Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Muslim

Although My Name Is Khan will premiere at the 60th Berlin Film Festival, distributor Fox Star Studios, has prevented it from competing with other films in the Competition section

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 25, 2009)

With the good news comes the bad news as well. The good news is that Fox Star Studios, international partners on My Name Is Khan, has decided to premiere the film at the 60th Berlin Film Festival in February 2010, in the most prestigious Competition section. However, the bad news is that they have not allowed the film to compete with other films in the section. The reason for the same is unknown.

Karan doesn’t deny the news but pooh-poohs the belief that the global corporates are trying to bully him into submission. He says, “Yes, the decision to place our film in the Competition section without competing was taken entirely by Fox Star. Shah Rukh and I are completely one with it. We are just happy to be in the same section as the new films by Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski. Fox Star has been on the same page as me from the start. Shah Rukh, Kajol and I are getting ready for Berlin. It will be the first full-fledged screening of our film. We are anxious to see how the global audience at Berlin reacts to it.”

According to sources, Fox Star has grown progressively wary of the 9/11 angle in cinema and has asked Karan to tone it down as far as possible. Apparently, the filmmaker was asked to change the trailer for the premiere of My Name Is Khan (unveiled last week) so that overt references to terrorism are done away with. Karan was also asked to stress on the fact that the film is not about 9/11 and terrorism. Karan dismisses the news. He says, “Fox Star knew exactly what My Name Is Khan is about. It’s a fact that the film is not about terrorism. Yes, 9/11 does form a background to the tale, but the film is a love story and a story of humanism under pressure.”

(L): My Name Is Khan, (R) :Karan Johar

Apparently, there is also a fear that Shah Rukh Khan’s smaller-than-life role as an autistic Muslim, fighting injustice in the US may not go down well with his fans. Karan laughs at the rumours. He says, “That is such an erroneous interpretation of Shah Rukh’s character. He plays a man with a disability who can see the world around him far more clearly than the so-called normal people. He is a superman with a soul pure enough to fly. No, I don’t think his fans would be disappointed just because he isn’t larger-than-life in Khan. Shah Rukh’s fans all over the world want to see him in roles that connect the reality of cinema with the reality of the world outside the theatre.”

Vijay Singh, CEO, Star Fox Studios, also insists that the film is not about terrorism. He says, “My Name Is Khan is a love story and Shah Rukh Khan’s character’s journey to win back his love. It has nothing to do with terrorism.”

Akshay Kumar to play a fashion conscious conman sporting designer clothes, a stylish hairstyle and jewelry in Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 07, 2009)
If you thought Farah Khan will make Akshay Kumar play an unsophisticated street smart conman in her next directorial venture Tees Maar Khan think again. Contrary to popular belief, Akshay plays a sexy and stylised international conman in the film. No prizes for guessing that Akshay’s new best friend Farah Khan is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he has women swooning right from his first scene in the film.

While well-known designer Aki Narula is working on Akshay’s costumes in Tees Maar Khan, Farah is also getting some international make-up artists and hairdressers for her lead actor. Farah’s first choice is that Akshay should sport long hair in the film. “I will take a look test with him wearing extensions, but if that doesn’t work, then he’ll have short hair throughout the film. But one thing is sure that I will show him as a pucca hero. He is a gorgeous looking man. He plays a Muslim and wears very trendy clothes, mostly ganjis. He has loads of attitude in Tees Maar Khan because of which I have also planned a grand entry scene for him,” said an excited Farah.

“Akshay will also be wearing jewelry in the film, maybe a bracelet or an amulet with TMK embossed on it,” added Farah.

And who will be the lucky girl who will rub shoulders with Akshay?  “Well, I am doing a nationwide hunt for a new girl but if I don’t find the right one, I will go in for an established actress. The heroine’s name in the film is Anya, which is actually my daughter’s name. She will go by the name Anya Khan,” revealed Farah.

Farah further said that Tees Maar Khan happened when her husband Shirish Kunder showed her one of his scripts. “It was too funny. When I told him that, he said he would love to produce it if he gets a good director. I immediately offered to direct it and things quickly fell into place. The film is very close to Shirish’s heart. He had registered the title three years ago,” said Farah.

Commenting on who suggested Akshay’s name for the title role, Farah said, “Shirish suggested it.”

Goes without saying, Tees Maar Khan will be a typical racy entertainer, which is Farah’s style. “Yes, it will be my kind of film,” Farah laughed and said.

Akshay Kumar Farah Khan

SUBHASH K JHA (Mid-Day; August 7, 2009)

Unable to gather sufficient funds for five different films, filmmaker Onir has decided to merge the five films and release it as one. The film’s budget is approximately Rs 1.5 crore. He made My Brother Nikhil four years ago at the same budget.

