Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Bharati Dubey

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

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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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BHARATI DUBEY Times News Network (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 2, 2010)

New Delhi: Three Idiots may be creating box-office history. But all’s certainly not well between Chetan Bhagat, the author of the book Five Point Someone from which the movie has been adapted, and its hero Aamir Khan, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani.
An ‘idiotic’ controversy has broken out over accusations of credit poaching. The film credits the story to Abhijat Joshi and Hirani. Bhagat’s name appears at the film’s end.
Bhagat is miffed that the film does not give him due credit, but Khan claims that Bhagat is trying to take away credit from Joshi, the film’s scriptwriter. Agencies have quoted the actor as saying that he has advised Chopra and Hirani to file a case against Bhagat as he has defamed them with “false’’ allegations.
Reacting to this, Bhagat told a news agency, “For the past two years, I have trusted Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Aamir blindly and this is what I get in return. Now I am being threatened with legal action, but I am ready for it.’’
Chopra too jumped into the fray on Friday. When the controversy was brought up by journalists at a press meet in Noida, he thundered, “Have you read the book? I have read the book, so shut up!’’ He also charged Bhagat with trying to gain publicity for his book.
But Bhagat was quick to retort that he didn’t need this kind of fame and he couldn’t help it if millions of people who had read his Five Point Someone had spotted the issue.
The row erupted on Thursday, when Bhagat blogged, “Pre-release, the makers made press statements like the movie is only ‘very loosely’, ‘2%-5% inspired by the book’. After the release, those who have read the book and seen the movie (and frankly, I think those are the only people who have the right to comment) find the film to be an adaptation of Five Point Someone.’’

‘3 Idiots’ not an original story: Author Bhagat
New Delhi: Irked at the makers of ‘3 Idiots’ not giving him due credit, Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone on which the film is based, has blogged, “The setting, characters, plotline, dramatic twists and turns, one-liners, theme, message—almost all aspects that make up the story are from FPS. Yes, there are some changes, any adaptation requires that—but it is no way an original story. Leading movie critics have admitted to me that the film is 70% the book. Still, don’t take my word for it—go read the book, watch the film.’’
But Aamir Khan’s thoughts are different. At a press meet on Thursday, he said, “It is unfortunate that Chetan is behaving in this manner.’’ The actor said scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and director Rajkumar Hirani had “abided by the contract’’ entered into with Bhagat and the author had been given due credit as per the contract. “For three years, Joshi has been working on the script. It is unfortunate that Chetan is trying to take away the credit from someone not as famous as he is,’’ Aamir said. He also mentioned how Bhagat had dropped in on the sets of ‘3 Idiots’ one day. “During the course of the conversation, I told him that I was still to read FPS and I intended doing it sometime soon. Chetan then told me that Abhijat’s script is different and I need not necessarily read the book,’’ he said. In his blog, Bhagat has also said that “crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that ‘3 Idiots’ is not based on FPS. Bhagat added, “I wanted to see the final script—it was never shown to me. I wanted to see the film before release—it was not shown to me.” TNN
Ghaziabad theatre in dock for pirated DVDs
Reliance Big Pictures filed a police complaint against Galaxy Cinema suspecting it of helping in making pirated DVDs of the film 3 Idiots in Ghaziabad on Thursday. “The pirated DVDs of the film were available in the market from December 24 and it was from those prints that we got hold of the cap code marking which matched with this cinema hall. We then lodged an FIR against the hall,’’ Ghaziabad station road SHO Rashid Ali told TOI. It is learnt that the DVDs of the film were found in Delhi and UP which was tracked by Reliance. Kamal Gianchandani, COO (distribution) of Reliance Big Pictures, clarified, “The sleeves of the DVDs were available in the market but some of them did not have DVDs of the movie inside. Our enforcement team with the local authorities spoke to the local pirates and asked them not to sell the DVD for the first three weeks and also the MSOs asking them not to screen it for the first three weeks. Most of them honoured the commitment.’’ Nearly 2,000 DVDs were confiscated in raids conducted in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, and Sirsa in Haryana.

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; November 30, 2009)

Mumbai: If it was a fight between the Khans before the release of Ghajini and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, it seems that there is now going to be peace before the release of 3 Idiots and My Name is Khan. Aamir Khan has taken the first step towards burying the hatchet with Shah Rukh Khan.

The actor apologised to Shah Rukh and his family on a talk show on Saturday night. When he was told that Shah Rukh’s children, who were his fans, were upset with him because of his blog, Aamir said, “I really respect Shah Rukh, especially because he is a family man. He takes care of his family. If I have hurt their sentiments, I offer my unconditional apology to Shah Rukh and his family.’’

