Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Raj Kumar Santoshi

MY SPACE: Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif
Ranbir Kapoor, Bollywood’s newest superstar, refuses to court controversy

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 24, 2009)

It’s being whispered in Bollywood that 2009 could well mark the birth of Ranbir Kapoor, the film industry’s next superstar. He won accolades for Ayan Mukherjee’s Wake up Sid and Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh-Salesman of the Year. And, he rocked the box office with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. Coming as he does from a family that has ruled the roost in Bollywood for 75 long years, the 28-year-old actor is likely to keep that legacy going in the coming decade. As he embarks on a brand new calendar year Ranbir agrees that 2009 has been truly gratifying. “I hope I made my parents proud,’’ he says. Adding, “The industry and the audience have given me the kind of love and support that I didn’t think would happen. Honestly, I’m humbled and while I love all the compliments coming my way, my career has just begun. I want to continue doing good work — and if it gets the box office that Wake up Sid or Ajab… got, well I’m thrilled. However, I still believe in something like Rocket Singh. Jaideep Sahni and Shimit Amin are talented guys, they had a message to give in the film. And, I stand by it.’’ Ranbir admits that epithets like ‘superstar’ and the ‘next big thing’ make him delirious. “But it also means loads of responsibility,’’ he says. Refuting rumours that his remuneration has shot up to Rs12 crore, the actor says, “For an actor to talk about the money he charges is disrespectful. Honestly, the only thing that I truly want is for my work to get recognition. Money, fame, adulation will come; but it can never be the focal point of my existence. With modesty I must say that I haven’t grown up wanting anything. My parents gave me a privileged lifestyle. So how much money I charge can never be the deciding factor to gauge what heights I have scaled.’’
He is also well aware that the flip side of superstardom means that he will now live in a glass house with everything from his love life to his moods getting unwarranted attention. “I certainly don’t think discussing my relationships with my co-stars comes with the territory of stardom,’’ says the actor. “I will not talk about Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif. It is disrespectful to them as women and to their families. Who I date is really very personal.’’ So there you go. With the adulation, Ranbir has also got the attitude.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com
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By Joginder Tuteja, November 30, 2009 – 12:17 IST

Vidya Balan

Ever since she made her debut with Parineeta, Vidya Balan has worked with many a veteran filmmakers like Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Eklavya – The Royal Guard), Mani Ratnam (Guru), Priyadarshan (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Halla Bol) and Aziz Mirza (Kismat Konnection). Meanwhile, she has also worked with first time directors like Pradeep Sarkar (Parineeta) and Sajid Khan (Heyy Babyy) as well as one film old Raj Kumar Hirani (Lagey Raho Munnabhai) or Nikhil Advani (Salaam E Ishq).

This is why, when she interacted with someone like Balki (who only has a Cheeni Kum behind him), what sort of change in approach did she see in them?

“The best part about him is that he is just fantastic when it comes to multitasking”, Vidya begins talking about the filmmaker, “Even during the making of the film, he would be managing his ad agency meetings. While having lunch with us, he would be having round table conversations. Meanwhile, he would interact with all of us quite normally on the sets.”

She is also impressed with the fact that in spite of a hectic schedule, Balki kept himself abreast with all that was being churned out in Bollywood.

“He would always catch a Friday movie release without fail. That’s not all; he is someone who goes for all the concerts and plays. Can you believe that? He has time for everything and anything. He manages his time so well”, she gushes.

Time management is not the only factor that has impressed Vidya. She believes that Balki is also an ace when it comes to people management.

Vidya Balan “Temperamentally he is just so cool”, she smiles, “He is just so easy to work with. I have seen him interacting with his assistants. His people management is fantastic because whether it is Mr. Amitabh Bachchan or any junior most crew member on the sets, he knows how to get that comfort feel rolling. He gives and gets respects all around.”

However, the story goes that to begin with Vidya wasn’t too sure about working with Balki.

