Fenil and Bollywood

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CANDID CHAT: Kareena Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor says she is guilty of just that…

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

It has been a year of fluctuating fortunes for Bollywood’s most powerful actress — Kareena Kapoor. The janta and her sceptics will never let her forget that she had three duds in 2009 with Kambakkht Ishq, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna and Kurbaan. But just when they were nailing her coffin, she bounced right back with the biggest hit of them all.

Like a cat that has swallowed the cream, Kareena smacked her luscious lips and said, “There I was licking my wounds when God above answered my prayers. Honestly, I’m delirious. To think that I started 2009 with a whimper and ended it with a bang. Someone up there heard me.’’

Just before she set off on a tour of England with Saif Ali Khan, the incorrigible Bebo said, “2010 has a lot of promise. I sincerely wish the Midas touch continues. I’ll start the year with my idol, Shah Rukh Khan, with whom I’m travelling to Miami for RA 1. Then I’m going to be traipsing the globe with Saif in Agent Vinod. And, if Aamir keeps up his promise to me, the two of us will end up in a romantic film by the end of the year.’’ Jumping like a child, she asked, “Listen, is it wrong to love more than one Khan at a time? I’m guilty of just that. Shah Rukh and Gauri are my close friends. I love Saifu. And as for Aamir, well, what can I say? He’s the new Khan on my block.’’

Gamely she takes the blame for her duds. She knows the critics dipped their pens in poison when she did KI and MAMK. “My funda is simple,’’ said Bebo. “Actors should be like scientists, always willing to experiment. I experimented and I failed. That doesn’t take away from my acting abilities. If I don’t experiment, the same guys will write — she’s a plastic doll on screen. One does take chances with one’s roles and if the films fail, I’m more heartbroken than anyone else. Don’t forget films are all I live for. I give my films everything I have. So failure does affect me. But to write me off each time I have a flop is unfair.’’

Maybe, but that’s the way things in Bollywood work. One Friday you’re a handmaiden, the next Friday you’re the Queen. And, if you’re lucky, you can get an extended lease at the box-office. Like Bebo just managed. meena.iyer@timesgroup.com
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Bollywood lets its hair down as 2009 comes to an end and raises its hopes for 2010

TEAM BT Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 31, 2009)

AMITABH BACHCHAN: In the New Year, the entire family is hoping to do the kind of work that would please the audience and carry the company forward. Our New Year wishes? May 2010 bring peace and well-being. May it fill us with pride as a nation. May our glory spread further. May we progress in all walks of life. And may the year keep me alive to witness the country, the film industry and my family prosper and progress. I look forward to the coming year passing peacefully.
KATRINA KAIF: I couldn’t hope for a better New Year’s day. I’m in London with my sisters and brother having the time of my life. We have lots of fun when we all are together. After I started working I have hardly seen my siblings. So meeting them is always special and a festival to mark our meeting, is the cherry on the cake. My mother forced me to leave my cell phone behind in Mumbai, so I’m almost cut off from Bollywood. What hopes for 2010? Lots of hard work and hopefully hits.


SHAH RUKH KHAN: I will be at home (Mannat) with Gauri, Aryan, Suhana and a couple of close friends like Karan Johar. Being with close family is the one thing I truly cherish.


AKSHAY KUMAR: Tina, Aarav and I are in Goa. I normally take a vacation from December 29 to January 2 because it includes a double celebration. Tina’s birthday on December 29, and then the New Year’s eve party. Honestly what can be better than spending time with your loved ones? This is a commitment I have made to my family.


DEEPIKA PADUKONE: I will be home in Bangalore with my parents and my sister. Then I go to Goa to wrap up the last fortnight on Ashutosh Gowarikar’s film. Every year I hope that the following year is as exciting as the previous year and I’m very happy with the way my professional life is going. Hope 2010 is the same.


RANBIR KAPOOR: I start shooting for Siddharth Anand’s film in the US from January 2. Since I didn’t wish to be in an aircraft on New Year’s eve, I left India on December 27. My entire family is in Dubai as tomorrow is my paternal grandmother’s birthday and the family is treating her to a one-week holiday there. I wish I could join them!


KAREENA KAPOOR: Saif and I are in England. We are catching up with Saif ’s Oxford batchmates and their spouses. I’m dying to wear my fur coat and sniff the English chill… looking and feeling every inch a diva. We work hard all the year around to make this happen, so let me enjoy myself.

