Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘neeraj pandey

After the success of Paa, the Bachchans are planning a film featuring Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 23, 2009)

Producer-cum-actor Abhishek Bachchan says the experience of producing Paa has made him grow up. He says, “High time it did so. People keep asking me what we are producing next. At the moment I don’t want to leave Paa behind. I’m completely engrossed with Paa and how to take it forward, including the DVD release.”

Abhishek says Paa had recovered its costs only two days after its release but he chooses to be cautious in his exuberance. He says, “My very dear friend Aditya Chopra told me, ‘It’s very rare when the audience decides to love you and when they do you must be very thankful for that. I feel no sense of vindication. I didn’t make Paa to prove any point to everyone. I just wanted to make an A-grade product with a cast to match within a given reasonable budget and without compromise.”

Now there are plans to make a film with the Bachchan parivaar — Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan together, to be produced by AB Corp Ltd. Confirming the news, Abhishek says, “Most definitely, we are coming together. All four of us are completely for it. We need to sort out certain variables. The scripts that we had been given didn’t justify our collective presence.”

Apparently one or other Bachchan has not liked the scripts offered so far. “Each individual of the family has to be willing to be part of the film. All four of us are unique actors. It’s very difficult for any script to please collectively.”

Meanwhile, Abhishek is planning to produce a film that will cast Amitabh and Abhishek together again after Paa. He says, “Everyone wants to know what’s next with the two of us? I think a comedy is ideal. So that’s what we would do together.”

The year 2009 has been eventful for Abhishek as he worked in his most challenging role to date, for Mani Ratnam’s Raavana. Talking about his experience, Abhishek says, “It has been a gruelling year, but no complaints. Most of the year was taken up by Raavana. Unfortunately, at the start of the year, Mani fell ill after the first schedule. We had to push the second schedule ahead by a few months to give him the time to recover. In the interim, I finished Paa… Raavana has been the most challenging experience of my life, both physically and emotionally. It has sapped me every which way. I was really anxious about Raavana. Mani, Aishwarya and I had to go beyond Guru, which is one of my favourite films. I knew Raavana could do it. It is now going to be released in summer. Mani has completed the editing. We will start dubbing soon.”

Abhishek looks back on the year with much gratitude. “It has been a fantastic 2009. I started with Delhi 6 and ended with Paa. I have no reason to complain. I continue to get the opportunity to work with fantastic directors. I love working with new directors. I like to challenge myself as an actor. It would be terribly boring to be doing the same roles again. Now I am raring to take on the challenges in 2010.”

He has almost wrapped up Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se. Commenting on his busy schedule for the forthcoming year, he says, “I am almost done. We shot it in Goa at a stretch. I start 2010 with a film produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, but it’s not called Crooked. It has no title. After that I go into Rohan Sippy’s film, then Dostana 2, followed by Abbas-Mastan’s film, which is the official remake of The Italian Job. Finally, at the end of 2010, I’ll go into Neeraj Pandey Special Chabbis. I saw Neeraj’s A Wednesday and loved it. He’s a very no-nonsense director. He doesn’t believe in frills. What he has written for me is very exciting. Is that a lot? No I have always had 4-5 releases per year. All my years have been packed. Only Raavana required more time because of Mani’s illness.”

Abhishek admits he’s worried by his father’s workload. He says, “Any son would be worried. I am no different. Having said that, as his fan and co-actor, I am glad I get to see him quite often in movies. But at the same time I think he’s just starting. After doing five films with him, I can say with some authority that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Neeraj Pandey refuses to take credit for a small-budget film he wrote before directing the critically acclaimed, A Wednesday

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 18, 2009)

The Jimmy Shergill-Kim Sharma starrer Khaffa, which has been lying in the cans for over five years will tentatively release on November 27 with a new title, Marega Saala.

After his newfound success as a prominent director with A Wednesday, the film’s scriptwriter Neeraj Pandey refuses to be associated with it because the producers tampered with the original script. When the filmmakers added Neeraj’s name to the credits as the scriptwriter he firmly turned them down.

A source said, “Marega Saala was Neeraj’s first film and he was entirely involved in the direction process. The film was shot in Mumbai and Neeraj was always there as the creative director but he had major differences with the producers. He moved on after the success of A Wednesday.”

