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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

SRK out of Rs.1 billion 'Robot'

SRK out of Rs.1 billion 'Robot'

Following the huge box-office success of 'Sivaji-The Boss', director Shankar has again roped in Rajnikanth for his next film, the Rs.1 billion-sci-fi film 'Robot'.

The Britain-based Ayngran International, which has distributed more than 1,500 Indian films, and Eros Multimedia, distributors of films like 'Munnabhai MBBS',will produce the film.

It will see the sure-fire combination of Rajnikanth and A.R. Rahman with Shankar.

The film will be in three languages, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Speculation was that Shah Rukh Khan would play the lead role but now producers have confirmed it will be Rajnikanth, south India's darling.

The cast and crew is being finalised, a release from the producers said here Monday.

Director Shankar has been dreaming of making 'Robot' for a long time, with a big budget.

'Robot will be the grandest and most entertaining film ever made in Indian cinema and be produced in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi and be a high-tech film with the use of the state-of-the-art technology,' the release said.

Sushmita goes the Aamir way!

After Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgan it is Sushmita Sen's turn to wield the megaphone for her magnum opus.

Sush has long harboured the dream of making a film on Rani Laxmibai under her production company Tantra Entertainment so that she doesn’t have to compromise with her vision.

To direct the project, she had considered noted director Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi to direct the film, but the things couldn't materialize.

Now, Sush has apparently decided to direct the film herself. She would be assisted in this new task by her good friend Mudassar Aziz in whose film Dulha Mil Gaya she has been working.

The film is likely to roll early this year.

Saif tattoos Kareena's name

He loves Kareena and wants to announce it to the world too. We hear that Saif has got Kareena's name tattooed in Devnagri on his arm at Hakim's Alim in Bandra.

Saif and Kareena left for Greece Friday, January 4, to savor the salubrious climate and food there before other crew members of Tashan catch up with them for a shooting schedule there.

Saif has apparently been planning to get the tattoo for last few months and has been browsing through various calligraphic styles to finalize the shape of the tattoo.

Last week, on Thursday, the actor finally took the decision and walked into Hakim's Alim in Bandra and sat for a two-three hour session to get Kareena’s name tattooed in Devnagari, an ancient Indian language.

The tattoo was reportedly done in indelible ink.

Bebo isn't jealous of me and Shahid

Stardom is definitely a boon, but it extracts a price too. And following the success of her 'Vivah' Amrita Rao is learning this the hard way.

The current controversies about Amrita leaving the 'girl next door' image, has put her in a state of disbelief and shock. And things are getting worse as Amrita is just hopping mad now!

Recently, a Mumbai tabloid reported that she was spotted with Shahid Kapur and his family watching a film at a suburban multiplex.

Shahid of course has already denied the story, and the actor feels that he is being dragged into too many meaningless controversies off late. Amrita too is livid by the allegations.

Hurt by such 'baseless' reporting, the actress says, "It is shocking how people can make up such stories. I was nowhere around. I was celebrating the New Year's at home with my cousins.

After that I took an early morning flight to Delhi for the promotions of 'My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves'. During the past few weeks I have been on a roller coaster promoting the film in Ahmedbad, Delhi and all over."

Defending her cause, Amrita goes on to add, "I haven't even met Shahid for months and the last time I met Shahid was almost two months back when I shot for a promotional campaign for 'Vivah' when it was being shown on television for the first time. After that I left for Jaisalmer for a month-long outdoor with Harman Baweja for 'Victory'.

As soon as I came back, I've been touring cities for the promotion of 'My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves'. Where is the time for me to go and watch a film in the theatre in all this mad rush? That too, with Shahid and his family!

It is preposterous. I wish the person who wrote the story got his facts right. I really want to know where exactly I was spotted." The actress is surely indignant at this malicious rumor.

She is also upset that her name is being linked with her 'Vivah' co-star Shahid. "Shahid and Kareena's spilt came as a shock to me. I was shooting in Hyderabad for my Telugu film when I heard about their split.

After that it was reported that Kareena got upset because I was spotted coming out of Shahid's van. This is utter nonsense and plain rumor mongering.

I'd like to remind everyone that it is Kareena herself who has openly praised my performance in 'Vivah' in the media. She has always been more than nice to me, so where is this rumor starting from? It is baseless," retorts Amrita.

