Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'I'm making a film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai'

'I'm making a film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai'

You seem to have quietly signed a Pakistani actor called Imran Abbas for 'Heera Mandi'.
So quietly that even I don't know about it. I haven't signed anyone called Imran Abbas. I'm not making 'Heera Mandi' right now. It may happen much later. I'm now directing another film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. I'm very excited about the film, and so are they.

What prompted you to sign Hrithik Roshan?
Hrithik and I have been wanting to work together for a very long time. I've always been impressed by his sincerity as an actor. I was waiting for the right opportunity to sign him. Working with Hrithik would be a new and rewarding experience.

You and Aishwarya Rai created magic in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and 'Devdas'. Time for a hattrick?
Aishwarya is very special to me. She suits the role in my new film to perfection. When she read the script she was deeply moved. Of course the true friend that she is, she told me she would've agreed to work with me even if I didn't send her the script.

Will this Hrithik-Aishwarya film be your first for an international market in English?
'Black' was in English, too. It's important for me to make my films for our market. But we must take our cinema to the remotest corner of the world. Today the spoken language is no barrier. The spoken language in our country is as much Hindi is as English. I want to capture that feeling of everyday conversations.

You continue to be fearless in spite of 'Saawariya'?
This is the time when filmmakers need to be fearless and experiment with themes. Fearlessness is my biggest asset as a filmmaker. I will continue to make films that come from deep within me. My very first film "Khamoshi: The Musical" didn't do well at all. A lot of people think it's my best work.

There were reports that some actors, like Ranbir Kapoor, don't wish to work with you?
People are writing tragic tales about me every day. They are even deciding what film I'm making and also casting actresses in them... Maybe stories about me sell. But when the misrepresentations go beyond my tolerance, it's time to speak up. The truth is Ranbir and Sonam would be there for me whenever I need them. However, at the moment I'm making a film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.

The Hits and Misses of 2008


As the year 2008 comes to an end, we assess what worked in Bollywood and what did not. Broadly classifying films in 5 main categories as per their box-office performance, we present to you the hits and misses of 2008.

Super Hit

Akshay Kumar's Singh is Kinng (approx.131cr) proved that slapstick still works if served with star value. Akshay Kumar's global fan-following and the Punjabi audience base in India as well as overseas gave this film a superhit status.

Ashutosh Gowariker's magnum-opus Jodhaa Akbar (approx.113 cr), despite its gigantic budget of around 40 crores, managed in to rake good collections and the overseas audience contributed a good percentage of the box-office figures.

Celina Jaitley reveals her twin!

What is our light-eyed Celina Jaitley up to these days? Well, she tells us that she is busy spending time with her twin
Celina Jaitley
Celina Jaitley. (TOI Photo)More Pics

Now that’s a new one. Wherever did he come from? “Well, it’s my brother Captain Vikrant who is on leave from work and in town! He’s just one year elder than I am but we are like twins... we play mind-reading games, fight, scream and bring the whole house down.

We are crazily connected to each other. I share everything with him.” Aah, now we know whom to go to if we have to get details of some German connections, right Celina?

And we could counter check those coloured eyes versus coloured contact lenses rumours with him, too!

Shilpa to celebrate New Year in Spain

Shilpa Shetty After recuperating from her foot injury Shilpa Shetty preferred to celebrate Christmas in London and now she will be celebrating New Year with her family and beau Raj Kundra in Spain.

Shilpa Shetty's foot injury is responsible for this extended holiday. It is known that Shilpa was supposed to shoot for her first international film Desire which got delayed because of her injury. However Shilpa Shetty has taken full advantage of her 'rest period'.

"I enjoyed Christmas in London," she told us, "The trees were beautifully lit up, the hustle and bustle of last-minute Christmas shopping was exhilarating, the excitement and warmth on people's faces was umatched," said Shilpa Shetty.

Not just that the actress who loves cooking, cooked delicious dinner for her loved ones. "I do love cooking, but cooking for 15 people can be back-breaking. Yet it was worth. I was showered with generous compliments for my chef skills, so that felt good," said Shilpa Shetty.

The actress and her family also sat around the table and maintaind a two-minute silence for those who had lost their lives in 26/11. "It was an awakening," she told us. Shilpa Shetty hopes for love and peace in the year 2009. And just how is she bringing in the New Year? "In Spain, my darling!" she claims.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In the best phase in my life: Kareena

Her first film ‘Saawariya’ was a disaster, but she managed to get a huge fan following owing to her freshness and beauty. Talking about Sonam Kapoor, the gal has had no other releases as yet post ‘Saawariya’. She is busy doing Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Delhi 6’ opposite Abhishek Bachchan and has just signed in her first endorsement deal.

Now, the young actress will be the brand ambassador for international cosmetic brand L’Oreal and will launch its new range of products targeted at the young generation. Aishwarya Bachchan has been the brand face of L’Oreal for three years now. However, looking at her age and status, the company has decided to sign in young face Sonam Kapoor for their new product to be launched soon.

Ash will continue to be with the brand but she will represent only women of her ages and Sonam, the younger groups. Sonam was signed for a huge amount commensurate with what the actresses of today like Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra are charging. The deal was brought about by celebrity management company, Atul Kasbekar’s Bling. Sonam has already shot for her first L’Oreal ad which will be launched sometime in January next year (2009).

Kangana can't dance!

Kangana Ranaut is having a tough time on the sets of Kites. The film features a song that centres on a dance contest. The said number requires Kangana to compete with none other than co-star Hrithik Roshan! Needless to say, Kangs is having mucho trouble remembering her dance moves when Hrithik starts practicing his. Daddy Rakesh Roshan has found a solution to that too. He’s roped in one of the best choreographers from America to give the song the best damn feel it could get.

