Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘promotion

YAHOO.COM (January 2, 2010)

Mumbai, Jan 2 (IANS) Director Rajkumar Hirani Saturday produced the credits agreement with author Chetan Bhagat for hit film ’3 Idiots’ and maintained that the movie was not a copy of the bestseller ‘Five Point Someone’.

Hirani distributed copies of an agreement of credit and a non-disclosure agreement signed by Bhagat Sep 1, 2005 and Oct 3, 2007 respectively. Screenplay writer Abhijat Joshi was also present at the media meet.

‘It shall be obligatory on the part of the producer to accord credit to the author in the rolling credits… as under – Based on the novel ‘Five Point Someone’,’ the agreement on the issue of credit states.

The non-disclosure agreement was signed after Hirani gave a ‘four-hour narration’ of the final script to Bhagat, the director said.

Hirani also supported his argument by giving a copy of an interview that Bhagat gave to IANS Sep 26, 2008 titled: ‘I liked the final script of ‘Three Idiots’: Chetan Bhagat.’

‘The director took my book as the base but he has changed it according to his requirements. He took permission from me before taking my story but has not involved me in making it into the final script. But he has shown me the final script and I have liked it too,’ Bhagat had told IANS.

The credit row surfaced after Bhagat had posted on his blog that ’70 percent’ of ’3 Idiots’ is based on his book and therefore he should have got a prominent place in the rolling credits as well as during the film promotion. He also said that he was not shown the final script.

Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has said that as per their agreement, Bhagat’s name appeared in the rolling credits and he was paid the due amount.

Hirani, who has helmed movies like ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ and ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, also pointed out that the producer had bought the rights of ‘Five Point Someone’.

Hence, it was their prerogative whether to use ‘five percent of the book or 70 percent of it’.

Some crew members of the much delayed Agent Vinod have opted out of the project for fear of being jobless after signing a contract with the production house

By Sonal Chawla (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 19, 2009)


Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan’s Agent Vinod, which finally seemed poised to take off, has been delayed again. Due to this, some crew members got fed up of waiting for the film to go on the floors and hence opted out of it to work in other viable projects.

The film was supposed to go on the floors in July, but Saif could not find time for Agent Vinod as he was busy with the promotions of Love Aaj Kal. Later, both Kareena and Saif got busy with Kurbaan and the film got postponed. Then Kareena’s dates were given away to the Bollywood version of Stepmom, so the film got delayed even further to January. Now, it is finally reported that the film will begin in the second half of the next year.

A source from the unit, who has backed out of the film, says, “We have been roped in for this project for over six months. We were first informed that the movie will go on the floors in December, which was then pushed to January. Finally, the other day, we got a call from the production house saying that the film might go on the floors by April and we need to sign the contract papers.”

It was the commitment to the project, which seemed on a shaky path that made them back out of it. The source adds, “How can we sign the contract papers? Once we sign the contract, we can’t work anywhere else. So, we will be jobless till this movie goes on the floors. Given this inconvenience, many of us have backed out of the film. We are not signing the contract as we don’t want to be bound with the production house for so many months. If we do sign the contract we will be twiddling our thumbs and not earning money. Some of us have moved on since there is no guarantee of when exactly the film will take off. Meanwhile, we are taking up some other projects,” adds the source.

Producer Dinesh Vijan remained unavailable for comment. Guess Agent Vinod and he were having a fictitious tete-a-tete.

ROCKET SINGH GOES THE ‘THE HANGOVER’ WAY!

I always believe that promotion is of utmost importance for a film to succeed. It helps to create hype and arouse curiosity which in turn helps the film get a good opening. But some producers don’t stress too much on promotion, presumably for two reasons:

-> The producer doesn’t have enough money to publicize his product. Or maybe, the budget of the film went so high that the producer couldn’t afford to spend additional 2-3 crores on promotion

-> The producer is supremely confident of his product. He is confident that he has come up with a winner and come what may, it will attract audiences and do a great job commercially.

The second reason seems applicable as to why Rocket Singh-Salesman Of The Year, releasing tomorrow, isn’t promoted much.  Obviously, YRF aren’t short on funds so first reason can be ruled out. And going by Ranbir Kapoor’s confident declaration that Rocket Singh is his best film till date, it seems that the film will turn out to be a great entertainer. In his words, “I can proudly say that Rocket Singh… is not just my greatest film till date but also one of the greatest films made in the recent times. Believe me, it belongs to a different world altogether”.

