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Leonor Varela is every man's fantasy: Parvin Dabbas
By Subhash K Jha,
Mumbai, March 4 Actor Parvin Dabbas denies any
romantic alliance with Chilean-French actress Leonor Varela,
with whom he worked in director Russell Mulcahy's
mini-series "The Curse Of King Tut's Tomb". But he admits he had
some wild parties with her.
"Varela is a gorgeous woman and looking at her, every man's
fantasy. I got along well with her but, sorry, no affair. I did
take her and some of the cast members out. Varela
and I exchanged our movie CDs and we had some pretty wild
parties, but that's about it," Parvin told IANS.
"For me working in a foreign production is like any other job
but I take great pride in being an Indian actor in a foreign
production and showing them that we're second to
none. It's interesting to dabble in the adventure spectacle
genre in Western cinema. I play an Egyptian soldier in this
multi-million dollar extravaganza."
Parvin says Varela was a little apprehensive about who was going
to be cast in the role of her boyfriend.
"It was meant to be an Israeli actor Yunan Heikel. She seemed to
be relieved after meeting me. And learnt much later into the
shoot that I was in 'Monsoon Wedding' and
that made me really rise in her esteem, something which to tell
you quite frankly I didn't much worry about. I feel sometimes we
give too much importance to foreign actors
and go out of our way to be nice to them."
The series was shown on the US television and Parvin has been
praised for his work in it.
"My work won me a lot of respect from the actors and the
director was quite vocal in his praise for me. It was
interesting because Rajasthan doubled up as Egypt while an
Indian, that's me, played an Egyptian soldier. I guess that's
what global cinema is all about."
Post Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding" Parvin has been caught in
crossfire between the East and the West.
"I had to choose between 'Khosla Ka Ghosla' and an Israeli film.
I did 'Khosla...' because it gave me a chance to get away from
my goodie-goodie image and discover some
grey shades within my personality, and also to connect with my
past," said Parvin.
Parvin used some of his own experience with his father to play
Anupam Kher's sullen son in "Khosla Ka Ghosla".
"And to think that the director Dibakar Banerjee didn't want me
initially. He thought I was a good-looking guy and a decent
actor, incapable of doing the role of a son who
isn't prone to express his thoughts freely. Little did he know
that all sons go through the period of defiance with their
Parvin's other international assignment is NRI director Kruti
Majumdar's "The Memsahib", which moves into another era and
"It's a period film that we shot in Gujarat. I play an Indian
maharaja. It's doing the festival rounds and won honourable
mention at the Dances With Films festival in Santa
Monica. There was also a review out on 'The Memsahib' in
'Variety' and it singled me out as the stand out actor. But my
first choice will always be Hindi films.
"Ever since I did 'Monsoon Wedding', the offers from abroad have
kept coming in. But it's important for me to get a grip over
here. Unfortunately, I don't know how to push
hard for assignments in Mumbai. I believe that's an essential
prerequisite for any wannabe in Bollywood. Sorry, I can't bow
Parvin's career in Bollywood started on a sour note with Sunny
"I was supposed to play the main villain. But that didn't
happen. One of those instances of missed opportunities that I've
become used to. I was offered Revathy's 'Phir
Milenge', which I couldn't do because I was busy elsewhere. But
I'm very proud of the work I've done in 'Monsoon Wedding' and
now 'Khosla Ka Ghosla'."
Parvin has acquired the reputation of being a snob.
"I take my time opening up to people anyway and like to treat
them normally as I would anyone else. Some of them take that as
attitude especially since they have the red
carpet being laid out for them by everyone else, but after a
couple of days they realise it's not so."
Why should we care for the Oscars, asks Mani Ratnam
Kolkata, March 4 Acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam
doesn't care much about winning an Oscar as recognition of the
Indian film industry.
"Why should we care about the Oscars, when they don't care about
us? We have our own film culture, which is very rich," Ratnam
told IANS on a visit here.
Ratnam was visiting Cinema Paradiso, the city's happening video
library that boasts of a huge collection of world classics as
well as contemporary films.
This was his first visit to Kolkata after the release of "Guru".
And he got a rapturous welcome from the city where his film "Yuva"
Talking about "Guru", he said, "Rumours are flying thick that
the film is based on the life of an eminent Indian businessman.
It's all useless talk. 'Guru' can be anyone's
"Guru" tells the story of an ambitious young villager (Abhishek
Bachchan) who moves to Turkey and then to Mumbai to become one
of the richest businessmen in the
country, making many compromises on his way to success.
On his next venture, the Tamil filmmaker said: "I am working on
the script of a film titled "Lajo". Kareena Kapoor will be
playing the lead role in the film."
Referring to the changing scenario of Indian cinema, Ratnam
noted: "The earlier difference between art films and commercial
cinema has almost vanished. Now it's a mix of
While agreeing that a filmmaker has a social role to play, he
added with great candour that a filmmaker was not a preacher.
"Indian filmmakers can move from entertainment
to more socially relevant issues only after the economic
condition of the masses improves. Only then will they be in a
mood to see socially relevant cinema."
Script is my teacher, says Kay Kay Menon
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, March 4 Actor Kay Kay Menon doesn't believe
in doing intensive research for the characters he plays. The
script, he says, is his teacher along with his own
imagination coupled with the director's inputs.
"I normally don't research for my character. The text in the
script is my Bible, my Quran. I go through it over and over
again and something automatically comes out of it.
Moreover, consistent interaction with the director and the
actor's own instinct and creativity help," opines Kay Kay.
His nerdy geeky look in the just released "Honeymoon Travels" is
quite a departure from the talented actor's otherwise grim
image, reports Bollywood Trade News Network.
"I don't go seeking out different roles. If a role is meant for
you, it will come to you. It also depends on the perception of
the people giving you the role. I have fun doing any
kind of role. It's up to you to be able to give your best and do
justice to it. Ultimately a talented actor will be able to essay
a variety of roles," he says.
To say Kay Kay is committed to his craft is an understatement.
Another recent release, "Black Friday", is a case in point. Has
his theatre background enhanced his film
career in any way?
"A good theatre actor needn't necessarily be a good cinema
actor. The two mediums are very different. An actor reaches out
to the audience as far as theatre is concerned
while the audience reaches out to an actor in case of cinema,"
he reasons, adding, "One has to understand the medium and adapt
accordingly. Personally I enjoy cinema
more than theatre."
Kay Kay has stopped expecting from any of his films ever since "Paanch"
ran into trouble. "I don't have any expectations from my films
after the debacle of "Paanch". When
I'm on the set, I'm extremely passionate about my work but on
the last day of shoot I detach myself completely," he says.
And does he think he's got his due as an actor? "It's for the
audience to decide. As an actor I do my bit to the best of my
abilities. I do my work with utmost sincerity and
loyalty. Then the rest is up to god and destiny. Moreover, there
is never an end to what is due to an actor," he smiles.
Candid to the core, Kay Kay says four prerequisites influence
his decision to sign a film. "The script is very important. Once
you read it, either you like or you don't like it.
So the first step is done. Then my role matters to me. I should
feel that sense of responsibility towards the film. Then the
director's wavelength should be in tandem with
mine and of course money! All four are a must including money,"
he laughs adding, "I would comprise for a friend though."
