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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

'Namaste, Tera Baap Chor Hai'

Celina Jaitley has revealed how she once made the director of her first "foreign" film Love Has No Languages, Ken Khan, greet Indian guests at a party by saying "Namaste, tera baap chor hai" (Greetings, your father is a thief).

The actress, who has acted in about 10 Bollywood movies since winning the Miss India contest in 2001, said that it was just a prank, and that she had later admitted before people that she was behind it.

"You should have seen the expression on the guests' faces when Ken actually said that to them. They were just stunned and did not know how to react," a tabloid quoted her as saying.

"Later I told the guests that it was a prank that I had played on him," she added.

'Love Has No Languages' is based on a cross-cultural romance. It stars Jaitley as an Indian girl brought up in New Zealand who falls in love with Kiwi actor Ben Mitchell.

Deepa Mehta signs Preity for Heaven On Earth

Of late Preity Zinta has been gravitating towards a neo-realistic cinema. After working with Rituparno Ghosh and Jahnu Barua in The Last Lear and Har Pal, Preity's latest creative acquisition is none other than Deepa Mehta who has earlier worked with 'method' actresses like Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das.

Now in a sudden and unexpected move Deepa has finalized Preity Zinta to play the battered Punjabi wife in Heaven On Earth. Preity is over the moon. "I met Deepa a while back at the IIFA. She saw my film The Last Lear and loved it. I'm so glad I did this film. It has opened an entirely new door for me. I feel I'm born anew. Right now I'm hungering for a new kind of acting challenge. Doing Deepa's film is another step in the same direction. She's one director I've been longing to work with. When I read the script I said, this is it."

Deepa who decided to do this start-to-finish quickie before plunging into the Hollywood biggie Luna with John Abraham, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman and Chris Cooper, was on the look-out for the right face, personality and approach for the role.

"And I think Preity is perfect!" says Deepa from Toronto where she's now preparing to shoot Heaven On Earth. "I first met Preity at IIFA earlier this year. I was stuck by her positivity and her hungering for opportunities to stretch herself as an actress. We talked about the real-life character of a Punjabi housewife who goes through the nightmare of domestic violence. Preity was keen. But the dates were a problem. They've now been worked out. And Preity is on."

The shooting for Deepa (and Preity's) first Punjabi film begins in October. But before that in the middle of September Preity will be attending a workshop in Toronto. "To understand and come to grips with the character's milieu and body language. I think Preity can look very very Punjabi," observes Deepa.

Rajat Kapoor gets the PNC deal rolling

After the success of Bheja Fry, Rajat Kapoor has become one busy man and the reason being him signing a whopping 5-film deal with PNC a couple of months back. Raat Gayi Baat Gayi and Rectangular Love Story are the two films which would initiate this deal.

Raat Gayi Baat Gayi is a story that revolves around married couples, with reference to an urban relationship a la Mixed Doubles, and will go on floors by December” says Rajat Kapoor. This film stars Rajat himself along with Vinay Pathak and Neha Dhupia and will be directed by Saurabh Shukla.

Talking about the other film, Rectangular Love Story, Rajat says “It’s a story about three boys and a girl. It would go on floor by June and the star cast would include Ranvir Shorey. And since, I am directing the film I won’t be acting in it,” states Rajat. He also added that this film was supposed to be the first to go under production with respect to the PNC deal, but, got delayed as the actors didn’t have the required dates.

He has already finished directing his film Mithya starring Naseeruddin Shah, Ranvir Shorey and Neha Dhupia. His forthcoming films as an actor include Khoya Khoya Chand, Tere Sang, I Think I Am 24, Krazzy 4 and Halla.

Eklavya is India's official entry to the Oscars

Its Oscar time folks! It is that time of the year whereby millions of ‘directorial’ hearts broken to make one heart happy. Every year, movie fans eagerly wait to know as to which film would be selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars.

This year’s Indian entry to the much coveted award is Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya-The Royal Guard, starring the Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Jackie Shroff, Sharmila Tagore, Jimmy Sheirgill, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen and Boman Irani.