Is Katrina Bollywood's number one?

That is the industry’s hottest dispute. Katrina Kaif has steered ahead comfortably, leaving behind the likes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and the rest. The British-Indian beauty has now been bestowed with the maximum number of titles, has signed the juiciest endorsement deals, with the most plum films in her kitty. Her lips had already been declared the sexiest in Bollywood, after which she was voted the sexiest Asian woman in the world. Eventually, she also knocked Aishwarya out of a campaign she’d been associated with for a long time. Katrina replaced the Bachchan bahu as Nakshatra Diamond Jewellery’s new face and it doesn’t stop there. Kat has just been voted the Best Female Style Icon. Miss Kaif also has a long line-up of blockbuster hits to her name. Starting with 2007’s Namastey London, Partner, Welcome and 2008’s Singh Is Kinng, the lucky lady has hit the nail in the head time and again. But before you’d go on and term her as No.1, she begs to disagree. “Not at all. That’s exactly the opposite of what I feel like,” she says. Like it or not, we kind of agree with her too. Watch why we think she has a long way to go.

Aamir doesn’t dare to fight SRK

As the war of words intensifies between Aamir and SRK, Aamir has again went ahead to make indirect comments at his fellow Khan- SRK.

He says, “For me Amitabh Bachchan is No 1. Do Lata Mangeshkar, Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan say they are number one? No one who sits on the top needs to say he is number one. Others keep claiming to be there.”

When quizzed about SRK calling himself the biggest brand, he says, “I don’t believe in competitions with others. I only compete with myself.”

He ends on the note that he cannot fight SRK, saying, “Do you think I could dare to fight with Shah Rukh. He is a good friend and so I can’t fight with him. I respect him a lot.”

Talking about his next flick Three Idiots, he says, “My forthcoming film after Ghajini is Rajkumar Hirani’s Three Idiots and I play the character of an idiot with R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi. But I think Shah Rukh, Salman and I are truly the three idiots of Bollywood.”

Well looks like these stars know how to be politically cunning and correct at the same time.

Bollywood Celebden Award for Best Actor/Actress in Negative role

Today we have the category for the Best Best Actor/Actress in Negative role award. The nominations for the Best Best Actor/Actress in Negative role award 2008 are as follows

1. Akshaye Khanna (Race)
2. Katrina Kaif (Race)
3. Anil Kapoor (Tashan)
4. Kay Kay Menon (Drona)
5. Urmila (Karzzzz)
6. Ghajini (Pradeep Rawat)

Psst: Don’t forget to vote for your favourite 2008 song.Click here now!!!

Vote for Best offbeat movie of the year Celebden Award.Click here now!!!

Vote for Best Comedy Movie of the Year Celebden Award. Click here now!!!

Vote for the Best flop Movie of the Year Celebden Award. Click here now!!

Vote for the Best Debut Actor of the Year Celebden Award. Click here now!!

Vote for the Best Debut Actress of the Year Celebden Award. Click here now!!

Vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the Year Celebden Award.Click here now!!

Vote for the Best Supporting Actress of the Year Celebden Award.Click here now!!

"Chinese stuntmen are way ahead of us" - Akshay Kumar

Akshay Kumar can't help but admire the stuntmen from China with whom he worked in close collaboration during his 'Chandni Chowk To China' shoot. He truly believes that they have mastered the art of action. Also, there is a lot that not just India but the world can learn from the Chinese when it comes to Kung Fu skills.

"They are the best in the business and we all were in awe of them when we saw them contributing to 'Chandni Chowk To China'. The kind of preparation they do is unparalleled", says Akshay Kumar who is returning to action four years after Raj Kumar Santoshi's 'Khakee' and Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Aan - Men At Work', "The sort of dedication they demonstrate is for all of us to learn."

He also goes on to state, "It is great to see how such world class performers are making an impression all over. Even in India, if we go just a little back in time, we had stuntmen who were not really in the best of shape and were also overweight. However, today the scene is changing in Bollywood with exposure to world cinema. Our own people too have become conscious about their bodies but still we have a lot of catching up to do with the Chinese."

"It is not wrong to admit that we are behind them in this department", Akshay goes on to add while stating that it only adds on to the positive energy if one is willing to learn from your contemporaries, "Chinese stuntmen are way ahead of us so fair enough, let's try to observe what and how they are doing better than us. They have an amazing stamina and willpower and I am sure we too can develop that. For me it was a learning experience to revisit the art of Kung Fu. I came back enriched."

He also talks fondly about sharing screen space with Sir Gordon Liu, who plays the role of the main villain 'Hojo' in the film. A veteran of over 75 international films, Liu is the same actor who was seen in the legendary film '36 Chambers of Shaolin'. He has also played prominent roles in both the editions of 'Kill Bill'.

"I was awestruck with what I see in '36 Chambers of Shaolin' and tried to learn from it. Working with the same man who made that film so popular was amazing. If you haven't seen '36 Chambers of Shaolin', go and watch it today", concludes Akshay while promising that 'Chandni Chowk To China' would live up to the international scale it has been set in.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Akshay Kumar to join Special Olympics Torch run

/photo.cms?msid=3862678 Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar will participate on Sunday in the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run here for Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Akshay is the celebrity supporter and brand ambassador for the event that is being organised prior to the world games.

Called the Flame of Hope, the torch will pass through Delhi Dec 21. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will flag it off.