His upcoming films include "Metro", "Shunya", "Via Darjeeling",
"Drona", and "Strangers" among others.
Deepa Mehta surprised by Kunal Kohli's contention
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 4 Deepa Mehta is more shocked than
amused by filmmaker Kunal Kohli's contention that he would have
preferred "Rang De Basanti" winning over
Oscar-nominated "Water" because the latter dealt with "problems
... that happened 100 years ago".
"I haven't watched Kohli's cinema. But I'm sure he's gifted and
intelligent. He should know cinema or any relevant art is about
reclaiming traditions and other legacies of the
past. In fact, all the five films that were nominated in the
best foreign language category this year were situated in a
slice of the past from a specific country and culture,"
Mehta told IANS.
"Caste and gender discrimination are the two issues that occupy
'Water'. They've as much relevance today as they did 100 years
ago. Is Kohli saying that films with a sense
of history and tradition should be rejected? 'Water' wasn't
appreciated in the West because it peddles Indian mysticism to
Mehta is back home in Toronto after the Oscars experience and
says it gave her immense pleasure to see that Indian films are
seen in a different light now.
"We didn't get the Oscar. But it's an experience me, Seema
Biswas and John would never forget. We met the most important
people in Hollywood - all of whom seemed
aware of 'Water'. For me the fact that Indian cinema is now
being perceived as more than just the song-and-dance exotica is
very gratifying," Mehta told IANS.
Mehta's "Water" captures trials and tribulations of widows
living in the Gandhian era. People have compared "Water" to
Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali".
"That's very gratifying," said Mehta. "The quality of humanism
has come across in 'Water', and that's the quality that counts
in today's cinema."
Mehta is truly hurt by the attitude of disdain that has been
thrust on "Water" by some filmmakers in Mumbai. "I'm surprised
they haven't embraced it."
The filmmaker won't be in India for the release of "Water" March
"I've a script to write. My next film 'Exclusion' again goes
back into the past. By some people's logic, I'm already excluded
from the Oscars," she chuckled.
Rakeysh Mehra down with typhoid but elated by awards
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 4 The guy who managed to mix Indian
history with the contemporary reality of politics in "Rang De
Basanti" (RDB) has managed a rather strange mix
of another kind in his own life.
Says Rakeysh Mehra: "I'm down with typhoid and malaria. Strange,
I know, and very very depleting. In fact, I went to the Filmfare
awards on Saturday night in this condition.
The awards really lifted my spirits. Finally I felt complete
during an awards function," he said referring to RDB bagging the
best film and best director awards.
"How can the two awards be bifurcated (as they have been in
other recent popular awards)? I think 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' is a
really heart-warming film. I'd have been very
happy to see it win both the awards, for the best film and the
best direction. But to give one to each is nothing but an
attempt to try and please the maximum number of
nominees," Mehra told IANS.
"Awards are a serious matter and we cannot reduce them to a
farce. What really hurt was my wife Bharati being denied the
editing award at other functions. Her work with
the scissors was of undisputable quality. More than my winning
both the major awards I'm happy for her."
About his much talked-about next project, "'Delhi 6' is now in
the process of being re-scripted. The casting will happen only
after we finish the writing."
So all the talk about Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and
Akshay Kumar are baseless? "At the moment, yes, absolutely
baseless. The way the script is going the
casting for the lead might turn out to be an absolute surprise."
'Choodiyan' replete with Punjabi folk music (MUSIC REVIEW)
By Prashant Kaushik,
Film: "Chooriyan"; Music: Sukhvinder Singh and Sardool Sikander;
Singers: Sukhvinder Singh, Sonu Kakkar, Javed, Sudesh Kumari,
Shreya Ghoshal; Rating: ***
Coming right in the midst of the marriage season, the music
release of "Chooriyan" could not have been better timed. This is
a true celebration album, apt for a Punjabi
Under the direction of veterans like Sukhvinder Singh and
Sardool Sikander, the music is tinged with Punjabi pop elements
and folk traditions. The album consists of six
original tracks and a remix of the title song.
"Chaandi ki teri surmedani" is rendered in a slow narrative
style by Sukhvinder and Sonu Kakkar. Tajinder Harjit's lyrics
bring out the significance as well as the importance
of bangles for Indian women. Sukhvinder with his hallmark loud,
heavy vocal enlivens the rendition. Sonu tries to assist him in
"Boliyaan" is a salute to the men folk, especially the "Punjabi
Jat", and is sung brilliantly by Javed. It clearly bears the
mark of Punjabi folk traditions. The spirited and
energetic beats of the dhol (drum) is the soul of the song.
"Gudiyan gudiyan" has been rendered by Sudesh Kumari and
Sukhvinder, whose loud voice conveys the pain inherent in the
lyrics with a classical touch.
Sudesh's mellifluous echoing vocals once again highlight the
significance of bangles in a woman's life. This is definitely
here track. Background score, although repetitive,
"Kala Doriya" is a run-of-the-mill song but Shreya Ghoshal is
brilliant in vocals. Sardool Sikandar-Rajesh assists her.
Sardool's music is bland with the dhol being the
"Baawan diyan chooriyan" starts on an orchestra note. But with
the cracking of vocals, the track turns into a slow-paced
juggernaut reducing all happiness to pain.
The song is sung and composed by Sardool Sikander. An array of
instruments has contributed to the composition of this track.
The last track "Mehndi" underscores the importance of henna for
an Indian bride. The track begins with guitar and flute play,
but a host of instruments soon take over. Debi
Makhssospuri's lyrics and its rendition by Depali Somaiya
provide consistency to the track.
Interestingly, several veterans of Punjabi music have
contributed to this album. Thus the Punjabi tinge is but
Bollywood gets the budget blues
New Delhi, March 4 The Indian film industry is
unhappy that the latest budget has once again failed to address
its demands of curbing piracy and uniformity in entertainment
tax in different states.
"I think the finance minister is clearly stating in last year's
and this year's budget that please don't expect any radical
changes, breaking news and do not expect it to be 'an event',"
said Ronnie Screwvala, CEO of production house UTV.
"Specifically for the media there is nothing, though. We were
looking for some parity between the print media and the
Budget 2007-08, which was presented Feb 28, has only come up
with one significant announcement for the entertainment industry
- a reduction in customs duty on digital cinema infrastructure
equipment imports from 12.5 percent to 7.5 percent.
This is expected to boost the adoption of digital technology in
However, many in the industry are saying that key issues have
not been addressed.
"We were looking forward to the budget and hoping that
government would focus on the entertainment business but once
again it was ignored. Of course, we are disappointed," Sandeep
Bhargava of production house TV18 told IANS.
"Also, we wanted the government to help bring uniformity in
entertainment tax. In some states it is 25 percent, in others it
is 100 percent or more," added Bhargava.
But Amit Khanna of Adlabs rules out government's interference in
the Indian entertainment Industry.
"The industry is doing so well. We don't need government's
interference. Having said that, we were expecting government to
do something for the broadcasting sector especially when we have
these set top boxes," Khanna told IANS.
"As far as the entertainment tax is concerned, it has nothing to
do with the union budget. It is a matter to be sorted by all the
states individually," added Khanna.
