Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘chennai

Aamir Khan, who at 44 plays a 22-year-old collegian, says in his mind he is stuck at 18!

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 22, 2009)

Aamir Khan, as you know, has gone into hiding to promote his new film that releases this Friday. In disguise, to people’s surprise, he has popped up in different parts of the country over the past week: at Varanasi, as a Banarasi babu; outside Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata as a cricket fan; in an Ahmedabad school, defying Narendra Modi’s fatwa; at the Chanderi village in Madhya Pradesh; then a Punjabi wedding in Faridkot; and, yesterday in Chennai. How this is helping the film, I don’t know; but I’m sure Aamir does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to Mumbai as Santa Claus on Christmas Day. He is hoping the festival will prove as successful for him as it did last year when he released Ghajini, and in 2007 — for Taare Zameen Par. Just before he went underground, Aamir told me over a quiet cup of tea at his Pali Hill home: “Christmas is a coincidence, but I’m hoping it will be third time lucky. I also believe for a film made well, any time is a good time to release it, otherwise no matter how you plan it…”
He has no doubts that this film has been made well. It’s been produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and directed by Raju Hirani. And, acting opposite him for the first time in his 20-year-career is Kareena Kapoor. Of his gorgeous co-star, Aamir said enthusiastically, “She’s outstanding, a great and
instinctive actress, extremely committed, a team player, we get along well, and she’s good looking… what more to ask for?” I agreed. The vibe between the two actors is exciting, and they look good together, the age difference between them notwithstanding. In the film, he plays a 22-year-old collegian. “That,” he told me, “was the biggest challenge for me as an actor at 44. I’m asked often if I feel my age. No, I really don’t. All of us are stuck in our heads at a particular age. And that age depends on your personality. I’m stuck at 18. And, I’ll be 18 till I die!”
He got into this film straight from Ghajini. Which meant, he had to shed that eight-pack streetfighter’s body painstakingly built up over 13 months for one raw scene of action. “It was heartbreaking,” Aamir revealed. “I didn’t want to lose it. But I had to look boyish. I had to stop training, get onto a careful and strict diet, and I began playing badminton… for three-four hours. Catch a 44-year-old doing that!” But he did it, because this is the same Aamir Khan who has always used his body as a tool in his films. “The way I look is important,” he admitted, “but for any character, it begins with how you feel in your head. What makes the character tick? You get into the mind of the character. From that flows how the body will look. My character in the new film is a free-spirited kind of guy, unusual in his thinking, and with a childlike curiosity about life and things around him.” He really didn’t want to play this role. “Get someone who’s 22,” Aamir advised Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra when they approached him. They told Aamir, “In real life, you are the character of this film, you don’t follow the path, you’re non-conformist, you do what your heart tells you. As for looking young – if you could build yourself up to look huge in Ghajini, now work on becoming small. Go for it.” And Aamir did. He said of Raju, “His big strength is that his films are not only entertaining, but also enriching. Like Munnabhai! You go home taking something valuable from the film.” And as for Vinod, who is rumoured in Bollywood to be arrogant and bold, Aamir said, “He is how he is, but he understands his director and creative team and supports them, and he has a passion for cinema. Being a director himself, Vinod is creative and he gives his films a great release. I look for that quality in a producer… whether he is able to give the film a good platform after I’ve worked so hard on it.” That Aamir Khan always does, whether he’s making the film for himself or some other producer. And he enjoys making one film at a time, which he will release on Christmas Day! “I could do more, in my lifetime I could do 500 films, but when I’m doing a film all my energies are into it. At that point, I don’t enjoy taking on anything else. I enjoy the space I am in. I’m not a factory or a huge production system. I’m… kya bolta hai… a handloom product. A one-machine-one person-one shirt kind of actor. I’m not a largescale outfit producing a million shirts. Numbers don’t excite me and are not my strength. I enjoy marketing a film. But towards the audience. My connect is with the audience. I enjoy dealing with the audience, not with exhibitors, distributors.” And that is what he is probably doing somewhere in the country right now, maybe in disguise! (Contributed by Meena Iyer, Aakansha Naval Shete)

By Subhash K. Jha, December 17, 2009 – 12:26 IST

Sameera Reddy What would’ve been a routine birthday bash for Sameera Reddy on Sunday night turned out to be a very special occasion when Priyadarshan, who has just given the actress her first hit since Race in De Dana Dan, turned around and said, “You’re in my next film.”

