Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Jodhaa Akbar

Here’s what we suggest you bring out the popcorn for
MUMBAI MIRROR; January 01, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik

Farhan Akhtar’s next film is a story of a lovable loser whose chance meeting with his namesake changes his life forever. Karthik Calling Karthik has a star-studded credit list which includes Deepika Padukone, Javed Akhtar and Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy. Considering Farhan acts in the movies he either directs or produces, it seems like he is bent on wanting to typecast himself as the underdog. Weird but true!


My name is Khan

Bollywood’s biology lessons continue with My Name Is Khan. With 9/11 as the backdrop, the movie follows Rizwan Khan (SRK) who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. This is an autistic disease that makes the victim devoid of empathy. This, of course will give rise to many comical situations, just like Paa did. The film brings together the electrifying pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol back on the silver screen. Add Karan Johar to the mix and you have a surefire hit. But come on, what is the film industry going to explore next, the common cold?


Raajneeti

A modern-day political rendition of the Mahabharata, Raajneeti boasts of an A-list star cast – Ajay Devgan, Arjun Rampal, Ranbir Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Vivek Oberoi, Manoj Bajpai and Katrina Kaif. The movie will use the dilemmas the characters in the book went through, and draw parallels with it in reel life. Katrina Kaif is reportedly playing the role of Sonia Gandhi in the movie. After all both of them are quite similar: accent – check; powerful woman – check; foreign descent – check; relationship with Salman Khan – no one really knows.


Kites

Kites follows the story of Hrithik Roshan, a salsa dancer who falls in love with his student. Language barriers don’t matter here, love conquers almost all. But ‘something’ happens and it’s up to another student Kangna Ranaut to save the day. Maybe Sussanne walks into the movie or some other terrifying event occurs, we don’t know yet. But we hope the movie does better than Hrithik’s personal life.


Raavana

A modern day rendition of the mythological text, Raavana will get Aishwariya and Abhishek on the silver screen together for the first time after getting hitched. The movie has been plagued with problems – floods, elephants stomping around the set, maybe a higher power is sending a message through all of this. We won’t say anything, let the box-office decide.


Action replay

In Action Replay, a man ages backwards… Hmm, let’s see where have we heard this story before? A clear rip-off of the Hollywood hit, Benjamin Button, the film will feature Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai. Director Vipul Shah is back with Akshay Kumar and hopes his dream run will continue.


Teen Patti

As much as producer Ambika Hinduja denies it, Teen Patti’s plot seems like a rip-off of the Hollywood blockbuster 21. The film features three ace actors, Ben Kingsley (supposedly not doing a cameo), Big B and Madhavan. With the help of a unique algorithm, Amitabh who plays a mathematical genius leads a team of college students to make a lot of money. Does Amitabh hold the algorithm for the movie’s success or will this be just another failed spin-off?


Houseful

Akshay Kumar has a slew of releases lined up next year and Houseful, the laugh-riot is one of them. The story follows Akshay who is very unlucky in life and is trying to find true love. The women helping him achieve this goal are Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan. In real life, however, we think it’s the other way around. Akshay will end up teaching Deepika more than two expressions, Lara how to sign movies and Jiah Khan how not to be dropped from the one-odd film she has signed.


No Problem

Anees Bazmee has three mega comedy films lined up next year. One of them is No Problem which has quite a star cast – Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, Sushmita Sen, Kangna Ranaut, Paresh Rawal and Sunil Shetty. The film is a love story of impossible proportions. Another impossible proposition is Kangna actually makes people laugh after making them weep all these years.


Well Done Abba

Shyam Benegal has been travelling the world with his latest film, Well Done Abba. The satirical movie sees Boman Irani play two roles. Fitting two Bomans in one shot is a feat in itself and a testament to Benegal’s directorial skills. The movie follows the journey of Armaan Ali, a driver from Mumbai, who is out to find his daughter’s (Minissha Lamba) beau. Minissha, who has been alternating between commercial and semi-art house cinema, is reportedly playing a strong role in the film.


Guzaarish

The film that is loosely based on Whose Life is it Anyway? has Hrithik playing a paraplegic radio jockey.  The film seems like a cry-till-your-tearbuds-dry-out movie – it explores the dilemma of euthanasia. Hrithik who believes in challenging himself till the cows come home, reportedly, spent hours in the wheelchair when not required to shoot, to get into the head of the character. Hrithik and Aishwarya reunite after Dhoom 2, and with Sanjay Leela Bhansali directing, it becomes one of the most awaited films in 2010, never mind Saawariya.


