Fenil and Bollywood

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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

SMILES AHEAD: BT shot Akshay Kumar exclusively on the sets of Khatta Meetha

Akshay Kumar in his avatar as the Common Man

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 1, 2010)

The last decade in Bollywood has primarily been dominated by three Khans (Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman) and one Kumar (Akshay). And even as his brand equity is at an all-time high, Akshay Kumar’s business plan in the new year is to take his banner Hari Om Production (HOP) to greater heights.


The banner which is a late bloomer, swung into action with Waqt — The Race Against Time in 2005, but has already notched up hits like Namastey London, Singh is Kinng, the entertaining grosser De Dana Dan, and is now ready for its next three productions — Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha, Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan and Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House.

Says Priyan, a close associate of Akshay and the HOP, “Khatta Meetha is a satire on the system. It is about the road-mafia which is prevalent all over but more so in Bihar and eastern UP. The main plot line is inspired by R K Laxman’s famous common man. Based on a true incident, this film unveils the travesty of the common man. I have made this film in Malayalam earlier and it was wonderfully received. I’m sure it will be a winner in Hindi too.’’ Both Hari Om Productions and Akshay will move by leaps and bounds in 2010. While the banner will have two releases in Khatta Meetha and Tees Maar Khan, the actor will also be seen in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Houseful and Vipul Shah’s Action Replayy. Of course, it is not all work and no play for this superstar. He is currently on vacation in Goa with his family. Asked what was uppermost on his mind when the clock struck 12, he says, “I sincerely want 2010 to be a year of peace and harmony. I wish BT readers a Happy New Year.’’

Rewinding to his recent Canada trip where he represented India at the Winter Olympics, the superstar says, “I can’t tell you what a proud moment it was when I was handed the Olympic Torch in Canada. It was very moving. In my opinion films and sports are the two passions that can bind any nation.’’ Having talked about his moment of glory on foreign soil, Akki adds, “I’m proud that New Delhi is the chosen destination for the Commonwealth Games. I pray for peace because I want this sporting event to go off really smooth. I want the world to know that India is safe and capable of hosting an event of this magnitude. As a true sports lover this is something uppermost on my mind.’’
HOT! Neha Dhupia in a still from Raat Gayi Baat Gayi

One-night stands are harmless as long as you are not hurting anyone, says Neha Dhupia in a candid chat with BT

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 30, 2009)

Neha Dhupia made headlines with her line ‘In India only SRK and Sex sell’. Now the focus is on her again with Pritish Nandy Communications’ Raat Gayi Baat Gayi releasing tomorrow. The movie, produced by Rangita Pritish Nandy and directed by Saurabh Shukla, won the best film award at the HBO Asian International Film Festival in New York last month. Neha plays the mysterious gorgeous woman hunted down by Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Dalip Tahil, after a night of lots of drinking, sex and zero memory! Ask her if it’s a bold role and she replies candidly, “If you are asking in terms of skin show, then no. But if being bold is a state of mind, then yes.” That’s Neha for you. Not one to mince words, the actress speaks to BT about relationships, sex and movies…

What’s your take on one-night stands?
The problem with one-night stands is that you end up hurting so many people. As long as you are not hurting any one, it’s fine.

In Raat Gayi Baat Gayi you have a onenight stand with a married man…
There are seven characters in the film! Why do you assume it’s my character who’s had the one-night stand? Are you assuming that because I am attractive… Not fair!

Do you think the Indian audience is opening up to sex in movies?
Dev D was a big hit. Indian audiences are open to fantastic scripts. Raat Gayi… is a funny kind of a thrilling experience that takes you through a drunken night. You don’t really know what happened last night. The film is packed with a lot of emotions and it is very relatable. You can relate to one or the other character.

You’ve done movies of various genres… what’s your favourite?
It’s very hard for me to say that. Right from my roles in Singh Is Kinng, De Dana Dan, Mithya, Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local to Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, everything is challenging and at the same time everything is easy. I don’t over-intellectualise the whole acting medium. I’m not working because I have to work. I’m working because I really enjoy doing so.

Are you happy with the way your career has shaped up so far?
I am. I had made a few mistakes, but I don’t regret anything. They have been learning experiences. I have come a long way, but I also have a long way to go…
Yesterday, Deepika was the only Bollywood personality to have dinner with PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama and his wife

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 29, 2009)


Deepika Padukone is on cloud nine. Last night, she was the privileged Bollywood personality to have dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and 20 cabinet ministers at the PM’s residence at 10 Janpath, in Delhi. The dinner was organised in honour of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his wife Miyuki Hatoyama, who are currently on a visit to India.

Deepika Padukone

The Japanese PM and his wife are huge Bollywood fans and expressed their desire to meet Deepika. They loved her in her debut film, Om Shanti Om (2007).

When Deepika got a call from the PM’s office asking her if she would like to attend the dinner, she immediately agreed. Pleased as punch, she even took a day off from the shooting of Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se in Goa to make it for the dinner.

She wore a saree by Manish Malhotra for the occasion.

