Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The idea for Phoonk came from India TV

Director Ram Gopal Varma says the idea of making his recently released horror film "Phoonk" came from the news channel India TV.

"The idea to make a film on black magic came from India TV. The channel keeps on showing various programmes on black magic. I watched various programmes on black magic and super natural powers on the channel and approached Azam Khan with the concept. He liked it and the whole script was written," Varma told reporters here.

Azam Khan's One More Thought Entertainment has produced the film.

Critics have panned the film, but "Phoonk" reportedly saw a good opening with 70 percent collection. Thanks to pre-release publicity, it has been successful in drawing a considerable chunk of audience in the multiplexes.

Varma celebrated the success of the the film here Monday.

Commenting on the box office yardstick to measure a film's success, Varma said: "I don't know what makes a film hit otherwise I wouldn't have made flops."

"'Phoonk' doesn't have any big stars, still it is a hit. This shows that concept film is now being accepted in India," said Varma.

The director said idea or concept based film, which is prevalent in the West, is slowly making its way among the Indian audience and the scenario is soon going to change.

"People in India identify a film by the presence of stars. Star system rules here, but 'Phoonk' has proved that even content and idea can give a hit. Content is the king in 'Phoonk'. "

Now, with its initial success, the makers are even planning a sequel to "Phoonk" that starred Sudeep, Amrita Khanvilkar, Ahsaas Channa, Ashwini Kalsekar, Kenny Desai, Jyothi Subhash and Zakir Hussain.

"We are planning a sequel to the film which will have a link from the point where it ended. Varma will be directing it and almost the entire cast will be repeated in the sequel titled 'Phoonk 2'," said Azam Khan.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anil Kapoor dons Big B’s cloak in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor has agreed to do an ‘Amitabh Bachchan’ for the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which is roughly based on ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati'.

The upcoming movie is scripted on the bestseller ‘A and Q’ by Vikas Swarup. The story revolves around a Mumbai slum-dweller, a good-for-nothing tyke, who ends up winning in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’.

When one comes to think of a quizmaster, who can match the charm of the Big B, so for obvious reasons, Amitabh Bhachchan was the first choice to host a quiz show in the film. When he opted out due to certain reasons, Shah Rukh Khan was offered the role. But SRK also had date problems and could not accept the offer. And this is where Anil Kapoor stepped in as the quizmaster.

Besides Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan will also play a major role in the flick.
The highlight of this movie, which is bound to make viewers sit up and take notice, is big international names associated with it. It has been directed by acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Danny Boyle.
The distributors are the big-banners: Fox Searchlight and Warner Bros.

What’s more, the composer for the film is AR Rehman, and lyricist the ever-mesmerising Gulzar. No wonder now that the flick is scheduled to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

If not for Irrfan Khan, it is the first lucky international venture for Anil Kapoor. For decades, the Indian audience has cherished the entertaining and memorable characters played by Anil Kapoor. Now it’s the turn of overseas viewers to be wowed by his charm.

Priyanka chopra gets injured

Priyanka Chopra seems to be quite accident prone. Just a couple of months ago, the actress hurt herself while doing stunts for her forthcoming film Drona. And now she and her co star, Shahid Kapur are believed to have hurt themselves during the shooting of their film, Kaminay.

The duo was shooting in Pune for Vishal Bharadwaj's next when the accident happened. Thankfully, it was a minor accident with no major injuries to either Priyanka or Shahid. Apparently, the mishap took place when the bike which they were supposed to be riding for one of the film's scenes, skidded. Priyanka was supposed to be on the driver's seat while Shahid was the pillion rider for the scene.

The bike's tyres got stuck in the mud and Priyanka was unable to keep her balance. Not only did both actors fall in the mud, but they took the bike along with them. While Shahid escaped without any injuries, the actress is believed to have sustained some bruises on her body.

Jism gets remade in Tollywood

Tollywood is really getting ambitious by the day. And guess what? It’s all set for a ‘remake’ of Jism! The film, Trishna, starring Rituparna Sengupta in the lead, will mark the directorial debut of one of Tollywood’s biggest producer-cum-distributors, Pritam Jalan.

