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Badly Burnt In Year Gone By, Industry Looks To Strong Content

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 3, 2010)


Pursue excellence and success will pursue you,’’ was what Aamir Khan’s character philosophised in 3 Idiots. But when the lights dimmed and audiences sat down after the National Anthem, what greeted them on screens for most part of the year was average, even poor fare, making 2009 the annus horribilis of the first decade of the 21st century. More than 200 films, with Rs 1500 crore at stake, released last year but almost Rs 1000 crore sank in the sea of mediocrity without a bubble, the sharks-andsexy bikini Blue leading the pack.
Added to it was the multiplex strike which cost around Rs 350 crore, upset release dates forcing films to share Fridays and dent each others’ collections. A multiplex source said, “Cannibalisation caused by big films’ release dates clashing could have been avoided.’’


The year began with Chandni Chowk To China that lost 50% of its Rs 65-crore budget. And marketing blitzkreigs couldn’t save a Blue and Kambakkht Ishq and the audience clearly showed content was king with surprise hits like DevD, New York, WaKe Up Sid and Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani. DevD made Rs 6 crore, collected Rs 25 crore at the box office while its ancillary rights made another Rs 5 crore and there are still more satellite runs to be sold. Trade experts also put films like Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Wanted among the certified hits, followed by profitable films like Paa, All The Best, De Dana Dan and Raaz 2.


But Bollywood’s loss was Hollywood’s gain, with films like 2012 and Avatar (that collected a whopping Rs 50 crore so far) filling the void for good entertainment.


It was left to And Aamir Khan to play Santa Claus third year in a row, with 3 Idiots the biggest hit of the year. It grossed a phenomenal Rs 100 crore in India in the first four days, and Rs 175 crore worldwide till December 31, even denting into collections of Avatar. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “What Ghajini collected in a week, this film has done in three days.


Corporates didn’t really have a great year in 2009 and after the bloodbath in the first half of the year, most of them avoided buying films outright, with even 3 Idiots being released on commission.


Thus 2010 dawns to vastly altered realities — purse strings have tightened by cautious corporates; big banners are no guarantee for success and may dish out big turkeys instead; marketing and stars don’t sell, a good story does; and the days of astronomical fees are over.


“Audiences are very smart, the content ultimately will guide their choices and approval. Marketing and hype will only work if content supports that hype. We may not have a Blue this year but projects like Veer and Prince are costly and prima facie look difficult in terms of recoveries,’’ says a trade expert.


So when Akshay Kumar, blamed for soaring star prices, announced towards the end of 2009 that he would not charge any fee for Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khaan, it was a lifeline for the industry that had almost gone into the ICU.


Says Amod Mehra, “It is not that people did not come to watch Akshay Kumar films in 2009, it is just that the budgets of the films were so high and his remuneration was almost 40% of those budgets, so recoveries were not possible despite a good opening. But now that the actors are looking at sharing profit with the producer after the cost of the film has been recovered like in the case of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots then it will be fair enough. Cutting down of star prices will definitely reduce the budget of films and they will become viable and that is definitely going to be the trend in 2010.”


The year thankfully doesnt have a Rs 100-crore Blue in its line-up. Last year most production houses scrapped films as star prices were not viable. In fact, it is learnt Saif Ali Khan is reworking the budget of his next film Agent Vinod starring Kareena and himself. In fact, 2010 is short on mega projects as budget constraints ensured very few got on the floors in 2009.


The first biggie of 2010 will be Veer,
followed by Rann, My Name is Khan, Action Replay, Kites and House Full in the first half of the year. The second half of the year would have Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzarish and Patiala House.


The action in 2010 seems definitely more in mid-size and multiplex projects that would have strong and clutterbreaking content. “There are a lot of films this year that may not topline the Khans or Hrithik Roshan but still have a decent line-up of names and would be thematically different. Tight budgets and good content seem to be the mantra in the decision making corridors of Bollywood. Each company is carefully evaluating its options and are not getting carried away,’’ says Priti Shahni of Indian Films. Corporates, for instance, have decided to take films only on commission, and not buy them outright.


