Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘press conference

YAHOO.COM (January 2, 2010)

The raging controversy over the credit for the story in ‘3 Idiots’ escalated on Saturday with director Rajkumar Hirani accusing author Chetan Bhagat of “lying” despite agreeing to several conditions including a rolling credit in a contract.

Hirani, who also shares the writing credit with scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi in the Aamir Khan starrer, said Bhagat had approved the film’s script and agreed to the condition that it would be different from his book.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Hirani showed the contract signed with Bhagat, whose novel “Five Point Someone” became the basis for the film. The director said he had made a four-hour narration of the script to the author.

“We never denied Bhagat the credit. I am confused as to why is he saying all these things after the film’s release. We have not stolen the story, we have purchased the rights of the book and can modify or change it as per our requirements. There is nothing illegal in it. Chetan is lying,” Hirani said.

He said that as per the contract signed between Bhagat and producers of the film, it was obligatory on part of the latter to mention in rolling credits that the film was based the novel.

“His name appears immediately after the main cast in the rolling credits. If he wanted to see his name in opening part of the film, he should have asked us after reading the contract itself. I am myself a writer and I respect writers,” Hirani said.

Reacting to Hirani’s statement, Bhagat accused the film-makers of abusing the contract.

Agencies
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VIR SANGHVI (Hindustan Times)

Here are two images you may remember from television. The first was the Oscar ceremony. Simon Beaufoy won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire. It is no secret that Beaufoy’s script differed significantly from the book by Vikas Swarup on which Slumdog was based. But Beaufoy made it a point to thank Swarup on stage and to say that without his book there would be no screenplay, no movie, and no Oscars.

Later that same night Slumdog director Danny Boyle, while accepting his own Oscar, apologised to the choreographer Longinus, whose name had been left out of the end credits of Slumdog. When the film won the Best Picture Oscar, the entire unit went on stage including Vikas Swarup who had been flown in to Los Angeles by the makers of the film at their expense.

And here is a second image. It is a press conference in Noida on Friday. The cast and makers of 3 Idiots are answering questions from the press as part of the publicity campaign for the film. When journos keep asking about the lack of recognition accorded to author Chetan Bhagat, on whose book the film is based, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra stands up, points a finger at an inquisitive journalist and shouts ‘Shut up’. Chopra is prevented from saying much more by his colleagues and Aamir Khan then swings into damage control mode. He tries to sound reasonable but manages to abuse Chetan Bhagat, calls him publicity hungry — a bit rich considering the stunts Aamir staged to gain publicity for 3 Idiots — and berates journos for believing Bhagat.

What is the difference between the two images?

I think one word sums it up: grace.

Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy and the Slumdog unit behaved with grace. Vinod Chopra and his star behaved with a complete lack of grace.

If you’ve missed the controversy, here’s what it is about. Vidhu Vinod Chopra bought the rights to Chetan Bhagat’s novel and then turned it into 3 Idiots. Nobody disputes that 3 Idiots is based on the Bhagat novel and indeed Bhagat is credited as such in the movie.

The point of discord is the placing of the credit. Bhagat suggests that it should have been at the beginning along with all the other writer credits. Instead it appears at the very end.

In his defence, Chopra says that the end is an appropriate place for the credit because his scriptwriters, including Rajkumar Hirani, the film’s director, changed so much of the story that the final film has little to do with Bhagat’s novel.

Bhagat says that this is not true. Yes of course there is a lot in the film that he did not write but it is still recognisably his story and on his blog he lists several points of similarity.

For the purposes of argument, I am quite prepared to believe Aamir and Chopra when they deny Bhagat’s version of events. I am also prepared to accept that the screenplay is significantly different from Bhagat’s novel.

But here’s the thing: it shouldn’t make a difference.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra is contractually obliged to give Bhagat credit as the writer of the source material for the movie. So, the issue is not whether the script is 95 per cent based on the book or 25 per cent derived from Bhagat’s novel. The only issue is one of placing. Should Bhagat have been part of the opening credits? And was it graceless to bury his name in the end credits?

In Hollywood, it is not uncommon for scriptwriters to significantly alter the plots of source material or to only use a part of the book. Slumdog differs significantly from Vikas Swarup’s Q&A. The Firm dispenses with John Grisham’s ending and invents a new one. In Papillon, a major character who was not even in the book was invented by the scriptwriters. David Lean’s Dr Zhivago junked the second half of the book. The recent My Sister’s Keeper differs substantially from Jodi Picoult’s bestseller of the same name.

