Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘documentary

Anurag Kashyap finds an unusual hero to play a serial killer for the second film of the Mumbai trilogy – Nawazuddin aka Patna Presley of Emosonal Attyachaar

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 05, 2010)

Anurag Kashyap’s much talked-about Mumbai trilogy has found its third and final hero. While Aamir Khan stars in the first film, John Abraham will play the lead in the third. Now, the little-known but talented Nawazuddin who gave sterling cameo performances in 2009 in Nandita Das’s Firaaq, Kabir Khan’s New York, Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D (one of the two Patna Presleys singing Emosonal Attyachaar) and Black Friday, has been pencilled in as the lead in Kashyap’s second film in the Mumbai trilogy. It’s a huge leap for an actor from a village near Delhi.

More startling than his casting is the character that Nawazuddin plays. He plays Raman Raghav, India’s most brutal serial killer. In 1968, Raghav bludgeoned a number of pavement dwellers to death before he was caught and diagnosed with schizophrenia. (Sriram Raghavan has, in fact, made a documentary on the serial killer.)

Nawazuddin has been secretly reading up on Raman Raghav and looking at footage of the killer. When we spoke to him, Nawazuddin was taken aback. He said, “Anurag has asked me to keep it absolutely quiet. Yes, I’m playing the serial killer Raman Raghav in Anurag Kashyap’s film. It’s the biggest challenge of my career especially since superstars like Aamir and John feature in the other two films of the series.”

Nawazuddin, who has been trying to make a mark as an actor in Bollywood since 1996, has played the lead in Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live and Mangesh’s Dekh Circus too. Says the actor emotionally, “I’ve waited very long for this. I’ve struggled hard to get out of playing the cameo to the lead. Mumbai trilogy is my greatest challenge.”

Anurag Kashyap Nawazuddin

A R Rahman has got two nominations for Slumdog Millionaire

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Newtwork (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

A R Rahman, the most talked about Indian of last year, is counting down to the 52nd Grammy Awards. They’re being held on January 31, at LA, and the Oscar-winning music composer has won two nominations for his soundtrack from Slumdog Millionaire. The song Jai Ho – which fetched Rahman two Academy awards and a Golden Globe – has been nominated for ‘Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’ and also for ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’. Rahman, naturally, is pleased. While he’s aware the Oscar Awards for Slumdog Millionaire required a whole lot of lobbying, the Grammy needs no such push. “All I’ve to do is wait and watch what happens. The Grammy is as exciting as the Oscar. It’s the ultimate music award, isn’t it? Although it’s a nomination for a film song, the Grammy is still another shot in the arm for Jai Ho. Any recognition is welcome. Jai Ho is an important song.” Not strangely, he feels a huge sense of responsibility. “I hope I never let down my country, my people, my music, my family and myself,” said the music genius who has just returned home after being in his “other base” — Los Angeles.

Rahman, meanwhile, is unhappy with the outcome of his first Hollywood soundtrack. “The music of Couples Retreat got a good response. But I feel my music was not used properly. It was a comedy. I guess you can’t expect music to have much of a place in a comedy. They were more into laughter than music,” he complained, adding, “The music has all been used. But not the way my fans would expect. I was prepared for the outcome when I entered this project.” So he’s not really disappointed by his first foray into Hollywood. “If I had waited for the perfect Hollywood vehicle, I might have had to wait endlessly. It’s not easy for an Asian to enter into Hollywood camps. It’s a new beginning for me. I got great reviews.”

He’s got a lot of offers but also has a tough schedule this year to be able to give any more time to new commitments. And, contrary to rumours, acting is not one of Rahman’s forthcoming commitments. “That’s completely false news,” he said shocked. “I am not going into acting. I’m going to be speaking in a documentary on my friend, the musician P. J. Mortan. We’ve known each other for some time. He collaborated with me for a track in Couples Retreat. That’s it. It’s not a feature film. I’ve no aspirations to go into acting. God has given me one skill and I’m very happy with it.”

By Subhash K. Jha, December 29, 2009 – 12:57 IST

Anupam Kher He has the singular honour of directing the only documentary on the making of a yet to be released feature film. And now, after making Chale Chalo on the making of Lagaan, the reticent (not by choice) young director Satyajit Bhatkal is ready with Zokkomon, the first Indian feature film to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures.

