Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘sriram raghavan

Anurag Kashyap finds an unusual hero to play a serial killer for the second film of the Mumbai trilogy – Nawazuddin aka Patna Presley of Emosonal Attyachaar

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 05, 2010)

Anurag Kashyap’s much talked-about Mumbai trilogy has found its third and final hero. While Aamir Khan stars in the first film, John Abraham will play the lead in the third. Now, the little-known but talented Nawazuddin who gave sterling cameo performances in 2009 in Nandita Das’s Firaaq, Kabir Khan’s New York, Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D (one of the two Patna Presleys singing Emosonal Attyachaar) and Black Friday, has been pencilled in as the lead in Kashyap’s second film in the Mumbai trilogy. It’s a huge leap for an actor from a village near Delhi.

More startling than his casting is the character that Nawazuddin plays. He plays Raman Raghav, India’s most brutal serial killer. In 1968, Raghav bludgeoned a number of pavement dwellers to death before he was caught and diagnosed with schizophrenia. (Sriram Raghavan has, in fact, made a documentary on the serial killer.)

Nawazuddin has been secretly reading up on Raman Raghav and looking at footage of the killer. When we spoke to him, Nawazuddin was taken aback. He said, “Anurag has asked me to keep it absolutely quiet. Yes, I’m playing the serial killer Raman Raghav in Anurag Kashyap’s film. It’s the biggest challenge of my career especially since superstars like Aamir and John feature in the other two films of the series.”

Nawazuddin, who has been trying to make a mark as an actor in Bollywood since 1996, has played the lead in Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live and Mangesh’s Dekh Circus too. Says the actor emotionally, “I’ve waited very long for this. I’ve struggled hard to get out of playing the cameo to the lead. Mumbai trilogy is my greatest challenge.”

Anurag Kashyap Nawazuddin

By Taran Adarsh, November 6, 2009 – 09:42 IST

Madhur Bhandarkar is synonymous with thought-provoking, hard-hitting films. Right from CHANDNI BAR to FASHION, the expert storyteller has made movies that hold tremendous shock-value. In turn, Madhur has cultivated a rich fan-base for his films.

With JAIL, Madhur not only makes you visit a prison, but also makes you peep into the psyche of a prisoner. In the recent past, Sriram Raghavan’s EK HASINA THI [2004; Saif Ali Khan, Urmila Matondkar] and Nazim Rizvi’s UNDERTRIAL [2007; Rajpal Yadav] narrated the travails and anguish of innocents who were falsely implicated in a case. Besides, Nagesh Kukunoor’s TEEN DEEWAREIN [2003; Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Nagesh Kukunoor] too narrated the story of three convicts. But JAIL is different from the above-named films.


Besides watching a thought-provoking story on celluloid, one has also come to expect incredible performances in a Madhur Bhandarkar movie. And JAIL too is embellished with superb performances from its key actors.


JAIL transports you to a hitherto unknown world that most of us haven’t seen and if this is its USP, it’s also something that might go against it. Irrespective of how strong its merits are, a section of moviegoers [read families/kids], who generally tilt towards feel-good/sunshine/entertainment-filled cinema, might skip this film due to its dry [and at times depressing] theme.

In a nutshell, JAIL mirrors a reality in true Madhur Bhandarkar style. It’s hard-hitting, it’s compelling, it’s thought-provoking. The efficient storyteller has the courage to speak a new language in every film and for that very reason, JAIL should be on your agenda.

Parag Dixit [Neil Nitin Mukesh] is living a dream life — a great job and a loving girlfriend [Mugdha Godse]. However, things take an ugly turn when, after a series of unfortunate events, he suddenly wakes up in jail. Parag is perplexed. The only salvation he finds is in Nawab [Manoj Bajpayee], a convict, who believes that Parag is innocent.

Soon, Parag is left with a choice, to either live a life with hordes of broken hearts and shattered souls amidst the prison walls or hope to see freedom some day.

JAIL involves you from the very start. The inmates, their crimes, their individual stories… you get drawn into a world that’s very real. So real that you feel it’s happening right in front of your eyes.

Madhur has a knack of narrating stories and he narrates the story of Parag Dixit with razor-edge sharpness. Besides, JAIL also enlightens you of the legal process, which also acts as an eye-opener.

At the same time, the legal procedures and also the behavioural pattern of the inmates tend to get repetitive after a point and that’s when you start feeling restless. Nonetheless, the post-interval has some interesting twists-n-turns, like the convicts’ escape from the police van; prior to that Neil and Manoj exchanging stares before Neil perches himself in the van; Neil getting thrown in a dark cell, spending the next few days in solitary confinement; a convict using the garbage van as the means to escape; another convict realising that his wife is now a cop’s mistress. Also, the climax is touching and moves you.

