Posts tagged Balki
By Subhash K. Jha, June 18, 2010 – 11:08 IST
Even as Balki puts finishing touches to the script for his third film featuring the Big B in the lead, the twosome who gave us the two extremely unconventional hits Cheeni Kum and Paa will now be getting together for a 15-minute film celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.
While details for the project are yet to be finalized, it is understood that PVR Cinemas has commissioned 8 leading filmmakers to make 15-minute films which would all be released as one feature film in 2013 when Indian cinema celebrates a 100 years of existence.
The first director to start his film would be Balki.
Says the director, “Doing a short film with Amitji would be a special challenge for me because I’ve never done a film in that format before, and neither has he. We’ve done numerous ads and two feature films together. Now let’s see what I can do with Amitji in the 15 minutes that we’ll be provided.”
Balki says another film with the Big B, no matter what its duration was imperative. “I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms. That man is addictive. Once you work with him, there’s no way you can resist working with him over and over again.”
While the challenge of creating a 15-minute full and comprehensive film replete with a plot and a background score will be taken up by Balki in the pre-winter months, at the end of the year, he’ll start his third feature film with Mr. Bachchan. Apparently, it would be the Big B’s most intensely romantic film since Yash Chopra’s Kabhi Kabhie in 1975.
And no, this time there would be no Abhishek Bachchan.
‘I am in a space of my own; I’ve got critical acclaim as well as commercial success…I qualify to be number one,’ says Vidya Balan in a freewheeling chat with Seema Sinha
TIMES NEWS NETWORK (TIMES LIFE; February 21, 2010)
SHE is the thinking man’s dream. Whether she plays the unwed mother, or locks lips with her co-star, or suggestively sucks a thumb, her dignity remains intact. And then a pretty face and a voluptuous figure do not hurt. Vidya Balan is on a roll.
With two back to back hits — Paa and Ishqiya — a lot of compliments are coming her way from the fraternity as well as the audience. “It feels good as I can sense a certain vindication in my father’s eyes. When I was being written about in not so polite terms, there were times when I lost heart and he would tell me ‘things will change’. ‘No one can take your performance away from you and no one can give you a performance. So if that is yours, just hold on to it and that will take you places’. These words of my family gave me strength when I was a little shaky,” says Vidya.
Learning from her past mistakes, Vidya has most certainly decided to stay away from candy floss cinema. Hailed as the next big thing when she made her debut in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta followed by the cult Lage Raho Munnabhai, suddenly she was courting controversies for her career decisions and unflattering wardrobe. “Most definitely, I tried to be like other girls. There was a certain complacency setting in. My biggest dream of being in the movies had been achieved. Suddenly, I started getting influenced by even stray people who were telling me, ‘Oh, you are getting so boring now. C’mon, glam it up’. I was probably feeling apologetic about doing a Parineeta… and I am extremely ashamed of saying that. I had begun to sway and was suddenly looking at roles very superficially in terms of being western or Indian, which I had not done even for my first film. People could sense that I was losing my identity. But these experiences brought clarity. I have come out of it,” explains Vidya, who has now redefined ‘sexy’.
“Sexy is an attitude and it comes from self-assurance. Today, I have actually gone back to wearing my sari and people are now calling me sexy and raunchy. That gives me a high,” she smiles. “Once, Balki (director of Paa) told me, ‘It takes actors ages to find their niche. Look at you, you have it and you are just about to give it up. Thank God, you held it back in time’. I was fighting that for some reason,” adds Vidya. “The kiss in Ishqiya was so passionate, though I was covered from top to toe. Tomorrow, if I have to play a prostitute and wear skimpy clothes, I will do it,” she adds.
‘I want to retain my curves’
So recently, when she went for a fitness training programme to shed those extra kilos, she decided to get rid of the excess, not the essentials. “I told my trainer to retain the curves. We are blessed with beautiful bodies, why fight that, it makes us look so sensuous,” she says. On clear terms, Vidya states that she will never compromise on the role front, it’s “only substantial roles for me. I am extremely particular not to do films for the wrong reasons.” A thriller based on the Jessica Lall killing (where she shares screen space with Rani Mukerji), and a comic caper currently excites her. “I could do a mad comedy as long as my role is substantial. But don’t make it floozy. A lot of women’s roles in Hindi cinema are very apologetic, but I am glad to be representing the changing face of Indian women since I have always portrayed strong female characters,” asserts Vidya, who doesn’t want to draw any comparisons with the current crop of heroines. “I am being me, I don’t know better, I don’t know worse,” she merely says.
