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And now...Munna-Circuit comic books
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 22 Director Raj Kumar Hirani and his co-writer
Abhijat Joshi have decided not to restrict their two endearing
creations - Munna and Circuit - to the large screen. They'll
soon be seen as part of a comic book series.
Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi tickled the funny bone of audiences
as Munna and Circuit respectively in the hit movies "Munnabhai
M.B.B.S." and "Lage Raho Munna Bhai".
"And why just comic books? We've a large number of offers to
turn Munna and Circuit's adventures into animation films,
cartoon strips, you name it," Hirani told IANS.
In fact, the blueprint for the comic strips has already been
"We've drawn some sketches for Munna and Circuit which would
hopefully serve as illustrations in a series of adventures, and
we like what we see. If things go well we'll soon be putting out
Circuit-Munna comic books for public consumption," said Hirani.
The comic books and the proposed animation films will be
marketed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions, which had produced
the two films as well.
Arshad is delighted by the idea. "Wow! To actually feature in
comic books, like Superman or Spiderman! Imagine what my son
Zeke will have to tell his friends in school. 'My father the
"But seriously, I've worked very hard on making my character of
Circuit as Munna's funny yet poignant right hand man. So, yes,
I'd love to be part of the comic books."
It's amusing, it's light, but
don't call my film funny: Meghna (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 22 Meghna Gulzar's "Just Married", starring
Esha Deol and Fardeen Khan, is out and the second time director
says firmly that she would like people to describe it as a
"light film" rather than "funny".
"When producer Pritish Nandy offered me the chance to make 'Just
Married' I gave it all I had. I'm surprised at how amusing the
film is. I'd call it a light film. I refrain from using the word
'funny' because people associate that word with slapstick,"
Meghna told IANS in an interview.
As the daughter of Rakhee and Gulzar sees it, her second film is
better than her directorial debut "Filhaal" in terms of writing.
"My father saw it and he really liked it. I'd like to be a
little harsher on myself. But, yes, I'd like to think my writing
skills have gotten better since my first film 'Filhaal'.
"And I've become better about the technical side of filmmaking.
'Just Married' didn't actually require tremendous amounts of
technical wizardry. It's a very simple story. But I feel I have
improved in my shot takings."
Both papa Gulzar and daughter Meghna underwent tremendous amount
of suspense while she waited to start her second film.
"The second film is truly tough for any director. But knowing
the kind of person I am I'd go through similar stress for every
film. In truth, my dad was more worried for me than I was. In
hindsight the wait for my second film made me stronger."
Meghna says she has inherited a sense of fun from her father.
"People tend to look at him as this very serious filmmaker,
which is true. But he has also made some really funny films like
'Angoor'. Like my dad's comedies, a lot of the humour in my film
"I guess my film has a sense of mischief about it that wouldn't
be there in my dad's film, though 'Angoor' had its own sense of
mischief. I feel 'Just Married' will appeal to the newly married
and those who have been married for long."
She brushes off the ongoing comparisons with Reema Kagti's
"Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd".
"Reema's film was being compared with 'Salaam-e-Ishq' also. But,
when her film came out, there was nothing in common between the
two. Yes, on the outside our films do look similar. It's a film
about honeymooning couples.
"However, mine isn't an episodic film. My film has one main plot
about a couple in an arranged marriage. The other characters
come in as seasoning."
Meghna is surprised by Fardeen's and Esha's performance.
"Esha's real personality lent itself well to the character of
the nervous bride. Esha is naturally fidgety. But Fardeen was an
eye opener. The questions he asked me added nuances to his
"Again, like Esha, Fardeen's character is close to the way he is
in real life. Like his character, Fardeen got married recently,
though he went through a love marriage in real life.".
How Farah and Sanjay rediscovered friendship
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 22 After a long cold war, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
and Farah Khan rediscovered their friendship last year on the
sets of Sony's dance show "Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa".
Both of them featured on the programme as judges along with
actress Shilpa Shetty.
"Farah and I go back a long way. She and I started off together
in "1942 - A Love Story". We had the privilege of visually
creating R.D. Burman's last melodies. That will always remain
among the best work we've done in the last 14 years. Since then
we've always got along like a house on fire. We did have a long
cold war between us. But now I think we're even more comfortable
with each other," Bhansali told IANS.
Remembering her stint on the dance show, Farah says that one of
the best things about "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa" was that she got to
spend time with Bhansali.
"I jokingly told Sony Entertainment Television they'd have to
re-do my contract. The whole day I was only looking after
Sanjay. When we meet up we keep going back to our good old days
when we were layabouts running around for Vinod Chopra's
production house, working away in Dalhousie 14-15 years ago.
"We've gone back to the good old days. And now I find him quite
mellow, emotional and changed. In between, he had become quite
an angry young man. Now he's just an emotional old man... For me
he's just good old Sanjay."
Both were choreographic assistants to Chopra during "1942 - A
Love Story". While Farah was to be billed as the choreographer,
Bhansali was credited as the director of songs.