Sameera who has become very close to Priyan and his wife Lizzie and in fact spends all her free time during her frequent visits to Chennai in their house is still reeling in pleasure. “I couldn’t have got a better birthday gift. Firstly it turned out to be Priyan and Lizzie’s marriage anniversary. So we had my birthday and their anniversary party at Shristi Behl’s residence. All three of us Lizzie, Priyan and I cut a cake.”

The icing on the cake was Priyan’s impulsive offer. “I don’t need to ask him what it is or in which film. I trust him completely. He gave me a role in De Dana Dan that did justice to my presence. This, at a time when I was desperately trying to shed my sexy image.”

Not many people know this but Sameera has a secret special appearance in the Bihar based film that Priyan is shooting with Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna and Bipasha Basu.

“How do you know about this?” Sameera demands to know. “So that makes it three films with Priyan. I’m really lucky to have Priyan and his wife as friends. Now when I go to Chennai is like a second home to me thanks to the work that I do. In fact my latest Tamil hit was mixed in Priyan’s studio in Chennai, so the bond thickens.”

Her prestigious film Nagesh Kukunoor’s Yeh Husla remains stuck.

Says Sameera softly, “That’s because the producers Percept have bungled. They’re in a real financial mess. They owe almost everyone associated with them quite a lot of money.”

Sameera herself remains solitary in Mumbai. “My sister Meghna is now married to a Greek and settled on the most exotic Greek island. My brother-in-law spoils me silly. They both love me because I convinced our conservative dad about the unlikely marital alliance.”

Especially after her sister’s marriage Sameera really misses a man in her life. “It gets really lonely. And I know I’m looking my best these days. Thanks to yoga, I’ve lost oodles of flesh. But what’s the point of looking good when you’ve no one to admire you?”

Age may be just a number. But in Bollywood, Sameera knows her time is numbered. “At the party at Shristi Behl’s, I just kept staring at Twinkle Khanna. She was glowing. She just keeps getting better with the years. I hope I look as radiant when I reach that age.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Shekhar’s Paani is ready to roll in Spain

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 16, 2009)


Shekhar Kapoor flew into Chennai earlier this month to record his first song for Paani, officially flagging off his first feature film undertaking since the sequel to Elizabeth two years ago.

Says Shekhar, “Paani is now completely on. We start shooting in April 2010. We’re at a pre-visualisation stage. And I needed Rahman’s song for that. Since it is located in a futuristic city, I’ve artistes in Los Angeles, Singapore and India creating my city.”

While the film is set in futuristic Mumbai, Shekhar plans to shoot in Spain. “I’ve had a big offer from Spain to shoot the film in their country. They too are fascinated by the water theme. It’s a massive project. Otherwise it wouldn’t interest me.”

The film will star newcomers in the lead. Says Shekhar, “The girl has to be a 17-year old French-Canadian who lives in the Upper City (the posh area) of  Mumbai. And the young Indian boy is a desi Leonardo DiCaprio who’s a water revolutionary.”

The film is a forbidden love story. “The girl’s father is the global head of a water company. We need another girl, a smouldering entertainer like Shakira, who’s a big star in the Upper and the Lower City. Then there’s an Oracle called Amma.”

Shekhar will cast the hero from India while the girl will be cast internationally. He swears he hasn’t decided a single member of the vast cast as yet. “You know I had planned whole schedules of Elizabeth and I hadn’t found the actress to play the lead. And since Elizabeth wasn’t cast, no one else was. The studios were getting frantic with worry. We tested a hundred actresses. I wasn’t the least worried. I knew I’d find my Elizabeth. I saw two shots of Cate Blanchett in a film no one had seen and I decided on her. The most difficult actor to cast was Richard Attenborough. Likewise I’m not worried about Paani.”