No wonder, the actor is deeply influenced by the likes of Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini, Rekha, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. Incidentally, the star of the millennium, Amitabh Bachchan has compared Vidya to Waheeda. A lot of people, she says, also liken her to Meena Kumari, Madhubala, “and post-Ishqiya it is Smita Patil.” “Like these actresses, I would like to lead life on my own terms and be remembered forever. But I am not so sure how many from today’s brigade will be remembered for so long,” she can’t resist adding.
‘I’m in a space of my own’
But the numbers game in Bollywood is ine v i t ab l e. With constant comparisons between a Kareena and Katrina, Priyanka and a Deepika and with their names taken in the same breath, does Vidya miss out being in the ‘A’ league? “I definitely don’t have a grouse. With no measure of immodesty, I would like to say that I am in a space of my own. I gave one hit after the other, which continues. I got critical acclaim as well as commercial success. By that measure, I qualify to be number one,” she states.
And with this, we leave the sensitive and subtle performer to bask in her glory. She is back in form. “Earlier, with Parineeta and Munnabhai, stardom hit me literally. I had no time to sit, soak it in and think. Today, I am much calmer about the success coming my way. But that childlike excitement is very much there,” she chirps. seem...@timesgroup.com
By Joginder Tuteja, December 30, 2009 – 12:16 IST
The likes of Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Santoshi, Vishal Bhardwaj, Balki and Prabhu Deva must be feeling disheartened. If only Rajkumar Hirani, Aamir Khan and Co. would have released 3 Idiots a week later, the competition was just amongst the five of them for Love Aaj Kal, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Kaminey, Paa and Wanted respectively. However, due to the fact that 3 Idiots is a fantastic experience for millions of cine-goers and above all is pretty much fresh in audiences mind, it is the unanimous choice for one and all. Whether it is ‘aam junta’ or industry alike, there is no negative word around this movie. Instead, it has been universally hailed, acclaimed, appreciated and above all respected, which has proved once again that if a film is really well made, all bad blood is forgotten, all negative vibes are kept aside and all competition stays a distance away. Over to the Bollywood folks who (keeping certain exceptions aside) truly believe that 3 Idiots is the film of 2009.
Kareena Kapoor – 3 Idiots was the best film of 2009.
Sajid Khan – Best movie of the year was Avatar. Reason? It was not a film but an experience.
Shirish Kunder – For the sheer sincerity with which it has been made, 3 Idiots is simply the best by leaps and bound. Aamir has once again proved that he is the ISI mark of good cinema.
Piyush Jha – 3 Idiots was the best film that 2009 had to offer because it took a very relevant issue and banged home the point. Moreover, the icing on the cake was that it was thoroughly entertaining.
Kalki – Best film of 2009 was Kaminey because it’s a furious and an intelligent film with great performances and music.
Aanand L Rai - For me the best movie in 2009 is 3 Idiots. It boasted of a brilliant screenplay and direction.
Suneel Darshan – 2009 ended on a positive note with two movies – Paa and 3 Idiots. Paa displayed refined performances by Mr. Bachchan and Vidya Balan. On the other hand 3 Idiots is a sincere attempt at entertainment with a soul.
Hasnain Hyderabadwaala – I enjoyed watching Wanted most. It was after a long time that I saw a complete masala film. Total paisa wasool!
Ramesh Taurani – Of course I believe that Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani was the best film of 2009. But so have been 3 Idiots, Paa, Wake Up Sid and Love Aaj Kal. All these films have been hugely entertaining.
Robby Grewal – It’s a one horse race – 3 Idiots.
Sadaa – 3 idiots was surely the best film of 2009. It was a complete film as it lacked nothing. Moreover, there was some very good message being delivered in an entertaining format.
