Posts tagged audition
Hubby Abbas Tyrewala’s presence behind the camera helped Pakhi sail through romantic scenes
Deepali Dhingra (BOMBAY TIMES; August 30, 2010)
If people think that Pakhi had it really easy getting the lead role opposite John Abraham in hubby Abbas Tyrewala’s Jhootha Hi Sahi, the petite lady has something to reveal. Apparently, she too has been rejected for a role once! “That was during Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na,” she giggles, “We couldn’t find anyone for the role that Manjari Phadnis played later. I auditioned for that role. I was rejected and was so completely heartbroken, that I never thought I would ever become an actress!”
But here she is today, playing the lead and having written the script of the film as well. With her own husband directing her, how was she able to separate the wife from the actress? “Abbas really pampers me at home and I can get away with almost anything,” she says candidly, “But on the sets, he’s the boss! In fact, I used to call him ‘sir’ on the sets!” And doing intimate scenes with him around, was a bonus, instead of a burden for Pakhi. “That’s because it was my husband directing and guiding me. I felt far more calmer doing romantic scenes,” she replies.
One hears that Pakhi had stormed out of a screening as she had been unhappy about the length of her role in the film. The actress pooh-poohs the rumour. “I’m the writer of the film and I was very clear that it was John’s journey and his ordeal that is the focus of the story. I was clear how big or small my role was,” she says, adding that she did feel a little let down because of another reason. Pakhi explains she felt the characters suffered a bit as the director couldn’t retain everything about them in the film. “When I saw the film, I was shocked not as an actor, but as a writer. It’s not possible for a director to retain everything that a writer has written, so I wasn’t angry but a little sad,” she says, clearing the air.
Embarrased by female aspirants cueing up for the auditions of his assistant’s film and terrified of his building society having issues, Prakash Jha moves office to a suburban five-star
The shy and reticent Prakash Jha is writing his next film Aarakshan (Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee) in a five-star hotel in Juhu. Reason: his office in Andheri has been taken over by hordes of girls who visit it for photo shoots for Jha’s assistant’s debut feature.
The take-over is so complete that Jha has virtually no place to sit in his own den. “I come to the office and find shoes and clothes of girls on my desk,” he says.
“Hardly would I get someone to keep them down that a few of them will barge into my cabin and ask, “Main kaisi lag rahi hoon?, ‘ye joote kaise ghain?’, ‘ye kapde kaise hain?’. Pray, what am I supposed to tell them?” wonders Jha.
These girls even troop into the room adjacent to Jha’s cabin and start changing at the drop of a hat. “It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am seeing live auditions going on.”
Also, the building in which his office is located had started to get testy with the flurry of girls invading his office.
“They haven’t objected as yet, but they could. They are definitely curious to know why there is such a traffic of girls.”
Feeling terribly embarrassed about the whole saga, Jha left his office a week back. “How could he concentrate on his work? Fashion parades and inane questions never excite Jha,” says a source from Jha’s office.
“I now work from a hotel in Juhu,” he confirmed. Yeah, write, Mr. Jha.
Theater actor Omkar Das has come a long way from Bhilai to Mumbai bringing raw folk talent to the fore
Omkar Das, aka Natha, brings his raw and rustic charm to the Mumbai screens, courtesy Peepli Live. Given his pedigree in theatre, he almost sets the tone of his first feature film.
How did you start out in theatre?
I started theatre full-time in the year 2000. Until then, I was a folk singer and used to travel with my troupe of 30-odd singers in Chattisgarh. I always enjoyed entertaining, so theatre came naturally.
How did Peepli Live happen?
I was auditioning for another project in Bhopal when the writer and director saw me and wanted me to audition for Natha. I got the lead role immediately. I never expected it.
How did it feel being on a film set, with untrained actors and a big crew?
Oh, that was something! From street performances and folk songs to big lights, cameras, etc; I was very intimidated. But the director was very helpful.
She asked me to ignore the cameras and be as natural as possible. After the first day, I concentrated on everything else except the camera and soon got over the hesitation.
How popular is theatre in villages now? How much has Bollywood managed to influence its style and subject?
People usually enjoy the song and dance routines much more than staged drama.
Even though the issues may be relevant, naatak is expected to have more entertainment than anything else. There are a few mainstream songs and actors that are popular, but regional artistes and cinema have a much wider appeal.