Devang Dholakia will now be credited as the director of the film. However, Devang denied any such altercation and said, “Neeraj is a friend and we have been associated for seven to eight years. He had written the story, screenplay and dialogue, for which he has been given credit. There is no issue between us.”


Neeraj Pandey

Neeraj though had a completely different story to tell. “God knows what changes the film has gone through in all these years. When I had written this film, it was called Fanaa. The makers changed it to Khaffa and now it is called something else. Now, I am not associated with the film at all as the producers and the director have made several changes. I moved on as I could not adjust. I don’t like to work where I have no creative control. I have not even seen the film,” said Neeraj.

The film’s lead actor Jimmy Shergill said, “I have no issues with anyone associated with the film. Neeraj had initially offered creative help but then he got involved in the making of A Wednesday. I have no clue what went wrong between them.”

Abhishek Bachchan to play kingpin Mohan Singh in Neeraj Pandey’s Special Chabbis, based on the 1987 TBZ jewellery heist

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 09, 2009)

A Wednesday director Neeraj Pandey who is making Special Chabbis based on the notorious 1987 heist at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri jewellery store at Opera House, has signed Abhishek Bachchan to play the lead role. Abhishek will play the man who booked a room in a posh Mumbai hotel as Mohan Singh and proceeded to commit the most daring daylight robbery in the city.

Singh recruited 26 conmen, who posed as income tax officers, and raided the Opera House branch of TBZ and walked away with jewellery worth lakhs.

According to sources, Neeraj finalised Abhishek for the role because he is from Uttar Pradesh. Although no one knows if Mohan Singh was the main conman’s real name, he apparently hailed from UP and was in his mid-30s. Abhishek was an obvious choice as he too has a UP lineage and belongs to the same age group. Abhishek loved Neeraj’s A Wednesday and was happy to be part of Special Chabbis.

Since the role is based on a real life character, Abhishek needs to prepare for his role in terms of speech and body language.

(L): Abhishek Bachchan (R): Neeraj Pandey

Neeraj confirmed the news and said, “I can’t deny that Abhishek is on board but I want to get some other key members of the cast in place before I make a formal announcement. The film requires 26 actors and I want to make sure all of them are just right for their part. I will start the project in mid-2010. Before that I am producing a film titled 3 Large 1 Small under my banner Friday Filmworks. It’s the story of a somewhat young man who looks back on his life. I’m currently hunting for a director and a main lead.”

Meanwhile, there’s bad news for those waiting for Neeraj to start the prequel to A Wednesday. After the Tamil remake of A Wednesday (Unnaipol Oruvan), Neeraj has decided to shelve the earlier planned prequel.

“I’ve to admit the remake (Unnaipol Oruvan) makes my plans to make a prequel to A Wednesday redundant now. I think we need to move on from A Wednesday. That’s what Special Chabbis gives me a chance to do,” said Neeraj.

By Subhash K. Jha, September 19, 2009 – 11:53 IST

Om Puri Naseeruddin Shah ostensibly played a terror mastermind in Neeraj Pandey’s A Wednesday. But finally it turned out to be the role of messiah on a mission to ‘cleanse the society’. Now, Naseer’s arch-rival Om Puri has taken on the role of an unapologetic hardcore terrorist in Rensil D’Silva’s Kurbaan.

Bollywood characters derived from headlines specially ones that are taken from extremist news reports, are now being seen as tricky territory.

In Rensil D’Silva’s hushed and much talked-about Kurbaan, Om Puri plays a hardcore terrorist who masterminds a massive terror attack in the US. Surely a politically-incorrect role for an actor, if ever there was one! In fact, Irrfan Khan had said no to play a global terrorist in Kurbaan.

Playing a terrorist automatically puts the actor in the suspicious list on the international airports. And so what if it’s just a part?

But Om is fearless. “I’m aware of the repercussions. I’m also aware others actors turn down parts of terrorists. But I’ve no such reservations. A role is a role. We cannot be moral and judgmental about the characters we play. In Kurbaan I play the terror mastermind, a fully committed jehaadi who is ready to sacrifice everything including his wife (Kirron Kher) for the cause.”

