Topics : Art
Culture - Fashion
& Hot Bollywood Film News : *
News - Hindi Cinema Reviews - Previews - Music Chart -
to act in Imtiaz Ali's love story
Mumbai, Feb 24 Director Imtiaz Ali is set to direct
Shahid Kapur and Kareena Kapoor, one of the most talked about
Bollywood duos, in his next romantic flick.
Ali had earlier directed the critically acclaimed "Socha Na Tha",
which was Abhay Deol's launch vehicle.
To be produced by Shree Ashtavinayak, the film's shooting is set
to begin from March 20 in places like Mumbai, Chandigarh, Shimla
and Kullu Manali.
Manish Malhotra, one of the most sought after designers in the
Hindi film industry, will team up with Sabina Khan to design
costumes for the duo.
The rest of the cast will be announced shortly.
Jiah celebrates 19th birthday
She doesn't have a single release to her credit yet but Jiah
Khan is scorching the headlines since she had decided to work
opposite Amitabh Bachchan in "Nishabd", loosely based on
The latest on Jiah is that she celebrated her 19th birthday on
Feb 20 at a very hip and happening place at Juhu beach in
Mumbai. And Jiah's mum surprised her with a fireworks display
that spelt 'happy birthday Jiah' in true New York style.
Everyone close to her came to wish her. The entire "Nishbad"
team, including Adlabs CEO Praveen Nishchal, as well as Pankaj
Kharbanda and Prashant Raj were there to wish her.
Jiah was simply ecstatic and said: "It's just wonderful but my
birthday gift is yet to come in the first week of March when 'Nishabd'
releases, that's all I want."
Boom boom Patel!
Filmmaker Suneel Darshan can't stop raving about his new protégé
Upen Patel, who is currently burning up the screen with the
title track of "Shakalaka Boom Boom".
"Upen is the superstar of tomorrow, he brings style and energy
to the screen which a lot of our big stars don't do today. It is
time for the next generation of stars to take over. We need more
youths in our cinema and he will lead the pack," said Darshan.
Well, the song and the young actor might be a hit but going by
Darshan's last two films let's hope "Shakalaka Boom Boom" booms!
And does not bomb!
Usha Bachani in Vikram Bhatt's movie
Television actress Usha Bachani will soon be seen in Vikram
Bhatt's forthcoming episodic film "Life Main Kabhi Kabhie".
Though it is a cameo, she seems quite excited about it because
it's a fun movie with a strong concept.
"I had a great time shooting for this movie. I know Vikram from
before so it was very comfortable shooting with him. Most of my
scenes are with Aftab (Shivdasani) and he is an absolute
"The first day he came and introduced himself. We gradually
built a good rapport. And Vikram is one amazing director. He
knows what he is doing," said Usha.
The movie also has Dino Morea, Sammir Dattani, Nauheed Cyrusi,
Anuj Sawhney and Anjori Alagh.
Usha is currently coming in Sony TV's "Ek Ladki Anjani Si".
Rajasthan readies for Hurley,
Nayar wedding bashes
By Anil Sharma,
Jodhpur, Feb 24 Preparations are reportedly in full
swing for the much talked about post-wedding parties of
Hollywood actress Liz Hurley and India-born businessmen Arun
Nayar in Rajasthan.
Hurley and Nayar are slated to marry in Britain March 3 after
which they are to fly to India and host celebrations in Mumbai
Close friends of Nayar are said to have already flown to Jodhpur
to take stock of the arrangements.
According to informed sources, a lavish wedding party will be
held at the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace here. The couple has
already booked the hotel from March 8 to 10, hotel sources told
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, completed in the early 1940's, has 98
rooms and is considered one of the most beautiful hotels in
Rajasthan. The opulent palace, part of which is still the home
of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family, is set in 26 acres.
Hollywood star couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had also
stayed here during their recent India visit.
Apart from Umaid Bhavan, around 10 rooms in Hotel Balsamand
Palace, five km from here, have been booked for the guests. A
second wedding bash is likely to be organised here as well.
The Balsamand Palace is a fine specimen of Rajput architecture
in red sandstone, surrounded by lush green gardens. It is built
on the banks of the 13th Century artificially created Balsamand
Lake and has 35 rooms.
A third grand marriage do might be held in the 4th century
Nagaur Fort, 137 km north of here. The fort comprises three
palaces - Hadi Rani Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Badal Mahal - that
are noted for their beautiful frescoes.
"The party will be held in one of the palaces within the fort,"
a well- informed source said.
After Saif, Hrithik falls ill
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 24 After shooting round-the-clock for
Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodha-Akbar", flying back each evening to
rehearse for the Filmfare awards event and shooting for an ad in
Singapore, superhero Hrithik Roshan is down with a severe attack
of viral fever.
"I'm totally bedridden," he said from his home. "I've been
working round-the-clock, flying in from Karjat to rehearse. Then
I also took off for Singpaore.
"All the time I had high fever and was keeping it down with
paracetamol tablets. Today is the first time when I'm resting.
Post Saif, all of us really need to take care of ourselves,"
Hrithik told IANS.
Lately Hrithik has allowed himself to be self-indulgent with his
"I was so much into being well-toned for 'Dhoom 2' I decided to
give my body a holiday! I splurged for a while. But, then, I
needed to get back into shape. Therefore, after shooting,
rehearsing for my Filmfare performance, I was also going to the
"On top of all this, Gowariker hadn't warned me that we'd be
doing sword-fighting sequences during the last 20 days when I
was in and out of Mumbai and Karjat. All this has taken its
toll. I'm completely exhausted and burning with a fever."
He brightens up while speaking about his role as Akbar.
