Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘TV

IN TELLYLAND: Shah Rukh Khan, AkshayKumar and (top) Rani Mukerji with guest Shahid Kapoor, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapur on their TV shows
How worthwhile has it been for channels putting Bollywood stars on TV?

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

Abhishek Bachchan is stepping into his father’s shoes by hosting a game show on TV. What prompted Bachchan Jr. to give a nod to the small screen? Was it a lucrative offer? Perhaps, because it’s money that draws film stars to television. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Rani Mukerji, Karisma Kapur… the list is endless of Bollywood stars who made the big crossover.

Akshay, reports said, was paid a whopping Rs 2.5 crore per episode to host the second season of Khatron ke Khiladi. And Salman Khan was apparently given Rs 89 crore for the first season of Dus Ka Dum! It’s big money all right for the stars, but is it worthwhile for the channels to shell out such big bucks for the star value?

Statistics prove that shows with Bollywood stars have never topped the overall Television Rating Points (TRP) charts. Only Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, that changed the face of Indian television years ago, saw TRP success. All other shows hosted or judged by stars have raked in average or dismal TRPs. Yes, there is a fair amount of curiosity and people are bound to watch the show at least once for the star’s sake, but after that it’s content that sells. Meanwhile, TV actors are unhappy with the ‘filmi’ invasion but will not complain openly for fear of antagonising the channels. “Does it make any sense to pay film stars in crores? No show has zoomed up the TRP charts,” said a popular TV actress. “The TRPs that these stars have got, after the initial few episodes and special episodes, is the same that any other anchor has got! Did Rani’s presence lift the show up so much… wouldn’t it have been the same if it was somebody else? And what big difference did Karisma make?” Another veteran actor added, “In the name of recession TV actors had to go through paycuts, but film stars on TV continued to rake in the moolah!”

Channels have their reasoning. Programming head Ashvini Yardi explained, “We go in for film stars for three reasons: It boosts perception… the brand image of the star rubs on to the channel. For instance, having Akshay’s show gives the channel a fresh, adventurous and risk-taking image. Second, reality shows help bring in a fresh audience, especially the men and youth, who are not regular soap watchers. Also, shows with film stars rake in huge money in terms of advertisements.” What’s important though, pointed out Ashvini, is to make the right choice while choosing a film star. “The show has to go with the star’s brand,” she said. TV serial producers, however, believe that since it’s serials that hold the top slot in the number game, more attention should be paid to them. “Instead of cutting down on our budgets, channels should cut down on paying so much to film stars,” grumbled a TV director. Producer-director Rajan Shahi’s glad that top film stars are now also TV stars. “I hope TV stars get the same treatment in films,” he said. Talking about B-town’s foray on the small screen, he added, “I’m sure taking film stars has some benefit that channels see. In the past film stars have given huge TRPs… may be the magic will work again. For me, Rakhi Sawant has been the most successful film actor in terms of success on TV.”

K2: Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol are paired together after eight years in My Name Is Khan
First look of Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan going to 70 countries on TV tonight at 10

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 16, 2009)

It has the ‘K’ factor going for it. Eight years after Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and Kajol came together for one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters of all time — Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham, the charismatic trio are presenting the trailer of their February 12, 2010 release, Fox Star Studios’ My Name Is Khan, tonight. Yes, look out for it, Star TV Network will beam the first look of the first production by SRK and KJo together at 10 pm across 70 countries worldwide. So wherever you are, you can catch the promo for sure.

Says Karan, “This is the first time ever in the history of Bollywood that the promos of a film will play across such a wide platform. And, this has mainly been made possible because of our synergy with Fox. It is my first production with SRK and also the first time a Bollywood company is tying up with a mainstream Hollywood studio. So, there are many firsts to this venture.” He adds, “The idea of the launch was suggested to us by Fox. Both Shah Rukh and I felt that it was the best way to flag off our campaign. We wanted to create a road block and since Star has such a broad base globally, we both conferred that it would be an ideal way to launch our first promos.’’

For Karan, the film is not just his biggest professional challenge, it is also an emotional journey. One of India’s brightest production talents says, “Shah Rukh and Kajol have never gone wrong in their pairing. For me, combining with these two actors is not only a professional high, it is also an emotional bond. The three of us have done two super-hit films in the past — Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G). Now, we’re hoping that we can recreate the same magic with My Name Is Khan.’’