Own your film

The filmmaker is using unconventional funding to make this film. He announced on Facebook that anyone could own their new film called I Am. There was an avalanche of volunteer producers. At last count, they had 300-350 producers. The entire crew will be paid only when the film gets sold.

Says Onir, “It started with my determination to make a film called You & I on child abuse. No producer or corporate house was willing to back the project. They didn’t find it a ‘safe’ project. Sanjay Suri came up with the idea of doing five different films in one, all financed by different people.

I decided to go for an unusual form of funding and extend the ideas of identity and the fear of sustaining that identity in a world of cynicism and intolerance. Five different stories will be released as one film in India.”

The most interesting part of this cinematic experiment is that they’re all based on the brutalisation of true characters who will make an appearance at the end of each  segment. Each film will be shot in a different city Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar and Kolkata. Each character is culture-specific to the city. Every story has a contemporary resonance.”

Hum 5!
1. I Am Omar
Starring: Rahul Bose, Abhimanyu Singh, Saahil Saigal, it’s about article 377, the nexus between sex workers and cops. To be shot in Mumbai from August 15
2. I Am Afia
Starring: Kalki and possibly Arjun Mathur. About misappropriation of NGO funds. To be shot in Delhi
3. I Am Abhimanyu
Starring: Sanjay Suri, Radhika Apte, Anurag Kashyap, Rahul Bose, Pooja Gandhi. About child sexual abuse already shot in Bangalore
4. I Am Megha
Starring: Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Suri. Story of two women in Kashmir, one a Kashmiri Pundit, the other Muslim. To be shot in Srinagar from Oct 1
4. I Am Rudra
Starring: Purab Kohli. About the Maoist movement. To be shot in Kolkata

Mumbai: Even being an A-lister in Hindi filmdom cannot save you from religious profiling and discrimination in Bollywood’s Beverly Hills. On-screen serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has just learned this the hard way.

Recently, the actor, who was looking for an apartment in Nibbana Cooperative Society on Pali Hill, was politely asked to go and look somewhere else. Hashmi’s family has been living in the locality for the last five decades.

The actor believes the housing society is discriminating against him because he is a Muslim. He has filed a complaint with the State Minorities Commission (SMC), demanding action against the society members.

Commission vice-chairman Abraham Mathai told TOI that Hashmi had filed a complaint alleging that the society had re
fused to give him a no-objection certificate (NOC) even after he had paid the token amount of Rs 1 lakh. “We are sending summons to the society seeking an explanation,’’ Mathai said.
Hashmi seemed upset with the society’s behaviour towards his parents who had gone to seek the NOC. “My parents went to meet the society members last week along with the seller and the broker. The members refused to meet them, saying they were busy. I found it really offensive. The seller, D N Suvarna, has now informed us that the society will not give us an NOC and it has blocked the sale. We have information that this has been done as they are discriminating against Muslims and will not allow anyone from the community in the society,’’ he said. The society reportedly comprises mostly Hindus, with a couple of Catholic families.

No ban on Muslims, says society secy
Mumbai: J P Chetry, the secretary of Nibbana Cooperative Society on Pali Hill, denied actor Emraan Hashmi’s claims that he was being discriminated against because of his religion. Chetry told TOI that they received a letter last week from the Hashmis but no decision had been taken as the chairman was away. “But there is no ban on Muslims. We know all Muslims are not terrorists. People from all over the country stay here—even I have come from a different part of the country—but one has to know who is coming in,’’ he said.

Actor Anil Dhawan is another member of the society’s managing committee. “I will be more than happy to have him as a neighbour. But I remember his family barging into our office when a society meeting was going on and so we refused to meet them. Being a celeb does not mean you get everything,’’ he said.

But this is not the first such experience for Hashmi. “I faced a similar situation in August 2007 when I was looking for a house in the same area. Residents and brokers told me I would not be able to get a house because I was a Muslim. But I managed to get one,’’ he said.

Hashmi’s family has been living in Pali Hill for the last 50 years. “All the big names of Bollywood live in the area. Dilip Kumar, Nargis and Aamir Khan live here. So do the Dutts (Sanjay and his kin). But we still face such problems,’’ he said.
Hashmi’s uncle, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, said he was
appalled that this was happening in an area like Pali Hill.

Jagjit Arora, who was trying to broker the deal for Hashmi, did try to convince the society. “Mr Suvarna was more than happy to do the deal but he told us we had to get an NOC from the society. It’s sad that no amount of explanation about the family’s antecedents could convince the society members. There are certain societies in the area that do not give NOCs to non-Hindus,’’ he lamented.