Madhur hits the right note yet again. Madhur, Manoj Tyagi and Anuradha Tiwari’s script involves you in most parts. Raghuvir Shekhawat’s dialogues are true to life. There’s no scope for music in a film like JAIL, but the three songs are smartly integrated in the storyline. Kalpesh Bhandarkar’s cinematography is top notch. Special mention must be made of Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s prison set, where the film is entirely shot.

Not only does Neil Nitin Mukesh deliver his finest performance to date, but the performance would easily rank amongst the finest this year. He conveys the pathos and helplessness that this character demands with amazing understanding. He deserves all praise for his extra-ordinary portrayal.

Manoj Bajpayee pitches in a memorable performance. In fact, the supremely talented actor is in form after a long, long time. He’s subdued all through, which only goes to prove that he knows the craft so well. Mugdha Godse underplays her part beautifully. Also, she carries the non-glam look well.

Aarya Babbar is fantastic. This film should make people sit and notice this young actor. Chetan Pandit is first-rate. Rahul Singh is excellent, especially in the sequence when he confronts his wife. The actor who plays the part of Joe D’Souza is effective.

On the whole, JAIL is a well-made film from an expert storyteller. At the box-office, the film will appeal to those with an appetite for hard-hitting, realistic fares, but its clash with AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI will affect its business to an extent.

Saif Ali Khan aka Chhote Nawab seems to have found his happy place
By Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 31, 2009)
Saif Ali Khan (in pic) is in a zen state. Personally, he is dating the most powerful and gorgeous girl in Bollywood; and professionally, well, he’s calling the shots too.

“I haven’t noticed whether other girls have stopped looking at me because I’m dating the best girl in town,’’ he says. “A lot depends on the vibe you give off. I hear unavailable men are more interesting to interesting women. That be as it may, I’m not particularly interested in a stranger of any sort right now.’’

Saif’s reason for setting up a production house is simple. He wants to make the films he believes in. “Everyone has their own home productions and no one is going to cast you in their films unless they can’t do it themselves,’’ he says.

He points out that the biggest filmmakers in the country — Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar , Sanjay Leela Bhansali — would ideally pitch for Shah Rukh Khan , Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan first. “If things don’t work out with these guys, then perhaps they’d come to me,’’ he says very matter-of-factly. “However, with setting up my own production house, I can make the films I wish to and give myself the parts I want to play. No other producer can give me the parental love that my own production can.’’

His maiden venture releases today and within a couple of months, he’s all set to get into Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod, a spy-action-high-on-adrenaline-thriller with lady love Kareena Kapoor playing his screen muse. “Film production is an exciting job,’’ he confesses. “Balancing that in itself, apart from real life in terms of family and getting things done on time, has been challenging.’’

Personally too, he confesses to being blissful: “Life is a growing and changing process. I came into the world of interviews when I was 20 at a room in a Mumbai studio. In 19 years, I have grown, and the last two years have been very eventful. Personally and professionally I find myself in the right place. The rest of my life lies ahead of me but I feel confident and equipped to deal with most situations.’’

And the mention of sunshine (Kareena) brings a smile to his face.

“Everything is beautiful right now,’’ he says. “Kareena and I are on a path, let us enjoy that. For me, priority right now is to set up this production house, and I want Madam to stay the biggest star in the world for as long as she enjoys it. Everything else will follow in due course.’’

Tired of playing voluble characters, Kareena Kapoor is glad to finally play quiet and simple roles in 3 Idiots and Kurbaan

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 30, 2009)

Kareena’s look in 3 Idiots and Kurbaan (Below)

Tired of constantly jabbering on screen in films as far-ranging as Jab We Met and Kambakkht Ishq, Kareena Kapoor has now taken a conscious break from the babble to play quiet and silently-evocative characters. After playing the unattainable and thoroughly unlikeable diva-bi*** in Kambakhht Ishq, Kareena is moving on to play a more real salwar-kameez-clad Punjabi girl in Raj Kumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots and also in Rensil D’Silva’s Kurbaan.

In 3 Idiots, she plays a girl who has nothing much to say and she keeps mum, much to Kareena’s relief. “I play a quiet and nice Punjabi doctor,” says Kareena. In Rensil D’Silva’s Kurbaan, she plays a character close to her heart and she loves the silence that the character permitted her. “I’ve got one of the best roles of my career. Rensil D’Silva is such a fine storyteller. Again this girl speaks less and acts more. I play a simple Delhi girl who finds out that her husband is a terrorist,” reveals Kareena about her role in the film.

“I need my acting energies to be re-fuelled. I have been playing talkative characters in all my recent films. Omkara was the last really quiet character I played. In 3 Idiots, I’m soft and gentle and that’s the real me.