Vaishali Desai – I loved both Avatar and 3 Idiots. Both films belonged to completely different genres. Avatar boasted of some breathtaking special effects and it was an entirely new experience. Whereas 3 Idiots is yet another cult film about the education system from Mr. Hirani.
Raksha Mistry – Call it ironical but the best of 2009 came at the very end. Yes, I am talking about 3 Idiots which is not just the best of 2009 but also one of the finest movies ever in all aspects.
Boney Kapoor – I have heard great things about 3 Idiots but I haven’t seen it yet. Of course Wanted was a complete package as it brought back the concept of hero, something which was in vogue years back when Amitabh Bachchan used to play such characters. Somehow such cinema had become extinct. Amongst other films, I also loved Love Aaj Kal. It’s entire approach was very fresh and everybody performed well. Its music was superb. The film was as mainstream as it gets and was a good blend of the old charm and new thinking. Even Paa was quite exciting. After a really long time came an Amitabh Bachchan film where he could showcase his talent. It was a neat and clean movie that really moved me. Moreover, in spite of having a sad tale on the surface, it was tackled in a very lighter vein. It reminded me of Hrisihikesh Mukherjee at his peak. Watching the film gave me the same feeling as I had when I watched Anand. Since Amitabh Bachchan’s effort didn’t show in the film, that itself reflects that how great an actor he is. Really, Imtiaz and Balki are two filmmakers to look out for. From Hollywood, it was Avatar all the way. I can’t think of a better movie visually. In fact it would take a really long time for anyone to match it technically; it has surpassed all films where technical wizardry and visual appeal is concerned. All the special effects have been taken to a different level altogether with Avatar.
Ken Ghosh – I am on a jury for an award, so I can’t really quote around the best or the worst of the year
Rohit Shetty – Best film of the year is 3 Idiots for sure. It makes you feel so good and happy after watching it.
Jagmohan Mundhra – 3 Idiots was the best movie of 2009.
Tanushree Dutta - For me, the best films of 2009 would be 3 Idiots and Avatar.
Ruslaan Mumtaz – Kaminey was the best film of the year along with 3 Idiots
Sujoy Ghosh – I haven’t seen 3 Idiots but I’ll go with Paa. It’s a film which made me feel very good about life. It’s a film which took some of my fears away. It’s a film which taught me to look at different things normally. I really appreciated that. It’s a film which didn’t try to squeeze my balls for emotions. And of course Mr. Bachchan, Vidya, Balki, Illayaraja and P.C. Sreeram made it all possible.
Sophie Choudry – According to me, 2009 was filled with below par cinema both in Hollywood and Bollywood. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed 3 Idiots, Kaminey and Paa. They were all brilliantly made films.
Urvashi Sharma – Baabarr is one of my favourite films from 2009 but I think 3 Idiots has broken all the records and is the best Hindi film of the year. From Hollywood, I loved both The Hangover and Avatar.
Kunal Deshmukh – I loved Avatar because it educates us to think ahead and learn so much. And of course 3 Idiots, as we all know today, is a fabulous movie. It brought home a message without shoving it down your throat.
Ananth Mahadevan – Though Paa and 3 Idiots are what I would define as ideal mainstream cinema (they made cine-going a pleasure after what seemed ages), if one has to select a film, my choice would be Nandita Das’ Firaaq. The four stories were moving accounts of the aftermath of human folly fuelled by political insanity. The critical eye may pick a few bones of contention, but the film was relevant, urgent, well enacted and most importantly, credibly treated.
Tusshar Kapoor – Which movie is best for me in 2009? Obviously, there is going to be just one answer – 3 Idiots.
SUBHASH K JHA Times News Network (BOBMAY TIMES; December 28, 2009)
Meanwhile, the Progeria Research Foundation in the US has suggested a series of tie-ups with Balki and the film’s producers AB Corp Ltd. Audrey Gordon, president and executive director of the foundation, wrote to Balki telling him how the film made an emotional connection with kids suffering from progeria around the world and suggested tie-ups that the filmmaker is happy to implement.
