Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘LA

FINGERS CROSSED: A R Rehman
A R Rahman has got two nominations for Slumdog Millionaire

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Newtwork (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

A R Rahman, the most talked about Indian of last year, is counting down to the 52nd Grammy Awards. They’re being held on January 31, at LA, and the Oscar-winning music composer has won two nominations for his soundtrack from Slumdog Millionaire. The song Jai Ho – which fetched Rahman two Academy awards and a Golden Globe – has been nominated for ‘Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’ and also for ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’. Rahman, naturally, is pleased. While he’s aware the Oscar Awards for Slumdog Millionaire required a whole lot of lobbying, the Grammy needs no such push. “All I’ve to do is wait and watch what happens. The Grammy is as exciting as the Oscar. It’s the ultimate music award, isn’t it? Although it’s a nomination for a film song, the Grammy is still another shot in the arm for Jai Ho. Any recognition is welcome. Jai Ho is an important song.” Not strangely, he feels a huge sense of responsibility. “I hope I never let down my country, my people, my music, my family and myself,” said the music genius who has just returned home after being in his “other base” — Los Angeles.

Rahman, meanwhile, is unhappy with the outcome of his first Hollywood soundtrack. “The music of Couples Retreat got a good response. But I feel my music was not used properly. It was a comedy. I guess you can’t expect music to have much of a place in a comedy. They were more into laughter than music,” he complained, adding, “The music has all been used. But not the way my fans would expect. I was prepared for the outcome when I entered this project.” So he’s not really disappointed by his first foray into Hollywood. “If I had waited for the perfect Hollywood vehicle, I might have had to wait endlessly. It’s not easy for an Asian to enter into Hollywood camps. It’s a new beginning for me. I got great reviews.”

He’s got a lot of offers but also has a tough schedule this year to be able to give any more time to new commitments. And, contrary to rumours, acting is not one of Rahman’s forthcoming commitments. “That’s completely false news,” he said shocked. “I am not going into acting. I’m going to be speaking in a documentary on my friend, the musician P. J. Mortan. We’ve known each other for some time. He collaborated with me for a track in Couples Retreat. That’s it. It’s not a feature film. I’ve no aspirations to go into acting. God has given me one skill and I’m very happy with it.”
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Karan Johar gives his new year plans a miss; will remain in Mumbai to complete the last leg of My Name is Khan. SRK follows suit; will spend time with family at Mannat

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 31, 2009)


Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan are not just the co-producers of My Name is Khan, they plan and cancel their holidays in tandem too. While Karan will stay in town to work on the editing and soundwork of My Name is Khan; SRK will have a lazy time with family at his residence in Bandra, Mannat.

Karan had initially planned to go abroad to bring in the New Year and SRK was supposed to stay at his Dubai villa. However, SRK will return from Dubai to spend a quiet new year at his house.

Our source said, “Karan had cancelled his new year plans last year, because of the 26/11 attacks. He has been visiting Goa for the new year for the past three to four years. This time, he was really looking forward to visiting either LA or New York. He was forced to cancel his trip as he is busy with the editing and some final technical work in the sound department.

Shah Rukh Khan Karan Johar

SRK had planned to spend the New Year at his Dubai villa with family. But he has also changed his mind and is now returning to Mumbai in the afternoon.”

Karan Johar could not be reached as he is busy editing his film and SRK remained unavailable for comment.

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.

Ekta Kapoor signs Sendhil Ramamurthy, popular Hollywood actor of TV series Heroes, for the lead in her next film

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


Ekta Kapoor has managed a casting coup of sorts. She has signed Hollywood sensation Sendhil Ramamurthy (of TV series Heroes) for the lead role in her next directed by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru (directors of 99). It’s a three-hero project.

Confirming the news, Ekta says, “It is true. He is one of the biggest Indian actors abroad. It was not easy to sign him and it took us about six months to rope him in. We had to go through a long process of meeting his agency in LA and then have the narration. However, the effort was worth it as he is on board. I think it is a big coup for all of us.”

Talking about the film, Ekta says, “Tusshar (Kapoor) is playing another lead role in the film. We have to finalise one more actor. This is Sendhil’s first mainstream Bollywood film. We are also trying to rope in some more international actors. Sendhil’s expected to be here in January, following which we start shooting for the film. It is a slice-of-life kind of a film, which has humour and shock elements. At this juncture, I cannot reveal anything more than this.”