The buzz is that this is the most expensive deal to have ever gone through in Bollywood history. Unconfirmed reports say that Fox picked up the film for Rs 100 crore and will release it with 600 prints overseas, making it the widest release
for a Bollywood film on foreign shores. Theatrical trailers of the film have been attached to the prints of James Cameron’s Avatar that is releasing today. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says, “Never before has there been such excitement over a film, nor has there been such a wide release for any Bollywood film so far.’’

MAMK

Theatre owners flay MAMK’s DTH release

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 21, 2009)

Mumbai: After Main Aur Mrs Khanna failed to impress at the box office, its producers released the film on DTH (direct to home) on Tuesday. The producers’ decision has upset theatre owners, who are considering taking the film off their screens.


The Rs 45-crore Prem Soni directed Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer, released last Friday, filled theatres to only about 30% of capacity. A theatre source said, “The film has not made an impression
at all. Not even Salman Khan’s effort to boost collections has helped much. That’s probably why the producers took the decision they did.”


Tata Sky premiered the film on October 20. Other DTH services plan to follow suit. Tata Sky chief marketing officer Vikram Mehra said, “It’s the first time a film is going to DTH within four days. We released What’s Your Rashee in a week. I don’t think this will affect the business of the film in theatres. DTH releases help curb piracy and earn additional revenue
for the producer.”


But theatre owners aren’t happy. They plan to meet in early November to discuss the issue, said Cinemax Cinemas vice-president Devang Sampat.


Vishal Kapur, COO of Fun Cinemas, said, “We’re contemplating pulling out the film from cinema halls.” He added, “We’ve got seven shows scheduled per day, and people aren’t going to turn up. It’s going to hurt business.”


The Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots is likely to be the first film to be released on DTH and in cinema halls simultaneously. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said DTH releases of new films would “kill the film industry which is already suffering due to piracy. If DTH becomes a trend the theatre business will collapse.If people can watch a movie for Rs 100, why would they go to a theatre?”


Mukesh Bhatt, who upset many by releasing satellite rights to Ghulam six months
after its release, also opposes a film going to DTH too soon. He said, “One must give space for theatrical revenues. Only then should DTH and satellite rights be released.” Sidharth Roy Kapur of UTV Producers, the distributor of Main Aur Mrs Khanna, was not available for comment.

WAKE UP SID OR DO KNOT DISTURB THIS WEEKEND?

I had stated in my talk no 22 as to how youth-oriented films have a great chance of succeeding at the BO since the young constitute almost 60-70% of the moviegoing audience. Thus, there are loads of expectations from Wake Up Sid (WUS), that is all set to release tomorrow. It seems Ranbir Kapoor had made an unintentional norm to release his films on public holidays! WUS releases on Gandhi Jayanti while Ranbir’s previous films, Saawariya (2007) and Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) were released on the day of Diwali and Independece Day respectively!

WUSA lot of ‘firsts’ are associated with WUS, produced by Karan Johar. It is the first time that a KJo produced film is shot entirely in Mumbai. All the rest of KJo films were shot abroad (except Kaal but it wasn’t filmed in the city). This is the first film of Karan Johar that would be distributed by UTV Motion Pictures and not by Yash Raj Films (had stated this point in talk no 51). The music isn’t larger than life and the film is made on a low budget, unlike other Johar’s grand films!

The promos of this film are rocking and indicate perfectly as to what the film is all about. The plus point of WUS is its plot which is very relevant and the character of Sid is extremely relatable. In short, half of the battle is won! That’s because characters where almost everyone can identify with manages to strike a chord with the audiences. Taare Zameen Par, for instance, worked big time as it wonderfully executed the separation anxiety faced by a child when separated from his parents for a brief period of time. Everyone must have faced such a situation at least once during their childhood and hence, the film was loved a lot. Similarly, WUS also has high chances of impressing the audience.
The Ranbir Kapoor-Konkona Sen Sharma pairing, though unconventional, manages to rock! In fact, both are top performers and look wonderful together. I am dying to see them as a pair as I appreciate both of them a lot! Couple of months back, somebody on a social networking website had wrongly stated that WUS is a love story of a younger handsome hunk and an older not-so-beautiful woman. Unfortunately, the rumour spread far and wide and director Ayan Mukherjee had to give his word about the rumour. He also made a clapworthy dialogue, “Who says Konkona is not beautiful?” I agree with him completely. Konkona looks stunning and has given wonderful performances, for which she has also won many awards and accolades. Mark my words-Konkona will pitch in an excellent performance in WUS!

