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Gurdas Mann injured in road accident
Karnal (Haryana), Jan 20 Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann was
admitted to a private hospital here Saturday after being injured
in a road accident near this town.
Doctors at the Arpana hospital said the singer and his driver
were both out of danger. Mann received injuries on his face,
hands and chest.
His imported Range Rover sports utility vehicle (SUV) was badly
damaged in the accident.
Police said his driver lost control and hit a truck at high
The singer was travelling from Delhi to Punjab when the accident
He would be discharged in a week, doctors attending on him said.
This is the second time in the last five years that Mann has
been involved in a major accident but escaped with injuries.
In the previous accident, his Pajero SUV had met with an
accident near Ropar town in Punjab, 30 km from Chandigarh, in
which Mann's driver lost his life.
See 'Parzania', take a stand:
New Delhi, Jan 18 After languishing in the cans for
months, NRI director Rahul Dholakia's critically acclaimed "Parzania"
- the true story of a boy who went missing in the 2002 Gujarat
riots - will finally see commercial release next week.
"It really feels good that finally my film will be released. It
has been going on since I started making the film. First
research work took time, then finding producers was a difficulty
and when I completed the film, distributors were reluctant to
buy it," Dholakia told IANS in an interview.
"It's not that they didn't like it, but they had their own
reservations. Marketing wise they were not in tune. Some wanted
to sensationalise the subject but I was not very keen."
When Dholakia couldn't find a suitable distributor he launched
his own company Serene Picture Classics to release the film.
"Finally, I launched my own company, which is releasing this
film. The aim of the company is to distribute such movies. We
will start with our film and if it works we will take other
films," Dholakia said.
"Parzania", which stars Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika, will hit
the screens across the nation Jan 25. Both PVR Cinemas and INOX
will show the film.
Talking about the hurdles that came his way, Dholakia said: "I
didn't know how to produce, distribute or market a film but
while making this film I learned it. This is truly an
independent film. It's like a one man show!"
The movie is based on the true story of Dara Modi and his family
who lost their son, then 14, during the communal riots in
Gujarat. The violence claimed over 1,000 lives, mostly Muslims.
Dholakia says when he visited the Parsi family this year during
the kite flying festival, they requested him to release it in
Gujarat because they wanted everybody to go and watch the movie
to understand what they have been through.
"When I met my friend Dara Modi and his family this year, they
requested me that I must show the film in Gujarat. They want
everybody to see what the family went through. After meeting the
family I got the strength to release the film in the state. I
also want Gujarat to see the film. And why Gujarat? Everybody
should see the film."
Dholakia's film was screened at various film festivals in Italy,
Bangkok and America and he says it got an overwhelming response.
"Wherever the film was screened, the audience was moved
drastically by the film. The film cuts across emotional and
cultural barriers. It works at all levels."
Dholakia says he is grateful to Naseeruddin Shah for supporting
"When I narrated the film to Naseer, he agreed to do it right
away. But he also said let's first complete the script and see
how it shapes up. So we worked together on the script for six
"Post the film he gave it a lot of time. Recently, when his son
met with an accident, I went to meet him and told him, 'This is
not the right time to talk about it, but 'Parzania' needs
promotion and your presence will be required.' He replied, 'Imaad
is as much as my son as Parzania is my film'.
"He is accompanying me to Delhi and other places on the
promotional tour. We will go to Ahmedabad too, may be closer to
the release or after the release, I am not sure."
"You have to believe in the film to promote it and you have to
take a stand. And both Naseer and Sarika have taken their stand
and I am very grateful to them for their support."
Modi's son is still missing.
"He would have been 19 now. The family is still searching for
the boy. They are not giving up hope and why should they! The
biggest award for the film would be if we find the boy."
Dholakia is keen to make more films but right now he is too
preoccupied to conceptualise the ideas hovering in his mind.
"I don't know about future projects. I am too preoccupied with 'Parzania'
to think about anything."
Sanjay-Saif chemistry will reflect in 'Nehle Pe Dehla':
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, Jan 18 Director Ajay Chandok is hopeful that
the onscreen chemistry between Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan
will work in his much delayed "Nehle Pe Dehla" just like it did
"Sanju and Saif did a fantastic job in 'Parineeta'. They have
also teamed up for 'Eklavya' and I'm sure their chemistry will
reflect in 'Nehle Pe Dehla' as well," said Chandok feigning
ignorance about the delay in the film's release.
The film, stalled due to various reasons, will finally hit the
screens on Feb 9, reports Bollywood Trade.
Also starring Bipasha Basu and Kim Sharma, the film is a comic
caper. Sanjay (Johny) and Saif (Jimmy) play small time crooks
while Bipasha plays a rich hotelier.
Chandok, who had worked as an assistant director to David Dhawan,
is bowled over by Sanjay's professionalism.
"Sanju was under a lot of pressure but he went out of his way to
complete the dubbing of my film."
Asked about the status of "Phir Sholay", he said: "It's too
early to talk about it. Right now I just want to focus on 'Nehle
"Phir Sholay" will reportedly be yet another version of Ramesh
Sippy's blockbuster "Sholay". It will feature Arbaaz Khan, Javed
Jaffrey, Aashish Chowdhary and Akshay Kapoor in lead roles.
Ram Gopal Varma is currently shooting his version of "Sholay"
with Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Sushmita Sen and Nisha
No more screen kisses for Madhavan after 'Guru'
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 18 It is no coincidence that R.
Madhavan's first screen kiss is for his mentor Mani Ratnam's
"Guru". The surprise is that it should have been with an actress
who has a very propah image... Vidya Balan!
Even more surprisingly, Ratnam, for whom Madhavan broke his
no-kissing code of conduct, has given his protégé the briefest
role of his career.
"That's okay. I did it with my eyes open. I mean the film, not
the kiss," laughed Madhavan.
Abhishek Bachchan is hogging the limelight for his performance
in the film, which is loosely based on the life and times of
industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of the Reliance group of
"Well, even my wife Sarita thinks I've a small role. But what
the heck! I did it for my mentor. As for the kiss, I did exactly
what was in the script," Madhavan told IANS.
Hadn't he promised his wife he would never kiss any of his
heroines on screen?
"Well... that's okay. She saw the kiss and liked it. You can't
say no to Ratnam. And frankly, I didn't want to. There're some
things one has to do."
Was he uncomfortable doing it?
"Well I'm not a seasoned screen kisser. But I'm an actor. I'm
supposed to do what I'm asked to."
One thing is for sure. The "Guru" kiss will be Madhavan's first
and last screen smooch.
Years ago, a kiss in Umesh Mehra's "Guru" between Mithun
Chakraborty and Sridevi had created a furore. But this time
there's no hornet's nest to stir up.