Special Olympics is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of the society through sports training and competition.

The games will be held in Boise, Idaho, US, Feb 2-13 next year.

Shilpa Shetty in Desire, an Indo-Chinese film!

While her contemporaries are keeping themselves busy in Bollywood, Shilpa Shetty has decided to take a leap across the Great Wall of China... quite the case of Chembur (mumbai) to China, eh!

Apparently, Shilpa has signed an Indo-Chinese venture called Desire , and this desirable actor is excited, not only because this is an 'international venture' and a 'new experience' but more so because she'll get to share screen space with one of the mainstream Chinese actors.

About the 'Indo' connection... the film is to be directed by a leading Malayalam director R. Sarath. Well, Shilpa can surely take a crash course in the Chinese languages from a certain Mallika Sherawat who has hobnobbed with the Jackie Chans of the world.

And then there's of course ex-beau Akshay Kumar who can teach her a 'stunt' or two... after all he must've picked up some words of the language while shooting for Chandni Chowk To China , na?

Sanjay Dutt in Anees Bazmi's next

Bazmi is known for his comedies. Recently, he directed two hit comedies - Singh Is Kinng and Welcome . Explaining his single-minded focus on directing comedies, Bazmi said: "It's the need of the times. Who wants to go to a movie theatre and be lost in gloom for three hours? The times are awful. People need diversion from their everyday worries. Even my next film with Salman Khan for T-Series will be a comedy.

" No Problem will be an out and out comedy with Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna and Anil Kapoor. I've worked with the other two, but Sanjay will be a first time," said the excited director. The film will be backed by Anil Kapoor Productions.

But there may be some title trouble. No Problem , the title is owned by UTV, and the big question is: Will UTV be willing to part with it?

"That's right. The title No Problem is with UTV," confirms Anees, "I was supposed to make another comedy with that title for UTV with Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar and Riteish Deshmukh. That didn't happen. I'm committed to make another comedy with Akshay Kumar for UTV. But the title No Problem suits Anil Kapoor's film. I hope UTV parts with it," said Bazmi.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lara Dutta says no to film on terrorism

After his epic romance Taj Mahal , filmmaker Akbar Khan now plans to make a film called Taxi Driver and says it will send out a strong message on terrorism.

"It's the story of a single mother with a 10-year old kid. It will send out a great message against terrorism. It's a subject that's been close to my heart," Khan told us. Akbar Khan, who gave Smita Patil a seductively psychotic role in Haadsa (1983), has been scouting for an actress to play the protagonist. But he is having trouble getting the top leading ladies to do the film.

Lara Dutta was a top contender for the part, but she is already playing a mother to a growing son in Priyadarshan's Billoo Barber on Shah Rukh Khan's special request. Other screen queens are disinclined to play mom. At the same time, Akbar is determined to revive interest in his last project Taj Mahal . The film was released in 2005, but sank without a trace.

"God has his own ways of deciding who and what to bless at what time. Starting with the Dubai International Film Festival last year a great momentum has been created for my film. I've now made a director's international cut. I've pruned the songs and cut the length by 25 minutes to suit European and American sensibility.

Akshay Kumar named 'sexiest man alive' by People

Akshay KumarHe may not have the sculpted beefcake like the other brawny stars of Bollywood, but Akshay Kumar has a naturally gifted physique and a face that charms you.

No wonder Akki has been named “Sexiest Man Alive” for the year 2008 in a special two-cover issue of People India. Inside the mag, the star gets candid about being sexy and hot.

When asked about his “assets”, Akshay showed his characteristic humour and said: “My cleavage” and “hairy chest”.

About what women find irresistible about him, Akshay answered: “My Punjabi eyes. Apparently, they convince women that I'm in love with them.”

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Q: How does a married man and father still stay desirable to other women? Do the mothers of your son's school friends ever flirt with you?

Akshay: Most women just want attention, as they want to feel good. I know how to treat women without crossing the line. As for other women, my son makes sure my eyes are only on him. He'd probably kung fu my a** if I flirted with anyone but his mother.

Q: Growing up, were you ever called 'sexy' or were you aware of your good looks?

Akshay: No. I was very ugly when I was growing up...Just for the record, I'm not what you call good-looking. Our industry just happens to have excellent directors of photography. That's all.

Q: Is there anything you would absolutely not wear?

Akshay: A thong!

Q: Are you open to going under the knife, or getting hair transplants?

Akshay: I need a personality transplant rather than a facelift. Actually, I'm not a fan of anything that is not real. If God wants me to be old and wrinkly what can I do to stop him? I'd look like a fool with botox. I would rather shave my head than stitch hair to my scalp. I mean, come on, it works for Bruce Willis.

Q: Who do you think should be PEOPLE magazine's Sexiest Man Alive next year and why?

Akshay: Are you politely trying to hint that it won't be me? The sexiest thing about any man is his sense of humour. I'm sorry but there's nothing sexy about a naked man. I'm surprised that there aren't more lesbians in this world. So after seeing Dostana I think that title should definitely go to Abhishek Bachchan because if a guy can't make you laugh after sex, what's the point?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"My next role is of an autistic!"

Shah Rukh Khan does not let the grass grow beneath his
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan (TOI photo) More Pics

The Bollywood Badshah is not so much dwelling on his new release last Friday as he is into enjoying the thrill of beginning a new film tomorrow. It is being done in LA, with old friend Karan Johar, and guess what — the actor who is accused of having five expressions and playing limited roles, is daring to act an autistic in this film called My Name Is Khan.

