Director Rajkumar Gupta turns to comedy with ‘Ghanchakkar’ and reveals why the normally intense Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan are just right for the genre
Itee Sharma (MID-DAY; June 16, 2013)
After helming two thought-provoking films- Aamir and No One Killed Jessica, why did delve into the comic space with Ghanchakkar? I find it satisfying and challenging to explore different genres. No One Killed Jessica (NOKJ) was very different from Aamir, and Ghanchakkar is different from my previous two films. As a filmmaker, I look for stories that interest me — be it inspiring stories like NOJK or fictionalised real-life like Aamir. When I got Ghanchakkar’s story from writer Parvez Sheikh, I thought it was a quirky story, a space I wanted to explore.
Vidya Balan is known more as an intense actor; and so is Emraan Hashmi. How did you think of them in comic roles? The comedy in the film is not in-your-face, it is very situational; and they were just right for these characters. You will see Vidya and Emraan in a different avatar from their previous work, as the film has a dissimilar approach. They have brilliantly exceeded my expectations and the script’s requirements.
Wasn’t Abhishek Bachchan supposed to do Ghanchakkar? His name was considered but he was never approached. When we started the casting process, Emraan was in our minds.
What makes Emraan right for this film? The lead character has a certain mysterious aura about him. You don’t know whether to take him at face value or More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; June 15, 2013)
AR Rahman, 46, is most attached to his music. He cries with sound and gets excited with tools. He has learnt to make his choices and then stand by them. He uses most of his money to build his school and equipment and is truly excited talking about being the principal of his music school. He may have just missed a close chance to work with Michael Jackson, but is working towards his dream of presenting an Indian Broadway with his students. His latest music from Raanjhanaa is extremely soulful and has entered the Mirchi Top 20 charts. He speaks to Bombay Times about the musical instincts of his mother, his pre-marital pact with his wife and what he shares with Rajinikanth. Excerpts:
How early did you know that you would be related to music? My mother (Kasturi Shekhar) realised it, not me. My father was an arranger for composers and a Man Friday for many of them. Those days, composers were Carnatic musicians, who would write the tunes, and my father would arrange the music and, so, he would be working with eight composers at the same time, working night and day. He died when I was just nine years old. Till five years after my father died, she would rent out his musical instruments to run the house after which she was advised to sell the equipment and live with the interest, but she refused saying, ‘No, I have my son. He will take care.’ She has music instincts. Spiritually she is much higher than me in the way she thinks and takes More >
Meena Iyer (BOMBAY TIMES; June 15, 2013)
Dharma Productions was established in 1976 by Yash Johar, Karan Johar’s father. In the last 37 years, the film company has become one of the most prominent players when it comes to putting Bollywood cinema on the world map.
KJo’s celluloid ventures — from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) to their latest blockbuster Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (currently enjoying a historic run) — have taken his father’s dream several notches higher. And Dharma’s module of functioning, like a full-fledged film studio, is something many have aspired to follow. But very few have managed it so far.
Says Karan, “Ours is a young company with tall achievements; all of it is my father’s blessings. While we have been growing from strength to strength in each of the last three decades, in the last six years alone, we’ve been able to achieve several milestones. And this is because we have the strongest reserve of filmmakers.”
To name a few, KJo and his team — Nikhil Advani (Kal Ho Naa Ho), Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana), Ayan Mukerji (Wake up Sid and YJHD), Punit Malhotra (I Hate Luv Storys), Shakun Batra (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu) and Karan Malhotra (Agneepath) — are among the torchbearers in the mainstream space, currently.
Karan adds, “Whether it’s content or scale, we have covered the entire gamut from Gippi to YJHD. Like most reputed international film studios, we have an open-door policy. And if we have chosen not to have a distribution or exhibition set-up, it is by More >
Zarina Wahab minces no words to accuse Jiah Khan’s mother Rabiya of dragging her son Suraj Pancholi and Salman Khan into the fracas that followed Jiah Khan’s suicide
Asira Tarannum (MID-DAY; June 14, 2013)
When we meet Zarina Wahab at her in-laws’ Juhu residence on Wednesday evening, she has exhaustion written all over her face. After all the last few days have been extremely trying on her family after her son was first accused of allegedly abetting his girlfriend Jiah Khan’s suicide and was later arrested by the Mumbai cops. Zarina however feels that her son is innocent and accuses Jiah’s mother Rabiya Khan of trying to frame her son and also unnecessarily involve Salman Khan in the whole fracas.