The film though heavily publicized did not really create a bang at the Box Office. Apparently, some of the industry folks are unhappy with the jury’s decision of selecting Eklavya as the Indian entry for Oscars since they feel that there are some other releases of this year which are more deserving.

Dharmendra replaces Amitabh Bachchan in Har Pall

They've always been terrific co-stars. Now they're in a position where they can exchange roles …comfortably.

Amitabh Bachchan was slated to play a key role in Jahnu Barua's second Hindi film Har Pall which has Preity Zinta and Shiney Ahuja in the lead. In fact, Barua had even announced the indefatigable superstar's name in an interview. However, the dates proved to be the culprit. And the Big B had to bow out. Now it’s Dharmendra who has stepped into the part.

Says Preity, "I've just completed a stunning film with Amitji entitled The Last Lear . It would've been great fun to work with him again. But Dharamji is adorable. I've done so many films with Sunny and Bobby. But I've never worked with Dharamji before. It's an experience worth cherishing."

Gallery: Team India Gets Grand Welcome

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Dhoni is best captain at the moment, says Yuvraj

MUMBAI: Lending support to victorious Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his deputy Yuvraj Singh said the Jharkhand player, who led the team to Twenty20 World Cup win, is the best possible skipper under present circumstances.

Yuvraj said he was not bothered about captaincy and tried to cooperate with Dhoni during the Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.

"It does not matter who is the captain. Whoever is the captain, we got to support him. Dhoni has captained well in the World Cup and he is the best captain at the moment," Yuvraj said after the felicitation of the Indian team on their arrival from South Africa on Wednesday.

Appreciating the captain, Yuvraj said, "Dhoni is calm and knows what he is doing."

About his six sixes feat in an over against England, Yuvraj said he was "fired up to give the best."

Ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said he was confident about his ability and delivered the goods when required.

"I continued to bowl well. I knew what I can do and I can do it again and again. I am just 27 and hope to play my part for the team's cause in future," he said.

On the team's success, Harbhajan said, "we played brilliantly throughout the tournament. Yuvraj was in brilliant form. Obviously it was a batsman's game, but we got ready for the fight. It was grace of god that we won."

"I enjoyed every moment, the way I bowled, my bhangra," he said.

Reliving the catch of Misbah-ul-Haq, which was the most decisive moment in final, pacer S Sreesanth said he moved a bit earlier which helped him take the catch without any problem.

"When he (Misbah) moved, I also moved back. The improvement in fielding was because of Robin (Singh) Sir," he said.

The Kerala speedster said he was overwhelmed by the response of the fans and grand welcome accorded to the team on its return.

Sreesanth's new ball partner RP Singh also echoed the similar sentiments, saying "the rousing reception offered was 1000 times more than what he had expected."

He said the job was "challenging for the bowlers" in the Twenty20 World Cup. (PTI)

'Hansika was treated harshly'

'Composer-Singer' Himesh Reshammiya is a thing of the past. The now-successful leading man of Aap Ka Surroor will now have 'actor-composer-singer' on his calling-card.

That's right. Himesh will only let his music be heard in films that feature him in the lead.

"I've several offers as a leading man. But I'll only be doing three films a year per year. And since I'll be doing such sparing work as an actor I might as well restrict my music to my own films. If I do music for outside films then the USP of my acting vehicles will be lost.

I don't want to cheat the producers who'll sign me. I'm now going to represent a never-before package of music-singing-acting. My next music score will be for my next starring vehicle, 8-10 months from now."

In the meantime Himesh might do a non-film album. "I think my minimized exposure will enhance the prospects of all the three films that I'll sign as an actor."

Isn't he scared that once he is out of sight-and-sound he'll be out of mind? "Certainly not! Once you reach that certain level of success, less becomes more. Earlier when I was finding my way in the entertainment business I needed 30-40 assignments. Now, just 3 is enough."

Himesh is enthused like never before. "Even those who thought my acting career was doomed have changed their minds. I don't blame them. My journey from composer to singer to acting has been odd."