The spoken language of Paani would be English. But there will be a dubbed Hindi version. “Even the characters of the Lower City would be speaking English. Slumdog Millionaire has proved that language is no barrier. Even though all the Indians spoke English, the language didn’t come in the way of credible self-expression. I will have a dubbed Hindi version too.”

Paani will be readied in time for the Venice Film Festival in 2011.

Katrina Kaif fights loneliness pangs by asking her mother to stay with her in Mumbai

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 03, 2009)


After a spate of hits, Katrina Kaif may be riding high on her career front but that is in no way a compensation for leading a lonely life without family in Mumbai. Considering that the Mumbai film industry can get awfully cold for an out-of-town girl and the constant work-related travel in recent times, Katrina had begun to feel the absence of a strong support system in Mumbai.

Living alone also took its toll on her health when last month the actress was diagnosed with jaundice and a low hemoglobin count.

A close friend of the actress said, “To be  alone in Mumbai where no one asks about your health seriously and neighbours don’t even know your name, is bad enough. But for a celebrity like Katrina it’s even worse. People around her presumed she wanted to be left alone when in fact she needed comfort and company during her illness.”

That’s when Katrina made up her mind to call her mother Suzanne Turquotte to Mumbai to be with her. “It wasn’t an overnight decision. She didn’t want to pull her mother away from her social work in Chennai, but being alone was getting to Katrina. Being successful is fine but unlike other actresses her age, she had no one to return home to,” added the friend.

Earlier this week, Katrina’s mom joined the actress in Mumbai. The change in her mood, attitude and lifestyle was almost immediate. She’s now eating well and runs off to work every morning knowing someone is waiting for her back home. “Yeah, my mom is with me,” said Katrina happily from the Mumbai airport yesterday morning before she headed to Dubai for a brief appearance at a live performance. “If I feel strong enough to make this trip, it’s because my mother is at home. I know I have her to go back to. I admit it can get terribly lonely in Mumbai.”

Just when movie enthusiasts across the globe are eagerly awaiting the release of James Cameron’s magnum opus ‘Avatar’ on Dec 18, multiplexes across India are gearing up to encash on the extraordinary buzz around its release.

Made with a fusion camera developed by Cameron himself, ‘Avatar’ is expected to revolutionize the film-watching experience and multiplexes are investing huge sums in upgrading their infrastructure to bring this extravaganza to moviegoers.

While Avatar will be released in 2D as well as 3D formats, theatre owners are particularly expecting a huge demand for the 3D version.

In the past, 3D Hollywood films like ‘Ice Age 3’, ‘& ‘Final Destination’ have done good business in India.

From the time producers Fox Star Studios screened 20 mins footage of Cameron’s film in August this year, the number of 3D screens in India has increased from around 12 to 40, and 60-70 screens by 18th December.

This covers cities across India including major markets like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai & Hyderabad as well as smaller centers like Coimbatore, Amritsar, Kerala, Jaipur and Ahmedabad (which is considered a small market for Hollywood films).

Aditya Shroff, AVP – Distribution, Programming and Corporate Sales for Fame Cinemas reaffirms, “I believe that the 3D version of Avatar is going to be the revolutionary movie for this generation & hence Fame is trying to go as wide as possible with the 3D release. Avatar will do to 3D what Reliance did to mobile phone usage in India.

While most multiplexes in Pune and Bangalore are going 3D, single screens like ‘Central Plaza’ in Mumbai and ‘Urvasi’ in Bangalore are also going 3D before the release of release Avatar.

Interestingly, Avatar will be released in 3D in Hindi also.

Cinemax in Andheri (Mumbai) has updated its biggest auditorium that has the capacity of 377 with 3D facility for AVATAR.

Inox will have 3D screens in Pune, Baroda, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Nagpur, Raipur, Rajasthan, Indore, and Kolkata before the release of AVATAR.