"I've enjoyed playing everyone from Rohit in 'Koi... Mil Gaya'
to Aryan in 'Dhoom 2'. But playing Akbar is a different
challenge requiring a lot of researched attention."
The Urdu professor who called on location to check the accent is
"He hasn't been complaining. So, I guess I'm doing it right,"
said Hrithik who is in no mood to sign another film yet.
"At the moment, I think a break is seriously needed after 'Jodha-Akbar'.
We must learn to listen to warning signals from the body."
I find my 'Eklavya' role very complicated: Boman (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 24 Those who are tired of watching Boman
Irani do the funny act might like his dead serious looks in
Vidhu Vinod Chopra's "Eklavya".
"I did serious stuff in 'My Wife's Murder' and 'Don'. And now in
'Eklavya' I play a man whose history defines his present. I play
a pitch-black character. Someone who's feared but who fears
himself the most. It's the most complicated role I've ever
done," Boman told IANS.
Chopra was someone Boman had worked with on the "Munnabhai"
"Being directed by Chopra in 'Eklavya' was something else. I had
heard stories about him losing his temper and throwing tantrums
on the sets. But he's like a child in a candy store. So
passionate about his work that he forgets everything.
"Our discussions on the sets often went far beyond movies. We'd
discuss scenes and then move on to discussing life. I had never
imagined this side to Chopra."
Boman, who was seen with Amitabh Bachchan in "Waqt - A Race
Against Time", shares different screen chemistry with the Big B
"We had lots to laugh about in Vipul Shah's 'Waqt'. In 'Eklavya',
we're thrown into an utterly grim situation. And bonding on an
actual location (Rajasthan) makes things very different from
saying bye bye on sets."
Then there's the third film in the "Munnabhai" series happening
very shortly. It's located in the US.
"I'd better be in it. Or I won't give them the visa to go
there," Boman laughed.
" 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' was a personal triumph. I was playing a
different character from the first 'Munnabhai' film. I quite
liked my character in 'Lage Raho...' He thinks he can get away
"People were initially taken aback because I was playing a
character totally different from the first film. They soon got a
hang of it. Or else they'd have hung me by the nearest tree."
Boman, who plays Shabana's loud gregarious husband in Reema
Kagti's directorial debut "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd", wears a
wig in the film. He is all praise for the hair stylist Avan
"She was all there. She read the script, saw my character inside
out and decided he needed a wigged look. She showed me about 10
photographs and finally said, 'Your character is stuck in time.'
That's exactly how I saw my character.
"Our costume designer worked out a bell-bottomed dude's look.
I'm very happy to get roles like 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd'."
Ganguly to have 'Koffee with Karan'
By Qaiser Mohammad Ali,
New Delhi, Feb 24 Star cricketer Sourav Ganguly
could soon become the first non-film personality to be having "Koffee
with Karan", a popular chat show hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar.
The episode featuring former India captain Ganguly, who is on a
much talked about comeback trail, could be recorded before he
leaves with the team to the West Indies for the World Cup March
1, said reliable sources.
Johar has already announced that he would be inviting non-film
personalities in the second season of the chat show but has not
disclosed any names.
The sources told IANS that Johar and Ganguly met not long ago
and the filmmaker told him that he would be inviting him to
feature in his programme.
"When the two met, possibly for the first time, they exchanged
mobile numbers and Johar told him that he would be inviting
non-film personalities to his show," said a close aide.
"Ganguly agreed to Johar's idea, and he could be seen talking to
him over a cup of coffee on the sets."
Ganguly made a comeback to the national team after 10 months
when he joined the squad in South Africa late last year, and has
been performing consistently since. His success has again raised
his profile, with sponsors who had deserted him reportedly
seeking to sign him again.
Ganguly, now 34, has amassed 10,470 runs in 286 one-day
internationals at an average of 41.22 and 5,435 in 91 Tests at
40.86. He has also hit 22 centuries in one-dayers and 12 in Test
Bollywood finally embraces reality cinema
New Delhi, Feb 24 After playing it safe for years,
Bollywood is finally opening up and promoting sensitive films on
communal violence and social or political issues. One can say
that it is finally coming of age and embracing reality cinema in
a big way!
Deepa Mehta's "Water", which has been nominated for the Oscars,
and Anurag Kashyap's "Black Friday" are important cases in
While Indo-Canadian filmmaker Mehta came all the way to Delhi
and Mumbai last week to promote her film, based on the plight of
widows in pre-independence India, Kashyap's film is being
promoted by Adlabs, one of the leading Indian production and
Filmmaker Ravi Chopra has decided to release "Water" across
India and said he believes in only "promoting good films".
Chopra stressed that one shouldn't undermine the intelligence of
"We are releasing it because of the audience, who like reality
based films. Ultimately, a production company makes a film which
the audiences would like," Chopra told IANS.
He is unfazed by threats of right wing Hindu groups. Though the
film will kindle the controversy again, Chopra feels it will
eventually subside after people see the film and are taken in by
Mehta was forced to shelve shooting of the film in Varanasi in
1999 after Hindu groups objected to the film's subject, torched
the sets and burnt her effigies. She later shot the film in Sri
"It's a beautiful romantic film and we always want to back good
films... we try to make good films ourselves. Having said that,
I add that one can't control anything. But I have a lot of faith
in the people and I am sure they will understand," Chopra said.
Adlabs recently presented Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed
film "Black Friday" that analyses the events leading up to 1993
Mumbai serial bomb blasts and the investigation thereafter.
The movie, which was to be released in 2004, was given a red
signal by the Mumbai High Court. The court's decision came after
a petition was filed saying that "Black Friday" might make the
public biased against the accused and hence the outcome of the
verdict, which was pending at the time.