With such a strong buzz about the film, it is definitely going to take a good opening in the metros. However, it may not find many takers in the small centres. Let’s hope WUS works, provided it’s a well-made film!

Do Knot DisturbDo Knot Disturb (DKD), on the other hand, may see a better opening than WUS. The Govinda-David Dhawan combo has worked well in the past and there are tremendous expectations from DKD. Which film are you interested in? Do let me know!
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WHY ISNT SANJAY GUPTA PROMOTING ACID FACTORY?

Marketing and publicizing a film is very important, especially in the current scenario, where so many films are releasing week after week. But still, some filmmakers don’t care and ultimately, their movie flops due to no hype. I fear that something similar can happen with Acid Factory, produced by Sanjay Gupta and directed by Suparn Verma. There has been very little promotion of the film and I can hardly see its promos on TV. With just 8 days to go for the film (its releasing next Friday, October 9), Gupta and his team should be aggressively promoting their film.

Most of the promos are just released on the net, which is not a good thing to do as majority of people have a better access to television then to the internet. The new theatrical trailer of the film is fabulous and it really looks like an excellent stylish thriller. I have uploaded the promo below-do not miss it! And let’s hope better sense prevails and that we can see and hear more of Acid Factory in the coming days!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/ddidnsrro/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk68

Kites2

IT’S ALL IN THE NAME: Poster of Kites

Bollywood has given up HAHK and DDLJ for short and simple English titles

AAKANKSHA NAVAL-SHETYE Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; September 15, 2009)

Bollywood has rediscovered the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) rule, at least where film titles are concerned. Having had its fill of long names — Bollywood’s now high on short words, and most of them straight off the English vocabulary rack. Sample this: almost 20 films this year had English titles and there are almost 30 more to come… from Blue to Wanted and Radio to Kites. Trade pundits attribute this to several reasons. “Almost every title has been exhausted. Others have been blocked by producers before hand. Filmmakers have to come up with unique titles and English words give an instant youth connect,” explains trade analyst Komal Nahta, adding, “Even Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was shortened to the English DDLJ.”

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh agrees, claiming that it’s a healthy trend looking at global cinema, “Bollywood films have an international audience. Ever since English lyrics in Hindi songs became a hit, filmmakers began exploring these options. As long as the title suits the content of the film, it’s bound to work.” Vashu Bhagnani, whose next film is titled Do Knot Disturb, adds, “When the masses can accept English songs and words in our films, why not
titles? The audience targeted is largely the youth and they can easily identify with such names.” Rohit Shetty, director of All the Best and Golmaal Returns, defended his titles, “Words like Welcome, All The Best, Luck, and No Problem work well even with the non-English speaking masses in the interiors. These titles have tested positive with the multiplex audience so it’s a win-win scenario all across.”

Trade analysts also believe TV has made English and ‘Hinglish’ popular. “Thanks to the serials, talk shows and advertisements, ‘Hinglish’ has become well-accepted. So if the words are simple and part of daily usage, the names are more likely to work than not,” say trade analysts.

However, filmmaker Vipul Shah, whose films — Singh is Kinng, London Dreams and Action Replayy — all have English names, has a different take. “London Dreams is the name of a band associated with my film, whereas Action Replayy was the name of my play done several years ago. So, the name has to show some connection with the film theme and should not be a random word,” he says. Will the trend of long names that kickstarted with Hum Aapke Hain Kaun pave way for English shorties? Time will tell.

My Name is KhanENGLISH SHORTIES RELEASED THIS YEAR
Fox, Luck, Three, Life Partner, Daddy Cool, Sankat City, Shortkut: The Con is On, Quick Gun Murugan, Bachelor Party, Bad Luck Govind, Chandni Chowk To China, Luck By Chance, Victory, The Stoneman Murders, 13B, Straight, Team, Runway, Let’s Dance, Morning Walk, Perfect Mismatch, Shadow, Toss

ENGLISH SHORTIES TO COME
Blue, Wanted, All the Best, London Dreams, Acid Factory, What’s Your Raashee?, 3 Idiots, Eight, Fast Forward, Shoebite, My Name Is Khan, Jail, Do Knot Disturb, Paa, Radio, Season Greetings, Chase, Kites, Wake Up Sid, Prince, Rocket Singh: Salesman of The Year, No Problem, Road Movie, Accident on Hill Road, Action Replayy

SIX HINDI FILMS THIS FRIDAY!