The actress is so angry over the reports that she just cannot stop rebutting. "First, I had to counter that. Now I'm being spotted in some theatre watching a film with Shahid, when I was never actually present! It is blatant misreporting.

Shahid is an extremely dignified person and a gentleman to the core. He has always been a wonderful co-star to work with and such baseless stories only make a working relationship uncomfortable.

Fortunately for me, Shahid has the grace to laugh these rumors off. But I have to take a stand because it is utterly ridiculous."

So, this is Amrita setting the record straight once and for all.

Kunal Khemu injures his back

Kunal Khemu playing a double role in his forthcoming flick Superstar injured his back while working out in the gym. When asked about it, Kunal replied, “Nothing serious, it was a small injury and I am back to work now.”

The promos of his upcoming film Superstar is all over the television. Giving a gist of the film, Kunal says, “The film revolves around two identical looking guys who are very different from each other in every aspect, be it their upbringing or ambitions in life. Being poles apart how their lives change after they accidentally meet each other face-to face, is what the story is in totality,” says Kunal.

Kunal claims to share a great rapport with Rohit Jugraj, the director of Superstar. “I have been fortunate enough to work with directors who have such distinct style of filmmaking, be it Bhatt Saab whom I really look up to or Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar, who have created a niche for themselves in the industry.” He also adds, “Rohit Jugraj is full of life and filled with zest, he transfers the same attitude into his film.”

Kunal Khemu is known for his versatility to do any character or role. On querying about his variant roles in the near future, he informs, “It gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction to be accepted by my audience in all that I have done so far. As an actor, I feel accomplished having explored different genre every time. Even in future, I would love to do action and romantic films.”

Cherishing the pleasant moments during the entire shoot he laughs, “It had become an everyday routine for me and Tulip (who plays his love interest in Superstar), to laugh for no reason. The entire unit had become habitual to our craziness and pretended to be oblivious to it.”

As far as the promotions of the film are concerned, audience will get to see two Kunal Khemu's giving interviews in their respective characters.

Kunal also claims Superstar to be a refreshing treat for his fans who have always wanted to see him dancing and singing on screen. To which he says, “Superstar brings me in a new light. The story sounds very cliché but trust me the USP of the film lies in its story. Superstar is a complete commercial entertainer.”

Hrithik-Aishwarya fame will help: Ashutosh Gowariker

He had a directorial life before. But it's with Lagaan followed by Swades that Ashutosh Gowariker has acquired the reputation of being one of the most influential and socially awakened filmmakers of our times.

With his new epic Jodhaa-Akbar he goes into the historic alliance between a Mughal Emperor and his Rajput wife with much diligence and passion. Gowariker talks about the film with Subhash K Jha.

After Lagaan, you return to a period film in Jodhaa-Akbar?
You might say that. But I call Lagaan a period film. Jodhaa-Akbar is to me a historical.Anything after 1857 is a period film for me. Anything before that is a historical. Jodhaa-Akbar is certainly not a costume drama.

It isn't set in a never-never land. I'd call Mughal-e-Azam a historical though its focus was different from mine. I feel if today we make a story about the past it must be co-related to the present.

And Jodha-Akbar is as relevant to present times as arranged marriages. Jodha and Akbar shared a perfect arranged marriage. I was fascinated by how their relationship must have grown after marriage.

There was no reference in any books about what happened between them. I've taken extreme care to make sure viewers believe in the relationship.

How much have you stressed the religious different between Jodha and Akbar?
It's important but not stressed in my film. Let's not forget, Akbar's marriage to Jodhabai was no common occurrence.

It had a nationwide reverberation 450 years ago when society was far more conservative. How did their marriage affect those times? That's a question relevant even today. But I'm not jingoistic in my treatment.

Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan have very contemporary personalities?
That won't be a problem. The audience will come in and forget everything about Hrithik and Aishwarya. I've no fear of that. The two are brilliant Ultimately the audience will be watching not the stars but the two characters that they play.

Hrithik-Aishwarya's pairing is incredible. They're extremely charismatic and good-looking. They were a huge success in the contemporary Dhoom 2. That can only help my film, not harm it.

