We ask Sonam Kapoor who seems to be extraordinarily focussed on her new slate of films that could finally earn her the elusive actor stripes
Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 21, 2013)
Sonam Kapoor is growing up. And the signs are all there – she is learning from her mistakes and is admitting to them. The actress, who had started off with Saawariya, has had better luck with her brand endorsements and fashion appearances than at the box office. Though she does not mind the fashionista tag which is taking her places (read Cannes, Paris), the 27-year-old claims she is serious about getting it right with her new slate of films, starting with Raanjhanaa.
“Even before Thank You, and Players hit the theatres, I realised my life was not going the way I wanted,” she says, looking mint-fresh in a blue and white denim-jacket combo. We forget it’s barely been hours after she returned from Cannes to shoot for her next with Ayushmann Khurrana. “I was working on big projects, but I wasn’t comfortable. I realised I had not earned my right to be there. I needed to be a better actor. Was I being hard on myself? Maybe, but that’s the truth,” she says with surprising candour. Apparently, that is when Sonam decided to swap big-ticket projects for scripts and directors. “There was no point no point trying to be something that I was not. I needed to switch off. I needed a break,” she says.
After Players bit the dust, Sonam decided hang her boots, temporarily. Till both Anil Kapoor and Aditya More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; May 21, 2013)
Neha Sharma, 23, may have done fashion designing and is an actor today, but in many ways she still remains a small town girl from Bhagalpur. While she took a break from Telugu films after her first film Chirutha with Ram Charan, she would love to do a Telugu film today as she enjoys the dancing, travelling and money that comes with it. Ahead of her upcoming film Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 with the Deols, she talks to Bombay Times about her first co-star Ram Charan, the tech-savvy Sunny Deol and why box office performance is more important than looks and talent. Excerpts:
How did you get into films? I was born and brought up in Bhagalpur. My dad is a businessman who owns petrol pumps there. I moved to Delhi in Class XI and studied at Carmel Covent School, after which I did my fashion designing from NIFT where I was a rank holder. Right from my childhood, I wanted to be a fashion designer and was obsessed with Armani and Versace and simply loved clothes. I was fit and tall and was used as a model by my seniors to showcase their clothes to the jury for judging them. I did my internship in Canada and was offered a job at Coach, but thankfully I didn’t do it. I used to go to this gym in GK II where my gym instructor Maria would always tell me to get my photoshoot done. I got that done and was called to Hyderabad based on my pictures to meet Ram Charan, Chiranjeevi’s son, for his launch film Chirutha. My director told me that a part of the More >
Seema Sinha (BOMBAY TIMES; May 20, 2013)
RANBIR ON DEEPIKA
THE CO-STAR We were very new in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and we were also in a relationship during that time. So it was different. In Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, we came together as professionals, both of us having spent five years in the industry. I haven’t been so intimidated by a co-star as much as I have been with Deepika. She has surprised me as an actor with the kind of hard work she puts in. I am proud of her.
THE FRIEND Deepika and I have always been friends. It’s not that we keep in touch often, but whenever I have to reach out to her or vice versa, there is no sense of awkwardness. Deepika and I will remain friends for a very long time. I will be her child’s godfather; I will play with them and all of that. We have that kind of relationship.
AND THE FRIENDSHIP AFTER ROMANCE You have to let go of the relationship and move on in life. You should have a sense of closure. I also think it is nice to work with your ex; it’s special. Especially in a job like acting, where you have to constantly expose yourself as a person, you know each other so well that you are comfortable.
DEEPIKA ON RANBIR
THE CO-STAR Come on, we all know the actor that he is. What I found really amazing is that I’ve never seen him prepare or rehearse; you don’t see any kind of effort. Usually actors get into their zone, for instance, if it is sad scene they don’t want to be disturbed, they listen to music. But Ranbir is the same whether he More >
Garima Sharma (BOMBAY TIMES; May 20, 2013)
Sunny Sunny Deol is a man with a knitted brow these days — he is trying to make sure that Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 fares well at the box office. “There are three full time jobs — producing the film, managing everything around it and acting in it — which I’m handling at the moment, so obviously there’s stress,” he says.
