Fenil and Bollywood

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BHARATI DUBEY Times News Network (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 2, 2010)

New Delhi: Three Idiots may be creating box-office history. But all’s certainly not well between Chetan Bhagat, the author of the book Five Point Someone from which the movie has been adapted, and its hero Aamir Khan, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani.
An ‘idiotic’ controversy has broken out over accusations of credit poaching. The film credits the story to Abhijat Joshi and Hirani. Bhagat’s name appears at the film’s end.
Bhagat is miffed that the film does not give him due credit, but Khan claims that Bhagat is trying to take away credit from Joshi, the film’s scriptwriter. Agencies have quoted the actor as saying that he has advised Chopra and Hirani to file a case against Bhagat as he has defamed them with “false’’ allegations.
Reacting to this, Bhagat told a news agency, “For the past two years, I have trusted Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Aamir blindly and this is what I get in return. Now I am being threatened with legal action, but I am ready for it.’’
Chopra too jumped into the fray on Friday. When the controversy was brought up by journalists at a press meet in Noida, he thundered, “Have you read the book? I have read the book, so shut up!’’ He also charged Bhagat with trying to gain publicity for his book.
But Bhagat was quick to retort that he didn’t need this kind of fame and he couldn’t help it if millions of people who had read his Five Point Someone had spotted the issue.
The row erupted on Thursday, when Bhagat blogged, “Pre-release, the makers made press statements like the movie is only ‘very loosely’, ‘2%-5% inspired by the book’. After the release, those who have read the book and seen the movie (and frankly, I think those are the only people who have the right to comment) find the film to be an adaptation of Five Point Someone.’’

‘3 Idiots’ not an original story: Author Bhagat
New Delhi: Irked at the makers of ‘3 Idiots’ not giving him due credit, Chetan Bhagat, whose book Five Point Someone on which the film is based, has blogged, “The setting, characters, plotline, dramatic twists and turns, one-liners, theme, message—almost all aspects that make up the story are from FPS. Yes, there are some changes, any adaptation requires that—but it is no way an original story. Leading movie critics have admitted to me that the film is 70% the book. Still, don’t take my word for it—go read the book, watch the film.’’
But Aamir Khan’s thoughts are different. At a press meet on Thursday, he said, “It is unfortunate that Chetan is behaving in this manner.’’ The actor said scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi and director Rajkumar Hirani had “abided by the contract’’ entered into with Bhagat and the author had been given due credit as per the contract. “For three years, Joshi has been working on the script. It is unfortunate that Chetan is trying to take away the credit from someone not as famous as he is,’’ Aamir said. He also mentioned how Bhagat had dropped in on the sets of ‘3 Idiots’ one day. “During the course of the conversation, I told him that I was still to read FPS and I intended doing it sometime soon. Chetan then told me that Abhijat’s script is different and I need not necessarily read the book,’’ he said. In his blog, Bhagat has also said that “crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that ‘3 Idiots’ is not based on FPS. Bhagat added, “I wanted to see the final script—it was never shown to me. I wanted to see the film before release—it was not shown to me.” TNN
Ghaziabad theatre in dock for pirated DVDs
Reliance Big Pictures filed a police complaint against Galaxy Cinema suspecting it of helping in making pirated DVDs of the film 3 Idiots in Ghaziabad on Thursday. “The pirated DVDs of the film were available in the market from December 24 and it was from those prints that we got hold of the cap code marking which matched with this cinema hall. We then lodged an FIR against the hall,’’ Ghaziabad station road SHO Rashid Ali told TOI. It is learnt that the DVDs of the film were found in Delhi and UP which was tracked by Reliance. Kamal Gianchandani, COO (distribution) of Reliance Big Pictures, clarified, “The sleeves of the DVDs were available in the market but some of them did not have DVDs of the movie inside. Our enforcement team with the local authorities spoke to the local pirates and asked them not to sell the DVD for the first three weeks and also the MSOs asking them not to screen it for the first three weeks. Most of them honoured the commitment.’’ Nearly 2,000 DVDs were confiscated in raids conducted in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, and Sirsa in Haryana.

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By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, December 24, 2009 – 18:27 IST

Chetan Bhagat Very few authors have managed to reach out to such a wide audience as Chetan Bhagat. The writer of international bestsellers like ‘5 Point Someone’, ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ and ‘2 States’ have been widely read and now he is all set to see yet another of his book being made into a film. On the eve of 3 Idiots release, Chetan Bhagat speaks to Bollywood Hungama and talks about why 3 Idiots is a special film, his next big project and lots more.

After ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’, yet another book of yours ‘5 Point Someone’ is all set to be seen in its celluloid version (3 Idiots). How does it feel?
It feels great. This time it’s a far bigger film, the buzz about 3 Idiots is enormous. We have done the right thing by putting the film ahead of us. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to reach out to so many people through the medium of cinema.

Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone‘. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times.

The screenplay has been written by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi…Would you have liked to be a part of the screenplay writing process?
Initially I did sit down with Raju and Abhijat while they were deciding to make a film based on ‘5 Point Someone’. I even went to IIT with Abhijat a couple of times. But it was just not possible for me to be involved at every stage of the screenplay writing process since I was in Hong Kong at that time, working full time and busy writing other books. Moreover, Abhijat is based in USA, Raju was in the US for quite a while working on the screenplay but it was not practical for me to do that.

