. It will start off as an undersea adventure and then move to the sky.” The producers are likely to host a huge bash soon where the sequel will be announced.

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan and Akshay Kumar; (top) Lara Dutta in the film
Huge opening adds to the celebrations

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 22, 2009)


The extended Diwali weekend has proved to be a boon for last week’s Bollywood releases. Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd’s underwater thriller Blue that opened this Festival of Lights, benefitted big time because it raked in a huge initial in the celebration period.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “The promotion and publicity helped it to get a grand opening.” He also believes that since India hadn’t seen any thrillers involv
ing underwater action sequences, this proved to be the USP of the film.

Uday Singh, CEO, PVR Pictures, says, “We opened wide… and the first four days’ collections have been extremely encouraging.” Uday feels that Blue is a large screen spectacle and the audience is taken in by the sheer opulence of the product.

The makers of the film are upbeat, too, because they say that the opening weekend collection is one of the best initials an Akshay Kumar film has taken. “The Khiladi has proved once again that he is
one of the biggest Bollywood stars,” says a leading distributor.

International pop superstar Kylie Minogue’s ditty Chiggy Wiggy with Akshay has also found its share of fans. “Blue has hit the jackpot,” is Taran’s opinion.

It is estimated that the film’s collection has benefitted by the sheer magnitude of the number of screens it hit — over 2,000 worldwide. And with no new major releases lined up this week, Blue still holds viewers’ fancy.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com
Sanjay Dutt talks about Blue 2, which will have much more action and deadlier sharks than the first part

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 20, 2009)

Blue

If you think that the latest release Blue was made on a lavish budget, think again. A sequel to the film is already in the offing and is being planned on a much bigger scale.

Blue actor Sanjay Dutt informs that they will be starting with the sequel immediately. “It was a thrilling experience shooting for Blue in the Bahamas. Tony (director) is ready with the idea for Blue 2 and he has promised that there will be more sharks and action in the sequel,” says Sanjay.

Sanjay says that shooting for Blue wasn’t a cakewalk. “For me, Blue was an extremely difficult film to shoot. The same goes for the director Anthony D’Souza. Hats off to the producer who believed in the film and invested so much money in it. I don’t know about others but I had a tough time while shooting as I was scared when I saw 50 sharks around me.”

Blue 2 will be shot in Australia and will have one more key male actor other than Akshay Kumar, Sanjay and Zayed Khan. While Blue has several sharks, its sequel will have deadlier sharks such as Great Whites and Bull Sharks.

blue3

BLUE WILL GIVES YOU BLUES!!

No matter how grand a film is, how wonderfully it has been promoted or which big names associated are with it, if its content is bad, then nothing can save the film. Blue comes in this category. The film was so nicely publicized, the promos looked rocking, Akki-Sanju pairing seemed electrifying and Lara Dutta’s bikini scenes had sent the youth in frenzy. Unfortunately, the film’s story is pathetic and thus, the film disappoints…big time!

The story of the movie: Sagar (Sanjay Dutt) is an honest guy staying in Bahamas and has a girlfriend, Mona (Lara Dutta). His best friend is Aarav (Akshay Kumar), a rich and over ambitious businessman. One fine morning, Sagar’s younger brother, Sameer aka Sam (Zayed Khan) arrives at Sagar’s place after staying in Bangkok for 5 years. Sam hasn’t come there just to meet his folks for a few days-he had ran away from Bangkok after taking panga with a gangster Gulshan (Rahul Dev) there. On the other hand, there is a treasure lying deep under the sea, somewhere near Bahamas, and Aarav persuades Sagar to join him in finding the treasure. But Sagar has reservations about it which is connected to his past.

In just 15 minutes, you get a hint that the director is unfit and doesn’t know his job well. The opening credits scene was brilliant. But the following scenes and also the boxing sequence hold attention initially but the interest soon wears off. The movie then focuses on Zayed Khan which was the best part of the first hour. But the story hardly moves once Zayed comes to Bahamas and joins Sanju and his team and this happens till the intermission point. In between, there two songs are thrown in, ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ and Blue Theme, which serve no purpose to the main storyline.

The actual treasure hunting begins in the last 30 minutes and you expect fireworks right till the climax. But alas…it was plain lackluster. The director could have included added more thrills or at least some twists and surprises. Sure, there is a twist in the end but that doesn’t work big time. Also the climax was so lame!

Talking about flaws, there are plenty. What is striking is-the treasure is part of India’s wealth and was coming to India in a ship in 1949. But when the ship sank, no effort was made by the Indian Govt or for that matter, any adventurer to get hold of it. Although there were stories that the captain of the ship took away the treasure, still no one tried even investigating this case and that too for 5 decades! Very hard to digest!

