BOMBAY TIMES (May 4, 2013)
In 1951, the Hollywood Moghul David Selznick was strolling through an empty, ghostly movie studio when he was struck by an uncomfortable thought. The maker of such giant classics like Gone With The Wind was in heavy debt. Television was beginning to be a threat to the movie business. Pointing to the empty stages, he said to his writer friend Ben Hecht ‘Hollywood is like Egypt… full of crumbled pyramids. It will just keep crumbling until finally the wind blows the last studio props across the sands.’
Thankfully, Selznick’s prophecy did not come true. The global movie business today is a multi-billion dollar industry. No wonder then that India, the film family’s most hyperactive child, is celebrating its 100th birthday party this year.
If I was given the chance to invite filmmakers for this bash, who would be on my list? Undoubtedly, the first person would be Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (Dadasaheb Phalke), who is the Brahma of Indian Cinema and whose 40-minute film Raja Harishchandra set the cinematic ball rolling in India. It was this brave son of India who understood that it is mythology that motivates cultures, not reason, race, or ideology. Next to him would sit Satyajit Ray, the only genuine auteur Indian cinema has ever had. Ray not only wrote his scripts and dialogues and songs, but also designed the sets, costumes, posters, operated the camera, edited the film and composed the music. He is the only Indian who has got a lifetime award at the More >
Shoojit Sircar tells us why there will not be any conventional ‘herogiri’ in Madras Cafe
Soumyadipta Banerjee (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 4, 2013)
Shoojit Sircar has just finished shooting for Madras Café. When we called him on Thursday, the director, whose previous film Vicky Donor has won three National Awards this year, including one for the best popular film, was getting all suited up to attend the ceremony. After much persuasion he agreed for a short interview.
“We wrapped up shooting for Madras Café two weeks ago. But as you know, the real filmmaking process starts after this, when we sit down to edit it. Considering that we have already fixed the release date as August 30, I am racing against time,” he says.
Although Vicky Donor missed a shot at the Oscars because the producers failed to send it for nominations, Shoojit is planning to take his next film to international film festivals. “Frankly, I don’t know what kind of films work well at festivals. But I am surely going to take this film around (in festivals).” He says hoping Madras Cafe will garner favourable response from the jury members. Nargis Fakhri, who was picked over Sheetal Mallar, his original choice for the female lead, in Madras Café is hardly known for her acting skills. When asked about this curious choice, Shoojit explains: “Nargis may have faced much criticism, I always knew she would be able to deliver. You will see a completely new Nargis in this film. Not many know, but I was the first person to More >
Sandip Ray pays a tribute to Satyajit Ray on his 92nd birth anniversary (May 2)
Subhash K Jha (DNA; May 3, 2013)
I remember him as an affectionate and caring father, though the onus of bringing me up, taking care of all my day-to-day requirements fell entirely on my mother. She looked after my school, my homework while my father was busy making movies though he did care a lot about what went on in my life. He was definitely a family man. He always wanted us to be near him. He’d plan his outdoor shootings around my school holidays, so my mother and I could be with him. More than the chance to be with my father these vacations became an opportunity for me to imbibe his filmmaking acumen. I guess I began observing the ‘master’ at work at a time when other children are only bothered with games and homework. My three mandatory school holidays during my growing years — the summer, winter and Durga Pooja — were devoted to watching my father shoot his great works. I was there during the shooting of his film Pather Panchali though too young to understand what was happening. No one knew it would become such a classic. We all looked at the shooting as a picnic. We knew he was working on something different. But we were all more enamoured by the wonderful rural Bengali outdoors. I can still remember the hut where the film was shot and that railway track with the steam engine chugging on it. They don’t make steam engines or movies like Pather Panchali (1955) any more. I also remember More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; May 3, 2013)
Anil Kapoor, 56, feels blessed that even after acting for 35 years, he is able to pick and choose roles he wants to do. Ahead of his upcoming film Shootout At Wadala, he talks to Bombay Times about his meeting with Raj Kapoor, his attachment to Boney Kapoor and his desire to just see Sonam happy. Excerpts:
Let’s talk about your childhood? I was born in Tilak Nagar, Chembur, where we lived in a concrete one-room chawl. In a single room we were three brothers, one sister, my parents and sometimes even my grandparents. We had two lavatories that were shared between 10 families. We lived there till I was 10. My father was an assistant to K Asif, the director of Mughal-e-Azam, after which he became secretary to Shammi Kapoor. In those days, your secretary was treated like family. So we were close to Shammi uncle’s family and through him, Raj Kapoor’s family. Shammi uncle used to stay at Deonar next to Raj Kapoor’s house in Chembur. We had then shifted to Sion Koliwada from a single room to a double room till I was 14, when we shifted back to Chembur close to RK Studio, so that my mother and Krishna aunty could stay close to each other as they were inseparable sisters. They are still best of friends and we were like Krishna aunty’s children. She is the only one who has slapped me as a mom and till today I feel extremely close to her.