Maybe, Ranbir did this as a personal publicity campaign on his part; after all, actors always do this, isn’t it? But it’s a fact that whenever the Chopras adopt a negligible promotional strategy for their film, then that film works wonders. ‘Chak De! India’ was also badly promoted and many trade pundits had predicted that it’ll fail. It even took an average opening. But the response was extremely positive and from the 2nd day, the film began attracting audiences in large numbers. It later turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters of that year, 2007. Similarly, last year, Chopras went slow in promoting Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which was very successful at the BO.

Another classic example is the case of The Hangover. How many of were aware of this film or had planned to see it when it released? The film had no famous stars and it also wasn’t promoted well across the world. In India, it released with a Hindi biggie, New York and Hollywood biggie, Terminator Salvation. The first day collections were pathetic. But the critics’ positive response and equally satisfying response of junta compelled moviegoers to catch this flick. In big cities, it ran for as many as 6-7 weeks (a rarity for Hollywood films) and was running with 70%+ occupancy even in weekdays!

So the point is-promotion is most vital but when your product is top-class and you are confident about its success, it’s okay to not promote the product much. Even ‘A Wednesday!’ and Mumbai Meri Jaan weren’t marketed well but later turned out to be two of the most loved films of 2008.

Coming back to Rocket Singh, the other reason why its promotion is low is because of Ranbir Kapoor’s presence in the film. He has received immense appreciation from his last 2 films, Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and is already on his way to become superstar. So maybe, YRF is of the opinion that Ranbir’s presence is now enough to get people to theatres. Also the title of the film, title song and the fact that it’s directed by Shimit Amin (director of Chak De and Ab Tak Chappan) has created some curiosity. If the film really turns out to be exciting as Ranbir has said, then he would be immediately crowned as the superstar for sure! Let’s hope for the best!
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CELINA’S AWARD WINNING FLICK NOT RELEASING IN INDIA

Many moviegoers and even those in industry were shocked to hear that Celina Jaitly got the Best Female Actor award for her New Zealand flick Love Has No Language at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF)! A popular Bollywood screenwriter’s status on Facebook read, “Celina has won the Best Actor Award at CIFF. I’m trying to find out whether Stevie Wonder, Ravindra Jain and Nasser Khan (of Shadow fame) were the judges”! Such reactions were expected as Celina was never considered as an ‘actor’ anytime by majority. So this news came as 440 volt ka jakta!

Talking about the film, it has released in several countries but it still hasn’t got a release here in India and now Celina has confessed that the film won’t see a theatrical release here-it would come directly on DVDs. It pains to see inferior treatment being meted out to India so many times. The lead actress in the film is from India, she has even bagged a prestigious award and yet the film won’t release here-doesn’t sound fair, does it? Even Slumdog Millionaire got a very late release in India and it didn’t do a great job as people had already seen the film by downloading from the internet. Somewhere, this should stop!

CHECK OUT THE PROMO OF LOVE HAS NO LANGUAGE HERE

(Ranbir and Celina’s quotes taken from Bollywood Hungama.com)

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chidprllp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk78

Two prominent Bollywood filmmakers — Manmohan Shetty and Bobby Bedi — have spoken against multiplexes and the high price of tickets, saying these two factors could destroy the industry.

Multiplexes killing Bollywood, say filmmakers

“The main culprit to bring down Bollywood are multiplexes,” said Shetty, who started the trend of multiplex cinema chains.

“The tickets are priced so high that people who used to watch the movies by paying Rs.30 to Rs.40 are not coming to cinema halls anymore,” Shetty said at a conference, ‘India – The Big Picture’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“With high budgets and high priced tickets at multiplexes, film business has become difficult,” he added.

Shetty, who produced movies like ‘GangaaJal’, also said the fees charged by stars have made movie production a tricky business.

“Even though film producers spend Rs.10-15 crore on promotion of films, it is difficult to recover the amount,” he said, adding that a star like Akshay Kumar, who earlier used to charge Rs.1 crore now commands Rs.25 crore.

