Posts tagged blog
Mark Manuel (BOMBAY TIMES; October 10, 2010)
Vipul and Shefali Shah are beaming. The prolific filmmaker has returned to Hindi theatre with Bus Itna Sa Khwab in which his hugely talented and attractive wife holds stage. No, that doesn’t mean that Vipul has given up cinema. Far from it. He’s got the Akshay-Ash starrer Action Replayy coming up in Diwali. But, yes, Vipul has just realised that Shefali is an actress of a rare calibre. And Hindi cinema, which has its own framework, does not offer her enough opportunity to showcase her enormous talent. So, the enterprising Bollywood movie mogul gave his wife Bus Itna Sa Khwab, a Marathi play by Chandrakant Kulkarni and Prashant Dalvi that he updated to suit society’s tastes today. And ever since the play opened, the Shahs have had no rest, Vipul has actually resorted to shows on Saturday as well for theatre enthusiasts… which is rare for the Hindi stage. “But what to do,” he asks, “I never imagined the play would get this kind of response and respect.” He’s got to be present at every show himself, because at the end, the audience expects Vipul to take a curtain call. “Standing ovations, we get for every performance,” he says, “but for one show, I wasn’t there to take the curtain call — and the audience refused to budge!”
All his friends from Bollywood, from Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan to Akshay and Twinkle Kumar, have seen, enjoyed and raved about Bus Itna Sa Khwab. Says Vipul, “Amitji wrote on his blog that it was fantastic and he hadn’t seen anything like this in theatre. Imagine, he has seen it all.” But what is delighting him most is that the question that arises here is not about housefull shows and money, it’s about credibility. Just when theatre was gasping for its last breath, he revived it with this successful play with its Bollywood-like production values. Now he considers it among his biggest achievements. “Profit and loss, success and failure, has not been the formula by which I work,” says Vipul. “I believe the culture of our country is linked to theatre. And that cinema becomes stronger through theatre. I want to work my way back towards it.” Which is a win-win situation all round. Bollywood has the best of Vipul Shah and now theatre is about to get a slice of him as well. Welcome back, and take a bow…
By Bollywood Hungama News Network, August 30, 2010 – 12:12 IST
Amitabh Bachchan was probably the first most sincere celebrity blogger in Bollywood who used the platform to connect with his fans and update them on his activities, thoughts and interact with them regularly. No wonder then that he had innumerable followers who would start their day with reading what the revered Big B had to say.
But apparently there was one errant follower who used the ability to comment on the blog to vent out his negativity. He would leave derogatory remarks that would cross the line of decency and were abusive. Big B mentions in his blog, “There is a serious effort by a member that writes and comments on this blog to use language and expression that is abusive, filthy and utterly disgusting.” The unrelenting person would even send messages that were downright vulgar on Big B’s phone and provoked the star to take corrective measures.
Amitabh Bachchan reported the matter to the authorities and now any attempt from this miscreant would come under legal cyber space action.
Jyothi Venkatesh (BLOG.BIGCINEMAS.COM; August 9, 2010)
What is the budget of your latest film ‘Peepli Live’?
When I set out to launch my maiden film as a producer – ‘Lagaan’, I thought that the budget should be around Rs 15 crores but ultimately I produced it at a cost of around Rs. 25 crores. Similarly when I thought of making my film, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, I planned to plough in around Rs. 8 crores but ended up spending around Rs. 15 crores on the film. Take for example my latest film, ‘Peepli Live’ directed by Anusha Rizvi. I thought of making it in Rs. 6 crores but ultimately spent Rs. 12 crores in its making.
What drives you to say yes to a film, either as an actor or producer?
I do not look at any film of mine from the point of view of its commercial value but try to find out what it sets out to tell the audiences, whether it was ‘Lagaan’ or for that matter ‘Taare Zameen Par’. I have always gone by my own gut instinct, whether as a producer or for that matter as an actor. It is always the subject that lures me to say yes to any film that is offered to me as an actor. Any one who is sane would have not agreed to act in a film like ‘Rang De Basanti’ because already four films had been made on the legendary freedom fighter, Bhagat Singh but my gut instinct told me to go ahead and act in the film, when Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra approached me with the offer.
What made you decide to back a new director like Anusha Rizvi ?
I have always liked to support young talent which is waiting in the wings to explode with a lot of innovative ideas in their minds. Frankly I have never looked at the success of a person as the criteria before I set out to work with him or her. I was impressed when Anusha Rizvi who is a TV journalist came up to me with her concept for ‘Peepli Live’. I told her to go ahead and make ‘Peepli Live’ for me when she showed me her documentary first and then followed it up with a trial shoot of the film. Anusha has put in her life time experience in the project, which is a satirical film on how the electronic media is functioning today.If you set out to narrate your story in an emotional manner, it will certainly have a bridge of sensitivity with the audiences or else you would only react to it technically and acclaim a film for its cinematography or for that matter of execution, but it will not touch your heart at all.