Road, Movie

Indian cinema has been through many fascinating twists and turns but none quite as romantic as touring cinemas.  Essentially this means that the owner of one mounts the film projector on the back of a truck and the projectionist travels the length and breadth of a state with the truck, stops wherever there is a pilgrimage or a mela and projects the films he is carrying onto a white curtain which is then viewed by the locals sitting on both sides of the screen. Dev Benegal has made Road, Movie about one such projectionist (Satish Kaushik) and the young owner (Abhay Deol) and the adventures they have as they show their movies. The film has been very well received on the festival circuit.


Anjaana Anjaani

After playing twelve characters in What’s Your Raashee?, we’re sure Priyanka Chopra has become a stranger to herself, especially after the film tanked. Siddharth Anand, director of Ta Ra Rum Pum and Salaam Namaste, tries a romcom with Anjaana Anjaani. Starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka, the film shows two strangers who fall in love and the journey they take together.


Aisha

Abhay Deol’s love for Delhi continues with his Bollywood release, Aisha where he plays another spoilt, rich Delhi brat. His character is modelled on Mr Knightly from Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. The movie is a romantic comedy that explores horrible mismatches. It also has a strong female role that has been bagged by Sonam Kapoor.  Whether Sonam is strong enough for the film after two failed films (read: Saawariya and    Delhi-6) is another matter.


Khelein hum jee jaan sey

Ashutosh Gowariker is no stranger to large canvasses (think Lagaan, Swades, Jodhaa Akbar) so it’s no surprise that he is now filming another humongous project, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, which revolves around the Chittagong Uprising in the pre Independence days. After What’s Your Raashee?, this is another film adapted from a book, Do and Die by Manini Chatterjee. Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone lead the star cast and Nitin Chandrakant Desai leads the crew. Hopefully Ashutosh’s version of history will not be challenged,  the way Jodhaa Akbar was.


Knock out

Inspired’ from the Hollywood masterpiece Phone Booth, Mani Shankar will look to re-create the magic in Bollywood. A man is trapped inside a phone booth, not because the door is stuck, but an assassin has a sniper rifle trained on him.  Kangna plays the role of a journalist, Irrfan plays a cop and Sanjay Dutt the assassin.


I Hate Luv Storys

A true-blue rom-com, I Hate Luv Storys brings together the very glamourous Sonam Kapoor and the man with the melting eyes, Imran Khan. Described as a love story not meant to happen but which does happen, it is the story of a man who does not believe in love and a girl who does. They meet on a film set; a milieu the director Punit Malhotra is very familiar with, having cut his teeth on Karan Johar’s sets as an assistant director; and sparks fly.


1-800-Love

When you have a tag line that says, ‘From the makers of Ghajini and Jaane Tu…’ you know you’re in for a commercial roller-coaster. Abbas Tyrewala dons the director’s hat for 1-800-LOVE again and the music score is Rahman’s handiwork. A telephone call connects two people – one who wants to die, the other who is searching for meaning in life. They meet, fall in love, yada yada… If you are watching the movie and you get bored of John Abraham’s three expression repertoire, close your eyes and maybe the music will do the trick for you.


Tees Maar Khan

Tees Maar Khan has gotten more publicity that it ever dreamed of just because Shah Rukh Khan is not playing a role in Farah Khan’s film. But it does seem like SRK has rubbed off on the new lead actor, Akshay Kumar. Kumar plays a ‘stylish’ (metrosexual) conman in the film. He will be joined by Akshaye Khanna, but the female lead has not yet been confirmed.


Hook Ya Crook

Finally, Bollywood gets a movie that shows hope in combining two things that Indians love best – cinema and cricket. Viraj Pradhan (John Abraham) dreams of being a cricketer but is a repeat offender who gets thrown into a maximum security prison. The jail is a haven for cricket players, but Viraj wants much more, he wants to be part of the men in blue. The film has reportedly roped in Indian cricketers for the movie but going by the ads on TV, the word ‘acting talent’ isn’t part of the Indian cricket team’s vocabulary.