With the final verdict on the Mumbai blasts out in late 2006,
the film saw the light of day Feb 9.
"'Black Friday' is a bold and brave story that is waiting to be
told to the Indian public and we are very happy to have
facilitated its release on the scale and the platform that it
truly deserves," said Sunir Kheterpal, COO of Film Distribution
Adlabs Films Ltd.
This turn-about by the distributors is bound to bring a radical
change - it will articulate the release-related problems faced
by filmmakers and make it easier for them to fearlessly tell
Director Rahul Dholakia is the toughest of the lot. He is not
the one to shy away from what he sees as a just fight. He went
ahead and made "Parzania" on the Gujarat communal riots of 2002
despite knowing very well the problems he was likely to run
Based on a true story, the film couldn't find any distributor so
the director launched his own company and released the film
himself. Starring Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika, the film is based
on Dholakia's friend Dara Modi who lost his son during the
When released, it was received well all over India except
Gujarat - the rightwing activists had their way in the state and
didn't allow multiplex owners to screen it. Modi was crestfallen
because the film was his last hope to find his lost son.
Undaunted by the threats, Dholakia is still fighting for its
release in Gujarat.
"Films should expand their boundaries by becoming more
responsible towards the society rather than being a mere source
of entertainment. They should bring forth the reality through
their craftsmanship," said a critic.
Creative filmmakers like Kashyap and Dholakia are showing
courage by venturing into so-far un-treaded areas. They are
striving to be different from their predecessors in terms of
"The filmmakers are doing their job and now it's the moviegoers
turn to fulfil their responsibility by buying tickets and
watching their films because it will encourage these filmmakers
to make more such films," the critic added.
John will miss Bipasha at the Oscars
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 24 Actor John Abraham, who joins "Water"
director Deepa Mehta at the Oscars night in Los Angeles Sunday,
will surely miss girlfriend Bipasha Basu while walking down the
Hollywood red carpet.
"Bipasha won't walk the red carpet with me on Oscar night," rues
Much as John would like Bipasha by his side, she won't be able
to accompany him for the grand Oscar moment due to hectic
"Bipasha is shooting in South Africa for Abbas-Mustan with
Akshaye Khanna. I think the producer, director and cast of
'Water' are required to be there for the Oscar night. So here I
am with Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray and the rest of the crew. Lucky
Deepa. Her soul mate is also the film's producer."
John in fact won't be meeting up with Bipasha until after the
"That's when we meet up in London to shoot together for Vivek
Agnihotri's 'Goal'. I plan to bring my parents to London in
summer. I love to have them over for long outdoors. Though I
didn't have them over in my favourite place - Afghanistan - when
I was shooting for 'Kabul Express'. Honestly, I love travelling.
I'd rather shoot in Afghanistan than Filmistan!"
John will be out of the country non-stop until May. "After the
Oscars, I go straight to London to shoot for 'Goal'. After I
return to Mumbai in May, I again leave for Nagesh Kukunoor's 'Ashaayein'.
I'm already missing Mumbai," adds John.
Though John is all excited to be at the Oscars, his wardrobe
remains somewhat undecided.
"I had no idea what happens and what's required of me at the
Oscars. Deepa explained the whole procedure to me. There're
parties, get-togethers and screenings arranged by our
international producers Fox-Searchlight. I'm so worried because
now I'll have to organise a lot of clothes. I'll wear clothes
for sure. I won't go bare-bodied, though the dhoti look might be
liked after 'Water'," John remarked mischievously.
The good-looking actor will be dressed up by Narendra Kumar and
Rocky S for mega event.
"These are the two designers closest to me. You know, dressing
up isn't as important. The event itself is important. Thank god
dressing up for the Oscars is more of a media event for women
"There are two main functions - the Oscar ceremony and the
governor's ball, which will be hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Apparently the attire is as important as these two events. For
one I'll wear Narendra's outfit and for the other I'll wear
Rocky S. I'll take a call on which outfit for which of the two
occasions once I get to LA."
John further revealed: "One outfit will be Indian - a black
achkan and the other will be Western - a white slick, lean,
slim-fitting suit. Both will be very contemporary in look."
And what if "Water" gets the Oscar? "I'm not even thinking about
John has struck a deep bond with his director. "When Deepa was
in Delhi to meet her parents I accompanied her. Her parents are
really sweet. Deepa has finally realised her dream. I remember
when we started shooting 'Water', we never knew it would go so
far. It has gone from strength to strength. It's getting a
limited release in India. It must be seen by all of us. Deepa
has done the country proud."
John is over the moon that superstar Amitabh Bachchan has agreed
to do Deepa's next project "Exclusion" with him.
"I've done three other films with him. Aren't I lucky? Deepa has
written a beautiful script. 'Exclusion' will require a lot of
preparation before it is actually shot ... just like 'Water'.
I'll have to go through a lot of workshops."
I didn't mean to offend Aamir, Salman: Hrithik
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 24 An off the cuff, humorous remark by
actor Hrithik Roshan about his colleagues Aamir Khan and Salman
Khan has raised some eyebrows. But the star maintains that he
said it for "fun" and didn't mean to offend anyone.
On director Karan Johar's talk show "Koffee With Karan", Hrithik
was asked whom among the two Khans - Aamir and Salman - he would
like to work with. To this, Hrithik, tongue-firmly-in-cheek,
observed there wasn't much of a choice since they were both of
the same height.
The remark ruffled a few feathers in the more conservative
sections of Bollywood who felt Hrithik was taking a pot shot at
the two Khans' height.
"Come on!" laughed Hrithik. "If people really took offence to my
off-the-cuff remark then I must say we lack a sense of humour.
Karan's show is meant to be light-hearted and fun and I had a
ball with Priyanka (Chopra).
