Fenil and Bollywood

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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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Sonam2
By indiaabroad
Sunday Sep 6 1:15 PM

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, who is currently in the capital for the shooting of ‘Ayesha’, says she loves everything about the city except its unpredictable weather.

‘I’m in love with this city. I love the food, shopping, parties and people of Delhi – they are so lively. When you watch this city on the big screen, it looks beautiful,’ Sonam told reporters here.

‘But the weather is unpredictable – one moment it’s sunny and suddenly it starts raining and that is the only thing that I don’t like about this place. But every time I come here, I feel good,’ said the actress whose aunt lives here.

Before ‘Ayesha’, she was also here to shoot for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Delhi-6’. Though the movie didn’t do well at the box-office, the actress enjoyed her stay here.

She has teamed up with Abhay Deol for ‘Ayesha’, which is her father Anil Kapoor‘s home production. An adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel ‘Emma’, the film is about the perils of misconstrued romance.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Sonam Kapoor. For more pictures of the actress, log on to http://photogallery.indiatimes.com

… says Sonam Kapoor, who is taking off in an altogether fresh direction

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; August 25, 2009)

Sonam Kapoor is single in real life, but she will be wooed by three men in her next film Aisha, a romantic comedy based on Jane Austen’s Emma. The film is being produced by her sister Rhea under their father Anil Kapoor’s banner. And, it has current favourites Abhay Deol, Arunoday Singh and VJ Cyrus Sahukar pitching for the 22-year-old actress who, at two films, is already a celebrated name in Bollywood.

“But hello,’’ says Sonam, who is flying to New Delhi to start work on the film, “women outnumber men on this project.’’ The director is Rajshri Ojha, screenplay writer Devika Bhagat, dialogue writers Ritu Bhatia and Devika, production designer Shruti Gupte, costume designer Pernia Qureshi, my sister Rhea is the producer and I’m the lead actress. Of course, there are a few talented men on the project — like Javed Akhtar saab (lyrics), Amit Trivedi (music) and Manu Rishi (dialogues) but, by and large, it’s going to be one big hen party.’’

What’s more, almost the entire cast and a major part of the crew are in the age group of 25-26. “I thought I was one of the youngest girls in Bollywood,’’ says Sonam. “But when I started work on Aisha, I realised almost everyone on the set is my age or even younger than I am.’’

Sonam, who has been having readings for the film with Abhay, says of the actor, “He is supertalented. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with him.
He is playing Mr Knightley in Aisha and I can barely wait for shooting to begin.’’ What’s more, as soon as she wraps up Aisha, she will join Imran Khan on the sets of Karan Johar’s romantic caper I Hate Luv Stories directed by debutant Puneet Malhotra. “Both films are very different from each other,’’ says Sonam, and yes, she is fully aware that she makes a swinging pair with the light-eyed Imran too.

“I’m thrilled with the direction my career is going,’’ says the youngster unable to keep the excitement out of her voice.

Understandably so. Sonam has had a couple of glitches in the initial stages. But one thing that was never in doubt is her talent. In that area, she reigns supreme.

Sudhir Mishra to make a sequel to Iss Raat ki Subah Nahin with Irrfan Khan and Chitrangda Singh

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 23, 2009)

Chitrangda Singh

2 Days, 2 Nights & a Morning is what the quasi-sequel to Sudhir Mishra’s 1996 film Iss Raat ki Subah Nahin is called. And while the experimental film featured Sudhir’s then favorite Smita Patil lookalike Smriti Mishra, for the sequel he will go ahead with his current favorite, Chitrangda Singh. Along with Chitrangda will be Irrfan Khan and Arunoday Singh, politician Arjun Singh’s grandson who has debuted with Sikandar and is currently filming Ayesha with Sonam Kapoor.

Sudhir says, “While Iss Raat ki Subah Nahin had an assortment of characters, the new film is basically about two people on a collision course over a period of three days. While Iss Raat ki Subah Nahin unfolded in just one night, this one will take longer.”