BIPASHA BASU: I’m performing tonight. Then there will be a small get-together with friends. I always like to keep my New Year’s plans uncluttered. Home is the best place to be on any special occasion. And New Year will be a nonfilmy evening at home. Beyond that my only resolution for 2010 is, love yourself.

VIDYA BALAN: I bring in 2010 with my birthday tomorrow… no one can forget it! What hopes do I have for 2010? Oh plenty! After watching Mr Bachchan at work in Paa, I realised being focussed on your work to the point of shutting out everything else is not something I need feel guilty about. Now I’m all set to be seen as this full-blown, seductive, sexually-charged woman in Ishqiya. It brings an entirely new perspective to my personality for the audience. That’s what I’m hoping for in 2010… to find new aspects to my personality through the roles I play.

AJAY DEVGN: Kajol, Nysa, my parents, cousins, sister and her family and I will all be at our Karjat farm house. We’re planning an extended holiday. I start work only from January 2, so does Kajol. So in the meantime it is going to be a huge, long party.


AMRITA RAO: I wonder what 2010 has in store for me… Resolutions sound nice to the ears but adhering to them is a matter of destiny!


AMISHA PATEL: I have a show in Dubai. I will be working and then I will take a holiday. I always like working on New Year’s day because I feel you will then be working throughout!

RITESH DESHMUKH: Friends and I are contemplating how to ring in the New Year. It’s not compulsory to indulge in anything fancy, even a quiet time with good friends does the trick!


ARSHAD WARSI: I am looking forward to three releases in 2010. Will start Raju’s film next year so it’s going to be an eventful year. I haven’t a plan for New Year as yet. I’ll be with family and friends.


ANUSHKA SHARMA: I don’t do much for the New Year. Actually I do nothing. I just wish my family and go to bed.


SHABANA AZMI: As usual I’ll be with my family and a few close friends for the New Year.


IRRFAN KHAN: On every festive occasion I try to visit my mother in Jaipur. But for the New Year I made plans to be home. Beyond the New Year I’ve made no plans. I’ve noticed every time I’ve chalked out a plan for myself, life has humbled me. I leave all my plans to God.


MUGHDA GODSE: I am dancing at a live performance in Delhi tonight and will spend New Year with family and close friends. I’ve a horror film tentatively titled Help coming up for release. My co-star Bobby Deol is such a sweetheart. I hope to find a guy like him this year. Where are all the gentlemen?”


HEMA MALINI: I won’t be doing anything much for New Year. I’ll be with my family and rehearsing for my dance show which is on January 2.


POOJA BEDI: I’m having a small get-together on the terrace of my beachfront penthouse with flowers, candles and an incredible view of the entire city, with my father, my children and a few loved ones.

SUSHMITA SEN: I normally travel overseas. However, Alisah, my younger daughter, can’t travel abroad yet because she doesn’t have a passport. Hence it will have to be a beach resort in India.

ASIN: For me it will be a quiet New Year with family. I wanted to make it for Christmas itself, however I will ring in the New Year at my family home in Kerala.

Bobby Darling’s brief but stimulating interlude with cricketer Munaf Patel in a Delhi hotel has led to heartbreak. The cricketer refuses to return his phone calls
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 25, 2009)

Munaf  Patel

Usually when one is heart broken one tends to go into a shell resisting all attempts to be humoured. But not if you are Bobby Darling. Bobby, who has never been known to hide his emotions and, in fact, can be quite garrulous, is now rather melodramatically claiming from the rooftop that his heart is broken.

The breaker of his heart is none other than the 27-year-old burly cricketer Munaf Patel.

The lanky Munaf, who comes from the dusty town of Ikhar near Bharuch, shot into the spotlight in 2003 when he was projected as a scorching tearpart by former Australia pacer Denis Lillee. After a dream Test debut against England in 2006, where he picked five wickets at Nagpur, Munaf has fallen out of favour with the national selectors after a steady dip in his performances.

Bobby and Munaf met in Delhi at a nightclub. They were introduced by a common friend. Soon they started talking. A few minutes into the conversation and they were like a house on fire. Bobby then had a few drinks.

Bobby says, “A few hours later, he came to the hotel where I had checked in. He was very nice and sweet to me. We got along fabulously.” Bobby even showed this reporter the messages the two had exchanged.