The Indian entertainment sector, which is almost synonymous with
the Mumbai-based film trade better known as Bollywood, had
witnessed phenomenal changes after it was granted "industry"
status by the government in 2001.
The size of the entertainment and media sector in India is
currently estimated at Rs.353 billion and is expected to grow at
a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent over the next five
The entry of financial institutions like IDBI Bank, Bank of
India, State Bank of Mysore and IndusInd Bank-Hinduja TMT
combine for funding and multiplexes, which are flourishing, are
the best example of the growth.
The sector was, however, hoping for the removal of
policy-related impediments to its growth. But this, say
insiders, has not happened in the latest budget.
The imposition of service tax on development and supply of
content for use in advertising agency services is not expected
to have any significant impact on the sector.
Screwvala said: "The introduction of service tax for content
related to advertising agencies and telecom needs to be studied
in the fine print."
Bollywood's Holi hangover goes on
By Priyanka Khanna,
New Delhi, March 4 Holi, the hugely popular festival
of colours, is a Bollywood filmmaker's favourite backdrop to
unleash a riot of emotions.
Of all the myriad festivals in the country, Holi is the
favourite among Mumbai-based Hindi filmmakers who use it usually
as an excuse for inserting a song-and-dance sequence in which
the female lead gets drenched and the male lead gets inebriated.
There was a time when every Bollywood film had a Holi song. The
frequency may have reduced of late but in comparison to the near
fade-out of other popular festivals like Diwali and Karva Chauth
from film scripts, Holi still reigns.
The promos of the soon-to-be-released film "Delhi Heights"
chiefly feature a Holi song. The film's release is appropriately
timed close to the actual festival that was celebrated across
northern India on Sunday.
Though the film claims to be based on lives of people in the
fast-track in the Indian capital, its makers could not resist
the temptation of throwing in a colourful, fun-filled number
featuring the entire cast of the film including Jimmy Shergill,
Neha Dhupia and Rohit Roy.
Sung by Kailash Kher and Sonu Kakkar, "Ey gori", has been ruling
most music charts over the festive weekend. Come Friday and we
will know whether the Holi song can lend resplendent colour to
this film just as it has for more than five decades now. The
festival has become an important event for nearly all soap
operas on television.
Not so long ago "Waqt", "Baghban" and "Lagaan", among others,
tried to recreate the magic of Holi songs. In fact, in the late
1950s - the era of early colour films - the festival provided
filmmakers a welcome chance to sprinkle the screen with a
splurge of colour:
"Holi ayee re Kanhai" in "Mother India" and "Arrey ja re hat
natkhat" of "Navrang" were among the first couple of songs to
put the festival on the silver screen.
Filmmakers also used the festival to mark a turn-point in the
script. So much so that it had become a tradition that a Holi or
Diwali sequel would end with news of a tragedy.
Ramesh Sippy used a Holi song, "Holi ke din dil khil jaate hain"
in blockbuster "Sholay" to depict the blooming love and revelry
between Dharmendra and Hema Malini, before gangsters seize the
Continuing the tradition, Yash Chopra's "Silsila" gave viewers
one of the best ever Holi songs in which ex-lovers Amitabh
Bachchan and Rekha threw inhibitions and flirted
unabashedly even as their respective spouses in the film, Jaya
Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar, looked on.
Chopra's other films with memorable Holi songs include "Mashaal"
in 1984 that boasted of the still popular "Holi aayi holi aayi
dekho holi aayee re". Then again in "Darr" he
merged revelry with horror as obsessive lover Shah Rukh Khan
sang "Ang se ang lagana sajan mohe aise rang lagana" for Juhi
Given Indian cinema's propensity for melodrama, the festival of
Holi has been utilised for conveying a range of emotions. It is
effectively used by characters to cover up the pain in their
lives, or to juxtapose one person's happiness with another's
sorrow or even to forgive old rivals.
As scripts are evolving, however, depiction of Holi on the
silver screen has gone down. Currently, Holi songs are used as
item numbers in films. But as long as song-and-dance routines
are an integral part of Bollywood films, Holi will continue to
provide the best backdrop for unfurling of deep emotions.
The Hindi film industry heartily enjoys Holi off-screen as much
as on-screen. The likes of Bachchan and Yash Chopra are known
for throwing grand Holi parties.
Anil Kapoor was spotted this week celebrating Holi on the
location of his forthcoming film "Black & White" in Mumbai,
bringing back memories of Holi bashes at late Raj Kapoor's RK
During the hey days of RK Studios, as new entrants poured into
the industry, people would wait to see which of them were
invited to Holi at RK. Long ago, when Rekha was the subject of
disdain for her ties with Bachchan, she made a high profile
entry at RK's Holi celebrations. She touched Raj Kapoor's feet.
And that was all it took. She was 'accepted' into the group of
Regulars at the RK Holi events included Bachchan, director
Manmohan Desai, actors Kamini Kaushal, Pran and Premnath. Even
when Raj Kapoor's health dwindled, the Holi festivities
continued, until two years before his death in 1988.
Bollywood's obsession over Holi is not welcomed by all. It is
often seen as a perfect example of the tendency of Hindi
filmmakers to predominantly cater to the Northern audiences
thereby promoting festivals, culture and ethos of the region.
Other popular Indian festivals like Pongal, Dussehra, Eid,
Gokulashtami and Navratri are seldom seen on the celluloid. Even
Diwali, the biggest festival of the country, has not hogged as
much limelight as Holi.
Of the films made with Diwali in mind, most are from the early
1940s and 50s. In 1940, there was a film titled "Diwali",
directed by Jayant Desai. In 1956, "Diwali Ki Raat" was
released, starring Talat Mahmood. Around the same time, Gajanan
Jagirdar released his film titled "Ghar Ghar Mein Diwali". Since
then, there has been a paucity of films with Diwali as the main
References to Diwali do exist in films but most do not have very
positive associations like in "Chirag" when Asha Parekh loses
her sight when firecracker goes off. Similarly in "Chachi 420",
Kamal Haasan's daughter is a victim of a rocket gone awry and
suffers burns. And then again, most sequences of Diwali
celebrations end with bad news. No wonder Holi reigns supreme on
Ashley Judd to visit Jaipur for
By Anil Sharma,
Jaipur, March 3 Hollywood actress Ashley Judd will
be here on a three-day visit to see an NGO's activities in the
areas of HIV/AIDS prevention and maternal and child health.
The star of such thrillers as "Kiss the Girls", "Double
Jeopardy" and "High Crimes" will be visiting the Rajasthan
capital as part of an initiative by PSI/India.
Ashley is a board member of PSI (earlier known as Population
Services International) and is the global ambassador for
YouthAIDS, an education and prevention initiative of PSI. A
not-for-profit organisation, PSI/India works in the areas of
health and women's empowerment.
Ashley will be here March 22-25 and during this period, besides
going to field areas, will also meet Rajasthan's Chief Minister
She will also travel to Mumbai and Delhi.
Speaking about the forthcoming visit, Tim McLellan, managing
director of PSI/India, said in a statement said: "PSI/India is
greatly excited about Ashley Judd's visit.
"After several years of effort, and with the support of the
government of India and our donor partners, we have been able to
run programmes, which have demonstrated impact. As our board
member, Ashley Judd is keen to see the success of the various
programmes that PSI/India and other partners have implemented."