In every single case, however, the original novel was properly credited and the author mentioned in the opening credits. Nobody believed that this detracted in any way from the screenwriter’s achievements. It just demonstrated a certain grace and honesty on the part of the movie’s maker.

So why, you may well ask, is Vidhu Vinod Chopra being so bloody-minded about denying Chetan Bhagat his opening credit?

The honest answer is I simply cannot understand Chopra’s pettiness.

I hold no brief for any of the principals in this drama. At the HT, we’ve had a bad experience with Chetan Bhagat, who we believe behaved unprofessionally when he was a columnist. On the other hand, I have met Vinod Chopra, have worked with his wife and have always thought well of him. Personally, I have the highest regard and admiration for Aamir Khan, whom I know slightly.

So, this is not about personalities. It’s not even about principle — Chopra has conceded the principle by giving Bhagat his credit even if he has buried it in the end.

It is about grace.

What does it cost the makers of 3 Idiots to give Chetan Bhagat his credit in the space where a writer’s credit is traditionally placed in the international movie business? It would make no difference to the movie’s massive box-office performance. We would not think any less of Rajkumar Hirani, a fine director with a great track record. And Aamir’s reputation as the most consistently successful star of our times would remain intact.

Finally, it comes down to how big a human being is prepared to be. Even people who did not think much of Slumdog Millionaire were overwhelmed when Danny Boyle used the Oscar platform to say sorry to Longinus for leaving his name out of the credits. That was the single-biggest night in Boyle’s life, a culmination of everything he had worked for. And he still found the time to mention an Indian dance director he would probably never meet again.

That’s what I call class.

Our own film industry, however, has not covered itself in glory by the way in which it has behaved over Bhagat’s credit. Our producers, directors and actors have come across as mean-spirited and petty and ready to get into fights over something as minor as the placing of a credit.

Just as India has the potential to become a superpower in the 21st century so Bollywood has the opportunity to become the world’s leading film industry in this century. Certainly, we are not short of talent or of audiences.

What we are short of, however, is grace. And our directors need to learn that no amount of box-office success can buy you class. Our film industry will never hit the big time if its leading lights continue to think like small-timers.

It’s time for Aamir, Chopra and Hirani to show some grace. Otherwise they risk coming across as three idiots.

The views expressed by the author are personal

ANGRY AND HURT: Mandira Bedi

Mandira Bedi sends channel legal notice for ankle broken on show

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 24, 2009)



Mandira Bedi is in a bad shape, physically, mentally and right now, even emotionally. A bad stunt during the Khatron Ke Khiladi press conference in Mumbai that resulted in a broken ankle, surgery, a metal plate with seven screws to hold the bone in place, has left her upset and tearful. She sent Colors, the television channel hosting the show, a legal notice for ignoring her, now that the show is off the air and demanded a response within seven days. The channel asked for time. “Six weeks later, do they still need more time,” asked a fuming Mandira.


At the press conference, at the behest of show host Akshay Kumar, the 13 lady contestants jumped from a 15-foot height, barefoot, onto two thin coir mattresses. “Barefoot, because we weren’t informed before hand that we were doing a stunt and didn’t have training shoes,” said Mandira, who hurt her foot badly after doing the stunt. A doctor on the set advised her to ice the badly swollen foot. Mandira called her husband, who suggested an X-ray. Nobody from Colors accompanied her to the hospital, she said. “I left alone in my car as there wasn’t an ambulance there. My X-ray confirmed a fracture. I informed the Colors team of it and my inability to return. Then I went to hospital to put my foot in a cast. The next day, a newspaper reported that ‘Mandira twisted her ankle’. Which is the only official statement from Colors,” added Mandira. Injuries and all, in cast and on crutches, Mandira still made the KKK finale shoot where Akshay acknowledged her injury as a
“zara si moch”.