"I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to Salman or Aamir. In
fact after the comment on their height, my next statement was -
'That's the only department where I can score over them.' Aamir
and Salman are such awesome talents. They're legends. It'll take
me years to get anywhere near them."
Karan, who's currently in the US, too had a good laugh.
"Surely even a perfectionist like Hrithik is allowed to have fun
on my show. And the remark on Aamir and Salman was certainly not
meant to offend. I'm amazed at how seriously we take ourselves
in the industry."
He added: "I'm also amazed that 'Koffee With Karan' has become
my main claim to fame right now. At airports, restaurants and on
the streets in any of the US cities, I'm asked only about 'Koffee...'.
I better direct another film quickly!"
An open letter to Saif Ali Khan
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 23 Following is a letter to the much
loved Saif Ali Khan who was hospitalised this week for chest
My favourite and most emblematic question defining your
personality is, 'Are you indecisive?'
I can never forget your answer. "No! Well... maybe yes..."
Get the picture, Saif? I've never come across anyone who's as
muddled and yet uniquely clear-headed as you. Not too long ago
you poured your heart out about your break up with Amrita
I cleaned out as much of your outpourings as I could, making
sure no one gets hurt. But it didn't look too nice.
Later you told a mutual friend you shouldn't have spoken out.
It isn't as if you don't stand by your convictions. It's just
that your convictions are multi-dimensional and prone to several
interpretations at the same time. This is what makes you so
endearing and exasperating.
A day before you went into the hospital, you sent me an SMS from
South Africa saying, 'Adaab, returning home today. We must speak
And then you signed off with those three trademark Xs, which
I've asked you about. But you've never given me a satisfactory
You never do. If there's a punctuation mark to define every
life, yours will have to be a question mark.
Indecisiveness isn't just an option for you. It's a way of life.
Ask all those directors who've bitten their nails while you've
gone through your inevitable thought process of yes-no-maybe and
I remember Aparna Sen even brought your mom into the picture to
make you say yes to her first Hindi film. Poor Aparna hasn't
been able to make a Hindi film yet.
Revathy wanted to sign you for an elder woman-young man love
story. When I asked you to speak to her, you readily agreed.
Revathy hasn't been able to get through to you.
Like it or not, today you're in an irreplaceable position in the
industry. Roles are being written specially for you. And if not
written for you, then tailored to suit your personality. This is
something we've laughed together about on several occasions.
Just three years ago, 'Dil Chahta Hai' had happened and 'Kal Ho
Naa Ho' had also come along. You were determined to fight out
the 'Best Supporting Actor' tag. I remember how apprehensive you
were when you did your first major solo act in 'Ek Hasina Thi'.
But it was an antagonist's role and you wondered if that would
take you where you really wanted to go.
"What's wrong with being Shashi Kapoor and not Amitabh Bachchan?
Wasn't Shashi your mom's favourite co-star?" I had rationalised
your fringe prominence.
I've to somehow bring your mom into all our conversations. Once
when we were talking about you settling down, you even joked
that I sound like your amma.
That's fine by me because it's time to give you some paternal
advice. You really need to bring down your stress level. Stop
pushing down on the pedal. It sounds strange saying this because
I've always found you enormously laidback, to the point of
seeming indifferent to social niceties.
If you didn't call back Revathy or Aparna, it doesn't mean
you've an aversion to female directors. It's just one of those
many things that you never got down to doing... like our most
recent interview, postponed over and over again. I'd have taken
grave offence if it were someone else.
Not you. Saif, you can never be offensive, even when you go into
a deep sulk for weeks for the strangest of reasons.
I am not even perturbed by your now-legendary indecisiveness.
What really bothers me is how frantic you've become about
filling up your bank account for your children's sake.
Everything that you do now is for Sarah and Ebrahim. You've a
number of times told me you'd like to make loads of money; hence
the profusion of ads and live performances.
Evidently, you're overdoing it. For a guy whose Nawabi
antecedents sit naturally on his aristocratic shoulders, the
working-class anxiety is a bit too much to bear.
You need to stop and look closely at your work pace. As far as
your children are concerned, I think a career is already cut out
for your daughter.
A year ago she came up to Sanjay Bhansali and me at an awards
function and did a graceful adaab. Then and there I knew Sarah
is going to be a major screen attraction. There's nothing you
can do to stop it. Why fight the inevitable? Just take a deep
breath and stop stressing about your responsibilities as a
You broke away from all the sniggering comments that you looked
like your mom. Today a lot of people in the industry secretly
and openly feel you're the best Khan.
Go, sock it to them, Saif.
Get well soon.
Subhash K. Jha.
Like Guru, Mani knew 'Guru' would be a hit
New Delhi, Feb 23 "Guru" continues to rake in the
moolah even after five weeks and veteran filmmaker Mani Ratnam
says that he had always been positive about the outcome of the
film - just like his protagonist who dreamt big and went on to
become a mega industrialist.
"Of course, I knew it would be a hit. Because when you make a
film like 'Guru' you start thinking like Guru," Ratnam told IANS
in an email interview.
According to the ibosnetwork.com, the Abhishek
Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai starrer, released Jan 12, has grossed
approximately Rs.800 million across the country.
Loosely based on the life of industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, the
late founder of the Reliance group of industries, the film even
managed a tax exemption in Uttar Pradesh.
When asked how much importance he gives to box office
collections, Ratnam said: "I make a film with two objectives --
I should be happy with the film and the man who pays for the
ticket should be happy with the film as well.
"The first one I know because I am making the film and more
clearly after I complete it. The second one I know only when it
reaches a lot of people. Box office collections are equal to
your film reaching a lot of people."