What audiences will see in my film are Jodha and Akbar. At least that's what I've tried to ensure through their looks, body language and behaviour. I wanted to make my historical as believable as I'd like to see it being.

Every element big or small, from the texture of the clothes to the sets, décor, dialogues and the protocol, even the incidental sounds of birds and animals, they all had to be just right for me.

I'm tired of filmmakers wondering where those good old days have gone. I wanted to reclaim those days. It took me two years of pre-production before I got into my first shot..

Is this the most difficult you've made?
It is. But the process has been so enjoyable I didn't mind the toil. My crew made the process of creation very interesting. Just working hard isn't a virtue. Otherwise I should not make a film. And I definitely shouldn't make a historical.

Film analysts feel history has no relevance for today's average youngster?
I agree. Even as a child myself historical films never interested me. But when I saw Mughal-e-Azam on television I connected to it because it was a story of lovers separated by parental opposition. That the parents were historical figures was incidental.

I feel the story has to be connectable to the audience. Hyder Ali who wrote Jodha-Abkar told me, 'In Mughal-e-Azam the focus was so much on Salim and Anarkali nobody asked a fundamental question.

How did Akbar come to marry Jodhabhai in spite of their religious and cultural divide? I immediately reacted to their alliance. I saw an interesting story there that needed to be told.

As for the youngsters, I had one rule of connectivity in my range of vision. Any word or dialogue that I didn't understand in Urdu, I kept out.

I've no interest in impressing audiences with my knowledge of Urdu, Hindi or even literature. I feel literature is for the books, and that's where it should stay. I needed to reach out to the masses.

So is Jodha-Akbar kitsch?
No. I've referred to literature and academia. But the Akbar-nama was in Pharsi. It doesn't mean I'd use Pharsi in my film. I want Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal to understand the film. I'm dubbing the film into Telugu and Tamil.

Each language has its own regality and I'm going by the individual regality of the province. I had one vision before me when I started making this film. It was the world of the Amar Chitra Katha. I've grown up on that world.

Are you happy with the end-product?
Oh it has been tremendously enriching. So far the Mughal period was part of textbooks. I always wondered about the battles and the durbar intrigue.

The mughal period was known for its lavishness, so much so that studio bosses in Hollywood from the golden period were not called movie czars or movie nawabs. They were called movie moghuls.

Govinda's name- switching spree

The titles of Govinda's films are being changed quite often these days. "That is true," laughs Govinda. "My film with Ravi Chopra was called Pappu Paas Ho Gaya. Now it’s titled Bandaa Yeh Bindaas Hai. It's a fabulous socially relevant subject questioning the loopholes in our legal system. Though serious, the mood is forever-light. So, the title is just right."

Now another Govinda comedy to be directed by Neeraj Vora has undergone a change of name. Earlier entitled Run Bhola Run, the film has now been christened Lucky 2. "I think this title suits the mood of the film far better. I enjoy comedies, always have. But I won't call Bandaa Yeh Bindaas Hai or Lucky 2 out –and- out comedies. These are comedies with a strong romantic element. So I'd like to call them romantic comedies. We've just completed Ganesh Acharya's Money Hai To Honey Hai in Mauritius. That again is a comedy but with serious undertones."

Govinda says he hasn't signed anything new at the moment. There's Dharmesh Darshan's proposed film with Sushmita Sen. They get together again after the Ekta Kapoor’s fiasco Kyunki Main Jhooth Nahin Bolta. "I'm no longer that emotional about signing films. I'll only work with big banners that will ensure my films get a proper release," vows Govinda as part of his New Year resolution.

A. R. Rahman launches his dream-project

Music Maestro A.R. Rahman brought in his birthday last Sunday (January 6). While other stars prefer to either throw a bash or celebrate with friends on their special day the normally shy music-director had other plans.

He fulfilled one of his long term dreams to launch a music conservatory on Sunday. The institution named KM Music Conservatory will be India’s first Apple authorized training centre where professors and musicians from India and abroad will provide training and education to students in Indian and Western classical music.

The institute located in Chennai, will also help in fine-tuning the skills of students who play instruments like flute, trumpet, violin, French horn and percussion. Needless to say there will be more career options open for these young talented kids once they combine their musical skill with the latest knowledge in production technology.

