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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Vidya Balan did not forget me: Shoma Anand

For the first time in her career, Shoma Anand who had actually made her debut as a the leading lady opposite Rishi Kapoor 32 years back in Pramod Chakraborty's film ‘Barood’ is playing a negative role on the small screen.

Though she has played characters with negative shades in several family socials made by the likes of directors like Bapaiah and Kalpataru, Shoma is glad that she has stepped into the shoes of senior actress Aroona Irani in the serial ‘Maayka’ which is being produced by Dheeraj Kumar.

Shoma Anand does not mince words as she says, “I wanted to play a negative role in a serial because I have never played a negative role in any serial till date.

Besides being fed up of doing comedy roles, I was also quite bored of putting on the glycerin for my character in the serial ‘Bhabhi’. Luckily for me, the producers of ‘Bhabhi’ have now made the Chopra family disappear. I enjoy playing the character of Durga in ‘Maayka’ now"

In what way has her character undergone changes from the time Aroona was essaying it?

She replies, "Though Aroona had done a good job as Durga, I am told she could not continue playing the role because she is too busy with her three serials on air, not only as a producer but also as an actress.

I have my own style. Even my style of speaking with a Punjabi accent is different from Aroona's way of speaking the dialogues with a Gujarati accent."

Shoma admits that she had even asked the producers of ‘Bhabhi’ to make the character of Reshma negative but they did not listen to her. "I was fed up of the same stereo-typed expression in episode after episode of ‘Bhabhi’.

Though I liked the emotional character of Reshma, it became too much, trying to project emotion in each and every episode. I wanted to do something different. I literally yearned to show my negative side.

Today the audiences need ‘mirch’ because they feel that too much of sweet too is bad. What actually provoked me to take up negative roles on TV was the fact that even my in- laws had told me that I am too sweet to do negative roles.

I told my in- laws that I have taken it as a challenge to prove to them that I can tackle negative roes too with effortless ease".

Shoma confesses that she was happy with the accolades that she got for her performance in Ekta Kapoor's ‘Hum Paanch’ in which she was teamed with Ashok Saraf.

"Success has not gone to the head of Vidya Balan who played my daughter in quite a few episodes of ‘Hum Paanch’. Even today Vidya continues to wish not only me on my birthday but also my husband as well as daughter on their birthdays."

Shoma says that it is unfortunate that the second season of ‘Hum Paanch’ was not liked at all by the audiences. "Though ‘Hum Paanch’ was liked by the audience when it went on air for the first time almost ten years ago, the new version was not appreciated.

‘Ek baar ban jaati hai’ but the new generation could not relate to the new version of the serial. Also Kapil Kapoor who had directed the original series had walked out and Ekta had to ask two or three directors to direct the serial."

Shoma cites the example of her own daughter Sarah. "My daughter criticizes my performances. Though she liked me a lot in ‘Hum Paanch’, she frankly told me that she did not want to watch me in ‘Bhabhi’.

Sarah is now studying in the tenth standard. Though I and my husband Tariq Shah are actors, Sarah does not want to be an actor. Instead Sarah prefers to be an astronaut".

Shoma speaks out her mind and doesn’t hesitate in calling a spade a spade. "Today there is a dearth of comedies on television because there are hardly a few directors who have a sense of comedy or for that matter timing. Though I would not like to take names, I was petrified when some directors used to okay a scene even when it lacked the punch lines."

Shoma says that she has not accepted any serial other than ‘Maayka’ because she is keen on working in films too.

Says Shoma, "In the last four years, I have acted in around 15 serials non stop. I feel that while serials automatically mean hard work, when I shoot for a film, I hardly shoot two or three scenes a day. I have decided to cut down on serials and concentrate on films.

Right now, I am acting in Neeraj Vohra's film ‘Dil Sacha Chehra Jhoota’ in which I have been teamed with Paresh Rawal once again after ‘Hungama."

Malaika comes clean on Item no

Malaika Arora has done it again She has an item song in Anees Bazmi's Welcome. "Again done for friends. Producer Feroz Nadiadwala and choreographer Ahmed Khan had asked me to do songs for them long back.

In my typical way I was positive but evasive. This time I couldn't say no. An added incentive was that the unusual combo of Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor were dancing with me.

The duo are doing their thing while I try to be all glam-and-lovely. Honestly I had a ball shooting the song in Welcome."

Tell her one is tired of seeing her do only item songs, albeit in sizzling shape, and Malaika squeals, "For me, working in a set-up where I'm not comfortable is a no-no. I wouldn't work with any and every body.

Because very honestly item numbers are not a huge career high. I do them for the passion of dancing. I always had other more important things, like my husband and son, to look into.

These are things that mean more to me. That's why I've never gone too far down the road of a film career."