Shilpa show overshadows Brown's India visit in UK media
By Prasun Sonwalkar,
London, Jan 18 As the Shilpa Shetty show
overshadowed Chancellor Gordon Brown's visit to India in the
British media, the Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4 clocked an
unprecedented six million viewers on Wednesday night.
The viewership figures for Wednesday were over a million more
than that recorded for Tuesday night as allegations of racism
against Shetty figured high on the agenda of diplomacy between
Indian and Britain, and hogged international headlines.
After Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brown and others intervened to
express their opposition to racism in all its forms,
Conservative leader David Cameron said: "I completely abhor
racism. Everyone has got a responsibility here. There's a great
regulator called the off button and I think we should use it."
In large sections of the media here, Brown's comments on Shetty
were given more prominence than his speech on globalisation and
economic issues in Bangalore on Wednesday. Television news
channels provided back-to-back coverage of the Shetty show,
including "exclusive" interviews with her mother in Mumbai.
In a statement, Channel 4 denied claims that Shetty had suffered
racist bullying. There had been a "cultural and class clash"
between Shetty and three other housemates, the channel said.
"To date there has been no overt racial abuse or racist
behaviour directed against Shilpa Shetty within the Big Brother
house. However there has undoubtedly been a cultural and class
clash between her and three of the British females in the
house," it added.
Shetty herself had so far not expressed any concerns of racial
abuse, the channel said.
Media strategists believe that the furore caused by remarks by
fellow contestants against Shetty will bring excellent dividends
for the sponsors, Carphone Warehouse. For the record, the
company claimed that it would "review" its sponsorship, but it
was unlikely to pull out.
Chris Locke, UK trading director at media agency Starcom, told
The Guardian: "For Carphone Warehouse it is the perfect vehicle
for targeting the right market to shift mobile phones, of course
they will keep it going.
"Strategically, they aren't about to pull out of anything, in my
opinion. Big Brother is one of the biggest TV events of the
year, it is great for their sales, and there is always some sort
of incident - you know that when you sign the sponsorship
Channel 4 has reportedly told Carphone Warehouse that any
behaviour deemed racist during the rest of the series could
result in the removal of the offending housemate.
Television regulator Ofcom and Channel 4 have now received over
20,000 complaints, as British Asian websites, chatrooms and
radio stations continue to buzz with indignation and more over
the treatment meted out to the long-legged stunner from
Blair's official spokesman told reporters: "What clearly is to
be regretted and countered is if there is any perception abroad
that in any way we tolerate racism in this country.
"What the response to the programme has shown is precisely the
opposite - that there is no level of toleration in this country
for anything which, rightly or wrongly, is perceived to be
"The message should go out from this country loud and clear that
we are a tolerant country and we will not tolerate racism in any
He added that Blair had not seen the programmes and had no plans
to view videotapes of the incidents, as he did not regard it as
his role to act as a commentator on television programmes.
The Guardian quoted an unnamed source as saying that this week
the two contestants nominated for eviction will be Jade Goody,
seen as the ringleader of the bullies in the Big Brother house,
Fellow contestants have reportedly overwhelmingly nominated
Goody and Shetty for eviction, it said. Housemates generally
secretly nominate two of their number to be evicted and the two
with the highest number of nominations face the public vote.
Meanwhile, bookmaker William Hill made Shetty favourite to win
the series, at odds of 6/4. "She has stuck in there and if she
now picks up the public sympathy vote, punters certainly believe
she will be very hard to beat," it said.
Sanjay Gupta invited for mobile entertainment summit
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 18 Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Gupta has
been invited to attend the 3 GSM World Congress' mobile
entertainment summit starting Feb 12 in Barcelona. He plans to
showcase three of his short stories from "Dus Kahaniya".
The multibillion dollar turnover mobile company Vodafone, which
is taking the trend of screening feature films on the mobile
format to a new high, will have a festival of mobile-format
films at the event with 215 countries participating in it.
"I've already shot three of my proposed 'Dus Kahaniya' series. I
plan to take the two stories 'Zaher' and 'Gubbare', plus the
latest story 'Rise & Fall' featuring Sanjay Dutt and Suniel
Shetty if I can get it ready on time," Gupta told IANS.
Gupta is more excited because Hollywood star Robert Redford will
also attend it with his short stories collection.
"This festival is prestigious for me on many levels. We'll be
taking the short-story format to cell phone technology, and also
because Robert Redford will be there with his five short stories
Gupta and Redford will be the only representatives from
Bollywood and Hollywood, respectively.
Gupta is expected to be accompanied by Arjun Rampal and Sanjay
Dutt - the latter's participation is dependent entirely on
whether he acquires legal permission to leave the country.
Said Gupta: "I'm only interested in taking cinema to another
level. And our company's roster of directors proves it.
"We've everyone from Shoojit Sarkar and Sujoy Ghosh to Homi
Adjani and Deepak Tijori. I am not interested in conventional
films or filmmakers. The cell phone format was always the aim
for our short stories. That's why we're going to Barcelona."
I'm happiest father alive after Abhishek's 'Guru': Amitabh
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 18 Amitabh Bachchan says he is the
happiest father alive as son Abhishek, who just got engaged to
Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai, wows audiences with an "incredible
and phenomenal" performance in Mani Ratnam's latest "Guru".
"My father wrote in his biography: 'when a father loses to his
son, it is his greatest victory'. I've lost to my son and I'm
the happiest father alive," Amitabh told IANS.
"Abhishek is phenomenal (in 'Guru'). I have held myself back on
many an occasion from commenting on my son's work, but this time
I shall not. To hell with niceties and restraint. Abhishek is
"I have been choked with emotion ever since I emerged from the
theatre and still am. This is a role of a lifetime for him and
he has given a performance of a lifetime. It's a role any actor
worth his salt would die for and it's a performance that any
actor worth his salt will envy," the proud father added.
Here are excerpts from an interview:
Q: You seem to be the happiest father in the world.
A: Aishwarya is my son's choice and our choice as well, and we
are very happy with that. She's a simple, traditional and a home
loving individual, warm and endearing. Her inner beauty is far
greater than her much renowned outer beauty. Abhishek's choice
shall be our choice and our happiness.
Their acclaim in "Guru" and the success of the film, both
commercially and critically, just adds to my joy.
Q: You've lent your voice to an album of Rabindranath Tagore
songs in Hindi. Your attachment to Kolkata and Bengali culture
goes a long way.
A: Yes, I've enjoyed doing it. Indrajit Dasgupta, who has sung
the verses, met me with his wife. The unique quality of the
concept, the sincerity of the people involved in it and yes, of
course Tagore and Bengal, were the factors that made me accept
this proposal. Kolkata and Bengali culture are universal
phenomena and the attachments are, therefore, obvious.