Through this institute, Rahman would also fulfill his vision of having a full-fledged orchestra in India so that Indian composers don’t have to go abroad when they have to record with orchestras.

Must say this initiative by Rahman is indeed one unique way of giving back something to the world of music.

Ayngaran to produce Shankar's 'Robot' with Rajnikanth

Tamil media and entertainment company Ayngaran International, which is an Eros International company, has announced the production of Shankar‘s ROBOT, starring superstar Rajnikanth.

After the grand success of SIVAJI, Rajnikanth, director Shankar and music maestro A.R. Rahman are coming together once again in the much anticipated film. Expected to be the grandest film ever to be made in Indian cinema, ROBOT will be produced in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and other languages.

Anthony Gonsalves not to be released in Biha

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The ban on Mithun Chakraborty's films in Bihar, due to an ongoing tussle between the actor and a local producer-distributor, has taken its toll in unlikely quarters. The casualty is none other than director-turned-producer E Niwas whose on-release film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves has been prevented from release in Bihar.

Niwas who's running helterskelter trying to find his bearings in his new role as a producer, is aghast. "I had no clue about Mithun-da's ban in Bihar. It seems so strange to be kept out of the state where my first film Shool was set. I really wouldn't want My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves to be kept out of Bihar. But I don't know how I can help the situation."

The ban on Mithun's films in Bihar has its antecedents in a Bengali film entitled Coolie which its producer dubbed into Bhojpuri without the actor's consent and by using someone else's voice in dubbed Bhojpuri film. The incensed actor retaliated by refusing to return money paid as signing amount for another proposed film to be made by the same Bihari producer-distributor.

Mithun who plays a priest in My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves is determined to see the fight to the last. For the moment the big beneficiary is Raj Kumar Santoshi's Halla Bol which gets a clear unrivalled run in Bihar this Friday. Incidentally, the last film that got left out of Bihar was Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par, apparently because the producers demanded too high a price for the Bihar territory.

Irrfan Khan beats his Hollywood co-stars

Two months after the release of Irrfan Khan's latest international film Darjeeling Limited which was shot in India, the verdict is out. In a brief role, the fast-rising Indian actor has beaten his well-known co-stars namely Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody who play brothers.

While the reviews have largely panned the film and performances, Irrfan has been singled out for praise. Says the London Times reviewer, "There's only one performance that rings true in this shambolic odyssey. It's incidental and it's played by….Irrfan Khan." But the downsized part could be a downer for the actor's fans. The international audience which warmed up to Irrfan's scintillating performance in Mira Nair's The Namesake and Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart, are disappointed by the length of Irrfan's role in his new international film, the British director Wes Anderson's just released comedy Darjeeling Limited on brotherly bonding.

Believe it or faint, but Irrfan who now wants to do only centralized characters, has a walk-on part .How come? Irrfan currently shooting dangerous stunts for Neeraj Pandey's Black Or White, is unfazed. "Yes, the role in Darjeeling Limited is small. But it's a very decisive moment in the script and the critics have loved my work." In fact, the British critic James Christopher from The Times has singled out only Irrfan for praise in what he calls a dissapopinting comedy. “Yes, that felt good," Irrfan grins about the critical approval. "Even an actor of Bill Murray's stature has a walk-on part in Darjeeling Limited. So I see no reason for audiences or me to feel let down. I did it with my eyes open. I wanted to work with director Wes Anderson ever since I saw his earlier comedy Rushmore. And do you know? He wrote the role especially for me."

Irrfan sure has come a long way. "I don't know about that," he shrugs. "For me international recognition isn't a be-all. I'm currently shooting with Sunny Deol and it's a dream-come-true for me to be working with him."

Is Item Dancer Going For Breast Reduction?

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This is the gossip that is making rounds in a few segments of Film Nagar. It is known that women in glamour world tend to improve the glory of their feminine assets by artificial means. Rakhi Sawanth and Sushmitha Sen have gone for silicon breast implants and some other heroines have chosen the steroids method to increase the size of their assets.

But here is an item dancer who is planning to reduce the present size of her assets. It is needless to give the clue and the hot top item dancer keeps on revealing the same in every number she acts.

But why is she going for that surgery is not known. Concrete reason is not known so far. But inside sources say that she is undergoing pain due to heaviness!