Shahid Kapoor’s Chance Pe Dance, Striker starring Rang De Basanti’s Siddharth, Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya would release in the first half of 2010.


Generation-next too would be making its presence felt with Ranbir Kapoor in Anjana Anjani and Rajneeti, Imran Khan in I Hate Love Stories, Sonam Kapoor in Ayesha, and Deepika Padukone in House Full.


As the record breaking run of 3 Idiots that has spilled over to 2010 has shown, great content along with great pre-release buzz make the perfect mix.


2010: Coming Soon
RAJNEETI (Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgn, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor) BUDGET: 50 cr


DHOBI GHAT (Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar) BUDGET: 15 cr


RAAVANA (Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


TEEN PATTI (Amitabh Bachchan, Sir Ben Kingsley) BUDGET: 35 cr


VEER (Salman Khan, Zarine Khan) BUDGET: 50 cr


RANN (Amitabh Bachchan) BUDGET: 25 cr


ISHQIYA (Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi) BUDGET: 20 cr


MY NAME IS KHAN (Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol) BUDGET: 50 cr


KITES (Hrithik Roshan, Barbara Mori) BUDGET: 50 cr


ACTION REPLAY (Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai) | BUDGET: 35 cr


GUZAARISH (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) BUDGET: 50 cr


ANJAANA ANJAANI (Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra) BUDGET: 40 cr


AGENT VINOD (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) BUDGET: 40 cr

Figures are an approximate estimation

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By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:31 IST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sometimes, the expectations from a movie are zilch, but what unfolds on screen is beyond expectations. It surprises you, to put it simply.

On face-value, BOLO RAAM looks like it’s straight out of 1970s cinema. A movie with predictability written all over it. A movie that carries zero hype and matches it with zero content. But BOLO RAAM isn’t archaic, isn’t the usual masala, isn’t zero content.

A remake of the Tamil film RAAM [2005; starring Jeeva, Saranya, Rehman, Murali], BOLO RAAM has an interesting plot with an engaging screenplay that compels you to look at the screen for most parts of the movie. But, of course, there’re hiccups. A few non-actors and a done to death climax could’ve been avoided.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Raam [Rishi Bhutani] is charged with the murder of his mother Archana [Padmini Kolhapure]. Raam falls into a state of shock, brief psychotic disorder, after his mother’s death and becomes silent, refusing to talk or react in any manner.

The investigating officer, Indrajeet Singh Rathi [Om Puri] is puzzled and unable to make Raam speak. He consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Negi [Naseeruddin Shah], to determine the cause of Raam’s state of mind and the reason for his silence.

Rathi interrogates various personalities for the case, questioning Raam. Every possible motive that Raam might have for murdering his mother is explored. Furthermore, Raam’s neighbours, Sub-Inspector Sajid Khan’s [Govind Namdev] daughter Juhi [Disha Pandey] and son Sameer [Krishan Khatra], are summoned by Rathi for interrogation. Will his silence solve the puzzle?

Without wasting any time, BOLO RAAM takes off from its opening titles itself. The story goes back and forth, several new characters are introduced, but the narrative stays faithful to the main plot. The best is reserved for the second half. Layer after layer is peeled with expertise. The viewer is keen to know the identity of the killer and that’s when the film fumbles and tumbles.

The culprit’s track is sloppy and a major put off. In fact, the circumstances that lead to the murder are quite amateurish and look far from convincing. Surely, the writer could’ve thought of a better culmination. Also, the one-sided love affair is functional.

Debutante director Rakesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’ makes a confident debut, although he should’ve cast some better actors for key roles. There’s not much scope for music [Sachin Gupta] in the film and hence, just one song merits mention – ‘Maa Tere Jaisa’. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] deserves special mention.

Newcomer Rishi Bhutani does a commendable job. He oozes confidence, despite sharing the same frame with accomplished actors. Om Puri gets into the skin of his character and is impressive, while Padmini Kolhapure is a pleasure to watch after a long gap. She is beautifully restrained. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief role and the veteran does it well. Govind Namdev is very good.