3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself.

The question on everyone’s mind is how similar the film is to the book? Raju Hirani says that the film is just 10% of the book….your comments.
I don’t think Raju must have said something like that. In fact I just met him a few days ago and we spoke at length about the film etc. See…’5 Point Someone’ has over the years achieved cult status and has its own loyal fans. I am sure they would like to see each and every moment of the book on the big screen but that is not how the process works. Adapting a book and making it into a film is a relatively new thing in India. The film retains the soul of the book. 3 Idiots is different from the book but at the same time it does borrow many things from the book. The core theme and message of the film is coming from the book itself. And that’s why the makers have officially credited the film as ‘Based on a novel by Chetan Bhagat’

You are but obviously not directly involved with the film and its promotional strategies…does it upset you?
Not at all…at the end of the day I want the film to be a good film and I am happy that a film whose base is generated from my book has generated so much response and is the talk of the town.

Aamir recently was on an innovative promotional spree travelling the length and breadth of the country…what do you think about this marketing strategy?
Chetan Bhagat When you have Aamir Khan, I don’t think anybody else needs to be involved in marketing of the film. Aamir is known for his innovative style of marketing. He will never directly say, ‘Please come and watch my film’ but he will do something that will grab your attention and make you go and watch the film. I am really inspired by his marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Moving on from 3 Idiots, how is work coming along on the film based on your book ‘3 Mistakes of My Life’ being made by Excel Entertainment?

I am really inspired by Aamir’s marketing. In fact there is a lesson for a lot of Indian marketing companies on the way Aamir does the marketing of his films.

Abhishek Kapoor (the director) is very conscious of the comparisons that will come between the book and the film and hence we (Abhijit, Pubali Chaudhari and I) are taking great care in writing the screenplay of the film. In fact even today as we speak, I am working on the screenplay of the film based on ‘3 Mistakes Of My life’. We are aware that after Rock On and 3 Idiots, there will be a lot of expectations from people and hence we are working very hard on getting the screenplay right. I think we should be able to finalise it soon and begin casting in a month or so.

Your most recent novel ‘2 States’ was launched a couple of months ago…how has been the response so far?
‘2 States’ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour. It’s a very good book for a lot of people to relate and enjoy. It also carries a nice message. Especially in the South, the book has done extraordinarily well. I think I have been able to meet my fans expectations which is the ultimate dream for any writer.

2 States‘ has had a fantastic response… easily the best of all the 4 books, that’s because it’s a very universal love story with a good dose of humour.

That book would make for an interesting Bollywood potboiler…any plans to adapt that book into a film too?
There have been many offers but I know that my fans would like me to be involved with only A-grade Bollywood. I don’t want to sell the rights to any filmmaker just for the heck of it. It should go into the right hands so that it emerges as one of the best films of the year

What else are you busy with these days apart from tweeting….the buzz is that you are scripting a film?
Twitter is a great way to stay connected with my fans. Yes…I do want to script a romantic comedy. Abhishek Kapoor has taught me a lot about screenplay writing. The best part about working with Abhishek is that he has shown me how the screenplay language works and also how to use restraint. Rock On was such a film that expressed so much more in spite of being subtle. My books tend to be quite filmy sometimes (laughs). It’s ironical that a filmmaker is telling me to be less filmy but I am forever indebted to Abhishek for teaching me these things about screenplay writing. Now I am hoping that I can do a better job.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

On television, it has to be the Bachchan family, who may yet establish a monopoly on reality shows in 2010. Ash too has been made an incredible offer

By Subhash K Jha and Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


Barely has the Big B concluded hosting Bigg Boss 3, we hear that he has been roped in for the next season, apparently at a much heftier fee than the reported Rs 1.5 crore he was paid per episode. The show begins in the second-half of 2010, after Abhishek’s game show Bingo plays itself out.

Amitabh Bachchan says, “There are some other television offers. I’m considering them. It wouldn’t be prudent to mention their names at this point. Yes, the channel has expressed a desire to continue the relationship.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Amitabh Bachchan Abhishek Bachchan

They are also going all out to woo Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, apparently to host a chat show. Convincing Aishwarya at this stage of her career when her calendar is full is proving to be problematic.

But as a senior person from the channel says, “We’re on the job. We never planned to get both, Mr Bachchan and Abhishek. But now that they’re on, we’re getting ambitious.” Apparently they plan to rope in the entire Bachchan parivar in one capacity or another.

Meanwhile, Abhishek is gearing up for his debut as a TV host on the show National Bingo Night. He says, “I have been getting quite a few offers in the recent past for television. I loved the show as it has a special connect with the viewers. They can participate, play the game and win sitting at home. I loved the uniqueness of the theme.”

Talking about competing with his father who has just finished hosting Bigg Boss 3, he says, “I don’t think about these things or I will lose focus. Once I am in front of the camera, I am going to be myself. I have always maintained that it is a great honour to be compared to the best. I will do what I have to do which is to go out there, play the game with the contestants and have fun on the show.”


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