Did you visit the location where ‘Peepli Live’ was shot?
I did not want at all to go to the sets where the film was being shot. The film was shot in Badwai in Madhya Pradesh, which is near Bhopal. In fact, it was only when all the actors who were working in the film complained to Anusha that they were disappointed that I did not even bother to go to the location and meet them that I decided to visit the location just once.
How did you resist the temptation of casting yourself in ‘Peepli Live’?
Frankly, I could not think of any role which could have fitted me in ‘Peepli Live’. I have always gone in for perfect casting, like in ’3 Idiots’ where I played one of the idiots. (Laughs). If at all I had cast myself in the film using my prerogative as the producer of the film, I would have had to work extra hard by putting in a lot of efforts to play one of the characters in ‘Peepli Live’. I knew that I would not have been able to do a role, as per the conception and vision of Anusha Rizvi in the film.
How tough was the job of casting for ‘Peepli Live’?
Raghubir Yadav is the only known star in the film, besides Naseeruddin Shah. The casting for the film was very vital. Anusha took the call of casting most of the actors from Habib Tanvir‘s theatre group. We picked up real faces which look like the characters that they essay in Peepli Live.They are all well-trained in theatre but facing the camera for the first time in their lives. I should confess that their performance in the film is much better than that of mine in my first film.
Have you chalked out the release strategy of ‘Peepli Live’?
The film will not be released on a grand scale with thousands of like say ’3 Idiots’ was. It needs a different kind of approach to sell it or for that matter market it. UTV Pictures has decided to release a very limited number of prints. As a part of the marketing strategy, we have even made a series of ten promos to showcase each character in the film. In fact, I have even taken the liberty of lampooning myself in one such promo where the TV newsreader states off camera that Aamir Khan has turned insane, because he thinks that just because ‘Lagaan’ which was made with the backdrop of a village had clicked, Aamir Khan thinks that every film of his with a village backdrop would follow suit .
How confident are you of the box office prospects of your film?
The film has already made the rounds of Edinburgh Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival etc. Now that small films like ‘Well Done Abba’ and ‘Welcome To Sajjanpur’ have done moderately well at the box office, I am quite confident that a film like ‘Peepli Live’ would also do well at the box office.
What have you learnt after making the film?
Now that I am also a producer on my own right, I feel that while the technicians who toil hard in the making of the film by putting in their blood should get what their legitimate dues are, the stars should also come forward to reduce their price, because only in that case will a film be able to rake in more profits for the producer.
Nishtha Arora | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 1, 2010)
It is just three months to the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, and former Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar has raised his voice further against the “enormous waste of money on India’s biggest sporting event to which the poor won’t have access at all”. Mani, who is all in favour of the same money being spent on anti-poverty and welfare measures, has now voiced shrill disapproval about the organising committee’s “obsession with Bollywood” on his blog. Speaking from his past experience of the Commonwealth Games 2006 in Melbourne, Mani says that crores of rupees were offered to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who surely didn’t need that money.
“I heard it was Rs 4 crore for a four-minute appearance in that programme, which lasted 11 minutes. Then, Saif Ali Khan was also there, and yes, I’ve said this before too, that Saif got Rs 75 lakh for his performance,” says the former minister. “All this Bollywood, glam and the tamasha angle are proof of the organising committee’s obsession with Bollywood. Even the cheerleaders in IPL failed. We have a 5,000-year-old civilisation, why limit its presentation to just Bollywood?”
The Congress Party has distanced itself from Mani’s views and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit has been carrying out a spirited battle of repartee with him on the Commonwealth Games. But Mani remains indefatigable in his criticism. Over and above this wasteful expenditure, he points out with horror, the Delhi government is already saying that they would like to bid for the Olympic Games!
Five things Amitabh Bachchan did not tweet or blog about in response to the criticism Raavan has faced…
TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; June 23, 2010)
1 If there have been rabid remarks on Raavan then that is what the people who made these observations have felt. When you are in the public arena, you will always be vulnerable to adverse comment and accusation. You will also be the idol of several, loved and admired equally. You cannot have it good all the time. You must learn to live with it or stop being a member of the celebrity club. Take it on the chin and smile. If you are right, get up and prove it. If you are wrong, acknowledge and accept it.
