Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Indian

3 Idiots’ Omi is an established actor in the US, now in Bollywood

By Lekha Menon (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


His distorted Hindi speech is one of the biggest talking points in the recently released 3 Idiots. In reality, it was an almost similar monologue that fetched Omi Vaidya,  (who prefers to be called Omi) an LA- based actor, the role of Chatur Ramalingam in the Aamir Khan-starrer.

On a trip to Mumbai to check out the Bollywood scene, Omi was asked by a friend to appear for an audition. The first audition went off without a hitch, but at the second he was given a dialogue from Munnabhai… to mouth. “I just rattled it off without exactly understanding the words… almost like the speech scene in the film,” says Omi. The next thing he knew, he was pencilled in for the role of the accented, mark-obsessed NRI geek in the film.

The instructions he received from the makers were clear: Don’t take Hindi classes, stop watching Hindi movies and put on weight.

Omi followed them to the T and now of course, he is revelling in the compliments coming his way for his role in the blockbuster. “I am still flabbergasted by the response. I guess people have liked the character because he is so relatable. In a way, this character’s negativity brought out the essence of the message more forcefully,” says Omi.

Incidentally, he began his acting career at the age of six, performing for Marathi Mandals in the US (also the reason why his Marathi is much better than his Hindi). He pursued a serious acting career in his teens, graduated in film studies from NYU and did roles in  Bones, CSI Las Vegas, The Office and Arrested Development, besides ads.

But being Asian or Indian, it’s still a tough task to break into Hollywood,  says Omi. “It’s difficult for Indians to get into the mainstream. At the most, you might be cast as an IT professional or other stereotypes.”

Omi in 3Idiots

That’s when he thought of exploring Bollywood, though there were other apprehensions. “The Hindi film industry is still not taken that seriously in the West. There are myths that it is unprofessional, and is mainly about songs and dances.”

But all his fears were put to rest once he joined the cast. “Here, there is a personal touch, unlike Hollywood. Even if they don’t pay you by the hour and there is no extra time, there is warmth and care. I basically saw my Bollywood innings as a challenge. A lot of credit also goes to Raju and Abhijat Joshi for the way the character came across on screen.”

Not surprisingly, after the stupendous success and appreciation, he is here for the long haul. Omi, plans to divide his time between the US and India and work in films ‘that don’t necessarily typecast him as an NRI but are dynamic and enjoyable.’

And for the record, he has now started taking Hindi classes as well.

MAKING WAVES: Priyanka Chopra with Arindam Chaudhuri

TIMES NEWS NETWORK (BOMBAY TIMES; December 21, 2009)

Management guru Arindam Chaudhuri’s latest blockbuster book, Discover The Diamond In You is creating records and the latest to join The Discover The Diamond In You fan club is Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra!

Says Priyanka, “This is that one book that every Indian should read to get inspired and feel empowered. It’s certainly my new year’s gift to all my friends! I could relate to every page in the book and the examples. The best part of the book is there is no moral lecture and it does not recommend any kind of dependence on the unknown or destiny. Arindam offers a practical, do-it-yourself logical guide to success. I totally loved it and I think being from the world of films, it’s a must for every aspiring actor to retain his or her sanity and know the path to success. No wonder ‘You are a diamond’ is the new way to compliment now!” Even in cricket stadiums one can see placards like ‘Dhoni you are a diamond’ these days. Says publisher Piyush Chawla, “Despite the affordable Rs 150, price of the book, we recovered Rs 25 lakh advance we gave Arindam in the first week itself.” And never before has an Indian author’s book sold 1 lakh copies in less than 10 days, leaving the publisher running to print more in record time. All Arindam has to say is, “I want to reach out to every household with this book and I hope the entire country discovers the diamond in themselves.”
After Sarfarosh in 1999, John Mathan is working on the script for the sequel
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 09, 2009)


Director John Mathan is a busy man. He has begun working on Sarfarosh’s sequel while already working on the remaining portions of A New Love Ishtory.

John has just started writing the script of the sequel. He has decided to meet Aamir Khan, the lead actor of Sarfarosh, after he completes the script. The duo will discuss the details of the film. Actor Rakesh Bapat may play one of the key characters in the film. The lead actress still has to be cast.

John confirmed the story, but he refused to give us an insight into the storyline of the sequel. He said, “Hopefully, the script should be ready soon. Only after I complete it and provided I like it, I will talk to Aamir.”

But our sources insist that the director is very keen on carrying the theme of national security forward. The source said, “The villain in Sarfarosh, played by Naseeruddin Shah, was not an Indian. In the sequel, John wants to dwell upon the enemy within.”

(L):Aamir Khan, Sarfarosh, John Mathan

ON A POSITIVE NOTE: Aashish Chowdhary
Aashish Chowdhary, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the terror attack in Mumbai last year writes

I feel humbled by all the strength my friends and this fraternity gives me. Also, I do realise how I must let go of all that, that is buried inside me. I also am aware that there are plenty of others who have gone through a lot too. But, I am in the hope that all of you will understand me when I tell u that it is not the right moment for me to come out and say absolutely anything regarding the issue.