Vinod Bachchan, a broker from Juhu, said he knew of such instances in his area as well. “A big star living in Bandra wanted to buy a bungalow in Juhu, but we found it difficult to get one for him as he was a Muslim,’’ he said. “There are societies which take an undertaking from non-vegetarians that they will not eat non-veg food,’’ he added.


Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar have faced problems getting a house in Juhu TV actor Aamir Khan filed a PIL after being refused a house in Lokhandwala

Bharati Dubey-THE TIMES OF INDIA (July 31, 2009)

By Subhash K. Jha, June 17, 2009 – 12:37 IST

J O H N   A B R A H A M

For Saif Ali Khan getting conversant with the holy Quran to play the jehadi in Rensil D’Silva’s film was relatively easier. But John Abraham belonging to an entirely different religion and culture, learning the tenets of the Quran from the scratch to play the NRI Muslim in Kabir Khan’s New York was not easy.

Not knowing a syllable of the Quran, John had to study the holy book in translation. Says a close friend, “John researched rigorously on Islam and its various aspects. His character in New York is detained wrongly for terrorism. John based his character on three such real life Muslims taken into custody in the US for wrongs they hadn’t committed. John and his director Kabir Khan amalgamated the case of three such unfortunate people to create John’s character. He actually lived breathed slept and wept like someone who had been wrongly ostracized.”

So traumatized was he by the experience that John went into a complete shell in Philadelphia where New York was shot.

Says the friend, “He wouldn’t talk to people. He was completely in his own shell. It was life-changing experience. Today, John knows what it feels to be a Muslim and a target of ceaseless suspicion and hostility in the US. He also empathizes closely with the issue of Indian students being racially abused in Australia after playing an Indian abused in New York. He understands the isolation of the minority.”

John studied the Quran closely. Says John’s friend, “He went very deep in the film’s theme of Islamic isolation. His familiarity with Islamic terrorism started when he shot Kabul Express with Kabir Khan in Afghanistan. John spoke to people in Taliban and began to understand the concept of jehad. He understood how dangerous it is to fight for a cause without knowing the history of that cause. He went on the net, found legitimate and proper translations of the Quran. He learnt the proper pronunciations of words in the Quran.”

When asked about the process of acclimatizing himself with the Quran, John says, “It’s part of my larger determination to prepare myself completely for a part. Whether it was New York or now Abbas Tyrewala’s film, I’m taking time off to prepare for the film and character. The audience today understands an honest film. That’s what I want to give. I only want to do roles that take me out of my comfort zone. Through my characters and performances, I want to make people comfortable with what makes me uncomfortable as a human being and an Indian.”

Bollywood Hungama.com

Saif Ali Khan learns about Islam while preparing for his role as an Islamic fundamentalist in Rensil D’Silva’s forthcoming film
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 05, 2009)
If your jaws dropped on seeing the prim ‘n’ propah Saif Ali Khan speak colourful language as Langda Tyagi in Omkara, you will be even more shocked to see him play an Ismalic fundamentalist in Rensil D’Silva’s forthcoming film.

Born and brought up in a non-conservative westernised atmosphere, this role has been a life-changing experience for Saif. The actor elaborates, “The role has not only made me more politically aware, it has also made me more religious. Earlier, I was more spiritual than religious. I knew a lot of things about Islam and always believed in the higher power. But when I did a lot of reading on Islam, the one most decisive thing that I learnt had to do with Allah. We tend to presume Allah to be the Muslim God. But Allah is the Arab word for the ‘same God’, or the ‘one true God’ that, I thought, was a wonderful thing to learn while doing this character. All religions believe in the oneness of God. So what’s all the fighting about? Whether it’s Christianity, Islam or Judaism, many of the religions have fought a holy war at one time or another. It’s been a part of religious history.”

It’s not often that you come across roles that change your perception about life. Saif admits that his role in Rensil’s film has not just changed his views towards life but also religion. “It’s the most politically relevant character I’ve played. Though my character Langda Tyagi in Omkara was a political creature, his politics was subverted. In Rensil’s film, I play the Jehadi as a very real and suave gentleman, dressed in very dapper clothes like a college professor and hence more frightening. I play an Islamic fundamentalist while Vivek Oberoi plays the more moderate Muslim,” says Saif.

“To me the whole point of being an actor is to become characters I can’t be in real life. My character in Rensil’s film is redeemed at the end. But even if he wasn’t, I’d still say yes to a role that explores my emotions that lie too deep for fears and tears. My character in Rensil’s film has become the way he has because of the way Americans have treated Afghanistan and other Islamic states. I don’t think 26/11 or earlier 9/11 are Islamic acts. No matter what people say, I don’t think any terrorist is a Muslim. Let’s make that distinction very clear. Of course the population of Afghanistan may disagree with me. But I condemn 26/11 as a deed done by non-Muslims,” declares Saif.