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Our parents should decide, says Abhishek on marriage date
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 15 Abhishek Bachchan is upset with those
who said his father Amitabh went overboard while praising him
for his performance in "Guru".
"People who grudge him a father's pride are not nice. Please
don't take that moment away from him. You've the right to
express your comments on him as an actor. Please leave him alone
when he's playing a father," Abhishek told IANS in an interview.
"My father's opinion means the world to me. He isn't only a
father but also someone whom I consider to be the best actor in
the world. His positive reaction to my work is enough! As an
actor, I crave to make my parents happy."
If Abhishek is scaling new heights in his professional life,
everything seems to be going in the right direction on the
personal front too. He got engaged to Aishwarya Rai last month
and the marriage is expected soon.
When asked about his marriage date, Abhishek said: "Nothing is
decided yet. I've left it to our parents to decide. We're ready
any time they are."
Right now he is busy shooting his first special-effect film "Drona"
Q: You turned a year older.
A: Yes, 31.
Q: Is this birthday more special because you're getting married
A: Birthday is a birthday. I was working through it. That's what
I like to do on my birthdays. I like to spend my birthday with
my family, if I can.
Q: When is the marriage going to happen?
A: Nothing is decided yet. I've left it to our parents to
decide. We're ready any time they are.
Q: But it's not happening in February?
Q: You are currently shooting for "Drona" in Bikaner.
A: It's a special-effects film. Interesting, because it's a new
genre and therefore never done before by me. My mom plays my mom
in the film, though she has a very brief role. We shot together
and it was great fun.
Actually, we did a Bengali film "Desh" together. I spoke a bit
of Bengali in the film. "Drona" director Goldie Behl is family.
His sister Shristi and Goldie have grown up with me. Both mom
and dad have worked for their banner. So, it's like homecoming.
This is my second film with Goldie.
Q: Why did Goldie take so long to make another film after "Bas
Itna Sa Khwaab Hai"?
A: That was his personal choice, and we should respect that. He
wanted to be sure of what he wanted to make. Both Goldie and I
have changed a lot as persons. The conviction will show up in "Drona".
We've finished about 60 percent.
Q: "Guru" has got you unbelievable applause.
A: Unfortunately because I'm in Bikaner I'm kind of cut away
from what's going on in Mumbai. But it's great to know a TOI
editorial has been written about it. "Guru" is a very special
film. It's so wonderful to know that our hard work has paid off.
When I saw the film first, I was very inspired by the character.
For the first time in my career I stopped being an actor and
looked at the film as a member of the audience.
Q: How does your dad's vocal appreciation of "Guru" makes you
A: If I may be allowed to sound a little pompous, let me say I
didn't care what the rest of the world would say. His reaction
would be more than enough for me. Did his reaction embarrass me?
Not at all! Praise is what we live for.
My father's opinion means the world to me. He isn't only a
father but also someone whom I consider to be the best actor in
the world. To be honest, I don't care what the film's fate
would've been. His positive reaction to my work is enough. As an
actor I crave to make my parents happy. Thank god, I got the
opportunity in "Guru".
As a son, I firmly believe I wouldn't want to come in the way of
a father's praise. I'm not a father. So, I don't know what that
emotion is. One day I hope to be a father. Then I'll know the
same pride that my father does. As a father he's allowed to
express his appreciation for his son, isn't he? And I love him
even more for it.
Q: A lot of people feel he's overdoing the praise for you.
A: I think they're being very mean. Yes, he's Mr. Amitabh
Bachchan. But first and foremost he's a father. People who
grudge him a father's pride are not nice. Please don't take that
moment away from him. You've the right to express your comments
on him as an actor. Please leave him alone when he's playing a
Q: A lot of people are disappointed by your performance in "Dhoom
A: I'm very proud of the film. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. As
for my subdued performance, as you called it, I had to go by the
way the character was established in the first
"Dhoom". I was just carrying forward my character.
Q: Are you a more careful selector of parts after "Guru"?
A: I've never selected parts. Parts have selected me.
Q: Satisfied with life?
A: I don't think an actor can ever be fully satisfied. I'm very
excited about the work that I'm doing.
Q: Looking forward to your role as a householder?
A: That sounds so scary. It's a new dawn, a new day, new
challenges.... I'm looking forward to it. God has been very
Farhan, Zoya donate KBC prize money to Shabana's cause
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 15 Shabana Azmi says she is over the
moon as director Farhan Akhtar and his sister Zoya have donated
the money they won on the Valentine's special of "Kaun Banega
Crorepati" to her group that works for slum dwellers.
The episode was aired Wednesday on STAR Plus.