Bucknor sacked, Harbhajan can play in Perth Test

Melbourne(IANS) Team India heaved a sigh of relief as controversial West Indies umpire Steve Bucknor will not be officiating while Harbhajan Singh can play in the third Test against Australia in Perth starting Jan 16, the top International Cricket Council (ICC) official announced here Tuesday.

In a hurriedly convened press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said that Billy Bowden of New Zealand would replace West Indies' Bucknor, an Elite Panel umpire. Pakistan's Asad Rauf will join Bowden in Perth.

Speed said that some people would be unhappy with ICC's decision at India's insistence to remove Bucknor.

"I can understand that people will take that view," he said. "It is an extraordinary set of circumstances and we want to take some of the tension out of the situation."

The move comes a day after the Indian cricket board drew the ICC's attention to the horrendous umpiring mistakes that cost India the Sydney Test Sunday.

Umpiring was one of the two issues India were unhappy with following that match, along with the three-Test suspension imposed on off-spinner Harbhajan.

The off-spinner was Sunday suspended for three Tests after he was found guilty of racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds in Sydney by allegedly calling him a "monkey".

India have appealed against the ban, and a fresh hearing is to be held.

But Speed could not say when that hearing would be held. He was hopeful it would occur before the next Test, starting Jan 16.

If the hearing on Harbhajan's ban was not held before the start of the third Test, the Indian off-spinner would be eligible for the match in Perth, Speed said. The ICC chief executive was hopeful India's tour would continue, but could not guarantee that.

Speed said the ICC needed to take a "pragmatic view" towards the issue, and needed to be "flexible" to resolve the crisis.

He was confident Bucknor, 61, would umpire again at Test level. Speed said match referee Ranjan Madugalle, the former Sri Lankan captain, would be appointed as a mediator between the Australian and Indian sides.

Meanwhile, a racism hearing against Australian spinner Brad Hogg will also go ahead, after the Indians alleged he called captain Anil Kumble a "bastard" in Sydney. Hogg's hearing will be held some time before the third Test by match referee Mike Procter.

Speed said Procter and an ICC-appointed code of conduct commissioner would re-hear the Harbhajan case, with the witnesses to be called again.

'Mere Baap Pehle Aap'

Priyadarshan has teamed up with Akshaye Khanna once again. After making HUNGAMA and HULCHUL, the director and actor combo will be seen in yet another rib-tickling comedy MERE BAAP PEHLE AAP. Another interesting aspect of the film is that the director has signed powerful actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Shobhana along with Priyan regulars Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav and Manoj Joshi for the project in question. Genelia D’Souza, who made her debut opposite Ritesh Deshmukh in TUJHE MERI KASAM, is the leading lady of this film that’s produced by Shemaroo Entertainment P. Ltd.

Meanwhile, Shemaroo is planning to start a string of projects. There’s a co-production with Vishal Bharadwaj next, titled ISHKIYAN, to be directed by Abhishek Chaubey, who was the associate director in MAKDEE, MAQBOOL and OMKARA.

Next on the cards is CHANNO, to be directed by E. Niwas and of course, the remake of PADOSAN, which will star Sanjay Dutt, Ritesh Deshmukh and Paresh Rawal. Talks are on with one more lead man. Neeraj Vora will direct this film.

Now 'Jab We Met' in South languages

All of us loved JAB WE MET, didn’t we? Well, one of the finest films of 2007 will now be remade in four South Indian languages -- Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam -- by corporate entity Moser Baer. In fact, Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision, the producers of JAB WE MET, and Moser Baer have shook hands already and would be signing the deal in the next few days. The star cast and directors of the four versions are yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile, Moser Baer is ready to take its first step in Hindi films in 2008. Their first production SHAURYA, directed by Samar Khan, will hit the screens on April 4, followed by SANKAT CITY, directed by Pankaj Advani, which is slated for May/June release. “SANKAT CITY is two hours of non-stop dhamaal, starring Kay Kay Menon, Rimi Sen, Anupam Kher and Chunkey Pandey. It’s a joint venture production with Anubhav Sinha,” Harish Dayani of Moser Baer informs me.

Moser Baer has also signed Priyadarshan for a film, which should roll in the early part of 2009.

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