Fenil and Bollywood

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Rani Mukerji to work with filmmaker Deepa Mehta in the screen adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 04, 2010)

Last month, Rani Mukerji had a secret, productive and extremely encouraging meeting with author Salman Rushdie and director Deepa Mehta in Toronto. Rushdie and Mehta are coming together for a screen adaptation of the former’s celebrated Booker-winning novel Midnight’s Children. According to reliable sources, Rani met the author and the filmmaker for a good two hours and is now part of the screen adaptation. The buzz is Rushdie took a great fancy to her.

Rani Mukerji

Deepa is evasive about confirming Rani’s presence in Midnight’s Children. She says, “Yes, Salman Rushdie and I met her informally in Toronto, but nothing has been finalised.”

However, reliable sources insist Rani is part of the coveted project which already has Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas and Nandita Das in its cast.

Hinting at the possibility of working with Rani, Deepa says, “I don’t know about Rani’s current box-office status but I have always wanted to work with her. I saw her work in Hey Ram, Black, Bunty Aur Babli and Veer-Zaara and loved it. She is among the best talent in India today. Whether it is Preity Zinta (Heaven On Earth), Shabana Azmi (Fire) or Seema Biswas (Water), I have always enjoyed working with strong, female actors.”

Rani too is on the lookout for a challenge that will take her beyond the roles she has done in Hindi cinema so far. Interestingly, she has never worked with a female director in her entire career. She came close to working with Mira Nair in The Namesake. She lost the prized role to Tabu because she didn’t want to play Abhishek Bachchan’s mother. Later, Abhishek too opted out of the project.

Deepa Mehta Salman Rushdie

After closing the year with films such as PAA and 3 IDIOTS, the year 2010 sure looks bigger and brighter for Reliance BIG Pictures with a mixed bag of films ranging from mainstream and masala to regional and art house.

With maverick directors such as Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Basu, Shaji N Karun, Rituparno Ghosh and Buddhadeb Dasgupta bringing the best out of Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Mamootty, Boman Irani, Jishu Sengupta, Indraneil Sengupta, Kangana Ranaut amongst many others the Reliance BIG Pictures slate is sure to watch out for!

Have a sneak peek into Reliance BIG Pictures’ slate of films for the year 2010:

view KITES movie stills


A truly international film KITES tells the story of a young con-man who lives ‘life’ in Las Vegas, always ready to make fast money in any way possible, always looking for the big score. Directed by Anurag Basu and produced by Rakesh Roshan the film stars Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori, Kangana Ranaut and Kabir Bedi. It is shot in Mumbai, New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The film will have and Indian and international version which will release simultaneously. Brett Ratner, best known for the RUSH HOUR series, FAMILY MAN starring Nicholas Cage and X-MEN THE LAST STAND is currently at work on the English version of KITES and tailoring it to appeal it to an international audience.

view WELL DONE ABBA movie stills


WELL DONE ABBA is the story of Armaan Ali, a driver working in Mumbai. He takes leave for a month to find a husband for his teenage daughter, who lives in a small locality close to Hyderabad. Armaan Ali returns to work only after 3 months. His young employer wants to sack him but is persuaded to listen to the reason why Armaan got so delayed.

Directed by Shyam Benegal stars Boman Irani, Minissha Lamba, Sammir Dattani, Ila Arun, Sonali Kulkarni, Ravi Kishen, Rajit Kapur, Ravi Jhankal and Yashpal Sharma.


Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan come on screen together in Mani Ratnam’s RAAVAN – a modern day adaption of the epic Ramayan, being readied in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.


Directed by Vinay Shukla MIRCH revolves around the protagonist Maanav, a committed struggling filmmaker whose girlfriend Ruchi, a successful film editor, arranges for him to meet film producer Nitin, who is not very convinced about Maanav’s script. Maanav then suggests four stories on infidelity, woven together by a common story.