Film producer Bobby Bedi, in his address at the same conference that was organised on the occasion of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India, equated high priced tickets to the Frankenstein monster that would soon “eat us all up”.

“By pricing the tickets high, the industry has created a monster which will eat us all up like Frankenstein,” said Bedi, whose Kaleidoscope Entertainment has produced blockbusters like ‘Saathiya’, ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Bandit Queen’.

“The need today is for us to lower the ticket prices and the cost of production,” he added.

“We shout from the rooftop about making 1,000 films in India every year. But only 84 films out of the 400 films are hits. What happens to the rest of the films and the money invested in them,” he asked.

Bedi also blamed the entry of corporate sector into film business for the unprecedented upswing in production costs and skyrocketing fees of stars.

“For ‘Mangal Pandey’, Aamir Khan was paid a princely sum of Rs.4 crore. In five years, the price could have a zero added to it,” he said.

“Corporates came into the film industry with pots of money. Now that they have made losses, they are exiting the market. Today, corporates are bleeding from the wounds they themselves inflicted.”

Source: IANS

Aamir Khan has been denied permission to address a student gathering at the Sri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi to promote 3 Idiots today because of security issues; he is heart-broken

By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 25, 2009)

Aamir Khan’s plan to address a huge gathering of 35,000 students from 14 colleges and select media persons at Sri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi today was foiled.
At the nth hour, the Delhi Administration cited security hazards and cancelled the permission given to the actor to address the gathering. Aamir, who is in the capital to promote 3 Idiots, was supposed to unveil a song and the theatrical promos of his new film.

Aamir, who had gone to New Delhi a couple of days ago, to attend a family wedding from his wife Kiran Rao’s side, is now heart-broken. Apart from being disheartened about not addressing the student gathering at the campus, Aamir was also dismayed about not being in the college where he was looking forward to serving and eating canteen food along with his guests today morning.

It is said that the actor personally called authorities in the State Government requesting them not to cancel his permission but to no avail.

Late last night, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s production team was looking for a five-star hotel in Delhi as an alternate venue to hold the student-media meet.

Confirming the news, Aamir says, “I am sad that I couldn’t meet the students at their campus. I didn’t want to have the event at a five-star hotel. It goes against the character of the film. In fact, it is just what I didn’t want.”

Sources say that Aamir is doubly sad about missing out on addressing students in the Delhi University because something similar had happened with him during the promotion of Rang De Basanti, which was also a college campus drama.

A source from the production unit of 3 Idiots says, “This is the second time that Aamir has been denied permission to host a student gathering at a college campus and he was really upset by the turn of events last evening.”

SIZZLING! Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan in their upcoming film For more pictures of the actors, visit http://photogallery.indiatimes.com

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 9, 2009)

This is not a first look story for Raju Hirani’s 3 Idiots… this is about the dilemma Kareena Kapoor is facing in promoting two of her most ambitious films simultaneously.

After Kambakkht Ishq and Main Aur Mrs Khanna this year, both of which didn’t do anything for her, Kareena’s performances in Kurbaan and 3 Idiots are generating a deafening buzz already… and Bollywood’s most powerful actress is literally running between real life beau Saif Ali Khan (Kurbaan) and good friend Aamir (3 Idiots) between November 9-15 … because that’s how her dates have been allotted for promotions.

Says Bebo, “Both Saif and Aamir are very dear to me. I think I’ve created magic with both co-stars and it is impossible for me to choose one over the other.” She recently shot a supererotic, romantic number with Aamir in artificial rain. Insiders say that though the focal point in 3 Idiots is not the Aamir-Kareena romance, it is still a very endearing part of it. While Saif maintains that there is a tremendous curiosity about his pairing with Kareena because they are a real life couple too, Aamir says, “Kareena is one of the most beautiful actresses that we have today. She is also a very good friend and we have both worked very hard on this rain song. I hope people like it.” He’s done wet songs before with Sonali Bendre in Sarfarosh and in Fanaa with Kajol, in which his chemistry with both actresses was highly appreciated… but with Kareena, well, Aamir feels the chemistry is combustible. Any wonder Bebo is smiling like a Cheshire cat that has got the cream.