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Ashutosh Gowariker and Madhur Bhandarkar are friends again
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 11, 2009)


Ashutosh Gowariker rubbed Madhur Bhandarkar the wrong way when he took digs at Priyanka Chopra at an awards function not so long ago. She was starring in Fashion then and the director Madhur Bhandarkar hadn’t taken too kindly to the remarks. However, when the wives are close friends, the animosity is bound to not last long.

As predicted, the two are friends again after having made up. No one knows who extended the olive branch, but the two have reconciled.

The patch-up happened a few days ago. A source reveals, “The relationship between the two families was too strong to be broken. Madhur’s wife Renu and Ashutosh’s wife Sunita, in particular, were very friendly . They are back to being thick friends again. None of them will tell you who took the initiative to patch up. All’s well that ends well.”

When asked to confirm that all was well between the two families now, Sunita Gowariker maintained, “It always was,” and added, “There was never a fall out for a patch-up to happen.”

Both sides take the same stand. Renu Bhandarkar said, “Everything is fine between Madhur and Ashutosh. Sunita and I meet up frequently. There is no problem.”

Renu and Madhur Bhandarkar Sunita and Ashutosh Gowariker

The trouble had started brewing when Priyanka won the best actress award for Madhur’s Fashion. Ashutosh compared Priyanka with Aishwarya and expressed his shock for Aishwarya not winning the best actress award as she was also nominated for Jodhaa Akbar in the same category. Madhur had shot back in the press, saying, “Ashutosh’s viewpoint was in a very bad taste, because it was a public podium where you just cannot demean anyone, especially Priyanka Chopra who, besides the fact that she had acted in my film Fashion, is also a dear friend.”

After that, both of them wanted to release their films (What’s Your Rashee? and Jail) on the same day at the box-office. That IMPAA did not permit Madhur to release it on the same day is another story.

At any rate, it’s all in the past now.

LOOKING AHEAD: Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the film
Karan Johar is unperturbed by mixed reactions to his recent film

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

Dharma Productions’ Kurbaan with Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead definitely got people across the globe to sit up and take notice of it. Rensil D’Silva’s cross-genre flick that is a love story set against the backdrop of terrorism came in for a mixed view from its audience. However, Karan Johar is not shaken. “I know exactly what I’m doing,” says Bollywood’s prolific and progressive producer. He admits that his banner has in the past been associated with candy floss cinema. But from the start of 2009, Dharma is emerging as a formidable force, and has been making dramatic departures from its safe zone. Says Karan, “With Kurbaan, we did make a complete departure from what we have earlier been doing. Whether it was Dostana or Wake Up Sid, we’ve been dabbling in different genres.” He says that even those films were closer in texture to what he has been doing in the past — like a Kabhie Khushie Kabhi Gham or a Kal Ho Na Ho. “But,” adds Karan, “in the case of Kurbaan, we moved away completely to address a serious issue. And, when we did that, we were well aware that we were treading on a new path. Reactions to the film may be mixed. However, it is my endeavour to raise the bar with each film that I undertake. And, to also make globally relevant cinema.” Of the firm view that the West is watching not only our economic progress but also taking interest in our cinema, Karan feels that, “Sometimes such cinema may not exactly get the box office that one hopes for, but that certainly doesn’t shake my faith in this genre of film.” KJo also feels that the synergy between him and UTV Movies with whom he associated for Wake Up Sid and Kurbaan is truly gratifying in that both production houses are invading a similar cinema space. And have a similar thought process. “UTV produced some of the most amazing films in the last couple of years,” says Karan. “From a Mumbai Meri Jaan, Aamir, A Wednesday, Jodhaa Akbar, Wake Up Sid, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and now Kurbaan — it has consistently backed progressive and meaningful cinema.” And while he will delve into relevant issues like terrorism and autism next (in My Name Is Khan), Karan will keep up the quintessential date movie like I Hate Luv Stories, a fun caper like Dostana-2 and the remake of the Hollywood flick Step Mom. No matter what, Dharma is a banner on a mission. They will never veer away from good cinematic content — be it realistic or pure fantasy. meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on her birthday… and the 15th anniversary of her Miss World crown

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 1, 2009)


ashFifteen years after she won the Miss World beauty pageant, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan continues to be the most celebrated Bollywood brand ever. With her waist-length hair cascading down high cheek bones, and striking green-grey eyes, with bodyguards keeping vigilance, she looks every inch the diva she is. And we ask…


How’s it feel to be the most beautiful face in Bollywood 15 years after you won your crown?

