Wednesday, January 16, 2008

French Connection of Aishwarya

After featuring in numerous English and Hindi films, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has now extended over to foreign language cinema.

Pretty lady Ash will soon be seen in the French film Asterix at the Olympics. The film that stars one of French cinema’s most versatile actor Gerard Depardieu will be screened in Mumbai at the upcoming French Film Festival.

The film is touted to be the most expensive European film at 93 million dollars. The film has been extensively shot in Tunisia and Morocco. The film will also see the likes of Formula one champ Michael Schumacher, soccer star Zinedine Zidane and Hollywood action star Jean Claude Van-Damme.

Ash’s role has been kept under wraps but sources suggest that Ash has bagged a special role in a film that doesn’t have any female lead character.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Jodha Akbar: High Expectations

Jodha Akbar is up for release very shortly and expectations have reached sky high. The hit pair of Dhoom2 – Hrithik Roshan and Aishwara Rai – are back together with the acclaimed director of Lagaan, Ashutosh Gowarikar and genius music director A R Rahman. To top it all, the story is based on the mogul king Akbar and his wife Jodha.


Roshan – Aishwarya Rai Pairing

Some say they are going to rock as they did in Dhoom2, but we think otherwise!

We found no chemistry between them in Dhoom2, but we must say they looked absolutely stunning as a pair. In Jodha Akbar they need more than ‘looking good’ to make an impact.

Aishwarya Rai

No doubt Aishwarya Rai is a great actress, and most importantly the prettiest of all bollywood actresses, but she goes over the top most of the time. For example the way she says ‘sunheri’ in Dhoom2. For heaven’s sake she should stop all that stupid acts. In Jodha Akbar we hope she does what she did in Guru – a controlled performance.

Aishwarya Rai has many things to cheer about in Jodha Akbar. One of them is that she looks the part. Jodha Akbar is going to be very crucial for Aishwarya Rai’s future in bollywood.

Hrithik Roshan

By now everyone must have understood that Hrithik Roshan is a director’s actor. He is not someone who can carry the movie entirely on his shoulders. We saw movies like Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Mein Prem Ki Diwani Hoon and Yaadein, where he was reduced to a joker because of director’s inability. He always fared good in his father’s movies because his father knows exactly what to do with him.

In Jodha Akbar, Hrithik Roshan needs to elevate his acting capabilities few notches higher to make people take him seriously as an actor.

Surprisingly, Hrithik Roshan looks good with moustache in the mogul costume.

Ashutosh Gowarikar

Everyone started to recognize Ashutosh after he directed Lagaan. Very few know that he is in bollywood from a very long time. He has acted in movies like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na with Shahrukh Khan and directed a disaster called Pehla Nasha. His last movie Swades met with failure even though it had country’s biggest star, Shahrukh Khan. This time he has chosen a bigger canvas. Can he pull another Lagaan?

John Abraham - Rachel Weisz in Deepa Mehta film

Deepa Mehta was all praise about John Abraham and his performance in ‘Water’, but we never really thought that she would be the one who would give him an international platform. Right now John is in her two ambitious international projects. One of which is with Amitab Bachchan and another film ‘Luna’ starring Rachel Weisz.

Rachel Weisz is popular Hollywood actress with films like The Mummy, Constantine and Constant Gardner to her credit. She won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Constant Gardner. The film is scripted by two time Oscar winner David Ward.

John’s film ‘Exclusion’ with Amitab will be shot later this year. Deepa Mehta announced ‘Luna’ in Cannes. Although Rachel Weisz would be the main protagonist, playing the title character Luna, John will also have a full-fledged role, says Deepa Mehta.

‘Luna’ is based on a real life story of an American activist and environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill, who protested against the felling of trees in the Red Wood forests in the US by climbing a 180-foot Redwood tree. The lady climbed down only 738 days later- from 1997 to 1999. The tree was named Luna. The protest had a huge impact and a resolution was formed in 1999 to protect all trees in the 3-acre buffer zone of the Redwood forest.

John is also playing an environmentalist in ‘Luna’, but his cultural origin is not specified He is neither an Indian, nor an American in the film. This makes him Bollywood’s first actor to do a Hollywood film without playing an NRI or some snake charmer.

John was not only her choice says Deepa, “The true-life inspiration for the film, Julia Hill, just loved John. Her approval was very important. She thought he looked like Antonio Banderas!”

Kareena in Karan Johar film at last!

At one point Kareena and Karan were biggest of friends, but they had fallout after Kareena refused to do Karan Johar’s ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. It was rumored that Kareena wanted double her market price, which Karan flatly refused.

kareena kapoor

Karan was miffed that Kareena refused him because of money. But now Karan’s Koffee Show has broken the ice. Rumors have it that they have patched up and Kareena will be cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan. Incidentally, Siddharth Malhotra who assisted Johar in Kal Ho Na Ho, is directing the film. The film, which is termed an unusual love story, set in New York. Thankfully there will be only one love story this time!