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan and Akshay Kumar; (top) Lara Dutta in the film
Huge opening adds to the celebrations

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 22, 2009)


The extended Diwali weekend has proved to be a boon for last week’s Bollywood releases. Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd’s underwater thriller Blue that opened this Festival of Lights, benefitted big time because it raked in a huge initial in the celebration period.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh says, “The promotion and publicity helped it to get a grand opening.” He also believes that since India hadn’t seen any thrillers involv
ing underwater action sequences, this proved to be the USP of the film.

Uday Singh, CEO, PVR Pictures, says, “We opened wide… and the first four days’ collections have been extremely encouraging.” Uday feels that Blue is a large screen spectacle and the audience is taken in by the sheer opulence of the product.

The makers of the film are upbeat, too, because they say that the opening weekend collection is one of the best initials an Akshay Kumar film has taken. “The Khiladi has proved once again that he is
one of the biggest Bollywood stars,” says a leading distributor.

International pop superstar Kylie Minogue’s ditty Chiggy Wiggy with Akshay has also found its share of fans. “Blue has hit the jackpot,” is Taran’s opinion.

It is estimated that the film’s collection has benefitted by the sheer magnitude of the number of screens it hit — over 2,000 worldwide. And with no new major releases lined up this week, Blue still holds viewers’ fancy.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

blue3

BLUE WILL GIVES YOU BLUES!!

No matter how grand a film is, how wonderfully it has been promoted or which big names associated are with it, if its content is bad, then nothing can save the film. Blue comes in this category. The film was so nicely publicized, the promos looked rocking, Akki-Sanju pairing seemed electrifying and Lara Dutta’s bikini scenes had sent the youth in frenzy. Unfortunately, the film’s story is pathetic and thus, the film disappoints…big time!

The story of the movie: Sagar (Sanjay Dutt) is an honest guy staying in Bahamas and has a girlfriend, Mona (Lara Dutta). His best friend is Aarav (Akshay Kumar), a rich and over ambitious businessman. One fine morning, Sagar’s younger brother, Sameer aka Sam (Zayed Khan) arrives at Sagar’s place after staying in Bangkok for 5 years. Sam hasn’t come there just to meet his folks for a few days-he had ran away from Bangkok after taking panga with a gangster Gulshan (Rahul Dev) there. On the other hand, there is a treasure lying deep under the sea, somewhere near Bahamas, and Aarav persuades Sagar to join him in finding the treasure. But Sagar has reservations about it which is connected to his past.

In just 15 minutes, you get a hint that the director is unfit and doesn’t know his job well. The opening credits scene was brilliant. But the following scenes and also the boxing sequence hold attention initially but the interest soon wears off. The movie then focuses on Zayed Khan which was the best part of the first hour. But the story hardly moves once Zayed comes to Bahamas and joins Sanju and his team and this happens till the intermission point. In between, there two songs are thrown in, ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ and Blue Theme, which serve no purpose to the main storyline.

The actual treasure hunting begins in the last 30 minutes and you expect fireworks right till the climax. But alas…it was plain lackluster. The director could have included added more thrills or at least some twists and surprises. Sure, there is a twist in the end but that doesn’t work big time. Also the climax was so lame!

Talking about flaws, there are plenty. What is striking is-the treasure is part of India’s wealth and was coming to India in a ship in 1949. But when the ship sank, no effort was made by the Indian Govt or for that matter, any adventurer to get hold of it. Although there were stories that the captain of the ship took away the treasure, still no one tried even investigating this case and that too for 5 decades! Very hard to digest!

However, the film scores at a few places. The bike race and the following chase scene involving Zayed Khan rocks! Another bike scene post-interval, which also involved a train, was also well-shot. And the best scene of the film was when the goons attack Sanjay’s place. Simply outstanding! So you can see, only the action sequences hold attention. And the film, overall, is a damp squib!

blue2

It’s a treat to see Sanjay Dutt in every film and in Blue too, he does a great job. Although he looked a bit fat places, overall, he gives a smashing performance. Akshay Kumar steals the show. He also raises a few laughs in between and was perfect for this role. However, it’s really disappointing to see Akshay Kumar in pathetic films lately. Let’s hope De Dana Dan (his next with Priyadarshan) works. Zayed Khan looked dashing and charming. The world may denounce him but I feel that he has the potential and can reach the top, if given an opportunity.