My sister’s kids are living with and being taken care of by their paternal grandparents. I haven’t spoken about it much because I feel that my family needs to be left alone. I have been misquoted on this sensitive issue recently, and I wish people would stop doing that.

I just want to request one and all to help each other for a start. Whether it’s the government, the doctors, teachers, the common public, whoever. We all need to help each other. Have love, respect for each other. There are so many incidents like these with really poor people too. We can start with some charity if nothing else. The revenue of all the events and programmes that are held on the pretext of the anniversary of 26/11, for example, should be given to charity. Lots more can, and should be done.

And finding the problem and curing it is not the end all. We’ve got to cure it from the root. It is not only people like Kasab. He is a victim himself. A victim of wrong preaching, false teaching. Kids are being brainwashed from a really young age to commit felony in the name of religion. It’s sad. But it’s true. My dearest friends are Muslims and they have a totally different meaning of Jihad. I do not think it’s the religion. The Islamic religion is beautiful in my eyes. It’s the select few, who are on an entirely different zone. All of Pakistan is not as its being perceived. It’s just that the cockroaches in that home have to be removed. All homes have some pests or the other. Crimes are committed in India, too, my friends.

I know I’m saying so much despite of starting by saying I don’t want to. But, what I’ve said is what I think all should know. We are all humans. We should love each other. Hate is a big, bad emotion. It’s got to be eradicated. Religion is not the be all and end all. I say all the internal religious problems in our enchanting, multi-faceted India too should be thrown in the back seat. We have to unite. It’s the need of the hour. For me — as a fellow human to all — I’m a human being first, then an Indian, and then… full stop!
BOMBAY TIMES (November 26, 2009)

By Subhash K. Jha, November 12, 2009 – 10:14 IST

Rensil D'Silva Is Vivek Oberoi getting a raw deal? The Kurbaan promos feature Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor all the way. Vivek Oberoi who plays the third main protagonist is hardly glimpsed in the entire promotional campaign, triggering off a widespread feeling that things are not so right between Vivek and the Kurbaan team.

However, the explanation for Vivek’s absence is far more bizarre than the normal raw-deal rona-dona.

Apparently, his role is so deeply affiliated to the plot’s suspense that every moment shown in the promos featuring Oberoi would have the tendency to give away the story.

Laughs director Rensil D’Silva, “It’s a very strange situation. Vivek is one of the central characters. But almost every scene of his is a dead giveway of the suspense. What do we do?”

Rensil has discussed the problem with Vivek. “And he is absolutely cool with being the band mutthi of the film. I’ve spoken to Vivek and explained the dilemma. He was cool with not being featured in the promos that much. He said to do whatever is right for the film because when the film opens the truth about the extent of his role would be out. Vivek has worked very hard in the film. He had to acquire a true New Yorker’s accent and not the kind Indians get at the John F Kennedy airport.”

Vivek worked really hard on the accent. “We had a couple of New Yorkers on the sets to coach him. He’s got the NY accent bang-on. It’s not a borough-specific accent (NY has 5 boroughs each with its own speaking pattern). It’s a general New York twang. And Vivek is superb with it.”

Rensil cuts down the belief that Vivek has a cameo in Kurbaan? “Not true at all. Vivek is in 80 percent of the film. He’s central to the drama. Vivek worked very hard on the role. He was in my room in Philadelphia every night to discuss his diction, dialogues and looks. I seem his career at the cusp of something really exciting.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

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.

BRAZILIAN BEAUTY: Giselle Monteiro

HARSHADA REGE Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; Aug 6, 2009)

Who’s that girl — that’s the question everyone is asking after watching Saif Ali Khan swoon over Punjabi kudi Harleen Kaur in his new film. Well, she is Brazilian model Giselle Monteiro, 20 who can barely speak a few Hindi words. As to how she landed herself a Bollywood film, Giselle smiles, “I came to Mumbai early last year and within 20 days I was signed for this film. I was at a photoshoot when someone told me that Imtiaz Ali is looking for a foreigner to play Saif ’s girlfriend. It was a small role, but I thought I’d give it a shot, and when I went for the audition, Imtiaz felt I would be perfect as Harleen.”

Giselle’s not new to the arclights. The lovely lass began modelling back home when she was only 17. “My dad told me that if I want to carry on studying I will have to fund myself. That’s how I got into modelling. Also, I wanted to travel, so I left home and travelled around the world,” she says. From Europe to Hong Kong to Thailand and finally India, Giselle is now at home in Mumbai. She wasn’t surprised she was asked to play a Punjabi girl. “I’m often asked if I’m an Indian, so coming to India and exploring the market here was always on my mind. Luckily for me, I was playing a shy girl in the film, so I didn’t have much dialogue,” she laughs. “Right now, all I can say is chai lao and namaste… but people come up and try to talk to me in Hindi.”

She’s in a steady, long-distance relationship with a boy back home. “Marcos hasn’t seen my Bollywood film yet,” she says. And it’s doubtful if she will be able to go home to share its success with him, for Bollywood has taken notice of the Brazilian beauty. “I haven’t signed anything as of now. I have to start attending language classes and, most importantly, dance classes. It’s really difficult to cope with the jhatkas, but I am getting into the Bollywood groove now,” she says.