In fact, the pressure took a toll on him during the movie’s music launch a few weeks ago. Biggies like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan turned up for the Deol family, and the celebration made it to the front page of every entertainment daily. But there was more to it, Sunny says, “We had planned a complete event for the movie’s music launch, but all the actors turned up and the media went berserk. But, at the end of the day, the love, warmth and affection that everyone had for us created magic on stage that day.”
He is hopeful now that the three of them — Dharmendra, Bobby and he — and the two actresses — Kristina Akheeva and Neha Sharma — will be able to charm the audience. He says, “The movie is the dearest thing we have. The first one was good and now it has turned into a franchise. We are carrying forward our characters from the first film, who were loved by the audience. Plus, Bobby and papa get to play parts which they otherwise would not. The three of us together are like three stars, but from the same family.”
The Deols are enjoying what director Sangeeth Sivan has created with them in YPD 2. More >
Rishi Kapoor on having a blast in his second innings and why Ranbir did not want to be the next SRK
Chandrima Pal (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 20, 2013)
Almost all your life, you played a romantic lead. It is easy to be liked when you are the affable one in the story, but how do you make an out and out negative character strike a chord with the audience? This question came to my mind for the first time when I did Bol Radha Bol. It was a double role, where the bad one was more likeable than the good. The trick was with my image, my looks. The audience thought I was the naughty one. But you can’t use the same yardstick for Agneepath. It was not the chocolate boy hero being the bad one. And in Aurangzeb, I play a very different negative character – not the butcher or pimp of Agneepath. But a corrupt man who would do anything to achieve his goals. He is bad, the kind of person we read about every day, involved with some scam or the other. And hence, more relatable.
Do you enjoy your work all the more now that you don’t have to conform to a certain image or carry the burden of box-office success? Absolutely! I am enjoying the best phase of my career now. Different characters, different films… romantic, comic, villainous… I have been experimenting with my look, my wigs, moustaches…
You seem to be having fun… Well, I owe that to myself and my fans. Goddammit! For 25 years, I only sang songs in my films. Right now, it is time to act! That’s why I was never taken seriously as an More >
The actor makes his telly debut as the host of a reality show
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; May 19, 2013)
The youngest of the Deols, Abhay is the latest in the Bollywood brigade to veer to television. Here, he talks about his unconventional choices in life…
I’M NOT HATKE! “I haven’t stayed away from commercial cinema. It’s just a perception.”
TV DEBUT NOT IN A REALITY SHOW? “It’s not a reality show. It has six real women living their lives on television — a concept India has not experienced as yet. It’s not a competition. The idea is to get families to communicate more and understand relationships better.”
WHY TELEVISION? WHY NOW? “Television was never a part of any pre-planned agenda for me. I have no rigid rules in life. I just believe in seizing the moment. I have always gone with my gut as far as my choice of films is concerned and this show is no exception. I did not take on this assignment looking at it as a switch to television. It was the concept that appealed and television as a medium was only incidental. We need more shows like this in our culture.”
REAL ME ON CAMERA? NEVER! “Being constantly on camera is not an easy job. As an actor, I face the camera and lay my emotions bare for the world to see. After pack-up, taking it back home and living my life in front of the lens is something I could never do. I will not be comfortable putting anything personal in public.”
BUT… “If I have to give a camera, then I will give it to my mother, my sister and More >
Lisa Ray on her marriage, upcoming play with Kabir Bedi, sari collection for cancer patients, and fellow cancer survivor Manisha Koirala
Subhash K Jha (DNA; May 19, 2013)
Lisa Ray, who married Jason Coulton on October 20, 2012, is still in the honeymoon phase of life. Says she, “At the risk of nazar, can I say he is almost perfect? If I knew marriage could be so much fun and at the same time so authentic and supportive, maybe I would have explored it earlier. But I feel this because I am with the man who is perfect for me.”
Lisa and Jason don’t follow marital rules. “We are not conventional people interested in settling into a conventional lifestyle which society has created.” Marriage has made Lisa mellower, more reflective and impulsive. “It has given me permission to balance my life. After living in the public eye for more than 20 years, I love finding balance and a lot of private pleasures with my husband from travel to new experiences, to just enjoying each other’s company…”
Lisa and India remain inextricably connected. A trip to India is on the cards, though the news of the couple buying a house is at the moment, premature. Says the rapturous wife, “Jason is extremely interested in India. We will be making a visit this year. Aside from being deeply interested in the culture and glamorous aspects, he is interested in meditation and spirituality. In fact, we have a meditation room in our home.”