We spoke to Deepika before the dinner. She said, “It is a privilege and honour for me to be invited for this dinner. I am excited and nervous at the same time.”

From (L): Yukio Hatoyama, Miyuki Hatoyama, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh

WHAT WAS COOKING? Lara Dutta and Tiger Woods
Rumours of Golf Ace and Miss Universe from India resurface

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 28, 2009)

An old rumour dating back to June 2001, is raising its head again and is likely to bring unwanted attention to Bollywood hottie Lara Dutta who is already under media glare for her new relationship with tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi. The story goes that way back in 2001, a year after India had two beauty pageant winners in Lara Dutta at the Miss Universe and Priyanka Chopra at Miss World, Golf Ace Tiger Woods was dating one of them. The rumour was that our Lara Dutta, who was reportedly dating New York Yankees baseballer Derek Jeter, had also caught the eye of the greatest golfer in the world. A US newspaper, in a story on Tiger, had the champion golfer denying he was dating “Miss Universe Lara Dutta of India — or trying to steal her from New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.” The Woods Foundation people, in fact, dismissed the story as being “Nothing more than gossip, probably put out by Dutta’s camp.” And Lara came back to India and fame in Bollywood.

But now that skeletons are tumbling out of Tiger’s woodwork, the gossip that he may have actually dated one of our Indian beauty queens is again gaining momentum. Suddenly Tiger’s denials that were taken very seriously eight years ago are now being re-examined. After all, he has turned out to be quite a champ off the greens. And has swung his club around in every direction!

It was always felt that Hollywood films’ release in India won’t harm the prospects of Bollywood films. But the success of Titanic, King Kong, Spiderman series and more recently the blockbuster collections of 2012 has finally made everyone realize that Hollywood is a force to reckon with in India too. And that’s why all Hindi films scheduled to release on 18 Dec ‘ran away’ to avoid colliding with the release of the biggest film on earth, Avatar. With so much euphoria and curiosity surrounding the film, Avatar was expected to give a fascinating experience. Thankfully, it does! The film is not only a visual treat but is stunningly well made. A must watch for all those who love cinema!

The story of the movie: The year is 2154. A human corporation is assembled in a distant moon, Pandora, in order to colonize it and extract a precious mineral called unobtainium. Pandora is inhabited by strange looking people called Na’vi. The Na’vi are 9 feet in height, their skin is blue and they have tails too. Their way of life is primarily primitive but they reside in perfect harmony with the environment around them. The human researchers on Pandora, under Dr Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) manage to get the Na’vi DNA which enables any human to control and engineer Na’vi bodies of themselves which they called Avatars. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-Marine is dispatched to Pandora and given opportunity to take over his dead twin brother’s place who was an integral part of the Avatar program. He also gets a chance to go through the program and live in the form of Na’vi Avatar. Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) promises Jake that his legs will be fixed if he manages to get information on Na’vi culture and win their trust which in turn will help the military unit. Soon, Jake’s avatar manages to become a member of the Na’vi clan and also falls for a female Na’vi Neyitri (Zoe Saldana), the daughter of the Na’vi chief. Gradually, Jake begins to love Na’vi lifestyle and starts considering as its own. But when the humans start attacking Na’vi to eliminate them, Jake gets in a dilemma as to whether he should be a part of his fellow humans and support their extreme colonization policies or help the Na’vi fight the humans.

Avatar is a masterpiece-no doubt in that! The film not only boasts of some mind-blowing special and visual effects, it has a nice story and execution too which is what makes the film immensely likeable. Moreover, the film is 160 mins long but the best part is that you won’t get bored even for a single moment. There are so many exciting things happening throughout the film that it’ll be difficult even to blink!

James Cameron uses a perfect way of storytelling. He first wonderfully acquainted us with the Na’vis, their way of life, their culture, lifestyle etc and made us fall in love with all these aspects so that our blood boils when the humans barbarously begin harming them later in the film. You rejoice when Na’vi counterattack and you get lump in your throat whenever Na’vi moan and cry helplessly. Thus, Avatar is more of an emotional flick at several points but it is this that will work big time across the world.

Another plus-point is the wonderful depiction of Pandora. It is just like Earth but in several ways, poles apart from our planet. The giant trees, the legendary floating mountains and the animals-the flying banshee and toruk, the strong direhorse, the ferocious thenator and hammerhead, the ugly viperwolf and the blue apes are an interesting watch.

Sam Worthington puts in a worthy performance. He was most impressive as the Na’vi. Zoe Saldana impresses the most with her exciting expressions throughout the film. Of course, it was the CGI that finally made them look wonderful and Na’vi-like. Other Na-vi characters which leave a mark are C C H Pounder (as the queen) and Laz Alonso (Tsu’Tey).

Sigouney Weaver pulled off the ‘I-care-a-damn’ attitude very well. Michelle Rodriguez looked amazing and comes with a brilliant performance. She looks cool navigating the airplane wearing aviator glasses! Stephen Lang perfectly essays the antagonist. The other antagonist Giovanni Ribisi (as Parker Selfridge) also leaves a mark. Others also do a great job.

