Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Aishwarya Rai

Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

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


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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The premiere of the Bachchans’ home production Paa was a glittering affair with the who’s who of Bollywood attending the event last night

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 04, 2009)


The preparations for the grand premiere of Paa last night had started much earlier with Amitabh Bachchan visiting the venue at Wadala Imax at 1 pm yesterday to check out all the arrangements. Though the main event was scheduled to begin at 8.30 pm, a casually dressed Amitabh arrived at the venue much earlier at 6 pm and the first thing he did was to double check the arrangements.

He changed into natty formals shortly before the guests started arriving.

The Bachchans had divided their responsibilities to ensure that their guests are well-looked after. While Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai were standing at the entrance, Jaya Bachchan was looking after all the guests near the screens on the first floor.

Spec-ulation
Why were Ritesh Deshmukh with Abhishek Bachchan wearing identical frames?
The first wives club
Abhishek Bachchan with reel wife, Vidya Balan and his better half, Aishwarya Rai
You me aur hum
Ajay and Kajol
Devgan

Twinkle Twinkle big star
The colour co-ordinated couple Akshay Kumar and Twinkle

Anil Ambani, his wife Tina and their son were among the first guests to arrive. Some of the power couples who attended the premiere were Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri, Ajay Devgan and wife Kajol, Hrithik and wife Sussanne, and Akshay Kumar and wife Twinkle. SRK sent Gauri and the kids upstairs while he stayed back to chat with the Bachchans for a while.  SRK was seen hugging Akshay Kumar. Arshad Warsi and wife Maria were there too.

Ritesh Deshmukh, Dino Morea and Rakeysh Mehra and his wife followed shortly and the director seemed happy to catch up with his Rang De Basanti team Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor. Sharman Joshi made a late entry.

Ranbir Kapoor and Ritesh were engrossed in a conversation outside screen 3. Aishwarya came upstairs and was seen talking to Ashutosh Gowariker, his wife Sunita and Srishti Behl. Aamir Khan came with his 3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Aamir left half-an-hour after the screening began.

Abhishek was seen chatting with Govinda, who came in quite late.

Filmmakers David Dhawan, Satish Kaushik and Madhur Bhandarkar were there. Filmmakers Abbas Mustan came all the way from Lonavla.

The screening was held in all the four screens at Imax but it was screen 3, which had the maximum number of stars. The screening of the film started around 10 pm.

Kangna Ranaut hung around outside for a while, posing for pictures even though the film had started. She soon went inside the theatre.

Dil de Dia
Even Auro, who doesn’t like girls, can’t resist the pretty Dia Mirza
Pretty woman
The single life seems to be agreeing with the glowing Kangna Ranaut
Daddy’s girl
Aishwarya with her father Krishnaraj Rai
Two-gether
Hrithik and  Sussanne Roshan
Star trek
Suhana seems to be taking after her mother Gauri Khan already. Shah Rukh Khan, Balki, Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan,  Gauri and Suhana
3 Idiots meets Paa
Rajkumar Hirani, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
(pics: nilesh wairkar)

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 15, 2009)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Hrthik Roshan

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish, which stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya in the lead, has a surprise element. The director has signed model Monikangana Dutta to play Hrithik’s former love interest.

A source from the unit reveals, “Aishwarya plays a married nurse who is a caregiver and treats Hrithik as he is a paraplegic patient after his accident. Prior to the accident, Roshan has a love interest in the movie for which Bhansali has signed Monikangana. The director recently signed the young lady and has kept it under wraps. She is under contract and is not allowed to talk to anyone until the movie’s release.”

The source continues, “Sanjay Leela has singed her for a two-movie deal. Guzaarish will be the first and the second might be a solo launch for her. Monika is obviously very excited about bagging the role. She is not allowed to make many public appearances and remains discreet about the film deal.”

If sources are to be believed, Hrithik doesn’t know about Monika being signed for the movie. “Aishwarya is married to debutant Aditya Roy Kapoor. Monika will be shooting for the next schedule. Her role is minuscule, but of great importance. Her character adds to the script,” adds the source.

Monikangana Dutta

Guzaarish is similar to John Badham’s Whose Life Is It Anyway? The film with dark undertones, also deals with the controversial issue of euthanasia. Ash’s character sparks off great interest with her playing a married woman who is attracted to Hrithik as the second half progresses.

