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Monday, August 6, 2007

Ram Gopal Varma sings too?

Ram Gopal Varma's latest "Darling" has a scene where a ghost is supposed to sing in the background and the director got so immersed in the shot that he himself started singing the song while shooting.
As it happened, the shooting of the Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol and Isha Koppikar starrer was being held in Versova and the scene, a serious one, was progressing smoothly. Everyone was in their positions, the camera rolling and suddenly, out of the blue, Ram Gopal Varma started singing the background song.

The crew stood shell-shocked.

"He was so immersed in the scene that it came out spontaneously and sincerely. But since the camera was rolling, no one dared to break the shot. But the instant the shot got over, everyone exploded laughing on the sets," said a source.

Looks like Ramu can get carried away like everyone else!

I can write this in blood, She rocks: Akshaye Khanna

I can write this in blood, She rocks: Akshaye Khanna

Akshaye Khanna speaks on his role as Gandhi...

Gandhi My Father was made under an oath of secrecy among the cast and crew?
It wasn't secrecy, just a low profile until we were ready to release. A film like Gandhi My Father isn't easy to make. There was a huge amount of production and post-production work. And we haven't made a a small art film. Gandhi My Father is a big commercial film.

It's important to plan a film's promotion properly, specially when it comes to Mahatma Gandhi who's so much part of our lives even today. Now when we're finally allowed to talk, we feel we've been let out of jail.

You play Gandhi's son. Not much is known about him.
You're right.Gandhi is an integral part of every Indian's life. With his son Harilal whom I play it's just the opposite. Before I read the script I didn't even know he existed! Of course I was aware Gandhiji had a family. But I knew nothing about Harilal. A very minuscule number of people know about him. So it was relatively easy for me to play Harilal. I disn't have to copy someone people knew about.

So how did you get a grip on the character?
Very tough. I asked my director Feroz Khan how to play him. He's almost an authority on the man. He gave me Harilal's biography by Chandulal Dalal For me the research was in capturing the spirit of the man. Then I read the letters that Harilal had exchanged with Bapu and Kasturba. That was pretty much it.

Do you see Gandhi's son as a dark character?
Not dark at all. I see him as the most courageous character I've ever played. For any person, even the son, to stand up to Gandhi required a tremendous amount of courage. The entire British empire couldn't stand up to Gandhiji. Harilal could!

Did you delve into your own relationship with your father to play Gandhiji's son?
Let me say one thing very clearly. I've never used my personal life to play any character. I read about actors digging into their experiences. To date I've never done that. I look for the emotions in the moment, and then I let it go. I don't carry my roles home. Yes, scenes in Gandhi have eaten into my soul. I may have been tired after a scene. But I never carried my roles home.

Did you get a lot of support from your co-stars?
Darshan Jariwala who plays Gandhi, Shefali Shah who plays Kasturba and Bhoomika Chawla who plays my wife were extremely relevant to my performance. Let me tell you Darshan Jariwala had a thankless task. It's terrifying to play Gandhi, especially after Ben Kingsley.

It was an act of great courage for Darshan. I wouldn't have been able to do it. In spite of the enormity of his burden Mr Jariwala has carried Gandhi off with ease. As a fellow-actor I know the full measure of his achievement.

And Shefali Shah as Kasturba?
Please do not take my words lightly when I say is the single greatest performance given by an Indian actress. I can write this in blood.

Have you told her this?
Yes I have. She's one of those rare actors with an inborn talent. Highly underused and underrated.She just needed to be given the right opportunity. I can't put words to her performance.

How do you rate your own performance?
I don't want to compare any performance. But yes, this is one film I'm immensely satisfied with my work. I feel happy about my work. Not that I've ever left any stone unturned. But there's a quality to the film that benefited my performance. Every actor has excelled.

Feroz Abbas Khan as a director?
He's such an intellectual. In one sentence I'd say he's aesthetic intellectual.. Anil Kapoor said he had yet to meet a director as deep as Feroz. This is a director with immense integrity and honesty. Even as a simple father-son story Gandhi My Father has great sensitivity. This his screen debut.

But it looks he has done twenty films before. Coming from theatre and being an actor himself Feroz has a tremendous sense of performance. It'd extremely interesting to see where Feroz goes after Gandhi.