Satyajit has been strictly forbidden from talking about Zokkomon. All he’ll say reluctantly is that it will be a film unlike any other. “The script was one of many that I wrote. To my luck, it was almost immediately approved by Disney. But before that I did a number of one-hour series entitled Bombay Lawyers for NDTV. These were based on my own experiences as a lawyer.”

Bhatkal was a practising lawyer before movie-making beckoned. “When I made Chale Chalo based on behind-the-scenes experiences of those involved with Lagaan, I made sure there wasn’t a single shot of Lagaan in my documentary.”

But that docu-film did not get Bhatkal the chance to direct a film for Disney.

“They liked the script, I think,” says the directly shyly. Zokkomon stars Anupam Kher and Darsheel Safary. This would be Darsheel’s first release since Taare Zameen Par.As for Anupam, Satyajit has become the actor’s life-long fan after he made his dream come true.

Recalls Satyajit, “When Anupam told me he was going to Israel this month and might meet Topol, I requested him to get me Topol’s autograph since I’m a life-long fan. To my surprise Anupam called me from Israel, handed the phone to Topol, and made him speak to me. It was a gesture not many would make.”


By IANS (December 18, 2009)

Actor John Abraham is deeply attached to the idea of wildlife conservation. So it comes as no surprise to know that he will now produce a film on tiger preservation to be directed by internationally renowned filmmaker Mike Pandey.

The documentary film entitled “The Return Of The Tiger” will address the alarming disappearance of the species.

“I decided to produce the film because I truly believe tigers are one of the most magnificent creatures on this planet. And if we don’t take quick and immediate action to preserve them there will be no tigers left,” John said.

Through the film, which will be screened in the documentary section of film festivals and at wildlife-preservation summits, John and Pandey hope to create a certain amount of global awareness about the urgent need to preserve the tiger.

“This film is far too important in terms of its message. I decided to produce it after I met Mike Pandey. He’s such a lovely man, so committed to capturing the essence of nature on camera. I just decided to get committed to Mike’s level of commitment,” said John who wowed everyone with his performance in “New York”.


By Subhash K. Jha, November 16, 2009 – 11:06 IST


After editing, Rensil D’Silva’s debut film Kurbaan has turned out to be exactly 2 hours 37 minutes long. And that’s about 37 minutes longer than the show-timing which multiplex theatres approve of.

Lengthy films on grim themes are at the moment not quite the flavour of the season. The poor response to Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail proves it.

Rensil however, is unfazed. “My film is not grim. It’s about a serious global issue. But it isn’t a documentary on terrorism. It’s designed as a fast-paced thriller.”

Nor has the release been timed to coincide with the ghastly terror attack on Mumbai last year on November 27. “We’re coming on Friday, November 20, not 27. The date was chosen according to availability of space,” says Rensil.

Tensed but happy director Rensil D’Silva has just about wrapped up the post-production work of Kurbaan and is ready to take a long break before moving into his next film which would be a marked departure from the theme of terrorism in Kurbaan.


Rituparno Ghosh speaks about playing a bi-sexual filmmaker in Just Another Love Story; scoffs at rumours of undergoing a sex change operation

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 02, 2009)

First things first, Rituparno Ghosh’s sexual orientation has got nothing to do with the role of the homosexual filmmaker he is playing in Kaushik Ganguly’s Just Another Love Story.

Ritu says, “There’s so much interest in this film because I’m playing a gay filmmaker but everyone has assumed I’m playing a real character. The film is not about me. Why are journalists trying to find scandal in an actor’s life through the character he plays? The subject matter on sexual orientation is far more important than the strange connections that are being made between the film and my life. I find it distinctly distasteful that the actor’s sexual orientation is being extended into the character he’s playing. At least I’m courageous enough to confront my own sexuality. I don’t need to engage in an art form to address my sexuality. It’s indecent and humiliating.”

Rituparno Ghosh

Ritu plays a double role in Just Another Love Story. One is that of Abhiroop Sen, a gay documentary filmmaker from Delhi, whose bisexual lover is the DOP of the film in the film. They visit Kolkata to make a documentary on the life of the real-life legendary Jatra actor Chapal Bhaduri. Ritu also essays the role of Chapal in his youth.

Ritu was initially apprehensive about the role but was convinced of the director’s motives after watching his telefilm on a lesbian couple. “To play two parts, that of the director Abhiroop Sen and Chapal in his youth wasn’t easy. Abhiroop is neither a man nor a woman, he belongs to the third sex. As for Chapal, he always felt that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. These two different concepts of androgyny and sexual identity had to be brought out. There’s no external factor of femininity in Chapalda. Only when he speaks do we hear a woman’s voice. I loved the two roles because they challenge the stereotypical image of gay men,” says Ritu.