Somewhere, the line dividing the two fledgling technicians' job
got blurred. And Bhansali felt he was being sidelined in all the
publicity and marketing. This created a rift between the two
The fact that mutual 'friends' insisted on adding fuel to fire
increased the problems.
Arjun Rampal gets choosy
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, March 22 Actor-producer Arjun Rampal is
picking up his roles with utmost care and says it's a conscious
decision because he doesn't want to jump into any and every film
that's offered to him.
"I really don't want to do work that will eventually disappoint
me. I don't want to be in shabby products. I want to work with
people who have the same respect for their work that I have. So,
yes, it's a conscious decision not to jump into any and every
work that's offered to me," Arjun told IANS.
Arjun says there's no dearth of work.
"Everyone goes through phases. Right now the phase I'm in, I
need exciting and challenge work. It's very important to believe
in yourself and be patient. I'm very clear about what I want to
do. I won't do anything and everything I'm offered."
The actor has just turned down two roles and has been focusing
fully on production. He opted out of "Shootout At Lokhandwala".
"See, I had to opt out of 'Shootout...' as I had no choice. I
share a great rapport with director Apoorva Lakhia after 'Ek
Ajnabee'. But I was shooting for my own film in London. There
were dates issues... I couldn't get Shiamak Davar to choreograph
on time. So the dates for 'Shootout...' clashed with his film.
"He wanted a particular look, which wasn't possible because of
my film. I had long hair for my own film, which I had to cut for
Apoorva's film. It was sad because I really wanted to work with
him after 'Ek Ajnabee'. I guess what's not meant to be won't
As for Anubhav Sinha's "Cash", "I injured my knee in the gym.
And 'Cash' involved a lot of action. I'm still recovering and
I'm not allowed to do any action for a month at least."
Then why did he accept the minuscule role in Karan Johar's Kabhi
Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK)?
"Karan is a very dear friend of mine. He very honestly told me
my role didn't amount to much. Since he asked me to do it, I
immediately agreed. That's the kind of person I am. I like Karan
and respect his work.
"Above all he's a wonderful human being. He just told me, come
for a holiday to New York and be part of our film. I didn't even
ask him about my role. Anyone who asked me about KANK I told
them it's a walk-on part. I'm glad I did it."
He is enjoying his new role as a producer.
"I enjoy producing a film. I appreciate what the industry had
given me. I'm grateful to the industry, and I want to give back
some of what I got from it by making films."
Is the lack of opportunities the reason why Arjun has turned
"Not at all. I think it's extremely important for every actor to
make films at some point in their career as soon as they know
what it takes to make a film. Because production teaches you the
process of filmmaking."
Arjun doesn't believe the myth that models can't act.
"When I came into the industry with Ashok Mehta's 'Moksha' and
Rajiv Rai's 'Pyar Ishq Mohabbat', there was a lot of cynicism
regarding models... That they're wooden, that they seem to be
modelling all the time. But I think a lot has changed since
then. We've had successful model-turned-actors like John and
Arjun has been so busy he has had no time to spend with his wife
and two children.
"But after I completed my production 'I See You' I took 20 days
off to be with my family. There's no role I enjoy as much as
being a husband and father."
Ajmer shrine brings more trouble for 'Namastey London'
By Anil Sharma,
Jaipur, March 22 Director Vipul Shah's "Namastey
London" is in further trouble. After forcing the producer to
apologize for Katrina Kaif's entry into the Ajmer shrine in a
short skirt, the dargah now wants all scenes shot in the complex
"We have written to the Censor Board and requested them to
delete all the scenes from the movie shot in the premises," a
member of the Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti dargah committee
told IANS on telephone from Ajmer Thursday.
Before writing to the censors, the committee sent a notice to
Shah March 16. "We have also sent a copy of the notice sent to
Shah to the board," he said.
In October, the committee had objected to a sequence featuring
Katrina in a knee-length skirt inside the dargah, saying Islamic
traditions did not allow women in skimpy outfits inside the
In response to their objection, Shah, Katrina and Rishi Kapoor
gave both written as well as oral apologies. After that the
committee closed the issue.
"However, it does not mean that he (Shah) is free to show the
scenes shot in the dargah," said dargah nazim Ahmed Raza.
According to him, filming any scene in dargah premises without
prior permission is wrong.
"It hurts the religious sentiments of the people," he said. "All
we want is that the director ensures that the scenes shot inside
the dargah are removed. If he shows them, then we may take legal
Other parties bank on stars, but BSP only has Mayawati
By Sharat Pradhan,
Lucknow, March 22 The Congress has its Gandhi stars,
the Samajwadi Party the Bachchan family and the BJP its
Dharmendras and Hema Malinis, not to mention political bigwigs
like L.K. Advani. But the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is banking
only on chief Mayawati to bring in the votes in the crucial
Uttar Pradesh polls.