Suddenly Himesh is being called a superstar.

"The boxoffice is very powerful parameter of stardom. I'll continue to treat my acting career like I did my singing and composing careers…. like a newcomer. If I start thinking of myself as a brand I'll be finished.

Though the critics have been harsh on his acting debut Aap Ka Surroor is doing roaring business everywhere. It's so far the biggest hit of the year. There're at least 8-10 film offers from the biggest banners of the country.

"I don't know how it happened. But now that God has been kind I've much more to strive for. I see a long struggle ahead. I had faith in my fan base. When I did my shows and my music videos they always warmed up to my screen presence. So I had an inner belief they'd come and watch me.Thankfully I was right."

Himesh is disturbed by the critical backlash. "My consolation is that they had ripped Sholay and Hum Aapke Hain Koun on release. And when my music in Aashiq Banaya Aapne came out they blasted me. They said this nasal voice cannot be the typical Bollywood hero's voice.

But my unconventional voice became the convention. Aashiq Banaya Aapne turned my fortunes as a musician. Aap Ka Surroor has taken me to another phase in my career. After the backlash they even gave me awards for my singing. Am I expecting acting awards ? Not at all."

Himesh is determined to win over the critics in his next acting vehicle. "But not at the cost of the commercial success. Like my music in Varanasi was appreciated by the critics. But it failed commercially. I want both."

He refuses to admit that Aap Ka Surroor was a hit solely for him. "Nahin! If everything else didn't work the film wouldn't. My director Prashant Chedha did a fantastic job. But the critics were really hard on him. I'm already planning a sequel to Surroor with Prashant.

As for leading lady Hansika I don't know why she was treated so harshly. The film has to be viewed in the right spirit. It's meant to entertain, not bring a revolution to society."

He sighs, "God has been kind. I can't say the same about my critics. First they predicted that no one would go to see me act. Then they predicted that there would be no takers after Monday. Then when there was no drop in collection they're saying Surroor is a fluke success, that when I don't play Himesh I'll be a flop.

Now I'll be playing other characters. I've lots of offers to act, and in none of them will I play myself. I'll give the same passion to my acting as I did to my singing."

Himesh is now being called the common man's hero. "That one-to-one connection I've made with my audience is divine intervention. I've come so far only because of my fan base."

Karan: I'll marry Ekta Kapoor if...

There's more than super-success at work here. Both Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor are 30-plus fiery, feisty, famous and eminently single. And although they're both off-camera celebrities they get mobbed big-time in public places.

Once upon a time, more than 30 years ago both of them were overweight, bratty, spoilt kids from very very filmy families who were fated to take their somewhat-shaky family fortunes to unimaginable heights.

Ekta was the over-possessive daughter of the superstar of the 1970s Jeetendra. As a child she once chased one of his father's heroines with a slipper because she found the leading lady misleading her precious father by batting her eyelids too hard.

Karan was so much younger than his father he grew up thinking producer Yash Johar was actually his grand-dad.

As hopeless kids Ekta and Karan would run into each other at birthday parties. Both blissfully fat and moorless. Both grinning from year to year into impending nothingness.

Laughs Karan, "I don't think our parents ever thought we could make much of our lives. Ekta, I believe was seen more as the eternal couch potato than someone who'd one day be weaning millions to become couch potatoes. I think she wanted to be a journalist at one point. So did I. At one point I even strayed into acting as a child."

Karan did the children's serial Indradhanush on national television and later even played Shah Rukh's nerdy sidekick in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

Karan chuckles hard. "Both Ekta and I were very maladjusted very overweight kids. Today we've both turned out rather well. Our parents must be proud of us. I'm as proud of her as she's of me. We bond as people who evolved almost simultaneously from wastrels to people who could make a difference."

"Whom can we marry?!" they both lament today. Ekta feels her power and fortune block all bachelors from honest courtship. Karan hasn't found the girl jissko dekh kar kuch kuch hota hai.