When Calcutta Times got in touch with Jism’s director, Amit Saxena for his reactions to this remake, the director seemed pleasantly surprised.

This is great news. Double Indemnity was the source for Jism. Of course, we did look at other films of the same genre. That’s how references of Body Heat have come into Jism,” Saxena says.

For those not in the loop, wikipedia mentions that the plot of Body Heat is “similar to the Billy Wilder film Double Indemnity, a made-for-TV remake”. Since Jism itself is a copy of Body Heat, which again is a copy of Double Indemnity, it’s almost going on a wild goose chase to figure out who needs to take rights from whom!

Jalan, on his part, seems to understand this well when he says that Jism owes its roots to Double Indemnity. “I’ve only adopted the theme of Body Heat and then added commercial ingredients to my film. The artistic value of the film, that’s being made on a budget of Rs 40 lakh, is at par with Hollywood. We wanted a good actor who can look sensuous. The role requires a certain degree of maturity and who better than Ritu to handle it? The posters have been designed by someone from Mumbai. Suchismita Dasgupta is designing the costumes. Television director Anindya Sarkar is assisting me in the film,” says Jalan, adding, “The male lead is being played by model-turned-actor Angshuman. We wanted someone who is raw.

I think Angshuman is just right to feel Ritu’s body on screen.” Says Angshuman, who started his modelling career in Kolkata before shifting to Mumbai, “I’ve done campaigns for Dreams Candy, Eno, Simoko mobiles, Thunder Jeans, among others. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about shooting those steamy scenes. But Rituparna is so professional that I don’t have any problems.”

But can Trishna do for Tollywood what Jism did for Bollywood? Says Rituparna, “It’s an interesting role about the desires of a woman. Perhaps, it could set a new trend. I want new actors to join Tollywood. That’s why I personally suggested Angshuman. Apart from great looks, his face also looks innocent.”

Arindam Sil, who is also there in the cast, says, “This is a bold film and if shot well, it could become a turning point in Tollywood.” Saxena, on his part, says, “The impact of Jism in Bollywood is something we discovered in hindsight. The movie explored the genre of film noir. More than categorising Jism as a skin flick, it should be seen as a film that hasn’t soft peddled with emotions like lust and greed. It set the trend of
making films like Ek Haseena Thi and recently, Race.”

One can only hope that Tollywood too will usher in this trend. The icing on the cake will be if it happens by the time Saxena comes to Kolkata in November for 10 days to shoot his next film — Tina Ki Chabi — a comic caper starring Ravir Shorey and a new girl.

Ranbir is a great friend: Bipasha

The dusky beauty of Bollywood is flying high. In her recent flick with Ranbir Kapoor, Bipasha Basu has set the screen on fire.

Says the actor, “It has been quite crazy. The process of making the film was effortless and enjoyable. Wherever I go, people have been appreciating my work, actors, directors, my fans, even people I meet at the gym. It is sweet to receive love from so many people.”

She laughs when we ask about the supposed ‘love triangle’ between Ranbir, Deepika Padukone and herself. “Let me say it right now, Ranbir is not a good friend, he is a great friend. I enjoyed working with him throughout the film. Though I didn’t work alongside Deepika, I spent a lot of time with her during the promotion. I gel well with her.” Talking about the couple, she says, “They are a fantastic couple, and individually they are excellent. I’m good friends with both of them.” Well, how was it working on the film? “It was an interesting part for me. A lot of girls called me saying how they identified with my character.”

Bipasha will be seen in a completely new avatar in her next film Pankh, in which she stars alongside Lilette Dubey and Mahesh Manjrekar. The story is about a young boy who is forced to act as a girl as a child actor. “It’s a very heart-wrenching film. I play a character that is created from the young boy’s imagination. It is a whacky character, and when I heard the script, I immediately said yes, much to director Sudipto’s surprise,” says she. Bipasha is also looking forward to a Bengali film, titled Sab Choritra Kalponik. Speaking about the film, she informs, “I play an NRI, who cannot identify with her poet husband. But, once he dies, she reads his work and falls in love with him through his literature. It is a very beautiful and interesting character for me to play.”