Are you a trained actor? I joined St Xavier’s College, but was not interested in studies and wanted to More >
In the 100th year of Indian Cinema, women artistes tell us what it takes to succeed in a male-dominated industry
Series powered by WIFT (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 3, 2013)
I have been a freelance lawyer in the media and entertainment space for nearly a decade, and my experience has been nothing short of remarkable. As a young woman entering the big bad world of ‘Bollywood’, I was advised caution and care and told the film industry was not the place for me to establish a career in law. But nothing could be farther away from the truth. I have only been treated with respect and as a professional who is here to work. Gender barriers truly disappear when it comes to like-minded people working together to achieve a common goal.
Over the past decade, I’ve been acutely aware of an increasing number of women professionals in this space. When I look around, I can’t help but notice the sheer number of women working as business/talent managers, PR persons and legal advisers, all of whom are managing and strategizing the careers of top talent in the industry.
Another development is the increasing popularity of female-oriented movies. Unlike in the West, in the Indian film industry, women-oriented films have not been a financially viable option for studios and financiers. In the last few years however, this trend is witnessing a sea change, with more and more women-oriented films being accepted by the audience and many of them even doing well commercially. Kudos to our female actors (and More >
Sun Raha Hai Na singer and composer Ankit Tiwari on his big Bollywood break and destiny taking its time
Bryan Durham (BOMBAY TIMES; May 3, 2013)
Almost everybody has listened to Sun Raha Hai Na from Aashiqui 2. A track that’s high on melody, the male version has been composed and sung by Ankit Tiwari. The seemingly overnight success story, however, has been several years in the making and the 26-year-old from Kanpur has struggled in Mumbai for six years at least.
More at ease speaking in Hindi than in English, he comes across as confident yet refreshingly humble and with realistic aspirations. It could have something to do with a grounded upbringing in a musically inclined family and a strong support system backing him all the way. But he makes no bones about the fact that he realises that fame and success are temporary and hard work the only constant.
Tell us how you began musically. My mom is a singer at jaagrans. My dad and her form part of a troupe called Raju Suman and Party and they perform at Mata ki Chowkis and I would accompany them as a child. Aap keh sakte ho ki usi mahaul mein rahe. Main school mein hi tha and I told my mom and dad about my musical dreams. Meri zidd, mera sapna tha… so, they understood and let me try my luck. And over the years I did. I believe there is one universal truth: ek inner calling honi chahiye. And I knew I could do it. I only do those things that I can do. I can’t cook, for example, no matter however hard someone tries to teach More >
Karan Johar on the fading era of the Khans, Kapoor and Kumars and how the young generation ‘cheats’ on its new icons
Chandrima Pal (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 2, 2013)
Your chat show is slated to take off soon. What has changed in the film fraternity between the last season and now? (Smiles) A lot. The people are pretty much the same, but everyone has a new lover, new enemy and a new controversy. And yes, there is a whole new generation which has come in. These people are candid, brave, have no baggage or a sense of caution that comes with success. They are irreverent and don’t mind giving you an opinion. Their reflexes are unusual and they are great fun to watch.