Auro turns cricket commentator for the India-Sri Lanka T-20 match tomorrow
Amitabh Bachchan as Auro will now be a T20 cricket commentator for the India-Sri Lanka cricket match to be held on December 12. Amitabh will be doing the ‘expert commentary’ in the breaks between the match.
Confirming the story, Paa’s director Balki says, “Auro will be doing the expert commentary for television for the T20 match in Mohali.”
A big cricket aficionado, the challenge for Big B would be to do a cricket commentary for the first time, and that too in Auro’s soft and childish voice. A challenge that the actor is already gearing himself for.
In the meanwhile, spurred by the poignant story of Auro, Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar has announced financial aid for the two Bihari progeric brothers Eqramul and Ali Hussein.
Balki is delighted by the impact of the film. “Now that’s the kind of story one likes to hear about Paa. But let me repeat we did not make Paa to spotlight progeria.”
The Progeria Research Foundation in the US is showing a keen interest in Paa. Says Balki, “I’d be only too happy for them to watch the film and decide how Paa could spread awareness about progeria.”
By Joginder Tuteja, December 5, 2009 – 17:26 IST
Vidya Balan is extremely happy with an all around positive response that she has got for her role of an unwed mother in Paa. While keeping her emotions in check and not allowing all the appreciation to make her go overtly gaga, Vidya does admit though that such huge response has come to her four long years after her debut effort Parineeta.
“I guess the wait has been worth it”, says Vidya who plays the mother of a 12 year old kid (played by Amitabh Bachchan) suffering from Progeria in Paa, “I was doing films and by God’s grace most of them were successful as well. However, the kind of respect that is coming the way of everyone associated with Paa is overwhelming, heart warming and above all humbling.”
It is this respect factor that has been the biggest moment for Vidya. When the film’s trial was held a few days back, she was convinced that the film would certainly be remembered for its sincerity, honesty and truthfulness. Though box office factor wasn’t to be ignored, she along with director Balki knew that at the least film would see good respectability coming its way.
“One can’t say much about box office in any case because sometimes even the most quintessential commercial flicks don’t really click with the audiences. However, you instinctively know whether your film has turned out to be a quality outing or not. I remember the days of Lage Raho Munnabhai when we came out of the first screening. Along with Raj Kumar Hirani, I knew that we had made a good film. Same was the case with Paa“, details Vidya.
Now she is eagerly awaiting the box office response for Paa. Given the fact that it is coming a week after De Dana Dan and a week before Rocket Singh – Salesman Of The Year, Paa has to score and do that really fast.
“I have been told though that the film has been accepted well by the audience and along with critical appreciation, it is also showing good word of mouth from those who have seen it”, she says with that characteristic smile of hers.
What she says does hold good ground. Though the opening wasn’t exceptional (as expected due to its theme), the film has shown a constant increase in crowd inflow with every passing show. Says a trade insider, “The occupancy for Paa on Saturday is almost double than that of Friday. Everyone thought that the film was mainly targeting the class audiences in big cities but it is doing well even in interiors like Nagpur and other cities and towns.”
Meanwhile, Vidya’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. “Such appreciation is always welcome. Ever since the film’s premiere, there have been congratulatory calls, which is heart warming. I have been literally glued to my cell-phone for last 3 days at stretch and I am certainly not complaining.”
Given the fact that her last film Kismat Konnection (2008) was a success and so was Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), she would be used to such adulation, isn’t it?
“Honestly speaking, there have been good words but such volume of calls is a first”, she confesses, “I remember getting quite a few messages during Bhool Bhulaiyaa or Kismat Konnection. However, so many people actually making an effort and giving me a call reminds me of Parineeta days. Paa has fetched me the best response since my debut film.”
With her much in news Ishqiya round the corner that has an author backed role reserved for her, one waits to see if Vidya gets a further one up over Paa and Parineeta in weeks to come. Starring Naseruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi as the male protagonists, Abhishek Chaubey directed Ishqiya is produced by Vishal Bhardwaj & Raman Maroo and sees a 15th January release.