Ritu insists that he doesn’t want to play gay roles any more. “I liked the process of acting but I’ve the fear of being typecast in homosexual characters. One reason why I did this role is because I knew any other actor would make a spoof of it. You can’t play gay if you have no empathy for homosexuality. Indraneil Sengupta and I have played the gay couple with such ease. Those looking for tantalization will be disappointed. They’ll find us disappointingly normal,” says Ritu.

Ritu had to undergo extensive preparation for the role. “I had to look very delicate for the role for which I lost 14 kgs. I had to undergo an abdominal plasty because after losing weight, my stomach sagged. The waistline had to be proper because I was playing a man 10 years younger than I am. The surgery wasn’t easy with my blood sugar problem. I also had to learn to smoke, which was horrifying,” says Ritu.

Rituparno thinks that Indian actors shy away from gay roles. “I think actors who refuse homosexual roles are homophobic and probably latent homosexuals. They aren’t afraid to play rapists but they’re scared of playing gays. When I offered Aftab Shivdasani and Kunal Kapoor a gay role, they freaked out.”

On the day that Rituparno first got into women’s clothes to play Chapal it was Ritu’s birthday. He says, “I went to my father to take his blessings. He looked at me and said I looked exactly like Ira (my mother) when she was young.”

Chapal Bhaduri, now 75, plays himself in the film. “I play his young avatar and I also play the filmmaker who’s come to do a candid interview with the 75-year-old Chapal. So it’s a film within a film. Women were not allowed to take part in Jatra. Men played women’s parts” says Ritu. That’s where Rituparno’s feminine look comes in.

“The film makes us realise that taboos about sexuality haven’t changed that much. This film will lead to a very important cultural conversation. One can’t sit complacently and wait for a change in society,” adds Ritu.

“There’s a very important line in the film, ‘What is more important? The way we want to live our lives, or the way we actually live our lives?’ I want my role to reflect my beliefs and ideologies. Thank God, producers Cinemawala had the right intentions.”

The film is expected to release at the end of this year.

GETTING REAL: Ashuu Trikha
..says director Ashuu Trikha in a candid chat with BT


Ashu Trikha believes in following his dreams, even if that means waiting for three years to realise them. Not the one to follow a beaten path, the director, who’s also directed Alag, is back with another hatke film, this time based on the crime scene in Central India. Titled Baabarr, the film marks the debut of newcomer Soham along with actress Urvashi Sharma and also stars stalwarts like Mithun Chakraborthy, Om Puri, Tinnu Anand and Sushant Singh. Here, the filmmaker talks about his crime caper.

Baabarr is based on real-life incidents. What made you choose such a hard-hitting subject?
• The entire fact that such incidents have happened and continue to happen even today, and that the characters depicted in the film really do exist, is a matter of great shame for any society. It was something that I felt about very strongly.

You tried to deal with the film in realistic manner…
• Yes, because the film required it. Baabarr is a stark film, not for the fainthearted. A lot of research has gone into it. And during that, we realised that to get the right feel, it was important to keep the backdrop as natural as possible. So whether it’s shooting on rough terrain or in real locations or with real country made revolvers, we have tried to present reality in the truest form.
Your last few films have all been very different. Weren’t you wary of taking a risk with such a serious film on crime?
• Every film is a risk. The only thing in our hands is to make a film sincerely and with all honesty.
On the one hand you have a newcomer Soham and on the other hand you have stalwarts like Om Puri and Mithun Chakraborthy…
• Yes. And I felt like I’m having the best of both the worlds. There was raw talent waiting to be honed and there was a sea of experience waiting to be tapped. Omji and Mithunda are some of the finest actors to date, while Soham has the spark and is spectacularly good as a debutante.

Do you think a film so real is commercially viable?
• Absolutely. The film is not a documentary. It has its light moments, there are songs and dances too, but none of them have been forcibly included. So, it’s very much a hard-core commercial film, but with it’s sensibilities rooted in realism.

What was the most challenging thing about shooting for the film?
• Shooting in the kind of conditions that we did was challenging. Because unlike shooting in a studio which is quite a controlled environment, shooting in rough terrain is physically very demanding.