My interest is also more personal. I am after all Bengal's 'jamai
babu' (son-in-law). I need to look at Bengal a little more
compassionately, else there can be serious domestic
Q: Doing voiceovers are almost a parallel profession for you.
Years ago you had done a commentary for Satyajit Ray's only
Hindi film and now the first album of Tagore's poems in Hindi.
A: And it's interesting, enjoyable and sometimes constructive
too. Producers sometimes need commentary for their films.
Documentaries take my voice, for they feel a celebrity is heard
better and when there is a cause of national or universal
importance, it becomes mandatory. Public interest campaigns for
health and conduct have all been personally and creatively
rewarding episodes for me and I shall continue to do them as
long as people want me to.
The Tagore songs were important. For Hindi-speaking
non-Bengalis, this album shall open up a closer view on the
genius of Tagore and his contribution to literature and poetry.
I am happy to have made a small contribution.
Q: You've also done another remarkable voiceover recently.
A: Yes, I've just finished voice-overs in English and Hindi for
that fantastic French film "The March of the Penguins". It'll be
shown at the French embassy on Jan 27 in Delhi when the Legion
de Honour is conferred on me. I look forward to that with great
anticipation. The film is to be premiered soon after in Mumbai
and I shall be there.
Q: You finally saw "Guru". What are your comments on the film?
A: Yes, I saw "Guru" and I've asked to see it again and I shall
want to see it a 100 times over. It is fantastic. It is Mani's
best. And I speak as a viewer, not as a father. Abhishek is
phenomenal. I have held myself back on many an occasion from
commenting on my son's work, but this time I shall not. To hell
with niceties and restraint. Abhishek is incredible!
I have been choked with emotion ever since I emerged from the
theatre and still am. This is a role of a lifetime for him and
he has given a performance of a lifetime. It's a role any actor
worth his salt would die for and it's a performance that any
actor worth his salt will envy. This is the truth, because it
comes from within. For someone so young in age and in
profession, to have performed the way he has is a revelation.
It is the culmination of the strife of Abhishek to prove himself
in the face of continuing odds and innuendos. And it is ironic,
so ironic, that this is what the film "Guru" is all about. The
determination, the will and the strength of a common man to
succeed in the face of unending obstacles and his unfaltering
courage of conviction to come out victorious.
Q: I've never heard you like this before.
A: My father wrote in his biography: "When a father loses to his
son, it is his greatest victory." I've lost to my son and I'm
the happiest father alive. Abhishek is my son.
As for working with Mani, I called him and told him: "Now that
you have made my son's life, could you make mine as well,
Q: How has the year started for you? What do you foresee for
yourself in 2007?
A: I don't wish to foresee anything for myself. I have already
foreseen what I want to see in "Guru".
Shilpa racist row will not strain Indo-British ties: India
New Delhi, Jan 18 As a row flares up over racist
slurs against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in a popular
British TV show, Britain Thursday assured that this was
"unacceptable in a fair and tolerant society" and India saying
it "will not put a strain" on growing Indo-British ties.
"This is unacceptable. We can't accept anything that detracts
from our reputation for fairness and tolerance," British
Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the Labour's prime
minister-in-waiting, told reporters here.
"Thousands of British people have already condemned it," said
Brown, who could become Britain's prime minister if the Labour
wins the next elections.
Brown will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later in the
day and discuss with ways to give fresh impetus to strategic
partnership between the two democracies.
"India and Britain are bound by shared values that support
fairness and tolerance. We are against any form of racism or
intolerance," Brown stressed at a joint press conference at the
Taj Mahal Hotel here with Indian Finance Minister P.
Over 20,000 viewers have complained that Shetty was made to
suffer racist slurs in 'Celebrity Big Brother', a popular
reality TV show in which has a group of celebrities are cooped
up together with no access to the outside world.
Brown's three-day visit to India that began Wednesday has been
overshadowed by the racist controversy over the Shilpa Shetty
Brown is in India to intensify cooperation across a spectrum of
areas ranging from combating terrorism to energy, environment
and accelerating trade and investment between the two countries.
"There is no strain on ties between the governments of Britain
and India. Nor is there any strain between the people of India
and Britain," Chidambaram said after launching the India-UK
economic and financial dialogue - an initiative to promote the
two-way trade and investment taken by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and his British counterpart Tony Blair last year.
"We hope that the universal condemnation will bring out a change
in behaviour. I am pleased to say British Prime Minister Tony
Blair has condemned it," said Chidambaram, trying to downplay
the in potential of the incident to dent India-Britain ties.
"The only thing is that this show allows bad behaviour to be
advertised. It will pass," Chidambaram said in a lighter vein.
"We are hopeful we will get back to genuine business and this
too shall find place in the media," he said.
Brown also clarified that the tightening of immigration laws
should not alarm any one as it is an extension of Britain's
"policy of managed migration" based on a newly devised point
Sis Sush overjoyed for brother Abhishek
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 18 Not too many people know this, but
Abhishek Bachchan, who is all set to tie the knot with former
Miss World Aishwarya Rai, had adopted her colleague and
competitor Sushmita Sen as his sister long ago.
And former Miss Universe Sush is overcome with joy at the news
of the impending marriage.
"I'm so sooo... happy for my brother Abhishek, and Aishwarya,
who has been a colleague and friend for many years. We've
virtually grown up together in the industry. Today, when she's
finally taking the plunge, I feel she deserves to be happy.
She's a wonderful person."
But it's brother Abhishek for whom Sushmita reserves maximum
"It was while we were shooting for Goldie Behl's 'Bas Itna Sa
Khwab Hai' that Abhishek adopted me as his sister... Or shall I
say I adopted him as my brother. He was very awkward about
shooting with me in any other capacity, so I quickly suggested
he make me his sister.
"Since then he has called me didi. And I love that. Today, when
my brother is engaged and ready to take the plunge, I feel six
feet tall. He's a lovely guy and deserves happiness."
Wildscreen film fest comes to India
New Delhi, Jan 18 The world's largest and most
prestigious wildlife and environment film festival, Wildscreen
Festival, begins here Jan 19 and then moves on to Kolkata,
Chennai and Pune.
Internationally renowned experts like Jane Goodall,
primatologist and authority on chimpanzees, and Mike Salisbury,
executive producer of the Golden Panda-winning BBC blockbuster
"Life in the Undergrowth", are amongst those who will attend the
The festival, which will include workshops and screenings, is
being organised by the British High Commission and the British
Council in association with the organisation Wildscreen.
The festival schedule is available online at http://www.ukinindia.com
Sanjay Dutt's bail extended till Feb 6
Mumbai, Jan 18 Actor Sanjay Dutt's bail in the 1993
Mumbai bombings case was extended till Feb 6 by a special court
The anti-terrorism TADA court had convicted Dutt under sections
3 and 7 of Arms Act, for possession of arms and ammunition, but
absolved him of charges of terror conspiracy that led to the
March 12, 1993 serial bombings that killed at least 257 people.