Then followed a painful, three-hour surgery and many attempts by Mandira in vain to talk to the CEO of the channel. “He deigned to call me back,” she alleged. “Of course, it was only because the show was still on air! Subsequently, he apologised for a Colors employee’s feeble attempt at clearing my hospital bills, saying it would be ‘chicken-feed in comparison to all the pain and trauma I have gone through’. He also assured me that he would ‘make it up to me’. That was the last time I heard from him or anyone else from there.” But Mandira doesn’t want anyone to “make it up to her” she wants them to take responsibility. “Accept, on a public forum, that a mistake happened, that there was medical negligence and violation of safety norms. This acknowledgement makes for a larger issue. This callous and inhuman behaviour has to be made an example of,” she insisted. “What if Akshay had hurt himself doing a stunt on the show because of lack of safety or medical negligence? Would the channel wash their hands off him?”


CHANNEL RESPONDS:
A spokesperson from Colors told BT: “We’re surprised on receiving this notice from Mandira and our lawyers are in the process of responding to the notice. The fact is that she voluntarily opted to do the jump and all due care was taken during all the rehearsals of the show, to ensure safety of all participants. For unforeseen incidents, there was an ambulance and a doctor on stand-by, always. It was unfortunate that she hurt herself during one of the rehearsal drills. While adequate firstaid was offered to her on site, we also offered to pick up her medical expenses for this injury. And we are willing to reimburse her medical expenses now as well if we receive the bills from her. After doing all this, her behaviour leaves us amazed.”
roshni.olivera@timesgroup.com

Fardeen Khan’s acute back pain has him rushing to London for surgery; will be out of action for three weeks

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 01, 2009)

Fardeen Khan is in acute pain and he has been told that he needs back surgery immediately. His back injury, which has been troubling him for some time now has aggravated and he flew to London last night for the operation.

Our source said, “Fardeen has always had back pain on the right side. It has been troubling him for some time now, especially while shooting for his action film Acid Factory. However, during his visit to London last week for Mayur Madhvani’s birthday celebrations, Fardeen’s injury aggravated. He wanted to consult the doctor there but it was tough to get an immediate appointment and he had to come back to finish the dubbing of Dulha Mil Gaya and the promotion of Acid Factory. He returned to keep his commitment and then informed his producers about his surgery. He left last night for London.”

Fardeen’s business manager Rajkumar Tiwari confirmed the story and said, “Fardeen’s injury  aggravated while he was in London last week but he had to come back to fulfill his professional commitments. He will now go there to consult the doctors and if needed, he will go in for surgery.

Sanjay Gupta, the producer of Acid Factory said, “Yes, I am aware of his back problem. He was in lot of pain during our Acid Factory fashion show and it was very kind of him to walk the ramp and go through the press conference, despite being in such pain.”

Suparn Verma, the director of Acid Factory has been informed as well and is accommodating about the situation. He said, “He always had this pain and he was on medication right through the making, but I believe that now the pain has become unbearable. I am told that he has gone to London for surgery and he will be out of action for a good three weeks. We will miss him during the release of the film.”

Akshay Kumar to star in a romantic film after three years

By Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 14, 2009)

Action star Akshay Kumar will be seen in a romantic film after three years. He has recently agreed to star in a film to be directed by Kunal Kohli. The out-and-out romantic film’s lead actress is yet to be finalised. Kunal Kohli too will be making a romantic film five years after his Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukerji starrer Hum Tum.

Kunal Kohli said, “It’s too early for me to comment as I am working on the film.”

Giving us more details, a source said, “Kunal has been working on this romantic film for some time now and Akshay was his first choice. He met Akshay in London where he was shooting for Houseful. Akshay loved the script and Kunal and he have been meeting regularly so that the film can go on the floors soon. Last week, Kunal even met Akshay at his Juhu residence where they locked the deal.”

Commenting on the film’s subject, the source added, “It’s a modern romantic film, just like Kunal’s Hum Tum five years ago. This too will be today’s film with a fresh script. They are still looking for a lead actress. Akshay has not starred in a hardcore romantic film after Humko Deewana Kar Gaye, which released in 2006.”

Despite repeated attempts, Akshay Kumar remained unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Akshay’s love for death-defying stunts continues. He will jump from 35 feet during a press conference today for his forthcoming reality show.

PLEASE VOTE IN THE BOLLYWOOD HALF-YEARLY AWARDS HERE, IN CASE YOU HAVENT
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BEING A KHAN IS NOT A CRIME!