Sighs Karan, "I don't think I ever will find the right partner. If finally neither Ekta nor I find someone else we'll marry each other," quips Karan Johar about the other half of the K- Klub.

Guffaws Karan, "At least my mother will be very happy. Not only because I'll finally get married. But also because she'll get to to know the plot line of her favourite serials from beforehand."

Karan sees Ekta as part of the very exclusive K club.

"I love Ekta! She's an absolute darling. I truly admire her tenacity and her ability to do the work she believes in,despite the snobbish opposition."

There's one more factor that binds the two talkative tycoons together. It's their mutual affinity to numerologist Sunita Menon.

Laughs Karan, "Ekta and I have both clawed Sunita's hands out of her body. Both of us suffer from an incurable fear of flying. And we've often flown with Sunita. Her hands bear the tell-tale signs of our flying phobia."

Ekta reciprocates all of Karan's compliments. "I'd love to marry Karan. When is he proposing? Whenever we do meet we hug like long-lost pals. Karan is one of my closest friends from the film industry. I don't have friends in Bollywood. I prefer to stick to my tv crowd.

I remember I had gone to see Karan's Kal Ho Na Ho with an unbiased Friday-evening audience. (I don't like to watch films at the filmy previews). And I saw how audiences cried and clapped. I called him up and said, 'You've a winner on hand.'

Even with his earlier Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham they came down on him like they do on my serials. I told him not worry, K3G will rock. And it did.

I feel in some ways we both are a victim of an elitist attitude. He makes the biggest hits with the biggest stars. And yet, like my serials, Karan's films somewhere get cheated in the critical evaluations."

Ekta now really warms up to her favourite subject. "Karan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and in a different way Sanjay Gupta are my favourite filmmakers. But Karan is the only filmmaker I chat up with and attend his parties.

I rarely attend parties. But I remember at this party an actress was being very rude to me. I was getting progressively uncomfortable. I can never forget how Karam came up to me and just put his arms around me.

I realized that evening how important it is to make guests feel comfortable at your parties. That evening Karan and I bonded for life."

Ekta mentions the Sunita Kapoor bonding. "She's the only one who can advise me and Karan fearlessly.We both are vulnerable people easy to win and exploit.. Sunita has been a source of strength."

Ekta is also very fond of Karan's mother. "Aunty's inputs to my soaps are invaluable. Both Karan and his mom have always been very supportive."

I am not okay with Kissing: Rimi Sen

The Bengali damsel still has a long way to go. Rimi Sen has recently broken ties with Priyadarshan and comedies, and thinks her last movie, 'Hat Trick', was excellent, despite its fate at the box office. These days she is excited about her recent film 'Johnny Gaddaar'. While we wait to watch how she will fare in this one, we chat her up.

Q.: What are you looking forward to in 'Johnny Gaddaar'?
A.: This is the first time that I have acted in a genre that is not comedy. I think if the director is good, then everything goes well. I did this film for Shriram ji. I have seen his last film, 'Ek Haseena Thi', and I was spell bound by the way he presented Saif and Urmila.

Q.: Tell us about your character in this film.
A.: Shriramji has simply forbidden me to say anything about my role. All I can tell you is that I'm playing a simple girl named Mini, someone who wants to live life happily. The role required me to wear clothes styled from the 70s – wrap around skirt, simple churidars, etc. I am not glamorous in the film I look good. My character has many shades.

Q.: What was it like, working with Neil?
A.: It was a great experience. The best thing is that I did not have to stand on a piece of wood. As all my previous heroes were much taller than me, so I needed to stand on something to gain height. People make you dance on their finger tips, but I have always had to dance on a piece of wood!

Q.: There are some hot scenes in the promo of the film.
A.: And that is all you see in the movie as well. There are no kissing or love-making scenes between Neil and me. I am not very comfortable with those, and Shriram ji kept that in mind.

Q.: And what was with like working with Dharmendra?
A.: I have only one scene with Dharmendraji. It was wonderful meeting him. I have earlier worked with Esha and Hema ji, now I have to work with Bobby and Sunny very soon.