My son is a better dancer than me, says Mithun (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 19 Three-time National Award winning
actor Mithun Chakraborty, who plays Abhishek Bachchan's foe and
friend in the recently released "Guru", says his son Mimoh has
far better dancing skills than him.
Mimoh is all set to make his debut on the big screen with
"My son's film 'Jimmy' should be ready by March. The title comes
from one of my hit songs. Mimoh is not at all like me. He's his
own person. And he's a much better dancer than I am. Don't
believe me? Watch him when he comes on screen," Mithun told IANS
in an interview.
The best thing that strikes you about the veteran actor is his
warmth and humility. "I'm glad to be around for so long," he
Thankfully, no one is offering him father and brother roles in
"My new release 'Guru' has me directed by Mani Ratnam. Do you
know if things had gone well I'd have worked with him long ago!
Yes, Mani had offered me a role in his Tamil film 'Iruvar'
(which Prashant finally played), which I didn't do because I was
required to cut my hair.
"If I had cut my hair for one film, a dozen other producers
would've committed suicide. Ratnam is a filmmaker who has been
doing exemplary work for many years."
Mithun says Ratnam is focused.
"He's an actor's director. He's very clear about what he wants.
Whenever I thought I was going wrong, he assured me I was doing
fine. Every time I had my doubts I'd run to the monitor to check
out my shots. And he was right each time!
"There was so much to learn from him. And I'm not saying that
just because I have to.
"All my young co-stars, Abhishek, Aishwarya, Madhavan, Vidya,
are lovely to work with."
Mithun feels technically, the film industry has come a long way.
"Yes, things have improved technically. The atmosphere is far
more cutthroat. The media is far more active today. That makes
the stars far more conscious of doing the right things."
He refuses to play the stereotypical father or brother.
"If I did any of those, my fans in Bengal would be very unhappy.
Over there they still see me as a star or superstar. My recent
Bengali films, like 'Hungama', are super hits. Bengali producers
would throw a fit if I did fatherly roles in Hindi."
Mithun, who does three-four Bengali films every year, confesses
he moved to Ooty in the 1980s for the sake of his family.
"Because I didn't want to die with an actor's shoes on. I've no
ambitions to die as an actor. I want to secure my children's
future. They shouldn't suffer when I'm not here. My daughter is
His next Hindi release is Hansal Mehta's "Raakh".
"It's a mafia story and I play an elder brother's role."
At the peak of his career Mithun decided to do a whole lot of
"I don't know why you should call them sub-standard," he says,
jumping to his movies' defence.
"Those were also very big hits, for example 'Jallad'. How do you
classify them as A-grade or B-grade? Sure, you can classify them
as small-budgeted films. Any actor, who doesn't know the
economics of filmmaking, is bound to flop.
"You need to know your market value. And if you consider
yourself a big star in your head, then you'll fall flat on your
face. Just because I'm a big star in Bengal I can't ask for Rs.5
million in Mumbai.
"To stay in the business I had to know the market and my own
value in and out. That's how those films that you call
substandard films happened. If I'm still around today it's
because I did all those films... big small, good or bad or
Mithun's range extends from Mrinal Sen's "Mrigaya" to T.L.V.
"And let's not forget I play Ramkrishna Paramhans, which got me
my third National Award. So, I've played everything, from disco
dancer to jallad to god... Yes, it has been a long journey."
Incidentally, Mithun had done a film called "Guru" in the 1980s.
"And I had also done a 'Guru' in Bengali. So, this is my third
'Guru'. Both in the past have been very big hits. I'm sure this
will be my third successful 'Guru'... My god! Such a long
"Any mistakes? See, the past is a burden that you carry. I don't
think it helps you improve on your mistakes. The present and the
future are what count. I don't believe in living in the past."
When asked about his landmark films, he said: "The three
National Award winning films ('Mrigaya', 'Tahader Katha' and
'Ramakrishna')... then, of course, 'Disco Dancer', 'Pyar Jhutka
Nahin', 'Hum Paanch', 'Mujrim'... These gave me an actor's
status and made me very popular."
Bipasha gives credit to Sunidhi for 'Bidee' success
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 19 Bipasha Basu gives credit for the
huge popularity of her item song "Bidee" in "Omkara" to playback
singer Sunidhi Chauhan.
"I'm flattered to see everyone else performing to my 'Bidee'
song. I've been watching 'Bigg Boss', and I'm delighted to see
the female contestants almost invariably requesting my 'Bidee'
number and dancing to it like crazy.
Sunidhi is a goddess. Her singing is so powerful. She added
another dimension to my dancing," Bipasha told IANS.
As a rule Bipasha is still petrified of singing and dancing.
"'Dhoom 2' may look like a fun film to do. But it was a
challenge. Singing and dancing are challenging for me. I do
enjoy it more now than I did earlier. But, I'm still nervous
Bipasha is looking forward to her new film.
"I'm working opposite Saif Ali Khan in 'Race' for the first
time. It has lots of stars in it. And I'm one of them. I've
accepted the fact that I'm the queen of multi-starrers.
"From now on I'll only be doing multi-starrers," she joked.
"I've made an impact, no matter how big the cast. Whether it's 'Omkara'
or 'Dhoom 2', I've been noticed and talked about."
She's very happy with the progress she has made. "I'm getting
there, I know that. I may be taking baby steps but every role
should add something to my character."
Mohit rubbishes rumours about producing his film
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 19 Rumours that he'd be producing his
own film have incensed Mohit Ahlawat.
"Why would I do that? Am I that hard up? This is a rumour being
spread by people who don't want me to make a success of my
career beyond Ram Gopal Varma's Factory," Mohit told IANS.
Mohit, who has been lying somewhat low after his breakaway from
the Factory, is all set to strike back.
"Yes, I'm doing a film with Ramesh Khatkar who also happened to
be a part of the Factory. He was like my guru over there.
Khatkar was supposed to direct my first film 'James'. For
reasons best known to Varma, Rohit Jugraj was asked to direct my
Now Mohit is in a position to let his guru have his say.
"I'm doing three films with Khatkar, one of them will go on the
floors right away...in fact, this month itself. The other two
will feature Arshad Warsi along with me. They'll go on the
floors depending on Arshad's dates. I'm happy to be back so
Mohit not only has three films lined up with Khatkar, he also
has a couple of other projects with other directors in the
"It's too early to talk about those projects. But I'm going to
be busy until 2008."
Jiah shakes a leg in 'Nishabd' music video
Mumbai, Jan 19 Young actress Jiah Khan is making
waves even before the release of her debut film "Nishabd". After
crooning a song for the film's music video, Jiah, who is a
trained dancer, has now turned choreographer for it.