You did two comedies Shaadi Se Pehle and Salaam-e-Ishq. Now you've done a very dramatic film in Gandhi
I don't want to suffocate myself by playing the slotting game. I see myself as an actor who does his job. And look at the variety of roles this year Salaam-e-Ishq, Naqaab and now Gandhi My Father. What a spectrum! The very fact that I'm offered such a variety of roles proves writers-directors have faith in me.

Were you disappointed when Salaam-e-Ishq and Naqaab didn't work?
Hugely. I feel there was a lot of negative attitude towards Salaam-e-Ishq. It was virtually targeted. These things happen. But I feel Salaam-e-Ishq pushed the envelope. I adored the script and the film.

Salaam-e-Ishq is a work I'm proud of. I can work with Nikhil Advani any time of the day.In Gandhi the director has gone further than his other scripts. Now I'm in full Gandhi mode. I'm in the best place I've ever been.

'Mahesh went mad after a hit'

We've had many instances of frustrated actors turning directors, for example Subhash Ghai, Rakesh Roshan and Ashutosh Gowariker.

But what about a not-too-successful director returning to his first love, acting?

Mahesh Manjrekar's career as a filmmaker has suffered some serious setbacks in recent times.

Manjrekar who started his career as an actor in Marathi theatre hasn't had a directorial release since Wah Life Ho To Aisi and Viruddh in 2005. The former, a sci-fi kiddies film with Manjrekar's best friend Sanjay Dutt playing a modernday Yamaraj was a wash-out.

With Viruddh Manjrekar had promised to mend his creatively damaging ways. Though well-intended it was a boxoffice disappointment in spite of the AB Corp Ltd badge.

A close friend of Manjrekar says, "Mahesh went mad. After Vaastav he signed any film that came his way. Over-work and too little focus finished off his career."

Three of his ready-for-release directorial undertakings Deha, It Was Raining That Night and Struggler are in the cans for the want of buyers. Deha features Jaya Prada –Dino Morea as mismatched lovers.

It Was Raining That Night is Manjrekar's English-language take on his classic study of marital guilt Astitwa with Sushmita Sen in Tabu's role. Struggler is a one-actor satire with Manjrekar cast as a wannbe who wants to meet Amitabh Bachchan.

Mr Bachchan made a guest appearance at the end of this experimental film that Manjrekar hoped to take to Cannes. Alas it ended up only in the cans.

Surprisingly there has been an inverse boom in Mahesh's career as an actor. After playing a gangster in the Telugu film Okkadunadu earlier this year, he's being resurrected as an actor by none other than the guy who gave him two of his biggest breaks as a film actor.

Says Sanjay Gupta, "I gave Mahesh Manjrekar pivotal roles in my Kaante and Musafir. I think he's a really good actor. And if one has to choose between Mahesh Manjrekar the actor and director I'd go for the former. In fact he plays one of the leads in our production Pankh with Bipasha Basu and Lilette Dubey.

The film is almost 50 percent complete. I also directed him in one of the stories in my Dus Kahaniyan. The story was called Strangers In The Night. It's a beautiful story featuring Mahesh and Neha Dhupia as husband and wife."

Manjrekar who has become a recluse after his divorce (he doesn't even meet his best buddy Sanjay Dutt any longer) was unavailable for comment.

Sallu's generosity gets better

Salman's legendary largesse now comes in even bigger packages.

Just when we hear about how he had made Govinda a part of his extended family, there's a new story doing the rounds about a new wannabe director named Prem Soni who with much fear, approached Salman with the desire to direct a film.

"Do you have any scripts ready? Okay you've ten minutes. Narrate me an idea. And you are on," said Salman.

The nervous guy narrated an idea. And that's how he got the chance to direct Main Aur Mrs Khanna.

Sohail Khan who will produce the film has been shooting with his brother Salman in Pangong and Leh for Samir Karnik's Mera Bharat Mahaan.

Says Sohail, "It's true Bhai and I are on the constant look-out for scripts and directors for Sohail Khan Productions. Of course we've friends like David Dhawan. David has just done a great job with Partner.

But we need new talent. When Prem Soni who used to work for Star India, approached Salmanbhai he asked him to narrate an idea. He loved what he heard and sent Prem to me.We're now casting for the film."

Govinda has already been given the go-ahead to play the male lead.

