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and 'Koffee with Karan' go to NDTV?
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 26 The buzz is that STAR's two new high
profile shows "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC) and "Koffee With
Karan" will follow their mentors Samir Nair and Karan Johar
respectively into NDTV's soon-to-be-launched entertainment
But Johar dismisses the strong rumours doing the rounds.
"How can that be? My relationship with STAR during the first
season of 'Koffee...' has been fantastic. At the same time my
association with NDTV is my future on television. Let's see how
it goes. I don't want to jump the gun and make plans for the
future. 'Koffee With Karan' is a STAR brand-show," said Johar,
who is currently in Dubai promoting his chat show.
As for Nair's move to join NDTV, Johar said: "Prannoy Roy, who's
the man behind NDTV, is a great visionary. I'm proud to be part
of NDTV. As for Nair, he's a tremendously intelligent man. He
has proven himself time and again in the world of television.
And I'm sure he'll be a winner in whatever he does."
Fatigued, he brightened as he watched his closest friend Shah
Rukh Khan on KBC 3.
"I haven't been on the set to watch him shoot. But I did his
clothes on KBC. I just hope my 'Koffee...' matches up to the
high standards set by Shah Rukh. We've put in our best. This
time around I'm far more relaxed with the format. I'm hoping I'm
less worried with my guests. I'm no longer a debutant."
Johar sees 2007 as one of his busiest years.
"Not just busy but also a very different year. Because
Does he like his new role as a TV tycoon?
"Television is the future. Anyone in
the visual media is advised to take the plunge. I'm happy to
have my talk show on one channel and the privilege of making
software for another channel.
"I was lucky to get the opportunity to get into TV ahead of my
colleagues. And that NDTV, a channel I really respect,
considered me good enough for their entertainment channel, is
really flattering for me. Because at the end of the day, I'm not
a TV person. I'm a filmmaker."
He singled out Shah Rukh as the pioneer on television.
"Even before he became a superstar in the movies he was a
well-known name on television. So, he's come full circle. Shah
Rukh is an entertainer and a warm, emotional human being. That
combination will succeed tremendously in KBC.
"I've seen how he interacts with all his loyal fans. Shah Rukh
is very confident on television. As for me, I want to entertain
on both television and in cinema. I'm full of ideas."
Would he make feature films for television?
"Whatever they want me to do on NDTV I'll do for them. But
telefilms? No! I don't think so. The two mediums are totally
exclusive. Television is for talk shows, game shows and etc.
I'll make feature films only for the big screen. I'll make
software for NDTV. With Shah Rukh doing television that sense of
television being cinema's poor cousin is
"If you ask me, my brand value has tripled after my talk show on
television. More people want to see my films because they see me
on television. It's a communication medium of instant
gratification. I love it.
"But cinema is my first love. I've enough time to take care of
both mediums. As a filmmaker, I've my own directorial venture
this year. Then there's my associate Tarun Mansukhani's film and
an animation film."
Johar always wants to be on the move.
"I've learnt one thing from my father. Never put your feet up.
How can they be up? They should always be on the ground for
walking. There's always time to do more."
Hrithik was soul of 'Dhoom 2',
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 26 Bipasha Basu, who played a double
role in "Dhoom 2", is candid enough to admit that the movie was
entirely Hrithik Roshan's show.
"We were all aware that Hrithik was the whole and soul of the
film. Luckily, there was no resentment. He worked so hard that
no one could grudge his success.
"The rest of us had it easier. But I must say we all have
benefited from the film's success. People said they wanted to
see more of me. That surely means they liked me in the film,"
Bipasha told IANS.
After "Dhoom 2", Bipasha will be playing another double role in
"I like the space I've created for myself. I'm not
success-obsessed. I'm a bit of a tortoise."
Most Bollywood stars have woken up to the fact that actors must
have their own websites, and so has Bipasha, who recently
launched her website.
"The fan mail is intelligent and overwhelming. People don't
write just to gush. Lots of intelligent discussions. People are
happy to discuss serious issues with me.
"I'm glad to know fans see me as more than an actress. They want
to share their lives. They want to know my beauty regime
Bipasha tries to update her website as frequently as possible.
"My public perceptions come through that site. I write a
personal diary, though I can't jot down diary entries every day.
The website has brought me closer to my audience. I've always
been frank. But here I'm totally myself, exactly the way I want
A new socially conscious Bipasha has associated herself with HIV
awareness campaigns and says that she wants to focus on
"I want to do more for kids. I think I'm old enough to start
taking my social responsibilities seriously. But whatever I've
to do I've to have fun."
