Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘rajesh khanna

The biggest hits of their career were NEVER meant to be theirs

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 2, 2010)

You talk to any film director and he’ll give you gyaan on how such and such actor is in the film because he/she fit the casting to the ‘t’.

Yet, the reality of the matter is something else. It is usually who is available; and sometimes who is more saleable.

Take the latest: Aamir Khan was never meant to be playing the idiot in his latest film. It was to be Shah Rukh Khan. Since SRK and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra had a difference of opinion, the Bollywood Badshah was replaced by Aamir. And while the rest is history, there are innumerable such examples in the film industry.

History knows that Amitabh Bachchan was not Prakash Mehra’s first choice for Zanjeer. It was meant to be Dev Anand or Raaj Kumar. When both actors said no, the Big B stepped in. Jaya Bachchan even thanked Dev saab for refusing the Zanjeer role. The film gave her — her real life husband and it gave Bollywood one of its most revered screen couples.

Today you wonder how Dev saab would ever have fit into the angry young man mould. But that’s an after-thought.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted Raj Kapoor to play Anand. When he couldn’t, Hrishida sent for Shashi Kapoor but Rajesh Khanna wormed his way in. And till today Anand is synonymous with the 70s phenomenon.

Shatrughan Singh continues to smart that it was he who was to be Jai in the Jai-Veeru jodi of Sholay but because he was riding a crest of super-success then, he didn’t want to do a twohero film. Amitabh Bachchan got the role instead.
Aamir had been pencilled in for Yash Chopra’s Darr but at that point he ‘accused’ Yash of playing games. And SRK made a permanent place for himself in the YRF camp.
Ajay Devgn was to play Karan in Rakesh Roshan’s Karan Arjun. But he was ousted by politics and next thing you know is that Salman Khan was in. Till today Karan Arjun remains one of the biggest hits of Bollywood and Salman’s career. And it may become film history because he and bete noire are unlikely to star in a movie again.

Saif Ali Khan had qualms about playing a pansy in Dostana so John Abraham was brought in. John got male and female temperatures rising with this fun flick and is now a part of its sequel.

Kareena Kapoor asked for too much money for Kal Ho Na Ho; result — Preity Zinta landed this memorable film. Shah Rukh was meant to be playing Munnabhai but since he walked out after some miscommunication, Sanjay Dutt became Munna. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was in Chalte Chalte till Salman dropped in as an uninvited guest forcing SRK to call Rani Mukerji to replace her… and Rekha and Jaya would never have had their screen face-off in Silsila had Parveen Babi and Smita Patil done their roles.

Unlike real history, reel history is often made by default.

GEARING UP: Shahid Kapoor and (below) Tom Cruise in Top Gun

Shahid to play Tom Cruise’s role from 1986 Hollywood hit in father Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial debut

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 30, 2009)

Shahid Kapoor, as Tom Cruise did in 1986 with Top Gun, is all set to wear a uniform and take to the skies in Mausam — his father Pankaj Kapoor’s directorial debut. Pankaj, who felt Shahid needs a change of image after playing roles like an aimless student in Ishq Vishq, a gangster-social activist in Kaminey, a struggling dancer in Chance Pe Dance and an entrepreneur before that in Jab We Met and Vivah, decided a uniformed soldier’s role would give his son a mature man’s image.
According to a source, the uniform has virtually been written into the script. Pankaj first toyed with the idea of making Shahid an Army officer. Then it was decided to cast him as an Air Force pilot. The last real big star to play an Air Force pilot in Hindi cinema was Rajesh Khanna in Shakti Samanta’s 1969 hit Aradhana, which itself was a copy of the 1946 Hollywood film To Each His Own.
Shahid’s role is being modelled on the lines of Tom Cruise’s from Top Gun, in which the actor played a Navy pilot training in the US Navy Fighter Weapons School known in the Pentagon as ‘Topgun’. The film was a super hit and had great music and songs apart from scintillating dogfights in mid-air and other action.
Shahid is taking the film seriously and has decided to train for the role after the release of Chance Pe Dance. Permission is being sought to make the film at the Air Force Academy in Dindigul, outside Hyderabad, much in the manner Top Gun was actually shot at the US Navy school in Miramar, California.
Asha Parekh remembers Bina Rai who passed away yesterday