Laughs Sohail, "Govinda is part of our family now. He's free to be in all our films."

As for his stint in Mera Bharat Mahaan Sohail explains, "I'm shown going a biking trip with Vatsal Seth. So it's basically the both of us throughout, though we both have leading ladies…fortunately."

Sushmita-SRK:Dulha Mil Gaya

Sushmita Sen says she is very unlike the diva she portrays on screen - she is still a child deep inside trying hard to pretend she is grown up while adopted daughter Renee is more matured, and this helps them strike a beautiful chord.

"I'm essentially quite a child pretending to be a grown up in front of the world. I think she (Renee) is a lot older than me. She understands things beautifully," she said on the sidelines of a news conference hosted by Procter & Gamble in New Delhi Saturday.

"You should meet me in my house and see how I behave and then you will ask yourselves, is this the person we refer to as the diva, the actress? We (she and Renee) are different from each other and it is this that helps us strike a great balance."

The former Miss Universe has taught her daughter to be brave.

She said: "It is not easy being my daughter. She goes to school and then she gets to hear that she is not really my daughter, but she is very brave. When I adopted her she knew what being adopted means, so she knows that she is adopted and is handling it well with replies like she is born from the heart while everyone is born from the stomach."

The 31-year-old svelte actress, who has acted in around 30 films, is currently occupied with "Dulha Mil Gaya" with Shah Rukh Khan and Ram Gopal Varma's "Aag".

"Dulha Mil Gaya" is Sushmita's second film with Shah Rukh and she says it will show the world her real self.

"It is a complete entertainer from frame one to the end. We have really worked hard for it. I can assure you that you will laugh your lungs out," she said. "But the best part is the character I play in the film is essentially Sushmita."

However, the actress is more excited about her own production "Jhansi Ki Rani" and said the project is very close to her heart.

"It is a life story of a woman who made all impossibilities come alive," she said. "I feel that I know her and a film on her life is so relevant today as centuries later we are now facing issues on religion that are creating cultural barriers whereas Rani's greatest allies were Muslim pathans."

The research for the film's content is over and now they are working on the characterisation, she said.

"A terrain in China has been chosen for the entire cast to be trained. The production of the film is scheduled to start by the end of next year and will see its release in 2009.

"I feel with time we have forgotten Rani Jhansi and what she stood for. The film is not about glorifying a religion or something. It is about glorifying humanity and celebrating that. It is sad that history has not recorded most of her life.

"History has somewhere forgotten her. One will get gooseflesh after knowing what all she did and remember she died when she was just 28."

Often regarded as the style diva, Sushmita also said she became the producer of the film to have control over the execution of its content.

"I have spent a lot of time complaining in the industry that this should have been like this and this is not right. So I'm producing this film because I don't want to take any chance with it," she said. "Moreover, I feel that by being the producer, I will have control over the film and how it is made."

Shatru is still my friend: Big B

The year 1980. The year of Yash Johar's mega-moneyspinner Dostana. "And a very special film," recalls Amitabh Bachchan who's currently in a remote area of Rajasthan shooting for Vidhu Vinod Chopra's new film.

"Dostana was Karan Johar's father Yash Johar's first film as producer. It's so apt that I worked with the father and now I'm working with his son in Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna From the time I worked in Dostana we never said goodbye to the Johars. Not too many people know this.

But there were lots of prominent producers who started off with me in their film. I had the good fortune of being in the first production of Prakash Mehra who started with Zanjeer. Manmohan Desai started with Amar Akbar Anthony. Tito-Tony started their production company with Do Anjaane. Iqbal Singh became an individual producer with Kaalia and of course Yash Johar with Dostana…..What an appropriate title!

All of us associated with the film—Yash Johar, Shatrughan Sinha, Zeenat Aman, director Raj Khosla, writers Salim-Javed—were friends….Dostana was also special because it was the only film in which Raj Khosla directed me. He was very thorough, with a great sense of drama and music.

The way the songs were brought into the plot—for example Mere dost kissa yeh kya ho gaya—was exceptional. Unlike today when so much jiggery-pokery goes with technique and camera angles, Dostana was a very simple film.

The most fancy thing in Dostana was a trolley shot here or there. The whole team was trained under the great Guru Dutt. It showed….I knew my co-star Shatrughan Sinha from the time he was at the Pune Film Institute. He graduated at the same time as Jaya, Navin Nichchol, Danny Denzonga and Romesh Sharma.

