Fenil and Bollywood

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CANDID CHAT: Kareena Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor says she is guilty of just that…

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

It has been a year of fluctuating fortunes for Bollywood’s most powerful actress — Kareena Kapoor. The janta and her sceptics will never let her forget that she had three duds in 2009 with Kambakkht Ishq, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna and Kurbaan. But just when they were nailing her coffin, she bounced right back with the biggest hit of them all.

Like a cat that has swallowed the cream, Kareena smacked her luscious lips and said, “There I was licking my wounds when God above answered my prayers. Honestly, I’m delirious. To think that I started 2009 with a whimper and ended it with a bang. Someone up there heard me.’’

Just before she set off on a tour of England with Saif Ali Khan, the incorrigible Bebo said, “2010 has a lot of promise. I sincerely wish the Midas touch continues. I’ll start the year with my idol, Shah Rukh Khan, with whom I’m travelling to Miami for RA 1. Then I’m going to be traipsing the globe with Saif in Agent Vinod. And, if Aamir keeps up his promise to me, the two of us will end up in a romantic film by the end of the year.’’ Jumping like a child, she asked, “Listen, is it wrong to love more than one Khan at a time? I’m guilty of just that. Shah Rukh and Gauri are my close friends. I love Saifu. And as for Aamir, well, what can I say? He’s the new Khan on my block.’’

Gamely she takes the blame for her duds. She knows the critics dipped their pens in poison when she did KI and MAMK. “My funda is simple,’’ said Bebo. “Actors should be like scientists, always willing to experiment. I experimented and I failed. That doesn’t take away from my acting abilities. If I don’t experiment, the same guys will write — she’s a plastic doll on screen. One does take chances with one’s roles and if the films fail, I’m more heartbroken than anyone else. Don’t forget films are all I live for. I give my films everything I have. So failure does affect me. But to write me off each time I have a flop is unfair.’’

Maybe, but that’s the way things in Bollywood work. One Friday you’re a handmaiden, the next Friday you’re the Queen. And, if you’re lucky, you can get an extended lease at the box-office. Like Bebo just managed. meena.iyer@timesgroup.com
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Amitabh Bachchan’s flawless performance in Paa has resulted in an international version of the film, which will be released soon

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 07, 2009)


The overwhelming response to Amitabh Bachchan’s performance in Paa has triggered off a whole new chain of thought processes among those who are involved with the project. It is now felt that the film’s theme of age-acceleration by progeria and its muted dramatic depiction through Amitabh’s performance as Auro deserves a global platform. Consequently, an international version of Paa is now being put together.

Paa director R Balki says, “The version for a non-Indian audience will have to be edited very differently but the connectivity with Auro’s character will remain unchanged.” A lot of Abhishek’s character’s activities as a young politician will have to be edited for the international version. However, without those scenes Abhishek’s role will become shadowy. What will remain is the central conflict involving the progeric child’s search for his biological father.

The theme of progeria is obviously a huge incentive to market the film internationally. Balki reveals, “I have a friend in the US who drove down 70 miles to a theatre in Miami to see Paa yesterday and the hall was packed. But let me tell you, I’m not the first filmmaker to tackle the subject. I thought I was embarking on a revolutionary mission by making a film on progeria but when I checked on the net I discovered there were nearly 40 films on progeria across the world.”

Balki saw all of the films based on the same subject in order to bring out a new side to the subject. He adds, “I wanted to make sure Paa had nothing in common with the other films. Now, when we do an international version we’ll ensure the audience abroad would never have seen anything like Paa.”

It isn’t decided as yet whether the international version of Paa will be dubbed in the English language or the spoken language will remain Hindi with English subtitles.

WHAT AN ACT: Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif

A strange dostana is being formed by the actress with Abhishek and John for Karan Johar’s sequel…


SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 3, 2009)


This latest development in Bollywood epitomizes the song Kitne Ajeeb Rishte Hain Yahan Par. Kareena Kapoor, who a few years ago was on uneasy terms with Karan Johar, has completed one major film Kurbaan with his production house and is now in the thick of another major project, Stepmom, costarring Kajol. And the buzz is that the actress is all set to take over the leading lady’s mantle from Priyanka Chopra in the Dostana franchise.

katzThis is a serious olive branch exercise for Kareena since it not only makes this her third prestigious film in a row for Karan, but also brings to an end her long-standing strained relations with Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. With John, Kareena had locked horns after her comments on his acting abilities made on Karan’s chat show. The rift with Abhishek was far more serious. The actors had decided not to work together after things soured between Abhishek and Kareena’s sister Karisma Kapoor. Says a source, “Ironically, Kareena had been dropped from the first Dostana because she couldn’t work with Abhishek. And now she’s back in Dostana 2. Never say never again, at least in Bollywood, where equations change every Friday.”