Ashley will address women's issues that are close to her heart.
She will see how families can be empowered to protect themselves
against HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancies. India has 5.1
million HIV/AIDS patients.
PSI/India is an NGO registered in 1980 with a mandate to assist
the government in the fields of reproductive health, HIV
prevention, and maternal and child health. It harnesses the
vitality of the private sector to address the health problems of
the low-income and vulnerable populations.
My father opposed marriage with Dharmendra, says Hema
New Delhi, March 3 The quintessential 'Dream Girl'
of Hindi cinema, Hema Malini, has revealed in a new book that
her father was strongly against her marriage with Dharmendra and
when she tied the knot with the actor after his death, her
mother was deeply hurt.
The actress-MP, who has fiercely guarded her private life from
media glare, shares many intimate details of her life with
journalist and film critic Bhawana Somaaya in "Hema Malini - An
This is perhaps the first time Hema candidly talks about her
relationship with her parents, co-stars with whom she was linked
with and her husband Dharmendra.
Hema says in the book that her father V.S.R. Chakravarti opposed
the alliance with Dharmendra because he was convinced it would
only bring doom. She married the actor after her father's death
- a decision her mother, Jaya, didn't take kindly to.
"As far as I know, I have never intentionally hurt my mother.
Except in my choice of marriage partner, perhaps. That was a
tough decision for the entire family to accept. I guess the
decision was inevitable," said Hema.
"It was not as if he (Dharmendra) wooed me with roses or took me
for moonlight drives. At times, I feel I was attracted to him
because he was so much like my mother, strong and silent," she
But, Hema says, neither age nor time has affected their love for
"After all these years, he still looks at me like he did when we
first met. He makes me feel special," she said.
In the book, she also talks about her children and her twin
passions of dance and acting. It archives virtually every phase
of her life.
"To agree to a biography reflects a state of mind. It means you
are ready to reflect on your past actions. Part of me was ready
for the exercise for I believe that not analysing meant
escaping. My daughters insisted that I should. At least this way
they would connect with all that happened to me when they were
not a part of my life," said Hema.
Hema's journey to stardom was not an easy one. After being
unceremoniously dropped from her first Tamil film as the
director felt she didn't have 'star quality', she signed the
Hindi film "Saudagar" in which she was paired with Raj Kapoor
when just 18. She soon conquered the hearts of all moviegoers
with her beauty, grace and charisma. From "Johnny Mera Naam" to
"Sholay", from "Meera" to "Baghbaan", she has portrayed a
diverse range of characters.
"Hema Malini..." has been published by Roli Books (P) LTD and is
priced at Rs.495. It is already in the market but the publishers
are planning to formally launch it March 20.
Bappi Lahiri sets a new record with Lata Mangeshkar
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 3 Music composer Bappi Lahiri is on
cloud nine as singing legend Lata Mangeshkar, who has worked
with his father and him, will record a song for his son Bappa.
Ebullient Bappi told IANS: "Lata didi, who recorded songs for my
father Aparesh Lahiri, also sang some of my most beautiful
ballads including 'Saiyyan bina ghar soona' ('Aangan Ki Kali'),
'Jaane kyon mujhe' ('Agreement'), 'Dard ki ragini' ('Pyaas') and
'Sooni Sej sajaa doon' ('Jyoti') and, of course, the song 'Thoda
resham lagta hai' which became a huge international re-mix hit.
Now Lata didi will record a song for my son Bappa.
"There have been many instances of Lata didi singing for father
and son composers, like Sachin Dev Burman-Rahul Dev Burman,
Roshan-Rajesh Roshan and Chitragupta-Anand-Milind. But never has
she sung for a third-generation composer from the same family,
or any family. I feel very blessed," he added.
Bappi is very much in demand as a singer. In the last few months
he has recorded as many as 15 songs in 15 days for music
directors as far ranging as Vishal-Shekhar and debutant Nitin
Shankar for whom he has sung for a film called "Bombay To Goa".
"Earlier I'd sing only my own songs. Now suddenly new-generation
music composers want my vocals. What can I say? But my proudest
moment came when I sang for my son for an untitled film being
produced by Sanjay Gupta.
"It was a very big moment for me, because I had sung for my
father and now I got to sing for my son. I don't think any
composer had the privilege to sing for both his father and son."
The other occasion when a father-composer got to sing for his
son was when Sachin Dev sang "Doli mein bithaiyeeke" for Rahul
Dev in "Amar Prem".
'Nishabd', a sensitive tale of forbidden passion (REVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Film: "Nishabd"; Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jiah Khan, Revathy,
Nasser, Shraddha; Director: Ram Gopal Varma; Rating: ****
Finally there's just the man and his looming loneliness. He
could end it right now. But he chooses to live on, so that he
could live with the memories of lost love for a bit longer.
Ram Gopal Varma's "Nishabd" leaves you speechless. Its pulsating
but humane play of light and shade within the sprawling gorgeous
greenery of a tea estate is the closest you're going to come to
the passion of a renaissance painting in Hindi cinema.
Varma's mastery over visuals, which tells a tale of reclamation
and retribution, has never been in doubt. The qualities that
have always made his cinema look unique have been applied to a
theme that has so far remained forbidden to Varma's range of
In narrating a 60-year-old 'happily' married man's sudden
passion for his daughter's 18-year-old friend, Ramu goes for the
The luminous language of "Nishabd" makes you grope for new words
to describe the experience of watching a film that unfolds like
the petals of a wild but tender flower.
"Nishabd" is a brooding look at an autumnal life that suddenly
finds excitement. The eruption of passion is manifested in
little things like the sprout of a gushing water fountain, or
the atypical laughter of a patriarch who has just discovered the
clandestine pleasure of playing footsie under the table with his
The confusions, turmoils and playful expeditions into emotional
areas that no Hindi film has dared to visit, makes this Varma's
most accomplished film to date.
He leaves behind the gangsterism of "Satya" and the violence of
"Company". Never afraid to take risks, Varma plunges straight
into a fear-filled heart of an aging man who suddenly
experiences emotions that he never knew existed within him.
Both the director and the protagonist venture into unlit
territory of bright, smothered passions with arresting aplomb.
You've seen Varma ferret out a unique performance from Bachchan
in "Sarkar". Nothing prepares you for the flowing emotions that
spill out of the superstar's eyes, face and entire being as he
grapples with his uncontrollable feelings for the feisty Jiah.
In "Nishabd", Varma has achieved that synthesis of time and
experience that gives human relationships a spin of eternity.
Technical soundness is of course a hallmark of Varma's cinema.
He applies his trademark technique - restless camera movements
and unpredictable shot divisions - to a world far removed from
the violence and horror of his earlier cinema.
Bachchan's character convincingly goes into the recesses of the
wounded human heart in search of the answer to that one question
- what's the purpose of our existence?
According to Varma's superb dialogue writer Amrik Gill, it is
happiness. That quest for joy, which we forfeit in our pursuit
of day-to-day aspirations, is retrieved in this elegiac yet
exhilarating film about re-discovering passion and disconnecting
it with sex.