• I’m not very good at handling compliments but I accept it with grace. I’m grateful to God, my audiences and my filmmakers —be it Mani Ratnam (Iruvar, Guru, Raavan), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Guzaarish), Mansoor Khan (Josh), Ashutosh Gowarikar (Jodhaa Akbar), Ram Gopal Varma (Sarkar Raj), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Khakee), Aditya Chopra (Mohabbatein, Dhoom II) and others who never used just my beauty as the fulcrum. Instead, they kept the beauty and the aesthetics going at the same time in each of the film characters I played.


Life has come a full circle. Even after marriage, you still have the best makers backing you.

• These are the same filmmakers I have worked with in the beginning of my career. I got married in the middle of shooting Jodhaa Akbar and when I reported back on his set, Ashu told me that nothing has changed. It just meant so much more hard work for me because when I come to the work front, I don’t want anyone to think of me as being any less professional than I was when I was single. It was important for me to strike the right balance between home and work. All the film-makers I’m working with are super passionate about their work. Thanks to them, I still feel the same adrenaline rush that I always feel when I’m on set.


Earlier this year, you were awarded the Padmashree…

• It has been a memorable year, every other month there has been some honour. I have much to thank God for.


Abhishek and you have tickled audiences with that recent soap commercial.

• It is ten years of my association with the brand. So they suggested that it would be nice to bring Abhishek on board. Honestly, how time flies.


Amitabh Bachchan said it is for you and Abhishek to make him a grandpa whenever…

• Well, if you ask him a question like that, what can he say? It is an apt answer for a parent to give. When I was on the Oprah Winfrey show, I told her that every time there is even a bump, it is assumed that I’m with child. Being pregnant is not something one can conceal. When I am pregnant, the world will know.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

A WINNER ALREADY: A still from the film
… and this time, it’s a Marathi film that’s taking India global

TIMES NEWS NETWORK (BOMBAY TIMES; October 22, 2009)


Marathi writer-director Paresh Mokashi, is one happy man. And why not, his debut film, Harishchandrachi Factory
is India’s official selection for the 82nd Academy Awards. It’s an honour of course, for which Paresh has UTV, Paprika Media and Mayasabha Productions to thank for. UTV whose Rang De Basanti got nominated for the BAFTAs and Taare Zameen Par for the Oscars, will see that this film too, gains global recognition. They have kicked off an aggressive campaign, will target the international media and have extensive screenings in Los Angeles in October and November.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO of UTV Motion Pictures, said, “The Academy recognises films with unusual themes. A little over 90 minutes, HCF has the ability to reach out to international audiences in a grammar of film-making they are conversant with.”


His thoughts are echoed by Vikas Bahl, Chief Creative Officer, UTV Motion Pictures. “We are proud to be bringing worldwide audience a film that tells the story of the birth of film-making in India — the world’s most prolific film producing nation,” he said.


Paresh, who through HCF presented the incredible journey of Dadasaheb Phalke to make India’s very first motion picture,

Raja Harishchandra, said, “What better than to have
one’s debut film about the making of India’s debut film! My search for the subject of my film was over when I first read the adventures of Dadasaheb Phalke. Selection to the Oscars is a very sweet surprise and now I’m hoping for the best.”


According to Smiti Kanodia, Founder & Chairperson of Paprika Media Pvt. Ltd., they were gung-ho about co-producing the film after hearing Paresh’s narration. “It captures the essence of Dadasaheb’s character and showcases fine performances by the actors, music composer and those behind the camera.”


No one in recent years has won more awards than UTV — from Rang De Basanti to Jodhaa Akbar, from Fashion
to Life in a Metro, from Khosla ka Ghosla to A Wednesday, from Mumbai Meri Jaan to Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and from Welcome to Sajjanpur to Dev. D. And now, they have yet another winner on their hands.

By Taran Adarsh, September 25, 2009 – 11:54 IST

Let’s come to the point straight away. When you’ve films like LAGAAN, SWADES and JODHAA AKBAR to your credit, every step you take, every move you make comes under a microscopic view. Naturally then, the expectations from Ashutosh Gowariker’s WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? are monumental.

There’s another reason why WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is special. Casting the same actor in 12 different roles is nothing short of a challenge – for the film-maker, for the writer and also for the actor in question.