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 07, 2009)


Asha Parekh has lost two of her co-stars in two days. First, it was a little-known actress-producer Chandrakala who worked with Asha in Nasir Husain’s Teesri Manzil (1966). She passed away all of a sudden on December 4 due to a massive heart attack. Besides doing bit roles Chandrakala had also produced films like Pyar Hi Pyar (1969) starring Dharmendra and Vyjanthimala and the Rajesh Khanna starrer Anand (1971).

Asha Parekh

Yesterday, Bina Rai passed away. Best known for her roles in films like Anarkali and Taj Mahal, the 78-year-old actress passed away due to a cardiac arrest.

Talking about the demise of Bina, Asha says, “It happened all of a sudden. I wasn’t even in town. We worked together in one of her best films Ghunghat in 1960 for which she won a Filmfare award. She played Bharat Bhushan’s wife and she was fabulous.”

While working in Ghunghat, Asha was a timid and young supporting actress while Bina Rai was a big star. Talking about her experience of working with the late actress in Ghunghat, Asha says, “Binaji was an introvert. I was the youngest person in the unit. She was my senior and very intimidating. On the sets, she wouldn’t mix around and kept completely to herself. I remember once a co-star was getting a shot repeatedly wrong. The giggler that I am, I kept bursting into giggles. Binaji just stared at me, and then suddenly smiled softly. That was a rare moment of connecting with her.”

Thereafter, Ghunghat director Ramanand Sagar had got very upset with Asha. “After that incident, he scolded me saying that I should know how to behave in front of someone as big as Bina Raiji.”

Asha remembers Bina Rai as a woman of rare elegance. “She was not quite like the average film person. She was always different and detached… one more illustrious soul is gone.”

Bina was married to the late actor Prem Nath, who was filmmaker Raj Kapoor’s brother-in-law. She is survived by two sons, Prem Kishen, a well known television producer who co-owns the television software company, Cinevista, and Kailash Nath (Monty).

(L): Taj Mahal,  Aurat, Bina Rai
The actress breathed her last yesterday at a suburban hospital

By Kunal M Shah and Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 11, 2009)


Simple Kapadia, Dimple Kapadia’s younger sister, is no more. She breathed her last yesterday afternoon in a hospital at Andheri.

The former actress-turned-costume designer had been undergoing treatment at various hospitals since the last few years. It is believed that she was suffering from cancer but the family was always tightlipped about it.

A source says, “The family was under terrible stress because of Simple’s illness. They never spoke about it then and they will not speak about it even now.”

Director Rahul Dholakia, who was present at the hospital when Simple breathed her last, says, “My friend is no more. I really can’t talk.”

A family friend says, “Akshay Kumar (Dimple’s son-in-law) is returning from Baramati, where he is shooting for Priyadarshan’s next film.”

Simple began her career when she was 18. She made her debut in 1977 with Anurodh, where she was paired opposite her brother-in-law Rajesh Khanna. Later, she worked in Hum Rahe Na Hum, Tumhare Bina, Jeevan Dhaara, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, Dulha Bikta Hai, Naseeb, Shakka, Lootmaar, Man Pasand, Ahsaas, Rehguzar, Chakravuyha and Pyar Ke Do Pal. She quit acting in 1986 after Pyar Ke Do Pal. Later in 1994, she worked as a costume designer for Rudaali and won a National award for it.

Anupam Kher writes from London on his experience of working with Woody Allen on his new film
Posted On August 27, 2009 (MUMBAI MIRROR)

A few months ago, my agent in London, Ruth Young, told me that Woody Allen had cast me in his untitled film as Freida Pinto’s father. That news came to me on May 24, as I was hosting the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the release of my first film Saaransh. No award that I had received in my quarter century in cinema could have made me happier than this bit of news.

