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‘3 Idiots’ director Rajkumar Hirani accuses novelist Chetan Bhagat of slander

By TNN (January 04, 2010)

A still from 3 Idiots

Director Rajkumar Hirani is flabbergasted by author Chetan Bhagat’s allegation that 3 Idiots was majorly copied from his bestseller Five Point Someone without giving him due credit. Terming it a “clear case of defamation”, Hirani says they may take legal action against Bhagat for flouting their contract.

“It’s a clear case of defamation because contractually what he (Bhagat) was bound, he was given. Now why is he slandering us? We are consulting our lawyers. But that’s a call Mr. Vinod Chopra has to take. He is the producer of the film,” Hirani told IANS.

“I am sure it’s defamation because lots of people I know are wondering about the issue (due to Bhagat’s allegation) In lots of Twitter and Facebook sites we have been abused saying, ‘we won’t watch Hirani’s film or Abhijat’s film’. This kind of muck is flying all over the place. I think Vinod Chopra is looking into it, I guess he will follow the legal path,” he added.

Hirani clarified that once Bhagat had given the rights to make a film on his book, there shouldn’t be any “percentage issue”.

Hirani maintained that the basic plot of the film is completely different from the book.

“In the book, there is no bet between the two friends, the journey to find their friend is not there, the child delivery scene, the ‘Balatkar’ scene, the two weddings where they crashed these key scenes are not in the book. There are certain similarities, which I am not denying, but we had bought the rights for that.

“We can use 100 per cent of it. What does he (Bhagat) mean by 70 per cent? Are we supposed to pay more money for using 70 per cent? Are we supposed to give different credit for 70 percent? I do not understand this percentage controversy,” said Hirani.

Baghat has reportedly posted a blog saying he should have got a prominent place in the rolling credits. He also said that he was not shown the final script.

Reacting to his allegations, Hirani said: “We have officially bought the rights for the film. We drew a contract with him and it clearly mentions about the position of his credit. With open eyes he had seen the contract, consulted his lawyer and signed the agreement.

“In the contract, we have said that the title would be given in the rolling credits. We haven’t changed the font size. We haven’t increased the speed of the title. It’s exactly there where it was agreed to be,” said Hirani.

The director, who has a hattrick of hits – Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots, Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munna Bhai, says after signing the contract with Bhagat, they were not obliged to show the script to the author.

“I was not obligated to narrate the script to him. I have bought the script from him and I am supposed to use it the way I want to use it. I had changed the script drastically, so out of good gesture I wanted him to know it has changed so much and if he feels he doesn’t want to be associated with the film, he can tell me.

“He heard the script for four hours and readily agreed to stay associated, saying ‘I want to stay associated with the film, it’s a fine script’ which he has said in your (IANS) interview too. He signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Now he writes in his blog ‘I wanted to see the final script and it was not shown to me’. It is a blatant lie, he is telling,” Hirani added.

Asked if Bhagat could have a vested interest in kicking up the controversy, he said: “I guess there is a motivation to create the controversy so that people read the book and see the film.”

Hirani says that they never relied on controversies to publicise their creative work.

“Our film is doing exceedingly well. It’s beyond my dignity to create a controversy for a film. We have never sold our soul for our cinema. I’m not stooping to that level to sell my cinema or make extra money.

“When you talk of that percentage thing, it creates a curiosity to read that book and judge the film.”

Would he again adapt Bhagat’s book?

“This came as a shock to me that suddenly he is trying to hog the limelight; suddenly he is trying to take away the credit from the screenwriters who slogged for three years to modify the script. He doesn’t understand the difference between book writing and writing for a film. If he continues doing these things, I would rather not associate with him.”

Currently Hirani is working on two scripts with Abhijat Joshi. One among them is Munna Bhai Chale America, while the other one is a completely different plot. He will start shooting either of them by the end of 2010.

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ROCKET SINGH GOES THE ‘THE HANGOVER’ WAY!

I always believe that promotion is of utmost importance for a film to succeed. It helps to create hype and arouse curiosity which in turn helps the film get a good opening. But some producers don’t stress too much on promotion, presumably for two reasons:

-> The producer doesn’t have enough money to publicize his product. Or maybe, the budget of the film went so high that the producer couldn’t afford to spend additional 2-3 crores on promotion

-> The producer is supremely confident of his product. He is confident that he has come up with a winner and come what may, it will attract audiences and do a great job commercially.