Finally, we cannot but help ask her about John Abraham. The beauty replies, “I am looking forward to travelling to Philadelphia and New York where John is shooting for his current film. Once we return, we both plan to go house shopping.”

Looks like Bipasha is having a roaring time, not only on the professional, but also on the personal front as well!

Shilpa shetty upset with Rakhi sawant

This week has been really tough on Shilpa. First Jade Goody's traumatic adieu. Then a member of her own film fraternity Rakhi Sawant was heard telling TV channels that a contestant on Big Boss must have been changed because of Shilpa.

When questioned about Rakhi's allegation, Shilpa says she's appalled. "I don't even want to talk about her. But I was very hurt. I really like Rakhi . Why was she talking this way about me without knowing the facts? How does she know the facts about how contestants were chosen? I don't think it's right for anyone to shoot off her mouth in this way. You may have an outspoken image that you're always eager to uphold. But please don't flaunt that image at my cost."

Shilpa was also appalled by her effigies being burnt. Apparently, Ramdas Atahavle was approached to go into the house. He claims he was dropped because of Shilpa's manoeuvres.

The actress doesn't know whether to laugh or cry at this. "It's the channel's prerogative to select or reject a candidate. Until two days prior to the show, I didn't even know who was going. The format doesn't allow the host to know the contestants .Mr Athavle claims he was dropped on discriminatory grounds because he was a Dalit and Sanjay Nirupam was taken instead."

Shilpa is outraged. "Why was I being blamed if a candidate didn't make it into Big Boss? Why were they throwing stones at the channel Colors' office and burning my effigy? They even held a dharna in Lonavla in front of the Big Boss house. Why me? Every time I'm associated with something people try to use my name for their own purposes. Please leave me alone."

Taking a deep breath Shilpa laughs. "I think I should take all this attention as a compliment. But somewhere it does take its toll on my mental equilibrium. We all need to be more responsible about our duties as a citizen. My phone went ballistic on Tuesday. I'm in the midst of a dozen things and then to be badgered like this! I'm human and I don't like my name being constantly used. Don't hit where it hurts the most. I think they should start auctioning my effigies."

Laughs Shilpa, "But really, Rakhi Sawant takes the cake. What authority does she have to make such charges against me? I'd have Rakhi know that it's the channel's prerogative to decide the participants. I'm hired by the channel to do a job. My jurisdiction is to go on stage and host the show."

Shilpa wants police action against the practice of burning effigies. "It's really very sad that known people are subjected to this. It's very degrading?"


Aamir khan:Mr ya Miss

Always experimenting with new styles, Bollywood star Aamir Khan
will now be seen as the mythological half man-half woman
‘Ardhnarishwar’ in a Tata Sky ad. The 70 seconds commercial
will show half of Aamir as a Punjabi girl, and the other half
as a boy. It is the first ad by Aamir after he became the
company’s brand ambassador. It will go on air from Monday.

Aamir Khan at film Amu press meet in Landmark on August 9th
2008 (15).JPG“We are proud to have Aamir working on the ad
and happy with the outcome of the final product. No other
actor could have done the same so effectively,” Vikram
Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, told IANS.

“Many people didn’t know that in Tata Sky – Sky stands for
the company which is the biggest player in DTH technology in the world market.

“Tata stands for the knowledge of India and trust factor,
whereas Sky stands for the knowledge of technology and
DTH,” Mehra added.

The ad has been conceptualised by the company’s marketing
team along with Rediffusion. Bollywood writer-director
Neeraj Vohra has directed the ad.


Monday, August 04, 2008

'Singh is Kinng' row: public should decide, says SGPC

Two days after Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) sought a ban on Akshay Kumar starrer "Singh is Kinng" for allegedly "ridiculing" the Sikh community, the SGPC on Sunday downplayed the row saying the matter should be left for the public to decide.

"I think too much is being made even before the film has been released. Let public watch the film and react and then we will see," Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) President Avtar Singh Makkar said.

He said the SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, had already formed a five-member committee to see if the film, due for release on Friday, would hurt the religious sentiments of the community.

"The members have reviewed the film and come to the conclusion that the matter should be left to the public to decide. Raking up unnecessary controversy should be avoided. The filmmaker (Vipul Shah) had assured us that there will be no negative portrayal of Sikhs in the film," Makkar told PTI over phone.