“I have a personal anecdote to share”, she divulges, “My sister and brother-in-law, whom I hold in great regard, have worked with Balki for years on the ads that he has made. I used to interact with a lot of their mutual friends and they always used to speak about him. This set me wondering that what was so great about him.”

She got the answer when Cheeni Kum released and Balki’s cinematic sensibilities were on display for one and all.

“I loved the film and didn’t forget the kind of wonderful experience that Balki had created. Now when I have worked with him, I know what makes some of his qualities so distinct. Both Cheeni Kum and Paa have been based on subjects hitherto unexplored and all of that has been possible due to one single factor – sheer conviction. Once Balki is sure about the story he wants to tell, there is no looking back”, she comments.

It is this conviction factor that attracted Vidya towards Paa.

“I was having a constant pull and push internally before I decided to do Paa. However, Balki didn’t flinch even for a microsecond. This is what that set me on path to do Paa. I had certain doubts but they were quashed by this guy’s conviction. It is simply admirable and we all just followed the line”, she adds.

Vidya Balan While Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu and Paresh Rawal were senior heavyweights in Cheeni Kum, same wasn’t the case in Paa which featured her along with Abhishek Bachchan.

“There is this mutual sense of respect that Balki encourages”, says Vidya, “Like, I really enjoyed the way he used to interact with Mr. Bachchan. Similarly with me and Abhishek, he had his own way of conveying a point. Of course all of us we used to make suggestions and he was open to them as well. He would never dismiss our suggestions.”

And how much did these suggestions actually get incorporated in the final filming?

“Hardly any”, Vidya comes up with a laugh here, “Invariably he would go with what he felt was right. He believed in the principal of listen to all and do what you feel strongest about. But yes, this entire exercise used to be quite helpful since I would ask him quite a few pertinent questions and I would always get the right answers.”

This is the reason why she was quite convinced when in the early days Balki explained to her the entire idea about the film, its background (Progeria) and how it was not meant to evoke sympathy or pity.

“I was wondering if Paa would turn out to be a serious film but Balki was quite clear that this was not going to be the case. He promised that it would be a heart warming film and that’s the way it has turned out to be. The entire disease thing is just the background of the film. The idea is to project the story with all the sensitivity but not make it a sympathetic affair”, she concludes.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

By Joginder Tuteja, November 9, 2009 – 12:12 IST

Rajkumar Santoshi After speaking to Raj Kumar Santoshi, one can be rest assured that his zany sense of humour is not restricted to the characters that he brings on screen. He may state amusing things with a dead pan expression but scratch the surface and you would realise that the man has quite a few valid points to make. One such point is around the entire mentality of filmmakers from the current generation who have a ready ‘excuse’ of leaving their brains at home when walking in for a film. In a holds-no-bar two part conversation with Joginder Tuteja, Raj Kumar Santoshi challenges this new way of presenting films before the audiences and wonders if this trend would make him corrupt as well in years to come.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani has opened to a huge response all over. Some smart marketing and pitching worked in it’s favour?
See, we were very clear from the very beginning that this wasn’t an over the top comedy that we were offering. Also, unlike so many filmmakers out there, we were never apologetic in telling audience what our film was all about. We never urged our audiences to leave their brains at home. Why should they? Shouldn’t films allow audiences to use some parts of their brains at least? Why should that be the case? This is why I never wanted my audiences to leave their brains behind. Please bring all your organs with you in the theatre; don’t leave anything behind.

We never urged our audiences to leave their brains at home. Why should they?

But in the trend of some out and out slapstick comedies or action thrillers, makers do make declarations for audiences to leave their brains behind.
This reflects on their confidence level. Maybe they themselves aren’t confident of what they have made. Even slapstick requires some intelligence when it is being made. Have you ever heard Walt Disney stating something like ‘please leave your brains behind’ before the release of their films?