Now she's finally doing a full-length leading lady's part in Suniel Shetty's production EMI (Easy Monthly Instalments). And she has no item song in the film!

"Actually I'm quite nervous. It's a new challenge. I do have songs, in fact my track is the only one with music. But all the songs are completely story-centric.

EMI was perfect for me because it needed just 10-15 days. There're lots of actors and 4-5 parallel stories in the plot.

And besides they're shooting a stone's throw away from my house. I made it clear that I'd shoot only those hours that suited my son. Really, I don't need to break my head over the schedule. The producer Suniel Shetty has made it so easy for me.

More than Suneil I'm very fond of his wife Mana. She's a real sweetheart. Also I'm cast opposite Arjun Rampal. People say we make a really good screen pair. I'd like to believe that."

And she'd also like to do a full-fledged role opposite her husband. "My husband's brothers are getting together to remake Amar Akbar Anthony. They better offer me the role opposite Arbaaz," Malaika chuckles hopefully.
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Welcome' beats Akshay's record in Overseas

With a historic opening, the Indian Films-Studio 18 mega release WELCOME has emerged a winner at the box-office. The numbers in Overseas have also surpassed those of all erstwhile solo Akshay Kumar titles, creating a new record for the actor.

In U.K., the preview and opening weekend gross was a smashing £ 370,000 (approx) from 40 locations.

In UAE, just the 5-day business of WELCOME was nearly as much as the lifetime gross of Akshay’s earlier hits. The business to date is AED 1.8 million from 29 locations.

In the US, the first two days grossed $ 100,000 only from the mainstream theatres (independents excluded), extremely impressive considering the biggest grosses will start from December 26. In almost every mainstream location, WELCOME out-grossed even the major Hollywood openers like CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, P.S. I LOVE YOU and WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY.

Multiple heroines in Sajid's next

What’s the cast of Sajid Khan’s new film? Well, everyone knows it will star Akshay Kumar in the lead, but the balance cast is being kept under wraps. While Sajid’s directorial debut was a multi-hero film, his next venture is expected to be multi-heroine film. It’s said that Sajid and his producer Sajid Nadiadwala are in talks with Kareena Kapoor, Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone to essay the three pivotal roles.

“I wouldn’t be able to confirm the leading ladies right now, but we’re talking to a couple of names,” Sajid Khan informs me. What’s the film all about? “It’s a family fare with laughter aplenty. It’s a laugh-riot and I want it to be Akshay’s biggest hit ever,” Sajid smiles.

Sajid plans to start filming in mid-2008. “I am still writing the script and it will take me another three/four months to complete it. The dates of the actors will be chalked out accordingly,” he adds.

Celina latest victim of Mumbai hotel's 'racism'

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Mumbai (IANS) Three Marathi actors recently denied entry into a restaurant in a suburban Mumbai 7-star hotel isn't an isolated case. Celina Jaitley had a nightmarish experience at the same establishment.

Recalling the incident, Celina told IANS: "I went into the sports lounge of this hotel with a gay foreigner friend of mine for just 10 minutes. I saw a tall imposing middle-aged German guy making obscene gestures at me. At first I ignored him out of embarrassment. Then he got bolder and came up to me to tell me in German in picturesque detail what he'd like to do to me.

"He didn't know I speak German fluently. That was it. I asked the hotel's authorities to deal with the situation, since they hadn't allowed my bodyguard in. Forget about challenging the German lecher, they said they didn't know who he was! Luckily I had seen him sign his room number on his bill."

When the posh hotel's cowardly personnel did nothing to help Celina, she left but returned the next day with three vans of cops, got the man out of his room and confronted him.

"He fell to his knees and cried and begged saying he has a wife and children back home. He should've thought of them when he treated me to such vulgar intentions. I made him write an apology and then for his family's sake decided not to press charges," Celina told IANS.

"The worst thing was, nobody in the hotel wanted to co-operate with me in dealing with this situation. Even some of my well-wishers advised me to forget about it.

"What I want to know is, whom do these hotels cater to? Are they for us Indians? Or are all the amenities and facilities only for foreigners? Why are foreigners given such blatantly preferential treatment in these posh hotels?"

The actress decided to speak up on the matter after she heard about the humiliation of the Marathi actors who weren't allowed in because of their Kolhapuri slippers.

"This isn't the first time that such an incident has happened. Some time ago, a dress designer friend of mine requested the same hotel's security to inspect his car in the portico, as he didn't want the clothes in the car to get wet in the rain. There was an argument. They slammed the car bonnet on his hand and fractured it...

"Don't they care about people who are not foreigners? Are these high-flying places so busy making big bucks that they've forgotten basic sense of decency?"

Merry Christmas

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