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Media creating hype, losing perspective: Amol Palekar
New Delhi, April 2 A seasoned actor, innovative
filmmaker and a veteran theatre personality, Amol Palekar, takes
pride in juggling his many roles and says he doesn't like to
pick up any as favourite.
And, as a seasoned media watcher, he thinks that the media,
particularly TV, is unnecessarily creating hype and losing
"If I can do both theatre and films or many more things at the
same time, why not? And I have been fortunate to do that. I'm
not going to reject one for the other," Amol told IANS in an
Very few know that Amol is an adept painter as well.
"You must be familiar with M.F. Husian. Whenever he meets me, he
asks me about my painting and not about films and theatre."
Amol, who immortalised the middle-class youth of the early 70s
in films like "Rajnigandha", "Chhoti Si Baat", "Chitchor" and "Golmaal",
has, sadly, stopped acting.
Ask him what was keeping him away from the silver screen, Amol
said jovially: "I always say that its nice to hear, 'Why don't
we see you', rather than listening to 'Why the hell do I see
you'. So, I guess it is better to be missed."
He may not be visible on the big screen, but off-screen he is
very active with his filmmaking and his latest creation is "Thaang"
However, what keeps him on his toes is his passion for theatre.
An alumna of J.J. School of Art, Amol started with the Marathi
experimental stage with Satyadev Dubey and later in 1972 formed
his own group Aniket. He introduced Theatre of the Absurd in
Maharashtra and a street theatre-inspired mode of staging plays.
He recently organised a theatre festival in Maharashtra.
"We had Ratan Thiyam to come and do complete retrospective of
his plays. He performed in the Manipuri language, which the
audience did not understand, yet it was a packed houses because
Ratan's work is vibrating and exciting. People find it exciting
because they experience something which they have never seen
before... This is the kind of passion and this is the kind of
response for theatre in Maharashtra."
Commenting upon the Indian theatre scene, he said: "When one
talks of theatre in India, it's too vague a thing to talk
about... because there are states where theatre is extremely
lively... like Maharashtra, the state I belong to, or West
Bengal. So, if you see the theatre there, it is an essential
part of your life and keeps growing, youngsters keep doing
different kind of experimentation.
"But if you look at states which have no tradition of theatre,
you will be disappointed."
Amol feels Indian theatre is as exciting as Western.
"If you see what renowned theatre personality Ratan Thiyam
performs, it is as exciting, as innovative as anything done
anywhere in the world.
"Our country has the tremendous strength of being different and
diverse and yet being one... The same kind of unity and
diversity is visible in theatre."
Amol was very critical of the media.
"There are certain sports which are hyped much beyond a logical
explanation, and there are certain sports and players like
Vishwanathan Anand, Geet Sethi - they don't get the kind of hype
which cricketers get. Even in cricket, women's cricket doesn't
get the same kind of attentions. So, it is time that all of us
should look at this and have a proper perspective.
"All I'm saying is that it is for the media to realise the kind
of hype they are creating, whether they themselves are falling
prey to it. Do you think it is realistically possible for every
channel to have exclusive stories? No, because the story is the
same. What is the perspective you give to that story is the
exclusivity. But we are losing this perspective and all of us
need to have a look at so-called hype... I think we have
forgotten to read between the lines."
He also feels saddened by the ignorance of the new generation.
"Just the other day I was in JJ School Of Arts. It has completed
150 years and there were lots of celebrations and I was also
"Someone asked me about the college, I said that this
institution has given so much and I think I'm extremely
fortunate to be taught by such stalwarts. I rattled off names
like - Shankar Palshikar, Sambhaji Kadam and Baburao Sadavelkar.
I also said that outside the college I was fortunate enough to
have K.H. Ara (painter) who gave me so much love and affection.
"But these names didn't mean anything to that person. It's
Bollywood to do away with movie premieres?
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 2 Is Bollywood on the verge of doing
away with the grand and glamorous film premieres? Yash Raj
Films, who lead the production parade, have shown the way. No
premieres for their films.
