Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘bunty aur babli

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

In a rare display of guru-shishya bonding, Shaad Ali devotes himself to Mani Ratnam’s film; he is efficient assistant, nursemaid and mediator on the sets

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 24, 2009)

In Mani Ratnam’s Raavana, Govinda plays Hanuman, while Vikram, the star from the south, plays Ram. Off camera, a heart-warming relationship between the guru and shishya is playing out on the sets. Even the crew equates Shaad to the devoted Hanuman, while his reverence for Mani Ratnam has put the latter on a pedestal as Ram.

Mani could not have wished for a better assistant than Shaad Ali. After directing films like Saathiya, Bunty aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Shaad should ideally be concentrating on getting his next (with Yash Raj Films) off the ground. Instead, he prioritised his mentor Mani Ratnam’s film and rushed to the south to assist him.

Shaad’s involvement goes deeper than the professional commitment. He also plays Mani’s nursemaid and right-hand man. He ferociously guards the senior director from potential problems, tends to his dietary needs and keeps a paternal eye on his guru’s health.

Shaad Ali

Mani Ratnam

When Mani was hospitalised for his heart problem, Shaad was at his bedside constantly. He played a significant role in nursing the senior director back to health. His dogged devotion extends to monitoring Mani’s meals to keep the unhealthy stuff at bay. He fusses over his dietary dos and don’ts and nothing can get past his watchful eye, as he inspects the dabbas daily.

Shaad is up at the crack of dawn for a 6am shoot. At 5am, he makes sure that everything is in order and flawless to give his guru minimum reason to stress when he arrives at 5.45am. Even on the sets, everything is chalked out, so Mani doesn’t have to exert himself physically.

The assistant is also the good cop to Mani’s bad cop. Mani has the reputation of being quite the taskmaster, and the stars dare not voice their objections to the tough orders. Shaad plays the mediator and irons out any disputes brewing on the sets, often leading the problems to amicable solutions.

Even though stars return to Mumbai at the end of schedules, Shaad stays put by his guru’s side and intends to park himself there through post-production and till the film releases. As far as his YRF film is concerned, it was supposed to take off early next year. Mani’s health has delayed that project. An unperturbed Shaad has informed Aditya Chopra to push back the plans as well. Shaad’s new film has three heroes and three heroines, newcomers in all probability. He will not move on to his ambitious project with YRF, until his guru’s film releases in cinemas.

Shaad Ali has given new meaning to the phrase, ‘Work is worship.’

The actress’s hopes of a comeback with Dil Bole… are dashed. Her arrogance and insistence on exclusively working for YRF has only made it worse for her. Subhash K Jha analyses Rani’s fall from grace
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 23, 2009)

Though she may not show it, she is a brilliant performer after all, but Rani Mukerji is at the moment the industry’s most disappointed and heart-broken actor.

Rani saw Dil Bole Hadippa! as a comeback vehicle, thinking that cricket bats and bikini tops are a potent blend. Too bad they blended to create a nightmare. Yash Raj Films even had the gall to take this abominable piece of cinema to the Toronto Film Festival this month.

“What were they thinking?,” a reputed filmmaker and Rani’s friend wondered after watching Dil Bole Hadippa! “The basic premise is lifted from the Amanda Bynes 2006 film, She’s The Man. They’ve replaced soccer with some aimless cricket. And Rani? Same expressions, same laughter… She even cries in exactly the same way as she did in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. By the way, is she an exclusive YRF heroine now?”

Rani Mukerji

But even if we let Toronto be, closer home, signs of Rani’s downfall were present for all to see since a long time. Gradually and almost systematically, Rani isolated herself completely from the film industry. Today, she is a far cry from the Ms Congeniality she used to be in her Bunty aur Babli days with Abhishek Bachchan. She used to be everyone’s favourite but that only led to trying to please everybody and Rani is now neither here, nor there. She found refuge in one banner, which the industry is now referring to as her home banner.

Whether Rani is dating Aditya Chopra or not is irrelevant at the moment. Even to her closest friends, Rani has been denying wedding rumours since the last two years. However, the not-so-hushed talks about vexing her co-stars, particularly females, are too frequent and alarming to be dismissed as mere back-biting. The complaints began when she was working on Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Co-stars talk about how she refused to take instructions even from the veteran director Pradeep Sarkar. “Rani would look bored while Pradeepda would explain the scenes to her. Obviously, she thought she knew it all. That’s a sure-shot sign for any artiste’s downfall,” said an actress.

The growing observations about Rani’s know-it-all attitude were corroborated by another filmmaker who made a fiasco-fantasy with her. “She just wouldn’t listen. When I’d be explaining a scene, she’d look away or look distracted as if I was boring her with my instructions,” said the filmmaker.