"I'm over the moon!" said Shabana. "My children Zoya and Farhan
Akhtar were on 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. They won Rs.2.5 million
and they have donated it to my group Nevara Haq. I'm so deeply
touched, I can't express my joy," Shabana told IANS.
The Akhtar siblings - the children of Shabana's husband Javed
Akhtar - needed no prompting for this act of philanthropy.
"I'm so gratified and grateful for them to do it on their own.
At our organisation, we're so strapped for funds. In one scoop
we have a windfall for our cause. It is certainly no small
matter for my slums."
It certainly seems the amount is more than what Farhan the
producer paid Shabana for acting in his upcoming film "Honeymoon
Travels Pvt Ltd".
"Oh absolutely! I did get paid, but very little."
The mother in Shabana surfaces proudly. So, what's her opinion
on Farhan's "Don"?
"I didn't understand 'Don'. Farhan looks at me as if I'm stark
raving mad when I say so. He wants to know what there was to
understand. But let me tell you, it was an extremely stylish
"I think Farhan is seriously one of our best filmmakers today.
Cinema is also about images. And his images are very strong. But
they don't scream out at you. That, I think is a very special
Shabana is equally proud of Zoya.
"My daughter Zoya has worked with Mira Nair on her short film on
AIDS. It's called 'The Migration'. And it's a very good script.
She'll be directing her own film in April."
And why isn't Shabana in it?
"There's no role for me. Otherwise, I'd bulldoze both my kids
Farhan and Zoya to cast me in them."
Feel strongly about an issue? Make a movie
By Azera Rahman,
New Delhi, Feb 15 They may wear tattered jeans, use
colourful words and give the feeling that they wouldn't really
care if the world comes down, but when it comes to real issues -
communalism, conservation of water and child labour to name a
few - they do more than plain talk. They make movies on them.
Documentary filmmaking is gaining popularity as a medium of
expression with more and more youngsters being vocal about
issues that concern them.
"Films are a medium through which we can share our thoughts and
send messages across to a large audience. It is an incredible
platform," said Arbuda, 20, and Shweta, 21, both students of
"Child's Own God", their 10-minute documentary, is based on a
child's perception of god in the midst of sectarian riots. When
three children of different families - Parsi, Hindu and Sikh -
are asked about god in the film, they say, "God bhagvan hote
hain. Hum unki puja karte hain!" (God is god. We pray to him).
Then another child says,
"There is just one god we all pray to."
The documentary explores the fact that children are not born
with preconceived notions about religion. It is as they grow up
that families and societal norms influence their tender minds.
Priyanka, 20, made a documentary film on street children -
"Platform number 8". Along with her team members, she visited
the New Delhi Railway Station daily for a month before making
"Some children have been duped by their own family members, some
run away from home while still others get lost. Everyone has a
story to tell. For them it's not about what they want to be when
they grow up, but about survival," Priyanka told IANS.
"At times some rehabilitation centres like Prayas take some of
the kids. But what happens to the rest? What do they do? This
movie is about them and unlike others, does not end on a happy
note. It's an open-ended film because we want the audience to
think about these children," she added.
Manmeet, 21, another student of the Delhi University, made a
one-minute documentary on water conservation. "The deplorable
condition of the Yamuna has affected us deeply. It's time we did
something about it," she said.
Made on a shoestring budget and in a limited time, most of the
movies are recorded on digital cameras and edited on PCs.
"Child's Own God", for instance, was made in two days on a
budget of only Rs.20,000.
The 'Bring your own film' (BYOF) festival at Puri, the 'Fringe
Festival' and various other college festivals are some of the
platforms where these youngsters get to showcase their cinematic
Shooters join Nana Patekar's fan brigade
By Abhishek Roy,
Guwahati, Feb 15 His acting prowess may have earned
film star Nana Patekar millions of fans but it's his shooting
skills with the gun that have made him quite popular in sports
His obsession with the gun has made the star of many Bollywood
films like "Ab Tak Chhappan" and "Krantiveer" a big hit among
some of the top shooters of the country like Raunak Pandit,
Avneet Kaur Sidhu and Anuja Jung.
"He (Patekar) is a just a wonderful man to deal with. When he
takes part in any tournament he is just like any other shooter,"
Pandit told IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing 33rd National
"Nana is very down to earth and when you sit down with him and
talk he will never make you feel that he is some kind of a
The Bollywood actor has been taking part in many national
tournaments in the past 12 months and also won a silver medal in
the rifle prone (big bore) 300-metre event in the 14th G.V.
Mavlankar shooting championship last year and qualified for the
National Shooting Championships last year in Indore.