Recently, she danced with HIV patients at a live performance.
"It was for an organisation called Astha which helps to create
awareness about AIDS among sex workers. The effort is to tackle
the problem at the very basic level. The campaign for which I
danced was named Atma Vishwas (self confidence).
"First, they were in awe of me. Then they were dancing as though
they were my buddies. They've very sad lives. Yet if I make them
smile I feel like a good human-being."
Bipasha got involved with the project two years ago.
"So far I wasn't that keenly involved. But now I'm going to be
actively involved with it. And I don't want to be a celebrity
endorser. I want to be a part of the fieldwork. I'd rather dance
with the patients than just give them awards. If you become part
of their events they feel truly encouraged. It makes them feel
more human and accepted."
Bipasha's performance went well.
"You know, a live performance may look like a very small
contribution from the outside. But for me it's a very big thing.
I suffer from tremendous stage fright. There has to be a truly
valid reason for me to brave it... either big money or a big
show. But this time my efforts were really from the heart.
"You know I'm a selfish person. I like myself when I do
something for others. I felt good about dancing for a cause on
Wednesday. Fortunately, I now have songs like 'Beedi' and 'Dhoom'
to dance to."
Story of the Oscars this year - the surprise omissions
By Sevanand Gaddala,
Mumbai, Jan 26 The Academy Awards have always sought
to play it safe, honouring serious, thoughtful movies and
tending to ignore the more contemporary, cutting edge fare.
A prime example of this would be last year's best picture winner
"Crash" which beat out "Brokeback Mountain" in the annual awards
of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"Crash" was the hyper preachy ode to racial relations whereas "Brokeback
Mountain" examined gay cowboy love.
It is no different with this year's nominations in the best film
category, which were announced recently. However, the story of
this year's nominations is the surprise omissions.
Sticking to its 'let's celebrate harmony and triumph of the
human spirit' themes in movies, the Academy chose to honour "The
Departed", "The Queen", "Babel", "Letters from Iwo Jima" and
"Little Miss Sunshine" in the best film category.
With "The Departed" and "The Queen", the Academy is
acknowledging more straightforward narrative and well-crafted
films in the mode of vintage Hollywood.
"Babel" is a sombre meditation on the trappings of cultural
interactions with a hint of melancholic regret, and "Letters
from Iwo Jima" plays out the guilt of finally empathising with
"Little Miss Sunshine" is the only non-mainstream independent
film to be included and it too reflects the Academy's
self-congratulatory attitude of giving the little ones a chance.
The most surprising omission this year from the best film list
is Bill Condon's "Dreamgirls" starring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer
Hudson and Jamie Foxx.
The movie hauled in eight nominations, albeit mostly in
technical categories, but even with all that it got no nods for
the biggies like best picture, best director or best screenplay.
Director-actor Clint Eastwood pulled out the almost impossible
feat of putting out two movies on the same theme from opposing
While his "Letters from Iwo Jima", which explores the battle
from the Japanese perspective got recognised, its counterpart
"Flags of our Fathers" about the American soldiers who raised
the flag in the iconic picture by Joe Rosenthal got snubbed.
Many felt "Flags of our Fathers" was a better movie, but the
Academy could have looked at it as just another war movie with
all the usual harrumphing.
Then there is the neat give some take some trick in giving a
nomination to "Little Miss Sunshine" for best picture but not
best director. On the other hand, Paul Greengrass is nominated
for the best director for "United 93 but the film is ignored in
best picture category.
In the foreign film category, Spanish film "Volver" by Pedro
Almodovar was shockingly absent both for best foreign film or
best director while its lead actress Penelope Cruz got a best
But the most tragic "omission" of sorts for us in India would be
Deepa Mehta's "Water", an Indian story with an all Indian cast
is honoured as a Canadian film and we in India have not even
been able to watch it let alone celebrate the praise the rest of
the world seems to be lavishing on it.
It will be a month till the actual awards ceremony on Feb 25 and
one can expect the usual hustling about from the studios to get
their movies as much attention as possible and a chance for fans
to catch up on familiarising themselves with the nominations.
When the awards are finally handed out, there will, no doubt, be
even more discussion on the omissions. But for all the nominees
right now, it is great just to be
acknowledged even if they lose out finally.
Amitabh Bachchan to receive
Legion d'Honneur award
New Delhi, Jan 26 The French embassy will honour
Saturday legendary Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan with the
Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award, for his
contribution to Indian and international cultural life.