You have worked with the stars and now you have surrounded yourself with young talent. Do you think the so-called star system is changing? The stardom of Shah Rukh, Akshay, Ajay, Aamir, Salman, Hrithik and Saif is unattainable. But this kind of manic hero worship is going to diminish. There are too many younger stars. And by virtue of the numbers, stardom will be divided among the younger lot. You will not have that kind of euphoria or reach that ecstatic level…
Is diluted stardom just a function of numbers? The younger generation of fans does not have the kind of reverence the older lot had for their idols. The young lot love and adore and move on quickly. They cheat on their idols quite a lot. Their loyalty does not have longevity. Much like in the West where there is a new teen icon every year. So you have a More >
Priya Gupta (BOMBAY TIMES; May 1, 2013)
Gulzar sahab’s recent visit to Pakistan turned into a national controversy even though, in reality, it was a visit that was extremely personal and emotional. Born in Dina 78 years ago, he visited his native place for the first time 70 years later. Being an Urdu poet himself, he had kept in touch with many writers and poets from Pakistan and would often meet them outside India. Pakistani director and friend Hasan Zia invited him for the Aman Ki Asha Literary Festival at Karachi and he was only too happy to accept the invitation. Vishal Bhardwaj, who he also considers his son, went along as he wanted to record a qawaali with Pakistani qawaals for his upcoming film. The artists were not being allowed to come to India, so Gulzar sahab felt that their work should be represented in our films. It was decided that they would record the song in Lahore, then visit Dina and finally go to Karachi for the literary festival. There were many stories circulated on him cutting short his visit and returning to India, but Gulzar sahab never spoke. He opens up to Bombay Times for the first time and we bring you excerpts from our conversation:
Sir, could you share details of what actually happened during your visit to Pakistan in February this year? I left Pakistan with my father at the age of eight. During these 70 years, I had flown to Lahore only once earlier in 2004 on an emergency visa for four days to meet my mentor Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi sahab to see More >
Ismail Darbar refutes being somebody difficult to work with
Asira Tarannum (MID-DAY; May 1, 2013)
Over cups of green tea, Ismail Darbar takes time out from his busy schedule at the recording studio for Subhash Ghai’s upcoming movie Kaanchi. The music composer talks about returning to film music after eight years, his personal life and the controversies that surround him.
You are giving music after eight years, how did this project happen? The first time when Subhash Ghai called me I became very emotional. Dil ko mere baat lag gayi aur bahut dil se duwayien nikli. I was not in touch with him and after eight years he called me to give music for his movie. I felt the Almighty has sent someone from above to help me.
Devdas was a huge success, yet you gave music for only one movie after that. Why? Yes, Devdas was a huge hit. Eight months later I signed Subhash Ghai’s Kisna. The number eight plays an important part in my life, which I don’t understand, ha ha! I tried calling a few people in between but when they didn’t revert I stopped calling them. It depends on my mood also. I am not egoistic but I have a certain attitude. People in the industry thought I have a lot of ego. The struggle I did also was with dignity. But yes, I am short- tempered.
You had a fall out with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but you were seen at his birthday bash this year? Sanjay and I share a Tom and Jerry relationship. Even when we did not record the first song… from that time we have been fighting. We More >
Neha Maheshwri Bhagat (BOMBAY TIMES; April 30, 2013)
As she readies to be the object of attention on the desi version of the groom-seeking reality show The Bachelorette, Mallika Sherawat hopes TV will give her what Bollywood couldn’t.
So, will you get married on national television? I don’t know that. Finding true companionship is my priority. A lot of people fail to find it even after marriage. I am not promising marriage, but who knows what will happen. I want to give all Indian men a chance to woo me. I think the tradition of arranged marriage is regressive. Through this show, I hope to convey the message that every woman should have the right to choose.
Do you fear a person may fake love just because you’re Mallika Sherawat? That’s a fear that haunts every actress and that is why most of them lead such lonely lives. The more successful you become, the more your world shrinks and you become lonelier. I miss the simple pleasures of life. It’s not a great feeling to come back to an empty home.
When we talk about sensuality in Bollywood, the first name that pops up in our mind is yours. How does that tag feel? I don’t believe it. Did I earn it? I don’t know. I am just me.
It overshadows your acting? Yes, absolutely. I believe because of the tag, a lot of serious filmmakers don’t approach me. I usually get offers to play ultra-glamorous, larger-thanlife roles. That’s why I accepted Dirty Politics — my character in the movie is real.
A lot of newbies like Sherlyn Chopra More >