2 Mani Ratnam is an exceptional talent, even his so called ‘worst’ is a million times better than many so called ‘bests’. When one sets such high standards of credibility, you garner high expectation also. And when the audience feels that the standard has been even minutely compromised, it expresses disappointment. Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan may have disappointed you in Mela and Paheli, respectively. But that never stopped you from loving them for box office excellence in 3 Idiots and Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna.
3 The film is an astonishing mix of mythology and politics put out in ethereal poetry. It is an intelligent film that the ticket-paying audience and the box office pundits are not necessarily impressed with. Hence, the adverse reactions. Fair enough. It is Mani’s vision. We may not like his creativity, but we do not have the right to tell him not to create, as has been most harshly expressed by some.
4 Abhishek and Aishwarya have come in for flak. There is diverse opinion. Two critics from two different prestigious print mediums have on the same day tabulated two exactly opposite reactions! One says ‘Abhishek has hammed his way through the film’ and the other expresses that ‘This is Abhishek’s best performance to date’. One castigates Aishwarya’s ‘silent and stone presence’ in film, the other gushes that the most endearing quality of the film is her ‘stunning performance, never seen before’. Whom do you believe?
5 Abhishek and Aishwarya will perform according to what the director demands. Critics have an onerous and difficult task. They have to be producer, director, actor, screenplay writer, dialogue writer, musician, playback singer, stunt coordinator all in one, and some more — they need to have the ability to assimilate all of this in an opinion and put it down against time lines within 500-600 words. It’s a tough ask. Commenting on their credibility would unnecessarily stir up sensationalised ‘breaking news’ bulletins for a hungry and starved
idiot box ogre. So I shall refrain. But personally, I liked both their performances.
As told to Subhash K Jha
By Bollywood Hungama News Network, June 17, 2010 – 19:49 IST
The perfectionist Khan is known to be a recluse. However he did start his personal blog and then ventured onto facebook when his film 3 Idiots was up for release, but now we hear that he is all set to join Twitter.
Come July 1, Aamir will be on Twitter with the handle @aamir_khan, this comes post requests by none other than Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who convinced the reclusive Khan to join in. Bachchan who sometime back launched his own blog and even joined twitter is the main reason.
Aamir on the other hand says that with a request from a cinema stalwart like Mr. Bachchan who can in their right mind say no? So gear up as your favourite star Aamir Khan will get even closer to you on Twitter.
Govind Nihalani’s next, based on a book set in modern Mumbai, has come unstuck after the producer left him in the lurch.
Author Amit Varma recently blogged that Govind had contacted him to make a film on his book, My Friend Sancho. “We started writing a script, but the producer backed out.”
Without naming the producer, Nihalani says he’s not shocked as “this is not a run-of-the-mill idea.” Varma’s debut novel which was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008, is the story of a young crime journalist and his relationship with the daughter of a victim of a police encounter.
Nihalani, who says the script isn’t ready yet, is optimistic that the project will eventually find takers. “Readers will agree that it has some great black humour. I’m confident that we will surely find someone else,” he says.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been trying to become a mother for some time now. The fact that she has so far not gotten pregnant is actually a cause for concern for the entire Bachchan parivar.
According to a close family friend, though outwardly the family may have taken the when-it-happens-it-will-happen stand, but within, there’s a very ardent desire to have an heir for the family as soon as possible.
Mr Bachchan is especially sold on a grandson, but when asked about it he says, as usual, “When it happens, it will happen.”
But the question that is really bothers the family and their close friends is – when? After all, it’s no secret that Aishwarya is 37, and she isn’t getting any younger.
But it now comes to light that the reason for her inability to bear a child at the moment is because she has been suffering from stomach tuberculosis for a while. Says a source, “The medication Aishwarya is taking for her stomach ailment is hampering her from getting pregnant. Until the tuberculosis is fully cured, she is unlikely to risk a pregnancy.”
On his blog, an anguished Amitabh Bachchan has written about ‘the rich man’s TB’, dispelling the myth that the disease only afflicts the less privileged. Now that the supposed reason for the delay in her pregnancy is clearer, we can only hope and pray that the Bachchan bahu speedily recovers from the ailment and fulfills her ardent desire to become a mother.
Big B to recite Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poems for Aman Ki Asha on Monday; Pakistan screen legend Zia Mohyeddin to do Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s…
MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; February 6, 2010)
In March 1998, one evening while his father was admitted to the ICU of Breach Candy Hospital, Amitabh Bachchan recited Hindi poems by Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan before a distinguished audience for the British Council. The Big B, then in retirement, was nervous because this was one of the first times he was doing this publicly. But it went down well. And early next morning, charged by the experience, he returned to the hospital to find his father propped up in bed waiting expectantly. “How did it go,” Dr. Harivansh Rai inquired. “Good,” replied his son, “would you like me to go over the evening for you?” And there in the ICU, before amazed doctors and nurses, he recited his father’s poems one by one. Dr. Harivansh Rai listened attentively. When the Big B had finished, he said, “Thank-you, now when am I going home?” Dr. Farokh Udwadia discharged him the same morning.