Bobby Darling

The lovers’ tiff gets stranger with Munaf completely refuting the story saying “I did meet Bobby Darling in a nightclub in Delhi, He met me in presence of cricketers Ishant Sharma, Sarandeep Singh and Amit Sharma. But I didn’t go to the hotel where he was staying. Agar mujhe famous hona hota toh main koi actress se dosti kar leta. Woh film line apni line nahin hai. Kaisi dosti yaari? Moreover, Bobby Darling is so much older than me.”

Hardly had Munaf told us this then Bobby called and wailed, “Munaf just called me up and shouted at me that I have told you everything.”

Evidently after the interlude at the hotel Bobby and Munaf had kept in touch through SMSes but later Munaf stopped responding to Bobby’s messages or taking his calls.

Bobby is now pining for Munaf who has seemingly dumped him. ‘I am very depressed,” he exclaims, adding, ‘Munaf should put himself in my position, only then will he know what it feels like to be jilted.”

By Taran Adarsh, September 18, 2009 – 17:54 IST

Cricket, like Bollywood, is an addiction for a wide majority of Indians. DIL BOLE HADIPPA tries to capture the spirit of the game and the aspirations of a sportsperson, who’s keen to play for her pind. On paper, the concept, which bears an uncanny resemblance to SHE’S THE MAN, sounds interesting, but the problem is its writing, which is tame and mediocre.

Let’s elaborate. The plusses, first…
It’s mandatory for cricket-based films like LAGAAN and VICTORY, which conclude with a cricket match, to have a thrilling finish. DIL BOLE HADIPPA too has a awe-inspiring end.
Also, the story of an ordinary girl who aspires to play cricket for the national team is motivating, with Rani Mukherji handling her part with complete understanding.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

But there’s a flipside too. The romantic moments between Rani and Shahid Kapoor lack fizz. Even the assorted characters in the film, like Sherlyn Chopra, Vrajesh Hirjee and Rakhi Sawant, contribute nothing to the film. They’re mere props.

Final word? You expect DIL BOLE HADIPPA to score a century, like several films churned out by Yash Raj. But it settles down in the half-century range. Strictly average!

//

Veera [Rani Mukherji] is a fire-cracker of a girl who lives in a small village, but chases big dreams. She works in a local theatre group, but dreams of playing cricket in the big league. Yes, believe it or not, she wants to play with Tendulkar and Dhoni for India.

While Veera dreams on in India, Rohan [Shahid Kapoor] is an accomplished captain of a county cricket team in England. Rohan returns to India to captain his father’s cricket team, which has been losing consecutively for the last 8 years.

In a village where girls don’t play cricket, Veera has to put on a turban and beard and become a man to fulfil her dreams. Her brilliance on the field earns her a place in Rohan’s team and Veera Kaur becomes Veer Pratap Singh. But what happens when the secret is out?

DIL BOLE HADIPPA has a patchy script. It’s interesting initially, but takes the beaten path later. Rani’s obsession for cricket is well established at the outset. So is the friendship between Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil [who heads the Pakistani team]. Also, the initial scenes between Anupam and Shahid are well integrated in the story.

The film shows promise when Rani transforms from Veera to Veer. All this happens in the initial 20-25 minutes, but the story comes to a screeching halt thereafter.

Problem begins… Shahid loses his heart to Rani and the film suddenly turns into a love story. Sherlyn surfaces in between to spice up the proceedings, but nothing happens. The conflict during the finale – when Shahid learns the truth – doesn’t make the desired impact either. Even the re-emergence of the mother [Poonam Dhillon] in the story looks like a complete compromise from the writing point of view.

However, the match between the Indian and Pakistani teams in the climax is well executed and though the viewer is well aware what the ending would be, it keeps you hooked nonetheless. Unfortunately, the final speech by Rani [after the match is won] is outright predictable. The film would’ve benefitted with an innovative end.

Anurag Singh shows sparks of brilliance at times, but how one wishes the debutante director and his writers would’ve come up with a solid script. Pritam’s music doesn’t help either. Barring the title track, the balance songs are plain average. Cinematography is nice.