What’s the message you want your audiences to take home after watching the film?
• I don’t want to preach anything through my film. I only want them to question where we are headed as a society.

(Contributed by AKNS and Harshada Rege)
Shah Rukh Khan lookalike Raju Rahikwar’s documentary hits a roadblock as he is unable to get access to the star
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 31, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan

Raju Rahikwar makes a living as a Shah Rukh lookalike and has  now made a documentary on his own life called, Living in King Khan’s shadow. Raju said, “I want the world to know how I have come up in life.”

Except for a quote from SRK, Raju’s 24 minute long documentary is almost complete. His attempts at contacting SRK have borne no fruit. Raju said, “I have been trying to meet him for a year. I went to his shoot at Filmistan recently, but his security guards didn’t let me meet him. On my second trip, they told me to handover a copy of my documentary and said that they would give it to SRK. I am not sure if they have.”

Raju Rahikwar

Talking about meeting SRK, Raju said, “I want exactly two minutes from him. I know if he knows it’s me, he will meet me. I have met him many times but I distinctly remember one time when I spoke to him.

He was at Holy Family hospital in Bandra. I went up and spoke to him. He was very humble.

He gave me his office number and asked me to meet him. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. I just wish he knows that it’s me who is trying to get in touch with him.”

Rakeysh Mehra’s wife PS Bharathi is making a documentary, Ru-ba-ru, on the director’s landmark film, Rang De Basanti
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 10, 2009)

PS Bharathi

Three years after the release of Rang De Basanti, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s wife PS Bharathi is making a documentary on the film. Bharathi has named the documentary film after the song Ru-ba-ru from RDB.

The film is based on the relevance and impact of RDB across the world. Rakeysh said, “Ru-ba-ru will contain lots of views and information on Rang De Basanti. Everybody associated with the film has spoken about it. The documentary will contain unreleased footage. There are opinions from various scholars, analysts and critics. It’s very humbling. We all felt that the film’s impact needed to be documented in an unconventional format.”

Will he work on the project with his wife? Rakeysh said, “I always keep away when my wife is doing her work. After I finish shooting my film, I surrender the footage to her and leave. She edits all my films and she would like it no other way.”

Talking about RDB, Rakeysh said, “I never expected RDB to have this kind of an impact. The movie became bigger than all of us. It came at time when people needed to redefine their priorities. It didn’t matter who made it. It could’ve been anyone, but the time was right for an RDB. I saw the film last month and I think it’s completely relevant in today’s times. Nothing has changed in the three years since its release.”

Rang De Basanti

Pooja talks about directing a documentary on her father’s life, rumours about her breaking marriage and Kajra Re
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 24, 2009)

Mahesh and Pooja Bhatt

• Why are you planning a documentary on Mahesh Bhatt’s life?

Why not? My father is unarguably the most interesting and influential filmmaker. His work provokes thought and derives response. Moreover, look at the way he can tap talent. Be it what he did to Anupam Kher’s career in Saaransh or Sanjay Dutt’s in Naam. He knows where talent lies. He has an eye, which most filmmakers don’t have.• But Mahesh’s life has been an open book. What do you have to add to what people already know?

The documentary is going to be an emotional striptease. I will showcase many facets of his personal and professional life, which are not known. The whole idea is to exhibit this man’s side which the world does not know – what drove him to near self-destruction – be it his alcohol consumption or his relationships. And who better than me to chronicle that? The umbilical cord between my mother (Kiran) and me may have been cut but I think I still haven’t cut my umbilical cord with my father. When he was getting married to Soni, I was the first to be informed.

• And how did you react?

I accepted it readily. Frankly, I knew it was coming. I respect the fact that he didn’t want to put on a façade and play games like many people were doing.

• There were rumours that you and Munna (husband) have broken up?

A paper wrote about my marriage being on the rocks. The same paper had called me a few months ago to ask if Munna was alive. I don’t know which of the two queries was more absurd.

• Babies? Motherhood?

We will plan a baby after a year. For now, we have eight dogs (laughs).

• Has Kajra Re proven to be tiring and frustrating?

If you say in terms of the time we have taken to complete the film, yes. Going by the standards of Vishesh Films, we have definitely gone at a slow pace. But then, this was expected since it is quite a big budget film. I am leaving for Dubai tonight for the last schedule.

• And after Kajra Re?

I will be directing Jism 2. We are working on the script. The cast is not yet finalised.