James Horner’s music was haunting. Mauro Fiore’s cinematography was top-notch and it was nice to see new techniques adopted by the lensman for capturing scenes. Also, the modified 3D Fusion Camera system developed by Cameron and Vince Pace succeeded in providing a visual treat.

The film is nothing without the special effects, CGI and all other kinds of technological advances used in the film. It was undoubtedly a technological feat and also a paisa vasool experience for the viewers! Kudos to each and everyone who contributed in this department!

Finally, James Cameron, the writer and director of the film needs to be lauded for his outstanding work which was no easy task at all. Firstly, it requires vision to think of such a set-up. And it requires patience and meticulous task in executing the film. Cameron succeeds in each and every aspect of making Avatar. Also, he shrewdly and indirectly reminded us of US’ policies towards Iraq. The dialogue “If people are sitting on the $hit we want, you make them your enemies!” sums it up! And finally, what makes Avatar stand out from the rest of SFX films is that in the battle of alien v/s humans, here it is the aliens who finally triumph over the humans!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.       Jake’s Avatar running from the beasts
2.       Jake and Neyitri meet for the first time
3.       Neyitri teaches Jake the Na’vi culture
4.       Jake gets his own banshee
5.       The human’s first round of attack on Na’vis
6.       Jake, Doc and other escape from detention
7.       The final 35 minutes

On the whole, Avatar is without a shred of doubt an outstanding flick in all respects. It boasts of some of the best special effects but at the same time, it has soul too. It has universal appeal and that’s why will succeed everywhere in the world. All movie freaks and even those who are not should not be missing Avatar at any cost. The 3D version will of course give you never before sensed experience but this film will be enjoyed in 2D too. JUST GO FOR IT!!

My rating-***** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Avatar-182387-1.html

Vishal Bhardwaj is upset that the censor board will not pass a promo of Ishqiya unless he beeps out the word ‘sex’ from the dialogue

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 17, 2009)


Vishal Bhardwaj is upset that the promo of his forthcoming film Ishqiya has not been passed by the censor board. The promo was to go on air from December 20. Only if Vishal agrees to beep the word ‘sex’ from a dialogue, will he be allowed to air it. The dialogue is spoken by Arshad Warsi and addressed to Naseeruddin Shah

Now Vishal has no option but to beep the apparently offensive word from the promo.

Ishqiya

Vinayak Azad, Regional Manager, Censor Board says, “We had initially passed the promo with an ‘A’ certificate for a theatrical release. Now they want a U/A certificate as they wanted it to air on television, which we allowed. Since the impact of the promos is higher on television because it is shown repeatedly, we asked for the word ‘sex’ to be beeped out. I believe they are not happy about it and want to approach the revising committee.”

Vishal Bhardwaj

The director, of course, doesn’t agree with the board’s views. Vishal Bhardwaj says, “It’s sad. Our society is regressing so much that we fear to even utter the word ‘sex’. And this is why India is the worst AIDS-affected country in the world. The people on the board who have objected to the word should remember they are in this world because of sex.”

Dibakar Banerjee gets voyeuristic in his next film

PRIYA SUGATHAN Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 17, 2009)

With the super success of Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye, Dibakar Banerjee has come to be the new-age Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chaterjee rolled in one. While his third film Love Sex Aur Dhoka (LSD) continues to remain urban-centric and small-budget, it is going to be a radically different experience than its predecessors.

“The word ‘sex’ adds to the allure of the film. Why do we make so much out of this three-letter-word? When it’s accepted that it’s as basic a need as eating food, everyone indulges in it, and yet there’s a taboo to it. It also forms a major part of voyeurism, which is the premise of the film. We have turned voyeuristic in recent times. We want to know what’s happening behind closed doors, or catch a celeb with his pants down. It’s a streak that’s spilling over in our relationships, in our entertainment and the news. Even our ideas on love or sex are not our own, but borrowed from what’s seen on screen,” says Dibakar as he explains the subject of his film.

LSD will be India’s first digital film. “The Hindi filmgoer is going to be stunned. The film could only be shot on a digital format. In this age of online videos, Youtube, MMS, it’s time we explored these mediums to tell our stories. The format has its own grammar. I had to unlearn all my filmi gyan. It was my ground zero. I shot the film using cameras that were smaller than a lipstick, from inside a purse and also used infra red lights that are mostly used by soldiers in the night during war. It was necessary as the ‘camera’ plays the important character in my film,” explains the director.

Another first for Dibakar is his collaboration with Ekta Kapoor. “No one understands entertainment the way Ekta does. The one thing that I look for in my producers is how excited they get with the idea. Ekta understood that she was looking at a new way of filmmaking that would rewrite the rules in the Indian film industry. She not only liked the unique treatment of the film, but also its universal story of love, sex and betrayal,” reveals Dibakar, whose ‘peep show’ is set to release in early 2010 with complete newcomers in the cast. A 10-minute screener was shown to international delegates and film festival conveners at the Goa Film Bazaar and the response was exhilarating.
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.

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