ABOUT SENDHIL

Thanks to Gravity, Blind Dating and Little India are some of the Hollywood films that Sendhil has acted in. He has also done TV shows Ellen, Casualty, Guiding Light, Ultimate Force, Grey’s Anatomy and Numb3rs. However, it is his role in the TV series Heroes, which is most talked about. The character that Sendhil plays in Heroes, Mohinder Suresh, was originally written for a 55-year-old. However, his audition tape and screen test were convincing enough for the writers to rewrite the part for him.

WHEN FILMS DON’T GET A TIMELY RELEASE…

RAAT GAYI BAAT GAYI:

Last week’s discussion of The Hangover brings to my mind another topic of the upcoming film Raat Gayi Baat Gayi (RGBG) which is all set to release on December 31. Presented by Percept, produced by Pritish Nandy and Rajat Kapoor and directed by Saurabh Shukla, RGBG stars Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia Anu Menon, Navneet Nishan and Dalip Tahil. The film was announced 2 years back in 2007 and it’s ready since a long long time. But due to some reason, the film which could have released earlier this year is now finally releasing (and anyways, when Percept is involved, then that film is bound to get postponed!!).

On the other hand, The Hangover released this year and took the world by storm. Unfortunately, RGBG’s plot is very similar to that of The Hangover. While The Hangover was a story of four friends going to LA for a bachelor party only to wake up the next morning and not remembering a thing, RGBG involves three men who attend a party with their wives and where they come across a sexy lady. The men get drunk and when they wake up next day, they couldn’t remember what happened after meeting the lady. So the amnesic angle is common in both of the films but the situations are drastically different.

However, RGBG is not a copy of Hangover as the script of RGBG was written way back and the shooting was also completed last year, some 7-8 months before Hangover released. But the damage is done-a huge section of moviegoing audience has already thrashed RGBG as a ‘copy’. Teasers of RGBG are uploaded on YouTube with the title ‘Promo-Raat Gayi Baat Gayi (Hangover Remake)’. Madness!

Now it remains how RGBG is received by the audience and critics. The exciting news is that it won the Best Film Award at the HBO’s South Asian International Film Festival held in New York in Oct-Nov. This again is an indication of the originality of the script of the film! I hope the lesson is learnt-let’s not waste time in releasing our films.

KHALLBALLI:

Khallballi, on the other hand, seems like a copy of De Dana Dan (but it’s not)! This flick too is ready since a long time. Directed by Ajay Chandok (director of flops like Nehlle Pe Dehlla, Team-The Force etc), it stars Nikhil Dwivedi (who debuted in My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves), Southern siren Sada, Rajpal Yadav, Suresh Menon, Johny Lever, Zakir Hussain, Asrani, Vrajesh Hirjee, Tiku Talsania, Chunky Pandey and many others. The promos of the film began somewhere in September last year and the film was scheduled to release on Jan 9, 2009. But it was pushed forward and since then, there has been no news on the film.

The producer of the film, Azam Khan who had carved out a wise promotional strategy for Phoonk, had even thought of a similar idea for Khallballi. During Phoonk, anyone sitting throughout the film without getting scared was to be given 5 lakhs. For Khallballi, the produced challenged anyone to sit through the film with a straight face without any signs of laughter. And the reward here was double-Rs. 10 lakhs!

After the film got postponed indefinitely, the contest was thrown out of the window and Azam Khan is now busy with Phoonk-2! Even if Khallballi gets a release in near future, it’ll be dubbed as a ‘poor man’s De Dana Dan’ as the plot in both films are almost same-the lovers and other interesting characters inside a hotel leading to mistaken identities and helter-skelter in the end! Very unfortunate!

CHECK OUT KHALLBALLI’S PROMO BELOW!


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GET READY FOR AVATAR’S RELEASE


The biggest flick of all time, Avatar is hitting the screens tomorrow. Directed by James Cameron of Titanic fame, the film is expected to provide a fresh outstanding experience of cinema. The makers are recommending the viewers to watch it in 3D. But everywhere, the film is releasing in 3D in handful of theatres. Anyways, Avatar seems a must watch film and all those wanting to have some exciting experience should definitely watch it!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/hbddsuolp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk79

Karan Johar worked for 48 hours to perfect My Name is Khan

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 10, 2009)


Karan Johar knows that first impression is the last impression. The first look of his much-awaited film My Name is Khan all set to hit the theatres on December 18 with the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar. As a result, Karan is having sleepless nights just to make sure that the first look creates the right buzz about the film.