All parties are gearing up to bring in the biggest and the best
campaigners as electioneering takes off in Uttar Pradesh for the
seven-phased assembly elections from April 7. It is only the BSP
that has nobody else but Mayawati to fall back on.
"We do not believe in the gimmick of roping in film-stars or any
other high-profile persons for the campaign. Mayawatiji is
competent and strong enough to meet the combined might of top
leaders of the entire opposition," BSP general secretary Satish
Chandra Misra told IANS.
The 51-year-old Dalit leader, who has emerged as the undisputed
inheritor of the late BSP founder Kanshi Ram's political legacy,
kicks off her campaign March 24 from Auraiya, just next to arch
adversary and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's home in
Though she had carried out her party's campaign single-handedly
in 2002 as well, because Kanshi Ram decided to focus attention
in Punjab, this is the first time she undertakes the task after
her political mentor's demise.
Her rivals -- the ruling Samajwadi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party
and the Congress -- are going quite the other way. They will
have their national leaders and are roping in Bollywood stars to
help them along the way.
Yet another attraction at poll rallies, particularly in rural
constituencies, will be Mumbai's dance bar girls being hired in
a big way by different political parties.
Mulayam's Samajwadi Party tops the star list with none other
than Amitabh Bachchan likely to share the stage with him at
several places. Poll strategists are in the process of working
out a plan to add Abhishek Bachchan and fiancée Aishwarya Rai
for the party's poll show.
MPs and former stars Jaya Bachchan and Jaya Prada are already
making their presence felt, hitting the front pages Tuesday when
they accompanied Mulayam to Etawah where he filed his
nomination. They are likely to be with him throughout the
The party's well-connected general secretary Amar Singh is
understood to be negotiating with several other Bollywood stars
to add more glamour to the party. Prominent among these is
Shilpa Shetty and playback singer Sonu Nigam.
The BJP is also giving final touches to a high profile poll
campaign to be launched by former prime minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee and former chief minister Kalyan Singh from Kanpur next
Others to follow include former deputy prime minister L.K.
Advani and national leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and
party president Raj Nath Singh, who proposes to camp in the
state for the next two months.
It will also bank in on its own film star MPs Dharmendra, Hema
Malini, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha and TV actress Smriti
Irani. Efforts are on to bring in the second generation, Vinod
Khanna's son Akshay and Dharmendra's children Sunny and Esha
Not willing to lag behind, the Congress plans road shows with
its MP Govinda and supporters like Rajesh Khanna. And the buzz
is that the party is also trying to get Shah Rukh Khan to match
the Bachchan's family appeal.
Of course, party chief Sonia Gandhi's children Rahul and
Priyanka are the ultimate stars. They will be there with their
mother, who will obviously be spinning across the vast state
seeking people's support for the party that has been down in the
dumps in the politically vital state.
'Namastey London' - old wine in new bottle
New Delhi, March 22 Though Vipul Shah's comic-love
story "Namastey London" releasing Friday is an oft told story,
he has made it a complete entertainer with a witty script.
The film, starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Rishi Kapoor,
is about a desi boy trying to woo his NRI wife.
The story goes something like this-
Jasmeet Singh or Jazz (Katrina Kaif). Born and brought up in
London, Jazz wants everything that's western, including a
husband. But her father Manmohan Singh (Rishi Kapoor) is hell
bent on finding her an Indian husband and lands up in India in
search of a suitable guy. Here he meets Arjun (Akshay Kumar) a
rough and tough farmer who can barely speak English.
Without a second thought, he finalises Jazz's marriage with
Arjun. Arjun is obviously over the moon when he marries the
beautiful and sophisticated Jazz. But this soon turns into
misery when he finds out that the marriage means nothing to Jazz
and she is determined to marry her British boyfriend.
Caught in this emotional tug of war between father and daughter,
poor Arjun is helplessly and hopelessly in love with his
beautiful but unyielding wife.
After marriage, Arjun and Jazz fly back to London where he is
forced to watch his wife romancing another man. Jazz's behaviour
hurts Arjun but he doesn't give up hope. He is determined to win
everybody's hearts. Will stubborn Jazz be the exception?
The film will work if it is not too preachy. Akshay carries such
roles with élan. Katrina, who actually hails from Britain, is
expected to do justice to the role as well.
Sanjaya Malakar not fit for 'American Idol', says judge
Los Angeles, March 22 "American Idol" judge Simon
Cowell thinks Indian American contestant Sanjaya Malakar is
untalented and has threatened to quit the show if he wins.
One fan of the show has taken it to extremes. She has gone on a
hunger strike in the hopes that Sanjaya will be voted off,
Now into her fourth day of hunger strike, the fan, who has not
been identified, said: "I have no problems with Sanjaya
personally, he seems like a very charming young man. However, he
does not belong on 'American Idol."
"Sanjaya did come out of his shell a bit tonight like the judges
said. However, his voice was horrific. He screamed through the
entire song and jumped around like a manic. Nice kid, nice kid,
but not for 'American Idol," she added.