Hot Gossip: Shahid dates Sania Mizra????

We recently reported that cricket sensation Yuvraj was smitten by Bollywood new find Deepika Padukone and now we have another news that Shahid Kapoor is dating Sania Mirza.

It was reported that the currently 'single' actor had gone for dinner with Sania. How did the connection start is still a mystery...

Meanwhile rumours are also that Shahid has been signed by Yash Raj and things are looking up for him.

Shetty wanted Talk on bolly-talks Blogspot

The bigger you get as a celebrity, the harder it gets to maintain a low profile. Shilpa Shetty, of all people, should know that. The actress tries to avoid waiting photogs by any and all means possible. But yesterday, on returning to Mumbai after a three-month long tour of England and Europe with her musical, Miss Bollywood, La Shetty realised much to her annoyance that while you can beat ’em, you can’t beat ’em all, thanks to the city’s traffic snarls.

Take for a ride
Shilpa, who was returning with her family, chalked out a plan to dodge onlookers this time around as well. First, her sister Shamita and her father Surendra Shetty landed at the Sahar airport by the 11.50 am British Airways flight. This, apparently, was to hoodwink people into believing that Shilpa hadn’t returned at all.

Shilpa and her mom Sunanda landed by a 12.10 pm Virgin Atlantic Airways flight;20minutes after Shamita and her dad had left the airport. The actress had planned to quietly sneak into the city on this subsequent flight.

It wasn’t meant to be. Due to heavy traffic, some photogs arrived late at the airport and
they happened to spot Shilpa coming out of the exit doors and surrounded her. But the actress was whisked away in a black Lexus.

Shilpa was unavailable for comment, but her publicist Dale Bhagwagar maintains,“Why would Shilpa avoid the media?” Well, well after all those denials about a man in her life throughout the year, she made it a New Year resolution to admit about Raj Kundra being her beau. So any unwanted posers could be avoided, right?

Apart from the numerous shows of her musical, the actress released a fitness DVD calledShilpa’s Yoga in UK and Dubai. She also went for a week-long year-end holiday with Kundra and her family in tow to Las Vegas.

Shilpa’s future projects include Sunny Deol’s film The Man, an international venture Hanuman produced by Uru Patel (where she will play Sita), a cookery book and a signature clothing line in Europe.

What are you feelings right now after the completion of the film, Are there any butterflies in your stomach?

At present I am over excited, I think Tare Zameen Par is a very important film. The script is very close to my heart. This type of film is made for the first time in the history of Indian cinema. I feel this is going to be a popular film and right now, I am very keen to know the reaction of the audiences. Keeping my fingers cross!

Among your contemporaries you are the first one to produce, direct, and act at the same time. How did you juggle all these roles at a time? Was it very difficult for you to balance between them?
I wont say that was easy, but all this comes with their own demand. And this is not the first time an actor doing this. It was been done by Raj kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Shantaramji to name a few. It’s not like rocket science. As a producer my presence was needed everywhere. Therefore I use to have a long discussion with the cast and the crew before the shoot.

I had a tough time when it came to directing and acting. For me when I was acting I had to judge for me from a director’s point of view and vice versa. I needed to be more intuitive for my own work as well as for the other actors in frame. Altogether, alertness was very important throughout the making.

You have proved with some of your films that Bollywood films could be artfully executed. That they could address important issues, and draw large crowds both in India and abroad. How different experience will be Tare Zameen Par for the audiences?
I can only say that audiences will be having a unique experience and film will change their way of thinking.

In a recent interview, you said that this film had changed the way that you looked at your kids. Can you elaborate?
Yes it is very much true that this film has changed the way that I looked at my kids. It has sensitized me towards my kids. Now I feel I am very close to them and I understand them better than before. Today I think I am a good father. Now my kids are my priority and I am very much alert about all their feelings and emotions.

Tare Zameen Par doesn’t seem to be film which is made only to earn money. It seems that it has got a hidden message in it. Your comment?
See, earning money is only one aspect of the filmmaking. However, for me it is very important to connect with my audience. This film has made me realize many things and I have even come across some unusual feeling. Through this film I want the audience to know the importance of a child and his existence. We should understand their way of thinking and appreciate them. Giving time to our kids is not important but giving them quality time is a must. We should build a connection level with our kids.

In this movie there is no item number, there is no romance, and there is no heroine but there is a message. It is not an entertaining film but it is an entertaining film.