There would be no biggies for the next four weeks. The Ramzan month has commenced, during which a sizeable chunk of audience stay away from the theatres. Taking advantage of this, every year, a number of small and medium budget films hit the theatres in this holy month. The producers of such films hope that their film would do a good business in the absence of any biggie. Last year, ‘A Wednesday!’, 1920 and Welcome To Sajjanpur released during Ramzan and became hits.

And this year too, lots of small-budget films are all set to hit the screens. These films failed to get a proper release before the Ramzan as all weeks were booked by the biggies, owing to the producer’s strike which happened in summer. And this has resulted in a chaotic situation as around 20 films are planning to release in this month! 2 of them released last Friday-Shadow and Sikandar. In fact, tomorrow, as many as 6 films are all set to hit the theatres. These films are Daddy Cool, Kisaan, Quick Gun Murugun, Toss, Yeh Mera India and Love Khichdi!

Any layman can understand that it is indeed foolish for 6 films to release on a single day. And we should not forget the 2 Hollywood films that are also releasing tomorrow- Race To Witch Mountain and The Taking of Pelham 123. So this takes the number of films arriving tomorrow to 8! Madness!

But if observed, then producers don’t have much of a choice. If they won’t release their films now, then they won’t be able to do so till the end of 2009. Once the month of Ramzan ends, biggies will start releasing week after week. And releasing a small budget film with a biggie can be suicidal. So, they prefer releasing it with half-a-dozen other small films. Still, I fail to understand why only two films released last week and 6 films are releasing this Friday. What I mean is-2 of the films releasing tomorrow could have instead released last week. This would have made the situation less chaotic.

QGMOut of these 6, Quick Gun Murugan surely has an edge over the others. It is a spoof of western cowboy and Rajanikant films and its promos have been impressive. The film is releasing in 4 languages-English, Hindi and Tamil and Telegu. Kisaan (*Sohail Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Jackie Shroff, Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Rahul Dev) has the ability to do a great job in the North. Daddy Cool doesn’t have much chance. It is an official remake of the popular Hollywood film Death At a Funeral and is backed by Big Pictures. There are hardly any promos on TV which show as to what the film is actually about. Toss is the popular Ranvijay’s debut film, Yeh Mera India looks hard hitting while Love Khichdi’s promos started just a week ago! But these three films have dim chances of succeeding in this rat race due to no hype.

There’s a possibility that the next two weeks will also see 4/5/6 films releasing. God save all these films!
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DHAN TE NAN IS NOT ORIGINAL!

dhan te nanThe song which has taken the entire nation by storm, Kaminey’s Dhan Te Nan is not an original song! Yes, you read it right! It was used around a decade back in Gubbare, a popular serial at that time on Zee TV comprising of short comedy stories. But before you blame composer Vishal Bharadwaj of being Pritam-2, here’s the entire truth-Vishal Bharadwaj himself had composted the Gubbare’s Dhan Te Nan! In fact, he was also the director of the episode in which the song is played. And even the lyricist for both the songs is the same (Gulzar)!

Although Bharadwaj did some changes in Kaminey’s Dhan Te Nan, there are many similarities in both of these versions. Even the line ‘Teli ka tel’ was incorporated in the original song. I wonder, why no one’s sentiments were hurt at that time?! Anyways, I’ve uploaded the original below. Do watch it and have a laugh! DO NOT MISS IT!

P.S.: The actor in red coloured shirt…is he Sharman Joshi?


REVELATIONS! Farah Khan
… says Farah Khan, who’s just had a blast shooting for her upcoming chat show with a host of stars and common people

ROSHNI K OLIVERA (BOMBAY TIMES; August 17, 2009)


Shah Rukh Khan is a henpecked husband. Salman Khan’s a mamma’s boy. And Hrithik Roshan had speech problems as a kid. These are revelations by the stars themselves to their buddy and new host on the block, Farah Khan. The actor-turned-choreographer is set to host a chat show on TV for the first time. The show Tere Mere Beach Mein on Star Plus produced by Farah’s production house gives viewers a glimpse into the ‘real’ life of a celebrity. Set on a backdrop inspired by the beaches of Goa, it instantly sets a mood of informal, uninhibited chats with the stars. Farah gets candid with celebrities from various walks of life to discuss what they have in similar with the common man! “The show is not about a celebrity’s stardom, but about life away from the arc lights. They are not on my show to plug their movie or talk about controversies. We take up one interesting theme or issue and talk about that. There are also non-celebs who come on the show and share their
thoughts on the same topic,” explains Farah.