I really feel bad for Lara Dutta. When she signed Blue, she didn’t know swimming and she dedicatedly learnt how to swim in just three months and became a pro. However, she hardly has any contribution to the main plot of the film. In fact, one can argue that there was no need for her character in the film at all! Really very unfortunate! Rahul Dev was okay and Kabir Bedi doesn’t have a single dialogue in the film. Katrina Kaif is stunning while Kylie Minogue oozes oomph!

blue

A R Rahman’s music was good, but nothing special. The Blue Theme, Chiggy Wiggy and Aaj Dil are the best songs of the lot. Rahman’s background score sounded modern and fresh.

Laxman Utekar’s cinematography was eye-catching. The underwater cinematography by Pete Zuccarini was outstanding and the underwater scenes really looked stunning. Oscar winner Resul Pookutty strikes a sixer with his marvelous sound designing. Fantastic job! The locales (Bahamas) are excellent.

Some of the dialogues (Mayur Puri) stand out. While the crew did their job wonderfully, the story and the script (Anthony D’Souza and Jasmine D’Souza) spoil and ruin the show. Same goes for direction by Anthony. He had everything-a producer who was ready to invest large amounts of money, top actors of the current period, an excellent crew (including some from Hollywood) and what not. But alas! Did Anthony feel that people are going to praise his film just by showing them some wonderful underwater scenes and handful of action sequences? The producer, Dhilin Mehta, is equally to blame. What was he thinking when he invested 90 crs+ on such a flawed script and on a debutant director? My blood boils to see huge amounts of money going waste, which could had been utilized in a better way. We are a pro when it comes to lifting/copying/inspiring from Hollywood flicks. Then why can’t we have a Hollywood-like terrific direction and screenplay? Really very very disappointing!

Some of the best scenes in the film:
1. Sam in Bangkok
2. Sagar and Aarav having a drink at the edge
3. Sam being chased in Bahamas
4. Gulshan’s attack on Sagar
5. Sam, Sagar and Aarav searching for treasure
6. The final scene

On the whole, Blue is a big time disappointment. The film’s cast and crew have done a brilliant job but the film fails to impress because of its faulty script. Blue should fail (and it will, for sure, keeping in mind its high cost) at the Box office so that it gives a lesson to all producers in Bollywood that investing large amounts of money on faulty scripts and taking audiences for granted will result in big losses and disaster.

My rating-** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Blue-177340-1.html

blue4

Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor refuse to shoot together for two newly recorded songs by Himesh for Milenge Milenge

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

Shahid Kapoor

Kareena Kapoor

Boney Kapoor is reviving his film that has been pending for five years, Milenge Milenge. Two songs have been newly recorded by Himesh Reshammiya, who has gone back on his self-imposed, no-outside-composition diktat, to honour a professional commitment made by him six years ago. However, Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor, the lead pair of the film, who share a far-from-cordial relationship, will not be shooting for the songs.

Though Kareena refused to comment, a source close to her says, “Kareena is more than happy to extend all cooperation to producer Boney Kapoor and director Satish Kaushik, but she won’t shoot an extra songs for the film. Shahid is a closed chapter.”

Himesh Reshammiya

A music video for the newly-recorded Himesh track was also planned as part of the film’s promotion. How ever, there would be no joint appearances by Shahid and Kareena for the publicity either. Director Satish Kaushik, at his wit’s end, has decided to use the footage that he already has for the two songs.

Confirming the news, Kaushik says, “Neither Shahid nor Kareena will shoot any more for the film. We’ll use the footage that we have for the two songs in the beginning and end-titles and for the promotional video.”

Sarita Tanwar (MID-DAY; July 31, 2009)

Saif Ali Khan walks in 10 minutes late. He’s looking fresh and surprisingly fit. He gives me a typical filmy hug and announces, “I haven’t had a bath yet.” I tell him that information would’ve been appreciated a few seconds earlier. Even though he is in his gym clothes, he’s not carrying his workout on him.