While the earlier film was set in Mumbai, 2 Days, 2 Nights & a Morning will take his cast to Delhi and Haryana. To be produced by Reliance Big Pictures, Sudhir wants to start working on the sequel right away. Sudhir’s political drama, Dhruv, starring Farhan Akhtar and Kareena Kapoor is on a hold right now due to Kareena’s dates. “Kareena is keen to do Dhruv, but only after Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod is completed. She is holidaying with him these days. So in the meanwhile, as I simply can’t be resting at home and need to direct films, I’ll get started on the new film.”

COFFEE & CONVERSATION: Anil Kapoor. For more pictures of the actor, visit http://photogallery.indiatimes.com

Anil Kapoor, one of the best-known Indian faces on the planet, talks to BT about work in LA

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; July 28, 2009)

I don’t know how Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar are going to like this, but Hollywood seems to think that Slumdog Millionaire’s question master Anil Kapoor has become one of the best-known Indian faces on the planet. Anil himself is modest about the recognition. “Obviously, Slumdog changed my life,” he admitted, “but then it changed the lives of everybody connected with the film, including Danny Boyle.” This new global positioning has plucked him out of Bollywood and stationed him in LA, where his talents are being put to use on the Emmy and Golden Globes-winning American TV series 24. “It is an espionage and political thriller,” he explained, “it catches the highest eyeballs in the world. What Friends is for comedy, 24 is for drama and action.” He plays a Middle East President who is in the US for a peace treaty in the UN with the American President. “I won’t mention which Middle East nation,” Anil said apologetically, “but the series is contemporary and about what’s happening in the world… you will know.” This is the eighth season of the show, and perhaps its last, with our Anil having canned six episodes already. He’s about to start the seventh and eight, but the launch of his film Ayesha, which he is producing for daughter Sonam, brought him back to Mumbai for two days. I caught up with the old Bollywood war horse over breakfast on one morning.

He sprinted up two flights of stairs like a spirited young colt to scrambled eggs and multi-grain toast, yelling at me over his shoulder, “When your hands are full, you don’t need to work on fitness.” Then, over coffee, he talked about the Hollywood press’ glowing reports on his success. “This is… what… I… the whole thing is like getting an opportunity to learn so much… I feel like a newcomer, like I’m just
beginning. My daughter said, ‘You have a family, you have money, you have fame and the back-up of work at home, and here’s the opportunity to be there, to work with big players on a global stage. What more could anybody want?’ It is true. I was also offered a few studio roles in Hollywood. But I said no. I don’t need the money and I have enough work at home. My hands are full.” That is also true. He is launching Ayesha on August 2, and he’s already got No Problem, another film he is producing, happening in South Africa since July 11. As for being among the best-known Indian faces on the planet, Anil muttered uncomfortably, “I’m humbled by it. But better I be modest, down to earth and rooted, let my work speak… yet, in my own small way I feel I was a stepping stone, I’m convinced there will be another Slumdog, and there will be many Indians actors who will be ten times bigger than me… but I feel proud, I’m one of the first mainstream actors to do a film like this out of the box.”

He’s busy juggling two careers now (“let’s see where it takes me”), last week he travelled three continents, from LA to Durban and then Mumbai, taking advantage of one night in transit to meet film
makers in London for future international projects. “I love my work passionately,” Anil said. “Saturdays and Sundays in LA, I get restless, because everything shuts down. I just learned what a weekend is. In Bollywood, we work 24/7. There it’s bad manners to call up anyone for work on the weekend. Duniya ulti-seedhi ho jaye, but they remain shut. So I go hiking!” But his heart is still in India. “I’m doing a film for Anees Bamzee, there’s Ayesha, No Problem,
and if there’s something else that’s exciting, I’ll do it here,” he said, undeterred by the failure of his recent film Short Kut at the box office. “I’m ready to fail, I love it when people make fun of me, it makes me feel superior,” he said. “It means I’m up there. I get upset if people ignore me.” People, meanwhile, were not ignoring him at our breakfast table. They were looking at him curiously from afar, giving him space. Anil Kapoor, despite the burnished copper hair, spectacles, and tracksuit, still looks and behaves like a film star. “Being recognised anywhere in the world, that’s the most exciting part,” he told me. “Earlier, when I travelled, it was only the Air-India crew that knew me. Now on any airline, even in China, they come for autographs and pictures. I like that!”