The second reason seems applicable as to why Rocket Singh-Salesman Of The Year, releasing tomorrow, isn’t promoted much.  Obviously, YRF aren’t short on funds so first reason can be ruled out. And going by Ranbir Kapoor’s confident declaration that Rocket Singh is his best film till date, it seems that the film will turn out to be a great entertainer. In his words, “I can proudly say that Rocket Singh… is not just my greatest film till date but also one of the greatest films made in the recent times. Believe me, it belongs to a different world altogether”.

Maybe, Ranbir did this as a personal publicity campaign on his part; after all, actors always do this, isn’t it? But it’s a fact that whenever the Chopras adopt a negligible promotional strategy for their film, then that film works wonders. ‘Chak De! India’ was also badly promoted and many trade pundits had predicted that it’ll fail. It even took an average opening. But the response was extremely positive and from the 2nd day, the film began attracting audiences in large numbers. It later turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters of that year, 2007. Similarly, last year, Chopras went slow in promoting Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which was very successful at the BO.

Another classic example is the case of The Hangover. How many of were aware of this film or had planned to see it when it released? The film had no famous stars and it also wasn’t promoted well across the world. In India, it released with a Hindi biggie, New York and Hollywood biggie, Terminator Salvation. The first day collections were pathetic. But the critics’ positive response and equally satisfying response of junta compelled moviegoers to catch this flick. In big cities, it ran for as many as 6-7 weeks (a rarity for Hollywood films) and was running with 70%+ occupancy even in weekdays!

So the point is-promotion is most vital but when your product is top-class and you are confident about its success, it’s okay to not promote the product much. Even ‘A Wednesday!’ and Mumbai Meri Jaan weren’t marketed well but later turned out to be two of the most loved films of 2008.

Coming back to Rocket Singh, the other reason why its promotion is low is because of Ranbir Kapoor’s presence in the film. He has received immense appreciation from his last 2 films, Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and is already on his way to become superstar. So maybe, YRF is of the opinion that Ranbir’s presence is now enough to get people to theatres. Also the title of the film, title song and the fact that it’s directed by Shimit Amin (director of Chak De and Ab Tak Chappan) has created some curiosity. If the film really turns out to be exciting as Ranbir has said, then he would be immediately crowned as the superstar for sure! Let’s hope for the best!
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CELINA’S AWARD WINNING FLICK NOT RELEASING IN INDIA

Many moviegoers and even those in industry were shocked to hear that Celina Jaitly got the Best Female Actor award for her New Zealand flick Love Has No Language at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF)! A popular Bollywood screenwriter’s status on Facebook read, “Celina has won the Best Actor Award at CIFF. I’m trying to find out whether Stevie Wonder, Ravindra Jain and Nasser Khan (of Shadow fame) were the judges”! Such reactions were expected as Celina was never considered as an ‘actor’ anytime by majority. So this news came as 440 volt ka jakta!

Talking about the film, it has released in several countries but it still hasn’t got a release here in India and now Celina has confessed that the film won’t see a theatrical release here-it would come directly on DVDs. It pains to see inferior treatment being meted out to India so many times. The lead actress in the film is from India, she has even bagged a prestigious award and yet the film won’t release here-doesn’t sound fair, does it? Even Slumdog Millionaire got a very late release in India and it didn’t do a great job as people had already seen the film by downloading from the internet. Somewhere, this should stop!

CHECK OUT THE PROMO OF LOVE HAS NO LANGUAGE HERE

(Ranbir and Celina’s quotes taken from Bollywood Hungama.com)

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chidprllp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk78

Sharmila Ganesan-Ram | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; December 2, 2009)

Mumbai: Kurbaan, typed the eager 26-year-old in the search bar of his favourite website. ‘No results found,’ blinked the screen. Santosh Kannan (name changed), who usually reserves his weekends to watch downloaded movies, was aghast. Never before in the history of this techie’s four-year-old affair with the site Mininova had the search for a new movie yielded zilch results. The explanation, that arrived in tiny font on the site’s homepage, soon made Kannan feel like “I had just lost a friend.’’

