Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘weight

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.

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On Monday evening, filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh was mistaken for Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta by the organisers of the 40th International Film Festival in Goa

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 02, 2009)


Filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh might have lost oodles of weight and started dressing up as a woman but that still didn’t prepare him enough to unflappably face the latest confusion where he was mistaken for a Bengali actress.

The embarrassing incident happened on Monday evening in Goa, where Rituparno, whose sexual orientation has been under the scanner for some time now, was attending the 40th International Film Festival. He had to attend a function to announce the making of a survey-based book compiling the best Indian films of all times, T 20. Being a jury member and a renowned filmmaker, Rituparno was dressed in his finery. He wore a chic black suit, flaming red scarf and oversized sunglasses, looking in his own words, ‘very European’. All was well till he was taken to a seat marked for Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta. That’s when the filmmaker realised that he had been mistaken for a woman. Riya Sen was seated next to actress Rituparna Sengupta’s chair, making it clear that the seats were meant for the starlets.

Things then got worse. Ritu’s other colleagues on the jury, for the book T 20, were all given VIP space at the event while Rituparno was expected to sit with the starlets.

Rituparna Sengupta Rituparno Ghosh


Confirming the incident, Rituparno insists that the ghastly confusion of identity at the festival had nothing to do with the way he dresses. He says, “I am used to being mistaken for Rituparna Sengupta, even in Kolkata. When I was directing her in Dahan, people would wonder who the director was and who the actress was.”

Recalling the mortifying incident, the filmmaker laughs and says he can now see the humorous side of the gaffe. “But it wasn’t funny that evening. It wasn’t so much the fact that I was mistaken for Rituparna Sengupta that offended me. I certainly didn’t mind sharing a seat next to Riya. What really got me worked up was the fact that the other members on the T 20 jury, Vishal Bhardwaj, Madhur Bhandarkar and Rahul Dholakia and some renowned regional directors (Nagesh Kukunoor who was also on the jury didn’t turn up) were all given a VIP enclave. That really was offensive,” adds Ritu.

As a result, Ritu refused to sit on the seat marked for Rituparna Sengupta and remained standing until he was made to sit with his fellow jury members. Ritu says, “It was Riya who helped sort out the matter. I insisted that all the jury members including the regional directors like me, should all be seated together. That’s what protocol demanded.”

Madhavan is shown wearing a knee protection bandage (circled) in 3 Idiots as he actually injured himself while playing badminton. He had decided to follow Aamir Khan’s fitness regime to look young in the film

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 02, 2009)


While Sharman Joshi didn’t  have to work  that hard on  looking  like a 22-year-old in Raj Kumar Hirani’s  3 Idiots,  Aamir Khan and Madhavan, one above 40 and the other  in his late  30s,  had to  work really hard to  look like young IIT students.

Things were bound to be slightly more difficult for Madhavan as he had to first fight one of his most niggling health concern- his weight, especially on his face. But, following Aamir’s footsteps made things easier for Madhavan. As Aamir had decided  to  play bandminton  to stay youthful and fit, Madhavan decided to follow suit to keep his weight in check.

Madhavan says, “The fact that we shot at the Bangalore IIT really helped. Once we  went into an actual institute, Aamir, Sharman and I immediately began to feel like students. Age was never an issue because I got the role after an audition. Once  I fit in,   no one  was looking at my passport to check my age.  As  for  the rest, including the  physicality, once we  got into the IIT  everything else followed. Incidentally, I’ve studied in an institution similar  to  the IIT. I know that life.”

Most worried about his chubby face, Madhavan says, “I tend to put on weight on my face. I had to take care  of that.”

Once, while playing with Prakash Padukone, Madhavan badly injured his knee and he feared that his chances of  doing the pivotal  role  in an important film like 3 Idiots was ruined.

Maddy says, “I tore a ligament in my knee  and couldn’t walk. My first thought was, ‘Oh my God! Will  I be  able to continue shooting?’ Luckily for me,  my  director Raj Kumar Hirani and  Aamir were  extremely supportive. I don’t think I could’ve gone through the  film without them, not  with that knee of mine.”

On Aamir’s suggestion, Hirani especially wrote Madhavan’s role in a way that required him to wear a knee-protection-cum-bandage  in the film.

Madhavan adds, “All three of us have two different looks in the  film, one in college and one after our college days.  You’ll see me  wearing that knee protection-bandage  all through my college scenes. It’s there because I actually got hurt. The hurt was introduced in the script to justify me wearing the bandage.”

Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Rajkumar Hirani on the sets of 3 Idiots
Vidya Balan talks about Shahid Kapoor, and how the loneliness had a negative impact on her appearance and weight

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 14, 2009)

 

What is the difference between Vidya of Kismet Connection and Vidya of Paa and Ishqiya?

I know what you want to hear (laughs). To begin with, I have lost a lot of weight. I am feeling healthier and happier. Paa will see me in the Indian look. I am very excited about Paa and Ishqiya both. The change started by losing…yes, I had gained a bit of weight.


At the wrong places?