Last week another biggie, Vipul Shah's "Namastey London", opened
without a premiere. He says there's a bigger reason why
premieres are falling out of favour. "On Thursday night itself
negative comments are spread by vested interests, thereby
endangering the film's fate," Shah told IANS.
And if the premiere for Mira Nair's "The Namesake" was a starry
affair it was only because father and son Amitabh and Abhishek
Bachchan came down for a short while especially from Karjat
where they were shooting the "Mehbooba o mehbooba" song for "Sholay",
though they had seen the film earlier.
The stars from "The Namesake", Tabu and Irffan Khan, were there
but Kal Penn, who plays the title role, didn't make the effort.
"It's just that Amitabh is generous enough to attend other
people's premieres. Of course, he's in Nair's next film. But
he'd have come otherwise too - I'm sure of that. But Abhishek's
presence was a surprise, considering he and Nair had parted ways
acrimoniously after Abhishek had said no to Kal Penn's role in
'The Namesake'," said a young director.
"Having said that, I must add that premieres are gradually
becoming an exercise in futility," he added.
Interestingly, Nair herself came only for the first 40 minutes
of her film's premiere. "I had some serious editing work to do,"
Shah agrees that premieres are becoming a thing of the past.
"Nobody from the industry is magnanimous enough to come for
other people's premieres and I'm not big enough to ask. So I
decided to release my new film without a premiere. It's the
Friday that decides a film's fate, not the Thursday.
"I could've asked Amitabh to attend my premiere and then the
expenses involved for the premiere would've been worth it. But
it seemed cruel to ask him to come all the way from Karjat just
to attend a premiere. Since Amitabh doesn't say no people take
advantage. I didn't want to be one of them."
Are premieres becoming defunct?
"They serve no purpose. The responses are as meaningless as the
empty kisses that the guests blow at each other," said Karan
Johar, who released his last film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna"
without a premiere.
New house, new serial - Amna is on the move
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 2 Amna Sharif, one of the most
beautiful stars on the small screen, has moved to a new house,
which is next to Oberoi Skyhigh in the Meghdoot Towers building
"I'm busy doing it up right now. I appointed an interior
decorator but most of the work was done by me. My family and I
have shifted into the new place though the work isn't complete
yet. It's a huge house. But it doesn't feel like home as yet. My
room is much too glamorous," Amna told IANS.
The actress, who became a popular as Kashish of "Kahiin To Hoga",
has a family house in Bandra.
"But I always wanted a place of my own. I'm a very
self-dependent person. To have a place of my own gives me great
deal of satisfaction."
She's weary of scandals and controversies.
"I don't like talking too much to the press. It takes away from
people's curiosity about you? I'd rather let my work prove my
worth. I hate being written about. If every day there was a
story about Amna doing this or that, why would people be
interested in watching me?"
Amna comes from a very conservative Muslim family.
"My folks were totally against my career. But from childhood I
was fond of dancing and acting. I was a big fan of Madhuri Dixit.
I made a tape of my dances. Though I knew my family would oppose
it, I had to follow the call of my heart."
Initially, Amna worked in a boutique.
"For a while I was into designing. Eventually I got around to
modelling. It took me a year to convince my mother. Even today I
know my dad wouldn't have approved if he was around. But I know
I'd never do anything to shame my family.
"My mother let me do one ad film. I was thrilled because I was
paid what I felt was a fortune - Rs.25,000. After that there was
no stopping me. I did a lot of ads and music videos. Finally,
Ekta Kapoor offered me 'Kahiin To Hoga'."
Amna is one of those rare TV actors who had resisted the
temptation of working in more than one serial. She's not too
happy with the erratic schedules on television.
"I'm constantly fighting the clock. The way of working isn't
quite what I had hoped for. But I'm not complaining. I don't
blame anyone except the actors. I think television actors have
become big now. They need to project themselves accordingly."