Buried as I was with work, the excitement abated only to resurface on August 23, when I was set to go to London for the shoot. It suddenly hit me that I was going to work with someone I had adored and almost worshipped for decades. Then, a strange nervousness gripped me; just like it did during the first day’s shoot of Saaransh. But that was understandable when I was a rookie being directed by Mahesh Bhatt. Now I had acted in almost 400 films. Yet I was nervous.

To understand this reaction, I spoke to my mentor Mahesh Bhatt and asked him how I should behave when I would be on Woody Allen’s sets. Nervous, confident or important? Mahesh said, “Just be the way you are: inquisitive, nervous, and, be yourself.”

I reached London the next morning and was taken for a ‘costume and look’ trial. I was told that Woody Allen would see me the next day as he only meets actors directly on the sets on the day of the shoot. But I pleaded and they reluctantly took me to a holding area near the location. The scene that was being shot was the exterior of a restaurant on a busy street in Notting Hill.

I was introduced to Freida who was warm and turned out to be a great admirer of my work. She introduced me to her co-star, Josh Brolin and I told him that he was brilliant in Milk. I then went out on the crowded street and some Bangladeshis waved to me. But there was an overpowering silence. I was searching for the man who I had seen only in films and whose books I had read and who was my icon. And suddenly I saw him. He was in his trademark beige trousers, light blue shirt and brown shoes. His specs were black. His hair had gone whiter and strangely, he looked taller and larger.

I had never seen anyone in my life who was as focussed as him. For him, the world did not exist, the crowds did not exist. There were no security guards around him. All that mattered was the frame of his shot. Even the crowd sensed his concentration. In respect, passersby moved in silence.

The executive producer was apprehensive, knowing Woody’s reluctance to meet actors in advance. On seeing the waving Bangladeshis, she knew I was as famous in the sub-continent as I had been made out to be and that made her apologetic as well.

There was a gap in the shoot; Woody had turned to his iPhone and was listening with great concentration to some music. The costume girl then walked up to him and showed him my pictures with the ‘look’ and told him that I was on location. I was wondering what his reaction would be.  My tongue was swollen and my mouth was dry.

He turned around and tried to match the face with the picture he had seen. And then, he spotted me and smiled. I tried to portray the confident look of Anupam Kher the veteran of almost 400 films and the winner of many awards. But all I managed was the anxious look that I had when I had watched my first shooting as a 16-year-old in Shimla. That was Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Rakhee in Yash Chopra’s Daag.

I wondered if Woody’s smile was out of politeness. But there was warmth in his eyes. I felt as if it took me a year to cover the five feet that separated us and I can vividly remember each step. His grip was firm and before I could say anything, he said, “It is a pleasure meeting you.” I heard myself saying, “I can’t believe it!” Woody insisted and repeated, “I am really am happy to see you!”

I told him I had seen all his movies, and he kept nodding, as he had heard such comments many times in his career. Then he looked at me as if to say, “Can I go back to my work…”

The next day I did my scenes with him and I realised that all what I had experienced as an actor in the decades was not of much use as one could not depend on any one school of acting. In my eye flashed scenes from Annie Hall, Manhattan, Sleeper, Crimes and Misdemeanors…

Suddenly the sun got brighter and the shooting stopped. I asked an assistant the reason and was told that Woody does not shoot in bright light. Imagine, everyone loves to shoot in bright light, save Woody Allen!

I discovered that I had left my camera in Mumbai and decided that it would be a pity to shoot pictures of the occasion on my cell. And as the day ended, Woody was more vocal. I told him that Indian cinema was changing and how we were making the kind of movies we always wanted. His cogent response was that it could only happen when the audience changes. He spoke of his early years in New York when he would watch films by Satyajit Ray and Kurosawa. “But now, it is the time of $200 million blockbusters,” he said.