You have been in the industry for a couple of decades now and have seen changing trends. It is nice to see you bouncing back in a big way with Ajab Prem… However, how do you look at the entire filmmaking process and the economics involved today?
Frankly, I am disturbed. Today, people are making films just for 3 days. ‘Bas opening lag jaaye picture ki…’ is the kind of statement which is heard ever so often. They don’t care whether they have made a good or a bad film; all they care for is if the moolah has been recovered in the opening weekend or not. Once they are done with the film, they don’t even care about it after it’s release. They just move on. There is just no sense of ownership any more. Where has the entire passion gone? All passion seems to be reserved now towards giving a stylish look to the film and promoting it to the hilt so that box office numbers come up fast. Quality has taken a back seat and quantity is on the fore front today. By hook or by crook, it’s just the opening that seems to be mattering for most. That’s not filmmaking for sure.

Today, people are making films just for 3 days. ‘Bas opening lag jaaye picture ki…’

But money does talk at the end of the day?
What money are we talking about? Within an opening weekend of the film’s release, we see huge declarations being made. ‘This movie has made 60 crores, 80 crores, 100 crores in 3 days flat’. Kahan se number aaye ye saare? And then this entire figure occupies more than 90% of the film’s poster with the name of the film relegated somewhere at the bottom. Filmmakers feel that at the end of the day, history will remember the number, not the film. If this is the way a film should look, i.e. only a box office number, then I am afraid it is not a healthy trend.

Rajkumar Santoshi Today, your own film Ajab Prem… is expected to project huge numbers too due to it’s massive opening…
I am glad that has happened. I made the film with the right intent and went by my instinct. I wasn’t following a formula here. Everything just fitted in perfectly for Ajab Prem…, right from getting the right producers like TIPS who have done such a fabulous job in marketing films like Race and Kismat Konnection or getting such a fantastic musical score by Pritam or having the best young actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif on board. I am ecstatic with the film’s success because I now won’t have to follow the trend of other filmmakers; I would be able to conceive a film and make it the way I want to without compromising on my core ethics.

So dabbling in varied genres would continue for Raj Kumar Santoshi?
Definitely. I have always told stories that I have felt like telling at any point of time without worrying about trends. Ghayal and Damini were action and drama flicks at the very beginning of my career. Andaz Apna Apna which is so much considered to be a cult classic decade and a half down the line, was a comedy where I shifted gears. Ghatak was an emotional action film. Pukar was an espionage thriller. Khakee had a lot of drama to it. Lajja was about women power. Halla Bol was revolutionary. Today, Ajab Prem… is a comedy. Tomorrow, I may make an entirely different film. That’s the way I have been.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of the conversation where Raj Kumar Santoshi reacts on digs taken on him by other filmmakers, delay in completion of his films, failure of Family and Halla Bol and how he is quite sure that Ranbir and Katrina are sure shot superstars just round the corner.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Thirteen years after the hit Khamoshi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Manisha team up again for another film


By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 04, 2009)

 

 

Manisha Koirala Sanjay Leela Bhansali

After Khamoshi: The Musical, Manisha Koirala will again be teaming up with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a film which takes her back to the same Catholic milieu.

Manisha, who has just returned from a trip to the US, where she was with her steady boyfriend Chris, is glowing with pleasure. Though she is planning her foray into politics and perhaps intends to settle down with her boyfriend, it’s obvious that her passion for cinema is undiminished. She says, “Sanjay and I worked really worked well together. I wanted to work with him for quite a while now. But I waited for him to find the right part.”

The pivotal part in Bhansali’s production My Friend Pinto, directed by Raghav Dar, has finally come her way. Says Manisha, “I’ve been dividing my time between Mumbai and the US, where things are going well between Chris and me. I also miss my home country Nepal and would like to spend some time there too but cinema will always remain my primary passion. After I did my friend Deepti Naval’s film Do Paise Ki Dhoop Char Aane Ki Baarish I’m hungry for challenging roles. None of those two-songs five-scene roles.”