Still, she's doesn't want to work in films.
"If I do a film, it has to be bigger than my character in 'Kahiin
To Hoga'. I can't just play a Christmas tree. It has to be a
performance-oriented film. I don't mind facing the camera
without make-up, though I'm very particular about my looks and
presentation in my serial."
Amna is known for glamorous self-projection.
"I take a great deal of trouble over my looks. The first thing I
do on the sets is to organise my look and costumes for the
scenes. It has paid off. Everyone comments on my looks."
She's now doing another serial, "Hum Do Hamare Do", with her "Kahiin
To Hoga" co-star Rajiv Khandelwal.
"Frankly, at this stage of my life I don't want to do another
daily. Now I need to move ahead. I've made sure I do a lot of
things other than the soaps. I do a lot of live shows. I keep on
She's not perturbed about the fact that she's become a popular
pair with Rajiv.
"I don't think it ever bothered Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol that
they were considered a popular pair. Now that I'm doing another
serial 'Hum Do Hamare Do' with him, people have bombarded me
with enthusiastic responses.
"It's a completely different character. I'll play a bubbly
character, completely different from Kashish in 'Kahiin To Hoga'.
I've reduced my dates for 'Kahiin...' so dates will not be a
problem for the new show."
She admits she shares a great on-screen chemistry with Rajiv,
but all other insinuations are annoying.
"It was really embarrassing for my family and me. But now I'm
used to it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't share the kind
of rapport with my mother where she can question me directly
about such rumours. But she trusts me. Explanations aren't
needed.... I'm very comfortable working with Rajiv. He's a
And did she share the same chemistry with the Gurpreet Singh,
who played Sujal in "Kahiin To Hoga" after Rajiv's departure?
"It isn't really important to be friendly with co-stars. But I
was friendly with everyone on the sets."
Govinda rejuvenated after working with Priyan and Akshay
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 2 "Bhagam Bhag" left Govinda
absolutely rejuvenated and he describes the experience of
shooting with Priyadarshan as unique.
"I've done many comedies with my friend David Dhawan. But
working with Priyadarshan was a new experience," Govinda told
Priyadarshan and Akshay Kumar are quite a team therefore Govinda
faced an initial spell of awkwardness on the sets.
"That's true," Govinda admits honestly. "For the first four-five
days I was the odd one out. It took me a while to get into
Priyadarshan's and Akshay's rhythm. Once I did that, I had the
time of my life."
The actor, who delivered hits like "Hero No.1", "Coolie No. 1",
says earlier he used to shoulder a lot of responsibility on the
"Not that it never paid off! K. Ravi Shankar was completely new
when he did 'Sindoor' and 'Dariya Dil' with me. So were Rakesh
Roshan and my brother Kirti Kumar when they directed me in 'Khudgarz'
and 'Hatya'. But now I've decided to be a director's actor.
"In Nikhil Advani's 'Salaam-e-Ishq' you saw me the way he wanted
me to be. In Priyadarshan's 'Bhagam Bhaag' I'm what he wanted.
And in Dhawan's 'Partner' you'll see Govinda in his style."
In fact, Govinda is on the verge of signing yet another film
"I've never felt more charged as an actor. The shooting in
London with Priyadarshan was extremely educative. I met so many
new people. Travel and work open up your mind. I was doing both
Be it Advani, Priyadarshan or Dhawan - everybody says that
Govinda is a changed man.
"I'd like to think I've changed. Yes, I did have time-management
problems. I've solved that. But more than that I did a lot of
films for emotional reasons. At one time I'd have three-four
films on the sets. That took its toll on my health and career.
I've learnt my lesson well. No more 'bhagam-bhag' for me."
Politics now takes a backseat. Govinda is clear about where his
"I've always been very clear about my film career. It was always
my first love. Everything else came later. However, other
commitments got in the way. But now I've decided to give all of
myself to my acting career. It's a great joy to be back on the
In his second innings Govinda's humility gets to you. After all
he has had the kind of comic innings that no leading man has
seen. Govinda brushes off the past.