Commenting on the hype around ‘Avatar’, Mr. Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India says; “There is an incredible buzz building up for Avatar across the India media, our theatrical partners and the core audiences. The dramatic increase in the no. of 3D screens, as well as the strong interest that we are getting from the Hindi, Tamil and Telegu language markets reaffirms the strong buzz for the film.”

Ranjit Thakur, CEO of Scrabble Entertainment says “The demand for 2K Digital & 3D Systems is from all corners of the county. Even the single screen exhibitors want to capitalize on the opportunity of screening Avatar in 3D. ”

Thakur adds “The demand for the film has created a worldwide shortage of digital equipment and even silver screens for 3D are hard to get”.

‘Avatar’ is an epic action adventure film made on a whopping budget of Rs 1200 crores. It is the story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

Avatar releases worldwide on Dec 18 in 2D & 3D. In India, the film will also be dubbed in Hindi, Tamil & Telugu.

BOXOFFICEINDIA.COM

KNOTTED: Raj Kundra, Shilpa, Surendra, Sunanda and Shamita Shetty

Raj Kundra takes Shilpa Shetty as his wife at traditional ceremony in Khandala

SHARIN WADER BUTANI Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 24, 2009)

In London he’s used to zipping around in luxury cars and sports models, but in Khandala on Sunday, UK billionaire and businessman Raj Kundra arrived on a white horse to claim his Bollywood bride Shilpa Shetty. He rode from his hotel to Kiran Bawa’s bungalow, where the blushing bride was waiting, while his baaratis danced around with great gusto. Dressed in a sherwani, heavily garlanded and bearing a sword, Raj was greeted by bridesmaid Shamita at the entrance to the bungalow with a big hug. His men carried bundles of crisp, 500 rupee notes which they distributed to the band while Raj walked to the lavishly decorated mandap for the pheras which was done in the Bunt style with Shilpa looking every inch the South Indian bride. The actress was seen getting emotional after the ceremony and crying as she hugged her father who had discharged himself from hospital following a stomach infection to be there. It was almost 9.20 pm when the couple stepped out to pose for the media. They then left for Mumbai as Shilpa’s bidaai was to be done from her house in Lokhandwala.

Meanwhile, BT’s wedding correspondent reports that all of the 70 guests who were present at the wedding had a hairdresser, a makeup artist, and a chauffeur-driven car at their disposal. Even their hotel rooms were done up with
gift hampers, pink roses and and chocolate fudge. For the two days that the guests were in Khandala, there was buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Bawa bungalow and a wedding menu made up of cuisines from 72 countries! Bridesmaid Shamita Shetty, who lost out on the chance to win her reality show prize money after leaving it midway for Shilpa’s wedding, was disappointed that she could not make up by successfully hiding the dulha’s joote. Raj was apparently supposed to give her Rs 51 lakhs for his shoes!

Yesterday in Mumbai, the couple had their court marriage. Since the saat pheras was strictly for family and close friends, Shilpa and Raj have planned a lavish reception for Bollywood and their business associates today at a suburban five-star. The married couple along with their families will then head to Tirupathi and from there to the Oneness University in Chennai to seek blessings from Shilpa’s gurus, Amma and Bhagwan. They will then come back to Mumbai to leave for their week-long honeymoon at the Bahamas.

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 04, 2009)


 

Paa

W e’ve discovered the secret to how Amitabh Bachchan flawlessly sang in a child’s voice for Paa recently. Director Balki reveals that Amitabh has been able to effortlessly replicate the voice of a 12-year-old for his dialogue and song in the film by using specially designed dentures.

Balki says, “It’s all about the special dentures we got made for our boy-hero Auro (Amitabh’s character in Paa). The minute Mr Bachchan wears the dentures, he sounds like Auro.”

Explaining how it works, Balki adds, “It’s partly to do with the shape and size of the dentures, which help change Mr Bachchan’s voice. He gets a lisp and his speech pattern gets altered because of the extra teeth.”

Amitabh wore the dentures throughout the film’s shooting and also had them on while dubbing. “You can call them magical teeth…they’ve helped transform Mr Bachchan on the sets and also in the dubbing studio,” says Balki.