When did you come to know about Suraj’s relationship with Jiah? I knew they were good friends and after I had read about the two somewhere, I simply asked him. He was initially shy but later told me about their relationship. Suraj doesn’t lie to me and we share a very close bond. When Aditya and I got to know about their relationship, we acted like normal parents would. There is no fuss about loving someone. These days, the youngsters are mature and they don’t like parents interfering too much in their personal life. To fall in love is not a crime. But I had never met Jiah.
Is it true that Salman Khan tried to intervene in their relationship? Do you think Salman has the time to do that? Aditya never told him to ask Suraj to stay away from Jiah. In fact, had I known that she was More >
Sonam Kapoor talks about her career defining role in Raanjhanaa
Upala KBR (DNA; June 14, 2013)
Sonam Kapoor began her career on the same day as Deepika Padukone. But somewhere along the way, her rival zoomed ahead in terms of films, performances and hits. Sonam, meanwhile, was preparing to strike. She was waiting for a role which would allow her to make everyone sit up and take notice. Raanjhanaa, which releases next week, may just be that film. The actress did the film when it was an emotionally trying time for her. She had split with her long-time boyfriend Punit Malhotra while shoting for the film. With her broken heart she shot for the most romantic film of her career. Read on with a tete-a-tete with the Kapoor girl…
What made you sign Raanjhanaa? What I liked about the girl was her growth in the film — it’s like a graph. Zoya Haidar is not just a pretty girl and a typical simpering, goody-goody heroine. She has something more to her. Zoya is a normal girl with grey shades to her. Every film that I do is challenging in its own way but yes, Raanjhanaa has been my most challenging role till now. Getting into Zoya’s character, which has got so many layers, was tough. She is so complicated yet real. I have always tried to do different films and gone without make-up or styling even in Delhi 6 and Mausam as I try to be different for every character. I like doing different things to challenge myself in every way and don’t like to repeat myself. But I can honestly says that More >
Sona Mohapatra, on her latest track Ambarsariya, her unconventional singing voice, other projects and being her own person
Tanvi Trivedi (BOMBAY TIMES; June 14, 2013)
Soulful, clear and definitively Indian, Sona Mohapatra’s latest track Ambarsariya, is a refreshing adaptation of a popular Punjabi folk song. The decidedly desi gal speaks here on why it is important to stick to your roots.
Take us through the soundscape and the development of Ambarsariya. Fukrey is a light hearted, really fun joyride set in Delhi and specifically in a Punjabi neighbourhood. As the project progressed, I heard song after song being created and visualised from the principal male characters’ perspectives. I kept protesting about it. Two days before we delivered the soundtrack to the music label, this soulful ballad took birth in its desi-goes Parisiancafe avatar. Ram’s instinct was that the film would benefit by having a simple love song. I recorded my vocals for Ambarsariya at 3 am over this really unusual chord progression, recorded by a guitar player in the UK with Ram directing him through video telephony. The European touch (the accordions you hear in the track) happened in Mumbai, though. Incidentally, I had also recorded a Punjabi version of the song the same night but Ram decided that adapting the song partly to Hindi would only help many more people to understand and therefore enjoy the song. He was right! I insisted on keeping some parts in Punjabi to retain authenticity. The More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; June 13, 2013)
Shah Rukh Khan talks to Bombay Times about how he and Rohit Shetty got onto the bandwagon of Chennai Express. Excerpts:
Why did you choose Chennai Express as a film? My kids and I watch films together at night. One of the films that we really liked was Golmaal 3. Kareena was working with me in Ra.One and I told her that I liked the film a lot and met Rohit Shetty. Rohit was committed to making Angoor with UTV. Me and my mom had a strange history, where we used to watch films together. After my father died (Shah Rukh was 15 then), I, my sister and my mother would watch films together as we were all film buffs. I would press my mother’s feet while watching films. And Angoor was clearly one of our favourites. Rohit asked me if I would be interested in hearing the narration of Angoor. I told him I didn’t need to, as I knew it inside out. He asked me for five days to come back with the adapted script since it was originally not written for me and he did not think I would do it. He then called me and said, ‘Sir, I have been writing another story for some years which has gone to different actors and has never happened before. Could I come and narrate that to you?’ I normally spend a lot of time with the director before I sign on a film. So I said why don’t you come and narrate the film to me, as I had in any case kept seven days aside for him. He came with three writers and started narrating. I have worked in the industry for 19 years More >
Subhash K Jha (DNA; June 12, 2013)
Tired of seeing her son being vilified, damned and being portrayed as the villain in Jiah Khan’s tragic suicide, Zarina Wahab has decided to take charge of Suraj Pancholi’s public image. It has been decided that the volatile Aditya Pancholi, who had a fracas with the media recently, will stay out of the picture. The public portrait of Aditya as the protective father was found to be damaging Suraj’s case. He has decided to completely withdraw from his son in public as he has been told by well-wishers and friends that his wild past and legally-challenged image are damaging Suraj’s prospects.