He said "Singh is Kinng" is an "ordinary film" not based on Sikhs as such and "therefore, we should not straightaway start making hue and cry."

On Friday, DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna while seeking a ban on the movie also wrote a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, asking her not to allow screening of the film in the national capital until its makers made changes in the portrayal of the Sikh character.

Sarna had said the film's promos showed a Sikh character wearing a turban while sporting a French cut.

Condoms a huge hit with action directors

What on earth do condoms have to do with action movies? Plenty!

Condoms are used in large quantities while shooting action scenes showing the villain or the hero with blood oozing out of their "wounds" after being fired at. While canning such scenes, "blood" filled condoms are strapped around the bodies of the stuntmen with tiny crackers attached to them through invisible wires.

When the hero "fires" at the villain, the action director's assistants who follow the performers from the periphery press a remote control button. The crackers burst, the condoms tear and the "blood" comes spilling out.

The scene may last only a few seconds on the screen, but prior to shooting, the stuntmen have to rehearse it a number of times to ensure proper synchronisation between the firing of the gun and the pressing of the remote.

Most Bollywood action coordinators prefer imported condoms because they do not get accidentally ruptured when the individual being shot at has to jump, tumble or roll down as the situation demands.

According to Gurbachan Singh, who assisted much sought after action director Veeru Devgan in the 1980s-90s, villains carried switches in their pockets before the advent of remotes and manually worked these when fired at.

"It was a clumsy affair, and most often, the desired effect could not be achieved. Therefore, audiences could detect how fake the scenes were," Singh told IANS.

He revealed that before condoms came on the scene, tiny balloons were used during action sequences.

"But the balloons used to breach at unlikely moments, calling for repeated re-takes. I do not know who introduced condoms for action scenes, but they have proved to be good substitutes for balloons," Singh said.

Mohan Baggad, who began his career as Devgan's assistant and later became an independent action director, said: "Though the technology now used in Bollywood is far improved from what it was a decade ago, make-shift devices innovated by action directors still come in handy while shooting fights and other thriller scenes.

"Computer graphics cannot replicate everything. Of course, the sequence of blood spilling out of an injured man can be projected through computer graphics, but the end result looks artificial.

"The use of condoms in such scenes is a tested practice. Here again, only an expert cinematographer and editor can make such scenes look real on the screen," Baggad told IANS.

While taking part in action scenes, don't stuntmen get injured when the crackers burst on their bodies?

"Only small crackers are used and so nobody gets seriously injured. There may be little abrasions, but those are tolerable, or one can say, they are the hazards of the trade. And it is a minor hazards when compared against other hazards stuntmen face while shooting," Singh said.

"Yes, sometime accidents do occur. In such cases, apart from the producers, the association of the stuntmen bear the medical expenses," he added.

Katrina kaif doesn't want to work with Salman khan

Bobby Pushkarna, who has produced Page 3 is upset these days because a project that he was waiting for months and months has fallen through, all because of Katrina Kaif.

Seems Kaif and Salman Khan were scheduled to do his movie. So when our producer met Kats recently, he wanted to get the project going.

But talk is that Kat told him that she doesn’t want to do a movie with Salman. Oh oh, that’s really tough on Sallu, no? As for the producer, he’s in a Bobby kho jaaye situation. Doesn’t know what to do next. Any tips duckies?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I don't care if I look like Ashiwarya!

When Sneha Ullal came into the industry at that time she was termed as an Aishwarya Rai look alike. Her very first film Lucky opposite Salman in Lucky proved to be unlucky for the actress. Despite the film being a moderate success, her career failed to take off. Inspite of doing a few odd films the actress was nowhere to be seen.

"I don't care if I look like Ashiwarya. I would like it if people stopped caring too. People should know me as Sneha Ullal , not an Ash lookalike" she had then quoted back then.

Recently the actress was seen lounging in a suburban five star hotel where we notice her with a few family friends in casual jeans and T shirt. Sneha sportingly posed for a few pictures but seemed conscious of her looks.