About the title track sung by Amitabh, Balki says, “Ilaiyaraaja sent us the track his own voice from Chennai. Mr Bachchan recorded for it and the track was sent back to Ilaiyaraaja for mixing.”

Amitabh Bachchan effortlessly sang the title song of Paa in a child’s voice

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 29, 2009)

 

Amitabh Bachchan and Aadesh Shrivastava

We bet you’ve never heard anything like this before. Literally. On Tuesday, Amitabh Bachchan recorded the title song for Balki’s Paa in the voice of a 12-year-old and that too without the help of technology.

Music director Aadesh Shrivastava says, “I thought I would initially record the song in Amitji’s normal voice and later use technological enhancement and modify it to make it sound like a child’s. However, Amitji was firm that I wouldn’t have to do anything of that sort and that he will sing in a child’s voice without any help. He went on to do just that.”

Aadesh, who handled the daunting task of recording music maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s tune in Amitabh’s voice, adds, “It is originally a tune created by Raja sir (Ilaiyaraaja). Normally, I’d never even dream of touching his tunes but I have worked as a drummer for him on Sadma (1983) and he sent this song from Chennai for Amitji to sing it in Mumbai.”

Aadesh predicts that the song will be an instant hit with children. “Amitabh does not sound like a grown-up man imitating a child. Don’t ask me how he has managed to do it. I just sat there stunned.”

The music maestro will perform live with the Hungary Symphony Orchestra on January 26

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 27, 2009)

 

This is good news for everyone who admires the genius of music composer Ilaiyaraaja. He is preparing for his first ever live concert in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai in collaboration with the Hungary Symphony Orchestra. He will perform on January 26 in Mumbai. The maestro is currently in Budapest, recording for Pankaj Kapur’s forthcoming film Mausam with producer Sheetal Talwar and his wife, filmmaker Bhavna Talwar.

 

Ilaiyaraaja

The couple has planned Ilaiyaraaja’s three concerts where he will play Tiruvacakam, the ancient sacred hymns. Accompanying Ilaiyaraaja will be the Hungary Symphony Orchestra and its conductor Laszlo Kovacs.

Speaking to us from Budapest, the soft-spoken musician says, “Yes, we’re planning a concert in Mumbai and other places.” Ilaiyaraaja, who often visits Budapest for music collaborations, adds, “Working in collaboration with symphonies is not difficult for me. It only requires a lot more preparation. All the music has to be written down in detail before work begins.”

He says that live concerts are not an extra burden. “It is music in another form. Whether I’m composing for a film or playing at a concert, I’m doing music. The medium is secondary. I’m only concerned with music.”

We ask Ilaiyaraaja about his renowned aptitude for reflexive composition, and he laughs and says, “Who knows how many births I had to go through before music came so easily to me? It’s not about how much music I know but about how well music knows me. The greatness is not in me, but in the music. I don’t compose the music. It’s just there within me and it comes out. I don’t make an effort to create music. It just flows out, like the conversation I’m having with you.”

karan johar

BOLLYWOOD IS SO VULNERABLE!

A very ugly incident arose on Friday when Wake Up Sid (WUS) released across the country. The film, directed by debutant Ayan Mukerji and produced by Karan Johar, has several characters calling Mumbai by its old name, Bombay. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Raj Thackeray’s party, was furious with this and its members tried stopping the screening of WUS at two theatres in South Mumbai and at a couple of places in Pune. Johar, fearing that the matter may go out of hand, immediately went to Thackeray’s Shivaji Park residence and apologized to him. He assured that he had no intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments and that he would add a disclaimer in the film in 2 days.

The incident created a furore and Raj Thackeray’s rivals perceived it differently, of course, with vested interests and Johar was made a scapegoat by all of them.