Says a friend of the family, “It’s been decided that Zarinaji, and not Aditya, will accompanying Suraj to all the proceedings related to Suraj’s arrest and court hearings.” On Monday when Suraj was taken into custody, it was mom Zarina who accompanied her son to the police station. On Tuesday morning, it was Zarina who went to court for Suraj’s hearing.
The harried mother said, “Let Jiah’s mother say what she wants to. The truth will come out. I will say one thing. I am a mother too. And the mother of a daughter. I know the pain that Jiah’s mother is going through. But I also know my son. I know what he’s capable of doing. And the behaviour that I hear being attributed to him is not like my son at all.” On Monday afternoon the Pancholis were completely unprepared for Suraj’s arrest. The parents were advised to get anticipatory bail for their son but More >
Suniel Shetty is not worried about his daughter’s debut with Suraj
DNA (June 12, 2013)
There have been reports suggesting that Suniel Shetty was unhappy with his daughter Athiya’s debut happening with the lately-beleaguered Suraj Pancholi.
Rising to the boy’s defence Suniel says, “I never said that! I don’t, for a moment, regret the decision to launch my daughter with Suraj. Why should I? He is as much my child as Athiya. This (the crisis post Jiah Khan’s suicide) can happen to anyone. God forbid any parent should go through what Aditya and Zarina are going through right now. And I can’t even begin to imagine Jiah’s mother’s grief. Even if my daughter gets a scratch I am inconsolable. To lose one’s child is beyond any comprehension.”
However, Suniel fails to see why Suraj must be blamed for the tragedy. “They had a relationship. Whatever happened between them is known only to them. No second person can take responsibility for an individual’s death. I’ve met Suraj. He’s sweet, soft spoken boy. I don’t see him harming anyone, least of all someone he loved.”
Suniel says he totally stands by the project introducing his daughter Athiya with Suraj. “I’ve full faith in the project. In any case it is entirely Salman Khan’s baby. He has taken over the project completely. I’ve taken the backseat as far as Aaithiya’s launch is concerned. We’re letting Salman take all the decisions on behalf of Athiya and Suraj. We start shooting for Hero with my daughter and Suraj in More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; June 12, 2013)
Ram Sampath, 36, sees himself as a musical schizophrenic, who has an appreciation of different genres and who loves to zig zag and do different kinds of music. He believes he got into music as it is not a competitive sport. As a composer of advertising jingles, he was easily one of the busiest and most sought after for whom clients were willing to wait. While Bhaag DK Bose from Delhi Belly made him a household name, he has created innumerable jingles for leading brands, be it Airtel, Docomo, Thums Up, Pepsi or the Times of India. His latest song Ambarsariya from Fukrey is already on the Mirchi Top 20. In a conversation with Bombay Times, he talks about his long standing associate Abhinay Deo, what makes Aamir Khan special and why he fell in love with Sona Mohapatra. Excerpts:
Since when have you been interested in music? My father is a Tamilian and my mother, a Kannadiga. I grew up in Chembur and went to OLPS school, of which Shankar Mahadevan was an alumni. We had heard of him being a good singer in school. I learnt Carnatic music for eight years. There was phenomenal music at home and in our neighbourhood in Chembur. My dad was a huge fan of the Beatles and Elvis and Carnatic music and my mother of Bollywood. My grandfather, TV Ramanujam, was the founder of Shanmukhananda Hall and the house, where he lived, which is where I live now, had the greats of Carnatic music (MS Subbulakshmi, Balamuralikrishna, DK Pattammal, Palghat More >