However, the film scores at a few places. The bike race and the following chase scene involving Zayed Khan rocks! Another bike scene post-interval, which also involved a train, was also well-shot. And the best scene of the film was when the goons attack Sanjay’s place. Simply outstanding! So you can see, only the action sequences hold attention. And the film, overall, is a damp squib!

blue2

It’s a treat to see Sanjay Dutt in every film and in Blue too, he does a great job. Although he looked a bit fat places, overall, he gives a smashing performance. Akshay Kumar steals the show. He also raises a few laughs in between and was perfect for this role. However, it’s really disappointing to see Akshay Kumar in pathetic films lately. Let’s hope De Dana Dan (his next with Priyadarshan) works. Zayed Khan looked dashing and charming. The world may denounce him but I feel that he has the potential and can reach the top, if given an opportunity.

I really feel bad for Lara Dutta. When she signed Blue, she didn’t know swimming and she dedicatedly learnt how to swim in just three months and became a pro. However, she hardly has any contribution to the main plot of the film. In fact, one can argue that there was no need for her character in the film at all! Really very unfortunate! Rahul Dev was okay and Kabir Bedi doesn’t have a single dialogue in the film. Katrina Kaif is stunning while Kylie Minogue oozes oomph!

blue

A R Rahman’s music was good, but nothing special. The Blue Theme, Chiggy Wiggy and Aaj Dil are the best songs of the lot. Rahman’s background score sounded modern and fresh.

Laxman Utekar’s cinematography was eye-catching. The underwater cinematography by Pete Zuccarini was outstanding and the underwater scenes really looked stunning. Oscar winner Resul Pookutty strikes a sixer with his marvelous sound designing. Fantastic job! The locales (Bahamas) are excellent.

Some of the dialogues (Mayur Puri) stand out. While the crew did their job wonderfully, the story and the script (Anthony D’Souza and Jasmine D’Souza) spoil and ruin the show. Same goes for direction by Anthony. He had everything-a producer who was ready to invest large amounts of money, top actors of the current period, an excellent crew (including some from Hollywood) and what not. But alas! Did Anthony feel that people are going to praise his film just by showing them some wonderful underwater scenes and handful of action sequences? The producer, Dhilin Mehta, is equally to blame. What was he thinking when he invested 90 crs+ on such a flawed script and on a debutant director? My blood boils to see huge amounts of money going waste, which could had been utilized in a better way. We are a pro when it comes to lifting/copying/inspiring from Hollywood flicks. Then why can’t we have a Hollywood-like terrific direction and screenplay? Really very very disappointing!

Some of the best scenes in the film:
1. Sam in Bangkok
2. Sagar and Aarav having a drink at the edge
3. Sam being chased in Bahamas
4. Gulshan’s attack on Sagar
5. Sam, Sagar and Aarav searching for treasure
6. The final scene

On the whole, Blue is a big time disappointment. The film’s cast and crew have done a brilliant job but the film fails to impress because of its faulty script. Blue should fail (and it will, for sure, keeping in mind its high cost) at the Box office so that it gives a lesson to all producers in Bollywood that investing large amounts of money on faulty scripts and taking audiences for granted will result in big losses and disaster.

My rating-** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Blue-177340-1.html

blue4


MAKING A MARK: Katrina Kaif

Director Anthony D’Souza spills the beans on the costliest film ever made that’s releasing on Friday

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 14, 2009)


Anthony D’Souza is the man behind Bollywood’s costliest film — Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd’s Blue that’s releasing this Diwali (October 16). And he admits that his producers have actually let money flow like water to make this big screen spectacle. “It is the first Bollywood film to be shot in the Bahamas,’’ says Tony, adding that he chose the location despite the heavy cost because it was the only place in the world where he could shoot with live sharks. The budget skyrocketed further because the food and drinking water had to come from Florida.


However, on the eve of the film’s release, the debutant director is hardly worrying his head over the accounts. Instead, he is excited about having made India’s first under-water film and says he is completely indebted to his producer Dhilin Mehta for partaking in his vision. He has also had Hollywood technicians like Amir Mokri (Bad Boys-II) to give him
expert advice. Tony is also all praise for his actors. “Sanjay Dutt was the first one who I gave a narration to — and he agreed almost immediately. In fact, he will also be in my next film titled Bond.’’


About Akshay Kumar, the film’s backbone, the director says, “Akshay is the most unselfish, punctual, dedicated, uncomplicated actor I have ever met. Stories about his interference are a myth.’’ But Tony is partial to his leading lady Lara Dutta whom he salutes because she learnt to swim in three months and was then swimming with the sharks like a pro. The film’s youngest actor Zayed
Khan is a friend, he says. “I love Zayed because he is frank, forthright and the perfect choice for my film.’’


But even Tony admits that Blue wouldn’t be complete without those magical seven minutes of Katrina Kaif. Says the director, “Katrina is a thorough professional. She takes her work very seriously. Katz is the female Akshay and, like him, she is a very punctual actor.’’
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com



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