There are innumerable moments of unalloyed cinema in this
sensuous treatise on forbidden passion. Bachchan's lighter
moments with the whimsical 'Lolita' of the new millennium are
It's the smothered and sublime tragedy that he builds around his
character - its journey from restrained amusement to a stunning
slouch - that makes his performance exceptional.
Bachchan's chemistry with young Jiah (unarguably Varma's best
discovery to date) is so virile, vulnerable, tender and yet
invincible at the core.
A special word for Amar Mohile's background score. It creates a
new intimate idiom of expression, unifying the call of the human
heart with nature and its most flawed creation - the human
"Nishabd" elevates the traditional language of cinema to the
plane of unrhymed poetry.
Govinda visits Sufi shrine, temples in Rajasthan
Jaipur, March 3 Bollywood actor and MP Govinda
seemed to be on a religious tour of Rajasthan, having visited a
Sufi shrine and two temples in the state in the past few days.
He offered prayers at Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's Dargha in Ajmer,
over 140 km from here, Friday.
"Govinda, accompanied by his wife and children, spent over 20
minutes at the shrine and offered a chadar and flowers," a
shrine committee member told IANS.
After visiting the shrine Govinda drove to the Hindu holy city
of Pushkar in the same district and offered prayers at Lord
On Thursday, Govinda along with his family had visited the
Salasar temple in Churu district, over 170 km from here.
Dressed in a golden kurta-pyjama and a red colour stole, Govinda
first chanted Vedic mantras with the pundits after which he was
given prasad or holy offering.
Salasar Balaji being a shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, a
photograph of the monkey god and a shawl were presented to
Govinda, a local priest at the temple said.
"During the prayers Govinda also offered a coconut at the temple
premises to make his wishes come true," the priest said.
He said the film star also expressed his desire to revisit the
temple soon. Govinda was also given a traditional welcome and
was garlanded by the temple administration.
Huge crowds had gathered at temple premises to have a glimpse of
the film star. People started gathering as news spread of
Govinda's visit. Of course, he didn't dishearten his fans and
gave them an opportunity to click pictures with him.
Bhansali touched by unit's
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 2 On the occasion of his birthday, all
the junior artistes on the sets of "Saawariya" gave filmmaker
Sanajay Leela Bhansali a surprise gift. The director says it was
his life's most touching experience.
Bhansali turned 42 on Feb 24.
"At 6 p.m., when we had to pack up, all my junior artistes
suddenly came to me in a large group, presented me a lovely
Ganpati statute and a bouquet and burst into the 'Happy
Birthday' song," Bhansali told IANS.
"Suddenly, my 14 years as a filmmaker seemed worthwhile. To have
earned the goodwill of these people, to have them feel so
sincerely happy on my birthday, what more could I ask for?"
Bhansali, whose ideal birthday gift is a day spent with his
mother and sister and his two nieces, has a lot to look forward
to this year.
"I've my 'Saawariya' coming up for release, and my sister Bela
is starting her own film, which I'm very excited about.
Forty-two seems like a ripe old age. But I don't feel old. I
just feel there's so much more I want to do.
"I've promised a dear friend that I'll make 25 films during my
lifetime. I've 21 more to go. Movies are my life. But I also
want to experience a life beyond movies."
In summer 2008, Sanjay leaves for Paris to direct an opera.
"I'm seeing that as a part of a continuous flow in my
creativity. People who follow my films carefully see 'Black' and
'Devdas' as operatic in mood and texture. I want to bring
elements from my own creative element into the opera."
FM mania hits Aligarh
Aligarh, March 2 Two months ago Aligarh received
what can be called a jolt when an FM radio station opened. Now
the whole town is on a song -- thanks to an FM mania.
In a town known for its sedate and slow paced life, everyone -
roadside tea vendors, small hotels, tempos and almost all homes
and students of Aligarh Muslim University -- are hooked on to FM
music, the chirpy chats of the RJs who keep tickling listeners'
Just when most people thought radio was dead, the medium sprung
to life in its new avatar, one that is friendly, intimate and
Big FM and FM Rainbow are now the toast of the town.
In a highly conservative society like Aligarh's, FM has come as
a fresh ray of hope -- and some sort of liberation from the
It is being heard in the rural hinterland with as much passion
as in the towns around Aligarh like Sikandra Rau, Atrauli, Iglas,
Sadabad, Hathras, Khurja, Bulandshahr, Anoop Nagar, Dibai and
At railway stations, bus stands, show rooms, dhabas, just
everywhere, FM radios blare away programmes by celebrities like
Swheta Tiwari, Prerna, Sunil Pal, says producer and programming
head of Big FM Yashir Khan.
The day starts with Seher, giving a wake up call with bhajans,
Sufi songs or Gurubani. Big Chai gives a kick-start to the day
with witty inputs from Yashir Khan while RJ Zainab love packages
life with Garam Masala.
A whole lot of interesting programmes keep the audience hooked
on to FM round-the-clock. Some programmes of interactive nature
involve the locals to express their views, like in "Kehta hai
Electronic goods sale has registered an all time boom, say
shopkeepers. After all radio is an affordable and convenient
medium of communication. No wonder Aligarhians can be heard
chanting punch lines of the FM radio stations: "Suno Sunao, Life
I didn't like myself in 'Don' song: Sunidhi Chauhan
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 2 It was a big moment in Sunidhi
Chauhan's life when she got to sing Asha Bhosle's boogie-classic
"Yeh mera dil" in "Don" but, she is not too happy with the
"My version of 'Yeh mera dil' can't hold a candle to Ashaji's
original... If you look at the original song, situation, dancing
-- everything was fabulous. No one can replicate the original.
We weren't even trying.
"We did the song in a completely different way and I failed. I
sang the song according to the requirement of the scene. I
wanted to infuse a certain brightness into this low-key number,
but I couldn't," Sunidhi told IANS.
The singer wanted to re-do the song.
"I didn't make that request though I wanted to. See, we never
set out to be one up on 'Don'. In fact, the old version is to
this day fresh and contemporary.
"I was so thrilled when I got to record a song that I had sung
on stage since my childhood. To do one of Ashaji's best tracks
was a great challenge. I decided I'd give my shot to 'Yeh mera
dil'. But I was bound by the character and situation, which is
fine because there's a special challenge in singing within
Sunidhi says she failed to bring brightness in the number.
"When I sang 'Yeh mera dil', I found it lacking in brightness.
That's okay. Eminent scientists make mistakes. Who am I?
Frankly, I'm neither happy nor disappointed. But I'm all for
Farhan Akhtar's vision. Let me add, I didn't sing 'Yeh mera dil'
with Ashaji in mind."
Sunidhi, who has sung one of her best songs, "Bhaage re man", in
"Chameli" for Kareena Kapoor, is slightly disappointed by
Kareena's costume in the song.
"I'm no one to comment on this. Kareena knows how to carry
herself. She's exceptionally beautiful and expressive. She can
play anything -- from a goddess to a vamp. I just wish she had
worn a black or red gown instead of a golden one for the song.