DIL BOLE HADIPPA belongs to Rani and as always, she delivers a sparkling performance as Veera as well as Veer, carrying both the roles effortlessly. Shahid plays second fiddle to Rani, which is very surprising. Nevertheless, he enacts his part well. Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil lend decent support. Poonam Dhillon has nothing to do. Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra are wasted. Vrajesh Hirjee is passable. Shri Vallabh Vyas does well.

On the whole, DIL BOLE HADIPPA is an ordinary fare. At the box-office, the film has some chances in North mainly thanks to the Punjabi flavour. The holidays ahead may help its prospects at plexes essentially, but the single screens will be dull.

By Subhash K. Jha, September 4, 2009 – 14:23 IST

Paa
Click above for more movie stills

The highly-rated Cheeni Kum director Balki is releasing his extremely unusual role-reversal drama Paa on November 13, as a tribute to Children’s Day. “It’s a film about the child within the man and the man within the child. And I can’t think of a better tribute to the child than Children’s Day,” says Balki, who completed the shooting of the film in England recently.

After shooting his two feature films Cheeni Kum and now Paa in England, Balki wants to return to the country again. “We shot Paa in my favourite location England. Throughout the stint in Cambridge, we were at sea, never on land. I love shooting in London. I shot my first two films there. If I had my way, I’d shoot all my films there.” Balki took up the challenge of projecting the Big B like never before. “In Cheeni Kum, I really didn’t have to do anything. I made him play himself. Here in Paa, I had to bring out that child within him, which has always been there. We tapped that part of him. It wasn’t easy for Amitji to play a child at heart. Fortunately, Abhishek and Vidya Balan too are extremely intelligent actors. She has played such a charming mom. Throughout the film, they behave as if Amitji is their son. For Abhishek, this was his chance to get even with his dad.”

Any regrets about not casting Tabu again? “After what she did with Amitji in Cheeni Kum it wasn’t possible to cast her in Vidya’s role.” Balki is not bothered with how the audience will accept the two actors in reversed roles. “There’s no point in making a film if it doesn’t push envelopes. I won’t do a film that doesn’t challenge me and my actors.”

Another ongoing leitmotif in Balki’s cinema is the music of Ilaiyaraja. “He’s God. He has been a major source of inspiration. I don’t think that India has known a better music composer than him. Sadly, one-half of India has not heard him enough.”

For Cheeni Kum, Balki specifically asked Ilaiyaraja for tunes from his Tamil films. “I wanted Hindi moviegoers to hear those times. Even in Paa, I’ve transposed some of his South Indian tunes into Hindi. It’s not that important to be original. It’s more important to do what you believe in.”

Balki is miffed that the Big B’s Progeria look has been leaked out. “Fortunately, that’s only a part of his look. No one came on the set to see how he looks on camera. The makeup person was given a computer-generated picture of Amitji. He improvised a lot on that and added traits from real Progeria patients.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

R Madhavan’s unfulfilled ambition to join the Indian army lives on through his roles; plays an army commander in Sikandar
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 17, 2009)
So what if R Madhavan’s plans to join the Indian army were thwarted? He has kept alive his love for the defence force through his films. After he played a dashing air force pilot in Rang De Basanti, he plays Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Rao in his next film, Sikandar. Madhavan, who wanted to be an army officer ever since he was a young boy, plays an army commander of the area where Sikandar, whom the film is based on, lives.

Talking about Madhavan’s reaction after he heard the script, director Piyush Jha said, “After the narration, I sat back wondering where this was leading. Then Madhavan suddenly smiled and said that he believed the role of Lt Col Rajesh Rao was made for him. He told me that he was a diligent NCC cadet in his growing years. He wanted to join the army but his application was rejected because he had crossed the age cut-off by six months. He was also awarded the Maharashtra Best Cadet award when he was 22 years old. This granted him a trip with three other NCC Cadets to England where he received training with the Royal Army, the Navy and the Air Force.”

“After Madhavan lost out on being in the army, he took lessons in public speaking, which eventually helped him enter the film industry. Somehow, he couldn’t follow that dream and ended up becoming a film star instead,” added Jha.

Jha, of course, wasn’t oblivious to Madhavan’s army aspirations. He said “But, I didn’t tell him that I knew about his desire to be an army man and that’s precisely why I had approached him for the role.”

• After Madhavan lost out on being in the army, he took lessons in public speaking, which eventually helped him enter the film industry – Piyush Jha Director


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