You have been associated with Habib Tanvir, whose work has been politically charged. Are the subjects of your plays also similarly influenced?
We draw from very basic subjects: droughts, famine, dowry, infanticide, low yield of crops, poor sale of seeds… just about anything that impacts a farmer’s life.
But like I said, if we don’t balance it with folk songs and dance, people won’t watch. So we balance it out with Dadariya, shringar and cheda-chadi songs.
There is an upsurge of naxals in Chattisgarh. Does the issue influence your content in any way?
Fortunately, their activity in our state is restricted to the very interiors, deep in jungles and remote villages. So while political issues are a large part of our content, we try and stay away from this subject. It’s easy for villagers to get scared and worried.
|Omkar Das plays the lead role of a depressed farmer in the movie Peepli Live|
Naya Theater focuses on encouraging the use of local dialects and styles… tell us a little about them.
Yes, we have been using Urdu since Habib saab’s time and Chhatisgarhi as our medium. We prefer using the local language and train youngsters in getting the dialect and tenor right. It always has maximum impact when one communicates with the audience in their own language and tone.
We usually have people coming in from Lucknow, Delhi, other big and small towns and cities in addition to regional folk artists who we work with. Our theater performs throughout Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
What was your experience of working with Habib saab?
He was a brilliant writer and teacher. He understood that people who come into this profession, regardless of age, are bound by the same passion. We learnt by improvising. He gave each artist their own space and pace to learn and perform. We learnt a lot by just watching each other.
What do you have to say about the treatment of farmers’ suicide in Peepli Live? Do you think it’ll resonate with the masses?
I was very happy with the end product. It looks like people will be able to associate with the story. It’s simple, honest and innocent. The subject is serious and touching; and the city audiences will be educated, I feel.
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 28, 2010)
Blame it on recession, blame it on male superstars who’ve decided to become choosy. Blame it on the reduced number of films Bollywood now makes. Whatever the reason, the fact is that three-quarters of the film industry’s beauties live life in the shadows. Filmmaker Priyadarshan, who gets a knock on his door from many of these actresses, says he feels helpless but there is “only those many actresses who I can accommodate in my movies… and though I’d ideally like to create roles for the number of actresses I meet, it isn’t possible”. A leading producer confirms that when he spread the word that he is auditioning for his new film starting this September, he got calls from a dozen actresses. “Such is the paucity of good projects that when you announce one film, at least 10 good actresses turn up for the same role,” says he.
Sanjay Bhattacharya, a film financier, says that since medium budget movies have become fewer, roles for the middle-order guys and girls have completely dried up. “We’re either making top-order projects done by the A-list actors like the five Khans (Aamir, Shah Rukh, Salman, Saif and Imran), Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn and Ranbir Kapoor, or we are making arthouse cinema like Udaan, Tere Bin Laden and Love Sex Aur Dhokha. The typical medium-budget film has become so rare.”
Whether it’s the himbos or the bimbos, with the exception of the top seven guys or girls in Bollywood, most of the others are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Priyanka Kothari admits that after her beneficial stint with Ram Gopal Varma films — James, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, Sarkar and Agyaat — she is still to find the right break. She admits that post Agyaat she has only shot for regional cinema and a couple of commercials because she is still waiting for a good Bollywood film to materialise. And though many of the other actresses aren’t as candid as her, the fact is that life in the movies has become arduous for many.
It is no exaggeration that the girls who show up in pretty clothes at premieres, survive mainly on dance shows in smaller cities, ribbon cutting, commercial endorsements refused by the more-in-demand actresses, ramp-walking, catalogue shoots and appearances at events. What’s more is that unlike in other professions, where the wait invariably takes its toll on their patience, here in Bollywood, waiting for movies also takes its toll on their pockets. Just check out the list of expenses even the “in-waiting” actresses have to definitely spend on.
Newbie Amrita Puri talks about her journey so far…
Sharin Wader Butani | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 18, 2010)
Meet the new bhenji-turned-mod Amrita Puri, who debuts in the film Aisha — which is based on Jane Austen’s Emma — starring Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol. “That’s what I play in the film but in real life, I’m a pucca Mumbai girl and I’m not acquainted to the world of my reel-life character Shefali, who’s a small town girl from Haryana,” says Amrita, who before this film, did a number of ads and dabbled in theatre too.