The premiere of the Bachchans’ home production Paa was a glittering affair with the who’s who of Bollywood attending the event last night
The preparations for the grand premiere of Paa last night had started much earlier with Amitabh Bachchan visiting the venue at Wadala Imax at 1 pm yesterday to check out all the arrangements. Though the main event was scheduled to begin at 8.30 pm, a casually dressed Amitabh arrived at the venue much earlier at 6 pm and the first thing he did was to double check the arrangements.
He changed into natty formals shortly before the guests started arriving.
The Bachchans had divided their responsibilities to ensure that their guests are well-looked after. While Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai were standing at the entrance, Jaya Bachchan was looking after all the guests near the screens on the first floor.
Why were Ritesh Deshmukh with Abhishek Bachchan wearing identical frames?
|The first wives club
Abhishek Bachchan with reel wife, Vidya Balan and his better half, Aishwarya Rai
|You me aur hum
Ajay and Kajol
|Twinkle Twinkle big star
The colour co-ordinated couple Akshay Kumar and Twinkle
Anil Ambani, his wife Tina and their son were among the first guests to arrive. Some of the power couples who attended the premiere were Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri, Ajay Devgan and wife Kajol, Hrithik and wife Sussanne, and Akshay Kumar and wife Twinkle. SRK sent Gauri and the kids upstairs while he stayed back to chat with the Bachchans for a while. SRK was seen hugging Akshay Kumar. Arshad Warsi and wife Maria were there too.
Ritesh Deshmukh, Dino Morea and Rakeysh Mehra and his wife followed shortly and the director seemed happy to catch up with his Rang De Basanti team Atul Kulkarni and Kunal Kapoor. Sharman Joshi made a late entry.
Ranbir Kapoor and Ritesh were engrossed in a conversation outside screen 3. Aishwarya came upstairs and was seen talking to Ashutosh Gowariker, his wife Sunita and Srishti Behl. Aamir Khan came with his 3 Idiots director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Aamir left half-an-hour after the screening began.
Abhishek was seen chatting with Govinda, who came in quite late.
Filmmakers David Dhawan, Satish Kaushik and Madhur Bhandarkar were there. Filmmakers Abbas Mustan came all the way from Lonavla.
The screening was held in all the four screens at Imax but it was screen 3, which had the maximum number of stars. The screening of the film started around 10 pm.
Kangna Ranaut hung around outside for a while, posing for pictures even though the film had started. She soon went inside the theatre.
|Dil de Dia
Even Auro, who doesn’t like girls, can’t resist the pretty Dia Mirza
The single life seems to be agreeing with the glowing Kangna Ranaut
Aishwarya with her father Krishnaraj Rai
Hrithik and Sussanne Roshan
Suhana seems to be taking after her mother Gauri Khan already. Shah Rukh Khan, Balki, Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan, Gauri and Suhana
|3 Idiots meets Paa
Rajkumar Hirani, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Vidhu Vinod Chopra
|(pics: nilesh wairkar)|
RADIO v/s PAA
This weekend will see the release of two diverse films, Paa and Radio. The best thing about both films is its cost-both films are made at a reasonable cost and should not find it difficult to recover it. My take on these films:
Undoubtedly, Paa will be the first choice of moviegoers. Directed by Balki (Cheeni Kum) and music composed by Illaiyaraja, Paa has aroused a lot of curiosity. By now, it’s a very common knowledge that Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a 12 year old suffering from progeria in the film. He looks unique and completely unrecognizable in his new look. Big B has even altered his voice to suit his 12 year old character and it rocks completely. He has even sung the title song of the film in that changed voice which is a treat to hear! To hear Auro (name of BigB in Paa) speak click here.
Besides the chance to see Amitabh in a never before seen avatar, the other USP of the film is Abhishek Bachchan playing Amitabh’s father! The film also stars Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal as Auro’s mother and grandfather respectively. The film is being promoted innovatively. 2 days back, Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan were on Radio Mirchi FM and spoke as the characters of the film. Listeners were asking questions to Auro (i.e. Amitabh) about his life and he answered wonderfully! It was just brilliant!