Manisha and Bhansali met recently and she was on for a pivotal role with Pratik Babbar whose mom Smita Patil has always been one of her favourite actresses. Manisha is also on the verge of signing films with Yash Raj Films and Raj Kumar Santoshi with whom she had earlier worked in Lajja.

Says Manisha, “I’ll be working with soon with Mr Chopra and Mr Santoshi. Actually when I met them, I had lost a lot of weight. But now after my return from the US, I’ve gained some weight. I’m going to lose the extra kilos and then make a public appearance again. So you see, cinema and I can’t be separated. I’m looking forward to a fresh start.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on her birthday… and the 15th anniversary of her Miss World crown

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 1, 2009)


ashFifteen years after she won the Miss World beauty pageant, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan continues to be the most celebrated Bollywood brand ever. With her waist-length hair cascading down high cheek bones, and striking green-grey eyes, with bodyguards keeping vigilance, she looks every inch the diva she is. And we ask…


How’s it feel to be the most beautiful face in Bollywood 15 years after you won your crown?

• I’m not very good at handling compliments but I accept it with grace. I’m grateful to God, my audiences and my filmmakers —be it Mani Ratnam (Iruvar, Guru, Raavan), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Guzaarish), Mansoor Khan (Josh), Ashutosh Gowarikar (Jodhaa Akbar), Ram Gopal Varma (Sarkar Raj), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Khakee), Aditya Chopra (Mohabbatein, Dhoom II) and others who never used just my beauty as the fulcrum. Instead, they kept the beauty and the aesthetics going at the same time in each of the film characters I played.


Life has come a full circle. Even after marriage, you still have the best makers backing you.

• These are the same filmmakers I have worked with in the beginning of my career. I got married in the middle of shooting Jodhaa Akbar and when I reported back on his set, Ashu told me that nothing has changed. It just meant so much more hard work for me because when I come to the work front, I don’t want anyone to think of me as being any less professional than I was when I was single. It was important for me to strike the right balance between home and work. All the film-makers I’m working with are super passionate about their work. Thanks to them, I still feel the same adrenaline rush that I always feel when I’m on set.


Earlier this year, you were awarded the Padmashree…

• It has been a memorable year, every other month there has been some honour. I have much to thank God for.


Abhishek and you have tickled audiences with that recent soap commercial.

• It is ten years of my association with the brand. So they suggested that it would be nice to bring Abhishek on board. Honestly, how time flies.


Amitabh Bachchan said it is for you and Abhishek to make him a grandpa whenever…

• Well, if you ask him a question like that, what can he say? It is an apt answer for a parent to give. When I was on the Oprah Winfrey show, I told her that every time there is even a bump, it is assumed that I’m with child. Being pregnant is not something one can conceal. When I am pregnant, the world will know.
meena.iyer@timesgroup.com

LONDON DREAMS OR ALADIN?

The following two Fridays are going to see the release of four big films two in each week. While Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and Jail are releasing on Nov 6, London Dreams and Aladin are hitting the screens tomorrow, i.e. Oct 30.

ldLondon Dreams (LD) was originally to be directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi and he had planned the impossible-casting Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan together! Santoshi even managed to do a joint narration with Aamir and SRK. Both seemed genuinely interested while the narration was going on. But later, due to some unknown reason, both of them stopped responding to Santoshi’s calls and the project was put on the backburner. At that time, the film was titled Rashque (jealousy).

LD is now Vipul Shah’s venture and in place of SRK, he has casted Ajay Devgn and Aamir Khan is replaced by Salman Khan. Although the current version has created curiosity amongst moviegoers, I really really wished the film was made with the original cast. Just imagine, SRK and Aamir Khan together would have rocked completely. Even if the film was bad, just seeing them together would have been a paisa vasool experience!