BY BOLLYWOO HUNGAMA.COM

Now let’s analyze. WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? works in parts. There are 12 raashees, which means 12 independent stories, plus there’s a story of the dulha [Harman Baweja] and his family as well, also there’s a story of a family-friend [Darshan Jariwala] running concurrently. That makes it 14 stories, 13 songs, approx. 3.20 hours running time…

//

Now to the vital question: Does WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? work?

Let me answer this question by raising a vital point. Did the running time [of 3 + hours] of SHOLAY, HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN, LAGAAN, JODHAA AKBAR and GHAJINI bother you? I am sure, it didn’t. The problem with WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is not its length/running time. The problem is its content.

If any film stands on a weak foundation [writing], even 1.30 hours seem never-ending. Conversely, if the writing is power-packed, even 3.30 hours of entertainment seems less. Let’s not blame the length, for the biggest grosser of the world to date – TITANIC – also had a running time of 3.17 hours.

WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE?, unfortunately, lacks the power to keep you hooked and that’s the prime reason why its running time/length is sure to be criticised.

Oh yes, WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? has some wonderful moments and award-worthy performance[s] by Priyanka Chopra, but everything pales into insignificance when the written material is weak.

To cut a long story short, WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is a king-sized disappointment from one of the finest storytellers of India.

WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is the story of Yogesh Patel [Harman Baweja], a young man who, in his heart, has always wanted a love marriage. Till suddenly he is told that he must find his dream girl within ten days to save his family from utter ruin. Finding the dream girl is tough enough. Finding her in a hurry is even tougher.

His solution is simple; he will meet one girl from each raashee – sun sign, as he feels that is the best way to make sure he finds a suitable wife, while also giving himself twelve chances to fall in love. Two meetings per day gives him six days to meet them, three days to make the final decision and he can get married on the tenth day, or so he thinks.

Based on the novel ‘Kimball Ravenswood’ by Madhu Rye, the concept of WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is interesting, but the big screen adaptation isn’t. To start with, you connect with barely a few stories, mainly the one who has a past and also the final one, of an underage girl. But several stories appear ridiculous and hence, ruin the impact generated by several wonderful moments. The jeweller’s daughter, who believes in punar janam, falls flat. Ditto for the other jeweller’s daughter, who pretends to be childish so as to test the intentions of the dulha. It’s farcical. But the most ludicrous one is the businesswoman who has a pre-nuptial agreement in place, even before meeting the dulha.

Even Darshan Jariwala’s track, towards the end specifically, tests the patience of the viewer. The detective drama is also ludicrous. Besides, the climax is far from convincing. The nanaji appears suddenly with a bagful of currency and the dues of the moneylenders and goons are settled soon after the saat pheras. How convenient!

Even the choice of the girl is debatable, since she has chosen him on a rebound [when she found that her lover was cheating on her]. In fact, the dulha had, rightfully, thought of the girl with the past and should’ve settled with her instead. That would’ve been a convincing finale.

Ashutosh Gowariker gets it wrong this time thanks to the poor screenplay. The writing is the biggest culprit here. Sohail Sen’s music is easy on the ears, but why so many songs? A few songs can easily be deleted. Piyush Shah’s cinematography is perfect.

WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? belongs to Priyanka Chopra. No two opinions on that. Words would fail to do justice to the remarkable portrayal of twelve different characters by this actor. This is her finest work to date. Harman is extremely likable and enacts his part with complete understanding. Darshan Jariwala is alright. Anjan Srivastava is as usual. Visshwa Badola is first-rate. Pratik Dixit does well.

On the whole, WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE? is a king-sized disappointment.

HF

HARISHCHANDRACHI FACTORY IS INDIA’S OFFICIAL ENTRY TO OSCARS!

September-end period is crucial as it’s the time when the film to be sent to the Oscars is announced. 2 years back, a controversy had erupted when Eklavya was sent to the Oscars. Last year’s choice was unanimous-Taare Zameen Par. However, this year, it was difficult to predict which film will ultimately be selected as none of the flicks (at least the Hindi ones) were ‘typical Oscar material’. But The Film Federation of India nominated an unknown upcoming Marathi flick, Harishchandrachi Factory (Harishchandra’s Factory) as India’s official entry to the Oscars.