I like my silence to speak for me. Unfortunately, in this business I am constantly asked to voice my opinion on everything,” adds Kareena. In fact, she has requested Saif Ali Khan and the director Sriram Raghavan, to let her play a spy in Agent Vinod, which will again be more about action rather than words.


This weekend is bound to be very interesting. Whatever response may tomorrow’s release Love Aaj Kal (also one of the most awaited films of the year) get from the audience (and critics), it’ll surely result in an exciting situation. The film is expected to take a hurricane start and if the film manages to connect with the audience, it can easily be Saif’s biggest hit ever!

When it comes to Love Aaj Kal, discussions are only centered on the lead man and producer Saif Ali Khan, actress Deepika Padukone, director Imtiaz Ali and also Kareena Kapoor (even though she’s not a part of the film!)! However, two important people connected to the film are miles away from the limelight. One is the second actress of Love Aaj Kal (LAK), whose identity has been deliberately kept a secret by the makers and the other is Saif’s producer-partner Dinesh Vijan (see pic) who is ignored by the media, since he’s not known name.

Dinesh VijanHowever, the fact is Dinesh Vijan is as much a producer of LAK as Saif. Dinesh’s first film as a producer was Being Cyrus, which also starred Saif. Dinesh and Ambika Hinduja were two of the four producers of Being Cyrus and had formed a production company, Serendipity Films. He and Saif realized on the sets that both have similar tastes and views regarding films and felt that they should jointly make movies. Post-Being Cyrus, both of them went their own ways. Dinesh then produced Shiney-Esha Deol starrer Hijack along with its director Kunal Shivdasani under the banner, Aleya Motion Magic. Finally, Dinesh and Saif got back again and made their own production house, Illuminati Films. However, they won’t be parting after LAK’s release. They have decided to jointly produce more films, which are qualitative as well as interesting. Their next film is already on the cards. Titled Agent Vinod, it stars Saif and Kareena and is produced by Johnny Gaddaar director, Sriram Raghavan. There are also plans to produce a film of Being Cyrus director, Homi Adjania.

Mystery girl3

Regarding the mysterious girl in Love Aaj Kal, there are around 10 people who have asked me as to who she is and her name, because she looks beautiful and I am the one who’s supposed to know everything about Hindi films! Unfortunately, this time, even I am ignorant since the producers have wonderfully kept her under wraps! Her name has not been disclosed and she has not made any public appearance till date. Only her screen name is available-Harleen Kaur. Hopefully, one would know who she is in 24 hours, when reviews start pouring in. Check out her pic!

Finally, the film is hugely awaited also due to its director-Imtiaz Ali, who impressed everyone with his last film, Jab We Met (JWM). One may feel this time things would be easy for him but I feel that things would be even more difficult. One didn’t had much expectation from JWM as no one expected it to be such a brilliant film in all respects. Viewers would naturally expect a lot from LAK. However, one should not expect something like JWM from LAK as both films are as different as chalk and cheese. That’s why, Imtiaz was even against the idea of inserting the card ‘Fromthe director of Jab We Met’ in the promos of LAK!

Saif, Deepika, Imtiaz, Dinesh, mysterious girl, Pritam (music), Irshad Kamil (lyrics)…all talented and all are youngsters. So LAK is surely a film for the youth, by the youth! Here’s wishing lots of luck to everyone associated with this fresh-looking film!

P.S.: Neetu Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Rahul Khanna and comedian Vir Das are also a part of the film!

A small film releasing next week, Chal Chalein, seems to be very impressive and interesting. It deals with the topic of suicide committed by students, due to the fear of either their parents or of scoring less marks in examinations. The film centers around eight friends, studying in Class 11. One of them commits suicide after he is unable to bear the pressure burdened on him by his parents (Kanwaljeet and Rati Agnihotri). His friends realize that not only parents, but even the education system is to blame for such suicides. They start a movement and manage to take it to court, with the help of a lawyer (played by Mithun Chakraborthy). Chal Chalein also stars Chak De girl Shilpa Shukla. The film seems meaningful and if handled well, can manage to impact the viewers greatly. However, like every small film, it is not well promoted and the promos on TV don’t show what the film is actually about. Please spare some minutes and watch the exclusive theatrical promo below. The film is releasing next Friday, Aug 7.


