Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘shabana azmi

Rani Mukerji to work with filmmaker Deepa Mehta in the screen adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 04, 2010)


Last month, Rani Mukerji had a secret, productive and extremely encouraging meeting with author Salman Rushdie and director Deepa Mehta in Toronto. Rushdie and Mehta are coming together for a screen adaptation of the former’s celebrated Booker-winning novel Midnight’s Children. According to reliable sources, Rani met the author and the filmmaker for a good two hours and is now part of the screen adaptation. The buzz is Rushdie took a great fancy to her.

Rani Mukerji

Deepa is evasive about confirming Rani’s presence in Midnight’s Children. She says, “Yes, Salman Rushdie and I met her informally in Toronto, but nothing has been finalised.”

However, reliable sources insist Rani is part of the coveted project which already has Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas and Nandita Das in its cast.

Hinting at the possibility of working with Rani, Deepa says, “I don’t know about Rani’s current box-office status but I have always wanted to work with her. I saw her work in Hey Ram, Black, Bunty Aur Babli and Veer-Zaara and loved it. She is among the best talent in India today. Whether it is Preity Zinta (Heaven On Earth), Shabana Azmi (Fire) or Seema Biswas (Water), I have always enjoyed working with strong, female actors.”

Rani too is on the lookout for a challenge that will take her beyond the roles she has done in Hindi cinema so far. Interestingly, she has never worked with a female director in her entire career. She came close to working with Mira Nair in The Namesake. She lost the prized role to Tabu because she didn’t want to play Abhishek Bachchan’s mother. Later, Abhishek too opted out of the project.

Deepa Mehta Salman Rushdie

Bollywood lets its hair down as 2009 comes to an end and raises its hopes for 2010

TEAM BT Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 31, 2009)

AMITABH BACHCHAN: In the New Year, the entire family is hoping to do the kind of work that would please the audience and carry the company forward. Our New Year wishes? May 2010 bring peace and well-being. May it fill us with pride as a nation. May our glory spread further. May we progress in all walks of life. And may the year keep me alive to witness the country, the film industry and my family prosper and progress. I look forward to the coming year passing peacefully.
KATRINA KAIF: I couldn’t hope for a better New Year’s day. I’m in London with my sisters and brother having the time of my life. We have lots of fun when we all are together. After I started working I have hardly seen my siblings. So meeting them is always special and a festival to mark our meeting, is the cherry on the cake. My mother forced me to leave my cell phone behind in Mumbai, so I’m almost cut off from Bollywood. What hopes for 2010? Lots of hard work and hopefully hits.


SHAH RUKH KHAN: I will be at home (Mannat) with Gauri, Aryan, Suhana and a couple of close friends like Karan Johar. Being with close family is the one thing I truly cherish.


AKSHAY KUMAR: Tina, Aarav and I are in Goa. I normally take a vacation from December 29 to January 2 because it includes a double celebration. Tina’s birthday on December 29, and then the New Year’s eve party. Honestly what can be better than spending time with your loved ones? This is a commitment I have made to my family.


DEEPIKA PADUKONE: I will be home in Bangalore with my parents and my sister. Then I go to Goa to wrap up the last fortnight on Ashutosh Gowarikar’s film. Every year I hope that the following year is as exciting as the previous year and I’m very happy with the way my professional life is going. Hope 2010 is the same.


RANBIR KAPOOR: I start shooting for Siddharth Anand’s film in the US from January 2. Since I didn’t wish to be in an aircraft on New Year’s eve, I left India on December 27. My entire family is in Dubai as tomorrow is my paternal grandmother’s birthday and the family is treating her to a one-week holiday there. I wish I could join them!


KAREENA KAPOOR: Saif and I are in England. We are catching up with Saif ’s Oxford batchmates and their spouses. I’m dying to wear my fur coat and sniff the English chill… looking and feeling every inch a diva. We work hard all the year around to make this happen, so let me enjoy myself.

BIPASHA BASU: I’m performing tonight. Then there will be a small get-together with friends. I always like to keep my New Year’s plans uncluttered. Home is the best place to be on any special occasion. And New Year will be a nonfilmy evening at home. Beyond that my only resolution for 2010 is, love yourself.