Aamir denied that he called Shah Rukh the number 2 star. “I had said I consider Sachin Tendulkar as the numero uno, but he does not say that himself.’’

On the remark about calling his dog SRK, Aamir said it was said as a joke. He no longer calls the dog Shah Rukh, but calls him Shaaki.


VALLEY OF HOPE: A still from Zero Bridge, in which Tariq Tapa cast ordinary Kashmiris
Does Zero Bridge, the first Kashmiri film to be made in 39 years, hold out hope for a revival of the arts in the troubled valley?

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; November 15, 2009)

Kashmir, the breathtaking beauty of which has served as a backdrop for innumerable Bollywood romances, never really spawned a thriving film industry of its own: the last Kashmiri film, made in 1969, was Mehanzraat, starring Kashmiri actor Omar Ama. But now, after the long silence, comes Zero Bridge, a film by a Kashmiri NRI from New York, Tariq Tapa.

Twenty-four-year-old Tariq, born to a Kashmiri father and Jewish mother, landed in Srinagar with zero finance and a shooting kit packed into just one suitcase. “I decided to make a film in Kashmir because I found that no outside voice accurately captured the daily life of the average Kashmiri,’’ he says when asked what compelled him to come so far away
to make a film. “I thought a movie introducing the lives of a few Kashmiri citizens and their daily hopes and fears would reveal them more intimately than the usual western documentaries on the Kashmir situation or Bollywood films which only use it as an exotic backdrop. I want my film to make a statement and hope it starts a debate on Kashmir.’’

Tariq was a one-man unit and had to use a news channel’s permission to shoot his film in Srinagar. He mobilised ordinary Kashmiris to be part of Zero Bridge, including collegians who came for the audition. “There is so much talent here,’’ he says. “People want to be part of cinema but there is simply no encouragement from the state. Most of the cinema halls in Kashmir are now army bunkers.’’

Indeed, most aspiring artistes from Kashmir have had to leave their home state to fulfil their creative urges elsewhere, and despair of the arts ever flourishing in their home state. Dr Amit Wanchoo, a Kashmiri Pandit, faced a lot of resistance when he started his rock band, Immersion, in 1999. “From the kind of crowd our shows pull in, it’s obvious that Kashmir is an entertainment-hungry state, but there is certainly no political will to promote art, cinema and music in the state,’’ he says. “They don’t even provide security for shows. One has to perform at one’s own risk.’’

Film-maker Ashok Pandit, who made a Hindi film on Kashmir, points out that given the complete lack of infrastructure, it is impossible for Kashmiri cinema to grow. “There is no cinema, television is banned and no funds are made available to those interested in film-making,’’ he says. Pandit has been trying very hard to push the state government to encourage at least television serials but finds it extremely reluctant.

The climate of fear is also a factor a factor to reckon with. A source from Jammu & Kashmir tourism reveals that of the eight cinema halls in Srinagar, four have been converted into army bunkers. The remaining ones are perpetually guarded by the army but audiences are nervous about walking into them because of the constant attacks by militant groups who are anti-cinema to boot. “Given this fear and the general deprivation, the locals are more concerned about making ends meet rather than expressing their creative instincts,’’ says Pandit.

Bollywood has been filling up the state’s exchequer in the past, but more and more separatist groups are against Hindi film-makers shooting in Kashmir. Last year, Rahul Dholakia commenced his film Lamha, allegedly based on the lives of Muslim separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Shahidul Islam, a former insurgent commander, and Dukhtaran-e-Millat leader Asiya Andrabi, the Kashmiri women’s morality brigade so committed to Kashmiri separatism that her sons are already pledged as martyrs to the cause. The shooting in the Valley ran into rough weather when Andrabi took offence to Bipasha Basu playing her character and Geelani, Islam and others became wary.

Says Anil Raina, a Kashmiri journalist who introduced Dholakia to the separatists, “They conveyed to Dholakia that they were against the film. They were afraid that his realistic style of film-making would portray them negatively and it would go against their efforts. I had to intervene and convince them otherwise. At my behest, Dholakia changed many characters in the film. As I played a central part in getting the film on track, I didn’t want anything to go against us. After all, I have to live here with my mother and don’t wish to be slaughtered at the hands of the separatists.’’

KurbaanBharati Dubey & Ambarish Mishra | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; November 15, 2009)


Mumbai: Another Karan Johar release is facing the music, this time from the Shiv Sena. The party has objected to the bare-backed posters of Kareena Kapoor from the film, Kurbaan.