His character, Rizvan Khan, suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism disorder and is characterised by difficulties in social interaction and behaviour. Half of the film is a true story based on a couple’s life in LA. Karan bought the rights of the story from them and cannot wait to begin shooting with SRK on it.

For the role, Shah Rukh has to gain weight, and that is what he is doing currently. “The role requires me to have a fuller look,” said the actor who has plunged into his character already and is doing research on autism to see how complex these individuals are. “I am reading, watching documentaries, meeting people who are affected by autism and doctors who deal with it. It’s very unnerving and I salute parents who bring up children with any disorders,” said SRK. Will he watch Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar performance as an autistic in the award winning film Rain Man of 1988? He might!

Shibani Bhatija, the screenplay writer of the My Name Is Khan, has SRK detained in LA as a suspected terrorist because he is a Muslim and his impairment makes his behaviour suspicious. Kajol returns to act opposite the superstar for the first time since Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham in 2001. They’ve done several film together including Baazigar, Karan Arjun, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bollywood's Bachchan returns to work after illness

MUMBAI (AFP) – Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan returned to work Friday, nearly a month after leaving hospital following treatment for a stomach complaint.

The 66-year-old star, who holds iconic status for Indian film fans around the world, wrote on his personal web site that he was back in front of the cameras at a five-star hotel shooting an advertisement.

"It's wonderful to be back in front of the camera but quite honestly I was rather enjoying the rest days. Nothing to do, no schedules and timings to rush to, no compulsions...just lying back and taking my own time over it," he said.

"Ah! Well can't have everything in life your way."

"The Big B" was taken to hospital near his home in Mumbai on his 66th birthday and underwent treatment for nearly a week, sparking concern among his legions of fans and calls for him to ease up on his punishing workload.

He has previously had bowel surgery following a life-threatening stomach injury sustained during the shooting of the 1982 film "Coolie".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is B'wood actually 'recession-proof'?

Bollywood has sometimes been seen as the Indian audience’s escape from reality, but it seems that the reality of the economic slowdown sweeping
A still from Rab Ne Bana De Jodi
A still from Rab Ne Bana De Jodi More Pics
across the globe hasn’t left the movie biz here untouched.

A few movies have already reportedly felt the pinch of current developments (see box). DT spoke to producers and production houses in B-town to gauge to what extent the film business has been hit by rising costs, and found that while some see stars’ prices and other costs coming down, others don’t feel that Bollywood’s been affected at all.

‘Cosmetics and Bollywood are recession-proof!’
Karan Johar, Dharma Productions

“Cosmetics and Bollywood are recession-proof! But that does not mean recession hasn’t affected the industry. It has – in a positive way. All that artificial pricing that was going through the roof will come down. All these three to four movie deals and crores of money as fee sounds good but it’s not something that can last. I never believed in artificial pricing and now it will die a natural death. What works any and every time is a good story. Give the audience that and recession will be forgotten.”

‘Time for the industry to re-structure the actors’ pricing’
Siddharth Roy Kapur, executive vice president – marketing, distribution and syndication, UTV

“We are in a fairly decent situation, keeping recession in mind. We need to revaluate some things. We have not had to modify anything so far, which is also to say that we always try and model our projects in a way that recession or other factors do not affect them. This is the right time for the industry to re-structure the actors’ pricing. I’d look at the positive side and say that recession might just be a good thing for the industry. Bollywood will hold strong in this time of recession for sure.”

‘We’ll encash on recession’
Sandeep Bhargav, Studio 18

“Recession is a time when there’s a lot of economic pressure all round. This is the only time that the common man wants to escape from this pressure desperately. And the best escape in our country is entertainment, which is cinema. This is a great time for Indian cinema and I am sure it will encash on the recession.”
‘Negotiations will be tougher’

Shailendra Singh, MD, Percept Pictures
“Recession will have a huge affect on our industry. The talent price is unbelievable now, so there’ll be a revaluation of the same. Now, negotiations will be tougher. Good scripts and tight budgets have to be kept in mind. The problem is that our industry is very fragmented. So if you decline to pay a particularly large sum to an actor for a movie, he will walk up to someone else in another place and get the demanded price there. This has to be changed!”

‘Small-budget movies are at the least risk’
Taran Adarsh, trade analyst
“Huge investments have been made and the price for talent has gone through the roof. It is finally time to come back to earth, and this is what recession is going to do. The corporates did not leave much scope for independent production houses and made it difficult for them. But now, even the corporates are going to cut costs. This had to happen! Rs 71 crore for acting in a movie! Why? This time of recession is time to wait and watch. Three films will decide which way the industry’s fortunes go – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Ghajini and Chandni Chowk To China. Also, while big-budget movies are testing the waters warily, the small-budget movies are at the least risk. The time has come when the bubble is going to burst, so we just have to sit tight and see what the effect of that will be.”

‘There’s a sense of insecurity’
Komal Nahata, trade analyst

“The slowdown has been felt in the industry slowly, but it has now caught up with it. However, it is difficult to say whether this has happened as a result of the global impact or due to the box-office disasters of recent big-budget movies, like Drona, Kidnap and Karzzzz. A sense of insecurity now pervades all production concerns, more so in Bollywood’s corporates houses.”

‘This is no time for bravado’
Kishore Lulla, Eros International

“With the liquidity crunch in the market, people now have less disposable income and so they will now spend less on luxury and entertainment – which means the movie-going clientele will decrease and so will the box-office collections. This will first affect the exhibition and distribution sector and consequently the production sector as it will have less money coming in from the two main sources – film exhibition and distribution. With less money on hand, producers will be forced to cut costs before the system gets corrected. This is no time for any kind of bravado.”