Must be the blue blood. He settles down on the other end of the couch and dons his serious glasses, “This is the Bengali in me finally coming out. Very Basu Bhattacharya.” Point noted and it’s time for some serious business. He orders coffee and me conversation. And then, we talk about his love, aaj and kal. Excerpts….

The last time you did a light romantic film (Hum Tum), you won a National Award. What are you expecting with Love Aaj Kal (LAK)?
I am not in the least interested in awards. It is a kind of celebration that comes much later. I am hoping for a decent opening and a successful run. That’s it.

That’s it?
I am hoping and expecting that people will like the movie and enough of them will watch it so that the people who have invested in us are not disappointed. I think it is a good movie and it has a good story. I think stories are really important parts of our lives, whether it is reading or watching them or listening to them from an old tailor in Bhopal, sitting at the foot of my bed, when I was a baby. My parents would be on the balcony, talking with adults and this old man would tell me tales of shikar and tigers and how it attacked somebody….

A man with stories! Can I steal him?
Yeah, no! He was about 90 then yaar…

Drat! Okay, hoping LAK does well for you as a producer, or as an actor?
Both. I think it’s more important that it does well. I am playing a Sikh character, and also a contemporary character called Jai, which people may or may not connect to, because of his thinking. There was a little bit of that in Salaam Namaste, where he didn’t want to get married just because she was pregnant, which people did not like as it isn’t the most heroic thing to do. Similarly, Jai doesn’t know that he loves this girl, and he certainly doesn’t believe in marriage and wants to be practical. But the story is how he changes from that into something else.

Sounds like you.
Err, maybe. Maybe, I suppose. But actually, not really. Jai seems quite clear that he doesn’t want to commit to anyone. Maybe I am just making him sound like me. But he’s not really so.

Most actors and filmmakers take trips to Shirdi, Vaishnodevi or Tirupati before their release. Have you done any of that?
(Sounds amused) No. but I believe Dino (co-producer Dinesh Vijan) went to Siddhi Vinayak with the print. I definitely believe in God. And I believe in luck. And I understand why people would want to cover all the bases. There is a big question mark as to what would work, so people try anything. I mean ultimately, when there is turbulence on the plane, and my gut clenches, I do start saying the Ayatul Kursi. Let’s not laugh at people who do these things but I would like to have the strength to say that mandir and prayer aside, there’s a whole lot of other stuff that is in the gray area.

Like numerology? Did you check if you title was ‘balanced’ for success?
No. I don’t believe that much in astrology and numerology even though I think it could be fun sometimes. I find some of these numerologically sound titles attractive. Like Himesh Reshammiya’s film, what was the name..?

Karzzzz?
(Grins) No, that was a bad marketing idea. Especially if the film is even slightly boring. Arre, it was his only film that ran. It was called Aap Kaa Surror The Real Love Story and it was spelled with two A’s and Kambakkht Ishq had two K’s and Singh Is Kinng had two N’s. So it is kind of hip. It has an edge to it.  But when people do it to their names that is not cool.

For a brief while, Kareena was Kariena…
Oh no! Really? I am happy she has changed it back.

So you will never be Saaif, with an extra A?
No chance. But for my films, maybe I would try it. Maybe Love Aaj Kal would have looked better as Love Aaj Kall. Maybe it would be funky.

Deepika is the youngest actress you’ve worked with and Kareena is the youngest girl you’ve been involved with. That’s new!
Yes, it is new. Definitely.

And?
(Smirks) And it makes you health conscious. Like on hand, I will say, “I think I should be much fitter and healthier.” And on the other, I am really happy being 38.

When you are with these 20-plus women, do you feel older, wiser and smarter or there is some connect?
Oh, I connect with them completely. Why it works is because I am quite juvenile and they are quite mature. (Laughs) So it balances out just fine. But seriously, I do feel very happy for the people I have met, the things I have seen, and experienced. I really think I have matured. I have had a really interesting history, even though I say it myself. So if you ask me, being with Kareena or working with someone younger than me, it is a non-issue for me. I really like being me. And I am very confident in that. I am so lucky that I am doing okay in movies also. Because it is another world.

You’ve never promoted a film like this before. Do you find it cumbersome?
(Sighs) Incredibly exhausting. If I see another camera…. (rolls his eyes).