The film was dubbed in Tamil and Telugu and released the same
day as the Hindi version.
Ratnam's next film is "Lajjo" in which Aamir Khan and Kareena
Kapoor will be seen together for the first time. He hasn't yet
started work on it, but says: "I'd better get to it."
'Honeymoon Travels...' is not 'Just Married': Reema Kagti
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 23 Debutante director Reema Kagti, whose
"Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd" looks like the wackiest comedy of
the season, doesn't deny the much talked about similarities with
Meghna Gulzar's "Just Married" but says her execution and
treatment are different.
The film about six couples on a pleasure trip in Goa is
"Her film does have six couples on a honeymoon, so does mine.
But I don't know her script beyond that. But, then, there're
couples and couples. And there're directors and directors.
"Even 'Salaam-e-Ishq'... I went and watched it. There's an
ensemble cast and there're six couples in both and we both are
dealing with love and marriage. I get asked about these films
all the time. But my story treatment and presentation will be
very different from 'Just Married' and 'Salaam-e-Ishq'. My
sensibilities are very different," Kagti told IANS.
Episodic films like Naseeruddin Shah's "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota"
and Nikhil Advani's "Salaam-e-Ishq" are not seen to work.
"I don't think the audience had a format issue with these films.
It was a screenplay issue. People found the film too long and
didn't find anything new happening in the second half of
'Salaam-e-Ishq'. Likewise, 'Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota'."
She admits she was initially petrified of the cast, which has
talented actors like Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Kay Kay Menon,
Raima Sen, Abhay Deol, Minissha Lamba, Karan Khanna, Amisha
Patel and Ranvir Shorey.
"My first day's shoot was with Boman and Shabana.... they were
very experienced. I was a bit nervous. But that was okay. There
were so many actors, and each one took me a while to get used
to. I needed 12 people in the same range of vision.
"Fortunately, I did all my casting with Zoya Akhtar, who's the
executive producer. I wanted to cast actors who represent real
people. I even got Shabana to do a bit of wild dancing. At the
end of it, this has been the most fulfilling experience of my
Kagti is an Assamese, who moved to Mumbai to study with the
express purpose of being a filmmaker. She has assisted Honey
Irani, Farhan Akhtar, Rajat Kapoor and Ashutosh Gowariker.
"I also did a stint with Mira Nair when she came to India for
'Vanity Fair'. After writing my script for 'Honeymoon Travels
Pvt Ltd', I went to another producer. That fell through.
Actually, I went to a lot of producers before Farhan liked the
script. Farhan never advised me beyond a point and let me do
what I liked."
Speaking of being a woman director, Kagti said: "Well... yes
it's a problem the world over. Before Farah Khan, women
directors in this country were considered jinxed. Farah changed
all that. But, if you ask me my favourites, they're all male
"Mine is a funny film about a four-day honeymoon package. But
it's not just humorous. I'd call it a quirky comedy. But, to
tell you the truth, I can't draw parallels between my film and
any other film."
Kagti has a special word for Shabana.
"We had a difficult schedule in Goa. And she was so cooperative.
For her to play someone who's so simple in dress and attitude
isn't easy. We've given her a middleclass
salwar-kameez-socks-sandals look. Each character is dressed
according to the place they originate from."
Her next will be a thriller co-scripted with Zoya.
"I think I'll do that next. It's a kind of thriller. But my kind
of thriller. I'm pretty much ready to move on."
I don't like contestants crying: Kavita Krishnamurthy
By Shweta Thakur,
New Delhi, Feb 23 Playback singer Kavita
Krishnamurthy is critical of judgments made on the basis of
looks in music talent shows and also believes that losers should
not break down publicly.
"As far as music talent hunt shows are concerned, they are 'good
work' because they give kids a chance to interact with music
directors," said Kavita, who was here for a performance.
"But what I don't like about these shows is the influence of the
looks of participants on judgments. That should be based purely
on the musical talent of a contestant," Kavita told IANS in an
"Secondly, when competitors lose, they cry, which I dislike. I
had also participated in various competitions and I couldn't
even be a runner-up but I never cried publicly. Crying is a very
personal emotion, which should not be displayed publicly. It is
said that TRPs go very high when contenders cry but for me their
TRPs go down."
Kavita, who has crooned several hit songs in films like "Hum Dil
De Chuke Sanam", "Devdas", "Koi Mil Gaya" and "The Rising",
admits that many of the upcoming singers are extremely talented.
"Youngsters these days have marvellous voices and they pick up
very fast. As they grow up listening to various singers from
their very childhood, they are able to sing varied styles
The singer also believes the young brigade shouldn't shy away
from learning classical music.
"However, much one sings Western music, it will all be in vain
unless one has a classical base. Without that, one cannot sing a
spectrum of songs. It's important that singers should have
knowledge about their own music."
Kavita likes fusion and says: "I am very fond of fusion because
through fusion, music very smoothly passes on to the next
She has been a part of the film industry for more than 25 years
and is proud of her accomplishments.
"It's god's grace that I could survive in the industry for 25
years. I never thought I would come this far. But now when I
look back I feel very happy as I got a chance to sing a range of
songs with some of the most well-known music directors of the
"I have also witnessed the change in techniques. I feel you have
to change with time; hence I have also adapted the emerging
Kavita is working on a ghazal album, which is yet to be named.
Apart from that, she has teamed up with her violinist-husband L.
Subramaniam for his fusion album, which is nearing completion.
Deepa busy hunting accessories
for Oscar red carpet
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 23 Deepa Mehta is as wound up as a
Japanese doll. The Oscar countdown has begun and the Canada
based Indian filmmaker is running the best she could do to find
the right accessories to match with the sari she is going to
wear for the Oscar night.