It seemed to us that the actress was worried about her outfit but before leaving, we heard her commenting. "I hope I don't look like a kid in the picture or do I?" said Sneha

Sneha repeatedly has tried to prove that she is grown up. She was hardly 16 when she came into films.

She tried doing roles beyond her age. She was last seen opposite Sohail Khan in Aryan. When asked about her forthcoming ventures she revealed that she has four films on floors currently.

"I am doing Gandhi Park being directed by Tom George and starring Anupam Kher and Vikas Kalantri, Sangeet Sivan's Click opposite Shreyas Talpade, Kaash Mere Hote and a special appearance with Kapil Sharma in Jaane Bhi Do Yaron. I am busy with films down south too, " she added.

Ranbir, Deepika haven't kissed yet?

They may have been 'officially' seeing each other since February this year, but Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone expect us to believe that they haven't yet kissed each other! They first met in July 2007.

In an interview with People magazine, both deny any lip-lock between them. The closest thing resembling a kiss that Ranbir seems to have done is to give Deepika - a widely publicised - peck on the cheek at Bangkok airport.

The Ranbir-Deepika romance also has a cupid. Senior make-up artiste Dorris Godambe first introduced the couple to each other and then the sparks literally flew.

Perhaps inspired by his musical 'bare-butted' debut, Ranbir's first gift to his latest lady love was a piano. That the lady love doesn't know how to play it was immaterial. And in return got a MacBook Air (hope he knows how to 'play' it).

The Saawariya star does play football, and we are looking forward to a Ranbir Raj versus Shanti Priya match. And hope Ranbir wins; he might just get that elusive kiss as a prize.

Govinda’s starry attitude

After his comeback to Bollywood, Govinda’s back to his starry tantrums. Well, no one’s surprised by his tantrums post the success of his film Partner . It is believed that his producer friend Sunil Shetty who helped him in his bad days is having a tough time because of him.

Apparently Govinda keeps praising Salman for helping him professionally but never talks about the man who saved Govinda’s fading career. Shetty had signed Govinda for his home production Bhagam Bhag which was actually a comeback movie for Govinda. But it seems Sunil Shetty loves his friends no matter what he gets in return.

Coming back to Govinda an insider informs that Govinda never used to throw tantrums during the making of BB but post the success of Partner he is back to his starry tantrums. After BB Sunil Shetty signed him for one more film called Loot which is produced by Popcorn Entertainment. This time however, Govinda refused to shoot in countries which Shetty zeroed on to shoot for Loot . He gave an excuse that he is unsafe in those countries and insisted upon Shetty to shoot in Bangkok.

However Shetty was left in a fix at the last moment because of Govinda’s adamant nature. He had to arrange everything once again when the schedule was just few days away.

Now this is not new for Shetty who helped Sanjay Dutt by signing him for most of his films when he came out on bail. But it seems Shetty has become used to it.

Bipasha basu refuses to seduce on Screen

Bipasha Basu has done several bold scenes in her career so far.

So, it came as a big surprise when she was squeamish about doing an intimate Mrs Robinson-like seduction scene with Ranbir Kapoor in Yash Raj Films’ upcoming film Bachna Ae Haseeno , directed by Siddharth Anand. ( Watch )

Bipasha had to seduce Ranbir in a scene in the film, which is said to be loosely based on the Hollywood flick, The Graduate , directed by Mike Nichols (1967) and Alfie directed by Charles Shyer (2004).

While Anne Bancroft seduced Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Susan Sarandon seduced Jude Law in Alfi e. In Bachna Ae Haseeno , Bipasha plays Radhika, who has no apprehensions about anything and is ready go the extra mile for passion and Ranbir plays Raj, a Casanova.

Bipasha told Siddharth that she wouldn’t like to enact the seduction scene. Siddharth tried to argue with Bipasha, she refused to relent. Ultimately, the scene was not shot. A source says, “Bipasha wasn’t told about the scene when she had signed the film.”

When contacted, Siddharth said, “There is no such scene in Bachna Ae Haseeno . It’s a family film.” But, Bipasha said, “Aha... Well, I don’t wish to clarify or justify anything. If there is a story, which I’d like to talk about, I will do so. But this is not one of those stories.”


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