Mininova, the largest Torrent (a popular file-sharing software) site offering movie and music downloads and the lifeline of numerous online movie pirates like Kannan, announced last week that it will now only share movies that have been uploaded through its content distribution service. This means that all its illicit Torrent movies have been deleted and, in turn, piracy is now impossible on the site. The portal’s founders took the decision after they lost a civil dispute and were ordered to remove all infringing torrents from the site.

This may be reason for distributors to smile as the move is a big blow to online piracy. But for its numerous patrons like Mulund-based Kannan, who banked on the site for its promise of convenient movie downloads, it marks the end of good times. The dejected Kannan even posted a message on Facebook saying, ‘RIP Mininova’. “I had bookmarked this site as one of my favourites. It was safe as, unlike other Torrent sites, Mininova did not contain porn uploads,’’ says Kannan who must have downloaded about 60 to 80 GBs of content, courtesy Mininova so far.

The site was founded in early 2005 by five Dutch students as a hobby project, but soon, it spiralled into a successful business generating millions of dollars. For years, it faced numerous complaints from copyright holders, who saw their intellectual property being shared by users of the site. Earlier this year, the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN decided to take Mininova to court, demanding that the operators proactively filter uploads pointing to copyrighted material.

Final year science student Aditya Kumar, who has set ‘Goodbye Mininova’ as his chat status, says he saw this coming. “A few months ago Mininova had started moderating the Torrent uploads, which was just a sign that they would soon go legal.’’ Though he admits that “piracy is wrong’’, he can’t help but praise the “good quality prints, great download speed and accurate reviews’’ that characterised the website. “It was incredibly well-organized, and easy to navigate. It didn’t require a complex invite procedure to sign and log in,’’ he recalls.

Of course, the site is not totally dead. But “it’s unlikely anyone will use Mininova for legal stuff,’’ predicts Kumar.

By Bollywood Hungama News Network, October 28, 2009 – 10:36 IST

Aamir Khan Allaying fears of an online identity theft, Aamir Khan has finally confessed that it is indeed he who was masquerading as ‘Pucca Idiott’ on the social networking site Facebook.

Late last night, Aamir wrote on his wall, “Ok guys, I give up. I guess its time to drop my defences. Yeh Star News wale bade kamzarf hain, mera bhanda phod diya, yaar. Not that I mind interacting with all of you, don’t get me wrong. But I have my blog at www.aamirkhan.com for just that.”

And more, “Confession over. Relief…” Aamir also bares his soul, frank as ever, “Here, on Facebook, I was trying to be anonymous so that anyone I interact with treats me like a normal guy. Also I get to know what you folks are really thinking and feeling. Sometimes you might not share everything with me, or might not be totally frank with me, if you know who I am.” Is the star feeling lonely at the top?

He further remarked that it felt good to chat up with his Facebook friends and also added some photos of wife Kiran Rao and him on a holiday in Chamonix, as proof for the skeptics.

By Bollywood Hungama News Network, September 22, 2009 – 16:49 IST

Ram Gopal Varma Ram Gopal Varma is yet again embroiled in a controversy that has one of his protegee at the hilt of it all. The man who is known to have launched many a careers in Bollywood is now being accused of destroying one.

Lalit Marathe who struggled his way into finally completing his first directorial venture Shabri under Ram Gopal Varma banner is rather miffed. Reason being that his film has been stuck for the past three years. To vent his feeling, he took up his cause on Facebook, where, he claims, the campaign is quickly gathering steam as the users are starting to feel that Varma is playing with Marathe’s career.

Marathe’s ire seems to brew from the fact that even though the film is ready, it’s still not getting a release from its producers, RGV and Adlabs. What further aggravated matters was when people from Rome Film Festival approached RGV for the film; they were never directed to Marathe.

While RGV claims that the film is in its post production stage, Marathe calls it an excuse and wonders why it’s taken three years for a film’s post production to be completed.

Apparently, many Facebook users feel for Marathe’s cause and have pledged their support for same. An overwhelming experience for an emotional Marathe.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Pakistani singer Nouman Javaid passed off one of Pritam’s songs in Tum Mile as his creation
By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 21, 2009)

A grab from the music video

Music director Pritam Chakraborty, Mahesh Bhatt and the entire unit of Tum Mile were in for a rude shock when they realised that the film’s unreleased song O Meri jaan sung by Kay Kay is already being marketed as Pakistani singer-music director Nouman Javaid’s song on all prominent music websites. The song also has a music video featuring Nouman. Another shocker was that instead of Pritam getting credit, it was Nouman Javaid who had taken all the credit by speaking at length about ‘his’ song in several interviews.