"Just two more days to go! John (Abraham) is on the way although
his mother had pneumonia. Right now I'm only concentrating on
the accessories for my sari for the Oscars night," Mehta told
Mehta's internationally lauded film "Water" is in the running to
bag the best foreign film Academy award.
She and her daughter Devyani are donning saris at the Oscars
"I'll be wearing my mother's pure-gold tissue-silk sari woven in
Varanasi around 70 years ago. My mom has a gorgeous collection
of saris, which my dad's mother gave her. Who wants to wear a
designer sari when I've my mother's treasured clothes at my
"I'm trying to convince Lisa Ray to wear a sari too. I hope she
does. But my daughter Devyani will also be wearing a sari. Why
shouldn't we proudly wear our own clothes? Why should we get
into dresses and compete with the Nicole Kidmans of Hollywood?
It's very important for us to be proud of our Indian heritage."
About her whirlwind visit to Delhi and Mumbai promoting "Water"
before its Indian release, Mehta says: "I wanted to let my
people know that I'm not scared of a fundamentalist backlash any
longer and that I'm very proud of the film."
Starring Seema Biswas, John and Lisa, "Water" portrays the
tragic lives of widows in the early 1930s.
After the Oscars, Mehta will take time to complete the script of
"Exclusion" which will star Amitabh Bachchan and John in pivotal
"I'll be going to my farm near Toronto to write the script. The
images are already in place. I want to take the whole of March
off to write."
As for the Oscar, "We've done all we could for 'Water'. Now
let's see what happens. This year the competition in the foreign
film category is really very tough. I agree our product is damn
good. And, even if we don't win the Oscar, it's been a long long
time since somebody walked the red carpet at the Oscars night in
Verdict reserved on allegations of plagiarism in `Nishabd'
New Delhi, Feb 23 The Delhi High Court Friday
reserved its verdict on a petition accusing ace Bollywood
director Ram Gopal Varma of plagiarism in making his latest film
Nishabd, starring megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
Justice A.K. Sikri reserved the judgement on petition by Kanungo
Media Pvt Ltd after hearing the arguments on the allegations of
plagiarism from both sides. The bench said it would pronounce
the verdict on March 2 when Nishabd is to be released.
Justice Sikri, while reserving the verdict dismissed Kanungo's
counsel Kartik Jai Shankar's plea for a ban on the release of
Counsel Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Varma, argued that the
petition of Jahar Kanungo should be dismissed as there was no
violation of the Copyright Act or Trademark Act as both the
films are different and having different storylines.
The "Nisshabda" produced by Kanungo was in Bengali and it was an
art film in documentary form, submitted Nayar.
Moreover, Kanungo despite knowing about the title of Varma's
film approached the court just before the scheduled release of
the film, he pointed out.
Citing evidence, he said on May 8, 2006 Kanungo had written an
e-mail to Western Indian Film Producers Association about the
title of the film. Accordingly, he should have earlier
approached Varma or the court on the matter, said Nayar.
Kanoungo's counsel, Shankar, however, contended that Varma had
knowingly infringed on the intellectual property rights over the
name and title of Kanungo's film 'Nisshabda' which had won many
Kanungo said that his "Nisshabda" was produced with the
financial aid, released under the French government's "Fonds Sud
Cinema" scheme in Nov 2002.
The Central Board of Film Certification too subsequently had
cleared the name for the film in June 2005, said the petition.
Incidentally, the same court earlier had stayed the release of
Varma's "Ram Gopal Varma Kay Sholay" on a petition filed by
Sascha Sippy, the director of the original Sholay producer Sippy
Films, for using the names "Sholay" and "Gabbar Singh" in his
Sanjay Dutt set to rock in music video
New Delhi, Feb 22 Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt,
currently in the news for his trial in the 1993 Mumbai serial
blasts, will soon wow his fans by starring in a rocking music
Sanjay is set to feature in composer Anand Raj Anand's song "Sheeshe
mein main", which will be directed by Sanjay Gupta of "Kaante"
"We met at a dinner in Lonavala and I sang 'Sheeshe mein main'.
Gupta was there and he liked the song instantly and said it
belongs to White Feathers (Gupta's banner)," Anand told IANS
over phone from Mumbai.
The rock music video has a lavish budget estimated at a whopping
"The song is written by me and I am going to sing it too. This
is not my first song for Sanjay. I have sung several tracks for
him earlier, including 'Ishq samundar' in 'Kaante'," said Anand.
Rock music is the latest craze among music lovers and the new
video has kept this trend in mind. The video is expected to go
on floors after a special court in Mumbai takes a final decision
Feb 23 on Sanjay's application seeking probation for good
"I've got a green signal to record the song. Once I am through
with recording I will give it to Gupta who is working out the
other details of the video."
Anand is quite impressed with Sanjay and says the "Lage Raho
Munnabhai" star understands the nuances and intricacies of
"Sanjay has a great sense of music. The way he reacts to a song
shows how much he understands the minuteness of instrumentation.
It makes the music director very happy. One can discuss music
with Sanjay for hours. He is very fond of music and listens to
"In fact I told him that people should start calling you Music
bhai," joked Anand.
Apart from composing music, Anand gives equal importance to his
"I have sung songs in 'Shootout at Lokhandwala' and 'Das
Kahaniyan'. In fact directors of films where I'm providing music
are insisting that I sing at least one song. My songs are
designed to suit my voice. Usually my songs are high-pitched
Sufi romantic numbers."
But Anand gives credit to Gupta for his success.
"Sanjay Gupta is my real discoverer. He gave me a big chance in
his film 'Kaante'. The movie didn't have any leading lady but
its music was a huge hit and after that there was no looking
back for me."