Later that evening, I bought a camera and clicked some pictures. I also got some books for Woody to autograph and gifted him copies of the Ramayana and the Gita. One of the vintage memories of that day I will carry is when Woody was shooting a scene with lots of people and he wanted, in his typical style, for the camera to move from one speaking person to another. At the end of it, he told his cameraman, “You were a little lost…but I liked the chaos.”

Indeed, working three days with Woody Allen has been my most memorable experience in cinema. And I wish to thank Indian cinema for making all this happen. As I have said in my one-man play, “Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai…” Or, as my grandmother would say, “Allah meherban to gadheda pahelwan!”

Abhishek Bachchan (33) was replaced in films, thrown out of some and suffered the ignonimity of having his films stalled. But he is a survivor. He talks about his journey candidly
By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 26, 2009)
When did you first become aware that you were Amitabh Bachchan’s son?

From as early as I can remember because for us at home it was never like, “I am Amitabh Bachchan’s son”. He was always ‘Pa’ for us. That’s something my mother always made sure of. I was never led to believe that I was the son of this great actor and so I was special.
Did you ever resent being Amitabh Bachchan’s son?

Never never… and I don’t think that will ever happen because I thank god everyday that I have been born into the family that I am born into and that I have the loving parents I have.

Did you ever want to be anything other than an actor?

As a child you have different ambitions everyday. I was no different. But amongst those ambitions, I also wanted to be an actor and acting is the one that stayed with me. As a kid I wanted to be a fireman, astronaut, race car driver, business tycoon. As a kid you are forever dreaming and then I realised that here is a job in which you can be everything at the same time.

What about acting comes easily to you?

I don’t know what comes most easily to me. Maybe just the acceptance of the environment because this is the world I grew up in, this is the world I know.

And what is difficult?

There are certain scenes and emotions that are difficult to tackle. But that is how it should be, you shouldn’t do an easy job.

How do you overcome such moments?

At that moment, it’s sheer desperation. You come up against a road block and you do whatever it takes to overcome it. You dig deep and pull out all the stops, just go for it.

Do you find yourself referencing your dad?

With an actor of his caliber, he is a standard, a reference point for every actor.

Did you ever watch any Rajesh Khanna films?

No, I never really saw his films. As a kid I always saw dad’s films.

In retrospect, how do you react to the flak your wedding invitee list got?

What flak? That was created by the media. I was switched off it. It was my once-in-a-lifetime wedding. I didn’t want anything to alter what I felt at that time period of time. I had no idea what was going on outside my gates. For me I was going to get married to the person I loved and that was going to be my favourite memory. I don’t pay heed to these kinds of things. Do I make a big deal about the invitation list? No. I don’t expect to be invited anywhere and I don’t think anybody said, ‘Oh, I should have been invited.’ Nobody said that to me. If they have a problem they come and talk to me and I will tell them the reasons behind it. The people invited were just very close friends and family. People tend to forget I had an ailing grandmother in the hospital and it was a conscious decision on the part of the family to keep the celebrations to a minimum. I would have loved to call the entire film fraternity. Yes this is where I work, these are my people. Could I? No, and I think people should respect that and if they don’t, then, it’s their problem.

How did you deal with the 17 failures you had at the beginning of your career?

You have to deal with it. You do whatever it takes. I have always been uncomfortable talking about myself because I am not that kind of person. Some people understand it some people don’t, some people accept it, some people don’t. I am fine with it. My only focus at that point of time was to carry on working. The minute you start thinking about the negatives, you become a bitter person. And I am not bitter, I never want to be and I don’t like bitter people.

Was it difficult?

Of course, it was. I was replaced in films, I was thrown out of the films and my films shut down halfway. It’s not a pleasant feeling. Do I make a big deal out of it? No. As compared to the struggle of other people, mine looks small. Many people don’t know that when I decided to be an actor, for a year I didn’t have a job. Some people might have thought that, ‘Oh, he is Mr Bachchan’s son; he would get a job easily. And I know close to 30 directors, who are some of the big directors who said to my face, “No sorry, we don’t want to make a film with you.” It’s not like I had a line of producers outside my house. I have been to a lot of producers and directors requesting them to work with me. Thankfully JP saab came over and said, ‘I want to work with you’ and he was the first person who did and I readily accepted. So how do you deal with it? Try and be positive and keep working hard.