…or a journalist?
No, I think there is a charm to the written word. We learnt early in our careers to speak carefully because the printed word reads differently because it doesn’t like a tone. It can be cold. So you must word yourself intelligently.

Like a text message.
But a personality can be sensed through an sms. I personally don’t like those short forms. I can’t say ‘pls’; I will type ‘please’ (dramatically). And I can’t bear ‘da’ for ‘the’.

Ok, coming back to promotions….
We sat here as a production house and said, ‘Let us make people aware of this film.’ Promotion is such an important part of the film for the producer. Otherwise as an actor, you do the film and then you call the producer and interfere, ‘Where is the hoarding?’, ‘Where is the poster?’.  Now I know that there are 450 million mobile users and 50 million internet users in India and I want to reach everyone. So you get involved in the whole process. It’s better than worrying about what another actor is doing. I see the poster of Kites and think it is phenomenal. I feel, “Wow, Hrithik Roshan is fit, and a good-looking guy. Like an angel sometimes.” It’s not competitive. I am like – let me work harder; let me learn from other people. I put all my energies into producing this movie rather than worrying about what other people are doing.

But you’ve never really worried about competition.
True. Earlier I wasn’t even worried about myself that much as well.

That’s the lazy Leo in you.
Possibly. And it’s also a bit like my father. At some level I don’t want to lose that. When you are successful, then suddenly people start waking up to you. That’s the scary part. I like to put my feet up on ottomans, in Jaipur razais and watch TV and just cut off from everything in the afternoon. But when you are super-successful, then suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. And then they get offended when some top notches of Mumbai society or politician wants to meet you… The challenge is to be successful and yet maintain a balance without offending anybody but keeping your equilibrium.

You’ve not shown the film to your colleagues as well as the media. Why?
I have known you for so long; I can easily call you and say I am having a trial, watch it and tell me what you think. But you are going to sense that my intention is to seduce you somehow into liking it. At the same time, when I have a press show, as a producer, I will invite people and come say a few words and then bugger off. I am not going to hang around till the end and ask people, “Kaise laga, kaise laga.” Because I will be too tense anyway. Even if my friend goes to see the film, forget the press or the industry, somewhere his opinion will start mattering. And I don’t want it to matter.

Won’t your colleagues be upset that you didn’t show them the film?
If you don’t show the film to anyone, then there is no stress. And it is important to be consistent in life. I have never had a trial. I have never called another actor or filmmaker and said, “I want to see your movie, organise a trial, yaar.” Because I think it is more fun to buy my popcorn and go to the theatre and watch the film. The bottom line of the psychology of the whole thing is: If you pay money to buy a ticket, and make a plan to go see it with your family, friends or girlfriend, it is a different psychology than to be invited by me. I am not interested in THAT audiences’ opinion. Someone will be too tense to laugh and the actors would be like, “I would’ve done this scene better.” The producers will say, “Arre, how much money have these guys spent?” The heroines will be, “This girl is rubbish; I am better than her.” So you know there is no barometer.

How do you react when people feel that you are still not established as a solo hero?
I don’t think that’s true. Who can say that now? You are digging out a question from 1992.

No, that is the perception.
What crap! That perception went out with Hum Tum, which was a solo hero film. Then Parineeta was a solo hero.

But you still did Race, with Anil and Akshaye.
Yeah, but if Race had been a flop, it would’ve been only my flop. Let’s get that clear. There are certainly performances that have contributed to the film but I had the most to lose.

Yeah, and even though Race did good business, it was never counted among the big hits. Why?
Dude, I don’t know about that, but as far as the distributors go, they were very happy. It was a 1200 print opening. They opened that film much wider than any other movie of mine.

Also, you didn’t get due credit for its success.
I got the due credit from Ramesh Taurani, who will be happy to pay me for Race 2 and that is the kind of due I am interested in. And the fact is that the audiences have seen the film, and loved it. About the internal politics, I am not really concerned as long as it doesn’t affect my job.

Looking back, do you feel it was a wrong decision to do so many two-hero projects?
No. I have also chosen what I thought were the best roles.