All of them are my friends to this day. I knew Shatrughan from the time we did my first film as a solo hero Bombay To Goa together. Several of our early films together never saw the light of day. We were all bonded by the struggle to make it big.

We used to spend a lot of wonderful times together. Then Sharughan was much in-demand as a villain, then leading men. There are only two actors in the film industry who were able to achieve this crossover from villain to hero. Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha. They've a lot to be proud of.

Both are coincidentally in politics and very successful at that too….Was there any ego hassles with Shatrughan or any of my co-stars? Not as far as I can tell. I'm perhaps the only actor to have done so many fims with so many actors from Shashi Kapoor and Rishi Lapoor to Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha…you name it."

Mr Bachchan then tries to define a friend. "Someone who has your trust and faith…someone whom you enjoy being with and who will be with u during trying times….I don't have very many friends. The ones that I have, I'm very proud of and happy with. Amar Singh, Anil Ambani, Subrato Roy…they're all my close friends.

We don't get to spend too much time together. It isn't essential to meet everyday with friends. The strength of a friendship lies in remaining proximate and warm even when you are physically away. You are so far away. Yet I know you are my friend."

When I tell him that he's someone who's always willing to accommodate a friend in his life and schedule Mr Bachchan protests. "You cannot use the word 'accommodate' for a friendship. Once you call someone a friend whatever you do or not do must come naturally and without fanfare. I think to accommodate a friend is to belittle friendship."

Simi Garewal recalls AB as a fun friend who entertained his friends for hours joking and singing. "Simi and I did Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Namak Haraam together. I'm sure we had a lot of fun. And now…I still remain the same. Even if I'm watched constantly I continue to have fun when I'm with friends.

Why should there be any restrain ? I do have fun at parties when I'm with a comfortable group of friends. As for rest of the social appearances, they're for noble causes. And these include commitment made to friends. If friends request you to give time, you have no choice.

John-Bipasha Back Together!

The much-in-the-news Bipasha-John pair is very much together. Though both the parties refuse to comment on it, a close friend reveals, "The couple have sorted out their difference after John returned from Pondicherry. They're very much together. In fact John is going through a family illness. And Bipasha is with him throughout."

When asked Bipasha shrugs off the 'on' status of her relationship with John. "I don't think I want to talk about my personal life anymore. What's happening there is for me to know.But yes, John and I have come together professionally again after Goal, this time with an item song in Anurag Kashyap's No Smoking."

But it wasn't the presence of John that impelled Bipasha to accept the song. "Certainly not! It was Vishal Bhardwaj, the man who gave me two of my best item number Beedi and Namak in Omkara. He told me about the item song in No Smoking at the IIFA in Yorkshire. After what the Omkara numbers did to my stage presence I promptly said yes to Vishal."

What about the danger of being branded an item girl?

"When have I cared about my image?" Bipasha shrugs. "And besides I've full faith in the intelligence of the film industry, also my audiences. By now they know what I'm capable of, and it's not just items."

Bipasha is now looking forward to shaking a leg with John for No Smoking. "Though we've done songs before, John and I have never done this kind of sizzling number before. Vishal has pulled out all stops in the composition."

Bipasha is sure the number will be a rage. "John and I are have fun dancing to it. I love the tune. Shooting it feels really good. Hopefully it'll be another number to bring the house down at my stage concerts."

Rani to talk about her 'Engagement'

Apart from a scene or two in her films, Rani Mukherjee has never touched a cigarette in her life.

A story that Rani has been lately puffing on the cancer stick has her family and friends amused exasperated and bewildered.

A very close friend of Rani says, "Rani's mother has apparently been asking Rani to quit smoking. Rani's mom is having fits. She wants to know why she'd ask her daughter to quit smoking when the girl doesn't light up at all?

All her friends smoke and drink, and Rani is okay with that. But she won't touch either. We've never seen Rani smoke in our life. She has done a couple of scenes in Bicchoo and Bunty Aur Babli where she had to smoke. Beyond that she has never touched the damned thing. "

Says the friend, "First the false report on Rani's engagement with Aditya Chopra, now this report about she being a smoker…The day Rani was supposed to have been engaged she was shooting the entire day for Pradeep Sarkar's Laga Chunri Mein Daag and laughing her head off.