Movies affected by recession

1. London Dreams: According to industry sources, Studio 18 backed out from Vipul Shah’s Ajay Devgan-starrer London Dreams because they had invested a huge sum in it. Sandeep Bhargav of Studio 18 declined to comment.

2. Anubhav Sinha’s FX movie: Anubhav Sinha’s FX movie that Shah Rukh Khan’s production company was to produce has been stalled for some time now, according to industry insiders. This is also reportedly the result of the economic slowdown.

3. Kajra Re: T-Series CEO Bhushan Kumar recently told director Pooja Bhatt to reduce the budget of the Himesh Reshammiya-starrer Kajra Re, the movie she is to direct for the music company, even before it has gone on the floors. After the indifferent box-office performance of its Himesh Reshammiya starrer Karzzzz, the T-Series boss reportedly did not want to take an expensive risk in a second Reshammiya film.

I'm a schizo on the loose: Shah Rukh

And Shah Rukh Khan, having put the kids to bed and packed off the last of his visitors, is in conversation with me over coffee and cigarettes. He’s most at home in low-slung jeans from under which his briefs boldly peep, a loose tee and sneakers. But then he is at home! And we are in his living room.

Gauri Khan’s living room, actually, whose size, furniture, colour, lights and other trappings are so amazingly spectacular, they take the breath away. Shah Rukh and the kids are not allowed to run wild in here. “But when Gauri’s not around, we do everything, we even let the dog pee,” he says, eyes crinkling in mischief and the mouth twisting in that famous lop-sided grin.

At this hour, he’s wide awake and sharp as a whip. Somewhere in the house, his trainer Prashant is asleep. When he feels like it, even if it is 2 am, Shah Rukh will wake him up and workout for 35 minutes. “I like to sweat,” he tells me. “I train non-stop, there’s no rest break, no music, this is not rocket science — I just do a circuit of exercises, then have a bath and eat some food.”

But we aren’t talking workouts, nor films, not even Salman Khan. We are talking about Shah Rukh himself. He surprises me by saying, “I’m a schizo on the loose. I’m two people, Shah Rukh 1 and 2. One works for the other. The guy I’m working for is hugely successful — but he’s not me. People say I play Shah Rukh Khan. My roles are a means to an end. Not true. My work defines me. But I have no identity of my own. My identity is that of my employer who is employed by the audience.”

This is the same actor, the story goes, who manipulates people and controls Bollywood. “Control is a strong word,” Shah Rukh protests, “I don’t have power, though I’m listed on the power list along with Mukeshbhai and Laxmi Mittal. Yet, because I’m a giver, I’m able to draw a lot of people on my side. Greatness and goodness lies in giving. I like to believe that a lot of people come on board because they want to do things for me. They’re givers, too. I don’t have to ask people to join me. So if I control Bollywood, it is by giving — not taking, nobody gives to a taker. I’m giving, these people are giving, somewhere there is a symbiotic relationship. But, I think, your idea of ‘control’ is me picking up the phone and saying, ‘Bhai, mera picture ka sab show full jana chahiye,’ right?”

I dodge the question by asking, at 43, how many years of good cinema he’s got left. Poker faced, he replies, “Eighty-seven! I believe that physically, emotionally, and cinematically I’m unbreakable. Time is a measure of frailty. And good cinema is like good thoughts... not bound by anything. Acting can’t be written about, talked, discussed, analysed, because 90 per cent of the words used to describe acting are expressionless. You’ve got to feel acting. That’s what I do. I’ve stopped giving time to myself. The last 20 years have been my best period. I run my own race. If you run long enough, you can beat the rest, because this race is of length... not time. I enjoy making films. But I’m not attached to their success or failure. In fact, I’m detached from my films. Once they’re made — I let go. Films are mini life. By Friday night, I’m already moving on. My directors get disturbed!”

He never even sees his own films, at least not with the thought of enjoying them, nor anybody else’s either... unless it’s important to them. Ditto the family. “Gauri and I have brought up our kids to think their Dad’s films are nothing special,” reveals Shah Rukh. “And that, in life, it’s not special to be special, but it’s special to be ordinary. My films are all about that. I show the inside of a good outside hero. You know, the Clark Kent behind Superman. If he were to fly and save the world would you think less of him because he isn’t cool and doesn’t wear tights? My life’s like that. I may live like a king, but I’m ordinary in my beliefs, I’m simple, ugly and boring... yet I’m happy to be me.”

And, why not, which ordinary man romances the sexiest heroines on screen? “So what,” Shah Rukh asks, “I love them all, I share close relationships with them, but I don’t kiss them on screen, and I don’t have sex with them off screen. I’m somewhat conventional. I don’t think sex outside is bad. But I have a beautiful wife at home. I think real men are those that respect women; those that make no external show of their manhood; those that are gentle and kind... it’s okay to be dandy and look pansy instead of trying to be macho; and, those that open doors for women. If you can be charming, laugh, and don’t let them feel all you want to do is get them in bed... the girls will love you. I’m a ladies man. I’m okay with talk of my being gay and bisexual. I’m man enough to be in touch with my sensitive side. I can be happy and still cry. I don’t need to prove I’m heterosexual. Except to my son... when I show him I still have the six-pack.”