Without a shred of doubt, the film will be lauded with appreciation, especially for the performance of Amitabh, Abhishek and Vidya. However, the film has also got some negative reactions from a section of audiences who feel that Big B’s look is horrible and they can’t bear watching him as ‘an ugly child’ for 2 ½ hours. Also, the film should get a good response to sustain in theatres. And if that happens, then there would be no stopping for this film! In fact, I am expecting a Taare Zameen Par-type craze for Paa. Let’s hope for the best!
In an interview, 2 days back to Bollywood Hungama, Himesh Reshammiya shared how he wanted his previous disastrous film, Karzzzz to release on another date. That’s because the producers planned its release on October 17, 2008. 17 equals to 8 (1+7=8) which is Himesh’s unlucky number. But the producers didn’t listen to him and released it on 17th. And then Karzzzz flopped in spite of adding 3 extra ‘z’ in the title for ‘numerlogical reasons’. I really laughed reading this part. Is Himesh trying to say that Karzzzz would have succeeded if it had released on another date? The film was a disaster in all respects and would have flopped even if it had released on some other date or if 100 more ‘z’ was added in the title! Besides having a faulty script and direction, it had a very high cost (reported to be around Rs 40 crores). It was obvious that it would have been impossible to recover this amount. And as expected, the film barely recovered about half of its cost!
But Radio, that releases today, is a safer bet. The film is made at a reasonable cost-6 crores. The film has already recovered this amount from other sources. But to get the prestige of being hailed as a hit, the film’s theatrical collections should exceed 6 crores. It’s difficult to say whether this can happen as Radio has a terrific competition in the form of Paa. Also, the film is an urban love story and is targeted at the multiplex junta, who don’t ‘worship’ Himesh like the masses do! So as of now, nothing can be said about the fate of Radio.
But Himesh is confident because the film is releasing on Thursday 3rd as 3 is his lucky number! He has more faith in numbers than the script of the film. Last time, when Karzzzz bombed inspite of all numerological precautions, he blamed the producer and the wrong release date. Let’s see who he will blame this time, in case Radio flops! But I hope it works and all the best to its entire team!
WHICH FILM ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN? DO LET ME KNOW!
E-PIRATES MOURN AT MININOVA’S CLEAN UP ACT
E-pirates are a disgruntled lot ever since Mininova went on a Clean-up act. Mininova is the most popular website when it comes to downloading movies, songs, games and other stuff. Every new film used to be available on the site a day after the release or at times, on the day itself. Further, all downloads were safe and didn’t carry any virus. Hence, it was the most preferable website for millions of net users.
Needless to mention, downloading stuff on Mininova were illegal and last week after they lost a civil dispute, the website announced that it’ll share only those movies that are uploaded through Content Distribution Service. Thus, they deleted all illegal stuff which was there in their database. This has proved as a setback for all those who never used to venture in theatres but instead used to watch films on their PC through Mininova.
It is difficult to say whether this step will prove beneficial for our producers and distributors. No one can can say for sure whether these e-pirates would start frequenting cineplexes to watch movies. There were many factors why these people chose Mininova instead of theatres and these factors still exist, the biggest one being the inflated ticket prices. No effort has been done to slash ticket rates and in fact, the prices are increasing. Also, there are many other websites like Mininova (though not safe) from where one can still download films! So unfortunately, piracy will continue to thrive even in the absence of Mininova.
This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/ccbhuqsuo/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk77
By Joginder Tuteja, November 30, 2009 – 12:17 IST
Ever since she made her debut with Parineeta, Vidya Balan has worked with many a veteran filmmakers like Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Eklavya – The Royal Guard), Mani Ratnam (Guru), Priyadarshan (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Halla Bol) and Aziz Mirza (Kismat Konnection). Meanwhile, she has also worked with first time directors like Pradeep Sarkar (Parineeta) and Sajid Khan (Heyy Babyy) as well as one film old Raj Kumar Hirani (Lagey Raho Munnabhai) or Nikhil Advani (Salaam E Ishq).
This is why, when she interacted with someone like Balki (who only has a Cheeni Kum behind him), what sort of change in approach did she see in them?
“The best part about him is that he is just fantastic when it comes to multitasking”, Vidya begins talking about the filmmaker, “Even during the making of the film, he would be managing his ad agency meetings. While having lunch with us, he would be having round table conversations. Meanwhile, he would interact with all of us quite normally on the sets.”