Incidentally, Katrina Kaif was a serious contender for Dostana 2. In fact, rumours were that she had almost been finalised. However, director Tarun Mansukhani denies casting Katrina. “How could I finalise anyone until I finished the script except John and Abhishek who are an integral part of the Dostana brand,” he asks. About casting Kareena, the director says noncommitally, “We are almost done with the script. At the moment I’m neither confirming not denying Kareena’s presence.” The story of Dostana now moves from Miami where Abhishek and John shared a flat masquerading as a gay couple to London where they continue to play gays.

Multi National Award winner Prakash Raj is in town to celebrate his Best Actor award. For the Mumbaikar who has just got familiar with him via his villain act in Wanted, Sudipta Basu profiles the prolific and multilingual actor

By Sudipta Basu (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 23, 2009)

The first is always special, but you can never really get used to winning a National Award,” says Prakash Raj, who won his fourth National Award; this year being in the best actor category for Priyadarshan’s Tamil film Kanchivaram. He had earlier won the National Award for best supporting actor in Iruvar. In Kanchivaram Raj enacts the role of a silk weaver named Vengadan; the film depicts the lives of silk weavers in pre-Independence India.

Raj is one of the best loved villains in the South, although the role that has fetched him the award is distinct from the roles that have fetched him the fans. Was there a special preparation for the role? “I pretty much go empty handed when I walk into a film. I may be enacting the role of a Communist in a certain generation, with no idea about the constraints in the country at the time. Just as in Iruvar I had to understand the Dravidian culture to go into the depths of the personality of the protagonist. You need to unlearn much when you break away from a particular genre. And your reward is what you take away as the residue, which feeds your work in commercial cinema only to make it more nuanced,” says the actor. Through his run as the mainstream villain he was exposed to a school of acting that emphasised on loudness – pitched decibel levels, protruding eyes, all the trappings of a villain down south. But an opportunity to play certain off-beat roles freed him from the familiar trappings. “It is a human task to come out of it, and eventually your reflexes become used to it.”

It also has ramifications on the personal front. “My house in Bangalore is 35 kilometers from the airport, and whenever I’ve had to catch a flight in the past, I have sped through at over 150; now I feel driving at a 100 is also fine. So your life acquires a balance as well,” he says. “The comfort of the so-called intense actor falls by the wayside very easily eventually. And surely, it expresses in your own life too. It wasn’t hard therefore to move from the robustness of villain to an understated performance, as in Kanchivaram.”

Mumbaikars’ newest exposure to Prakash Raj’s brand of villainy has been in the film Wanted. “My approach to any role is touched with wit. It is almost as if I acquire my  own identity that way. And indeed, I stand out because of this approach, as was evident in Wanted,” he says. “Apart from this, Prabhu Deva’s direction takes you up by a few notches; he choreographs his films.”

Kanchivaram

The actor has now donned the mantle of a director in a Kannada film, yet untitled, based on the relationship of a father and a daughter. “I found myself thinking once that ten years down the line if my daughter, who is 13 now, calls me from Miami to say that she is set to marry someone from a completely unfamiliar race, would I be able to accept it? It’s a film about the fact that daughters grow up but fathers don’t,” he says. “When music leaves a flute does the flute have any hold over the music? Give them wings and let them fly. In the film, the protagonist’s daughter falls in love with a young Sikh, which leads to conflict given the contrasts of the north and south cultures. “My daughter already knows that it is ‘our’ film and when I speak to her casually about it, she has valuable inputs to offer.”

Back in the day the actor used to be known as a confirmed family man, but since his divorce from wife Lalitha Kumari recently, he has been branded quite the ladies man. “It’s nice to be a wonderful guy,” he laughs out aloud. “I am nice to women and they call me a womaniser.”

TUSHAR JOSHI (Mid-Day; August 8, 2009)

Director Tarun Mansukhani’s Dostana has been selected to open the iView Film Festival in New York on August 28 and 29.

The director who is working on a sequel to the film will attend the festival with actor John Abraham. “I am thrilled that Dostana is making news months after its release.

I expect a lot of Asians to attend the festival since John will accompany me,” said Mansukhani.

He added, “It is sweet of Abbas Tyrewala who is directing John in a film shot in London to allow the actor to attend the festival.”

Abhishek Bachchan and John pretended to be gays in Dostana to rent an apartment in Miami, Florida.

But when asked whether the sequel too will be set in the US, Mansukhani said, “I cannot say for sure, but chances are that it will most likely be set in the US.”

DostanaB


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