He’s opening up now, but it’s late. He steps outdoors to see me off. “I go to the rooftop and pray to the stars,” he says, surprising me for the second time that night. “Two of the stars are my parents. But I pray for simple things. That my son does well in his tae-kwon-do championship. And that my daughter is happy with her painting. I tell my mom, ‘Where you’ve gone, you can put yourself to some good use.’ There has to be some kind of trade-off for the loss of my parents. But I also read the Quran, I pray in Arabic, English, Hindi hoping that God is multi-lingual and understands at least one of my prayers. Gauri recites the Gayatri Mantra. Our kids do both. This house is amazing. My daughter asks, ‘Are we Pathans or Punjabis?’ I confuse them by saying, ‘We are Christians!’’’

Friday, November 7, 2008

The tug-o-war for Hrithik

The Salman-SRK war took an ugly turn a couple of days back when SRK performed at an event. At the function, while King Khan was performing on stage, in the audience was arch rival and now foe Salman who was seen chatting with Hrithik Roshan. Post Krazzy 4 Hrithik and SRK had rediscovered their friendship.

But this exchange of friendly banter between Hrithik and Sallu did not go well with SRK. His ego could not take the fact that his friend was shaking hands with his arch rival. “SRK was distracted during his performance. Shah Rukh and the Roshan’s go back a long way. Rakesh Roshan and SRK’s family have been close since Karan Arjun days,” says an eyewitness from the SRK camp.

Some also feel that Salman was trying to poach Hrithik from SRK, which obviously didn’t go down well with Shah Rukh. The friend added, “SRK camp has been small, but strong. He has always gone out of his way to bail them out. Post the act, he even made a snide remark to Hrithik about his closeness with Salman.” A baffled Hrithik didn’t know what to make out of that remark. “He smiled and before he could say anything, SRK walked out.”

Khan’s bruised ego now in all probabilities is waiting to get back. Beware Salman!

Kareena Kapoor goes wild for Saif, on Watchindia.TV !!!

It seems that Kareena fell for Saif after an intimate encounter somewhere outside India. These two are deep in love now and just cannot wait to get more intimate...

Kareena hates Ash because she is a Bachchan bahu

Kareena Kapoor has made no bones about not liking Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.This dislike must have a lot to do with the Karisma- Abhishek breakup and Ash being such a fine replacement of her elder sister Karisma as the Bachchan bahu.The Bachchans have talked about how Ash is the perfect daughter in-law and Karisma really wasn't homely enough for them!

Or it might have something to do with Ash still being considered ethereally beautiful and very much in competition despite being older and not having too many big hits!The latest is that Kareena Kapoor hadn't really turned down a role opposite Hollywood actor Johnny Depp because of date problems. It had a lot to with Ash.According to a source, "Three years ago, Gurinder Chadda who offered her this role, wanted Kareena for Bride & Prejudice.

Kareena naturally presumed it was the lead. She was shocked to know the director actually wanted her to play Aishwarya's youngest sister's part for which the lesser know Piya Rai Choudhary was signed later. Bebo was irked at being offered the fourth lead and vowed never to work with her again.

Now when a new Gurinder Chadha film was offered to Kareena she quickly said no without hesitation."Kareena on her part has been a little diplomatic this time around. She says that she'll only take up something that's substantial. She won't go international unless it's something really big and isn't sure whether Gurinder's offer was with Johnny Depp or not as the role didn't interest her at all.

All we can say is that Kareena is rocking in B-Town her own way. It's high time she only does her thing and stops thinking so much about the tremendous beauty and international appeal of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. After all, Ash hasn't really cared to react to her cribbing!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What was Salman doing outside SRK's home?

The Shah Rukh Khan residence was lit up. After all the lord of the manor was going to usher in his 43rd birthday and the Lady of the house was throwing a party for close friends.

The guest list read the who's who of tinsel town of the likes of Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar including the family of Salman Khan. Apart from Salman, the invite was extended to all his relatives.

Now this must have irked Sallu a lot. At around 8pm, while the preparations inside Mannat (SRK's house) were at its peak, there was an unusual visitor outside the gates of Mannat. Riding his bike sans his helmet, Salman paused in front of Mannat and kept looking balefully at the tall gates for a long time. Suddenly from the corner of his eye, Sallu saw a news channel car creeping up on him. Sallu stepped on the accelerator and disappeared from the place in seconds.

Now what made Salman do such a stunt knowing fully well that there would be media loitering outside SRK's house trying to capture stars coming for the party. Well if only we could understand this Khan better...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kareena: I am a very homely girl

Kareena is shooting for a TV commercial and she looks like a million bucks. On spotting you , she says, "Come. Let's settle down for a chat." Kareena Kapoor (TOI Photo)

Excerpts from the interview:

You look far calmer these days; quite unlike the restless Kareena we all knew a few years ago.
I was a child then.

Is it the Saif effect?
Of course, it is. Also, experiences have made me stronger.

I mean whatever I have gone through in my personal and professional life. I’m a stronger girl now, far more at ease with myself than I was earlier. I’m doing things, which I want to.

You have moved on in your personal life. Was it difficult parting with Shahid?
Yes, it was a very difficult period. Whatever went wrong between Shahid and me is very personal. I have always maintained that Shahid will always be part of my life. But, we are better off as friends. There is no animosity.

On hindsight, do you think you could have done something to save the relationship?
Sometimes there are no reasons for things which happen in life. Even if there’s one, I don't think it’s right to talk about it openly.

Did it take time for your family to absorb the fact that you were in love with Saif?
No, I don't think so. My mother is cool about it. And Karisma and Saif get along like a house on fire.

How is Saif as a partner?
He is fun and extremely loyal. He has all the qualities which I always wanted in a man.