Q.: You have worked with two generations of actors. How was that experience?
A.: Actors of this generation are more liberal. They think in innovative ways. Actors from the previous generation, on the other hand, are more serious – they think over a shot for quite some time before they are ready to take the shot.

This is an art and it comes out of experience. Till I become a senior actress, I'll completely depend on my directors.

Q.: Are you happy with the characters you are playing?
A.: Absolutely. The most important thing for me is that I'm working with better directors. I have been in Mumbai for three years, and I have learned a lot. My last film 'Hat Trick' was a good movie, but it's a different issue that it didn't wok well at the box office.

Q.: Tell us about your upcoming films.
A.: There is 'De Taali', the story of four friends, where I'm working with Ayesha Takia, Reteish Desmukh and Aftab Shivdasani. The schedule will be over by the end of this year. Nana Patekar and Mohit Ahlawat are my co-stars in the film 'Shagird', where I'm playing a reporter in this film. That was a tough job.

Q.: Why?
A.: I found it tough to get the expressions of a reporter. I always thought that reporters were not to be trusted with whatever you said, but I found out that is not the entire truth. They also have responsibilities in relationships. If you ask them not to publish something, they won't.

Q.: What do you think of reporters now?
A.: I used to think that it was all hype, but now I feel a reporter deserves some respect. It is a merciless job.

Rs. 20 crore deal?

Multi-crore deals are ‘in’ these days and almost every notable production house is into signing actors/directors for multi-film assignments.

The latest khabar is, Sanjay Dutt has inked a 3-film deal with producer-friend Bunty Walia. The films are LAMHAA, to be directed by Rahul Dholakia, JUST PUNJABI, to be directed by producer turned director Jaspreet Singh Walia and GANGS OF LONDON, to be directed by ad film maker Shamin Desai. The three films will go on floors between 2008 – 2010. Reportedly, Dutt will be paid Rs. 20 crores + for this 3-film deal.

“The amount is undisclosable,” Bunty Walia informs me. Meanwhile, the balance star cast is under finalization.

Kajol with Ajay in 'Toonpur Ka Super Hero'

Eros International has signed Kajol opposite husband Ajay Devgan for TOONPUR KA SUPER HERO, a 3D film with animation. The film marks Eros’ second production with the husband-wife duo after YOU, ME AND HUM.

Directed by ad film maker Kireet Khurana, TOONPUR KA SUPER HERO tells the story of a reel-life hero accidentally landing in a world of cartoons and transforming into a real-life hero. The film will have Ajay Devgan playing himself.

Cinemax launches in Panipat

Cinemax launched its 14th multiplex facility in the country at Panipat, Haryana on 25th September, a first of its kind in the state. Cinemax Angel Prime Mall opened up its plush and high-tech interiors to moviegoers with DHOL, CHAK DE INDIA and DHAMAAL. The swanky new property was inaugurated by Mahendra Kumar, Hon. District Commissioner of Panipat.

The 720 seating capacity three-screen multiplex is a symphony of style with a front foyer and intelligent lighting, along with top-of-the-line amenities with the latest technology. Besides the regular Bollywood flicks, the new multiplex will also host regional movies to suit the preferences of its patrons.

India's Twenty20 Cup heroes welcomed home

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's triumphant Twenty20 World Cup squad arrived home from South Africa on Wednesday with thousands of joyous fans gathering at the airport to greet them.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team mates were greeted by the region's chief minister before being taken on an open-top bus to the Wankhede stadium for a reception hosted by the national cricket board.

Elaborate security measures were in place on the 35- kilometre journey from Mumbai airport, with giant hoardings on display to congratulate the surprise winners.

India beat arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs in a thrilling final in Johannesburg on Monday, a victory to compare with their upset 1983 World Cup final win over West Indies.

The Indian board has announced a win bonus of $3 million (1.49 million pounds) and a special cash award for batsman Yuvraj Singh, who hit six sixes in one over in a match against England.


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