Saif Ali Khan’s producer partner Dinesh Vijan explains the presence of lion in their company Illuminati Films’ logo apart from talking about `Love Aaj Kal’ and their next couple of projects

EVERYBODY is talking only about the trio Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and director Imtiaz Ali whenever there’s a mention of Imtiaz Ali whenever there’s a mention of their upcoming flick `Love Aaj Kal’. Hence we caught up with Dinesh Vijan, the producer of the film, for something different. Excerpts from an interview with the partner of Illuminati Films Pvt Ltd, Saif Ali Khan’s production house…

You are associated with Saif since `Being Cyrus’ days…

Yes, we had worked together on that film as I was the producer. Back then as we chatted on the sets and otherwise, we realised we wanted to make similar kind of films. I think he likes the way I run the film. We scheduled it for 30 days, worked on daily routines and finished before time. We kept in touch even after the film and finally we sat up Illuminati Films. We decided to develop some content and see where it would go. First we came along Imtiaz Ali and then Sriram Raghavan who narrated stories that connected to both of us.

What kind of similar ideas are you looking at?

If you look at `Being Cyrus’, it was a different film. We don’t want the philosophy where we decide how much actors are going to charge and how much production is going to cost and then proceed with things. We want it to take it ahead from the script and what its appeal is. In `Love Aaj Kal’, it tells a story of two generations. Hence it will appeal to both the generations. `Love Aaj Kal’ deals with issues we have not dealt with as yet. As producers the most important thing is to decide which story to take.

Don’t you think the audience would end up comparing `Jab We Met’ and `Love Aaj Kal’ and that would hamper the business?

There will be comparisons but we can’t help it.
The two are very different films and the audience will realise when they watch `LAK’. So there won’t be any point comparing.

The next film is `Agent Vinod’…

Yeah, it is. It sounds almost comedy but it is not.
It is a straight fast paced thriller. It will have an appeal. Saif will play a RAW agent. It will be larger than life and yet real. If you have to compare, then you have to compare it to films like `Casino Royale’ and `Bourne Ultimatum’. After that we are making an English film next year with him Homi Adajania who made `Being Cyrus’.

Sriram’s `Johnny Gaddaar’ didn’t do as well as it should have been.

Marketing comes into play here. It is the tool which helps you bring your product into the market. It is as important as the film. Of course if the product is not good then marketing does not help.But to do justice to a good film it needs to be promoted well too.

Talking about marketing and promotions, why has the other girl in `Love Aaj Kal’ been kept out of public eye for so long?

There has to be something post release! We have enough cards to open pre-release. So we keep that for a later time.

What’s her name?

Her screen name is Harleen. And the rest we shall disclose only after the film.
While on to names, why is your firm named Illuminati Films?

We are taking the thought ahead with which Illuminati was set up. That is to believe in something which no one else was willing to do. Plus we are both Leos and hence the logo has a lion in it.

So how many prints is `Love Aaj Kal’ releasing with?

It will be a worldwide release. Physical prints would be around 700 — 400 would be oversees. Plus there is digital media which would be in around 500-600 screens. So we should open with around 1500 screens.


Kareena, who plays a spy in Agent Vinod, will have several combat scenes with Saif
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; July 01, 2009)

Kareena Kapoor

Remember the sizzling fight scene between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr & Mrs Smith? Get ready to see Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor do the same in Agent Vinod. Yes, you heard right. Agent Vinod will have several combat scenes between Saif and Kareena. Incidentally, Kareena plays a spy, just like Saif, in the film.

The decision was taken after Kareena was finalised for Saif’s home production. The actress, who has always wanted to play a full-on action star like Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, will undergo rigorous training to get into an athletic shape. Kareena is expected to not only have some super-slick, hand-to-hand, heart-in-the-mouth combats with Saif but also her adversaries.

Kareena will play an undercover agent from another country (apparently Pakistan). Her Mata Hari like role will have shades of Mala Sinha in Aankhen and Rehana Sultan in the 1977 film, Agent Vinod.

But director Sriram Raghavan clarifies that Agent Vinod is not a remake of either film. “It’s a spy drama, which will have its roots in the films you’ve mentioned. But the only similarity to the Rajshri espionage film with Mahendra Sandhu and Rehana Sultan is the title, which the Rajshris so graciously gave us,” he said.

In fact Sooraj Barjatya, who has worked with Saif in Hum Saath Saath Hain and Kareena in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, had absolutely no qualms parting with the title Agent Vinod.

Saif confirmed Kareena’s role and said, “She does play an undercover agent from another country. Kareena will do everything I do in the film, and she’ll do it even better. She will kick butt better than all the other girls in our industry, that’s for sure.”

Commenting on the films the couple plans to produce together, Saif said, “We’ll definitely be producing films together. It will give us a chance to grow as actors. The idea is for both of us to grow together as human beings and artistes. Although Kareena’s name is not in our production logo, she is as much the producer of Agent Vinod as I. I prefer not to have our names in the production logo. All I want to do is make great films, live healthy, eat good food, read comic books and novels, exercise and have Kareena by my side. I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m smiling like an idiot even as I speak.”