Fenil and Bollywood

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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.

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Raghubir Yadav, aka Mungerilal, is wanted for constantly remaining absent in court. Cops haven’t been able to nab him, though he was shooting till a month ago

By Vinay Dalvi (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 29, 2009)


While actor Raghubir Yadav may be a known face in every household, thanks to the popular TV serials Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne and Chacha Chaudhary, for the police he remains untraceable for the past two months. This, despite him having been involved in shooting of a film right up to last month.

Meanwhile, Yadav’s estranged wife Purnima says he has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon

Yadav is wanted by the police after a warrant was issued against him for constantly remaining absent in court.

On the lookout for Yadav, the Aarey police visited the address mentioned by the family court in Bandra. But not finding him there, they submitted a report to the court stating that they have failed to locate him.

On September 19, the family court which is hearing a case against Yadav filed by his estranged wife Purnima, had issued an arrest warrant against Yadav. The court had earlier issued summons to Yadav for failing to appear in court for some time.

“We went to the given address of Roshini Archreja, who worked with Yadav in TV serials, and whose residence Yadav was said to live at. But she denied he ever lived there,” said Inspector Ashok Duliye of Aarey Police Station. “On Monday, we informed the court that he is not available at the given address,” Duliye added.

“I have been fighting for maintenance for a long time,” said Purnima. “He has been shooting for Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live and will be attending the Sundance Film Festival in US soon.

How come the police say they cannot trace him? I got married to him in 1988, and we have not been living together since 1996. I don’t have money to educate my son Achal. I’ve done odd jobs at the National School of Drama, but they were all on contract basis, and today I don’t have a job. Even my rent is paid by my friends and old neighbours,” said Purnima.

When contacted, Anusha Rizvi, director of Peepli Live, confirmed that she had done some dubbing with Yadav for her film about a month ago.

However, a police officer said, “In court cases, we usually search only the address given to us by the court authority, as problems can arise in identifying a person. On the other hand, if it’s a police case, we hunt for the accused everywhere.”

Despite repeated attempts, Raghubir Yadav could not be contacted.

3 Idiots’ Omi is an established actor in the US, now in Bollywood

By Lekha Menon (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 30, 2009)


His distorted Hindi speech is one of the biggest talking points in the recently released 3 Idiots. In reality, it was an almost similar monologue that fetched Omi Vaidya,  (who prefers to be called Omi) an LA- based actor, the role of Chatur Ramalingam in the Aamir Khan-starrer.

On a trip to Mumbai to check out the Bollywood scene, Omi was asked by a friend to appear for an audition. The first audition went off without a hitch, but at the second he was given a dialogue from Munnabhai… to mouth. “I just rattled it off without exactly understanding the words… almost like the speech scene in the film,” says Omi. The next thing he knew, he was pencilled in for the role of the accented, mark-obsessed NRI geek in the film.

The instructions he received from the makers were clear: Don’t take Hindi classes, stop watching Hindi movies and put on weight.

Omi followed them to the T and now of course, he is revelling in the compliments coming his way for his role in the blockbuster. “I am still flabbergasted by the response. I guess people have liked the character because he is so relatable. In a way, this character’s negativity brought out the essence of the message more forcefully,” says Omi.

Incidentally, he began his acting career at the age of six, performing for Marathi Mandals in the US (also the reason why his Marathi is much better than his Hindi). He pursued a serious acting career in his teens, graduated in film studies from NYU and did roles in  Bones, CSI Las Vegas, The Office and Arrested Development, besides ads.

But being Asian or Indian, it’s still a tough task to break into Hollywood,  says Omi. “It’s difficult for Indians to get into the mainstream. At the most, you might be cast as an IT professional or other stereotypes.”

Omi in 3Idiots

That’s when he thought of exploring Bollywood, though there were other apprehensions. “The Hindi film industry is still not taken that seriously in the West. There are myths that it is unprofessional, and is mainly about songs and dances.”

But all his fears were put to rest once he joined the cast. “Here, there is a personal touch, unlike Hollywood. Even if they don’t pay you by the hour and there is no extra time, there is warmth and care. I basically saw my Bollywood innings as a challenge. A lot of credit also goes to Raju and Abhijat Joshi for the way the character came across on screen.”