While shooting for the video, Jiah's dance movements impressed
the choreographer so much that he bade her to do her own thing
for a sequence, say witnesses. Jiah obliged with some belly
dancing and hip shaking, just like Latin sensation Shakira.
The music video is all set to scorch the silver screen soon,
according to those who sneaked a peek at the video. The wait to
watch Jiah make her moves will be worth it, they add.
Is Akshaye Khanna afraid to commit?
Akshaye Khanna, who plays a commitment-phobic flirt in upcoming
romantic comedy "Salaam-e-Ishq", denies his character is true to
"I really liked the way the character evolved in the film. I
instantly said yes when Nikhil Advani narrated the script to
me," said Akshaye.
"It has interesting shades. As far as the inspiration behind
this character goes, you can ask Nikhil. I think it resembles a
friend of Nikhil's more," he added.
Akshaye is paired with Ayesha Takia in the film and trade
pundits predict that the couple's onscreen chemistry will charm
Poonam Dhillon set for marathon run
Poonam Dhillon will join other celebrities in a marathon Dream
Run Sunday for the Shraddha Charitable Trust, a workshop devoted
to helping the autistic and mentally challenged young adults.
She will join fashion designer and politician Shaina N.C.,
actors Gul Panang, Gautam Kapoor, Anuuj Saawhney, Tarana and
Autism is a disorder of the brain that causes lifelong
development disability, affecting communication and social
abilities. Shraddha's focus is mainly on rehabilitation and
training programmes to empower the patients with special skills.
Indian film unit in Australia
Sydney, Jan 19 A Bollywood film being shot in
Australia has run into trouble after Gold Coast Airport
authorities in Queensland refused the crew access to shoot at
The producers of "Hayy Babyy" are angry with the airport
management after they were reportedly given a green signal
initially but later denied access.
"They allowed us to look at the facility and we said it was
perfect and we put the application in and we bring all these
people here and now we might have to go to Sydney," a visibly
angry Anu Pam Sharma, the producer of the film was quoted as
saying by the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper.
"Why didn't they tell us in the first place?" he asked.
"There are security issues but we do allow movie shoots and I'll
find out what has happened in this instance. I will talk to the
producers," airport manager Paul Donovan was quoted as saying
Sharma also said Queensland was in danger of losing Bollywood
films because of soaring location costs and greater incentives
being provided by other states, such as New South Wales (NSW),
Victoria and South Australia.
"Location prices in southeast Queensland have skyrocketed and it
can be $10,000 a day now," he said.
"Bollywood has been coming to the Gold Coast for the past eight
years and it was the Queensland's premier who hosted a big
dinner recently in Mumbai to lure Bollywood," Sharma said.
Hayy Babyy stars Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh and
Bomani Irani and is being directed by Sajid Khan. The film is
expected to hit the screens in India in June or July, and it
will also be shown in Queensland which has a large south Asian
One of India's most well known actors! Not quite, Ms Shetty
By Steven Baker
On holiday in India last year, American citizen Cory Goldberg
unexpectedly found himself cast in a small part in a Bollywood
film. It was a case of being in the right place at the right
time for Miami-born Corey as he was whisked to a film studio in
Mumbai, dressed in a garish costume, and given a couple of lines
of dialogue to deliver.
Cory, 31, recalls that the day involved a lot of hanging around
on the set. Between takes, he recollects: "A stunning actress
came and sat on the sofa beside me. I had no idea who she was,
but she looked amazing. We chatted for a while, and I couldn't
take my eyes off her." Their conversation came to an end when
the director called her away for her next shot, "but she happily
posed for a holiday snap before she left".
Months later, Cory was stunned to see news footage taken from
Britain's "Celebrity Big Brother" programme, showing Shilpa
Shetty suffering racist taunts at the hands of some of the other
housemates. On closer inspection he realised that this was his
Bollywood dream girl from the forthcoming release "Apne".
In her introductory video before she entered the Big Brother
House, Shilpa Shetty revealed: "I'm an Indian film actress and
lucky enough to be one of the most well known film actors in
Not quite, Ms Shetty. Yes, she is a genuine Indian film actress.
You would be hard pushed, however, to find anybody here in
India, who would agree that she is "one of the most well known
film actors in Indian cinema". Globally, we all know Aishwarya
Rai. Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta may also get nods of
recognition. But Shilpa?
Although Shilpa has been acting in Bollywood for almost 14 years
and has released close to 50 movies, in only a handful has she
achieved commercial success. Her 1993 debut "Baazigar"
(Magician) was well received, but in this film all we really saw
was the heroine dancing around a bit before she is killed off.
She gained critical recognition in 2004's "Phir Milenge" (We'll
Meet Again), in which she played the role of a person living
with HIV. The film, with its controversial storyline, won her
several awards but did not perform well on its release.
In an industry that churns out over 800 films a year, Bollywood
tends to shoot on more than one production at a time. So whilst
their output is prolific, in this crowded market, every Friday
many releases flop spectacularly at the box office, and are
quickly forgotten. What this ex-model is definitely known for is
her physique. Whilst not the most talented or well known actor
in Hindi films, karate expert and yoga queen Shilpa has earned
the title the 'body' of Bollywood. Something which British
viewers will no doubt get the chance to see more and more of
through BB's 37 cameras. There is speculation that this body has
been achieved with the help of plastic surgery, though the actor
will only admit to having had a nose job.
As an animal rights supporter, you may recall that Shilpa
fronted a campaign for PETA locked in a cage, wearing an animal
print cat suit. She is also an activist for HIV charities in
India, and worked on a short awareness raising film with the BBC
last year. Here she scores points. The British branch of PETA is
very much behind Shilpa and has requested its members to stand
behind her. With a wave of public support behind her from an
outraged British public, Shilpa now looks set to emerge the
winner of the competition.
India's own adaptation of "Big Brother" entitled "Big Boss",
still in its first series, is made up of a Bombay mix of
wannabes, has-beens, nobodies... and Rakhi Sawant. Strict
censorship laws in India mean it is far tamer than what is shown
in Britain, and it has not really caught the imagination of the
public, as the format has in other regions.
However, a global audience has sat up and taken notice of the
first Bollywood actress to appear on "Celebrity Big Brother",
and the world's media is closely following Shilpa's time in the
house-as much for the globally escalating race row, dominating
world headlines, as any form of entertainment the show may
actually offer. And while Shilpa may not be one of the most well
known film actors in Indian cinema, she has certainly become one
of the most well known reality TV stars on television.