Rajpal Yadav is wasted. Both Disha Pandey and Krishan Khatra are non-actors. Manoj Pahwa does his usual act.

On the whole, BOLO RAAM has decent merits [hence those 2 stars], but the problem is its wrong release timing. It won’t stand a chance in front of a hurricane called 3 IDIOTS.

BOLLYWOOD CALLING: Rishi Bhutani
Rishi Bhutani will be making his Bollywood debut with Shree Keshav Films’ Bolo Raam which is releasing this New Year eve — December 31. The new kid on the Bollywood block is pretty sure that everyone’s going to love his acting skills. “Acting is in my veins,” says Rishi. Rishi promises that Bolo Raam will be a gripping thriller.

Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure, the film’s being produced by Rishi’s elder brother Goldy, and has been written and directed by debutant director Rakkesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’, who is a well known theatre artist. “After reading the script and knowing the cast, I felt that this is that character with which I want to start my career,” says Rishi.
Rishi plays Raam in the movie. Speaking about the movie, Rishi adds, “It’s about a mother and son. The mother is mysteriously murdered leaving the son in a cage of silence.” Rishi, of course, plays the quiet son, Raam. He credits his brother, Goldy for pushing him into it. “He was the one who said I had the talent, and motivated me to be an actor,” says the actor who used to bunk classes to take part in school theatre.

Rishi admits that he was a bit nervous when the shooting began. He says, “But Naseer Sir, Om Puri Sir and Padmini Maa’m made me feel comfortable. I would say it has been a dream role for me as I got an opportunity to work with legends of our industry and that too in my first film, I had never thought about it. I hope that audiences like the film.”

Producer Goldy Bhutani adds, “I thank Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Padmini Kolhapure for coming together for this project and would say that Rakkesh has done some excellent work as a director. It is a must watch film for everyone to know how circumstances take over the good times.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 30, 2009)

By Subhash K. Jha, December 26, 2009 – 08:47 IST

Prakash Jha It seems there is more to Prakash Jha’s claim that Vidhu Vinod Chopra removed the trailer of Jha’s Raajneeti than meets the eye.

While Prakash claims Vidhu Vinod felt threatened by and insecure enough about the trailer of Raajneeti to have it removed from 3 Idiots, the Chairman of Reliance Big Pictures (who are the distributors of 3 Idiots) Amit Khanna, says they had never committed to Jha to show the trailer. “Whom in our company has Prakash Jha spoken to about the Raajneeti trailer going into the prints of 3 Idiots? He hasn’t spoken to me. And I am not aware of anyone at Reliance whom he has spoken to. How can there be any commitment on the screening of a trailer? It all depends on the paid advertisements that individual theatres have. We certainly made no such commitment to Prakash Jha.”

Adds Khanna, “We’ve released 3 Idiots with a record number of prints, 2000 in all. In fact December has been a very fruitful month for us at Reliance Big Pictures, first Paa and now 3 Idiots. Just goes to prove, quality products do have a strong market.”

The question is, if Reliance says it had never agreed to the screening of the Raajneeti trailer with 3 Idiots, why is Prakash Jha accusing Vidhu Vinod Chopra of feeling threatened and insecure of the response that the trailer got at some screenings of 3 Idiots?

Jha maintains his trailer was a victim of Chopra’s insecurities. Jha, who was recording the background music for his film in the US, is left wondering where the trailer could be fastened now.

Speaking from London, Prakash Jha says, “I suppose my trailer would be released independently in theatres, like any other trailer. In any case this was a 90-second teaser and not a full-fledged trailer.”

Prakash completely blames Vinod Chopra for the fiasco. “He’s very unpredictable. When we spoke about the trailer, he sent me a sweet message about it. Then just days before the release of 3 Idiots, my trailer had been pulled out. Apparently, at the previews of 3 Idiots people just couldn’t stop talking about the Raajneeti trailer after it was screen during interval.”

But the trailer, claims Jha, is very much part of the prints of 3 Idiots gone abroad.