"A lot of time has passed. Trends have changed. And I'm trying
my best to readjust. Just how much I'll succeed remains to be
seen. Right now I just want to enjoy the feeling of getting back
into the groove."
Govinda squarely shoulders the blame for his career's eclipse.
"I've been involved in one catastrophe after another. Sometimes
it's hard to be optimistic when you're faced with one crisis
after another. I try to put myself outside my troubles.
"I'm still a soldier of Soniaji's (Congress president Sonia
Gandhi) party. I'll present myself in Delhi if I'm called. But
for now I only want to savour the bhaagam-bhaag of film
IIFA awards: Big B takes Leeds by storm
By Prasun Sonwalkar,
London, April 2 Train passengers and workers with
origins in India and elsewhere in Asia could scarcely believe
their ears when they heard the announcement at the Leeds City
train station: 'Ladies and gentlemen, the train now arriving at
platform 8 is carrying a top movie star..."
The star was none other than Amitabh Bachchan, who was visiting
Yorkshire to promote and catch up with arrangements for the
International India Film Academy (IIFA) awards from June 7 to
Soon, a small crowd gathered around Bachchan's train from London
King's Cross. After the excitement settled down, he was quickly
ushered through the station and out via a side entrance into a
The IIFA is scheduled to be held in Yorkshire and local press
promoting the event gushed that if the reaction to Bachchan's
visit from the adoring public in Leeds last week was anything to
go by, "the county is in for the time of its life".
Mubarak Khalifa, a 30-year-old cleaner at the Leeds station, was
among those who had turned out to greet Bachchan. He said: "I
can't believe I've just seen him in the flesh. It's amazing,
really amazing, to have him here in Leeds."
Later sweeping across Leeds, Bachchan combined the famous
baritone with characteristic modesty and courtesy, and charmed
one and all at the Leeds Civic Hall where he addressed a
gathering of nearly 200 politicians, business leaders and
Moved by the warmth of his reception, Bachchan said: "I am so
happy with the hospitality, love and affection shown to all of
us by the people of Yorkshire. It has been deeply emotional and
I will carry that back with me to my country."
Speakers at the event included the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Mohammed
Iqbal, who confessed to feeling more than a little starstruck.
He said he had been a huge fan of Bachchan for many years.
Iqbal said: "I never thought I would welcome my icon,
everybody's icon, to Leeds."
Bachchan was also presented with a symbolic white rose by Linda
Pollard, deputy chair of regional development agency Yorkshire
Forward, an agency that played a key role in the county's
successful bid for the IIFA event in the face of rival bids from
New York and Barcelona to host the event.
Pollard said: "Events such as the IIFA Weekend will bring an
economic boost to the Yorkshire and Humber region. In addition
to the predicted tourism spend, the awards will also act as a
catalyst to access a new market.
"It will forge stronger business and cultural links between
Yorkshire and India, which is now one of the fastest growing
economies in the world. What is equally as important is the
message this sends about the region. Resulting media coverage
will give Yorkshire and Humber the chance to introduce its
world-class tourism, culture, business, film locations and
creative industries to a new international audience of more than
300 million people.
"Hosting an event of this scale will underpin the region's
credentials as a major player for international events, building
on the success of Royal Ascot at York in 2005."
The main awards ceremony is scheduled at Sheffield's Hallam FM
Arena, and other events will happen in and around Leeds. They
include: a celebrity cricket match at Headingley Carnegie
stadium, where Sachin Tendulkar, who played for Yorkshire in
county cricket, is expected to turn out; an Asian market at the
Corn Exchange; the world premiere of a Bollywood movie at
Castleford's Cineworld cinema; a business forum at the Royal
Armouries museum; performances of a play called Bollywood Jane
at the West Yorkshire Playhouse; and a grand networking dinner
at the Leeds Town Hall.