VIDYA BALAN: I bring in 2010 with my birthday tomorrow… no one can forget it! What hopes do I have for 2010? Oh plenty! After watching Mr Bachchan at work in Paa, I realised being focussed on your work to the point of shutting out everything else is not something I need feel guilty about. Now I’m all set to be seen as this full-blown, seductive, sexually-charged woman in Ishqiya. It brings an entirely new perspective to my personality for the audience. That’s what I’m hoping for in 2010… to find new aspects to my personality through the roles I play.

AJAY DEVGN: Kajol, Nysa, my parents, cousins, sister and her family and I will all be at our Karjat farm house. We’re planning an extended holiday. I start work only from January 2, so does Kajol. So in the meantime it is going to be a huge, long party.


AMRITA RAO: I wonder what 2010 has in store for me… Resolutions sound nice to the ears but adhering to them is a matter of destiny!


AMISHA PATEL: I have a show in Dubai. I will be working and then I will take a holiday. I always like working on New Year’s day because I feel you will then be working throughout!

RITESH DESHMUKH: Friends and I are contemplating how to ring in the New Year. It’s not compulsory to indulge in anything fancy, even a quiet time with good friends does the trick!


ARSHAD WARSI: I am looking forward to three releases in 2010. Will start Raju’s film next year so it’s going to be an eventful year. I haven’t a plan for New Year as yet. I’ll be with family and friends.


ANUSHKA SHARMA: I don’t do much for the New Year. Actually I do nothing. I just wish my family and go to bed.


SHABANA AZMI: As usual I’ll be with my family and a few close friends for the New Year.


IRRFAN KHAN: On every festive occasion I try to visit my mother in Jaipur. But for the New Year I made plans to be home. Beyond the New Year I’ve made no plans. I’ve noticed every time I’ve chalked out a plan for myself, life has humbled me. I leave all my plans to God.


MUGHDA GODSE: I am dancing at a live performance in Delhi tonight and will spend New Year with family and close friends. I’ve a horror film tentatively titled Help coming up for release. My co-star Bobby Deol is such a sweetheart. I hope to find a guy like him this year. Where are all the gentlemen?”


HEMA MALINI: I won’t be doing anything much for New Year. I’ll be with my family and rehearsing for my dance show which is on January 2.


POOJA BEDI: I’m having a small get-together on the terrace of my beachfront penthouse with flowers, candles and an incredible view of the entire city, with my father, my children and a few loved ones.

SUSHMITA SEN: I normally travel overseas. However, Alisah, my younger daughter, can’t travel abroad yet because she doesn’t have a passport. Hence it will have to be a beach resort in India.

ASIN: For me it will be a quiet New Year with family. I wanted to make it for Christmas itself, however I will ring in the New Year at my family home in Kerala.

BONDING AT WORK: Gurinder Chadha

Gurinder Chadha on movies and being back in Mumbai

MEENA IYER (BOMBAY TIMES; December 15, 2009)

Gurinder Chadha, the NRI film-maker, who tells delectable stories of Punjabi families living in Southhall, UK—i.e. Bend it like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004); is back with her latest offering It’s a Wonderful After Life.
The film has an obese Shabana Azmi (yeah, she piled on 20 pounds for the lead character); with other popular names like Sendhil Ramamurthy (from the popular television series Lost), Sally Hawkins (Golden Globe winner), Chris Wilson and Jimi Mistry. The film itself is scheduled for a summer 2010 release, but the internationally feted filmmaker was in Mumbai with her twins, on a whirlwind trip to bond with some of Bollywood’s best.

Says Gurinder, “I’m a bit more sensitive to Mumbai after the 26/11 terror attacks.” She says her son Ronak loves it here and every time he smells the ‘stench’ in the air around the sea, he keeps saying, “Mommy someone is frying fish.”

For Gurinder however, even making a trip to the five-star hotels that were under siege, was a onerous task because “it will break my heart to go in there and pretend all is well.’’ About her completing a ‘trilogy’ of sorts with It’s a Wonderful After Life, she says, “It’s a funny film with a heart. It talks of what would happen if women ruled the world.’’

About Shabana who is the protagonist, Gurinder says, “Shabana who had to pile on pounds for the film had a field day eating parathas and cake.’’ She guffaws as she adds, “She also wore the cheapest cardigans and flowery salwar-kurtas with kothis (jackets) to look the part. And she perfected her Brit-Punjabi accent by attending a baby shower of one of my relatives.’’ Gurinder adds, “Shabana is a legend in India and working with her was indeed a pleasure.’’