(Laughs) Let me say it. It’s been a long journey. Full marks to my dietician Pooja Makhija and trainer Vilayat Hussain. I don’t even go to a gym. I train at home. I do a bit of cardio, weights and calisthenics. And I eat a lot more intelligently now.

 

After losing weight, why are you not seen in Western outfits?

I didn’t lose weight to wear suggestive outfits. I lost weight to feel better about myself. I enjoy wearing Indian clothes.

Don’t you therefore stand to lose roles? You have kissed in Ishqiya, you did a lovemaking scene in Heyy Baby, so why say no to ‘suggestive’ attire?

I will wear what is required. But you know, suggestive outfits tantamount to skin show and take away the meat from the character. I want the meat, not the bone.

Have you always avoided daring outfits? Even in your teens, college etc?

Yes. My friends wore what collegians mostly wear. But I didn’t join them. I stood alone, but I was happy. I do wear skirts, but not very short ones. And I don’t wear shorts, not even at home.

Back to your weight loss. Did the caustic comments about your weight finally get to you?

I won’t say that I was immune to them. But you see, I was going through a lot of confusion in my head on a lot of fronts. I started taking a few things for granted. I became complacent. And I lost interest. Till Kismet Connection, everything was going well for me and then suddenly…

That was when your friendship with Shahid Kapoor went haywire?

I don’t see the connection.

Connection with a ‘K’, eh! Okay, what triggered  off the need to lose weight?

Well, my mom sat me down and told me that I needed to feel good about myself.  I think that I was trying to be someone else. I was desperately trying to fit into a certain mould (pauses)

Go on…

(Looks up at the ceiling) It was not about my weight and clothes. Those caustic comments were coming because I looked unhappy. I was exuding a certain amount of unhappiness.

Why were you unhappy?

You know what…

What?

If someone who matters to you talks you down, it can break you. That someone whose approval mattered to me started to constantly find faults with me. It started reflecting on me. At that point of time, it was important to walk away from that relationship. I don’t want to take his name.

Hmmm… I get it. Shahid doesn’t want to work with you now.

(Interrupts) Did I say that that I want to work with him? (pauses)

Continue…

If someone doesn’t want to work with me, so be it. It’s his loss completely. There are other fish in the sea.

Your friendship with fashion designer Shabina Khan has gone sour. Once upon a time, she was your best friend.

One tends to spend a lot of time with people one works with. My best friends have been people I have grown up with.

She isn’t too fond of you now.

I don’t bother about how people feel about me. What matters to me is how I feel about them.

How do you feel about Shabina?

Just like I feel about any other professional acquaintance.

Parting shot?

Even today, I am standing alone, but I am happy again. That’s all that is important to me (runs her hand through her hair and smiles)

26 May 2009, 0057 hrs IST, HARSHADA REGE , TNN (BOMBAY TIMES)

Vidya Balan is looking good these days and for a good reason. The actress has lost around 10 kgs and is looking slimmer and fitter than ever.

Vidya Balan

Mine has been more of a mental struggle with weight. Earlier, I was obsessed with losing weight and if the results didn’t show up within the time frame I had set, I would give up,” she admits. Vidya credits her weight loss to her attitude that’s undergone a major makeover. She says, “The day I changed my attitude, exercise became less about weight loss and more about keeping fit.” So, is she going to join the size-zero bandwagon? “No way!” she exclaims. “Being fit is good. I don’t like it when everyone starts looking alike. I think we should celebrate being different. One shouldn’t follow something because it suits someone else. I would want to be fit, but then I also want people to accept me the way I am. Look at Salma Hayek… she is not the thinnest, but she is among the hottest. Personally speaking, what appeals to me is the Indian figure. It’s fantastic to experiment, but you need to maintain your style.”

Copying others doesn’t seem to be Vidya’s cup of tea, but does the actress know that a search for Vidya Balan on a networking site shows three results. Three people claiming to be the real ‘Vidya Balan’. Not just that, they even have other celebs on their friends list. Now, we don’t know if those celebs are for real, but Vidya sure was surprised to know that she has an online profile. With info about her family, friends, hobbies and interests all available for public consumption, it’s difficult to believe that it’s not her. “It’s definitely not me. If people think they are chatting with me then someone’s fooling them,” she says. The actress does want to get in touch with her fans online, but she has yet to find time for that. “When I do that, I’ll let everyone know. It’ll be a great way to keep in touch with my audience,” she says.

The actress did have some trouble keeping in touch with her family recently as she was shooting in Wai for Vishal Bharadwaj’s Ishqiya. With no network, the actress enjoyed her stint away from the media glare. “If you ask me, I’ll say that after Parineeta, I have really worked hard on this project. I was away from everything. We were cut off from everything. And that’s actually great for an actor. When you are in Mumbai, there are things that are constantly on your mind. But when you are cut off, you can focus on one thing. Cinema’s all consuming. This kind of an environment is perfect to let cinema consume you.” But doesn’t she miss being away from Mumbai? “Not at all. I love being cut off,” she says.


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