Although none of the mediapersons and audience has seen Harishchandrachi Factory (HF), the decision has impressed almost everyone. It is a period flick which throws light on Dadasaheb Phalke’s experience while making the first feature film of India, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913! With such an excellent plot, there are high chances that the film will indeed impress everyone when it releases in theatres.

The director of the film, Paresh Mokashi, is obviously happy to see that his genuine efforts have bore fruit. He had wrote the script of the film way back in 2005 but failed to find a financer till 2008. Then, he sold his flat so as to raise money for the film. Kudos to such passionate people who are willing to go to any lengths to fulfill their dream!

HF even managed to beat Bollywood biggies like New York, Kaminey, Dev D, Delhi-6, ‘What’s Your Raashee?’ and the Marathi biggie Mi Shivaji Raje Bhosale Boltoy to become India’s Oscar entry. Anyways, some of these Bollywood films were well made but didn’t deserved to be in Oscars. Even if any of these films was nominated, it would have failed to reach the final 5. Let’s hope HF succeeds at the Oscars!

P.S.: UTV is in talks for acquiring the rights of the film.

(Info derived from articles of Times of India and Mumbai Mirror)
——————————
‘WHAT’S YOUR RAASHEE?’ KA KYA HOGA?

WYR

There has been considerable hype surrounding the 3rd biggie of the season, ‘What’s Your Raashee?’ (WYR). Directed by Jodhaa Akbar and Lagaan director Ashutosh Gowariker and starring Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja, WYR is based on the novel Kimball Ravenswood by Shri Madhu Rye (why hasn’t anyone reviewed the book on MS?). The novelty of the film is Priyanka essaying 12 different characters. Although the film can and should take a good opening, what can go against it is its length. The film’s duration is around 3hrs 30mins which is too long for a romantic comedy. Also, single screens are going to exhibit only 3 shows in a day which may take a toll in its BO collections. Let’s hope the film succeeds in engrossing the audiences completely in its entire 200+ mins duration!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/bafipomro/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk67

Neeta Lulla is no longer Aishwarya’s favourite designer. The star dumped Neeta after she chose Sushmita to walk the ramp for her collection last year
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 19, 2009)

Aishwarya Rai

Neeta Lulla

Fashion designers have always depended on stars to up the glam quotient and build a brand name and designers fiercely guard their relationships with the stars.

Neeta Lulla had a dream relationship with Aishwarya Rai, which seems to have soured after years of working together. The actress is an important client for the designer. As Ash has weaned herself off Neeta, the designer has been trying to resurrect the relationship by sending her texts and trying to win her back.

Perhaps, Neeta should’ve thought about the repercussions when she got Ash’s arch-rival Sushmita Sen to walk the ramp at last year’s Fashion Week. This was akin to being disloyal, as far as Ash was concerned.

Now that Ash has four new films on hand (Guzaarish, Raavana, Action Replay and Enthiram), Neeta is nowhere in the picture. Ash has been opting for Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi instead.

Given the Ash-Lulla history, this is a big snub for the designer. After all, when Yash Chopra introduced them 11 years ago, he predicted that it would be a lasting relationship. It did last – through films like Umrao Jaan, Devdas, Taal, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Ash also weathered much criticism for Neeta’s designs at Cannes.

Friction brewed on the sets of Jodhaa Akbar, when Ash and Neeta clashed over Ash’s outfits in the film. The friendship soured and since then, Ash made it a point to keep Neeta Lulla away. She didn’t attend Neeta’s show at the fashion week last year, where she launched her daughter.

Our source said, “First, it was the Jodhaa-Akbar disaster. Ash maintained a stoic silence, and chose to be dignified. She didn’t want it to affect the Jodhaa-Akbar promotions. Finally, Sushmita is Aishwarya’s arch rival, and her walking the ramp for Neeta was the final nail in the coffin. This year, also Ash has given Neeta the cold shoulder. Sameera Reddy was the showstopper. Yes, Ash is shooting in Goa for Guzaarish, but so what? There were days when Ash would run from any the part of the world if Neeta called.”

Neeta said,  “Who has told you that I have been texting Aishwarya? She replies to my messages when I wish her on her birthday or Diwali.” When we asked why she isn’t Ash’s favourite designer anymore, Neeta shot back, “Why don’t you ask Aishwarya this before asking me?”

By Joginder Tuteja, August 24, 2009 – 15:11 IST

Karan Johar Last couple of months have seen speculations galore around the male lead for Agneepath remake. While names like Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan have popped up and there are various permutations and combinations being thought of, filmmaker Karan Johar comes out and clears the air. He goes on to record to state that no one has yet been finalized to play the part of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan.