'Hey guys guess what? I got engaged and I don't know about it,' she called her friends and joked. But now Rani is really up to her neck. Her father cannot go on clarifying on her behalf.

Even on the engagement issue she felt it wasn't right to for her ailing dad to be harassed. 'Dad is already handling my work. How much more can he take?' Rani said to us friends.

Her silence is being misconstrued as acquiescence. Rani has been lying low because she feels the stories are much too baseless to be dignified with a clarification. But now she feels some people are taking advantage of her silence. "

The lady in question is all set to speak out against all the controversies.

Ironically, the story about her smoking comes at a time Rani is all set to do a campaign against smoking.

Says the friend, "Rani had decided to do an anti-smoking campaign on television even before this story came out. Now she's all the more determined to do the campaign, and not just that.

She'll soon be giving her version on the supposed engagement with Aditya Chopra because her family and close friends feel such talk and her silence are damaging her career. "

"Chak De is a dream come true": Shahrukh Khan

"I don’t think Shimit and Adi are the kind of people who’d make an off beat film," says Shahrukh Khan discarding rumours that his next film Chak De India is another attempt by him at off beat cinema. A film based on the trials and tribulations of Indian women’s hockey team, SRK plays the amiable coach that weaves a bunch of girls from all parts of the country into a combative unit of strength and drive. In this interview King Khan expresses his fondness for director Shimit Amin (in the process he dismisses all rumours of the alleged differences between the two), the experience of working with raw young talent and why he feels Chak De India should become the anthem of Indian Sport. Time to dig in guys….

What made you decide to do this film?
There were a lot of reasons, first is off course the director. I have known him for years and he is a very simple, hardworking and talented. He has worked with me in the film Asoka. He’s a very sweet, unassuming kind of a guy and to choose a film which is on sports and which is normally neglected say perhaps apart from Lagaan, Hip Hip Hurray and Iqbal. Now we haven’t really made sports film and its something that I thought when I was younger I should be doing but I didn’t get a chance. So when I am old and grey and over the hill I am glad someone like Shimit thought that I could sort of fill in to a sports film and field hockey has been a personal favourite sport of mine and I have been wanting my kids to learn it. I do feel I am no one to really comment from the outside that the state of Indian Hockey is not good but I have always felt that if there is anything I can do via the medium that I work in about the things that I think are special like field hockey. My father used to play, my friends used to play and I love it too so when all these things came together and off course Yash Raj producing it, they are all friends and family and I couldn’t have got a better chance to make a dream come true about doing what I like doing most which is acting and doing a subject which is close to my heart.

Can you tell us something about the character you play?
The character’s name is Kabir Khan. He’s a coach; an ex-Indian hockey player who is living with some demons, has got some problems in life, has not been successful, wants to overcome that but without being cynical or disturbed. He decides in his mind and heart that he going to do something positive about it so it’s a film about achievement in the face off failure and it’s a film that looks at failure in a positive way that if you haven’t done well fairly or unfairly the idea is not to give up or become cynical .The idea is to take on some kind of a challenge and try to overcome that obstacle which had stopped you earlier. I would say the character is quite aggressive when he wants to be. If you really ask me though I have played it I really don’t know what the character is. I have played from my heart. It’s a mix of Jaideep’s writing, it’s a mix of Shimit’s outlook on the whole film, it’s a bit of Adi’s belief in the film and it’s a bit of my mannerisms and style. It’s all rolled into one. I would like it to be thinking, feeling may be of an elderly brotherly kind of a character who you feel confident in, who himself is shattered from inside, so it’s very complex its not just like a simple explanation. I haven’t been able to understand it myself yet.

What was it like working with a whole lot of newcomers?
Fantastic, earlier I thought that working with newcomers would be a bit of a hassle because they would not know their lines, you know you become a little patronizing you become a little kind at times, a little agitated and irritated at times because things are not going the way you think they are going but I think the whole production and the whole team had worked very hard with them and not to take any credit away from these girls. I think they are very hardworking and wonderful. They put their heart and soul into the film. They have practiced and learnt hockey, they have learnt the lines, they know the scenes they knew everything and at the end of it all after having worked for 18 years as an actor I got a lot to learn, because there is a bit of rawness when newcomers come and face the camera working for so many years you tend to become a little mechanized .You see a scene with a young girl who has never acted before, she says her few lines and they don’t seem like you would do them this way but when you hear it out it sounds very right so it’s a great learning process to work with newcomers. I had done that a bit in Swades but which was with still honed theater actors not film actors but here there were most of the girls had ever faced any kind of acting job so this was really nice and it was a great learning process for me.