Karan did not sleep starting Saturday morning to Monday morning as he was busy finalising the first look of My Name is Khan.

(L): Karan Johar, My Name is Khan


A source said, “My Name is Khan, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, is one of Karan’s most ambitious film to date more so because it is a subject that he has never attempted to make so far. He also cancelled his trip to LA to finalise the film’s first look over the weekend. He reached office early on Saturday morning to start working on the edit and didn’t stop till Monday morning 7am. He must have barely taken an hour-long nap in those two days. SRK too joined him on Saturday night and they had a meeting about how they plan to go about promoting the film. SRK saw some portions of the first theatrical promo and then left the Dharma Productions office early on Sunday morning. However, Karan continued to work and only left on Monday morning after he was satisfied with the first look.”

Karan remained unavailable for comment. He probably was catching up on his sleep after the marathon edit session.

BOLLYWOOD CALLING: Sir Ben Kingsley
Looking like Gandhi, eager to be Shah Jehan, but happy to discuss his role in Ambika Hinduja’s film with Big B

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 3, 2009)

Sir Ben Kingsley is in town, still looking like Attenborough’s Gandhi of a quarter century ago, though now with a natty little French beard that’s taken away the Mahatma’s air of benevolence and given him a hawk-like, quizzical expression. This, I think, is his look of Teen Patti, young Ambika Hinduja’s February 2010 release in which Sir Ben plays Perci Trachtenberg, the world’s greatest living mathematician, opposite Amitabh Bachchan. He was in Goa earlier this week, the star guest at the International Film Festival of India in Panaji, from where he air-dashed to Delhi and then to Mumbai. But because his publicist in LA could not get him to meet me here, Sir Ben made a phone call from Goa.

“I love India,” said Sir Ben who’s been here quite a few times since Gandhi, “it’s always been a happy experience for me. But this time I’m not here as a tourist, I’ve come as an actor, to work, and it feels tremendously good to be given the kind of lovely welcome I was…” He’s thrilled that people here still identify him with Gandhi. “Isn’t it unusual to be recognised and appreciated by a whole sub-continent,” he asked. “It puts a responsibility on me, it’s a humbling and steadying experience, and I believe this is unique for any actor.” But, yes, along with that, is Sir Ben now concerned how Indian audiences will react to his new character in Teen Patti? “I’m afraid I’ll be booed off screen,” he laughed, pleased at his own joke. Whether he likes it or not, people talk to him about
Gandhi, they ask him if this was his best role. “I was privileged to play Gandhi,” Sir Ben admitted, “but I’ve done 60 films since then, and I’m equally proud of all of them. I understand people here have seen about five of my films, and if they like Gandhi best — fair enough, but that’s not all my work. I’ve also done films like Sexy Beast, Fifty Dead Men Walking and Elegy in which I play extremely different people. The range I’ve been offered in my films is extraordinary, the variety is my joy, my new dream now is to play Emperor Shah Jehan in Taj Mahal, a film which I see as a struggle for love… rather than a straightforward love story. I hope to raise finance for it and begin shooting in autumn 2010.”

He talked about Teen Patti, a film he was excited about even when he read the script, and for which he shot in a private casino in London and at the St. John’s College, Cambridge University. The film is described as being an emotionally-rivetting and razor-sharp thriller about greed, deception and giant feelings of imagination. “It was a sweet ride,” Sir Ben explained, “of a storyteller, a listener, a forgiver… I’m not quite an outsider in the film, more like an observer. I’ve used my screen time skillfully to act as a constant thread through the film.” He has no Hindi dialogue in the film, which is fortunate, because Sir Ben knows no Hindi. But he knew of Amitabh Bachchan even before he met the great actor.

“He’s very hard working, charming, and a lovely actor,” Sir Ben said of Bachchan, “but what I liked best is that he’s vulnerable… I mean vulnerable in a good way, he’s not closed off, he doesn’t live within the walls of his own ego.” Ambika Hinduja, who is industrialist Ashok Hinduja’s filmmaking daughter, described Sir Ben as being very friendly and down-toearth. “He was patient and calm, a nice person, absolutely professional, and he thought our Indian crew worked four times as hard as any Hollywood crew,” revealed Ambika. “On the sets, everybody addressed him as Sir Ben, including Mr. Bachchan. But in the credits of the film, he wanted to be known simply as Ben Kingsley.”

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