LD has impressed overall everyone ever since its first promo was out. The song and the musical theme of the film have made it a must watch for everyone. Also, director Vipul Shah’s track record has been fantastic. All his past films (Aankhen, Waqt, Namastey London, Singh Is Kinng) were big time hits. Asin, who is very choosy when it comes to signing films, is also a part of this bid budget project. The film is expected to get a good opening and become a hit.

aladinSince LD will be the first choice for majority, the 2nd release tomorrow, Aladin, may suffer. Frankly speaking, Aladin seems more impressive than LD to me as somehow I have never been interested in films about music bands (I wasn’t even excited for ‘Rock On!!’ before it released). Coming back to Aladin, it has the finest special effects ever seen in any Bollywood movie so far. The film’s star cast is amazing and it may turn out to be a fantasy joyride. On the flipside, the film isn’t well promoted. Also, there are chances that the film may highly disappoint. In the past, there have been countless big budget films which were pathetic and Aladin may also turn out to be the same. Also, the co-producers of the film are Eros who had come up with a similar kind of film last year which became the disaster of the season. That film was DRONA! What if Aladin is also on the same lines? So I’ll prefer to wait for the response and then decide whether or not to go for it!

Which film will be your first choice? Do let me know!
—————————-
BLUE’s SEQUEL IN THE OFFING?

There is no certainty yet as to whether Blue has managed to recover its 80-90 crs (or maybe more) cost and yet, its producers are planning its sequel! According to the reports, Katrina will have a longer role in the sequel. Director Anthony D’Souza has announced that John Abraham will be a part of the sequel without even consulting him, thus, pissing off John! Anthony also says that this time the adventures will take place in the sky too!

I was just wondering-what will they name the sequel to Blue? How about ‘BLUE TWO-TH’?!!

While Katrina Kaif doesn’t seem interested in promoting De Dana Dan, she is going all out to promote Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, both of which release next month

By Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 28, 2009)

Katrina Kaif, who has two releases in November, has made her preference clear. While she is still to commit dates for the promotion of De Dana Dan in which she stars opposite Akshay Kumar, she is going out on a limb to promote her other November release Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. According to sources, Katrina is quite kicked about the the Raj Kumar Santoshi film.

 

For the last three days, Katrina has been actively doing interviews in Mumbai and Kolkata and is even scheduled to fly to New Delhi, where she will do as many as five events in one day to for the promotion of Ajab Prem…  Naturally, there is a feeling that she is being more partial to her film opposite Ranbir Kapoor. The actress and Ranbir are even expected to walk the ramp at the Fashion Week in Delhi on October 28 as part of the film’s promotion.

It is felt that since she is the solo heroine in Ajab Prem…, Katrina is gung ho about this film, where as in De Dana Dan she has a much smaller role as the romantic interest of Akshay Kumar. Also, not helping matters much is that in DDD she also shares screen space with 24 other artistes including heroines Sameera Reddy and Neha Dhupia. Sources say that she has been already approached by the distribution team of DDD asking her to allot definite dates for the promotion activity.

Katrina is not amused with allegations that she prefers one movie of hers over the other and says, “There is a gap of 20 days between the release of both the films. And of course I agree that my next nine days will go in actively promoting Ajab Prem…because it’s releasing in the first week of November whereas De Dana Dan will release in the last week of November.”

Kat explains that as far as her work goes, she will never compromise. “I don’t know where this question of my being partial to one film over the other is coming from,” she says.

She says that the only reason why she has not allotted dates for the promotion of De Dana Dan is because she is waiting for Akshay to return from Baramati before she joins the publicity campaign. “Besides De Dana Dan has an ensemble cast. I will promote the film with the rest of them.  In the case of Ajab Prem…, Ranbir has been shooting in Bhopal till October 27 and so I have had to go and do my own bit for the film.  It may therefore appear like I’m being partial, but that’s incorrect,” she adds.

Katrina says, “I did Blue and De Dana Dan because Akshay asked me to.  He is someone who stood by me through the initial phase of my struggle and I have therefore done these films at his request.  When someone like Akki asks me for something, I would do it with my eyes closed because it is important to me.’’


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