I discussed this issue with more than 50 people (many of them Maharashtrians) and not a single person felt that there is any harm in calling Mumbai as Bombay. Go to South Mumbai and many residing there still refer to the city as Bombay. In fact, South Mumbai is often called SoBo (Bo is the short form of Bombay). Then there are so many organizations and companies whose name consist of ‘Bombay’. Bombay Stock Exchange, Bombay Blues (a famous chain of restaurants), Bombay Times, Bombay Parsi Punchayat, Bombay Catholic Sabha, Bombay Dyeing etc are the classic examples. The sunset point in Mahabaleshwar is called Bombay Point since decades. Jet Airways uses the code ‘BOM’ to refer to Mumbai. The funniest part of this whole incident-Raj Thackeray’s son Amit Thackeray studied in a reputed school called BOMBAY SCOTTISH! Ha ha ha!

It was equally shocking to know the quotes given by Raj Thackeray’s rivals. Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan called the whole incident a publicity stunt. That is, all this drama was created so that WUS gets more audience. A stupid comment, in my opinion, as Johars has and will never resort to such tactics to market their films. Also, there was no need for Johar to do any kind of publicity stunt as WUS had already aroused lots of curiosity amongst youngsters. The film already witnessed massive advance bookings, even before the audiences learnt of this controversy. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut was of the view, “If he (Johar) really feels sorry about it, he should apologise to Maharashtra and the millions of Marathi manoos staying here”. Arre, who cares if Mumbai is called Bombay? People here are more interested in having a better infrastructure, traffic-free roads, organized transport system and sense of security. No one’s sentiments are going to hurt if anyone uses the word Bombay. BJP leader Kirti Somaiya claimed, “Nobody has the right to refer to it by the old name when it has already been renamed Mumbai”. Again, a senseless statement as there’s no law that makes calling a city by its old name illegal. One can fearlessly refer to Mumbai as Bombay, Kolkata as Calcutta, Bengalooru as Bangalore, Vadodra as Baroda, Thiruvananthapuram as Trivandrum, Chennai as Madras and also New York as New Amsterdam!

Raj Thackeray questions, “Why can’t people accept Mumbai if they can accept Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram?” But he should be told that people in these Southern cities don’t have to apologize to any tom, dick and harry if they use the old name of the city. And Thackeray has always been comparing with the Southern States. Last year he justified his signboard campaign (threatening shop owners to change their signboards into Marathi) by stating, “In Kerela and other South Indian states, all the signboards are written in their language, so why not the same in Maharashtra?” Maybe then Raj should make a comparison on all fronts. Kerela has high levels of literacy-why doesn’t he strive to attain the same in Maharashtra too? At least that’ll help the state. Changing the signboards to Marathi and revolting when someone uses the word Bombay is not going to help Mumbai progress even an inch.

Coming back to the film WUS, it depicts reality. Also, in one scene in the film, Konkona Sen Sharma says that she hails from CALCUTTA! No one in West Bengal protested. Also, there have been so many movies that have characters mouthing Bombay. In Dasvidaniya, when Svitlana Manoylo asks Vinay Pathak where he’s from, he replies that he’s from Bombay! This is just one example-one can find lots of such instances. And whose sentiments got hurt?

Karan Johar was also criticized. Many feel that he should have not apologized. But did he have any choice? If he had not done so, Thackeray and his men may had called for a ban for the film in Maharashtra and the state govt would have stood as helpless spectators. Crores were at stake and not to forget, Johar would have to answer his distributors. So I feel Johar’s actions were superfast and completely justified. 2 days back, director Ayan Mukerji, while interacting with movie buffs in the Bollywood Hungama Live Chat session rightly said, “He did what he felt he needed to do at that point to protect our film. It is not possible to understand from outside how much a film means to the people who have created it. It’s like having a baby or something-when someone threatens to hurt that baby, you put your personal pride and ego away to protect it. That’s all that Karan did”. Well said!

Finally, this incident proved that Bollywood is so vulnerable with no protection whatsoever, esp in such situations. A film passed by Censor Board can be released has to undergo politican’s clearance. Thackeray proved that he’s here just to be in the news and to please Maharashtrians with such tactics. His rivals made a fool of themselves with their comments. All this happening with an eye on the elections! God save BOMBAY!