Is he very possessive? There were stories that he was upset with your dress at the IIFA awards and also when you gave a peck on the cheek to Sylvester Stallone?
Saif is very supportive. He gives me space. All those stories were false.

You get along well with his two children, Sara and Ibrahim?
Both his kids are very loving. They are like Samaira (Karisma's daughter) to me.

Are you in touch with Shahid?
Oh yes. I message him and he messages me.

What about marriage with Saif?
Way in the future.

Way in the future? Not in the near future?
(Laughs) Yes, it's in the future definitely, but not for the next two-three years. But, we want to be together.

You value marriage. You helped Karisma reconcile with her husband Sanjay?
Contrary to what people believe, I am a very homely girl. I am always there for those who are there for me. Frankly, I am nobody to help somebody with their marriage. But as a sister, I can only offer support and advice. It has worked.

You lost out on Dostana and Dilli 6 because Abhishek didn't want to work with you?
Firstly, there was no fight with Abhishek. He has decided not to work with me and I have decided the same.

Bollywood stars Sharuk Khan is a property baron

From an actor to a producer, from an IPL cricket team owner to now a property baron, SRK is continuously tring out new frontiers to conquer. The actor is now involved in a Dh8 billion (US$2.18bn) residential development on Dana Islands in Ras al Khaimah, Dubai.

When asked if he regretted his decision of turning into a property developer in the UAE, considering the dismal economic climate, Khan said he was optimistic about the scenario. Said the King Khan, "'Yes, the timing was a bit off. But I am positive that it would turn all around. And honestly, the global recession has not touched us as yet. In my opinion, recession is not going to take people away from their homes or their decision to buy one." Well here's hoping that this prophecy comes true.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Top earners of today - Actors

Diwali means festival of lights and joy. Diwali also means welcoming the Goddess of money, Laxmi to our homes. So Diwali also has a lot to do with money and monetary gains. That makes up discuss the monetary gains of our film celebrities.
Bollywood, no longer, is an industry that plays in lakhs. The gamble has grown bigger. Today they talk in multiples of crores. That’s the budget of our films and a major part of which is constituted by the star remunerations.

Remunerations decide who is ruling the industry and how. Today we talk about the top actors as per their market value. Akshay Kumar In the last couple of years, Akshay Kumar has overtaken Shah Rukh Khan when it comes to gaining the Number 1 position.
With a constant spate of hits like Namastey London, Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyya, Welcome and Singh is Kinng, Akshay Kumar is the most coveted actor in Bollywood today.
From his earlier choice of directors like Suneel Darshan, Dharmesh Darshan and Raj Kanwar, Akshay has also graduated to more sensible directors like Vipul Shah, Anees Bazmee and Priyadarshan. He even surged past SRK on the small screen when he charged Rs 1.5 crore per episode for Fear Factor which was higher that SRK’s fees for Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hai .
Akshay has also gained a strong fan-following in the international arena, something which only Shah Rukh boasted of earlier.

Brand ambassador ho toh aisa!

When Shah Rukh Khan tells you that he invests his money in ICICI bank, you would like to believe him. And most people do. So it was not surprising when the bank roped in their brand ambassador to save their faces in a crisis.

With rumours floating that ICICI bank is on the verge of a financial collapse, their stock value began to drop drastically and investors began pulling out their money to prepare for a bailout. That's when King Khan stepped in. He might be busy jostling between hectic shooting schedules for his forthcoming films Billo Barber and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi but that didn't stop him from squeezing time to shoot for an ad for ICICI bank, a brand that he has been endorsing for sometime now. Shah Rukh Khan is one actor who has been endorsing the same products for years. Be it Santro, Tag Hueur, Videocon, Dish TV, Sunfeast or Pepsi, SRK has been the face of all these brands since the day he first signed the deal.

Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar says, “Apart from being available and popular, what works to rope in Shahrukh Khan as an ambassador is his creative inclination. He always provides advice and insight to make the promotion better. His creative involvement in the ad campaign is one more aspect that makes him the most wanted endorser.”

On his brand association, SRK was once quoted as saying, “I can't endorse a whole lot of products. Whatever I am or have been endorsing, I have been associated with it for years and they are like family.” No wonder then, that the star took time out to shoot an ad for the bank. Truly, brand ambassador ho toh aisa!

Katrina plans her christmas holidays.

Who says acting is easy and actors have the world in their hands.Traveling from one place to another for long outdoor shoots can take a toll and facing the heat is Katrina Kaif. Kats' is currently shooting in New York with John Abraham and Neil Nitin Mukesh for Kabir Khan's film, produced by Yashraj.

The tight schedule has kept her away from home for over two months. She then had to fly out to Dubai for a day to join SRK and Kareena Kapoor for the Temptations Reloaded tour. "I am feeling homesick," she said. Katrina recalls the time her pretty sister Isabelle had come down to town to spend some quality time with her. "Isabelle was on a vacation. She flew down here to spend sometime with me. I miss my family a lot. I miss my home.

But what to do my professional commitments keep me busy. I am glad that my family flies down to meet me whenever they can." But the biggest celebration that Katrina looks forward to is the family reunion during Christmas. "I am trying my best to see if we can all be together." Katrina adds, "I hope no professional work comes up then. I have kept my fingers crossed from now."

Vidya Balan's walk in the clouds

Away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city, Vidya Balan is communing with nature on the sets of Vishal Bharadwaj's next. Unlike most actors who prefer to shoot in the city, Vidya is having a wonderful time shooting in Wai.

While most actresses who like to remain holed up in their vans in between shoots,
Vidya prefers the outdoors. And since she is shooting in picture pretty Wai, the actress prefers to spend time breathing in the fresh air.