The Leeds Mela, the city's annual celebration of Asian culture,
is normally held in August, but this year it will take place
over the weekend of June 9 and 10. It has been given a new name,
Bollywood in the Park.
Some IIFA events will also be held in the neighbouring town of
York, including the York Indian Film Festival. Also set to
perform is the Bollywood Baja Band, which will play everything
from Bhangra to Jazz.
David Atkinson, chief executive of City of York Council, said:
"The city of York, as a great international destination,
welcomes the IIFA delegates and guests to Yorkshire.
"This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the culture and
creativity of York and the region to such an important and
influential audience and we look forward to giving them an
Hrithik, Kajol bag top Zee awards
Genting (Malaysia), April 2 Hrithik Roshan won the
best actor award for his superhero act in "Krrish" while Kajol
was adjudged best actress for "Fanna" at the Zee Cine Awards in
The best director award went to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for
"Rang De Basanti". The film also won the Best Film of the Year
award at the Aditya Birla Group Zee Cine Awards 2007 at a
function at this popular hill resort Sunday attended by a galaxy
of Bollywood celebrities.
"Lage Raho Munnabhai" and "Rang De Basanti" bagged the maximum
awards as well as the Power Team awards for their respective
Current heartthrob Abhishek Bachchan, who did a rock n' roll
number with his fiancée Aishwarya Rai at the event, received the
best supporting actor male award for his performance in "Kabhi
Alvida Naa Kehan" while Konkona Sen Sharma won the best
supporting actress trophy for her powerful performance in "Omkara".
Saif Ali Khan, who co-hosted a segment of the show with main
host Karan Johar, was honoured with the best actor in a negative
role for playing Langda Tyagi in "Omkara". Arshad Warsi won the
best comic actor award for "Lage Raho Munna Bhai".
In the critics award segment Sanjay Dutt was given the best
actor (critics) trophy for "Lage Raho Munnabhai", while the film
also bagged the best entertainer (critics) award. Gul Panag and
Ayesha Takia won the best actress critics award for "Dor".
Rekha won the Forever Diva Award while Vinod Khanna was given
the Lifetime Achievement award.
The award for best screenplay went to Vidhu Vinod Chopra,
Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijit Joshi, the best dialogue to Rajkumar
Hirani and Abhijit Joshi and best story to Hirani - all for "Lage
Prasoon Joshi won the best lyricist award for hit number "Paatshala"
in "Rang De Basanti" and A.R. Rahman bagged the best music
director trophy for the same film.
Shaan was adjudged best singer male for "Chand sifaarish" in "Fanna"
and Alka Yagnik the best female singer for "Tumhi dekho naa..."
in "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna". The Radio Mirchi best track of the
year award went to "Bidee", while Ganesh Acharya got the best
choreographer award for the same song. The best background score
went to Salim Sulaiman for "Krrish".
In the technical award category - best visual effects went to
Craig Mamma and best action to Shyam Kaushal for "Krrish". P.S.
Bharti got the Renu Saluja award for best editing for "Rang De
Basanti" while Vinod Pradhan bagged the best cinematography for
the same film.
Best audiography award went to Jeetendra Chaudhary for "Krrish"
and best song recording to "Salman Afridi" for "Omkara".
Anna Singh bagged the best costume award for "Umrao Jaan" and
Sharmishtha Roy for best art direction in "Kabhi Alvida Naa
Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan
and Shah Rukh Khan kept the audience spellbound with some great
dance numbers at the gala.
Preity upset over Suchitra dragging her name in break-up
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 2 Suchitra Krishnamurthy's outburst
against Preity Zinta, blaming her for the break-up with hubby
Shekhar Kapur, has upset the spunky actress.
Both Preity and her friend Ness Wadia are wondering why Suchitra
has been talking in this way.
Preity denies having anything to do with Kapur and has issued
the filmmaker an ultimatum to clear her name.
Preity told IANS: "I don't know how I get involved in
controversies. Where do I come into this? I've met Shekhar maybe
five times in 10 years. He was supposed to make my launch film.