Among the girls in the team many of them must have been your fans what was it like working with them?
The girls are very sweet and they were working really hard and we had a lot of readings before we started the film and couple of meetings so that we got easy with each other. Apart from some of them liking me, its a little embarrassing because some of them were 5/6 years old when they saw my films. It’s a little embarrassing to be working with girls where you suddenly realize god you are old, you have been working a lot. But it was also important for me to be comfortable with them and not treat them like kids because the whole purpose of the character Kabeer is that he doesn’t treat them like kids or girls. He treats them like grown up, tough people so I think that little bit of being fans and stalwart compared to the others got over very fast in the reading and meeting stage and then we were all co-actors and co-actresses just working together and having a great time and they were really nice, very well mannered very well brought up and really nice kids.

Is Chak De India another effort by you to do off beat film like Swades and Paheli?
I don’t think these are off beat films sometimes I like the stories because they are different and I don’t think Shimit and Adi are the kind of people who would make an off beat film. Its very on beat I think but the subject is that you can’t make it every year, it’s a different subject so I don’t know what an off beat film is. I don’t like boring films myself so I don’t try to do those. I think this is a film with a different kind of a soul and a different kind of a story line so that’s how it’s different and I don’t think it’s off beat

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words Chak De India?
Chak De strangely to me is a line from Dilwale. I remember we used to say Chak De Phate in Dilwale so I don’t know but I get reminded of that but I hope Chak De India becomes like a sporting thing whenever Sachin is playing or whenever Dhanraj Pillai is going with the ball somebody screams Chak De India which means score a goal or hit a sixer or get Sania Mirza to win the Wimbledon….

Saawariya promo with Chak De India

Saawariya is one film that has been in news since the time it went under production. The film is a big venture as it is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and stars Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee. But the biggest reason for the high anticipation levels for Saawariya is because the film will launch two star kids, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. As we all know by now that Ranbir is Rishi and Neetu Kapoor’s son while Sonam is Anil Kapoor’s daughter. The film buffs are surely excited to see the kids of these successful actors perform onscreen.

The hot news is that the theatrical of Saawariya will be played in cinema halls with the Chak De India. YRF’s Chak De India starring Shah Rukh Khan will hit the screens this week. So when you go to watch the Indian girl’s hockey team in action in Chak De India, you will most definitely be treated with the promo of Saawariya.

Ravi Chopra to do Pocket Maar with Big B Click here to add this article to My Clips

After Baabul and Baghban, it's time for the prolific Ravi Chopra to conceive yet another project with Mr Bachchan in mind.

Says Ravi Chopra, "We've so far done Baghban and Baabul. And decades ago I directed him in Zameer. I couldn't plunge into another film with him just because of the rapport we share. The project has to be worthy of his presence. I'm now planning Pocket Maar with Mr Bachchan for early next year."

Does the Big B play the title role again as he did in Baghban and Baabul? "No, this time he plays the victim of a pickpocket's designs. For the man who commits the crime it's just another job done, and finished with. But what about the man who loses, say 10,000 rupees? What repercussions does this loss have on his life? Mr Bachchan will play that man."

Playing the victim isn't new to the Big B. He did it recently in Viruddh and Baghban. But Ravi Chopra has an entirely new character and look planned for the Big B.

Sangeeth Sivan's next is Horror flick Click

As Sangeeth Sivan immerses himself in the post production of his Nana Patekar-Bobby Deol starrer Ek - The Power Of One, he also gets ready to bring his next film on floors.

Titled Click, the film is close to Sangeeth since it allows him to explore a genre which he has always wanted - Horror! Also, this is going to be the first film that Sangeeth is making for his own production house.