Bhansali confirmed that he had signed Monikangana Dutta. “Her role is pivotal to the love story. She’s a lovely girl,” he gushed. He wouldn’t commit about the second film but did not rule out a lead role.

Monikangana remained unavailable for comment.

Playboy Vivek Oberoi finds love on the sets of Prince. It’s his co-star Neeru Bajwa

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 14, 2009)

Vivek Oberoi, who has been single after his relationship with Aishwarya Rai ended on a bitter note in mid-2005, is fast gaining the reputation of being an incorrigible flirt. The single and ready to mingle Vivek has found a new agony aunt and is taking her advice seriously. Apparently, Kareena Kapoor had advised him to get a steady partner (on the sets of Karan Johar’s Kurbaan), and it’s hard for Vivek to ignore such wise counsel.

After his reported link-ups with Vidya Balan, Minissha Lamba and Sonam Kapoor in the recent past, the latest on his list is the pretty TV actress Neeru Bajwa, who is his co-star in Kumar Taurani’s forthcoming film Prince — It’s Showtime. And this bonding was not restricted to just lunch, coffee and dinner.

Our source revealed, “Thankfully, Vivek and Kookie did not fight over Neeru, or it might have disrupted the shoot. Soon, Neeru’s ‘friendship’ with Vivek and Kookie became the hot topic of conversation on the set.”

Naturally, Neeru stood to benefit from her ‘dosti’ with Vivek and Kookie — and she did. “Originally, she was supposed to do a very small role. But soon, her role increased and kept increasing with each passing day. First, Kookie added a song which was picturised on her, subsequently he added a few extra scenes which featured her,” our source revealed.

After Neeru made an impression in a few Punjabi movies, she starred in Shrishti Arya’s TV show Guns and Roses, shook a leg in Nach Baliye 2 with her live-in boyfriend Amit Sadh (Fear Factor, Bigg Boss 1). There were rumours that she and Amit had tied the knot. Thereafter, she virtually disappeared.

She made a public appearance only at director Arif Sheikh’s wedding on January 26 this year, where she hung around with Vivek Oberoi who also attended the wedding. Then she was seen at Kumar Taurani’s 50th birthday party on July 11, where Vivek was again present.

When we called Neeru, she laughed and said, “I hope Vivek is still enamoured by my beauty. He is a great co-star. I don’t know if there was any attraction, but I was very nervous because I was doing my first Hindi film. Vivek, Kookie and I are good friends, we hung out and got along awesomely.”

Neetu admitted that she and Amit are not a couple anymore. “Amit and I parted ways long ago. We hadn’t married,” she said.

As for her role being increased in Prince, Neeru said, “Hmm… not really. Yes, I have a big role. There was a little mystery about a song as to who will do it. Eventually, I did it.”

Kookie Gulati, who was an associate director for Ken Ghosh’s Ishq Vishk and Fida, did not deny that he and Neeru hang out together. He added, “Neeru and I are good friends. That’s it. Nothing more. I have not increased her role. The film is still being edited by a very professional editor in France. And I have no clue if she was close to Vivek. That’s between them.”

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan to be seen together for the first time in an ad for a soap. Buzz is, they have been paid Rs 25 crore
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 01, 2009)

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan

After their marriage, Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan have seldom been seen apart. Be it filmi events, the Cannes festival, films such as Sarkar Raj and forthcoming films Raavana and Crooked or even a recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey show, the doting couple is always seen hand-in-hand, smiling happily much to the delight of photographers.

Now, the couple is ready to take brand Bachchan to an altogether next level with a soap commercial. Buzz is that they are being paid a whopping Rs 25 crore for the ad. The deal, which has been kept under wraps, was finalised four days ago.

Explaining why the couple was paid an exorbitant amount, that too for an ad film, a source said, “The endorsement market is booming right now. Also, it will be the first time that Abhishek and the Bachchan bahu will be seen together in a commercial. The couple had been in talks for a long time with the ad filmmakers, who were extremely keen to get the two together. They finally agreed to be part of the ad last week.”

The ad is likely to be shot abroad.

Neeta Lulla is no longer Aishwarya’s favourite designer. The star dumped Neeta after she chose Sushmita to walk the ramp for her collection last year
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 19, 2009)

Aishwarya Rai

Neeta Lulla

Fashion designers have always depended on stars to up the glam quotient and build a brand name and designers fiercely guard their relationships with the stars.