More than 100 Shiv Sainiks took to the streets and tore down posters of the film in Juhu, Marol and other parts of Andheri on Friday. A month ago, the MNS had objected to the use of the Mumbai’s old name, Bombay, in Johar’s Wake Up Sid; he had to bend over backwards to the chauvinists and the film had to be screened with a disclaimer.


Friday’s protests were led by Sena activists Jitendra Janawale in Juhu and Subhash Kanta Sawant in Marol. Sawant said: “We objected to the posters as they showed the actress semi-nude and we found to be in very bad taste. It violates our Indian culture.’’ The Sainiks also put a sari around Kareena in some of the posters.


A group of Sainiks even headed for Kareena’s residence and wanted to present a sari to her. But an officer said: “We deployed our people near the actress’s house but nothing untoward happened.’’ Kareena was said to have gone out for a shoot.


Additional commissioner of police (West) Amitabh Gupta said the Khar police station had been asked to register a case against the offenders.


An industry insider said political parties were picking on soft targets to get some mileage and the MNS’s impressive showing in the recent Assembly polls was “forcing’’ the Sena to look for rabblerousing issues. “The film industry has always been a soft target as the government does not take action against political parties,’’ the insider said.


“The government took a proactive decision in only one case, providing Anurag Kashyap with security; but that was because they knew that the director would never apologise to the MNS,’’ another source said. Kashyap, reacting to a question from a news channel about DevD being vulgar, said Raj Thackeray’s words were much more vulgar than his films.

CROSSOVER CINEMA Bollywood films do business of crores in Pakistan
The Pakistani film industry, crippled by the flood of Hindi film releases, is agitating for new regulations

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; November 1, 2009)

This year, the Pakistani film industry produced only nine films. The reasons for this dwindle are many but most fingers point to one culprit who, they claim, has killed their industry: Bollywood.


In the recent past, almost every film released in India has simultaneously been released in Pakistan and done business of about Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore. Salman Khan starrer Wanted, reported to be a mega hit in Pak metros, has earned about Rs 5 crore till now; Wake Up Sid grossed Rs 1.5 crore; New York made Rs 3 crore while Love Aaj Kal earned Rs 2.5 crore. Most cinema halls in Pakistan are found playing only Indian movies, leading to a paucity of venues for local films: a source from the Pak film industry points out that there are four Pakistani films ready for release but no cinema halls available to screen them.

But while this swamping has angered many members of the Pakistani film and television industry, there are some who feel it is unfair to point a finger at Bollywood alone. Says Jahanzaib Baig, chairman of the Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association, “Local films, which, at 15 to 20 per year, were already in scarce supply, have dropped to around nine. But it’s not only because of Bollywood—the real issue is the lack of infrastructure and skilled workforce in the Pakistani film industry as also the government’s unwillingness to offer a concrete support policy. Unless quality films are produced in the country, you can’t expect the local populace to root for them.’’

Indeed, Baig believes Bollywood has given a boost to the exhibition business in Pakistan. “Indian films have renewed the Pakistani public’s dwindling interest in going to cinema halls, and because of this some new cinemas have been built,’’ he says. “These releases have ensured at least some business for cinema houses which were at the mercy of the local low-quality productions.’’

A source from the Pakistani film industry supports the pragmatism. “When a producer or distributor can buy a Salman or Shah Rukh starrer for about Rs 70 lakh to a crore, why would he want to invest Rs 2 crore in making a Pakistani film which may not have any takers?’’ he says. Adds
producer-distributor Shakeel Akhtar, “Most Bollywood films are bought for between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore and go on to do business of crores, which is good enough for Pakistani distributors who cannot even collect a few lakhs from a Pakistani film.’’

However, fear of complete destruction of the industry has angered some film and television professionals in Pakistan who are now opposing the release of Bollywood films and growing Bollywood content on television channels. “There is a lot of pressure to restrict the number of Bollywood releases in Pakistan, as it affecting the film industry,’’ says Satish Anand who distributed Wake Up Sid and Main Aurr Mrs Khanna in Pakistan. “There will be a new regulation by November, after which not all Bollywood films will get a chance to be released in Pakistan.’’

So Bollywood, which has been getting some additional revenue ranging from a few lakhs to crores, may have to write off the territory very soon. Says trade analyst Amod Mehra, “Pakistan was an additional overseas territory for Bollywood, and though not very big did bring in some money.’’ As for the restrictions, he believes they were bound to happen. “The Pakistani film industry is dying, and Bollywood films had become the last nail in their coffin. This opposition is only to save their industry.’’

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