"After Sandhya [starring Jackie Shroff, Ashutosh Rana], my first horror flick, didn't see the light of the day, I went on to make comedies like Kya Kool Hain Hum and Apna Sapna Money Money These films helped me establish myself firmly in Bollywood. I went a step ahead and roped in Bobby and Nana for an action thriller Ek - The Power Of One Now that I have finished working on the shoot, I thought of shifting to a different genre. The horror subject fascinated me and I pronto decided to get the film on floors", explains Sangeeth.

What kind of horror film is he making? "This is an urban horror flick featuring a young starcast. I have signed Shreyas Talpade and Rehan Khan for the film", says Sangeeth whose KLSH and ASMM were also youth oriented.

"Let me be honest here", gets Sangeeth into a candid mood, "I am trying to make a bank of actors for me with whom I can build a certain comfort level over the period of time. No 'nakhrebaazi' from stars-vaars for me. I can't take all those airs when some big star out there tries to act smart. Instead I am happy if I get to make two small films a year with youngsters who are as enthusiastic about working as you and also should share the same vision. They should show fire in them to succeed, to excel."

Was that the kind of fire he saw in Shreyas and Rehan? "I was looking at youngsters who were not too exposed. With Shreyas I had worked earlier in ASMM. It was his first commercial movie and everyone acknowledges this fact. As an actor he is fantastic and we all have seen that in his other films as well. Once you build a rapport with an actor, it is imperative that you work with them again", reveals young-at-heart film maker.

How about Rehan? "In just a couple of meetings with him, I saw that sincerity and honesty in him that made me rope him in. I could sense the kind of urge he had to make sure that he gets to do good work."

But is sheer urge and willingness good enough? After all not much has been seen of his work as Rehan is just two films old after Jaana - Let's Fall In Love and Awarapan? Wasn't he wary about the fact that he still has to establish himself as an actor?

Sangeeth pauses for a moment before replying, "You asked a valid question. Sometimes one just goes by intuition. Moreover let's not forget the point here that this is a horror flick. If you are making a comedy or a romantic saga, you need to be dead sure about the choice of actors. But when it comes to a horror film, first and foremost script should be a hero, which in my case it is. Moreover, technique can be harnessed to the best use to make sure that you have a gripping tale to tell. Once you have the right cinematography, sound design and background music in place, most of the battle is won there and then."

Great, the film maker certainly seems to be confident about what he is making. So how does the film's schedule look like? "We start filming on September 1 and plan to wrap up the principal shooting by 5th Dec. In between there would be a month long break in October since a) I have to look at the release of Ek - The Power Of One and b) Shreyas doesn't have spare dates during that duration. After that I will be extensively sitting on the post production of Click. This would require quite an effort. Ultimately we are aiming at a May release once the school/college exams are over since the film is primarily being targeted at the youth segment."

Now Ismail Darbar turns singer

Music composer Ismail Darbar is all set to cut his new album. T-Series has signed him for a private album called Tere Pyaar Mein. Ismail will render his voice for this new album.

However, Ismail has never lent his voice before for any of his films. He informs that his new friend music composer turned singer turned actor, Himesh Reshmmiya convinced him that he should take up playback singing and come up with his own album. Himesh also accompanied him to T-Series office to meet Bhushan Kumar, who offered Ismail a private album. Himesh and Ismail both are judges for TV Show and are good friends.

He further explained that Himesh motivates him in everything that he does. Ismail has already started composing and will start recording soon. He is planning to release this album in November.

Celina in Pink Panther film?

Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and Shilpa Shetty have been making some news about their foray in Hollywood flicks for quite some time now. Now add Celina Jaitley to the list who has been making some serious progress in her foray into International projects.

Just recently Celina was asked to play the role of Sophie in the next Pink Panther movie. However, as she is currently in the middle of a cross over campaign, the A-list agents that are interested in representing her advised her to pass on the project.

Meanwhile she continues to select her Bollywood projects quite carefully. After three back to back successes in 2006 [Zinda, Tom, Dick and Harry, Apna Sapna Money Money], her glamorous presence was noticed in both Red and Shakalaka Boom Boom this year.

As per reliable sources, there is steady progress being made to launch Celina as a cross over artist with a project that truly celebrates presence as a cross over artist.

Watch this space!

After 'A Wednesday', it’s 'Teen Large Ek Small'

After completing A WEDNESDAY [an ‘A’ has been added to WEDNESDAY], Shital Bhatia of Friday Filmworks is looking at starting his new venture. Friday Filmworks is in the process of being converted into a private limited company, under which the next three productions will be executed. These three films are slated to be completed by the end of 2008.