It’s a role with deep reverberations. But Om is prepared for the backlash. “I played a radical mullah mouthing rabid dialogues in Jagmohan Mundhra’s Shoot On Sight. It was just a role. I think our audiences are mature enough to understand this.”

However the audiences’ level of maturity seems to have gone for a toss. Om has apparently started receiving warnings from fundamentalist organizations about playing an extremist.

Om says he won’t be deterred. “I played a Pakistani in Charlie Wilson’s War and East Is East. And now, in October, I go into the sequel West Is West with the same cast. This time, Vijay Raaz and Ila Arun have been added. Is it dangerous to experiment with morality in your actors? Let it be. In my new release Baabarr, I played a corrupt colourful cop who doesn’t think tweaking the law is a big deal. It’s good to enter the hearts and minds of people who live by their own weird morality.”


Neeraj Pandey’s next, Special Chabbis is based on the 1987 TBZ incident in which 26 men posing as income tax officials walked away with jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 25, 2009)

Neeraj Pandey

Director Neeraj Pandey can’t get enough of gritty, edge-of-the-seat dramas. After making the taut and fast-paced A Wednesday, the director has decided to make another real-life-based film. The film, titled Special Chabbis, is based on a scandal, which made the Mumbai police force look helplessly inadequate. Neeraj’s next is about the March 19, 1987 incident, when 26 men posing as income tax officials stormed into the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri’s jewellery store and walked away with wealth worth lakhs.

Neeraj, who has been rigourously researching the scam from the Times Of India archives, promises a film very different from the much-applauded A Wednesday.

Confirming the news, Neeraj said, “Fortunately, I’ve a producer, Ekta Kapoor, who shares my enthusiasm. She is far more excited about this project than I can ever be. We hope to start shooting by the end of this year. Special Chabbis goes into headlines, but in the past. It would be more in the nature of a caper than a thriller.”

Special Chabbis will be shot in Chandigarh, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. As for the film’s music, Neeraj said, “It will have three songs- one of them will be lip-sync and two in the background.”

Neeraj and Ekta will sign the 26 actors in the next few weeks.

An ingenious trickster, posing as a CBI officer recruited 26 “intelligence officers”, conducted a “mock” raid at a leading jewellery shop at Opera House and disappeared with jewellery and cash worth Rs. 30 lakhs, here today.

The operation was meticulously executed over the last two days and the entire episode bore close resemblance to a crime fiction, leaving the 70 odd staff and about 30 customers at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zhaveri in a daze.

For nearly 30 minutes after the “jewel thief” vanished, the “intelligence officers” and the employees did not realise they had been duped. Later, the police were called and the so-called CBI officers rounded up.

A man called Mohan Singh, checked in at Taj Intercontinental at 5.30pm on March 17 and said he was coming from Trivandrum.

On his behalf an advertisement was inserted yesterday in The Times of India seeking 50 dynamic graduates for the posts of intelligence and security officers.

After the interview, 26 persons were selected and they were asked to come to the hotel again today at 11am. By noon, Mohan checked out of the hotel. He had booked a luxury coach through the hotel.

The recruits proceeded towards Chowpatty in the coach at 12.30pm. Mohan Singh stopped the bus and told the driver and cleaner to wait while he took his staff towards the beach ostensibly to have soft drinks.

The bus was stopped in front of Charni Road railway station and the “CBI team” walked towards the jewellery shop. During the bus journey, Mohan Singh distributed identity cards and at Chowpatty briefed them about the mock operation.
The candidates were asked to bring their biodata, passport-size photographs and certificates for an interview at the hotel inquiry counter from 10am to 5pm. Mohan showed his papers to the proprietor, Mr Pratap Zhaveri, and positioned his staff in the first two floors. He asked the customers to be seated in their respective places.

He then went about picking samples of jewellery from various show cases. He put them in several polythene bags and stapled them with slips containing the government seal. Having put the valuables in a suitcase, he told his staff to wait in the same shop for some time as he would visit another shop and return soon.

The operation lasted 30 minutes from 2.30pm. As there was no sign of the leader, the proprietor suspected foul play and rang up the police control.

After leaving the shop, Mohan boarded his coach and drove back to the hotel. He asked the driver to wait for about 10 minutes and went in. But, he never returned.