(Steven Baker is a British writer who divides his time between
London, New Delhi and Mumbai. He is at present the coordinator
of the British Council's creative writing course in New Delhi
and has also appeared in 15 Bollywood films. He can be contacted
Actors, directors irked with AXN ban
By Shweta Thakur,
New Delhi, Jan 21 Bollywood celebrities have
vociferously spoken out against the ban on AXN channel, terming
it unfair in an era of media convergence where information and
images are available at the click of a mouse.
Jumping into the moral policing game, Information and
Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi has announced a ban
on AXN till March 15, finding the late night "World's Sexiest
Commercials" programme against "good taste or decency".
Irked by the ban, model-turned-actor Milind Soman told IANS: "I
do not believe in censorship. I believe in freedom of media. The
audience is sensible, mature and old enough to discriminate ...
what to watch and what not to watch!
"As far as children are concerned, parents must put a lock on
the channels they do not want their children to watch. And how
long is this ban going to work? Especially when everything is
available on the Internet.
"The decision taken by Dasmunsi does not make any sense. The act
of moral policing clearly reflects the arbitrary use of power
and depicts his attempt to hog media attention."
Film director Raj Kaushal says: "If you have to put a blanket
across, it should be for everyone. If such programmes are shot
in our country then it makes sense...otherwise targeting one
channel is not fair. In a world of Internet and MMS you cannot
curtain out things."
Citing examples of the Gladrags calendar and remix albums, the
director remarks: "On one hand we promote skin show and on the
other, you ban a channel. We are giving a confused impression to
the world. I would say all Indians are hypocrites. India is the
country of Kama Sutra and there is nothing to say beyond our
population figures. We need to open up now. This kind of
censorship is not going to hold for long."
Ketaki Dave, who played Saif Ali Khan's mother in "Kal Ho Naa
Ho", does not find the move right either. "We are living in a
democracy and every individual has a right to decide for
himself. Dasmunsi might feel that public morality can be
protected by prohibiting one channel.
"But before taking a decision, he must have watched television
for at least 24 hours because there are a number of other
channels that show stupid things. Either censor everything or
else let everything go on air."
Television actress Vani Tripathi, who made her big screen debut
with "Dil Se Pooch... Kidhar Jaana Hai", says: "I totally
condemn the step taken by the ministry. People who have no
creative knowledge have taken this decision. It is similar to
Pakistan banning blogs. Such a dictatorial decision puts a
question mark on democracy and also on the existence of the
"The minister must meet people from the industry and then have
an open debate about what can be viewed and what should be
banned. Today it's one channel ... tomorrow it can be 15
Item girl Sambhavna Seth had something similar to say. "Why only
AXN? Today there is so much of exposure on almost every channel.
And children are hyperactive these days, they know more than
what we know. Outlawing a single channel is not going to work. I
am sure the ministry has better issues to look at."
Says Nisha Kothari, who plays Basanti in Ram Gopal Varma's
upcoming "Sholay": "I feel this ban is not going to prove a
saviour of public morality.
"AXN is not a very popular channel and there are many other
channels which are more popular and show all unnecessary stuff.
If the ban has to be announced, it should be for everyone."
STAR gives me ample scope to innovate: Gajendra Singh
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 21 The 14-year-old relationship between
Gajendra Singh, the man behind "Antakshari", and his parent
channel Zee has ended on a bitter note with the music-scout
moving out with bag, baggage and creativity to the flourishing
Singh refuses to speak against Zee. But the hurt is evident when
he talks about his long association during which he discovered
striking singing talent and gave Zee its only constant and
steady TRP booster.
"I wouldn't like to take credit for the success of either 'Sa Re
Ga Ma Pa' or 'Antakshari'. Instead, I'd like to thank Zee for
giving me a platform. However, it was time for me to move on.
I'm looking forward to working closely with STAR," Singh told
This latest acquisition in STAR's TRP purchase scheme has been
on for some time even as the channel heads were busy finalising
Shah Rukh Khan to take over "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC).
Singh's pay packet at STAR isn't comparable with Shah Rukh's for
"KBC" but it's about double of what Zee had been paying him all
"STAR is giving me ample scope to innovate. Regarding what kind
of shows I'd be putting on for STAR, all I can say is audiences
will get what they expect from me."
Steps are being taken to revise Singh's flagship shows on Zee
into a profile that would be legally acceptable to both parties.
"However, let me inform you that I won't be an employee of STAR.
Instead, I'm starting my own production company Sai Baba
Telefilms Pvt Ltd. It will produce my music shows for STAR."
Singh goes on air with his show in January end, at about the
same time as "KBC".
"KBC is STAR's first priority right now. But I'm glad to see
their enthusiasm. I've decided to revive 'Antakshari' in a new
concept and format," said Singh.
Apparently, most of the "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" team, including anchor
Shaan and the resident music directors on the show, are ready to
join Singh at STAR.
"I'm very very happy and excited. After 14 years it seems like
the end of one phase and the beginning of another," remarked
How real are reality TV shows? (COMMENTARY)
By Anil Gulati
In an era of TRPs (Television Rating Points) and SMSs, umpteen
number of reality shows are stealing the limelight. They are
high on TRPs and spinning money for their producers - a factor
which motivates many others to join the race.
The one getting popular now is the Indian version of
international worldwide hit "Big Brother". Called "Big Boss" on
Sony TV, it has 13 celebrity participants, though a few of them
have been "evicted" out of the game now. The challenge is to
live under constant surveillance by TV cameras and be popular
among participating contestants.
But that is not enough - the ultimate is to survive the 'SMS
poll'. Reality shows like these, which engage audiences, have
been growing. Some that I can remember and have just finished
are "Nach Baliye 2" and "Jhalak Dhilka Ja". In all them the
major share of voting power via SMS or telephone calls, which
decided the fate of the participant, was with audience.
The format may vary like in the case of "Big Boss" - one who
gets more SMSs is evicted out of the game while in other shows
the participant wins.
Stakes for participants are high in these shows - be it the
prize money or popularity. Similarly, the money which spins
around in these shows is extremely high. Be it advertisers who
peg their products on the same, the audiences that not only
watch the show and gives it higher TRPs, but also the audience
that votes by SMS or telephone calls.
Worth referring here would be an article on rediff.com some time
back (February 2006). The article talked about the money these
SMSs provide to the channel and mobile operator. On an average,
a popular reality television show gets about 7 million cell
phone text messages each episode.
At Rs.4 per SMS, it adds up to Rs.28 million per episode. Over a
year (52 weeks), that is an astounding Rs.1,460 million. On a
50-50 split between the channel and the mobile operator, it
works out to Rs.730 million to the channel. Just one medium (SMS)
on one reality show of 52 weeks can give you this much.
Despite these high stakes, many of them show so-called reality
but doesn't look 100 percent real - they lack total
transparency. Hardly any of these reality shows reveal the exact
number of votes the winner or loser gets - something which all
of us may like to know.