“The prints had already left by the time Vinod Chopra decided to take my trailer out,” explains Prakash. “I don’t know why he was so insecure about my trailer since 3 Idiots carries such strong advance reports. I guess my Raajneeti is the biggest multi-starrer in recent times. We do have Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Manoj Bajpai. And we have the winning pair Ranbir and Katrina. I guess I’m lucky.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

CANDID CHAT: Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan in a frankspeak about men and the movies

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 26, 2009)

Vidya Balan is glowing with the compliments pouring in for her superlative performance in R Balki’s Paa. She may be a foot shorter than both her Bachchan co-stars, but when it came to the histrionics, she matched Amitabh and Abhishek perfectly. Now she’s channelising her energies into Ketan Maroo’s Ishqiya where once again she is it pitted with two versatile talents — Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi. Talking about her sensuous role in this robust, earthy, love triangle, the diminutive actress says, “I play a village belle. Yet I’m fully aware of my sexual charms and within the four walls of the bedroom, I’m unapologetic about using my guile and charm.’’ Vidya says quality work like Paa and now Ishqiya has made her realise that if she is patient, the right roles are bound to come her way. “Once again I have as many advantages as I had when I did Parineeta,’’ says the actress. “My filmmakers have realised that given an opportunity, I will not let them down.’’

The coming year is an important year for Vidya. She starts the year with Ishqiya and then moves onto Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Chenab Gandhi. “The decision to do fewer films is entirely mine,’’ says the actress who is now super-confident that when it comes to her career, she will not make one false move.

On the personal front, it is rumoured that almost all her heroes be it John Abraham (Salaam-e-Ishq), Shahid Kapoor (Kismat Konnection) and now Arshad Warsi (Ishqiya) are attracted to her. “Rubbish,’’ she flails her hands and says. “In fact, I think none of my heroes even treat me like a lady. I’m treated like one of the boys. My heroes backslap me and we share a few laughs and jokes. However, I don’t think any of them is attracted to me. If they were, I would have noticed.’’
Well, well…so even as the rumour mills continue to buzz about Vidya past romances with John and Shahid, the actress herself has rubbed her slate clean… and is looking forward to her knight in shining armour putting in an appearance in 2010.

What should one say — Halleluah!
Vishal Bhardwaj is upset that the censor board will not pass a promo of Ishqiya unless he beeps out the word ‘sex’ from the dialogue

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 17, 2009)


Vishal Bhardwaj is upset that the promo of his forthcoming film Ishqiya has not been passed by the censor board. The promo was to go on air from December 20. Only if Vishal agrees to beep the word ‘sex’ from a dialogue, will he be allowed to air it. The dialogue is spoken by Arshad Warsi and addressed to Naseeruddin Shah

Now Vishal has no option but to beep the apparently offensive word from the promo.

Ishqiya

Vinayak Azad, Regional Manager, Censor Board says, “We had initially passed the promo with an ‘A’ certificate for a theatrical release. Now they want a U/A certificate as they wanted it to air on television, which we allowed. Since the impact of the promos is higher on television because it is shown repeatedly, we asked for the word ‘sex’ to be beeped out. I believe they are not happy about it and want to approach the revising committee.”

Vishal Bhardwaj

The director, of course, doesn’t agree with the board’s views. Vishal Bhardwaj says, “It’s sad. Our society is regressing so much that we fear to even utter the word ‘sex’. And this is why India is the worst AIDS-affected country in the world. The people on the board who have objected to the word should remember they are in this world because of sex.”

Cast: NASEERUDDIN SHAH, VIDYA BALAN, ARSHAD WARSI

Producer: VISHAL BHARADWAJ, RAMAN MAROO

Director: ABHISHEK CHAUBEY

Source: BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

CHECK OUT THE PROMO OF THE FILM HERE!

After playing an ideal mother in ‘Paa’, Vidya Balan says she is ready to surprise audiences with a completely different avatar in forthcoming movie ‘Ishqiya’. She will be seen as a conniving, scheming woman in Vishal Bharadwaj’s dark drama.

My character in 'Ishqiya' oozes sensuality: Vidya Balan

“For the first time I’ll be playing a woman who is conniving, scheming and in whom there is a sexual aggression,” Vidya told us in an interview.