But it never happened. But we've kept in touch and we've met up
when he was in India.
"In fact, I was supposed to have been directed by Shekhar for
producer Vishal Bharadwaj in a film called 'Mantra'. That was
the last I met him."
Preity called up Kapur asking him to clear her name immediately.
Kapur, who was in Mumbai last week to meet his daughter, was
apparently very embarrassed and has promised her that he would
clear the air.
"Otherwise Preity will take drastic action against those who are
bad-mouthing her," said a close friend of the actress.
"Kapur treats Preity like a child. He has virtually seen her
grow up. Surely there're more discreet ways for an angry wife to
be noticed? How would Suchitra like it if her six-year-old
daughter is questioned by her friends in school about her dad
and Preity? Suchitra claims Preity called her up and said not to
talk this way because she (Preity) is getting married. No such
thing happened," added the friend.
Sanjaya impresses US record company
Los Angeles, April 2 Indian origin Sanjaya Malakar,
an "American Idol" contestant, seems to have impressed Sub Pop
Records, a recording firm in the US, even though most Americans
say he cannot sing.
The record company is based in Seattle, Sanjaya's hometown, and
has recorded the likes of Nirvana and The Shins. And Stuart
Meyer, an artist and repertoire representative, feels that being
able to sing is not the only quality a pop star needs, reports
"He has a charm about him that is key to being a pop star. Some
of the biggest pop stars like Madonna and Britney Spears aren't
exactly the best singers," Meyer said.
He feels Sanjaya has "a bright future ahead" and is sure that
someone will sign him because "he has personality".
Lastly, "you have to give him credit for getting out there and
singing live", Meyer added. "A lot of the biggest pop stars out
there today rarely do that."
Iraqi woman wins reality show in
By Weedah Hamzah
Beirut, April 1 (DPA) Beautiful Iraqi Shada Hassoon, a
contestant on a Lebanese Satellite entertainment Television show
similar to American Idol, brought joy to some 8,000 Iraqi
refugees living in Lebanon when she won this week's vote.
"We (were) all voting for Shada tonight, she is an Iraqi and our
people, Shiia or Sunnis, inside Iraq have been united despite
the difficult circumstances they live in to vote for the
beautiful Shada," said Iraqi national Leila Hamed.
Leila and her family fled war-torn Iraq along with her husband
and six other family members a few months after her father, an
official working for the Iraqi government, and her youngest
brother were killed.
She and her family are among 8,000 Iraqis living in Lebanon amid
harsh conditions awaiting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) to transfer them to a European country.
Leila, who is a Sunni Muslim, wished that she could go and see
the final episode of the show "Star Academy" to carry the Iraqi
flag and cheer for Shada.
Shada won over three other finalists - Marowa Bensghaier of
Tunisia, Mohamed Kammah of Egypt and Carlo Nakhleh of Lebanon.
Star Academy Lebanon or Star Academy Arabia - also known as Star
Academy LBC - is a reality TV show, which had its first
appearance in the Middle East through the Lebanese Broadcasting
Corp. The show started airing in 2003 and featured a group of 16
young male and female candidates from all over the Arab world.
Star Academy Lebanon is an Arabic adaptation of the French
Reality Television show, Star Academy, which is produced by a
Dutch company Endemol. The format is based on the Spanish show,
The Star Academy idea revolves around 16 candidates or students
who are locked down in the academy in Adma, north of Beirut,
where they show their talents in singing, dancing and acting.
The Star Academy candidates undergo several competitions between
each other in front of the Academy teachers and then the
television audience in each week's contest. The audience can
vote on who they think is best.
By Friday, Hassoon was regarded the front-runner. Most of her
trainers and teachers described her as a very talented woman who
sings in Arabic, French, English, Spanish and Italian who had a
big chance to win.
Shada was quoted as saying that "her dream is to win the title
for her country Iraq and her people.