This seven week series comprises 14 episodes and the first celebrity on the show is Salman Khan with his mother Salma Khan, who’s always been media-shy. “It was so nice to have her on the show and she was absolutely candid,” says Farah. Brothers Irfan and Yusuf Pathan speak on sibling rivalry. “Yusuf was an eye opener, he was so funny,” reveals Farah. Karan Johar and Sonam Kapoor on the show talk about their journey from fat to thin and Shahid Kapoor and Genelia on second chances in life. “You see a different side of the celeb. From aspirational, it becomes more inspirational for the audience,” she points out. The show is her baby, right from conceptualising it
to the implementation. “For every episode there’s a lot of research that has been done,” she adds.
Farah may have directed people, been a judge on shows, but playing a host is another ball game altogether. “I was very nervous initially,” she reveals. “We first shot the episode with John Abraham and Yuvraj Singh and the topic was male eye candy, how men are suddenly shedding clothes like never before! As a host you have to be alert, spontaneous and quick with your responses. Here, I realised being a judge on TV was a cakewalk!”

Tere Mere Beach Mein will be aired every Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm on Star Plus

Sarita Tanwar (MID-DAY; July 31, 2009)

Saif Ali Khan walks in 10 minutes late. He’s looking fresh and surprisingly fit. He gives me a typical filmy hug and announces, “I haven’t had a bath yet.” I tell him that information would’ve been appreciated a few seconds earlier. Even though he is in his gym clothes, he’s not carrying his workout on him.

Must be the blue blood. He settles down on the other end of the couch and dons his serious glasses, “This is the Bengali in me finally coming out. Very Basu Bhattacharya.” Point noted and it’s time for some serious business. He orders coffee and me conversation. And then, we talk about his love, aaj and kal. Excerpts….

The last time you did a light romantic film (Hum Tum), you won a National Award. What are you expecting with Love Aaj Kal (LAK)?
I am not in the least interested in awards. It is a kind of celebration that comes much later. I am hoping for a decent opening and a successful run. That’s it.

That’s it?
I am hoping and expecting that people will like the movie and enough of them will watch it so that the people who have invested in us are not disappointed. I think it is a good movie and it has a good story. I think stories are really important parts of our lives, whether it is reading or watching them or listening to them from an old tailor in Bhopal, sitting at the foot of my bed, when I was a baby. My parents would be on the balcony, talking with adults and this old man would tell me tales of shikar and tigers and how it attacked somebody….

A man with stories! Can I steal him?
Yeah, no! He was about 90 then yaar…

Drat! Okay, hoping LAK does well for you as a producer, or as an actor?
Both. I think it’s more important that it does well. I am playing a Sikh character, and also a contemporary character called Jai, which people may or may not connect to, because of his thinking. There was a little bit of that in Salaam Namaste, where he didn’t want to get married just because she was pregnant, which people did not like as it isn’t the most heroic thing to do. Similarly, Jai doesn’t know that he loves this girl, and he certainly doesn’t believe in marriage and wants to be practical. But the story is how he changes from that into something else.

Sounds like you.
Err, maybe. Maybe, I suppose. But actually, not really. Jai seems quite clear that he doesn’t want to commit to anyone. Maybe I am just making him sound like me. But he’s not really so.

Most actors and filmmakers take trips to Shirdi, Vaishnodevi or Tirupati before their release. Have you done any of that?
(Sounds amused) No. but I believe Dino (co-producer Dinesh Vijan) went to Siddhi Vinayak with the print. I definitely believe in God. And I believe in luck. And I understand why people would want to cover all the bases. There is a big question mark as to what would work, so people try anything. I mean ultimately, when there is turbulence on the plane, and my gut clenches, I do start saying the Ayatul Kursi. Let’s not laugh at people who do these things but I would like to have the strength to say that mandir and prayer aside, there’s a whole lot of other stuff that is in the gray area.

Like numerology? Did you check if you title was ‘balanced’ for success?
No. I don’t believe that much in astrology and numerology even though I think it could be fun sometimes. I find some of these numerologically sound titles attractive. Like Himesh Reshammiya’s film, what was the name..?

Karzzzz?
(Grins) No, that was a bad marketing idea. Especially if the film is even slightly boring. Arre, it was his only film that ran. It was called Aap Kaa Surror The Real Love Story and it was spelled with two A’s and Kambakkht Ishq had two K’s and Singh Is Kinng had two N’s. So it is kind of hip. It has an edge to it.  But when people do it to their names that is not cool.