In the nationals he failed to make a mark but won the hearts of
Both Raunak Pandit, the son of shooter and Arjuna Award winner
Ashok Pandit, and Patekar hail from Maharashtra. The actor is
also helping some upcoming shooters from the state, Pandit said.
"He is also helping some of the shooters and frequently visits
the shooting academy in Kolhapur," said Pandit.
Patekar's other state-mate Anuja Jung added that the actor was
also a big prankster and loved to joke with fellow competitors.
"He knows everyone of us by name and is always making fun and
joking with us. He never makes us feel that he is very
different. It is always fun to have him around," said Anuja.
Anuja's husband, Samresh, has not interacted much with Patekar
but said: "I met him only once during the National Championships
in Indore but he was a fantastic guy. He wanted to be like any
other shooter but people around him never gave him the chance to
Reality cinema in peril again
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 15 It looks like headlines don't augur
well for movie screenings. After Rahul Dholakia's "Parzania" was
stopped by rightwing activists in Gujarat, two other
reality-based films have faced strange ban orders.
Madhur Bhandarkar's "Traffic Signal" has been banned in Himachal
Pradesh for apparently using a word 'kinner' that's derogatory
And Anurag Kashyap's hard-hitting "Black Friday" was supposed to
be the inaugural film at a film festival organised in Patna
recently. But that never happened and Kashyap is clueless as to
According to sources, the government feared communal
repercussions if Kashyap's film, on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, was
shown in Bihar.
Bhandarkar makes a shocking revelation about his film.
"Kinner, the word that I've supposedly used for eunuchs, isn't
there in the film! Nobody refers to the eunuchs in my film as
kinners. And yet I've received a notification from the Himachal
government telling me my film cannot be screened there because
it is likely to cause a breach of peace. Why? We had set aside
seven prints for the state. For a small budget film this is a
What could have triggered this inexplicable ban?
"I don't know," Bhandarkar told IANS. "Maybe one of my actors
was heard using the word 'kinner' on television. I don't think
it's a derogatory word. I think this intolerance is engendering
a new kind of fear on filmmakers, especially realistic directors
like me or Anurag. We can't be doing truthful films if we've to
be careful of every word we use."
Dholakia is still fighting to have "Parzania", the real life
story of a boy who went missing in the 2002 sectarian violence
in Gujarat, released in the state.
Said Dholakia: "When I got through the Indian censor board, I
thought my hurdles to seeing 'Parzania' released were over. I
didn't know other censors were waiting around the corner."
Celina to launch her own line of saris
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, Feb 15 Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley, who
is the brand ambassador of Jashn saris, plans to start her own
line of saris, reports Bollywood Trade.
"Not only am I endorsing 'Jashn' but I'm also coming up with my
own line of saris called 'Celina's Jashn'. My range would also
cater to non-Indian women and includes bridal and contemporary
wear in various colours."
"I've always been actively involved in creating my clothes. I
love the sari and I want to make it world famous. I'm very
comfortable wearing it at film premiers and other formal
occasions. I think a sari targets the woman audience more than a
Western outfit," said Celina.
Celina believes the sari is the most sensuous dress.
"I am very fond of lace saris in particular. I think a sari is
the most sensuous outfit and it flatters women like nothing
else. It graces every woman irrespective of her age and
Acting just happened for Anjana
The very petite Anjana Sukhani, who was seen in Nikhil Advani's
love saga "Salaam-e-Ishq" opposite Anil Kapoor, never thought of
acting as a career.
"Acting just happened to me. I never intended to pursue a career
in acting but I'm thoroughly enjoying it now," said Anjana.
An MBA in foreign trade from Cardiff University in Britain,
Anjana forayed into filmdom with the game show film "Humdum",
reports Bollywood Trade.
Apparently her sizzling number "Babujee dheere chalna" and the
much-hyped lip lock with Anil in "Salaam-e-Ishq" created quite a
"I was nervous about 'Babujee...' since it was a sensual song. I
just happened to speak about it to Priyanka Chopra and she made
me really comfortable. It was sweet of her to come on the sets
and boost my morale," she said.
Not one to be deterred by her non-filmy background, Anjana wants
to explore various genres.
"I don't have a godfather in the industry but I believe it's
one's talent that works ultimately. I personally feel luck plays
an important role in shaping one's career. A sound combination
of luck and talent and success is bound to come. I want to do
lots of comedy and experiment with different genres."
Madhuri launches Vijayta Pandit's
debut pop album
Mumbai, Feb 15 Composer Aadesh Shrivastava has
produced a pop album titled "Propose - Pyaar ka Izhaar" which
marks the debut of his wife Vijayta Pandit as a pop singer.