Deepa Ravi (leap 24) was right when she replied to my comment on her New York review that “It (9/11) hurt America below the belt and hit them hard. They are still recovering from it!” The Americans took a stew of measures to see to it that something like WTC Attack doesn’t repeat again on their soil. However, many of their steps have at times hurt the religious sentiments of the people. The SRK incident last Saturday confirms this.

My Name is KhanMany are criticizing Shah Rukh Khan for ‘over-reacting’. Some say that he did this for promoting his film My Name Is Khan (MNIK). Why would SRK do something like that? He has been in the industry since around two decades. We haven’t seen him before doing such cheap marketing gimmicks for his films, have we? And MNIK is some 7-8 months away-why would he arouse a cheap controversy to market his film which has such a long time to release? And 12 days back, he had already made enough publicity for MNIK when he held a press conference, announcing the tie-up with Fox Studios.

What infuriated about this incident that the officials doubted SRK and his star-status and that they took 2 hours (which is really a long time) to question him. Kabir Khan (Director, New York) is right when he said about this incident, “How much time does it take to find out who Shah Rukh Khan is? A Google search would give more hits than Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise put together”. This clearly shows that it is possible that Shah Rukh Khan was subjected to secondary inspection because of his Muslim identity.

Not only SRK, many others Khans of Bollywood are of the same opinion that they have been subjected to secondary inspection because of their last name. Zayed Khan also agrees and says that when he’s on a tour, he is the only one from his team who gets detained while others are cleared in no time at all. And if the officials are questioned, they say it’s a random checking. At this, Zayed rightly says, “Tell me, how can there be random checks on 5 US airports one after another and in all of them only yours truly gets detained for additional checking?” A valid point, indeed!

New York director Kabir Khan’s ordeal is much bigger. He has spoken about this but unfortunately, it never made it to the headlines. Before New York, Kabir Khan had shot 6 times in US. At that point of time, FBI came up with 29 South Asian names and they ordered that anyone having those names should not be allowed to enter US at all. Unfortunately, one of the 29 names was Kabir Khan! He must have had a tough time explaining the officials.

So the point is-people have faced discrimination because of their religion which is completely unjustified. And how come SRK is wrong if he made his unsatisfying experience public? Amidst all this, Amar Singh enters taking full advantage to blast SRK. He says that even Big B was subjected to security checks and further says “There are two types of people in society—one, who make an issue out of an incident and another, who cooperates with procedures”. Very funny, esp when Amar Singh says something like this since he’s famous for making issues. He made an issue during the 2007 Filmfare Awards and this year, during the Sajid-Ashutosh feud in Star Screen Awards, he was the only one who took sides. Double Standards!
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shadowREADY FOR SHADOW?

Two films are going to release in two weeks-one is intentionally a spoof and the other is a spoof, unintentionally! The former is Quick Gun Murugan and the latter is Shadow which releases tomorrow! I am sure everyone must have seen the promos of Shadow, which proudly proclaims as to how its lead actor Naseer Khan is actually a blind man and yet, does so many stunts in the film. Although kudos to Naseer Khan for achieving this considerable feat, his dialogue delivery and his dancing style has become the laughing stock! And the makers intentionally show the unintentionally funny scenes of the film in the promos! It is difficult to say how the film will turn out to be but one thing is for sure. Naseer Khan is getting the same response as Kamaal Rashid Khan (of Deshdrohi, remember?) had received!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/bbhfolooo/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk62

CLEARING THE AIR: The actor leaves the airport, heads for home

Bharati Dubey I TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; August 18, 2009)

Mumbai: “This is not going to end and we will have to live with that,’’ said Shah Rukh Khan at a press conference in his house. The actor returned from America on Wednesday afternoon.

Khan, who was detained at Newark airport for slightly over an hour, clarified that the reason given to him for detention was that his name kept popping up on the computer and not because of lost baggage issues.

Shah Rukh did admit that he felt slightly violated when asked to name people in America who could vouch for him. “I don’t want to be treated as somebody special and I don’t want anyone to lose their job because of this incident. But should they have taken my fingerprints and retina scan, then let me off
without verifying these? It shows the system is wrong.’’

Khan brushed aside allegations of the incident being a publicity stunt. “I don’t need a stunt to remain in the public eye. And I don’t think being detained and questioned is a matter of pride. But one cannot deny that this is a problem happening around the world,’’ said the
actor, adding that this was the not the first time.

Quoting German pastor Martin Niemoller, Khan said, “They came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.’’

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