"Helenji gobbled everyone up with her eyes. Kareena could've
done the same... And I wish Shah Rukh had gelled his hair and
made a ponytail. He'd have looked like a full-on don. I've been
on world tours with Shah Rukh. Trust me, he'd have looked
Why is Sunidhi singing fewer songs these days, and why not more
"Not at all! I'm singing two-three songs every day. There was a
trend of chartbusters from me. Then there was a lull in release,
not in my singing. Now, let me tell you I've sung a love ballad
for Ismail Durbar in an English-language film called
'Interminable'. It's a semi-classical song.
"I can't believe Ismailji has tapped that quality in my voice.
Then I've sung for a non-film album with Ustad Sultan Khan
called 'Ustad & The Divas' with songs composed by Sandesh
Shandilya. I wish some of my ballads were as successful as the
brisk numbers. They clicked in an earlier era. And singers then
were fortunate to belong to that era. But I'm lucky to be
getting and being accepted in both kinds of songs."
Why is she so low-profile?
"You'll never catch me at parties and music launches. My
presence makes no difference to these. I won't go where my
presence isn't respected. I'd any time go to a Vishal-Shekhar
music launch. But others treat me just like a vocal tool. Why
should I be where I'm not so indispensable? As long as people
are happy with my work, I don't need to be visible."
Yash Raj promises entertainment galore
Mumbai, March 2 Yash Raj Films could easily be
renamed as the Yash Raj Factory. Bollywood's most popular
production house, known for its glamorous larger-than-life love
stories, is planning to release five new films in 2007.
The films will, naturally, have some of the biggest stars in the
industry including Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji, Abhishek
Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan and stage the comeback of the
charismatic superstar Madhuri Dixit.
"We are very excited about our releases for 2007, not just
because of the star casts, but because each film deals with a
unique subject and has very promising young directors at the
helm," said Yash Chopra, chairman, Yash Raj Films (YRF).
The first release from the Yash Raj stable this year will be
Siddharth Anand's second directorial venture "Ta Ra Rum Pum" on
April 27. The story revolves around a racing driver and has Saif
and Rani in the lead.
Anand carved a niche for himself with his debut film "Salaam
Namaste" starring Saif and Preity Zinta. So get ready to enjoy
another roller coaster ride of entertainment and emotions.
"Ta Ra Rum Pum" will be followed by Shaad Ali's "Jhoom Barabar
Jhoom". Scheduled for a June 15 release, Ali's third directorial
venture has a stellar cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Preity, Bobby
Deol, Lara Dutta, and Amitabh Bachchan in a special appearance.
"Jhoom Barabar..." hopes to repeat the success story of "Bunty
YRF's third release "Chak De India" will showcase the talent of
yet another young director, Shimit Amin, and stars Shah Rukh
Khan in a pivotal role. It is slated to hit the screens on Aug
10. So SRK fans can have a treat this Independence Day.
The Chopras, who are known for releasing special films during
the festival season, will not let their audiences down this year
either. So you will get to see Pradeep Sarkar's "Laaga Chunari
Mein Daag" from Oct 12, a near Dussehra release.
Sarkar has demonstrated great sensitivity in his first film "Parineeta"
and people have great expectations from "Laaga...." With a cast
of Jaya Bachchan, Rani, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor and
Abhishek, the film is expected to satisfy the connoisseurs and
the masses alike.
Nov 30 will see the release of the last Yash Raj film for 2007.
"Aaja Nachle" will be a directorial debut for noted
cinematographer Anil Mehta. What's more important, it will be
Madhuri Dixit's comeback film. Try and imagine Madhuri gyrating
under Mehta's skilful eye and you can be sure that the Chopras
will end the year with a bang.
They plan to kick off 2008 in grand style with "Tashan".
Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the screenplay and dialogue
writer of mega hits "Dhoom" and "Dhoom:2", it will star the
much-loved men of action, Akshay Kumar and Saif. Anil Kapoor and
Kareena Kapoor also star in the film.
This year will be memorable for YRF for another reason too. In
2007, the banner plans to move completely to the studio style of
functioning -- on a par with Fox, Warner Bros and Universal.
This year's Filmfare award function was organised at the Yash
Raj Studios, on the outskirts of Mumbai, last month marking a
new chapter in the Indian film industry. The studio is
well-equipped for every bit of pre-production, production and
post-production work in-house.
Smriti Irani to produce three more serials
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 2 After "Thodisi Zameen Thodasa Aasman",
Smriti Irani is taking her role as a producer very seriously and
is all set to make three more serials.
"I think I've tasted blood. Now I want to produce more serials,
not just soaps. I'm doing one more fiction show and two
non-fictional shows. But I'm far away from being as busy as my
boss Ekta Kapoor. There can never be another Ekta Kapoor,"
Smriti told IANS.
She says she has learnt several valuable lessons from Ekta.
"Like how much careful planning is required before going on the
floors. So, I'm ready with more production plans. My next
fictional output will have some of the most brilliant actors
from cinema and television. And I'm not talking about the
"Somewhere I feel true talent has been undermined on television.
Now when I see films like 'Maqbool', 'Omkara' and 'Iqbal', I
realise the audience is ready for a change on the home medium as
well. The fact the 'Thodisi Zameen...' has clicked proves my
All her three production plans belong to different genres.
"But each one will touch the core of our Indian-ness. Under the
glitz-and-glamour we're all extremely simple people."
Smriti says she's lucky to be a colleague of the very people
she's inviting to act in her serials.
"Take Kiram Karmakar, who's my co-star in 'Thodisi Zameen...'
When I had walked into Balaji to do 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu
Thi', he was already doing 'Ghar Ek Mandir'. He has watched me
grow. All my colleagues like Jaya Biswas, Sanjit Bedi and Pawan
Shankar are helping me grow further, as a producer."
How does she manage to do all these jobs simultaneously?
"I'm blessed to have a very accommodating family. I don't have a
social life. I don't party at all. I meet my friends at home.
I'm one of the few people who never attend Ekta's parties. She
knows I've to be on the sets at 7 a.m. Many people get
opportunities. But I've been blessed with the opportunity to
take those opportunities forward."
Smriti says it's a virtual cakewalk for her to walk from the old
woman's role in 'Kyunki Saas..." to the young dreamer in "Thodisi
"It isn't a mind-boggling process to play such contrasting
characters on two different sets. There are different directors
on both the sets. Actually, being an actor is the easiest job in
the world. Being a producer is far tougher. I remember how
Shobha Kapoor smiled when I announced my decision to turn
producer. Now I know what that smile meant.
"I feel very privileged that 'Thodisi Zameen...' is the first
co-production that Balaji has done with any outside producer.
For a company like theirs to entrust this responsibility on a
first-time producer like me is a big responsibility."
She's all praise for her director Santram.
"Everyone told me he's only good with suspense. But he's doing a
wonderful job. We're all of the same mind-set. None of us set
out to make a normal soap. Change is definitely in the offing in
"Of course, 'Kyunki Saas...' made television the huge medium
that it is today. Its relevance can never be undermined. It's an
honour to be associated with Balaji as an actor and now a
producer. And if Shobhaji wants me to do another co-production
I'll happily do it."
She lights up at the mention of her "Thodisi..." writer Kamlesh
"I very apologetically suggest melodramatic situations in the
serial. He quietly reminds us of how significant a hand
melodrama has played in his epic feature films like 'Tezaab' and
'Rang De Basanti'. We're all a team of youngsters on the 'Thodisi...'
a team wanting to graduate to another level on the serials."