Not surprisingly, after the stupendous success and appreciation, he is here for the long haul. Omi, plans to divide his time between the US and India and work in films ‘that don’t necessarily typecast him as an NRI but are dynamic and enjoyable.’

And for the record, he has now started taking Hindi classes as well.

By Subhash K. Jha, December 26, 2009 – 08:47 IST

Prakash Jha It seems there is more to Prakash Jha’s claim that Vidhu Vinod Chopra removed the trailer of Jha’s Raajneeti than meets the eye.

While Prakash claims Vidhu Vinod felt threatened by and insecure enough about the trailer of Raajneeti to have it removed from 3 Idiots, the Chairman of Reliance Big Pictures (who are the distributors of 3 Idiots) Amit Khanna, says they had never committed to Jha to show the trailer. “Whom in our company has Prakash Jha spoken to about the Raajneeti trailer going into the prints of 3 Idiots? He hasn’t spoken to me. And I am not aware of anyone at Reliance whom he has spoken to. How can there be any commitment on the screening of a trailer? It all depends on the paid advertisements that individual theatres have. We certainly made no such commitment to Prakash Jha.”

Adds Khanna, “We’ve released 3 Idiots with a record number of prints, 2000 in all. In fact December has been a very fruitful month for us at Reliance Big Pictures, first Paa and now 3 Idiots. Just goes to prove, quality products do have a strong market.”

The question is, if Reliance says it had never agreed to the screening of the Raajneeti trailer with 3 Idiots, why is Prakash Jha accusing Vidhu Vinod Chopra of feeling threatened and insecure of the response that the trailer got at some screenings of 3 Idiots?

Jha maintains his trailer was a victim of Chopra’s insecurities. Jha, who was recording the background music for his film in the US, is left wondering where the trailer could be fastened now.

Speaking from London, Prakash Jha says, “I suppose my trailer would be released independently in theatres, like any other trailer. In any case this was a 90-second teaser and not a full-fledged trailer.”

Prakash completely blames Vinod Chopra for the fiasco. “He’s very unpredictable. When we spoke about the trailer, he sent me a sweet message about it. Then just days before the release of 3 Idiots, my trailer had been pulled out. Apparently, at the previews of 3 Idiots people just couldn’t stop talking about the Raajneeti trailer after it was screen during interval.”

But the trailer, claims Jha, is very much part of the prints of 3 Idiots gone abroad.

“The prints had already left by the time Vinod Chopra decided to take my trailer out,” explains Prakash. “I don’t know why he was so insecure about my trailer since 3 Idiots carries such strong advance reports. I guess my Raajneeti is the biggest multi-starrer in recent times. We do have Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Manoj Bajpai. And we have the winning pair Ranbir and Katrina. I guess I’m lucky.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Progerian character from Balki’s film to make it to animation films and comics

SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOBMAY TIMES; December 28, 2009)

R Balki’s beloved progerian character Auro from his film Paa will continue to live on as part of a series of animation films and comic books likely to be called ‘The Adventures Of Auro’.
Confirming the news, Balki said, “Auro has acquired the aura of a national icon. Kids, grownups, everyone loves the old child. And the pressure to take Auro beyond the film is immense. Animation films and comicbooks are on the cards. Auro does have immense animation possibilities. It’s time to explore those possibilities.” The filmmaker, who rejected a sequel to Paa, is happy to see Auro go into the realm of animation. For him, cinema is about the emotional interaction among characters. Although he comes from the ad world, computer graphics and special effects do not constitute a motion picture experience for Balki. “That’s where I think Paa has scored with audiences,” he said, explaining Auro’s global appeal.

Meanwhile, the Progeria Research Foundation in the US has suggested a series of tie-ups with Balki and the film’s producers AB Corp Ltd. Audrey Gordon, president and executive director of the foundation, wrote to Balki telling him how the film made an emotional connection with kids suffering from progeria around the world and suggested tie-ups that the filmmaker is happy to implement.