"She deserves to be a star, not because she is Iraqi," said
Khalil Yassin, an Iraqi refugee also living in Lebanon.
Hasson's father is Iraqi and her mother Moroccan.
"What I like in her is that she identifies herself as an Iraqi
national and that she has dreamt since childhood to represent
her country in a singing competition," said Haitham Hamed,
another Iraqi refugee.
Hassoon has been the object of wide attention in the Arab media
and some foreign media which, liked the US-based CNN, covered
the final episode Friday night.
Iraqi newspapers and television broadcasters advocated for
Hasson and called on the Iraqi people to vote for her.
One Iraqi TV channel went far to urge Iraqis to "vote for the
daughter of the Euphrates ... despite the sad circumstances in
Iraq, please vote for our daughter Shada, the daughter of the
two rivers". Lebanese media reported.
One Lebanese media outlet described Shada as "a person who has
united Sunni's and Shia Muslims in Iraq - despite the lack of a
Shada in short managed to take the minds of her Iraqi nationals
in and outside Baghdad from the civil strife that is ripping
their war- torn country apart.
Sushant to play 'contemporary' Samba in new 'Sholay'
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, April 1 Actor Sushant Singh, who plays
villain Gabbar Singh's right-hand man in Ram Gopal Varma's "Sholay",
says he wants the new Samba to reflect "a contemporary
"It was a pleasant surprise when Ramu called me. I didn't think
twice before accepting the offer. It's not often that one gets a
chance to revisit an all-time classic like 'Sholay'. Also, I've
never had the privilege to work with Mr. (Amitabh) Bachchan. I
get to be with him in almost every frame," said an excited
The talented actor has worked on his complete look for the film.
"Obviously my Samba will be very different from the way it was
played in the earlier 'Sholay'. Ramu (Varma) has opened up the
character. Not much is known about the character in the
original. I'm very interested in exploring the relationship
between Gabbar and Samba."
Sushant wants to go for a complete change of wardrobe and
attitude. "So far I've never had the chance to play a really
trendy character. I wanted Samba to dress and speak in a way
that reflects a contemporary sensibility."
He seemed hardly bothered about the baddie's role being offered
to Manoj Bajpai first.
"It means little to me whom the role was offered to first or
second ... as long as I finally got it. For me it's a double
whammy that I get to work with Ramu again and share screen space
with Mr. Bachchan."
Mani Shankar's "Mukhbiir", featuring Sammir Dattani in the lead,
is an unusual espionage thriller and Sushant is gung-ho about
his part in it, too.
"I play a very dark shade of grey. From Ramu's 'Sholay' to 'Mukhbiir'...
it is a complete performing spectrum for me," he said.
Indian films with smoking scenes may get 'A' certificate
By Prashant K. Nanda,
New Delhi, April 1 Films showing actors blowing
glorious rings of smoke or village elders smoking a hookah may
soon be out of reach for those below 18 years.
An autonomous body helping the Indian government in its fight
against tobacco consumption has suggested that films showing
smoking scenes should be awarded an 'A' (adult) certificate.
Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), an autonomous
public-private body, was formed with active involvement of the
government to create awareness against tobacco consumption and
help in devising strategies to tackle the issue.
"We have suggested awarding 'A' certificates to all movies
showing smoking scenes. It's a unanimous decision and the health
ministry has also shown its keenness about it," said PHFI
president K. Srinath Reddy.
"A committee will judge the requirement of the scene vis-à-vis
the story and ask the character who is a part of the smoking
scene to speak against tobacco consumption at the beginning of
the movie, during interval time and at the end of the movie,"
Reddy told IANS.
Reddy, who was a former head of the cardiology department of All
India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said movies with
smoking scenes are affecting young minds. "The new suggestion,
once implemented, would be an effective tool to curb public
promotion of a wrong thing."
PHFI has an empowered, independent governing board consisting of
representatives from the government, philanthropists and leading
Indian and international professionals.
