Fenil and Bollywood

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ON A SONG: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in My Name Is Khan and (below) Karan Johar

Karan Johar releases Sajda, the first track of his new film, today

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 3, 2010)

Today music lovers will have a special reason to groove. For the soulful, melodious, Sajda track from Karan Johar’s romantic drama My Name is Khan will play across every satellite channel and radio station.

The fortunate few who have already heard the track sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma say it holds the promise of becoming the anthem of 2010. Karan Johar says, “I’m glad Sajda has got an ovation.’’ He adds that working with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on this track was indeed different from the previous experiences of Kal Ho Na Ho and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna — both chartbusters in their own right…but both more similar to each other in a way.

“On the other hand, for MNIK, we decided to have music which is a sharp contrast to the visuals that may dominate the screen. The music has a rustic and soulful feel; the songs aren’t your regular lipsynced numbers, as is the normal practise, yet each track is a haunting melody and will leave behind an indelible mark.’’


Candidly Karan admits, “I’m besura, I can’t sing to save my life, I can’t play a single music instrument, yet if my films do throw up songs that find a following, it is simply because God has blessed me with the ability to say yes or no to a track that is suggested to me by my composers.’’

Explaining how Bollywood film music has been his raison de etre for 30-odd years, Karan says, “I’m obsessed with Hindi film music. Be it on my radio or my iPod you will find me listening only to Hindi film songs. I have grown up listening to music from the 40s until now; and in a way, I can say I have developed a keen ear for it.’’ Praising his composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the filmmaker says, “I don’t know how the three of them work in such perfect tandem. But they do. If I had to have a co-director, I’d probably kill the person. But these guys are amazing.’’ The trade also has given Sajda a thumbs up. This track which has a sufiana kind of feel climbed to the eighth spot on the charts within minutes of it being aired. Of his lead pair, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, on who the MNIK tracks have been picturised, Karan says, “If Kajol loves a song, she’ll say so instantly. As for Shah Rukh, most of the songs he vocalises seem like they are owned by him because he is one actor who gives 300 per cent to every song he sings. SRK’s tracks have that evergreen quality because when he is on screen singing them you just feel the song was made for him and none other.’’
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

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I don’t know what the trade pundits have to say about Karan Johar’s Kurbaan, but Saif Ali Khan, whose first film this is opposite Kareena

Saif Ali Khan

Saif Ali Khan More Pics

Kapoor, is very confident about the November 20 release.

MARK MANUEL (Bombay Times; November 5, 2009)

“I’ve a good feeling about it,” he told me. We were talking on the phone because he’s here, there and everywhere promoting the film, and just not available in Mumbai.

Tuesday he was in Delhi, yesterday London, next Dubai. “There’s more to life than shooting,” he sighed. In the background, I could hear Kareena prompting his replies. They’re not doing all the promotions together, because she’s busy making Stepmom with Karan at the same time, and Saif… well, after this he swore he’s taking a month off in December to “train and get into serious shape” before they start shooting for his home production Agent Vinod. His idea of training is not the same as Aamir’s or, say, Salman’s.
“I won’t get a funda trainer… but just kill myself in the gym. It’ll be a combo of yoga and weights. You don’t need a NASA scientist to get a great body,” he chortled.

He’s worked with Karan before in Kal Ho Na Ho, but that time, the filmmaker was completely involved in every aspect of the film. This time, Karan has left it to director Rensil D’Silva. “So the film’s got its own flavour,” explained Saif, “Rensil has brought his ad world sensibilities to Kurbaan, and this is not a filmi kind of movie… it’s a love story and thriller with a socio-politically relevant background. When I step back and see the promos, the posters, I’m like – wow!” Which means he’s confident about what it will do at the box-office. “But there’s also the risk of an off-screen couple being boring on-screen,” he admitted.

“Which means Bebo and I have to choose our roles carefully. We’ve got to present an exciting avatar on-screen… more than the usual pairing. And that we have done in this film. I was equally confident about Love Aaj Kal (his last film and first home production)… but there were moments of panic as well then. In this business, it’s tough to be consistent about your emotions. I can’t be like a rock. I go through ambivalence.”

There’s a lot riding for Kareena, as well, in Kurbaan… especially since her last film Main Aur Mrs Khanna, and Kambakht Ishq before that, didn’t exactly do much for her at the box-office. Saif, aware that she is listening to our conversation, defended his co-star and love. “I preferred her in Jab We Met,” he said cleverly.

“And I thought she looked stunning in Kambakht Ishq. It was a clever attempt at a commercial potboiler. Akshay was very funny. But people discuss Kambakth Ishq as if it was of great national importance. It was a fun film. Main Aur Mrs Khanna… I’m not sure, I saw a rough print, I don’t watch too many films, I’m not an authority… it was a sweet film, I don’t know what to say, baba! I think she chooses all kinds of films. She covers the entire spectrum of Hindi cinema in her choices… not all of them for the best! She’s done Kambakht Ishq and Main Aur Mrs Khanna this year, now she’s got Kurbaan, then 3 Idiots, and she’s working on Stepmom… all different. I think she works more for the audience than herself!”

They’ve worked together in Tashan earlier. The film, well, was disastrous… but it brought them close. Was Kareena different as an actress then, I asked. Saif hummed and hawed, then safely replied, “The same… she’s focused and a sensitive artiste, very concentrated. Also great fun to work with. I had just a couple of scenes with her in Tashan. So Kurbaan is really my first experience with her. There are few people I’ve met who are more passionate about their work. And I’m impressed with that. It’s not just about giving your shot… her knowledge of cinema is great and all round, and she has a deep interest, which I find very cool.”

Naturally, there must have been joys and pains in working with her. I pictured him giving her a backward glance then saying, “No pains, being together, creating something special, watching each other at work… those were the joys. I normally don’t have to worry about my co-star’s moods because I’ve not been so deeply involved with a co-star. But here we were connected. So I had to take time… to get comfortable… to find my own space… to figure out what to do between shots, how to unwind, I mean… we didn’t have to be together all the time. It’s a bit like working with your mom… she knows you so well, there’s no scope of impressing her!

” So, who’s your favourite actress, I asked Saif Ali Khan, the artful dodger. “Suchitra Sen, Zeenat Aman, Madhubala…” he began. Then, “Oh, you mean who I’ve worked with… I don’t know what to say… I’ve not worked with too many… but Rani’s a great co-star and Kareena’s fab… but my favourite actress, hmmm…” And Kareena Kapoor replied for him from the background, “Monica Bedi!”


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