“She is an aggressive person. She is someone who is unapologetic about her own choices. Bold is the word I’ll use for the lack of a better word. In the Indian context, she would be Rambha, Durga or Kali. She is someone who is dressed from top to toe but oozes sensuality,” the actress said.

Set in eastern Uttar Pradesh, ‘Ishqiya’ is a tale of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion and deceit. Made by first time director Abhishek Chaubey and produced by Bharadwaj, the film also stars Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah in pivotal roles.

In the film, Vidya sports a deglamourised look and mouths expletives.

Asked if Bharadwaj was the reason she signed ‘Ishqiya’, she said: “It’s always very reassuring when the producer is an established guy because when you take a film, you want to know that no compromises will be made while making the film and even after it gets released.

“Of course Vishal comes with a certain brand and credibility…but more importantly I loved the role offered to me. I wouldn’t have given it up. Along with that I loved Abhishek’s passion and sensibility. So it was a combination of all these things when I made my decision.”

The 31-year-old is also looking forward to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Chenaab Gandhi’ in which she plays Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter.

After receiving flak for doing glamorous roles, Vidya has moved to author-backed characters in ‘Paa’, ‘Chenaab Gandhi’ and ‘Ishqiya’. But she says her choice of roles is not a conscious effort to change her image.

“It’s not a conscious decision to try and stay away from a particular kind of roles. There is no effort for an image change. It’s just that I’m just being offered a lot of exciting work and I’ve tried to pick and choose different things to keep it very exciting for me,” she said.

“Of course, candyfloss is still welcome if it comes with substance, but the very fact that it’s candyfloss takes away the substance. So I don’t do that much candyfloss because it compromises on substance,” added the actress.

Vidya has earlier been seen in films like ‘Parineeta’, ‘Heyy Babyy’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ and ‘Kismat Konnection’.

Source: IANS

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART: Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah, who has just finished his film Bolo Raam, refused to take any fee for the film, because he thought it would be an injustice to the script if any commercial angle was brought in. India’s finest talent didn’t charge a penny from director Rakesh Chaturvedi or producer Goldy Bhutani and left everyone stunned.

Another reason for Naseer rejecting any money for this film is the nostalgia of working with Padmini Kolhapure after a gap of two-and-a-half long decades. The duo was last seen together in Woh Saat Din in 1983.

“I believe that scripts like Bolo Raam are very rare and they require a lot from an actor. I am sure that if I would have charged any money for the film, I wouldn’t have been ever able to deliver my best and it would have been an injustice with the film. Padmini’s presence in the film is another reason, which led me away to talk about any financials, because we are coming together on screen after a span of 26 years.” Responding to this big favour by Naseer, the director said, “I think Naseerji is a great personality on as well as off-screen. When I narrated the script of Bolo Raam to him, he was so moved that he said he was doing my film and to relieve me of any problem, he said he was doing it for free. I can’t say how obliged I felt. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and can proudly say that he is the finest actor India has ever produced.”
BOMBAY TIMES (December 15, 2009)
After Sarfarosh in 1999, John Mathan is working on the script for the sequel
By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 09, 2009)


Director John Mathan is a busy man. He has begun working on Sarfarosh’s sequel while already working on the remaining portions of A New Love Ishtory.

John has just started writing the script of the sequel. He has decided to meet Aamir Khan, the lead actor of Sarfarosh, after he completes the script. The duo will discuss the details of the film. Actor Rakesh Bapat may play one of the key characters in the film. The lead actress still has to be cast.

John confirmed the story, but he refused to give us an insight into the storyline of the sequel. He said, “Hopefully, the script should be ready soon. Only after I complete it and provided I like it, I will talk to Aamir.”

But our sources insist that the director is very keen on carrying the theme of national security forward. The source said, “The villain in Sarfarosh, played by Naseeruddin Shah, was not an Indian. In the sequel, John wants to dwell upon the enemy within.”

(L):Aamir Khan, Sarfarosh, John Mathan