There have been times when one may question the decisions, but
with no answer. Shows like these would look more real if there
is more transparency and they reveal the exact numbers of SMSs
received (not the percentage) and the system followed
I am not raising any doubts on the decision or making any
allegations but am trying to make a point that the audience in
this case, which spends the money, has all the right to know.
For that matter, the participants who lose or win and
advertisers who peg their products on these shows have an equal
right to know.
Interestingly, the recent controversy on "Big Brother", being
telecast on Channel 4 in Britain, has made it more popular
there. Similarly in India too, controversies and celebrities in
the show make them more or less popular. More the controversies,
more people get engrossed, reaping double benefit not only with
higher TRPs but higher number of SMSs and more cash!
In the case of "Bigg Boss", a celebrity was brought back via a
wild card entry but ... was it based on the channel's own
business calculations that the celebrity could help bring higher
TRPs or by votes of people? Nobody actually knows and numbers
were not shared on the show.
One explanation could be that anyone who helps in increasing
TRPs will also get higher number of SMSs, but that may be an
assumption. Viewers tend to get attached to many of these shows
and emotions are raised. Entertainment is there but viewers also
spend their money to vote for them and are motivated to do so.
One may be using the emotions of viewers for the business
advantage of channels and in the process, the viewer does not
even know the reality. Reality - as made to be perceived - may
or may not be real.
Media reports have also raised allegations, though very few, of
contestants using their networks or providing SIM cards to vote
for a particular person.
Ultimately, the TV channels are in an entertainment business
venture and not social ventures, but do impact social
structures. An element of transparency needs to be built into
these reality shows, especially since it impacts the lives of
people, engage them emotionally and use their money. It may be
there but needs to be shared transparently with people.
(Anil Gulati is a resident of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be
Its quiz time again folks - with superhero Shah Rukh
Mumbai, Jan 21 The long wait is finally over. STAR
Plus' hit quiz show " Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)", the most
awaited programme on Indian television, hits the small screen
Monday with new host Shah Rukh Khan, whose ready wit and quick
repartees are set to give the programme a fresher look.
"People are going to constantly compare Shah Rukh with Amitabh
Bachchan (previous host) and will try to pull him down. But Shah
Rukh is such a good speaker and so charming that he is going to
make it work," said Parull Gossain, a Mumbai-based media
The show will open with a music video "Kar Le Kar Le Tu Ek
Sawaal" which was the superstar's brainchild. And for the
exclusive video Shah Rukh had joined hands with
singer-choreographer Ganesh Hegde, who is presenting him in a
completely new avatar. The two had earlier worked together for
"Shah Rukh has got a completely new, young look in the film. He
will be seen donning a hip-hop look and the clothes are also
designed to suit the mood of the video. The song is a fusion of
hip-hop and Indian music," Hegde told IANS.
Prasenjit Sarkar, the last rollover contestant from KBC-2, will
be the first contestant to share the hot seat with the Bollywood
Badhshah, who is known to be a great conversationalist.
"I am extremely fortunate and excited to be back on the show...
it's been a long wait but now I can say that the wait was more
than worth its while," said Prasenjit Sarkar, who works as a
central excise inspector.
The actor welcomed Sarkar in his own inimitable "Devdas" style
by referring to him as "babumoshai". When Sarkar requested him
to sing the Bengali song that was supposed to be a part of the
movie "Devdas", Shah Rukh said that he didn't remember the song
at the moment and instead recited another Bengali poem that he
Even though KBC will coincide with the World Cup, the response
from sponsors has been overwhelming. According to media reports,
KBC has raked in over Rs.1 billion for its third innings.
Paritosh Joshi, president - sales and distribution - of STAR
"We at STAR do not comment on revenue and we have not bothered
to confirm or deny the reports. But I will say that we have done
exceedingly well and have earned handsome revenue from the show.
"But the fact is that we didn't negotiate very hard because the
client's interest was very, very high."
Joshi also said that cricket poses no threat to KBC.
"Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainty and the advertisers
don't get the value for money that is promised. But KBC is a
unique show, which has a universal appeal because we are a
knowledge-conscious society. It is a truly family-viewing show
and the risk is factor is not so high," he added.
Last year's sponsors Airtel, Hyundai and Cadbury are joined by
new players Pantaloon Retail (Big Bazaar), Godrej Sara Lee, UTI
Mutual Fund, Videocon, Godrej Sara Lee, Jyothi Lab, Big Bazaar
and the UB group. Nokia is being replaced by Motorola.
For the third season Lononvo and ICICI bank make way for Union
Bank and Compaq computer.
This time the cell phone rights have gone to Bharti Cellular Ltd
and all KBC related mobile content - ring tones, video clips and
tid bits of the show - will be exclusive to AirTel customers.
As far as the fee goes, Shah Rukh has reportedly signed on the
dotted line for a whopping Rs.650-700 million for 52 episodes.
Apparently, STAR may try to cash in on Shah Rukh's international
popularity by releasing the show in the US and Britain. However,
Celador, the production house that owns the show's format, will
call the final shots for international market rights.
STAR has not left any stones unturned to make the star at home
on the sets. They have built up a special well-equipped chalet
where Shah Rukh can relax after the technical rehearsals for KBC.
Viewers, who log in to the hour-long programme Monday night at 9
p.m., will get to witness a 'magic moment' as they watch their
favourite star for the first time in his new avatar of TV host.
So watch the quirky play of Shah Rukh as he goes all out to quiz
you because - Kuch Sawaal Zindagi Badal Saktey Hain (Some
questions can change your life)!
I can't believe 'Water' has come so far: Deepa Mehta
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Jan 21 Canada based Indian filmmaker Deepa
Mehta says she was stunned by news that her "Water", which faced
several hurdles, has been short-listed for the Oscars in the
best foreign film category.
"I can't believe that a film, which was shunned by a section of
the Indian politicians and ripped apart six years ago, has come
so far," Mehta told IANS from Toronto.
According to Mehta, the competition this year is really tough.
"I've never seen a wider and more prestigious variety of films
from across the world being nominated for the foreign language
category. They're all super, brilliant films and I'm deeply
honoured to be in such august company. Now maybe ... just maybe,
we will win the Oscar."
Out of the 61 entries, Mehta's "Water", about the plight of
widows in India in the 1930s, starring Lisa Ray and John
Abraham, was selected as one of the nine films in the
So far only two Indian films - Mehboob Khan's "Mother India" and
Ashutosh Gowariker's "Lagaan" have made it to the nomination
"Water" finds its luminous level at the Oscar race with
masterpieces like the Algerian film "Days Of Glory", the Danish
"After The Wedding", the French "Avenue Montaigne", the German
"Lives Of Others", the Mexican "Pan's Labyrinth", the Dutch
"Black Book", the Spanish "Volver" and the Swiss "Vitus".