And guess what, thedrawn-to-India-forever-film-maker will return to Kerala for her next film that revolves around two children. “I’m in talks with Santosh Sivan,’’ she
says.

STILL WAITING: Shabana Azmi and Benazir Bhutto
Asif Ali Zardari wants to personally supervise Indo-Pak co-production

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

Is the Benazir Bhutto film with our Shabana Azmi playing the assassinated Pakistan premier called off ? It appears to be after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband, called a halt to the Indo-Pak production helmed by Mahesh Bhatt for British-Pakistani author Tariq Ali. Apparently, the reason being given is that Zardari and family want to personally supervise the Benazir bio-pic. Though, politics between India and Pakistan appears to be the case.

Bhatt, who was chosen to produce and direct the film because of his close cultural links with Pakistan, and after making Awarapan in the neighbouring nation, said, “Zardari stepped in to say we must not make the film until we get their nod. We’ve stepped back for now.” However, preparations continue quietly. Shabana, who bears a cultural and physical resemblance to Benazir, and who is working with Bhatt for the first time since Arth, added, “I’d love to do the part. But the project is at a very nascent stage.”
Shabana Azmi returns to theatre with a challenging role in a one-actor play. She will play her character as well as its spirit

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

 

If you find Shabana Azmi talking to herself, don’t be surprised. She will now act in a one-actor play where she essays two roles. Broken Images, based on Girish Karnad’s A Heap of Broken Images, will be directed by theatre veteran Alyque Padamsee.

 

Shabana needs to master the art of playing one character and also its spirit. Though Shabana is not talking about her new venture, reports from the Azmi household suggest that she has been rehearsing the scenes rigorously with her sister-in-law Tanvi Azmi, standing in for the character of her spirit.

Shabana’s earlier play Tumhari Amrita with Farooque Shaikh had only two characters and it continues to be a hit more than a decade after its first staging 18 years ago. Ardent Shabana fans hope Broken Images will have a similar impact. A friend of Shabana says, “At this stage of her career, Shabana needs new challenges as an actor. Otherwise, she would rather devote her time to the social causes she stands for.”

Shabana Azmi Alyque Padamsee

The friend also expresses concern about the difficulty that Shabana will face while playing the two characters. She adds, “How will Shabana be able to play two characters in a play without any support from another actor? In Tumhari Amrita, she had Farooque. In Broken Images, it’s just Shabana.”

Alyque Padamsee said, “Right now, I am in the middle of rehearsals with Shabana. Could you call later?” In a hurry to sign off, an impatient Alyque said that he had convinced big actors like Shabana to work with him earlier too. “I had also directed Smita Patil in a play 20 years ago,” he says.

The play is expected to be staged in Mumbai in December, to be followed by other cities in India and abroad.

BAAP RE BAAP: Amartya Sen and daughter Nandana

Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen discusses cinema exclusively for BT with actress daughter Nandana Sen in Mumbai

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 25, 2009)


It’s funny, with a daughter like the lovely international actress Nandana Sen, you would have thought Nobel Prize economist Prof. Amartya Sen would be well informed about cinema. But he’s not. He knows just about five people connected with filmmaking. And these he counted for me with much difficulty and some prompting from Nandana. “I knew Satyajit Ray extremely well,” he began, “he and I studied at Santiniketan. I had huge admiration for him. And I know Mira Nair, Shyam Benegal, and, and… what’s his name, Mrinal Sen! I do know Nandita Das and like her films, also. And I met… what’s the name of the guy who acted with you in Rang Rasiya… I shook his hand? Randeep Hooda? Yes, I met him. I also met Amitabh Bachchan, whom I don’t know, and Shabana Azmi, who’s an old friend. I used to like her father’s poetry and now, I like her husband’s. And Salman Khan…”


He was in Mumbai to deliver a keynote lecture for the Indian Philosophy Congress yesterday and I was meeting the distinguished father and sexy daughter at his suite in the Taj. I was drinking coffee. The professor ordered a pot of Darjeeling tea. When it came, he was appalled. “This tea is too strong for Darjeeling,” he grumbled, “it’s got the strength of Assam.” Then to
Nandana, who was busy eating pistachios noisily, he said, “Chuck it in the sink!” He is unintentionally humorous, he speaks in a deep, rumbling voice, and he chooses his words carefully — as if aware that when Prof. Amartya Sen speaks, people hang onto his words even if he isn’t talking welfare economics. That’s his hobby horse. And he travels around the world at 76 on his Nobel Prize ticket, astonishing scientists and academicians with his philosophy on poverty, gender inequality and political liberalism. But I had got him onto cinema. And Prof. Sen was struggling.