By the grace of God, I have a wonderful family. I was never made to look like an underachiever or a loser. They are very supportive and always encouraging, that is not to say that they are blindly supportive. If they saw a film of mine which didn’t like they would say so and tell me how to improve. They never said, ‘Oh, you are hopeless. Forget it!’ There was a point in time when I thought that about myself because when you repeatedly fail and that too on public platform and you are humiliated on a public platform, Friday to Friday, after a period of time, your zest, your confidence goes flying out of the window and you start believing it. When you have 15-16 flops in a row, common sense kicks in, saying ‘Wait a second, obviously you don’t know anything, you are doing something wrong and maybe you shouldn’t be doing this.’ I had no confidence. I couldn’t go out in public because I genuinely believed that I had failed. Then I went up to my father and said, ‘I think, I have made a mistake and I have paid for it dearly and maybe I am not meant to be actor.’ He said, “I have not brought you up to be a quitter, I have brought you up to be fighter. Keep at it. I am telling you, I am going to be your biggest critic. I am telling you that you are improving with film after film. Do whatever you get. Whatever role, small role, big role, just do it. Spend time in front of the camera so that you get the opportunity to improve and eventually prove your worth.’ And that’s what I did. I dived into work, whatever I got, I did, and thankfully after a while they started accepting me.

How important is marriage?

It’s a wonderful institution. I won’t say I am going to recommend it. If you want to get married, get married. It’s a personal choice. I have taken the step to stay with the woman I love and care for. I am happy I did. It has been a wonderful wonderful journey so far.

And kids?

Kids are great. I think part of the reason why you want to get married is that you want to settle down and start a family and have kids. I think two should be good. Ham do hamare do.

Are you part of Dhoom 3?

Dhoom 3 is not being made as of now. If Adi (Aditya Chopra) decides to make it, I am pretty sure Ali and Jay would be apart of it. It’s their story, it’s their franchise, unless they want to take a U-turn and change it completely. Dhoom 2 has been my biggest hit and that’s the character I enjoyed working on.

For years numerologists said you should drop your surname and you resisted. Do you feel vindicated now?

I don’t feel vindicated. I think it’s foolish and stupid to even suggest it. Why would I want to drop my surname? I am very proud of being a Bachchan. I am what I am because I am a Bachchan. I don’t understand the theory behind changing my name. I have a name which my grandfather gave me. I carry it with great pride and I am not going to change it because somebody else wants to change it. Your film is not going to work because you change the spelling of your name. Destiny is written for you and you have to aid it by working hard.

Kareena has said that she has always had space in her heart for you…

Bebo has always said that. She was my first heroine and she will always be special for me. She is not only a very sweet girl but also one of the finest actresses. We started our journey together. So she is always special to me.

So will you work with her?

Of course, I will. People keep saying that I refuse to work with her. The fact is that nothing worthwhile has come up.

The Hindi film industry is infamous for lifting Hollywood movies, but it has often been inspired by cinema content from southern India as well. With forthcoming movies like ‘Kambakkht Ishq’, ‘Short Kut – The Con Is On’ and ‘Wanted’, Bollywood seems to be on a spree of remaking films made down south.

Bollywood borrows southern spice for 'Kambakkht Ishq', 'Short Kut'

Releasing Friday, Akshay Kumar- Kareena Kapoor’s romantic comedy ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ is the remake of Kamal Haassan’s 2002 Tamil hit ‘Pammal K. Sambandam’.

The film was earlier to be remade in Hindi by writer-turned-director Anees Bazmee for south-based production house G.V. Films, which had acquired the remaking rights for Rs.500,000.