But you’ve even played second fiddle to Madhavan in Rehna Hain Terre Dil Mein.
Yeah but that was not a particularly great time for me. Like any actor, I’ve always chosen the best from what I was offered that year. Some years have not been very interesting, while some have been great. Your aspirations change according to your success ratio. In the beginning, you are just happy to be working. That you have a job, and you have been accepted. Your standards are pretty low. And pretty soon, after a while, you want to be the best there is. The best there has ever been (laughs); you know there is no end to that kind of ego shit.

You recently said you and Kareena didn’t plan to stay engaged forever. Does that mean you’re already engaged?
No. I mean I feel like I am engaged. But I don’t believe in engagements as such; they are a bit old-fashioned.

Your mom said in a recent interview that you both have the family’s blessings.
I am sure mom wants me to settle down. Parents like to tie up everything and they think it’s done. But it is not done even if you are married. Today, marriage is another form of engagement. It is a legal commitment that it is quite easy to get out of. It’s not like: It’s all over and now we can all go to sleep. And anyway it is very important in a girl’s career for her to focus on that. And marriage — let’s be honest — alters your image, your marketability and people lose interest in you. I’d much rather people kept asking, “When are you getting married?” The minute you are married, you are yesterday’s news. And I am not in any rush to get married. Because I am loving this.

Is it tough to manage being together with your tough schedules?
We are balancing our lives beautifully. We are working hard and Kareena is more than a wife, because she loves me. There are so many wives who don’t love their husbands because they are pakaoed after 10 years of being together. Bebo gives me all the time in the world. And when I get done with these two days and the film releases, I will give time. We manage. People laugh at us saying, “Oh you are turning up on the set; she is coming here” but that’s how we manage.

Oh, you are aware of people laughing?
Yeah, of course, but what to do? Initially when the relationship is starting, you want to make each other secure, and you want to tell the world that we are serious about each other. We are not a fly-by-night kind of a thing. So we make commitments on paper, and we say things but before you know it, it gets blown out of proportion.

What if Bebo says she wants marriage?
For an actor and for a working person, it must come at the right time. You must do it when you want to do it, or when you want to have children. We’ve waited for a reason. It is not the 1920s when it was like now we can live together or now we can spend time legally. We can do all that now, without that. People must understand her priorities. She is a film child. She has grown up watching films. She has always wanted this and she has finally achieved it. And I absolutely forbid her to even want to. Tomorrow if she says, “Let’s get married”, I will tell her, “I think you should work for a few years.”

She has been flaunting her ring for a long time.
She can flaunt many rings. I will give her lots of them. Even I wear rings.

What’s going on between you and Shahid? He was quoted saying that you and Bebo were using his name to get publicity.
I am really glad you asked me this because enough has been said now. Shahid seems like a really well brought-up guy and I mean no offence to him. And let’s stop it now. We are both gentlemen and whenever we have met, we’ve shook hands, and that’s it. So I will not listen to anything anybody says. And it sounds so fake to say I sincerely wish him all the best but I want him to know that I have only heard good things about him. And that too from his ex-girlfriend, which leaves me with a sense of respect for the past and God bless him. He seems like a strong man, and a good kid. That’s it.

There were reports that you were offered Kaminey?
I would like to clear once and for all that Vishal Bhardwaj did not offer me Kaminey. We talked about a film about twins. That film might not even have been Kaminey. I hope it is a good film. But right now, I am more interested in my film running. And I am not interested in other people’s downfall because it doesn’t help me in anyway. When Sanjay Dutt went to jail, it didn’t benefit anybody. It just hurt him. So tomorrow, if something happens to an actor, it does not increase your saleability.

All actors say they don’t watch other actors’ films. What about you?
I genuinely don’t watch many Hindi films. But when I do, l like to see what other people are doing and how they perform. Maybe not at a competitive level. Maybe I will learn from them.

Ever considered direction?
Not really. Not at the moment. It is a completely different kind of a ball-game. It is a huge commitment. I like to cut off and stop for a while. But a director is always thinking, writing, then making and then editing – it’s never ending. I think it is a single man’s job. I don’t know how they manage to be in relationships. Is that wrong to say? I think it’s like being a cop; then the girl really needs to understand.

Many would say that about an actor’s job too.
No, an actor can make time and say, “Ab pack up ho gaya and I can go home.”

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