Mehta's only regret is that "Rang De Basanti", which is one of
her favourite films, got left out. The film about the awakening
of the youth was India's official entry to the Oscars.
"I love the energy and audacity of 'Rang De Basanti' so much.
And I really wanted it to be in the nominations. But I suppose
two Hindi films, even if they were representing two different
countries, were out of the question."
Mehta has been told that "Water" is being released in India Feb
"That's what my producer - the gracious Ravi Chopra - has told
me. He said the clutter of releases before that was too large.
I've my fingers crossed."
Idiot box outshines 70-MM screens
By Priyanka Khanna,
New Delhi, Jan 21 The television industry, once
considered the poor cousin of the glitzy world of cinema, is
increasingly reshaping entertainment in India with even the high
and mighty of the Hindi filmdom succumbing to its charms.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's return to the small screen
in STAR Plus' quiz show "Kaun Banega Crorepati-3", actress
Shilpa Shetty living her life out on Britain's reality show
"Celebrity Big Brother" and film director Karan Johar's decision
to restart his chat show "Koffee with Karan" are all indications
that the small screen is very big now.
According to industry watchers, the television industry posted
better financial figures than film trade in India for the first
time in the year 2004. Since then it has also come out of the
overpowering shadow of the big silver screen, especially in
terms of people's perceptions.
The soap operas have become mini films and award shows have
become red carpet events. The day is not far when credits of
daily soap operas will include names of film writers,
choreographers, music composers, et all.
According to Anil Wanvari, chief of Indiantelevision.com, the
television industry brings in twice the mullah raked in by the
much older and well-known film industry.
In fact, a study by management consulting firm KPMG says the
so-called Tellywood had gained at the expense of Bollywood.
The study points out that in the year when Bollywood had a
series of flops and the revenue fell from Rs.45 billion in 2001
to Rs.39 billion in 2002, the total revenue generated from
subscriptions from television business shot up to Rs.60 billion
from Rs.40 billion in 2001 - a growth of 50 percent.
Of this, broadcasters realised Rs.8.4 billion - more than double
the previous year's figure of Rs.4 billion.
KPMG's stocktaking report on the status of the Indian
entertainment industry used the term 'degrowth' to describe the
film industry but said television business has more than made up
for the losses of the filmdom.
Latest figures say the media and entertainment industry of India
has ample space for all media to grow.
A study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Industry (FICCI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers says the
entertainment industry is expected to grow at 19 percent
compound annual growth rate to reach Rs.837.4 billion by 2010
from Rs.353 billion at present.
Advertising spends - at 0.34 percent of the GDP - are low in
comparison to other developed and developing countries, where
the average is around 0.98 percent.
"Advertising revenues are vital for the growth of this industry.
While the low ad spends may seem like a challenge before the E&M
(Entertainment & Media) industry, they also throw open immense
potential for growth," the report said.
If India was to reach the global average, advertising revenues
would at least double from the current level of around Rs.132
According to the study, the television industry is poised to
grow at 24 percent to Rs.427 billion from its current size of
"Subscription revenues would be the key growth driver for the
industry over the next five years. Subscription revenues will
increase both from the number of pay TV homes as well as
increased subscription rates," the study said.
New distribution platforms such as DTH and IPTV (Internet
Protocol Television) will help increase the subscriber base and
push up subscription revenues.
The film industry, however, is slated to grow at 18 percent to
Rs.153 billion in 2010 from the current size of Rs.68 billion.
"Advancement in mobile technology, better broadband access and
Internet Protocol (IP) will be the enablers that will evolve a
new breed of consumers, as opportunities for them to access and
manipulate content and services will be overflowing, while their
time and attention will be limited," the study said.
According to the study, convergence will play a crucial role in
the development of the Indian entertainment and media industry
where consumers will increasingly be calling the shots in a
converged media world.
And film stars have shown the way by climbing down from their
high horse and embracing the television world.
Radio is the next frontier for Bollywood stars. It has become
commonplace for actors to appear on radio for promoting their
films and many are no longer shying away from hosting small
segments as well.
Madhuri Dixit has, in fact, opted to give radio interviews over
the print media to get back into the public reckoning.
The radio industry is poised for big growth with projected size
for 2010 at Rs.12 billion from the current level of Rs.3
Key policy initiatives announced by the government such as
migration to a revenue share regime, allowing foreign investment
into the segment and opening of licenses to private players are
expected to drive growth in this sector.
The one entertainment sector that is in need for some fresh
impetus is the live entertainment segment. Mallika Sherawat did
try to spice up the proceedings of a live performance show but
ended up with a case against her.
Issues like high entertainment taxes in certain states, lack of
world-class infrastructure and the unorganised nature of most
event management companies continue to hinder growth of this
Maybe a toned down Mallika would do the trick.
I hope people like my look in 'Eklavya': Amitabh
Mumbai, Jan 21 A stickler for perfection that he is
known to be, ace filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra put Bollywood icon
Amitabh Bachchan through numerous beard and costume trials to
get the final look of a typical Rajasthani in "Eklavya - The
Amitabh, the lead protagonist of the film, confesses he enjoyed
"With Vinod being a perfectionist, he tried his level best to
convince me to stop all other work to grow a real beard to get
the authentic look.
"Since that wasn't possible, we ended up having several sittings
or beard trials to get the right hair colour etc. This was just
the beginning," said Amitabh.
After that they moved on to the costumes.
"We went on to turban, then the dress and it went on for months.
I eventually realised Vinod has a penchant for perfection and I
like that attitude," he said in a release.
"It's wonderful to be told after 35 years that I think you are
wrong and this should be done in this manner, and that's what
Vinod did and I appreciate that. I hope the look is finally
presentable and people like it," he adds.
After widely appreciated films like "Parinda", "1942 - A Love
Story" and "Mission Kashmir", Chopra donned the director's cap
after a long gap for "Eklavya".
Commenting on his penchant for details, Chopra said: "The look
had to be contemporary, and at the same time have a hint of the
traditions of India, that's what 'Eklavya' is all about; hence a
lot of effort was taken to ensure that Amitabh appeared
authentic. He was gracious enough to toil through the numerous
beard and costume tests to finally get the right look."
Fashion designer Raghuvendra Rathore, who hails from the royal
clan of Jodhpur, created a blue print for the costumes along
with Chopra's regular costume designer Subarna Rai Chaudhari.
When Amitabh was shown the sketches, he became so excited that
he immediately told his personal trainer that he must exercise
harder so that he can resemble the sketch as closely as
The film also stars Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan,
Jackie Shroff, Boman Irani, Jimmy Shergill, Raima Sen and
Sharmila Tagore. It is slated for release Feb 16.