Rani’s smug attitude has reached the pinnacle of absurdity with Dil Bole Hadippa!, where the absence of a director is palpable. A senior character actor who has worked with Rani has often said, “A few years ago when we were shooting, a small-time theatre actor was supposed to tease her on  the  streets as a part of a scene. And guess what. Rani screamed at the actor for doing his job too well.”

Within the precincts of YRF, Rani is secretly called Maalkin or Madam. Outside the banner, Rani is totally seen as a YRF heroine. Even directors like Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who have collaborated with her with rewarding results, have no intention of working with her again. For the lack of a choice a newcomer Anuraag Singh was assigned the task of directing Rani in her self-indulgent trip to aborted glory.

Rani poured her heart and soul into Hadippa and remained confident it would be a historic hit whenever it was released.

But history is not made consciously. It just happens. So do Waterloos.

A high-profile director who has fallen out with Rani said, “It’s a pity but YRF’s downward streak coincided with her apparently exclusive association with the banner. They are remaking their own films, whereas Rani needs directors who bring out the new facets in her. And Yash Raj is certainly not doing that. Rani had once said, ‘Why should I look for quality work outside Yash Raj when I’m getting the best roles of my career with them? Am I mad?’”

After Dil Bole Hadippa! the argument, say cynics, will be clean-bowled. For all practical purposes, Rani is now caught in a full-blown mid-career crisis. In the entertainment industry, equations change every Friday. Younger faces have taken over. Today Rani may have her buddies from the industry who meet her like they used to, but no one is in a particular rush to sign her, even if she now decides to look for work outside YRF’s comfort zone.

MOVE IT, BABY! Preity Zinta doing the thumka; (below) Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan in a still from their film.
No, that’s Preity Zinta’s ‘item’ number for Salman Khan


SHARIN WADER BUTANI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; September 7, 2009)


You would be forgiven for thinking Preity Zinta’s doing a Kajre Re in this song for Salman Khan’s home production
Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Far from it, and the perky Preity doesn’t want any comparisons or confusion with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who shook her hips for father and son Bachchan in the 2005 hit Bunty Aur Babli.

Turns out Salman’s her buddy, and this is not an item song she’s doing for him, but a special number in the film co-starring Kareena Kapoor and Sohail Khan. “It’s an interesting cameo. The song’s called Happening and I agreed to do it because director Prem Soni is a friend. And since Salman has played Prem so often, let’s just say this one is for Prem,” the bubby actress said.
kajrare
Prem (the director, not Salman) added, “Unlike Ash, who was just a part of Kajra Re, Preity plays an important role in the film.” Incidentally… ahem, Preity look’s kinda ‘happening’ because she worked out hard for the song. With two super fit actors in the film in Salman and Kareena, Preity forced herself to follow a special diet, take up a tough exercise regime and do yoga.
sharin.wader@timesgroup.com
Why are Yash Raj Films recycling old scripts? Has inspiration dried up or are they overly fascinated with their own creations
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 27, 2009)
What’s with Yash Raj Films making endless unofficial remakes of its own films? While one segment of Bachna Ae Haseeno (featuring Minissha Lamba) was clearly inspired by Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Aditya Chopra’s latest directorial venture Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi had its seeds in its earlier production Aaja Nachle (directed by cinematographer Anil Mehta) where Sushmita Mukherjee craved for adventure and excitement while being married to a staid working class nerd (Vinay Pathak). Rab Ne… had Anushka craving for excitement while being married to Suriji.

Also, in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi the wife couldn’t recognise her husband once he transformed his personality. The same premise is now being applied to YRF’s forthcoming film, Dil Bole Hadippa where Rani Mukerji disguises herself as a man to  play cricket in her smalltown team in Punjab but just as easily again becomes a  woman without anyone around her being wiser.

And if  you think that’s all there’s to Yash Raj’s penchant for  constant re-invention then get a  load of this.

Actor-turned-director Parmeet Sethi’s  directorial untitled  debut for YRF featuring Shahid Kapur and Anushka Sharma is  a  con caper  in the tradition  of  Steven Spielberg’s Catch  Me If You Can. The theme of two ‘lovable’ con artistes on the run has already been done by  YRF in  Shaad Ali’s Bunty Aur Babli.

What’s with Yash Raj’s paucity of  ideas? Are they so short of screenplays?

A source said, “The similarities that you’ve pointed out are definitely there. Maybe it’s because new exciting screenplays are hard to come by. Aren’t all big production companies doing variations on established films?”

About  two years ago Yash Chopra had complained about the acute scarcity  of  good writers.

Explaining his long absence from direction before Veer-Zara, he had said, “I’d love to direct more films. But I can’t find the suitable writers. I’m willing to open my doors for anybody who offers me a good script.”

Maybe variations on themes, already tried by Yash Raj, is their solution to the scarcity of good screenplays.