“You’re wasting your time, I’m not knowledgeable about
films,” he said trying to discourage me. “You asking me who I like is like asking me a cooking recipe. I’m happy to tell you. But my recipe won’t alleviate the culinary world much!” Nandana, fortunately, was not having any of it. “Baba, you like Sharmila Tagore, isn’t she one of your favourites,” she chided him. “Yes,” Prof. Sen admitted. “And Katherine Hepburn… what a fantastic actress, so sharp and intelligent.” Then he surprised me by saying, “Jane Fonda, I know. I’ve had a couple of dinners with her. Her husband, Ted Turner, started the UN Foundation and was a trustee. So is my wife, Emma Rothschild. And the dinners where spouses gather, are quite impressive. There’s also Nelson Mandela.” But to come back to cinema, he doesn’t see too many films, though he thinks he’s seen all of Nandana’s. Rang Rasiya, in which she plays Raja Ravi Varma’s muse and appears topless in one breathtaking scene, Prof. Amartya saw at the London Film Festival and actually liked. “It’s not been released and nobody seems to know why,” he said querulously. “Has it been made for the archives? It would have been a great success in Europe and the US after receiving favourable notice in London.”


He hardly visits Mumbai. His work brings him to Delhi. And his
heart takes him to Kolkata. Now Prof. Amartya Sen looked out of the window at the Gateway and said, “I’ve not been here since the November disaster, but I have various memories here. The best one is of defeating the Australian cricket team! I was in the health club, exercising on the bike and watching a news channel, when they came in. They wanted the bike and to change the channel. I objected. They were a little assertive and gave me the democratic argument that there were more of them. But I was here first, I told them. Then their captain, Steve Waugh, came. He conceded that I had a point. I thought, no matter how poorly India did in cricket against Australia, I had done reasonably well!”

MAKING A MARK: (From top) Dia Mirza, Konkona SenSharma, Neil Nitin Mukesh; (below) Abhay Deol and Shabana Azmi. For more pictures of the stars, visit

Twenty stars to do the catwalk for a good cause

NICOLE DASTUR Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 23, 2009)


When Naresh Goyal’s 20-year-old daughter Namrata Goyal, who is Shabana Azmi’s godchild, went to the village Mijwan in UP with the actress-cum-activist for the first time, she came back with an idea. Such was the life transforming experience for her.

To rewind a bit — Shabana Azmi’s NGO Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), which was started by her father Kaifi Azmi, has been doing noteworthy work for the betterment of the villagers of Mijwan. When Namrata was amidst the villagers, she too was inspired to do something for their welfare. And that’s how
‘Mijwan — Sonnets in Fabric’, a fashion show with a difference was born, to raise funds to set up a District Learning Centre in the village. “I have always believed in the power of youth to act as catalysts for change. Fifty percent of India is under 25 years, they can change the world if they are motivated to get involved and tap into their own reserves of strength,” says Shabana.

SA The fashion contest-cum-show will
also serve as a platform for fashion designing students to showcase their talent. Students from five fashion and design institutes will take part in an inter-collegiate contest where shortlisted students will be mentored by designers Manish Malhotra and Anita Dongre, and their creations will be showcased by top stars and models including Karan Johar, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Abhay Deol, Malaika Arora-Khan, R Madhavan, Konkana SenSharma, Dia Mirza, Prachi Desai, Raima Sen, Boman Irani, Arshad Warsi, Sandhya Mridul, Mona Singh, Tupur and Tapur Chatterjee, Aditi Govitrikar, Diandra Soares, Alesia Raut and Dipannita Sharma. The show, to be held in December, will be compered by Mandira Bedi, styled by Manish and Anita and judged by eminent names. “These stars are youth icons and it will be a huge boost for these students to have their creations showcased by them,” says Shabana, adding that she is grateful to all the stars and designers for being a part of this venture absolutely free of cost. ad