My respect for the audience has
shot up, says Kay Kay Menon
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, Feb 22 Life couldn't get any rosier for Kay
Kay Menon. His "Black Friday" finally saw the light of the day
and he has since been showered with praise from all quarters for
his outstanding performance.
"Hats off to the audience. I am extremely proud of our audience
and my respect for them has shot up post-'Black Friday'. A film
like this being approved by people is a healthy sign for Indian
cinema. It only goes to prove that all kinds of cinema can
coexist," said Kay Kay.
And if that was not enough, he has everyone swooning over his
dancing skills in the song "Sajnaji vari vari" from his upcoming
movie "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd", reports Bollywood Trade.
Talking about the song, he said: "The script essentially
required this dance sequence. When Farah (Khan) was
choreographing the song she just let me be. I just freaked out."
Kay Kay says his decision to act in Reema Kagti's film was
influenced by the script.
"The narrative had me in splits. When the director narrated the
script of 'Honeymoon...' to me, I knew that the film had a
certain standard that was far superior to the rest. I knew I had
to do this film."
There are six couples on a package honeymoon tour to Goa in the
film, which deals with marriage and relationships in a unique
"The sense of humour is also weird but it's not slapstick
comedy. I guess that's the USP of the film. The manner in which
the director has dealt with relationships is unusual. It says
one has to look at life in a positive way and keep smiling."
Kay Kay is paired with Raima Sen and says his kissing scene with
her is blown out of proportion.
"Raima and I play a Bengali couple. My character Partho is a
nerdy, uptight husband who likes to dominate. But he changes due
to certain circumstances.
"It's not a porn film. Raima and I have a kissing scene in the
film. There's a lot of hype regarding that particular scene. If
people are going to see the film for a steamy sizzling kiss,
then they are in for a disappointment."
Kay is not at all averse to working with female directors.
"I don't see directors as 'male' or 'female'. For me, a
director's gender is not the criterion. It's immaterial because
it's talent that matters. Even a male director could be dumb so
it really doesn't matter.
"This is the second time I've worked with a female director
(after 'Dansh') and Reema was just brilliant."
Talk veered to his "Metro" co-star Shilpa Shetty: "I am happy
for Shilpa. She has done us proud. We shot for Anurag Basu's
'Metro' before she left for Britain.
"Anurag has his own audience but Shilpa's 'Big Brother' victory
will definitely draw the overseas audience. 'Metro' is about the
trials and tribulations in relationships. It focuses on the fast
paced city life and its consequent repercussions on people."
He is also working in "Shunya", based on a sportsman's life.
"It is not based on a 'particular' sportsman (referring to
cricketer Azharuddin). It could be anyone. If not an actor, I
would've been a sportsman. I enjoy playing all sports."
"It's about a sportsman's life, who reaches the pinnacle of
success and how he deals with the challenges he faces, how he
gets tempted with ad offers etc."
Another film he is doing is Goldie Behl's "Drona", in which
Abhishek Bachchan is in the title role.
"It belongs to the 'action fantasy comic book genre'. As for my
character - in mainstream commercial cinema, we are always seen
"The Namesake": a flag of desi creative power
By Arun Kumar,
Washington, Feb 22 Indian American director Mira
Nair chose Nitin Sawhney, another person of Indian origin, to
compose the music for her new film "The Namesake" to make it "a
flag of desi creative power."
"If I am blessed, a melody will capture me in the early days of
the film's conception, and stay with me throughout the growth of
the film," said Academy Award-nominated director on how she
chose Sawhney, considered one of Britain's most original and
gifted music creators.
"In the case of 'The Namesake', it was Nitin Sawhney's and
Jayanta Bose's 'Boatman's Song'.The lyrics and the rhythm
captured the elegant soulfulness of traditional Bhatiali songs,
and Nitin's elegant scoring made it modern.
"I had loved Nitin's concert music, and it was to him I turned
for the score, keen to make 'The Namesake' a flag of desi
creative power." she said as Rounder Records announced that its
soundtrack would be released Mar 6. The film itself will hit
select US theatres Mar 9.
"Once we identified the theme of the film during one of his
casual strummings - the haunting melody of 'First Day in New
York' - the rest of the score tumbled out of him, forging an
ancient-modern tapestry that beautifully cradled the span of
thirty years in the Ganguli family."
"Since the film moved fluidly between New York City and
Calcutta, so could the music: It moved in a freewheeling way
between Geeta Dutt's 'Bengali Gaan ' from the '60s to Susheela
Raman's contemporary take on Mukesh's popular ' 70s love song,
'Ye Mera Diwanapan Hai' to today's rap of 'The Chosen One' to
the heat and sway of 'Postales'."
"This is the privilege of cinema: to bring together the sounds,
voices, instruments of that which you love and make it one with
image" Nair said.
"The Namesake, as a screenplay adaptation, was all about mood,
emotion and spirit, providing ample sustenance for any
composer," said Sawhney of his work on "The Namesake"
"Mira's tight and sensitive direction allowed me to find a voice
in the music that spanned time, generations and countries
through the epic journey of a struggling Bengali family."
"The score is subsequently both intimate and haunting,
reflecting the sense of empathy, inner beauty and nostalgia
evoked by the story. The whole experience was an inspiration on
so many levels, " he said.
Over the last decade Sawhney has carved out a singular niche in
British culture melding the musical barriers between East and
West, between classical and popular, juxtaposing music from
around the world with club-land-culture.
Several other Desis also have a role to play in the film based
on the best-selling novel of the same name by Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. Its screen adaptation was
penned by Sooni Taraporevala. Nair has previously collaborated
with her on "Mississippi Masala" and the Oscar-nominated "Salaam
Stars include Kal Penn, Tabu, Irrfan Khan, Jacinda Barrett,
Zuleikha Robinson, Brooke Smith, Sahira Nair And Glenne Headley.