The film stars Konkana Sen Sharma, Raima Sen, Shahana Goswami, Shreyas Talpade, Rajpal Yadav, Boman Irani, Sushant Singh, Arunoday Singh and Prem Chopra with special appearances by Saurabh Shukla & Tisca Chopra.

view CHALOO MOVIE movie stills


The police raid a theatre where movie tickets of a very successful film are being sold in black. When Police Inspector Sher Khan interrogates Khoji, a man in his 20s, he claims that he is the director of the very film whose tickets he is selling in black. The cynical Sher Khan puts Khoji behind bars after which he receives two phone calls – one from the Police Commissioner and another from the dreaded don ‘WC’, both of whom support Khoji’s detention. A hilarious turn of events reveal who Khoji is, whether he is really the film’s director, why is he selling his film’s tickets in black and what do the Police Commissioner and don ‘WC’ want from Khoji.

Starring Rajpal Yadav, Shekhar Suman, Divya Dutta, Hrishta Bhatt and Sayali Bhagat, CHALOO MOVIE is directed by Vinod Pande.

Reliance BIG Pictures, the most committed motion picture company producing regional films in 8 Indian languages is working persistently towards taking them beyond the conventional Diaspora

The slate of films includes:

KUTTY SRANK: Shaji Karun’s Malayalam film KUTTY SRANK starring Mamooty, Kamilini Mukherjee, Padmapriya and Meenakumari brings out three distinct personalities of a dead boat-man from the perspective of three women each of whom claims to be his wife.


ABOHOMAAN: Rituparno Ghosh’s Bengali film ABOHOMAAN starring Dipankar De, Mamata Shankar, Ananya Chatterjee, Jishu Sengupta and Ria Sen brings to the screen a sensational relationship between a film-director, a young actress and a wife who swears to ruin her husband’s life and career and a son who gets caught in the cross-fire in this extravagant drama.

JANALA: Buddhabed Dasgupta’s Bengali film JANALA starring Tapas Paul, Swastika Mukherjee and Indraneil Sengupta is the journey of a solitary man against the wrath of circumstances when he decides to pursue his little impulsive dream.

IJJODU: by the maestro M S Sathyu is a film about a photo journalist who finds an interesting girl who has been exploited on the name of religion. He succeeds in breaking her blind belief but fails to accept her to give her an alternative life. This Kannada flick stars Meera Jasmine and Anirudh.


Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan had a closed door meeting on Sunday; discussed promoting Paa and 3 Idiots together

By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 17, 2009)

Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan’s yo-yoing rapport has again taken a good turn. On November 15, they had private meeting at Bachchan’s residence.

Sources revealed that Amitabh expressed a desire to meet Aamir, so Aamir went over to meet him.

Although, this recent meeting may have been a personal call; but the agenda was definitely professional. Those related to the two felt that it would be a good idea for Aamir to promote Paa and the Bachchans could do the same for 3 Idiots.

On his blog, Amitabh created a post stating that a meeting was scheduled with Aamir on Sunday. An insider said, “Aamir wished Amitabh all the best for Paa. Later, the status on Aamir’s blog said ‘Pucca Idiot will definitely see Paa’.”


Aamir Khan Amitabh Bachchan

The same source added, “The actual cross promotion plan may not work. The production team of 3 Idiots already has a blueprint of their promotion campaign in place. It may not be possible to alter it.”

Amitabh and Aamir have often had ups and downs, though in all fairness there have been more ups than downs. At one point Aamir was committed to doing a film for AB Corp as he has always held the senior actor in the highest regard. When Aamir released Taare Zameen Par in December 2007, Amitabh and he had a slight altercation over some candid remarks that Aamir made on Amitabh’s Black. The two superstars eventually made up. Bachchan later made it to the premiere of Aamir’s Jaane Tu Ya… Jaane Na in July 2008.

Although, the blogs say it all, Aamir and Amitabh refused to comment.

Cancer & TB Passé, Bollywood’s Top Films Are Betting On Rare Diseases

Meenakshi Sinha | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 18, 2009)

New Delhi: The destitute poet dying of cancer, the coughing mother suffering from tuberculosis — over the decades, Hindi films have often used diseases to create engrossing drama. Now, with changing times, a fresh bunch of ailments, disorders and conditions are afflicting the protagonists: dyslexia, dextrocardia, progeria, and short-term memory loss.