She is also impressed with the fact that in spite of a hectic schedule, Balki kept himself abreast with all that was being churned out in Bollywood.
“He would always catch a Friday movie release without fail. That’s not all; he is someone who goes for all the concerts and plays. Can you believe that? He has time for everything and anything. He manages his time so well”, she gushes.
Time management is not the only factor that has impressed Vidya. She believes that Balki is also an ace when it comes to people management.
“Temperamentally he is just so cool”, she smiles, “He is just so easy to work with. I have seen him interacting with his assistants. His people management is fantastic because whether it is Mr. Amitabh Bachchan or any junior most crew member on the sets, he knows how to get that comfort feel rolling. He gives and gets respects all around.”
However, the story goes that to begin with Vidya wasn’t too sure about working with Balki.
“I have a personal anecdote to share”, she divulges, “My sister and brother-in-law, whom I hold in great regard, have worked with Balki for years on the ads that he has made. I used to interact with a lot of their mutual friends and they always used to speak about him. This set me wondering that what was so great about him.”
She got the answer when Cheeni Kum released and Balki’s cinematic sensibilities were on display for one and all.
“I loved the film and didn’t forget the kind of wonderful experience that Balki had created. Now when I have worked with him, I know what makes some of his qualities so distinct. Both Cheeni Kum and Paa have been based on subjects hitherto unexplored and all of that has been possible due to one single factor – sheer conviction. Once Balki is sure about the story he wants to tell, there is no looking back”, she comments.
It is this conviction factor that attracted Vidya towards Paa.
“I was having a constant pull and push internally before I decided to do Paa. However, Balki didn’t flinch even for a microsecond. This is what that set me on path to do Paa. I had certain doubts but they were quashed by this guy’s conviction. It is simply admirable and we all just followed the line”, she adds.
While Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu and Paresh Rawal were senior heavyweights in Cheeni Kum, same wasn’t the case in Paa which featured her along with Abhishek Bachchan.
“There is this mutual sense of respect that Balki encourages”, says Vidya, “Like, I really enjoyed the way he used to interact with Mr. Bachchan. Similarly with me and Abhishek, he had his own way of conveying a point. Of course all of us we used to make suggestions and he was open to them as well. He would never dismiss our suggestions.”
And how much did these suggestions actually get incorporated in the final filming?
“Hardly any”, Vidya comes up with a laugh here, “Invariably he would go with what he felt was right. He believed in the principal of listen to all and do what you feel strongest about. But yes, this entire exercise used to be quite helpful since I would ask him quite a few pertinent questions and I would always get the right answers.”
This is the reason why she was quite convinced when in the early days Balki explained to her the entire idea about the film, its background (Progeria) and how it was not meant to evoke sympathy or pity.
“I was wondering if Paa would turn out to be a serious film but Balki was quite clear that this was not going to be the case. He promised that it would be a heart warming film and that’s the way it has turned out to be. The entire disease thing is just the background of the film. The idea is to project the story with all the sensitivity but not make it a sympathetic affair”, she concludes.
However, the best part of the premiere will be Abhishek entering the premiere by carrying Amitabh piggyback, replicating a sequence from the film. Incidentally, this is something Abhishek insists on doing, despite Amitabh being worried about the effect it will have on his son’s back.
Director Balki confirms the news and says, “Paa is a film that celebrates the spirit of childhood and Amitji does play a 12-year-old in the film. So we thought that the premiere venue should have a child-friendly ambience. We had initially planned to have Amitji dressed and made-up as Auro, his character in the film, standing at the main door of the premiere to receive guests. However, this plan was too impractical. The makeup artiste Christien Tinsley would have to be especially flown down for a day all the way from LA. Besides, Amitji as Auro for an entire evening would have been somewhat distracting for the guests.”
Now Amitabh will receive the guests at the premiere with six child actors from the film – Taruni, Pratik, Nimit, Dhruven, Varun and Gaurav, all of who play Auro’s best friends in Paa.
The father and son are personally inviting all their friends for the premiere. “Plus, there are all my friends from the ad world. It’s going to be quite a night,” promises Balki.