Neeta Lulla had a dream relationship with Aishwarya Rai, which seems to have soured after years of working together. The actress is an important client for the designer. As Ash has weaned herself off Neeta, the designer has been trying to resurrect the relationship by sending her texts and trying to win her back.

Perhaps, Neeta should’ve thought about the repercussions when she got Ash’s arch-rival Sushmita Sen to walk the ramp at last year’s Fashion Week. This was akin to being disloyal, as far as Ash was concerned.

Now that Ash has four new films on hand (Guzaarish, Raavana, Action Replay and Enthiram), Neeta is nowhere in the picture. Ash has been opting for Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi instead.

Given the Ash-Lulla history, this is a big snub for the designer. After all, when Yash Chopra introduced them 11 years ago, he predicted that it would be a lasting relationship. It did last – through films like Umrao Jaan, Devdas, Taal, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Ash also weathered much criticism for Neeta’s designs at Cannes.

Friction brewed on the sets of Jodhaa Akbar, when Ash and Neeta clashed over Ash’s outfits in the film. The friendship soured and since then, Ash made it a point to keep Neeta Lulla away. She didn’t attend Neeta’s show at the fashion week last year, where she launched her daughter.

Our source said, “First, it was the Jodhaa-Akbar disaster. Ash maintained a stoic silence, and chose to be dignified. She didn’t want it to affect the Jodhaa-Akbar promotions. Finally, Sushmita is Aishwarya’s arch rival, and her walking the ramp for Neeta was the final nail in the coffin. This year, also Ash has given Neeta the cold shoulder. Sameera Reddy was the showstopper. Yes, Ash is shooting in Goa for Guzaarish, but so what? There were days when Ash would run from any the part of the world if Neeta called.”

Neeta said,  “Who has told you that I have been texting Aishwarya? She replies to my messages when I wish her on her birthday or Diwali.” When we asked why she isn’t Ash’s favourite designer anymore, Neeta shot back, “Why don’t you ask Aishwarya this before asking me?”

An upset Aishwarya Rai can’t fathom why former lovers Salman and Vivek are digging up the past by talking about her disrespectfully. Never mind the passionate affairs she had with the two earlier

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 14, 2009)

She might have had a torrid affair with Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi but the happily married Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is now upset that skeletons from her past keep resurfacing every few weeks, thanks to her ex flames.

Yesterday, Vivek said on a talk show that he held the infamous press conference against Salman Khan to please Aishwarya when they were a couple. It’s not the first time that her ex-flame has spoken about her openly. Same is the case with her former lover Salman, who has spoken about her in not-so complimentary tones in recent press and television interviews. This sort of undignified name-calling has naturally upset the Bachchans.

Aishwarya, who is shooting in Goa for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish, has been quietly hearing all the comments about her from the two actors. While she still chooses to maintain a dignified silence, a close friend of the family decided to speak on her behalf. “We feel what Mr Khan and Mr Oberoi are doing is very ungentlemanly. It’s unchivalrous to talk about any lady who has moved on to a new phase in her life. It is especially wrong when the lady is very happily married. Her life revolves around her two families now. What happened in the past is done and over with,” says the friend.

“Why bring her name up unnecessarily and that too in contexts that have long lost their validity? Vivek said on a talk show on Sunday that he had held the infamous press conference against Salman to please Aishwarya. Let me tell you, Aishwarya wasn’t even aware that he was going to hold the press conference. When she got to know about it, she was horrified. Vivek is an adult and he should take responsibility for his actions. Why blame Aishwarya if his career didn’t take off. Do these two men realise how much her career suffered? She lost so many films because of her past associations,” adds the friend angrily.

Same is the case with Salman, who has been discussing Aishwarya and the dos and don’ts of physical abuse in his interviews. Apparently, when a friend asked Salman why he can’t stop talking about her, he shrugged and said he can’t help it because the press keeps asking him about her.

Aishwarya’s friend refuses to buy that reason and says, “Agreed that the questions are provocative but the person being asked isn’t being forced to reply. He could easily choose not to discuss such ugly topics in public. At the moment, Aishwarya is working on two of her most difficult and challenging roles in Raavana and Guzaarish. The last thing she needs is rude distractions from the past. On Sunday, she was so upset she could hardly control her tears on the sets of Guzaarish. All she kept saying is, ‘I’m living my life the way I want. I wish others would do the same. Just let me be.”

The past that Aishwarya would like to erase


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