For a brief while, Kareena was Kariena…
Oh no! Really? I am happy she has changed it back.

So you will never be Saaif, with an extra A?
No chance. But for my films, maybe I would try it. Maybe Love Aaj Kal would have looked better as Love Aaj Kall. Maybe it would be funky.

Deepika is the youngest actress you’ve worked with and Kareena is the youngest girl you’ve been involved with. That’s new!
Yes, it is new. Definitely.

And?
(Smirks) And it makes you health conscious. Like on hand, I will say, “I think I should be much fitter and healthier.” And on the other, I am really happy being 38.

When you are with these 20-plus women, do you feel older, wiser and smarter or there is some connect?
Oh, I connect with them completely. Why it works is because I am quite juvenile and they are quite mature. (Laughs) So it balances out just fine. But seriously, I do feel very happy for the people I have met, the things I have seen, and experienced. I really think I have matured. I have had a really interesting history, even though I say it myself. So if you ask me, being with Kareena or working with someone younger than me, it is a non-issue for me. I really like being me. And I am very confident in that. I am so lucky that I am doing okay in movies also. Because it is another world.

You’ve never promoted a film like this before. Do you find it cumbersome?
(Sighs) Incredibly exhausting. If I see another camera…. (rolls his eyes).

…or a journalist?
No, I think there is a charm to the written word. We learnt early in our careers to speak carefully because the printed word reads differently because it doesn’t like a tone. It can be cold. So you must word yourself intelligently.

Like a text message.
But a personality can be sensed through an sms. I personally don’t like those short forms. I can’t say ‘pls’; I will type ‘please’ (dramatically). And I can’t bear ‘da’ for ‘the’.

Ok, coming back to promotions….
We sat here as a production house and said, ‘Let us make people aware of this film.’ Promotion is such an important part of the film for the producer. Otherwise as an actor, you do the film and then you call the producer and interfere, ‘Where is the hoarding?’, ‘Where is the poster?’.  Now I know that there are 450 million mobile users and 50 million internet users in India and I want to reach everyone. So you get involved in the whole process. It’s better than worrying about what another actor is doing. I see the poster of Kites and think it is phenomenal. I feel, “Wow, Hrithik Roshan is fit, and a good-looking guy. Like an angel sometimes.” It’s not competitive. I am like – let me work harder; let me learn from other people. I put all my energies into producing this movie rather than worrying about what other people are doing.

But you’ve never really worried about competition.
True. Earlier I wasn’t even worried about myself that much as well.

That’s the lazy Leo in you.
Possibly. And it’s also a bit like my father. At some level I don’t want to lose that. When you are successful, then suddenly people start waking up to you. That’s the scary part. I like to put my feet up on ottomans, in Jaipur razais and watch TV and just cut off from everything in the afternoon. But when you are super-successful, then suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. And then they get offended when some top notches of Mumbai society or politician wants to meet you… The challenge is to be successful and yet maintain a balance without offending anybody but keeping your equilibrium.

You’ve not shown the film to your colleagues as well as the media. Why?
I have known you for so long; I can easily call you and say I am having a trial, watch it and tell me what you think. But you are going to sense that my intention is to seduce you somehow into liking it. At the same time, when I have a press show, as a producer, I will invite people and come say a few words and then bugger off. I am not going to hang around till the end and ask people, “Kaise laga, kaise laga.” Because I will be too tense anyway. Even if my friend goes to see the film, forget the press or the industry, somewhere his opinion will start mattering. And I don’t want it to matter.

Won’t your colleagues be upset that you didn’t show them the film?
If you don’t show the film to anyone, then there is no stress. And it is important to be consistent in life. I have never had a trial. I have never called another actor or filmmaker and said, “I want to see your movie, organise a trial, yaar.” Because I think it is more fun to buy my popcorn and go to the theatre and watch the film. The bottom line of the psychology of the whole thing is: If you pay money to buy a ticket, and make a plan to go see it with your family, friends or girlfriend, it is a different psychology than to be invited by me. I am not interested in THAT audiences’ opinion. Someone will be too tense to laugh and the actors would be like, “I would’ve done this scene better.” The producers will say, “Arre, how much money have these guys spent?” The heroines will be, “This girl is rubbish; I am better than her.” So you know there is no barometer.

How do you react when people feel that you are still not established as a solo hero?
I don’t think that’s true. Who can say that now? You are digging out a question from 1992.