Apparently, Bollywood's comeback queen Madhuri Dixit Nene, who
is currently in Mumbai busy shooting for a Yash Raj film, was so
impressed with the song that she agreed to be the chief guest
and released the pop album at an event held Wednesday.
An excited Vijayta said: "Madhuri even said that the numbers
were ideal to be used in films."
Before tying the knot with Shrivastava, Vijayta had acted in hit
films like "Love Story" and "Mohabbat" in the 1980s.
British author aims to clear myths surrounding Big B
New Delhi, Feb 15 Here is another book on Bollywood
icon Amitabh Bachchan and a British author claims to "explode
the myths" surrounding Hindi cinema's most famous star.
Penguin Books India will distribute the much-awaited book
"Looking For The Big B - Bollywood, Bachchan & Me" by Jessica
Hines. It will be launched at the Kitab Festival in Mumbai next
Funny, irreverent and affectionate, the book published by
Bloomsbury is Hines' first literary work that takes a look at
Mumbai's film industry and tells the tale of a very unlikely
Hines describes Bachchan as India's most legendary film star and
says he is a mixture of Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino and Elvis
Presley - with more than a hint of John Travolta.
She notes: "In a country like India where film stars are treated
as gods, Amitabh Bachchan is the über-god, the Big B. As for me,
I am a British, almost thirty and not the least bit famous. But
here I am in Mumbai, about to start writing his story. How did I
get here? Why did I get here?
"Mumbai is mayhem and Bollywood maddening. The Big B is
strangely aloof, the magazines are full of lies, and no one is
talking. I want to write a book that explodes the myths
surrounding India's most famous man. But is anything there?"
Hines, who has a Masters in filmmaking from Britain-based
institution Because Films Inspire (BFI), spent several years in
Mumbai doing research for the book.
The book is priced at Rs.495.
Time for 'Water' to flow freely in India
New Delhi, Feb 15 Making "Water" was sailing against
the tide for critically acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta, who is
overjoyed as her Oscar nominated movie is set to hit Indian
theatres in March.
"I came here this morning and leaving for Canada tomorrow. The
release of 'Water' is so special for me that I have come
especially for it. I am thrilled that the film will be seen by
Indian audiences and I thank B.R. films to make it possible,"
said Mehta at a press conference here Thursday.
Seema Biswas and John Abraham, who play important roles in the
film, were also present there along with Ravi Chopra, whose
production and distribution company is releasing the film.
About other two actors, Lisa Ray and child artiste Sarla, Mehta
said: "I wish Lisa and Sarala were here. Sarala is in school
right now and Lisa is in Hollywood."
"Seema and I still can't believe that Deepa is sitting here now.
She's come all the way from Toronto. The best support all of us
have is that Deepa is with us here today," aid Abraham who
requested Chopra to watch the movie while he was shooting for "Baabul".
Chopra was so impressed with the movie that he instantly decided
to distribute the film.
Mehta's first attempts to make the film in Varanasi in 1999
sparked protests by Hindu radicals and she had to shelve the
project. She took it up four years later and filmed in Sri Lanka
with major changes in the cast - with Shabana Azmi making way
for Biswas and Nandita Das being replaced by Lisa.
"Water" focuses on the relationship between a widow seeking to
escape stifling social restrictions and a man from a lower caste
who is a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
"I didn't feel any anger when the film was shut down. What
happened with 'Water' was unfortunate. I felt bewilderment and a
sense of loss. When I re-launched 'Water' it was without any
bewilderment. I don't think India was responsible for what
happened with 'Water'. It was a particular political group who
raised objection. But I never for a second felt that the film
would be abandoned."
"Water" completes Mehta's trilogy of "Fire" (1996) and "Earth"
(1998). And all of them were controversial.
"I chose such subjects because I am a storyteller and I feel
that filmmaking is a difficult process. When I spend two years
making a film, I feel I should make something meaningful.
'Water' is one of the most important films of my career."
Abraham, who underwent rigorous training for the film, learned
to play flute and Sanskrit language for his role. The media got
a glimpse of his hard work when he recited scriptures in
Sanskrit from 'Meghdoot' on Mehta's behest.
When asked what inspired her to make a film on widows, Mehta
said: "When I was shooting for Krishanmurthy 11 years ago in
Varanasi I got an opportunity to meet these widows for the first
time. When I saw the 'ashrams' there I was deeply moved and
decided that one day I will make a film on these widows. So, it
is the widows of Varanasi who inspired me to make the film."