Meanwhile, the police began interrogation of all the 26 recruits and other eye-witnesses. Among the recruits were a number of government servants in active service.

Inquiries revealed that the advertisement in the paper was booked at Bandra by a person by the name Rajkumar who gave a Santa Cruz address.

By Subhash K. Jha, July 27, 2009 – 17:00 IST

Neeraj Pandey, Ekta Kapoor Rightfully, A Wednesday director Neeraj Pandey has reached the land of plenty. From the time when he had to struggle to put together his first political thriller a year back to now, when Neeraj is spoilt by choices…the director has indeed come a long way in no time.

Just when Neeraj was ready to direct a film for Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Films, his dispute with UTV over the prequel has been resolved.

UTV and Neeraj Pandey had gone into legal recourse after UTV sold off the Tamil rights of Pandey’s A Wednesday. UTV apparently, also questioned Pandey’s right to make a prequel to A Wednesday which he was planning.

But now the matter is now settled. “I’m free to make the prequel. But I can’t have the title A Wednesday. I agree the branding goes a long way in getting the audience. But I’ll have the same cast and hopefully audiences will know they are looking in the same range of vision as the earlier film.”

Now that the matter has been cleared, the Wednesday team is solidly behind Pandey to start the prequel. However there’s a hitch. Pandey has committed himself to a film to be produced by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Films. It’s the story of a scamster based on a true-life character. And Pandey starts shooting next month. The Wednesday team is getting mighty anxious to start the prequel. They have in fact, collectively issued an ultimatum to Pandey to get the prequel on the road.

The director is caught in a dilemma. Ekta Kapoor’s project is ready to take off and there’s no way Pandey can wriggle out of the commitment. Laughs Pandey, “I don’t want to wriggle out of it. I’ve enjoyed writing the film for Ekta, as much as I’ve enjoyed putting together the Wednesday prequel. But since I can personally direct only one of the two projects I’m handing over the Wednesday prequel to one of my assistants. I’ll produce and stand solidly behind the project to make sure nothing is missing in the prequel.”


By Bollywood Hungama News Network, June 13, 2009 – 22:48 IST

Best Film
Jodhaa Akbar

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Male
Hrithik Roshan – Jodhaa Akbar

Best Actor in a Leading Role – Female
Priyanka Chopra – Fashion

Best Director
Ashutosh Gowariker – Jodhaa Akbar

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male
Arjun Rampal – Rock On!!

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female
Kangna Ranaut – Fashion

Best Actor in a Negative Role
Akshaye Khanna – Race

Best Story
Neeraj Pandey – A Wednesday!

Best Debutant Star – Male
Farhan Akhtar

Best Debutant Star – Female

Outstanding Achievement by an Indian in International Cinema
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Best Actor in a Comic Role
Abhishek Bachchan – Dostana

Best Music
A R Rahman – Jodhaa Akbar

Best Lyrics
Javed Akhtar – Jashn-E-Bahara (Jodhaa Akbar)

Best Playback Singer – Male
Javed Ali – Jashn-e-Baharaa (Jodhaa Akbar)

Best Playback Singer – Female
Shreya Ghoshal – Teri Ore (Singh is Kinng)

Best Dailogue
Manu Rishi – Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

Best Screenplay
Neeraj Pandey – A Wednesday!

Best Choreograhy
Farah Khan-Desi Girl (Dostana)

Best Cinematography
Jason West-Rock On!!

Sound Editing
Resul Pookutty-Ghajini

Sound Recording
Resul Pookutty-Ghajini

Best Action
Peter Heins and Stun Siva-Ghajini

Special Effects
Prime Focus-Ghajini

Best Song Recording
Purple Haze-Rock On!!

Best Editing
Ballu Saluja-Jodhaa Akbar

Best Make-up
Madhav Kadam-Jodhaa Akbar

Art Direction
Nitin Chandrakant Desai-Jodhaa Akbar

Best Costume Award
Neeta Lulla-Jodhaa Akbar

Best Background Score
A R Rahman-Jodhaa Akbar

Star of the Decade – Male
Shah Rukh Khan

Star of the Decade – Female
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Music Director of the Decade
A R Rahman