It is 12 years since then, and Dr. Harivansh Rai is no more, but Amitabh Bachchan has taken his father’s poems to discerning and appreciative audiences far and wide. On Monday evening, at the Bandra Fort, he will do so again, this time for Aman Ki Asha — the Indo-Pak peace initiative by Times of India and the Jang Group of Pakistan. Sharing the stage with him will be Zia Mohyeddin, a Pakistani actor and international celebrity of distinct fame, who will read out Urdu poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz — as eminent a poet in Pakistan as was Dr. Harivansh Rai in India. The special evening gets underway by 6.30 pm, entry is by invitation only, and Amitabh Bachchan is looking at doing five or six of his father’s poems. “That would be sufficient keeping in mind that there is the other side as well,” he said. Some of the poems he knows by heart, most of the others he intends to read and recite. He finds it difficult to pick a favourite from among his father’s incredible expanse of work through almost 60 years. “But hopefully on Monday there shall be some that I shall recite that will remain my perennial favourites,” he said. Is there a place for poetry in today’s world, I asked. “I strongly believe there is,” the Big B replied, “I experience it all the time. It may seem like a dormant activity, but it is very evident in all that I have experienced through various references in my blog, at symposiums and in general discussion.” However, he’s not very familiar with Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems. “My father was,” he added, “and if I am not too wrong in remembering this — age does this to you — I attended a poetic symposium organised by the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi at the High Commissioner’s residence, perhaps in the late 50s or early 60s, where Faiz saheb and my father both recited.”
The Bachchans have a connect to Pakistan through his mother, Teji Bachchan’s family, but Amitabh Bachchan does not know if Dr. Harivansh Rai has fans across the border. “My mother was a Sikh from Llyalpur in erstwhile Panjab, now Pakistan. She studied and spent much of her formative years in Lahore and met my father at a common friend’s place over a poetry recitation,” explained the Big B. “I cannot say now whether there are lovers of my father’s poetry in Pakistan, but there were at the time my parents met.” Given this lineage, Amitabh Bachchan is naturally pleased to be part of Aman Ki Asha. “Aman means peace, Asha means hope, I refuse to believe that any civilised society would not accept the concept of peace and hope for its achievement,” he said. “The media is the conscience and the voice of the people. When two prominent media institutions initiate ‘Aman Ki Asha’ the hope really is that their voices would be heard. I like the use of the words ‘Aman’ and ‘Asha’ — the former in Urdu, the latter Hindi. Symbolically they look good together.”
Aamir Khan’s dog, Shah Rukh, who had created such a furore in both the Khans’ lives, no longer lives at Aamir’s Panchgani home
Shah Rukh Khan can heave a sigh of relief. Remember the dog in Aamir Khan’s life, Shah Rukh, who made headlines last year? Well, that dog is not a part of Aamir’s life anymore.
Recently, the dog Shah Rukh moved out of Aamir’s Panchgani bungalow because his master, Aamir’s caretaker, moved out, taking his dog with him.
A source says, “Since the old caretaker is out, there was no point keeping the dog Shah Rukh. The dog had to go with the caretaker.”
The dog Shah Rukh had played a big role in widening the rift between the two Khans. After Aamir had written on his blog, “Shah Rukh is licking my feet and I am feeding him biscuits every now and then. What more can I ask for?” and “Shah Rukh is smelling too much, I think he needs a bath,” the already hot competition between the two had been further fuelled.
While both were battling it out for supremacy at the box-office this sort of banter had only made them more competitive.
Evidently, after a while Aamir & Co had changed the dog’s name. After calling him Shah Rukh for sometime, they had started calling him Shahki.
There is an explanation for the dog’s name too. Said the source, “The old caretaker is a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan. Since Shah Rukh was shooting in Panchgani when the dog was born, he had named him Shah Rukh. Later, he himself started calling him Shahki and the others, in and around Aamir’s Panchgani property, followed suit.”
Anyway, things seem to be a lot better between the two Khans now. In April 2009, they came together on the same platform to support the producers in their fight against the multiplex owners. Recently, Shah Rukh attended the premiere of 3 Idiots. Who knows, with the exit of the dog, Shah Rukh, from Aamir’s life, their interpersonal equation may greatly improve too.