Although My Name Is Khan will premiere at the 60th Berlin Film Festival, distributor Fox Star Studios, has prevented it from competing with other films in the Competition section

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 25, 2009)


With the good news comes the bad news as well. The good news is that Fox Star Studios, international partners on My Name Is Khan, has decided to premiere the film at the 60th Berlin Film Festival in February 2010, in the most prestigious Competition section. However, the bad news is that they have not allowed the film to compete with other films in the section. The reason for the same is unknown.

Karan doesn’t deny the news but pooh-poohs the belief that the global corporates are trying to bully him into submission. He says, “Yes, the decision to place our film in the Competition section without competing was taken entirely by Fox Star. Shah Rukh and I are completely one with it. We are just happy to be in the same section as the new films by Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski. Fox Star has been on the same page as me from the start. Shah Rukh, Kajol and I are getting ready for Berlin. It will be the first full-fledged screening of our film. We are anxious to see how the global audience at Berlin reacts to it.”

According to sources, Fox Star has grown progressively wary of the 9/11 angle in cinema and has asked Karan to tone it down as far as possible. Apparently, the filmmaker was asked to change the trailer for the premiere of My Name Is Khan (unveiled last week) so that overt references to terrorism are done away with. Karan was also asked to stress on the fact that the film is not about 9/11 and terrorism. Karan dismisses the news. He says, “Fox Star knew exactly what My Name Is Khan is about. It’s a fact that the film is not about terrorism. Yes, 9/11 does form a background to the tale, but the film is a love story and a story of humanism under pressure.”

(L): My Name Is Khan, (R) :Karan Johar

Apparently, there is also a fear that Shah Rukh Khan’s smaller-than-life role as an autistic Muslim, fighting injustice in the US may not go down well with his fans. Karan laughs at the rumours. He says, “That is such an erroneous interpretation of Shah Rukh’s character. He plays a man with a disability who can see the world around him far more clearly than the so-called normal people. He is a superman with a soul pure enough to fly. No, I don’t think his fans would be disappointed just because he isn’t larger-than-life in Khan. Shah Rukh’s fans all over the world want to see him in roles that connect the reality of cinema with the reality of the world outside the theatre.”

Vijay Singh, CEO, Star Fox Studios, also insists that the film is not about terrorism. He says, “My Name Is Khan is a love story and Shah Rukh Khan’s character’s journey to win back his love. It has nothing to do with terrorism.”

Ranbir Kapoor surprised composers Vishal Shekhar with his effortless singing for Anjaana Anjaani

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 24, 2009)


Producer Sajid Nadiadwala, director Siddharth Anand and music composers Vishal Shekhar asked Ranbir Kapoor to lend his voice for a song in Anjaana Anjaani. Not only did Ranbir sing, but he also finished recording it in 45 minutes.

The recording took place at Vishal Shekhar’s studio in Bandra at 1am on Wednesday. Ranbir was on his way home before 2am. “He shocked both, Vishal and Shekhar. His singing was so smooth and comfortable. This facet of Ranbir was completely unknown and untapped,” says an industry source.

The scene which required Ranbir to sing isn’t a random input. Ranbir breaks into the song with a band playing behind him. The song is shown for a little over one-and-half minute.

Ranbir’s leading lady, Priyanka Chopra, was also present in the studio at around 10pm. Priyanka will also sing a solo for the same film, if everything goes well.” She heard the tune last night and brainstormed with Siddharth and Vishal Shekhar about her comfort level with the pitch of the song. She is yet to muster up the courage to sing. As things stand today, she should be singing the song in the next couple of days,” added the source.

It was the director of the film who wanted Ranbir to sing that particular song. Siddharth said, “Ranbir improvised a lot and did a brilliant job. It was my idea to make him sing. He knew about it from the time he read the script. But the scene where he sings remains to be shot. It will be canned in the next schedule in the US.”

Vishal thinks that Ranbir’s voice was necessary for credibility. He said, “Though it’s a song, it’s also a scene. We had to get Ranbir to do it for authenticity and he totally rocked!”

Shekhar and Vishal
(Pic: Raju Shinde)
Ranbir Kapoor Priyanka Chopra