Neeraj Pandey will be writing and directing two of these projects. The first film is titled TEEN LARGE EK SMALL. The scripting is almost complete and the filming will start in November. Shital adds that the projects will be content-driven. “Anyone cribbing about quality ideas is either not looking properly or not willing to invest in it,” he says.

Sangeeta Ahir's drive against piracy

Sangeeta Ahir, wife of politician Sachin Ahir, who has produced APNE and also VAAH LIFE HO TOH AISI, has launched a crusade against piracy. Due to her persistent efforts, representatives of the Hindi film industry approached her to take the issue to the Assembly.

Sangeeta Ahir, Pahlaj Nahlani, Ramesh Taurani, Anil Sharma, Rahul Sugandh, all delegates representing the film industry, visited the Assembly where Sachin Ahir raised the issue of piracy [audio, video etc.]. R.R. Patil, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has reacted very positively and promised that a new act will be imposed to tackle this crime within a month’s time.

Rs 1.75 crore song for 'Hello'

Atul Agnihotri’s HELLO is in the news! The actor/film-maker is filming a song on a set of a pub at Mumbai’s Film City, which has cost its producers. approx. Rs. 1.75 crores. Choreographed by Bosco-Caesar, the song is composed by Sajid-Wajid and rendered by Daler Mehndi and Sunidhi Chauhan. In fact, Daler was so impressed with the song that he refused to accept any kind of remuneration, but the makers gifted him a Tag Heur watch.

Presented by Paul Parmer, HELLO is adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s book ‘One Night @ The Call Centre’.

Premieres in London, Los Angeles

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CHAK DE INDIA, Yash Raj Films' latest production, is hitting the marquee in style -- with gala premieres in London and Los Angeles. What's more, both the premieres are part of mega festivals that celebrate India and Indian culture in U.K. and U.S.A., respectively.

The London premiere, to be held on 9th August, is part of 'India Now', a three-month season celebrating London's strengthening relationship with India and exploring India's culture and its contribution to London life. The premiere will take place at Somerset House.

The Los Angeles premiere, to be held on 10th August, is part of 'India Splendor'. The festival runs from 10th to 15th August and is a mega showcase of India's arts, business, technology, food, dance, spirituality on the occasion of India's 60th anniversary of independence. CHAK DE INDIA will be the opening night film of 'India Splendor'.

Himesh in 'Karz' remake

The suspense is over! Himesh Reshammiya's second release as an actor, after AAP KAA SURROOR, will be produced by T-Series' head honcho Bhushan Kumar. Now here's something vital on the project: It'll be a remake of Subhash Ghai's smash hit KARZ. Incidentally, Himesh had crooned a number from the film, 'Dar-e-dil dard-e-jigar', in AAP KA SURROOR.

Himesh will be playing the part that Rishi Kapoor had enacted in the original. The other characters -- Tina Munim, Simi Grewal, Raj Kiran, Durga Khote and Pran -- are in the process of finalization. To be made on an extravagant scale, the remake of KARZ will have fresh tunes composed by Himesh. In fact, Himesh has decided on a makeover for this film.

Meanwhile, Ghai has decided against remaking films produced by Mukta Arts himself. A text message to this writer says it all: “How can I remake my own scripts, when I am looking ahead at newer ideas? But, I am sure, the remake of KARZ will be welcomed by the present-day generation and I wish luck to Bhushan and Himesh.”

Rani Mukherjee is an occasional smoker!

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Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee reportedly has a bad habit – a habit injurious to health. Reports are that Rani is an occasional smoker and can't seem to do without her morning cigarette, which apparently helps with her bowel movement.

But it seems Rani's mom is not too happy about it and has been nagging her girl to give up the bad habit. Rani has tried to give up smoking but ultimately she has always gone back to her habit as she develops various problems when she quits.

But now due to the constant confrontations with her mom, Rani has resorted to smoking in the loo and hiding her cigarettes when mommy dearest is around. Rani also regularly carries mint and deodorant around so that if her mom pops in she can always use it to lessen the smoke smell.

Well it comes as a huge surprise that Bollywood actresses seem to be puffing away too.


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