What different and interesting thing you found in the script?
As soon as I heard the script of this film, I liked it and I decided to produce the film and even act in it. I can say that Tare Zameen Par is amole’s baby, because this is his idea and he has put in all his feelings into words through this script. According to me the script is not only interesting but also a hearty piece.

Aamir, you and your wife Kiran have sung a song together for Taare Zameen Par. Tell me something about that.
Actually, there is a song in the film called Bum Bum Bole in which Kiran and I have done a chorus but we did not sing the song.

The theme of this film is based on a child and his life, so how difficult was is to find someone who suited the role?
We had almost 5000 kids out of which we came down at 100 for auditions. When 25 kids were short listed, I came to see the audition, all kids were fantastic but Darsheel Safary was something different. I liked his eyes the most because they are very expressive and even when he is quite you will feel that there is still something going on in his head. He is a very happy child. Darsheel is the kid I was searching for. Therefore, I can say that it was not so difficult to find the child.

In this film, you play the role of a teacher called Ram Shankar Nikumbh, so any important message for the teachers?
According to me, understanding is important than writing, so I would like to give only one message to the teachers that please teach the students and do not teach their pens. Teachers have to make education a fun element to the students.

When it comes to directing kids, it is the toughest job, so how did you handle this?
Yeah, I do agree that directing kids is not an easy job. Before starting the shooting itself I was very clear that this is going to be something very hard to do because it is very difficult to make out their mood and sustain their interest. Somehow, we managed to keep kids active all the time. As a team we also tried to understand their timing, mentality and grasping ability.

Did you do any special preparations for this film?
The only preparation we did was the workshops. We went through lots of workshops

Aamir, in the present scenario you are one of the well-established actor and with your TZP you stepped into the shoes of director. At which point of time you decided to direct the film?
When the shooting started, after a week of shooting, I saw the rushes and then I realized that the direction was not going in the way I wanted. I spoke to Amole and I expressed my thoughts on the issue. In the initial stage there were some differences on creative front between Amole and myself but I made him understand that I won’t play with the script and he too agreed. Finally after a long chat Amole asked me why don’t you direct the film. I also liked the idea and rest is the history………

Along with your film one more film ‘Welcome’ is releasing. So why didn’t you avoid this clash? Didn’t you find a risk factor in it?
You are right, as a creative person and the producer of the film, I would never want any film to release on the day when my film is releasing, but practically it is not possible. In fact I think if a film is good then anyhow it will work and vice versa. For me this is not a risk rather this is a challenge and I love challenges.

Once you said that filmmaking is never easy and each film has its own journey. So how’s been the journey with TZP and how far did you enjoy direction?
Taare Zameen Par is Masterpiece with my directorial debut. For me the journey has been full of ups and downs. Overall, it is a good learning process. It was an effort to bring on screen something which is very difficult but I took the responsibility on my shoulders. I can say it is an enjoyable journey.

Your upcoming films...
My upcoming film is Jaane Tu…, which is directed by Abbas and produced by Mansoor Khan. The film has got tunes of A.R Rehman and other film is the remake of Gajini which is 50% completed and not titled yet.

Amritha Rao: I dont Take Chances

Bollywood actress Amrita Rao, who struck gold with her girl-next-door look in “Vivah”, is back after a year-long gap with “My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves”. She says that she doesn’t take any chances while selecting projects.

“I was working for the Telugu film ‘Athidhi’. Also, my films, which are slated for release this year, kept me occupied,” Amrita told IANS.

“I have always been very careful about picking up projects because the

re is no second chance in Bollywood. If you go wrong with a movie you have to pay a very heavy price.

“I must say I am very selective. But I wouldn’t deny being fortunate as good projects came my way. Otherwise, I would have just dreamt about doing something different,” she said on her recent visit to the national capital.

The actress, who is essaying the role of an assistant director in “My Name…”, started her stint in the film industry with “Ab Ke Baras”. She earned rave reviews for her performance in films like “Masti” and “Main Hoon Na”.

Commenting about her Telugu film industry experience, Amrita said: “It was wonderful to do well there, as it is a male-dominated industry.

“It was a different and interesting experience. For instance, it was challenging to emote the right way on dialogues whose meaning I didn’t fully understand.”

Amrita is upbeat about her forthcoming projects, which include “Victoria”, “Shortcut” and national award winning director Shyam Benegal’s “Mahadev”.

The versatile star said she would love to do art house movies and finds it an opportunity of a lifetime to work with Benegal.

“I would love to do arty roles. However, Benegal doesn’t only make art films… ‘Zubeidaa’ was a commercial film. It is just that his films have a strong story line and less songs and dances.”

“I always wanted to work with him. Nothing could have been better than this opportunity.”

Reluctant to divulge any details, Amrita said: “‘Mahadev’ is a character-driven film where the character I play speaks with a particular north Indian accent.”