The Namesake, a Fox Searchlight Pictures film, is the story of
the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a
lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting
the old. Though parents Ashoke and Ashima (Irrfan Khan, Tabu)
long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India,
they take great pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have
afforded their children.
Paradoxically, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) is torn between
finding his own unique identity without losing his heritage.
Even Gogol's name represents the family's journey into the
Assam campaigns for Filmfare nominee Zubeen
By Syed Zarir Hussain,
Guwahati, Feb 22 Cities and villages in Assam are
painted red with posters and billboards seeking votes for
singing sensation Zubeen Garg of "Ya Ali" ("Gangster") fame who
has been nominated for the prestigious Filmfare Awards in the
best playback singer category.
Across the length and breadth of Assam, hoardings and posters
with Zubeen's photograph have sprung up with his fan club going
all out to seek votes through e-mail to help the local singing
icon win the best Filmfare playback singer award to be announced
Sunday in Mumbai.
"We have been mobilising support for Zubeen through various
means like street corner meetings, poster campaigns, besides
playing his songs in crowded areas with an appeal asking people
to vote him through e-mail," said Arnab Sharma, a young Zubeen
fan in Guwahati.
The classically trained singer shot into the limelight with the
song of the year "Ya Ali" that catapulted him to the big league
of Bollywood playback singing. Last week, Zubeen won the Kenstar
Setmax Stardust film awards as the best playback singer
outshining other stars like Himesh Reshammiya.
Voting through internet for the 52nd Fair One Filmfare Awards
2006 for the best playback singer (male) is open till midnight
Saturday with the other nominees being Himesh, Sonu Nigam, Shaan
and Kailesh Khar, and Atif Aslam.
"I am hoping for the best," Zubeen said over the phone from
People in Assam are a little peeved with the awards being
decided through internet voting and not SMS. "It would have been
easier for us to SMS our vote instead of internet as not too
many people have access to computers in villages. Zubeen for us
is a craze, a phenomenon here," said Anushmita Bora, a college
Audrey Hepburn's dress to fund Sundarbans schools
By Sujoy Dhar,
Kolkata, Feb 22 Remember Audrey Hepburn in the 1961
Academy Award winning film "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? The famous
black dress worn by the Hollywood diva in her legendry role as
Holly Golightly, a slightly eccentric naïve socialite, will now
fund a school for underprivileged children in Bengal.
Come Feb 28, celebrated French novelist and Indophile Dominique
Lapierre and his wife will inaugurate a new education centre on
a Sundarbans island in the Bay of Bengal with the money from the
auction proceeds of the now iconic dress.
About 15,000 children, people from nearby villages and the local
authorities are expected to receive the Lapierre couple and
their supporters from the West for what will be a grand homage
to Hepburn, who had been Unicef's goodwill ambassador until her
death in 1993.
"The facade of the new school will be decorated with a huge
banner of Audrey Hepburn in her famous dress," Priyanka Malhotra,
publisher, Full Circle, told IANS from New Delhi. Full Circle
are the Indian publishers of Lapierre's book "City of Joy".
The Lapierres are financing a programme of 15 schools from the
proceeds of the auction. "The new education centre will benefit
underprivileged children," added Malhotra.
The dress was given to Dominique Lapierre last spring by French
fashion guru Hubert de Givenchy when he discovered that some of
Dominique's schools had been devastated by floods.
Last December, Lapierre sold the dress at the Christies' auction
house in London for an unbelievable sum of $825,000. Enough to
repair the devastated schools and build several more.
There cannot be a more befitting tribute to Hepburn who
dedicated the latter part of her life to helping destitute
children in Africa, South America and Bangladesh.
Since 1982, Lapierre has shared his royalties with the
non-profit City of Joy Foundation, which provides aid to slum
children in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal.
The royalties from his book "Five Past Midnight in Bhopal" (also
published by Full Circle) went to the Sambhavna clinic in
Bhopal, which provides free medical treatment to the victims of
the 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal disaster.
The Lapierres have been working in rural West Bengal for 25
years, funding treatment for leprosy, cholera and tuberculosis.
They have set up four hospital boats to provide medical care to
54 remote islands in the Sundarbans
Penelope Cruz wants to work with Shah Rukh
By Sheeraz Hasan,
Los Angeles, Feb 22 Oscar nominated Spanish actress
Penelope Cruz is very keen on Indian movies and says she would
love to work opposite Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Cruz, who has been nominated for an Oscar in the best actress
category for her role in the Spanish movie "Volver", expressed
her respect for the Indian megastar's great body of work.
"I am a great fan of Indian cinema and I would love to work with
Shah Rukh Khan," she told www.hollywood.tv at the 3rd Annual
Global Green pre-Oscar party held at the Avalon in Hollywood,
Cruz hosted the party with other Hollywood A-list stars,
including Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek and Edward Norton.
"I love India. I have the rights to a book and we are going to
shoot the movie in India," she added.
Cruz will play the lead in the English-language film, which is a
screen adaptation of Javier Moro's original novel "Pasion
Moro's book was inspired by the true story of 17-year-old
Spanish flamenco dancer Anita Delgado who scandalised people in
the early 1900s when she agreed to marry an Indian king,
Maharaja Jagatjit Singh Bahadur, and settle in his native land.
Cruz has teamed up with some of Hollywood's leading men,
including Tom Cruise in "Vanilla Sky" and Nicholas Cage in
"Captain Corelli's Mandolin". She was recently seen with Academy
Award winning actor Adrien Brody in "Manolete", a film that
revolves around the famous bullfighter.