Now Lisa is doing a play with Kabir Bedi. “Yes, I am in rehearsals with More >
Mrinal Sen speaks to Shakti Shetty on turning 90, his cinematic journey so far and writing a book on Charlie Chaplin
Shakti Shetty (MID-DAY; May 19, 2013)
There are very few Indian filmmakers like Mrinal Sen. The auteur, known for his hard-hitting socio-politico films, turned into a nonagenarian last week. Although health remains a constant concern, the Kolkata-based veteran filmmaker is thrilled about his forthcoming book on Charlie Chaplin titled My Chaplin. The only living great of the triumvirate that included Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal comes across as someone who is taciturn enough to let his work speak for him. Over an email interview, Mrinal throws light on his life, fellow filmmakers and career…
What were the things that inspired you as a filmmaker? Time did. Time has always been sitting on my neck. Thus, I’ve always been confronted by it so I had to fight and survive the tension. It was an everyday battle. And that has always influenced my films. It’s about time, an era, a period of struggle. That’s the kind of films I have been making. Whatever happened in my life reflected on my work. As I survived and continued to make films, I tried to look beyond what’s visible. I never had materialistic ambitions and I was clear-headed enough to know the difference between dreams and reality. That’s also why I was able to clearly refuse fragile optimism. All shades of life inspire me in various ways.
How do you describe your journey so far? I turned 90 More >
Mahesh Bhatt (BOMBAY TIMES; May 18, 2013)
Even beneath the heaviest winter snow lies a potential spring waiting to bloom. It was when the time finally came for Sanjay Dutt to go back to prison that he discovered within himself a spring of strength in the middle of the harshest winter of his life.
This wasn’t the same man I saw the day before. Somehow, in the middle of the night something changed in him. The teary-eyed, crumbling, trembling man looking for any straw of hope he could find had been replaced by a samurai like persona. This kind of awakening could only have come because his family had formed a firewall of love and protection around him.
His wife, whose face still bore traces of tears, but who stood like a rock; his beautiful sisters, his brothers in law Kumar Gaurav and Owen Roncon, and all the lovely kids in the family, his nephews and nieces; all of them rallied round him and helped him find the strength and courage he so desperately needed.
Just before the hour of parting came, they formed a circle holding hands, and Owen read out a prayer. He asked God to help Sanju and the family survive this fire of life intact, and to bring him home soon. They then hugged and kissed and led him out of the living room in the same manner they would someone going on a long journey to a unknown and faraway land. On the wall behind them hung Sunil Dutt’s photograph, and he looked down on them smilingly — the elder who had braved so many tragedies.
The scene got rather More >
Garima Sharma (BOMBAY TIMES; May 18, 2013)
When Miss India Universe 2007 Puja Gupta debuted with F.A.L.T.U in 2011, she knew she didn’t have a significant part in the film. She says she had nothing to do in the film, but, it was the idea of working with Vashu Bhagnani, who goes all out to promote his films, that she said yes. Little did she know that the film would get her the next two projects she signed — Go Goa Gone and Shortcut Romeo. In fact, it is the latter’s lead actor Neil Nitin Mukesh who recommended her to director Susi Ganesan. “Neil liked my screen presence and recommended me to Susi sir, who didn’t even audition me,” she says.
About her role in the film, Puja says, “For Neil’s character, money is everything. But things change when this girl enters his life. She makes him a better person.” In real life, it’s been the other way round, with Neil helping her improve her skill-set. “It’s my first romantic film, and I am glad that I worked with Susi sir, Ameesha Patel and Neil. He is such a mature actor; I’ve only done films with amateurs or young actors.” The director is another person Puja is indebted to. “Susi sir has presented me so well as the heroine. He has shot me in a way that I’ve never looked so beautiful. He enhanced my acting,” she says.
Talking to her, one can never believe she went through a disturbing phase after her debut. “I had no work and no one was calling me. It was the most horrible time of my life. But Atul Kasbekar, whom I work with, had More >