Smriti is full on into producing "Thodisi Zameen..."
"I sit on every aspect. For me it's an all-encompassing job. But
direction? No way! It sounds very fashionable for another female
actor to become a director. But I'm not into fanciful
Any unfulfilled wishes?
"I want to do a full-fledged comedy on television. The irony is,
I landed my role in 'Kyunki Saas...' on the basis of a comic
She's glowing as the old woman on "Kyunki Saas..."
"I guess it's the glow of the success of 'Thodisi Zameen...'
I've been very lucky. 'Kyunki...' is a legendary soap. And now
I'm part of the change that's happening on Indian television. I
won't take credit for anything good that has happened to
"I think actors are hugely dispensable. It's the technicians who
make soaps happen. An actor occupies the most amount of space in
the papers. But it's the technicians who deserve to be written
about. I've seen my technicians running around to get their
children into school. I know their value."
Speaking of Smriti's family, her husband and children don't
watch her serials.
"My children go to bed at 8 p.m. They don't go to any fancy
school. I want them to grow up as normal kids. My husband
doesn't have time to watch television. But I must tell you, when
I was very younger I used to tell god I was ready to face any
hardships in life, as long as I get a good husband. My prayers
Abhishek, Aishwarya to marry in Jodhpur?
By Anil Sharma,
Jaipur, March 2 The post-wedding bashes of Hollywood
actress Liz Hurley and India-born businessman Arun Nayar next
week are certainly the talk of town, but now Rajasthan is
rolling out the red carpet for the marriage of none other than
actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.
Umaid Bhavan Palace may be the ceremony venue for Aishwarya and
Abhishek, usually well informed sources say. Amitabh Bachchan
has sent a couple of his close friends to Jodhpur to finalise
the hotel bookings.
Besides Umaid Bhavan, as many as four other hotels are to be
booked in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer for the marriage ceremonies. The
Bachchans want these hotels booked for a period of three days
from March 18. The marriage is expected to take place March 19,
these sources said.
However, March being tourism season in Rajasthan, they are
finding it difficult to get the required number of rooms in both
the cities, the sources said.
Close friends of the Bachchans who are camping in Jodhpur for
the last couple of days have started to look for other hotels
nearby, the sources said. These include Khimsar Fort, Balsamand
Palace and Rohet Fort.
Earlier, the marriage ceremony was slated to take place in
Jaipur's City Palace premises but later the Bachchans decided
that Jodhpur it would be.
Sources, however, said so far nothing has been finalised. As
directed by astrologers, the Bachchan family is interested in
tying the knot as soon as possible.
Before that though, Umaid Bhavan will play host to the much
talked about post-wedding parties of Hurley and Nayar. The two
will marry in London Saturday after which they will hold
celebrations in Mumbai and Jodhpur.
Preparations for the party are reportedly in full swing in
Jodhpur where the couple have booked the hotel from March 7-10.
The couple will hold two more parties at the imposing Mehrangarh
Fort on March 9 and the pretty red sandstone structure,
Balsamand Palace, 5 km from Jodhpur, March 10.
It is, of course, Umaid Bhavan Palace, that is the most sought
after. Perched high above Jodhpur, it is the last of the great
palaces of India and one of the largest residences in the world
- set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens.
This golden-yellow sandstone monument was conceived on the
grandest possible scale, in the fashionable Art Deco style of
that time. After 15 years of construction, the 347-room palace
was finally completed in 1943 - and has served as the principal
residence of the Jodhpur royal family since.
Designed by renowned Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, the
palace is a blend of Eastern and Western architectural
influences. A part of the palace is still the residence of the
royal family and another section house a museum displaying a
range of antiques from the royal past. The hotel portion has 64
rooms, including 40 suites, and is now a part of Taj group of
Hollywood star couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had also
stayed there during their recent India visit.
I'm a softie when it comes to KBC: Shah Rukh
New Delhi, March 2 Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan,
the new superstar host of quiz show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC),
says his prime concern is not so much TV ratings but to keep
Shah Rukh, who faced a lot of scepticism after taking over from
Amitabh Bachchan as the host of KBC, also says he knows from the
audience reaction that he is doing a good job.
"I want everyone to win from here. Apart from being a superstar
here, I feel they should win some money and they should feel
proud of their achievements," Shah Rukh told CNN-IBN in an
interview about the show on STAR Plus.
"They are hungry, as some of them have tried for years to make
it here. I would like them to go back with the feeling that
having the hunger for knowledge and success has its benefits
when you come to KBC.
"I should go out of here thinking - life well spent because I
got to meet so may people and I am very emotional about that
part. I have been tough all my life, but yes, I am a softie when
it comes to KBC."
He refused to comment on the ratings of KBC saying he didn't
understand the business aspect of either his films or his
"To be really honest I am not from this business. As close as TV
business is to my film business, genuinely, for the past 17
years, I have never looked at the collections of my films. These
are things that are not in my control and I don't think I have a
right to comment on them because I am not a trade analyst.
"I wouldn't like to talk about television because I have even
less knowledge about it. I've been told that the TRPs are awful,
I've been told that the TRPs are picking up, I've been told that
they are steady now and I've even been told that we are the
leading show on television right now."
He said the numbers can get bad again, but he, producer
Siddharth Basu and Sameer Nair, who conceptualised KBC, were
making sure that the entertainment aspect of the show remained
"We'll see through making sure that we don't slip on the
entertainment aspect. I have a great time, which I think is
quite apparent in the way I conduct the show."
The superstar also added that he didn't have to look at the
figures to understand the performance on his show.
"I can feel it for I have worked long enough in the business of
entertainment to know when something works. I can see it on the
faces of 500 people who come here, I can see it on the faces of
the contestants and I can even see it on the faces of the people
who are watching television at home."
But, he added, screaming headlines made it difficult to ignore
anything about KBC.
"It's difficult not knowing the numbers because all the news
channels are showing it. The whole day and night they are
telling you about it. KBC was even in the newspapers and their
headlines, which is amazing because if it makes it to the
headlines, it means it is an important show."
He admitted that he didn't mind leading his contestants on when
they were unsure of the answer.
"I believe in telepathy and I think it really works. There was a
guy who I really liked and who was very intelligent. He was
doing very well on the show and he came to a question where he
thought it was not going to happen. I started thinking and I
putting it to his mind that this is the answer. I wanted him to
get the right answer."
South African films galore at Mumbai film fest
New Delhi, March 2 A retrospective of South African
films will be screened at the 9th International Film Festival of
Mumbai starting March 8.
"Sarafina" will kick-start the retrospective of the films
produced by South Africa-based Anant Singh and his company,
Videovision Entertainment, March 10. That apart, films like "The
Stick!", "Cry", "The Beloved Country", "Paljas", "The Long Run",
"Red Dust" and "Yesterday" will be screened as a part of the
South African retrospective at the weeklong festival.
"I am honoured that the Mumbai Film Festival has recognised us
with a retrospective of our films. This acknowledgement is of
special significance to me as a South African filmmaker of
Indian origin. It is also an accolade that is shared with the
thousands of people who have worked on all these films as it
recognises their exceptional talents," said Singh in a press
Singh and executive producer Sudhir Pragjee will attend the
"The Stick" and "Sarafina" were made during the apartheid (a
system of racial segregation that was enforced in South Africa
from 1948 to 1994) years while "Cry" and "The Beloved Country"
are the first two South African films to be made in the
post-apartheid era of the country.