The story goes that Mahesh Bhatt, who is often known to bring talent from Pakistan, had discovered Nouman who had sung a couple of tracks in Bhatt’s film Jashn. While working on the O meri jaan song, Mahesh suggested that Nouman could be a strong contender to sing the song. The music was sent to Nouman to see if he fits the bill. However, the Bhatts did not find his voice appropriate and recorded the song with singer Kay Kay.

All was okay till a couple of days ago when they heard that just four weeks before the release of the film, the song was doing the rounds on the net. To their shock, they saw the music video on several sites. Mahesh Bhatt immediately called Nouman to give him a piece of his mind and asked him to clearly admit publicly that it is not his song.

Mahesh said, “This is unfortunate for Pritam who had given us an exceptional track for Tum Mile. Nouman has put me in an uncomfortable spot due to his reckless behavior. I would like to say that the music of Tum Mile is 100 per cent Pritam’s.”

“I have always gone out of my way and taken brickbats from people who do not believe in bringing talent from Pakistan. Nouman was exceptional in Jashn and is very talented. But he has disappointed me by jumping the gun too soon. Presenting a video on the net and claiming that it’s yours is not fair. He apologised and said that someone else had made a video and put it online. But when I saw his interviews, I knew that he was not telling me the truth. He assured me that he would go on record to say that the song is not his. I believe he is doing that on his Facebook account.”

Pritam

Nouman Javaid said, “It is a situation which just got out of hand. I want to say on record that the O meri jaan song from Tum Mile is not mine. I have neither sung it nor have I given the music. My relations with Vishesh Films and Pritam are very important to me and I respect them as they are like my family. I had just done the cover version, which is now on the net, for a friend. I have never taken credit for it. It was a fun thing which got leaked on the net and I regret that. Kay Kay is a fantastic singer and I also spoke with Bhatt saab. I repeat that it is not my song.”

By Subhash K. Jha, August 26, 2009 – 12:20 IST

Ayan Mukerji Ayan Mukerji’s film has been flashed in the first blurbs as the story of a younger handsome man and an older not-so-good-looking woman. Ayan is appalled. And not only because his leading lady Konkona has not taken kindly to this description at all.

“I don’t know where that came from. All I can tell you is that this marketing pitch didn’t come from me or Karan. You think I’d dare to call my heroine who I think is awesome, not good-looking?,” Ayan asks angrily. And then without waiting for a reply continues, “It came from a Facebook Wake Up Sid fan club started on the website. Someone just saw Ranbir and Konkona together and decided to draw their own conclusions on their physicality. To me, Konkona is at the moment the most gorgeous woman I’ve met. In fact my last shot was with her, and I just couldn’t stop gawking.”

So is Wake Up Sid about an older woman in love with a younger man? Ayan hems and haws and then relents. “Yes, Konkona’s character Aisha is a few years older than the guy. But it’s not Summer Of 42, please! Nor is the age-difference concealed here as it was between Ranbir and Bipasha in Bachna Ae Haseeno. What happened was we wrote in the age difference because I wanted only these two to be in my film. When I saw Ranbir in Saawariya, I knew this was my Sid. He was young energetic and hungry to seize life. He was like me. You’ve to admit Ranbir and Konkona together are a pair that no one would imagine. I liked that challenge. And I also saw Konkona was around in the industry longer than Ranbir. So, I conveniently turned the character into a slightly older woman.”

Clever, you tell Ayan. So doesn’t he plan to work with his fabulous cousin Kajol? Sighs Ayan, “The thought didn’t strike me for my first film. I wrote Wake Up, Sid as this young new-age Dil Chahta Hai. It’s about today’s youngsters. Kajol? Yeah. Maybe in my next film…if I’m allowed to make another film.”

At the moment Ayan is worried about how the audience would take up to the title. “But it had to be Wake Up, Sid. It’s a wakeup call for this rather laidback hero who meets an unusual woman. It’s a real film with no lip-sync songs. You think audiences in Patna would like it?”

On the night of completion Ayan got dead drunk. “I was very sad that it had ended. Now everyone will move away. It’s a heartbreaking process. I don’t know how Karan goes through it over and over again.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM


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