A unit member revealed, "Vidya loves to be in a natural environment. She enjoys nature walks in between shots. She'd rather sit in the greenery and soak in its beauty than be stuck in the van. Vidya finds the entire experience to be meditative and absolutely soothing."

Even when not shooting, Vidya doesn't idle away her time! "Vidya goes for these long walks on the roads of Wai. So if you spot someone in tracksuits with an ipod and speakers hooked into her ears, walking away briskly, you know who it is," laughs the unit member. Viday's
staff does accompany for her brisk walks. "We cannot take any risks. What if she gets mobbed," says a staff member.

It was the same routine for Vidya in Canada, when she was shooting for Kismat Konnection.Vidya said, "I would drag my designer Shabina Khan for long walks and if she would ditch me, I would walk upto the waterfront and just enjoy myself. But I do need my i-pod and the one track that I hear the most is Mitwa from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna..."

Wonder what track is Vidya listening to in Wai these days.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Katrina Kaif's 200 gown trial

Actor Katrina Kaif may be in Philadelphia at the moment, but we get to learn some wonderful things about the girl from friends back home. Apparently, the girl tried on over 200 gowns when she flew down to Delhi last. Were they wedding gowns?

Naah! Kat went all the way to Delhi to spend an entire day with designers Gauri and Nainika, and tried over 200 gowns for her role in Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj . Her look in the film can best be described as classic and regal, so much so that her dress code included empire line waistlines and Grecian gowns! Of course every gown gave a different effect, and Kat was keen to zero in on her costumes way in advance. It looks like the effort has paid off!

It can be remembered that for a song in Singh Is Kinng , the actor had flown all the way to Dubai to shop for a dress she thought would be 'perfect'. And producer Vipul Shah was thrilled at her enthusiasm. It's another thing altogether that Sallu had co-incidently taken off to Dubai, too. But what's the harm in mixing some business with pleasure, huh?

Abhi-John have a gay time in Miami

Ok, who’s the hottest couple in Bollywood? Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, right?

John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan (TOI photo)

Wrong! After Karan Johar’s Dostana next month, it’s going to be Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. The two hunks, according to the buzz from the film’s sets on Miami’s sunny beaches, share such a terrific chemistry... that audiences are going to wonder. Check out this rumble-tumble they’re indulging in and decide, is there a vibe between them? For sure! John, of course, is the international gay’s fantasy. And Abhishek is fast getting there with his switchover from dark-and-brooding to naughty-and-mischievous. Apparently, John and Abhishek had no hesitation about putting their leading hero and straight images on hold for the time being and playing gay with conviction on screen. Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss, who was all for changing the law that makes homosexuality a crime in India, will be delighted. Karan, who’s always pushed the romantic genre and taken it to higher levels in cinema, admits that he’s experimented with the gay theme. “But not in an offensive way,” said the director, “this is not Brokeback Mountain, you understand, but it’s also not the same triangle with a train, plane or automobile climax and somebody rushing to stop someone from going away. Our audiences are more ready than filmmakers for new formats and path-breaking films.

Ten years ago, who would have thought A Wednesday would pack in multiplexes or a Taare Zameen Par would do multi-crore business? They would be parallel cinema. Today they are mainstream.” Agreed. Times are a-changing and kuch kuch hota hai in Bollywood!

Is sexy Shriya in love with a hero?

Buzz is that sexy Shriya has fallen in love. According to Bollywood press, she is currently dating Hollywood hero Jesse with whom she has acted in a Hollywood film - The Other End Of The Line. During the shoot, Shriya is said to have fallen for the charms of Jesse.

This is current hot gossip doing the rounds in Mumbai. It remains to be seen whether it is movie promotion or the real news. It is normal practice in Hollywood and Bollywood to link the lead actors before a film releases so that media creates buzz which helps the film getting good openings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shahid’s surprise for Shabina!

Shahid Kapoor surprised his favourite designer and friend Shabina Khan on her birthday recently by throwing a party a day in advance.

Shahid knew that he would not be able to wish her personally on that day as he was shooting, so he organised a surprise party for her in advance. Shahid invited the entire cast and crew of Kismat Konnection for the bash. Shabina says, “Shahid danced for four hours non-stop. This was the most unforgettable birthday ever.”

The many Khans in Preity’s life

The bubbly and beautiful Preity Zinta is one of the few actresses who have worked with all the hottest Khans in B-town. Just a few days away from the release of her flick, Heroes, where she is romantically paired opposite Salman Khan, she chats up with Indiatimes Movies and reveals all that there is about her and the Khans! While she rates all the four Khans - Shahrukh, Salman, Aamir and Saif, extremely high on their ‘sex appeal’, there are a few things that are different and unique about each one of them and Preity spills all the beans here
Shahrukh Khan: He is extremely witty and his humour is instant. You start a conversation with him and he is quick to retort in the wittiest way possible, like a skilled repartee.
Salman Khan: Salman has a very Indian style to his humour. He has no expression on his face when he is cracking a joke. Is very straight faced even when he is funny and that sometimes confuses you.
Aamir Khan: We all know that Aamir is a perfectionist and whatever he does, he does it with passion. And the same holds true when he is cracking a joke too. “Aamir is seriously funny when it comes to humour,” reveals the actress.
Saif Ali Khan: Saif’s humorous side has a very Brit style to it. He is very dry and stiff even when funny. One can rarely make out if Saif is just making a plain statement or means something funny. Perhaps, this aspect has to do with the London-England upbringing of the star.