Luck5

Since a couple of years, we are bombarded with adventurous reality shows, where contestants do dangerous stunts or stay for 3 months in an enclosed house equipped with video cameras or spend 2 months in jungle or reveal their deepest secrets in front of the family and also the entire country! The motive of all the participating contestants is to win and take home a big moolah. The film Luck goes a step ahead. No, it isnt a reality show but the setting reminds you of one. Except, that one small mistake by the contestant and he/she is dead! A saga of such an extremely dangerous game of death, Luck entertains and thrills fully! Unfortunately, it comes with its share of flaws too! More on it later!

The story of the film: Muusaa Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) is a big name in the world of gambling and betting. He has come up with the concept of human betting and assembles 15 ‘lucky’ people from all around the world to South Africa. Tamang (Danny Denzogpa) helps Muusaa unearth these ‘hidden treasures’ who are favoured by luck-Ram Mehra (Imran Khan) is in a debt of Rs. 20 crore, all thanks to his father who is no more. Retd Major Jawar Pratap Singh (Mithun Chakraborthy) urgently needs Rs. 25 lakhs for his wife’s treatment. Shortcut (Chitrashi Rawat) is a camel racer in Pakistan who has the ability to win in the race even though her camel has a limp! Serial killer Raghav (Ravi Kishan) wonderfully cheats death. And finally, Ayesha (Shruti Haasan) who has already won in the game of human betting once and is back again. In addition, there are some more from the rest of the world. All of them have one thing in common-they all possess luck. There will be only one winner and survivor in the end who’ll go home with 20 crores. Who will that be?

Luck has everything needed for an exciting action packed adveturous thriller-thrilling background score, top-class sound design, action sequences that are out of the world and outstanding sequences. The first scene of the film (see pic below) sets the mood wonderfully. In fact, the initial scene turns out to be one of the best shot scenes of Indian cinema!

Luck6

The first hour concentrates mostly on the background of all the characters. There was a possibility that the film would have turned boring at this point. However, the film has some interesting moments in this portion as well. The film takes a turn when the contestants reach South Africa. All the challenges given to them was well executed and keeps the viewers on the edge of the seat. The climax was brilliant and the surprise towards the finale was very interesting and witty!

However, unfortunately, the film has some glithces too, which could had been easily avoided by the screenwriters. The biggest goof was undoubtedly Ravi Kishan being released from the prison. What was funny and nonsensical was the reason behind his release-watch it and you’ll feel like hurling a shoe on the screen! Other glitches in the flm:
Tamang (Danny) in debt of Rs. 3 lakhs on one side and on the other, he is riding in an expensive SUV and daily spending 50 bucks on lottery!
-The real identity of Ayesha-the flashback didnt quite make sense
-The song ‘Aazma-Luck is the Key‘, sung by Shruti Haasan herself, missing from the film!

With so many brilliant performers, it becomes difficult to judge who was the best. Sanjay Dutt rocks with his brilliant performance! He has already an expert in essaying such ‘bhai’ roles and therefore, performs in Luck with ease. But one wont find him repetitive-everybody would love him for sure! Keep rocking Sanju Baba!

Luck4

Imran Khan is an actor to watch! He had already proved his worth in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na and also in Kidnap, he was brilliant. In case of Luck, he was impressive, especially in the beginning and in the climax where the focus was all on him. Debutant Shruti Haasan is here to stay. Along with good looks and great voice, she has the confidence and capability to carry off even the most challenging roles. She’s possibly winning Best Debut (Female) Award this time!

Chitrashi Rawat was a charmer! She had charmed everyone in Chak De! India (and also in Fashion) and now does it again in Luck too! Mithun Chakraborthy is natural as always. Danny Denzogpa turns out to be the scene stealer. He was completely in form and gives in an master performance! He’s also going to be seen next in Acid Factory, where he is expected to score another sixer. Danny’s back! Ravi Kishan gives a brilliant performance and does a perfect job.

Newcomer Snita Mahey is a perfect lookalike of Angelina Jolie! However, she hardly has anything to do in the film. Same goes for Rati Agnihotri. Others were good.

Salim-Sulaiman‘s music was catchy but could had been better. The best song was ‘Aazma‘. ‘Khudaya Ve’ is also a good composition.