"We are very excited to have these films in our Festival. The
focus on these films strengthens the ties between South Africa
and India, especially in the year that we celebrate 100 years of
Satyagraha, the doctrine of Mahatma Gandhi born in South
Africa," said Sudhir Nandgaonkar, artistic director of the
International Film Festival of Mumbai.
"Paljas", made in the Afrikaans language, was the first South
African film to be sent for Academy Awards nominations while
"The Long Run" is against the backdrop of the gruelling Comrades
"Red Dust" is a multi-award winning film that explores the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission that was set up to heal the wounds
of apartheid and "Yesterday" was the first commercial isiZulu
film dealing with HIV-AIDS pandemic facing Africa. It received
South Africa's first Oscar nomination.
Singh is expected to make an announcement about co-productions
planned with Indian film production companies, including the
sequel to the hit comedy, "Mr Bones", which will be shot in
I need to stand for goodness of Islam, says Shah Rukh (LEAD)
New Delhi, March 2 Born a Muslim and brought up as a
Hindu, Shah Rukh Khan is very sad to see the happenings in the
Islamic world. The reigning star of Bollywood says he "needs to
be standing for the goodness of Islam".
Stating that he is "truly" an ambassador for Islam, Shah Rukh
says his childhood fascination with the Ram Lila hasn't changed.
"But as I've grown older, and I see what's happening to Islam
around the world, I think it's important that even without full
knowledge of Islam, I need to be very clearly standing for the
goodness of Islam."
In an interview with the weekly newsmagazine Tehelka, the star
who is married to a Hindu and whose children are being brought
up by the tenets of religions, says he stands for what a modern
Muslim should be.
"I'd like people to know that Islam is not only about being a
fanatic, or radically different, angered person, or one who only
does jehad. I'd like people to know that the actual meaning of
jehad is to overcome one's own violence and weakness. If need
be, overcome it violently," says Shah Rukh.
In a deeply personal interview that gives a rare insight not
only into his identity as a Muslim but also a husband, father,
son and brother, Shah Rukh says of his elder sister: "My sister
reminds me everyday that I cannot have a life like my father's."
The superstar, who has often spoken of his anguish at his
parent's early death - his father when he was 15 and his mother
when he was just 25 - speaks at length about his sister who
"suffered a lot from their death".
"And I had a sister who was not well at all. Lala. She's much
better now, but she'll never be fully well. Beautiful girl -
physically and mentally, again an MA, LLB (like his father). But
no good. After my father died, she got very shocked. Psychiatry
wasn't so big then, it took us about four or five years to find
help. Then it took five - six years for her to get very close to
her mom, and then her mom died, so she was really shattered.
"Medically termed, she had a potassium imbalance. Physically,
she started going very wrong."
By the time she came to Mumbai, she was really unwell, says Shah
Rukh. "It took time for me to earn enough - during 'Dilwale
Dulhaniya...' I took her to a doctor in London. Now, she's all
right. Matlab, she'll never be fully all right, but she's better
than what she was. She lives with me."
When he prays, the actor says, the closest he comes to a face
are his mother and father - and his dogs! "I love my dog -
Chewbacca. Is that blasphemous?"
And for those who have often wondered why Shah Rukh Khan talks
so much about his son Aryan and so little of his daughter Suhana,
here's the answer: "It's not that I'm not proud of her. In fact,
I'm more proud of her in a certain way than even my son perhaps.
But I'm shy of women.
"It's very shocking, but even with her friends, I can't play for
too long. I think girls should be left on their own. And I've
got this thing - I've never seen the inside of my wife's
cupboard, or her handbag, or her drawers, or whatever. I've been
married since '91, and I can't do it. I think a woman should
have a lot of privacy. I'm like that even with my daughter."
He admits that most of his closest friends are women - Farah
Khan, Juhi Chawla and Kajol - and most his male friends like
Karan Johar are not very macho either.
About his much discussed "asexuality": "Its not asexuality. I'm
just shy of women. I wouldn't know how to pick up a lover. If
that's the right word to use."
"Sometimes girls say they like me. I don't know what to say, so
before she thinks I'm foolish or asexual, I just say something
funny. The best way to kill romance is to joke. And, again it's
that conservative thing - I can't make the first move..."
Often castigated for dancing in marriages for money, Shah Rukh
answers why and how: "I do perform at weddings. But it is very
difficult to afford what I demand. You have to do it like a
show, it has to be in an area where nobody drinks and eats, it
will start at 9 p.m. and end at 11.30 p.m., the stage will be 30
by 40 feet, we will make our entries, we will not chat with
anyone, we will not eat your food, we will not take pictures
with your daughter or daughter-in-law, unless we personally want
to. We will come, perform, and we will go away."
Discussing films, he says he simply that he doesn't watch them.
"I get corrupted. When I see a good film and it doesn't do well,
or I see a bad film, and it does well, it confuses me. I saw
'Rang De Basanti'. It was very well done. I was supposed to do a
part in it. It was lying with me for about a year. I was shocked
by the fact that I couldn't read into the script. I just didn't
see any of it."
Shah Rukh also admits that he didn't like close friend Aditya
Chopra's hit film "Dhoom 2" because it lacked sensibility.
'Nishabd' gets lukewarm response
New Delhi, March 2 The initial response to Ram Gopal
Varma's "Nishabd", in which Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan
romances a girl 40 years younger, has not been as overwhelming
as expected, but trade pundits say it will pick up over the
"It is quite an impressive film. However, the occupancy rate
today was 60 percent. But there are huge advance bookings for
Saturday and Holi," Saurabh Varma, vice president Programming &
Distribution of Inox Leisure Ltd, told IANS on phone from
Saurabh added that the reviews would help the film's fate at the
The film, based on "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, has newcomer
Jiah Khan pitted opposite Amitabh.
"Amitabh's performance has been hugely appreciated," said
In Delhi, bookings for the evening shows have been encouraging
compared to the morning ones.
"So far, the response is not so encouraging. The collection was
only 50 percent in the first half of the day," said a source at
Varma's film got into legal problems with Kanungo Media,
producer of a Bangla film with the same name. It filed a case
against Varma's alleging that the Bollywood director had
announced his film just a week after the screening of his Bangla
film at a film festival. He requested that a stay order be put
on the film's release.
"If we stay the release of the film it would be a loss to the
film producer as he has spent crores of rupees on
advertisement," said Chief Justice M.K. Sharma and Justice
Sanjeev Khanna in their judgement Thursday.
Earlier, on Feb 27, Justice A.K. Sikri dismissed Kanungo Media's
suit on the ground that it had approached the court very late.
"You should have approached the court immediately," he observed.
Justice Sikri added that law was in Kanungo Media's favour but
since he had approached the court late, it was not possible to
pass any injunction at this stage.
Critics have appreciated the film saying that Varma has handled
a taboo theme with maturity and sensitivity. But they feel the
subject has its limitations and would appeal to a very a small
section of moviegoers because this kind of relationship is still
not acceptable in Indian society.