“I tried journalism, too, but that didn’t excite me creatively, so I changed my career path,” says the 26-year-old, who thought it would be difficult to get a break in Bollywood because she doesn’t come from a filmi background. But after a few auditions, she was facing the arclights. “I didn’t realise then, how big a launch vehicle this film would be for me,” she smiles and adds, “My director Rajshree Ojha was a little apprehensive about casting me because she wasn’t sure whether I could play the role of a bhenji, but my casting director convinced her that I could,” says Amrita.
The debutante says apart from the role, she’s lucky to have got to work with a young team. “Sonam has been great to work with, we share a good rapport and so has Abhay, who’s a real dude,” she gushes about her co-stars. Sonam gives Amrita a makeover in the film and tries to play cupid by finding her a match. “It’s hilarious because even after the makeover, the way I talk is very Haryanvi,” she laughs. With less than a month for the film to release, Amrita is obviously a bundle of nerves but at the same time, she’s sure that she’ll get noticed for her performance. “I’m hoping for a long innings in Bollywood,” says the newcomer.
(Contributed by Meena Iyer)
For Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, based loosely on the life of Dawood Ibrahim, Ekta Kapoor got a Mandakini look-alike
A film inspired by the controversial life of the dreaded gangster Dawood Ibrahim, would undoubtedly be incomplete without a reference to the actress Mandakini (who was allegedly involved with Dawood).
Obviously, Ekta Kapoor couldn’t have convinced the actress to make an appearance in her film Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. Also, Mandakini has preferred to stay indoors for a long time, apart from occasionally surfacing to sing and act in her own music video.
|Amy Kingston and Emraan Hashmi in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai|
So producer Ekta Kapoor and director Milan Luthria decided to get Mandakini’s look-alike, an actress of Australian origin called Amy Kingston, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mandakini.
The decision to cast Amy was a last-minute one. A few days ago, Amy shot for her part.
Unlike most of her TV actresses who she auditions personally, Ekta decided to take Milan’s help in choosing Amy for this crucial role.
At least, 1000 girls were auditioned before they found their Mandakini look-alike. “It was not an easy task,” said a source.
Apparently, Ekta and Milan didn’t want any legal hassles later. That’s why Amy’s role is not based completely on Mandakini’s actual past.
Elaborating on Amy’s role, our source said, “Emraan whose role is on the lines of Dawood Ibrahim’s life, meets Amy. He cheats on his steady girlfriend Prachi Desai, befriends Amy and promises her that he would get her a crucial role in a big film. She has a song and two scenes.”
When contacted, Ekta Kapoor said, “I am told that she bears a resemblance to Mandakini but that’s just a coincidence.”
On the other hand, Amy said that she is unaware that she bears a striking resemblance to Mandakini, “I know who Mandakini is but do I resemble her?”
When asked if she was uncomfortable playing such a role, Amy replied, “There is no discomfort. It’s fine. I have absolutely no problem.” Well that’s obvious, since the lass is blissfully ignorant about her role.
Though she did add vehemently, “I will not to to my hometown Sidney until I see Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. I am very excited about this role.
Repeated calls to Mandakini failed to evoke a response.
A host of Bollywood A-listers to mentor slum children for Shiamak Davar’s directorial debut. It’s payback time, folks
Shiamak Davar’s directorial debut Naach Meri Jaan Fataa Faat, on slum children appearing for a dance competition, will have an entourage of Bollywood superstars working with him.
The process of selecting the slum kids will not be fataa fat though. The ten slum children (between the age of 5 and 18 years), 5 boys and 5 girls, who would be handpicked after a series of auditions, would be handed over to ten superstar mentors for training. Only post this stage will the kids face the camera for Shiamak.
The hunt for these slum children will begin next month and the film team will be travelling across various slums in Mumbai including Dharavi (of course, that couldn’t be missed after Danny Boyle’s visit) and Kalyan.
The idea of selecting ten superstar mentors emerged from Shiamak’s long and illustrious career with the film industry. The film’s producer Shailendra Singh says, “We believe dance can really make a difference to the common man’s life.
We chose Shiamak so he could guide the destiny of ten kids from the slums. Also, Shiamak has worked closely with many stars. Now it’s time for them to do something that would benefit not just Shiamak or our film but society at large.”
Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor are some of the superstars who will give their invaluable time to these children. Salim-Suleiman would be doing the vital music score and the film is expected to hit the screens on April 29 next year, which is World Dance Day.
Shahid Kapoor, Sridevi and Ruslaan Mumtaz said they would happily be part of anything that Shiamak Davar does.
South hottie loses another role, this time opposite Ranbir, because of her height!
Sharin Wader Butani | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 3, 2010)
Poor Asin, the South Indian actress who entered Bollywood with a bang opposite superstar Aamir Khan in Ghajini, is now struggling to keep herself afloat here. Her troubles began with London Dreams opposite Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn, which flopped at the BO. Recently Asin was dropped from Vipul Shah’s KhaKha KhaKha opposite John Abraham because her character was similar to the one she played in Ghajini… though insiders say she lost out because John didn’t want to romance her.
Now Asin has reportedly been dropped from Anurag Basu’s Silence starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, because she’s not tall enough!
The Silence role had initially gone to Katrina Kaif who turned it down because Priyanka’s presence was more powerful in the film. This led to Anurag hunting for a new face. He also held auditions when he couldn’t find this face. It was then that the producers asked him to take Asin. But the director refused because his requirement is a girl who is more than 5.8 feet tall. “He doesn’t think Asin will fit the role,” said a source. “Now egos are bruised. Anurag, who wants to have his way, has gone ahead and is busy directing shows for a Bangla channel because of which Silence has been kept on hold.”
Though everyone’s maintaining ‘silence’, it’s ultimately Asin who’s lost out on the opportunity of working with current heartthrob Ranbir. Fortunately for the actress, Salman, who had taken a liking to her during the making of London Dreams, is doing Anees Bazmee’s Ready with her.
To avoid love, sex aur dhoka in his life, the director of Fashion, who was once embroiled in a nasty casting couch scandal, has installed CCTV cameras at work
Clearly, Preeti’s accusation still haunts the National Award-winning filmmaker.
A source close to Bhandarkar told Mumbai Mirror, “It was Madhur’s idea to install a surveillance camera system in his office. After he turned producer with Fashion, a lot of ambitious girls have been coming to his office asking for roles in his forthcoming projects. The number of such aspirants knocking at his office has increased and Madhur wants all meetings in his office to be very transparent. He wants to rule out the possibility of any unpleasant accusations against him in the future.”
A visit to Bhandarkar’s office yesterday afternoon established the story. There are three surveillance cameras installed in his office premises. The entire installment required 12 days. While one camera has been installed at the reception, the second one is installed in the room where he conducts all his interviews, and the third one is fixed in the room where he auditions aspirants. This must be the most videotaped room in Bollywood.
|Above, Bhandarkar in his office; (below) the camera spies on the inside room|
Even Bhandarkar’s staff is very happy about this development in their premises. The video surveillance, which is done through a big TV screen, is in the main room where Madhur conducts his paper work. “If Madhur is in this room he obviously keeps a tab on whosoever comes and interacts with his office staff. If he is away, he comes back and catches up with everything that went on behind his back,” added the source.
Bhandarkar said, “It is high time that there is some decorum in the industry. I think that now every producer and director will consider following the same safety measures.”
Bhandarkar Entertainment Business Head, Sanjay Mehta mirrored his boss’s sentiments. “Nearly 40 boys and girls come to the office everyday after we announced two films Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji and Heroine (starring Kareena Kapoor). Some of them come through agencies and the others come directly. A few of them even barge in at odd hours. It is always better to be safe and have everything on record.”
Imtiaz Ali’s search for an actress to star in his next, Rockstar, has finally come to an end.
The Jab We Met director has finalised model Nargis Fakhri to play the role opposite Ranbir Kapoor.
Nargis is half Pakistani, half Czech and was one of the new faces in a recent swimsuit calendar.
The 21-year-old grew up in New York but is an ardent follower of Bollywood. Earlier, Imtiaz had given a break to Brazilian model Giselle Monteiro in Love Aaj Kal.
A source reveals, “Imtiaz has been auditioning girls for a while now.
He found that the Anglo-Indian look of Nargis completely suited the character in the film.But she underwent several screen tests before Imtiaz took her on board.
While Ranbir plays a rock star, Nargis will play a dancer in the film.”
Imtiaz Ali remained unavailable for comment.