Director Soham Shah hires the same crewman that he had for his debut venture, Kaal-cinematographer Santosh Thundiyil, composers Salim-Sulaiman, action director Allan Amin and sound designer Dwarak Warrier. None of them let Soham down and each of them excel in their departments. Santosh Thundiyil‘s cinematography was eye-catching. The talented lesnman’s last film was Krrish, 3 years back. I wonder where was he all these years! Dwarak Warrier‘s sound design was electrifying, especially in the initial scene. Allan Amin as expected did a fabulous job. The action scenes were no less than a Hollywood flick! Amar Mohile provided the background score, which hugely added to the thrill.

Soham Shah and Rensil D’Silva wrote the screenplay of the film. The screenplay was gripping at several places and helped in maintaining a steady flaw. But at times, the film also fell, thanks to the screenplay.

Finally, Soham Shah alone wrote the story and the directed the film. Overall, he did a great job. The film uses lots of effects and is loaded with style. And this at times took a toll on the proper execution of the film. But Soham surely has a long way to go!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. The first scene of the film
2. Ram taking up the ‘lighter’ challenge (brilliant scene!)
3. Shortcut and Ayesha’s entry
4. The first challenge
5. Raghav trying to strike a conversation with Ram and Major
6. The helicopter and underwater challenge sequence
7. The last 15 minutes

On the whole, Luck is a fabulous entertainer which works inspite of its flaws. It is made stylishly and has some thrilling and electrifying action sequences. If you are the kind who likes action dhamakas like Dhoom and Dhoom:2, Luck is for you! Go for it!

My rating-*** 1/2

This review first appeared first on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Luck-171841-1.html

Luck3

Sonam Kapoor to play the legendary Sahibaan of the Mirza-Sahibaan love story in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s next
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 04, 2009)

Sonam Kapoor

It was said about the legendary Sahibaan that when she stepped out into the gallis of Punjab, the nine angels that guard the spheres died on seeing her beauty.

And Sonam Kapoor, Bollywood’s IT girl, is all set to play the ethereal Sahibaan in an ambitious screen adaptation by filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

While there have been many screen adaptations in Hindi and Punjabi of legendary romances like Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu and Sohni-Mahiwal, so far no prominent film in Hindi is based on the Mirza-Sahibaan love story. And it’s probably because of the complicated nature of their relationship.

According to sources, the idea came to Rakeysh during the making of Delhi-6.

“Rakeysh would address Sonam as ‘Bittu’, the character she played in Delhi-6. Then suddenly one day he started calling Sonam ‘Sahibaan’. At first Sonam was baffled by this new name from Rakeysh who would pamper her to no end. But as the historical perspective and the literary antecedents of the character began to seep in, Sonam grew excited about the project and began to pester Rakeysh about the project,” said the source.

For the actress, who is at the moment busy playing the Delhi socialite’s version in Ayesha, which is based on Jane Austen’s Emma, this would be the first occasion to do a costume drama. The fact that Sonam had was dressed in elaborate costumes in her debut Saawariya gave Rakeysh the idea that his ‘Bittu’ could indeed be his ‘Sahibaan’.

It’s not yet known who will play Sahibaan’s lover, Mirza. But rumours have it that Abhishek Bachchan will play the role.

Confirming that Mirza-Sahibaan is indeed in the pipeline, Rakeysh Mehra said, “But, I still have to get down to writing it.”


About Mirza-Sahibaan

Rakeysh Mehra

Mirza and Sahibaan were cousins and childhood playmates who fell in love with each other. When Sahibaan was promised to another suitor, she sent a message to Mirza asking him to rescue her, which he did on her wedding day. After travelling for some time, the couple decided to rest for some time. However, when Sahibaan’s brothers learnt that the couple has eloped, they went in search for her. When Mirza was asleep, Sahiban feared that Mirza would kill her brothers. So she quietly took Mirza’s quiver and hung it on a branch, out of his reach.   When her brothers caught up with them, Sahibaan woke up Mirza who reached for his quiver. But before that one of her brothers’ arrows hit him. Before dying, Mirza looked accusingly at Sahibaan and said, “Bura kitoyee Sahibaan, mera turkish tangiya jand!” Which means: Sahibaan, you did a terrible thing by hanging the quiver away from my reach!

A sobbing Sahibaan threw herself over Mirza’s body to cover him from being injured further. She too died.


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