French Ambassador Dominique Girard will confer the award on
Bachchan at a special function at the embassy. Apparently,
entire Bachchan clan is expected to grace the occasion.
Aishwarya Rai, who just got engaged to the actor's son, Abhishek,
is also likely to be seen at the award ceremony.
Eminent filmmaker Luc Jacquet's thought provoking film
"Penguins, A Love Story" will be screened on the occasion.
Actress Romane Bohringer, who did the voice over for the French
portion of the film, Christophe Lioud and Yves Darondeau,
founders and managers of production company Bonne Pioche, will
be present there.
Other well-known personalities from Bollywood, the Mumbai-based
Hindi film industry, to attend the function will be Manmohan
Shetty of Adlabs Films distributors and Sunil Doshi of Alliance
Indian. Both Shetty and Doshi are the rights holders of the
The French embassy in India had made the announcement Oct 10
last year, which coincided with Bachchan's 64th birthday.
Created to reward eminent military and civil merits in the
service of France, Legion d'Honneur is the highest distinction
that can be conferred to a French citizen or a foreigner.
Among the eminent Indian personalities to have received the
honour are Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray in 1987, sitar
maestro Ravi Shankar in 2000 and environmentalist R.K. Pachauri
Bachchan, an icon in India, is well known in many countries
around the world. The BBC Online voted him as the 'Star of the
millennium' above Hollywood greats like Sir Lawrence Olivier and
The actor, popularly known as Big B, has dominated Indian cinema
since he quit his job as a freight broker in Calcutta and joined
Bollywood more than three decades ago.
Horse's death on film set angers activists
Bikaner, Jan 26 Animal rights activists are up in
arms over the death of a horse during the shooting of a film in
a village in Rajasthan.
The incident occurred Tuesday near Agneyu village in Bikaner
district, over 325 km from here, during the shooting of Abhishek
Bachchan-Priyanka Chopra starrer Drona.
"This is a clear cut violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act and also a violation of Section 429 of the Indian
Penal Code. I have requested the director general of police to
direct the local police to lodge a complaint against the film's
producer and the owner of the horses," Naresh Kadyan, Chairman,
People for Animal, Haryana, said.
Kadyan said that in spite of animal rights activists drawing the
attention of the administration and the police against the ill
treatment of animals during film shoots, the government has
failed to take any action.
He also pointed out that during the shooting of a film animals
spend the whole day standing in the sun with no water available
to them, which is "pathetic".
"During the shoot a horse suddenly started to bleed from its
nose and before any medication could be given, it died", a
member of the film unit told IANS. "It seems the horse died due
to forceful pulling of the string fixed in its nose".
Fifty horses were brought from Jaipur for the shooting of the
Goldie Behl-directed movie, which also stars Jaya Bachchan, the
mother of Abhishek Bachchan.
The Vishoi community, which reveres the animals, has threatened
not to allow further shooting of the film here till a case is
registered against the production house.
"The police should look into why the horse was buried without a
post-mortem," said Laduram Vishnoi, a villager.
Drona is the first Hindi film to feature Abhishek with his
The mother and son came to Rajasthan to shoot for the film a day
after Abhishek's engagement to Aishwarya Rai Jan 14.
No show for 'Parzania' in Gujarat
Ahmedabad, Jan 26 Rahul Dholakia's acclaimed film "Parzania"
that focuses on the 2002 Gujarat communal violence was Friday
released across the country except in this state, with the
filmmaker alleging that "some people, some parties" had warned
cinema owners against showing it.
"Parzania" is based on a real life incident in which an
Ahmedabad-based Parsi family's son went missing during the
sectarian strife that began Feb 28, 2002.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has not
imposed any ban on the film, cinema houses across the state
refrained from screening the film that was released in the rest
of the country by Dholakia himself.
Some cinema owners said the small-budget film made no economic
sense as multi-starrer "Salaam-e-Ishq" was releasing the same
However, Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association vice president
Mahendra Goswami was more candid, saying: "The film's theme
might disturb the peace in the state."
An angry Dholakia told CNN-IBN in Mumbai: "Exhibitors in Gujarat
are reluctant to screen the film. They don't tell me exactly
why, but I believe they were informed by some people, some
parties not to show the film."
"Parzania" seems to be going the way of the Aamir Khan-starrer "Fanaa",
one of the top blockbusters of 2006 that was not shown by any
cinema house in the state after the
youth wings of the BJP as well as the opposition Congress called
for its boycott.
They were angry at Aamir's criticism of the Sardar Sarovar dam
project on the Narmada river.