No, that is the perception.
What crap! That perception went out with Hum Tum, which was a solo hero film. Then Parineeta was a solo hero.

But you still did Race, with Anil and Akshaye.
Yeah, but if Race had been a flop, it would’ve been only my flop. Let’s get that clear. There are certainly performances that have contributed to the film but I had the most to lose.

Yeah, and even though Race did good business, it was never counted among the big hits. Why?
Dude, I don’t know about that, but as far as the distributors go, they were very happy. It was a 1200 print opening. They opened that film much wider than any other movie of mine.

Also, you didn’t get due credit for its success.
I got the due credit from Ramesh Taurani, who will be happy to pay me for Race 2 and that is the kind of due I am interested in. And the fact is that the audiences have seen the film, and loved it. About the internal politics, I am not really concerned as long as it doesn’t affect my job.

Looking back, do you feel it was a wrong decision to do so many two-hero projects?
No. I have also chosen what I thought were the best roles.

But you’ve even played second fiddle to Madhavan in Rehna Hain Terre Dil Mein.
Yeah but that was not a particularly great time for me. Like any actor, I’ve always chosen the best from what I was offered that year. Some years have not been very interesting, while some have been great. Your aspirations change according to your success ratio. In the beginning, you are just happy to be working. That you have a job, and you have been accepted. Your standards are pretty low. And pretty soon, after a while, you want to be the best there is. The best there has ever been (laughs); you know there is no end to that kind of ego shit.

You recently said you and Kareena didn’t plan to stay engaged forever. Does that mean you’re already engaged?
No. I mean I feel like I am engaged. But I don’t believe in engagements as such; they are a bit old-fashioned.

Your mom said in a recent interview that you both have the family’s blessings.
I am sure mom wants me to settle down. Parents like to tie up everything and they think it’s done. But it is not done even if you are married. Today, marriage is another form of engagement. It is a legal commitment that it is quite easy to get out of. It’s not like: It’s all over and now we can all go to sleep. And anyway it is very important in a girl’s career for her to focus on that. And marriage — let’s be honest — alters your image, your marketability and people lose interest in you. I’d much rather people kept asking, “When are you getting married?” The minute you are married, you are yesterday’s news. And I am not in any rush to get married. Because I am loving this.

Is it tough to manage being together with your tough schedules?
We are balancing our lives beautifully. We are working hard and Kareena is more than a wife, because she loves me. There are so many wives who don’t love their husbands because they are pakaoed after 10 years of being together. Bebo gives me all the time in the world. And when I get done with these two days and the film releases, I will give time. We manage. People laugh at us saying, “Oh you are turning up on the set; she is coming here” but that’s how we manage.

Oh, you are aware of people laughing?
Yeah, of course, but what to do? Initially when the relationship is starting, you want to make each other secure, and you want to tell the world that we are serious about each other. We are not a fly-by-night kind of a thing. So we make commitments on paper, and we say things but before you know it, it gets blown out of proportion.

What if Bebo says she wants marriage?
For an actor and for a working person, it must come at the right time. You must do it when you want to do it, or when you want to have children. We’ve waited for a reason. It is not the 1920s when it was like now we can live together or now we can spend time legally. We can do all that now, without that. People must understand her priorities. She is a film child. She has grown up watching films. She has always wanted this and she has finally achieved it. And I absolutely forbid her to even want to. Tomorrow if she says, “Let’s get married”, I will tell her, “I think you should work for a few years.”

She has been flaunting her ring for a long time.
She can flaunt many rings. I will give her lots of them. Even I wear rings.

What’s going on between you and Shahid? He was quoted saying that you and Bebo were using his name to get publicity.
I am really glad you asked me this because enough has been said now. Shahid seems like a really well brought-up guy and I mean no offence to him. And let’s stop it now. We are both gentlemen and whenever we have met, we’ve shook hands, and that’s it. So I will not listen to anything anybody says. And it sounds so fake to say I sincerely wish him all the best but I want him to know that I have only heard good things about him. And that too from his ex-girlfriend, which leaves me with a sense of respect for the past and God bless him. He seems like a strong man, and a good kid. That’s it.

There were reports that you were offered Kaminey?
I would like to clear once and for all that Vishal Bhardwaj did not offer me Kaminey. We talked about a film about twins. That film might not even have been Kaminey. I hope it is a good film. But right now, I am more interested in my film running. And I am not interested in other people’s downfall because it doesn’t help me in anyway. When Sanjay Dutt went to jail, it didn’t benefit anybody. It just hurt him. So tomorrow, if something happens to an actor, it does not increase your saleability.