‘Pa’, a forthcoming Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan-starrer, deals with progeria, a condition where a person ages five to six times faster than the average individual. Director R Balakrishnan was toying with the idea of casting the father-son duo in a role reversal. “The film’s story fructified when a doctor gave me the details of the condition,” he says.

The recent shift in the nature of diseases of protagonists partly stems from the fact that tuberculosis is no longer life threatening. Cancer remains a major killer but timely discovery offers a possibility of cure. The new ailments provide a certain topicality and give the story a modern feel.

Characters with special ailments gathered focus when Hrithik Roshan played a “developmentally disabled” youth in ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (2003). A slew of films highlighting such conditions have followed since: Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition where a person has difficulty in reading and writing. Also, Amitabh Bachchan and Kajol brought Alzheimer’s disease in to the limelight in ‘Black’ (2005) and ‘U, Me Aur Hum’ (2008) respectively. Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, turns its attention to autism. Aamir Khan suffers from short-term memory loss in the action blockbuster, ‘Ghajini’. The disease plays an important part in the movie’s plot. More recently in ‘Luck’ (2009), Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a rare medical condition of a person born with his heart on the right.

Irregular ailments have always been an integral part of Hindi films. Mental sickness formed a vital part in movies such as ‘Raat Aur Din’ (1967, where the heroine had multiple personality disorder, and ‘Arth’ (1982), where the heroine was schizophrenic.

Film trade expert Taran Adarsh says earlier films seldom discussed diseases in detail. “But now, with growing awareness, scripts often explains the ailments or mental conditions in detail. The audience also accepts reality more easily today. Hence you have films like ‘Pa’ and ‘My Name is Khan’,” says Adarsh. But, as Amol Gupte, who wrote the story and screenplay of TZP, points out, barely 2% of Hindi cinema looks at special medical conditions.

Changing Script
->Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ created huge awareness about dyslexia, a condition in which a person has difficulty in reading and writing

->Amitabh-Abhishek starrer ‘Pa’ deals with progeria in which where a person ages 5-6 times faster than normal

->Karan Johar’s forthcoming film, ‘My Name is Khan’, starring Shah Rukh Khan, turns its attention to autism
->In ‘Luck’, Imran Khan had dextrocardia, a medical condition in which a person is born with the heart on the right
->The trend started with Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Koi Mil Gaya’

Forty actors will pay homage to Amitabh Bachchan tonight on the eve of his 67th birthday, by dressing up as popular characters from his films

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 10, 2009)

Hours before Amitabh Bachchan brings in his 67th birthday tomorrow, producers of forthcoming film Rann, Sheetal Talwar and Madhu Mantena, have invited Bachchan to a suburban theatre at 7 pm tonight for a promotional event. However, in reality, the event is being held to celebrate his four decades in the film industry. Forty of his fans, who are also actors, will be dressed as Bachchan’s most memorable characters and mouth his dialogue from the film.

Giving out details of the homage, co-producer Talwar says, “Mr Bachchan’s 40-year-old journey in Hindi cinema is exceptional in every sense. He started his career with Saat Hindustani in 1969 and that’s where our staged homage begins.”

Amitabh Bachchan

Bachchan characters from landmark films like Zanjeer, Sholay, Deewaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Black, etc are also a part of the homage, which will conclude with Bachchan’s character from Sarkar.

Getting 40 actors, who were also Bachchan fans for the homage, was a cakewalk. Talwar says, “It wasn’t difficult at all. All we did is spread the word about us planning a clones’ tribute to the superstar for his birthday. We were flooded with requests from dozens of artistes who wanted to play the characters in front of Mr Bachchan. We sifted through the legion of applicants to shortlist the ones who fitted the bill.”

The homage is meant to be a surprise for Bachchan. “Mr Bachchan thinks we’re inviting him to an event related to Rann. He doesn’t know about the homage yet,” chuckles Sheetal.

We do hope Mr Bachchan isn’t reading this!