But it was producer Sajid Nadiadwala who finally made it after buying remaking rights of the same film by reportedly shelling out Rs.7.5 million.

‘Short Kut’, another forthcoming comedy, is a remake of Roshan Andrews’ Malayalam movie ‘Udayananu Tharam’. Similarly, southern dancing star Prabhu Deva’s directorial venture ‘Wanted’, which has Salman Khan in the lead, is a remake of Tamil film ‘Pokiri’.

“Bollywood has always survived on the pillars of inspiration and remakes… whether it is the west or the south, it has always copied content. While half of it has been successful, others have been blunders,” said a trade analyst from Mumbai on condition of anonymity.

But Anil Kapoor, who is producing ‘Short Kut’, described the trend as a consumer-driven call.

“Actually it was not my idea to adapt a south Indian film… as a consumer I had seen this film in Malayalam and loved it. I thought it will be great to make the film in Hindi. I spoke to Anees Bazmee (who has written the script) about it and he too liked the idea of adapting it for a Hindi film,” the actor-turned-producer said.

While ‘Udayananu Tharam’ starred Mohanlal, Sreenivasan and Meena, its Hindi version, directed by Neeraj Vora, features Arshad Warsi, Akshaye Khanna and Amrita Rao.

“We made some changes in the script to suit Bollywood sensibilities and made it more appealing for north Indians or say core Bollywood audiences. After the script was ready, we thought Neeraj Vora would be the best person to direct the film. I called him up and he was on board,” Anil added.

A recent example of a successful Bollywood remake of a south Indian film becoming a huge hit is A.R. Murugadoss’ ‘Ghajini’ (2008) that was a remake of the 2005 Tamil film of the same name.

Starring Aamir Khan in the lead, the film went on to rake in more than Rs.290 crore (Rs.2.9 billion) worldwide, making it one of the biggest grossers in Bollywood.

Remaking southern hits is not a new trend in Hindi cinema. There have been hit films earlier like ‘Nayak’, ‘Saathiya’, ‘Viraasat’ and ‘Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein’ that were remakes respectively of Tamil films ‘Mudhalvan’, ‘Alaipayuthey’, ‘Thevar Magan’ and ‘Minnale’.

Multilingual filmmaker Priyadarshan, known for remaking his own films in Hindi, had said: “My Hindi films are mostly inspired from Malayalam comedies.”

His popular films like ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’, ‘Kyon Ki…’ and ‘Garam Masala’ are remakes respectively of Malayalam films ‘Manichitrathazhu’, ‘Thalavattom’ and ‘Boeing Boeing’. His other Hindi remakes include ‘Virasaat’, ‘Billu’ and ‘Ye Teraa Ghar Ye Meraa Ghar’.

Tamil and Telugu filmmaker L.V. Prasad’s Hindi films ‘Sharada’, ‘Miss Mary’, ‘Chhoti Bahen’ and ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’ were also adaptations of Tamil films. A. Bhimsingh’s ‘Bhai Bahen’ was a remake of Tamil hit ‘Pasamalar’.

Bollywood saw a series of remakes in the late 1970s and 80s with Jeetendra in the lead in movies like T. Rama Rao’s ‘Lok Parlok’, ‘Judaai’, ‘Maang Bharo Sajan’, ‘Himmatvala’, ‘Swarg Narak’, ‘Jyoti Bane Jwala’ and ‘Pyaasa Sawan’.

Films like ‘Solva Sawan’, ‘Sargam’, ‘Sadma’, ‘Wo Saat Din’, ‘Aakhri Raasta’, ‘Andha Kanoon’ and ‘Eeshwar’ were also inspired by southern hits.

Bollywood saw its first anti-woman slant in the 1980s Rajesh Khanna-starrer ‘Red Rose’ adapted from Tamil film ‘Sigappu Rojakal’. And in 1992, Indra Kumar remade ‘Enga Chinna Rasa’ as ‘Beta’ as part of the continuing ‘south inspires north’ trend.

Source: IANS