All actors say they don’t watch other actors’ films. What about you?
I genuinely don’t watch many Hindi films. But when I do, l like to see what other people are doing and how they perform. Maybe not at a competitive level. Maybe I will learn from them.

Ever considered direction?
Not really. Not at the moment. It is a completely different kind of a ball-game. It is a huge commitment. I like to cut off and stop for a while. But a director is always thinking, writing, then making and then editing – it’s never ending. I think it is a single man’s job. I don’t know how they manage to be in relationships. Is that wrong to say? I think it’s like being a cop; then the girl really needs to understand.

Many would say that about an actor’s job too.
No, an actor can make time and say, “Ab pack up ho gaya and I can go home.”

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aa-dekhen-zara24 weeks ago,13B released wherein a TV was able to show the future. Aa Dekhen Zara also has a similar plot-however the TV is replaced with a camera, which can show glimpses of future. However, 13B was a first-class product while Aa Dekhen Zara falters at several places. But overall, the film can be termed as a good product due to its very interesting plot.

The story of the movie: Ray (Neil Mukesh) is a freelance photographer. His life is going by a bad phase and is in a great financial crisis. At this point of time, Ray inherits a camera from his late grandfather, who was also a photographer. Soon, Ray finds that the camera is special-it can show the future. He realizes that this camera can be of great help to him. And soon, Ray wins lottery, derby and betting and starts earning millions, thanks to the camera. He gets his love too, Simi (Bipasha Basu). But soon, Ray realizes that the camera which improved his life may cause his end too!

Let’s talk about Aa Dekhen Zara’s plusses. The film has a novel and interesting script. A camera’s power of showing the future and its other unique features-that was completely cool! Some of the scenes were well executed, especially the one’s in the beginning (Neil experimenting with the camera; the giant wheel sequence). The intermission point and the action scenes in the second half were great. And the twist in the climax is what highly works for the film. Also, Ray and Simi’s sweet and sour relationship was quite interesting and was well scripted.

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Now, the flaws! The film is interesting from start to finish, no doubt, but not very thrilling. Except two scenes, none of the other scene in the film shock or thrill the viewers. The intermission point should have come like a bolt from the blue, but unfortunately, nothing of the sort happens. The film looks Hollywoodish, but fails to be like one! With such a great plot, the film could’ve easily been an edge of the seat racy thriller. However, even though it has flaws, the film is a one-time watch simply because of its climax and that it keeps you hooked on to the screen.

Neil Mukesh comes up with yet another brilliant performance after Johnny Gaddaar. The entire film was on Neil’s shoulders and he did total justice to his role. And he has even wonderfully sung the title track of the film, which has already become a hit in the chartbusters! Way to go, Neil!

Bipasha Basu looks charming and as usual, performs wonderfully. She had a major role in the 2nd half and did a great job. Rahul Dev as Captain was fantastic. He’s such a great actor and deserves to get more roles. Sophie Chaudhary looked hot but didn’t have much to do in the film. Bobby Vatsa as Puri was perfect.

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The songs are composed by Pritam and Gourov Dasgupta and both did a wonderful job. Gourov Dasgupta’s title track and its lounge version were superb. Both the songs of Pritam (Gazab and Mohabbat Aapse) were rocking!

Jehangir Chowdhury’s cinematography was top-notch, but could have been better in the climax. Sham Kaushal’s action was perfect.

Sheershak Anand and Shantanu Ray Chibber’s story was very interesting. But their screenplay, which made the film stylish, slick, could have been more thrilling. They could have added more masala, action, drama and shock with such an interesting plot. But still, they deserve appreciation for their work, though it was not top-notch.

Jehangir Surti’s direction was good and he did a nice job, even though he was equipped with a flawed script.

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. Ray at the safe keeping locker
2. Ray and Simi’s first conversation
3. Ray winning the lottery and derby
4. Ray with Sophie
5. The intermission point
6. Captain confronting Ray
7. The giant wheel sequence (the best scene!)
8. Puri chasing Ray
9. The final 20 minutes

On the whole, Aa Dekhen Zara is a timepass fare and is worth watching once. With such an interesting plot, the film could have been more thrilling and shocking. Yet, the film is interesting and keeps the viewers engrossed throughout. Go for it for a 2 hour entertainment!

My rating-*** out of 5!

(This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Aa_Dekhen_Zara-164628-1.html)