“I haven’t given any statement whatsoever around the man who would eventually be playing the role of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan that was made iconic by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. All I have said is that yes, we are going ahead with a remake of Agneepath and that’s about it”, announces Karan Johar.

Whether it is Hrithik, Abhishek or someone else, Karan must be having a wish list though, isn’t it? “Well, the wish list is to get the screenplay right”, laughs Karan, “For the moment nothing else is more important than that.”

Even though the film is coming under the banner of Dharma Productions, Karan won’t be coming behind the camera for the film. “True, I would be stepping aside and the film would be directed by Karan Malhotra who has assisted me on My Name Is Khan. That’s the only thing which has been finalized; rest everything that you hear is mere speculation. We would finalize the cast once the script is locked. Currently, it is still in the process of being written.”

Karan Malhotra is not really a novice when it comes to filmmaking. An erstwhile assistant director, he has also worked with Ashutosh Gowariker (Jodhaa Akbar), Farah Khan (Main Hoon Naa), Farhan Akhtar (Lakshya) and Raj Kumar Santoshi (Lajja, Pukar) amongst others.

Since it is close to two decades since the release of Agneepath (1990), would the remake have a different milieu to it? “Certainly”, comes a response from Karan, “We are adapting the film from the original but ours would be a new age version that would fit in well with today’s time. We really hope that we are able to do justice to the original and make the remake exciting for today’s generation.”

Meanwhile, at last count there are as many as seven films from the house of Dharma Productions that are in different stages of production. This includes My Name Is Khan, Wake Up Sid, Qurbaan, Koochie Koochie Hota Hai, remake of Stepmom, remake of Agneepath and I Hate Love Stories. How is he managing it all?

“Believe me; it’s not difficult at all. All of you have to do is follow a three point ‘mantra’ – ‘Delegation’, ‘Outsourcing’ and ‘Trust’. Along with that, if you have the right vision and infrastructure in place, which we do have in Dharma Productions, it isn’t difficult to crack it all. That’s the way you manage things and I have been fortunate enough to have a team with which it has become possible to helm number of projects at the same time”, explains Karan.

Out of the seven films being made by Karan Johar, there are three of them which are very much in the pipeline.

Wake Up Sid is all set to arrive on 2nd October. Qurbaan will come in late November. Other than that, we are looking at an early 2010 release for My Name Is Khan. Yes, these have been busy and really exciting times”, concludes Karan.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Ashutosh Gowariker makes another three-hour long movie with What’s Your Rashee?
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 20, 2009)

Ashutosh Gowariker

Ashutosh Gowariker likes his films to unfold leisurely, without consideration for minor details like crispness and tight storytelling. What’s Your Rashee? is another three-hour saga, which may not please multiplexes as they prefer to restrict films to two-hours of running time.

At least 40 minutes of the three hours will be taken up by 13 songs. “But they are brief songs, none of them is longer than three minutes,” says Ashutosh. “Besides, the argument that sale of popcorn suffers when films are longer doesn’t hold water. How many of those feel-good films with the supposedly correct playing-time have done well? I don’t think a film’s length decides its box-office destiny. If it did, then Lagaan and Jodha-Akbar wouldn’t have worked. I’m least worried about the playing time of …Raashee?.”

What’s your Raashee? is based on a well-known novel Kimball Ravenswood by Madhu Rye. Condensing the story of one potential groom’s tryst with 12 prospective brides wasn’t easy for Ashutosh. He says, “It has been a tough task. There were so many tracks and characters in the original novel. We modified and condensed the novel to make it cinematic, with the author’s permission, of course.”

Till now, only Sanjeev Kumar has played nine roles in Naya Din Nayi Raat, which is a record number in Bollywood. Now there is Priyanka Chopra in What’s Your Raashee? playing 12 parts, Ashutosh adds, “It’s not 12 girls from different parts of the country, as people are saying. All 12 girls that Priyanka plays are Gujarati. Unlike Sanjeev Kumar in Naya Din Nayi Raat, no prosthetics are used here. All the girls in …Raashee? are between the age of 23 and 24. They are different in dress, mannerisms, speech, hairstyle, etc.”

We hope this three hour long drama refrains from being too self-indulgent.