Its members include health secretary Naresh Dayal, planning
commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Indian
Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief N.K. Ganguly, Nobel
laureates Amartya Sen, Ashok Alexander, director Avahan - the
India AIDS Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In India alone, there are over 800,000 tobacco-related deaths
every year and it is posing a huge challenge to the country's
public health expenditure and productive working hours.
According to government estimates, India is home to 200 million
tobacco users. To dissuade people from smoking, pictures of
corpse, cancerous mouth and the caption "your smoking kills
babies" would be displayed on packets of tobacco products from
There are currently 1.3 billion addicted smokers across the
globe of which five million die every year.
Elaborating on their suggestions Reddy, who has been awarded by
World Health Organisation (WHO) for his anti-tobacco consumption
work said: "During the smoking scene, a one minute anti-smoking
scroll will also run to negate the message among the audience."
Reddy said a blanket ban on smoking scenes in movies faced a
roadblock after producer-director Mahesh Bhatt moved the Delhi
High Court challenging the government's proposal two years back.
In an interview to IANS in November 2006 at Agra, Robert
Beaglehole, director of the chronic diseases and health
promotion, WHO, had termed endorsement of tobacco products by
actor Shah Rukh Khan and motor racing legend Michael Schumacher
Urging them to stop promoting what was a "social malice",
Beaglehole had said: "We know that celebrities in both Hollywood
and Bollywood are endorsing tobacco in a huge way and we
denounce it vehemently. It's really horrible to see public faces
not showing enough responsibility."
'Barso re' once again crowned top song
New Delhi, April 1 A.R. Rahman's "Barso re" from
"Guru" continues to hold the top slot among Hindi film songs for
The top 10 songs for the week are:
1. "Barso re" - Film: "Guru"; Music Director: A.R. Rahman;
Singer: Shreya Ghoshal. The hugely popular song about welcoming
the rains and featuring Aishwarya Rai retains its premier
position this week too.
2. "Chakna" - Film: "Namastey London"; Music Director: Himesh
Reshammiya; Singer: Himesh Reshammiya. A dance number already
doing the rounds in discotheques, the song has moved quite a few
notches up and landed up in the number two position.
3. "Rabba" - Film: "Hattrick"; Music Director: Pritam; Singer:
Labh Janjua. The song has some Punjabi charm to it. Fused with
drumbeats and western arrangements, it also qualifies as a dance
4. "Aayo ri sakhi" - Film: "Water"; Music Director: A.R. Rahman;
Singer: Sukhwinder Singh. A semi-classical song, it shows singer
Sukhwinder's versatility and gels with the film's mood.
5. "Dilli" - Film: "Delhii Heights"; Music Director: Rabbi
Shergill; Singer: Rabbi Shergill. Though the film has been
criticised, music lovers are lapping up the foot-tapping number.
6. "Saiyaan re" - Film: "Salaam-e-Ishq"; Music Director:
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Singers: Shilpa, Shankar Mahadevan and Loy
Mendonsa. A fusion of Indian and Western music, the song with a
qawalli touch is a treat to watch. It has moved up five notches
7. "En dino" - Film: "Metro"; Music Director: Pritam; Singer:
Soham. A soft romantic rock number boasts of Pritam's creativity
and makes its maiden entry on number seven. It might move up in
8. "Rozana" - Film: "Nishabd"; Music Director: Vishal Bharadwaj;
Singer: Amitabh Bachchan. "Rozana", an awesomely romantic and
sensuous number, nose dived and landed on number eight from
9. "Crazy kiya re" - Film: "Dhoom 2"; Music Director: Pritam;
Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan. This is another Aishwarya song on the
list. The fast number sets your feet tapping and is a visual
treat as well.
10. "Sajanaji vaari" - Film: "Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd"; Music:
Vishal-Shekhar; Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan and Shekhar Ravjiani.
It's a great track with a folk touch. Sunidhi is at her best in
the song, which has amazing dance vibes.
(Source: The Music Shop, Khan Market, New Delhi)