Posts tagged God
This year is extra special for Kajol, she tells BT why
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; August 5, 2010)
Today is Kajol’s birthday. And when she blows out the candles on the cake, she will say a silent ‘thank-you’ to the Almighty.
“I’ve never asked God for anything,’’ says the feisty actress who is one of Bollywood’s shining lights. “I truly believe that God gives what he knows is best for you. So I usually just say a thank-you to Him for everything that he has already given me.’’
She adds, “This birthday is extra special for me, my husband (Ajay Devgn) my daughter (Nysa), my mother, my sister and my parents-in-law are happy because I’m carrying my second child. And everyone around me is especially excited about the addition to the family.’’
This year, Kajol is receiving a custom-made gift from her best friend, filmmaker Karan Johar. Dharma Productions in association with Sony Pictures India and UTV Motion Pictures are releasing their We Are Family on September 3, barely a month away from Kajol’s birthday.
“Listen, I love everyone at Dharma,’’ she says. “Karan especially. I know all their names and over the years, I think they have all come to like me too. They are my extended family. Working with Karan has always been a joyous occasion. Besides, Karan always brings some of the best scripts to me.’’
She adds that she is very partial to Karan and in the case of We Are Family — to the young director Siddharth P Malhotra: “But, I wouldn’t do their films if I felt that the script isn’t spectacular. WAF is the one of the most balanced scripts that I have read. And if I didn’t feel that I could shine through, then I wouldn’t have accepted it no matter who the maker is.’’
Recommending WAF to her audience, Kajol says, “The film has a lot of dynamics. There is an interesting tension in the various relationships that this family has. And it shows everyone in very human light. There are no saints and there are no villains. So you can identify with each and every screen character. WAF shows you why each of us is blessed to have and be part of a family. And the film also shows you how families can rally around you through good times and a crisis.’’
Hurled four-letter abuses at her for having trespassed his performance of Waiting for Godot. The stage is sacrosanct for the thespian…
During a staging of Waiting For Godot in Bangalore, Naseeruddin Shah lost his cool when a lady landed up on his stage. Our source said, “The play was going on and Naseer and Benjamin Gilani were in the middle of an extremely serious scene.
Randeep Hooda who plays the God was also on the stage. Just then a lady accompanied by an old man landed up straight on the stage. The lady started shouting and complaining that someone had parked a car right outside her house.
Everyone in the audience was shocked about how someone could interrupt a play this way. Naseer completely lost it and was very angry. He started abusing the lady and the audience agreed with him.
|A still from Waiting for Godot|
Not only Naseer but also a few people from the audience abused the lady, who quickly hurried away from the scene. Naseer abused her with four-letter words and the lady didn’t know what happened.
Naseer always says that the stage is his temple and no one is allowed to enter when he is performing. The audience also agreed that no one has the right to disturb when an actor is performing on the stage.”
When contacted Randeep Hooda, who plays God on the show, said, “Yes such an incident occurred. The lady accompanied by an old man had to face the brunt from everybody.
However the funny part was that no one in the audience got up as they also would have had to face the brunt.
Naseerbhai now jokes about the incident and says that she might be a struggling actor who came for her audition and I might cast her in one of my next plays. However it was really ridiculous and she had her 15 minutes of fame.”
By Subhash K. Jha, July 19, 2010 – 12:05 IST
“Keep politics out of art and culture,” says Pakistan pop singer Ali Zafar who arrived in Mumbai this month. He would like nothing better than to move to Mumbai and become a singing actor like Kishore Kumar. But would the current milieu of hostility allow him to make that move?
“Things have to get better between the two countries,” Ali says optimistically. “The sooner the better. Because the present hostility is unbearable. We from the entertainment industry in Pakistan are hard hit by the suspicion between the two countries.”
Ali Zafar is honest enough to admit there’s more scope for him to function in India than in Pakistan. “I’ll be honest. There are more avenues and prospects here. So if the God above and the politicians down below permit, I’d love to move to Mumbai. An artiste knows no bounds and boundaries. My first home is Lahore. But I’d like to make Mumbai my second home.”
Ali has a wife and a 3-month baby boy back home. “When I left home I kept looking back at my home and loved ones. I wish they could come with me.” Ali expects his wife to join him in Mumbai later during his current trip to the city, his first after 26/11.
In the last 6-7 years, he has been to Mumbai at least 20 times.
However, he was unable to return recently because of the current political scenario. “Things have changed. My last visit was before 26/11 and I remember how pleasant the mood was in Mumbai. I was free to move around and roam freely on the streets of Mumbai. I cannot deny there’s tension between the two countries. Earlier aana jaana laga rehta tha. Initially, we artistes from Pakistan used to get multiple visas quite easily. Yes now it’s different, and sadly so. However, I feel singers and other artistes should be exempt from politics.”
Ali thinks it’s easy for him to incorporate singing into his acting because he uses a lot of acting expression on stage. “I wanted to do something different from what my colleagues from Pakistan do in India. I always thought my first acting experience would be something different and special. I’ve no leading lady in my first film Tere Bin Laden. I was determined that when I act for the first time, I’d sing for myself and not sing for others on screen. When I met the director Abhishek Sharma for Tere Bin Laden in Mumbai, I knew this was the project that I wanted to start my big-screen acting career with. I laughed so much when I heard the script. I was sure audiences would love it too.”Being married doesn’t diminish Ali’s popularity. “On the contrary female fans trust married men more than unmarried men. Married men are considered stable.”
About being inspired by Kishore Kumar, Ali Zafar shoots off, “He’s my definite inspiration, just as Kishore Kumar Saab was inspired by K.L Saigal.”
Ali is on the verge of signing new films in Mumbai…and moving in Mumbai. “I love the city. I want it to love me back as much as I do.”
Bipasha Basu recalls shooting in the troubled Valley
Anshul Chaturvedi | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 18, 2010)
As Srinagar grabs the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again, and the J&K authorities refuse permission for Lamhaa’s premiere in the embattled capital of Kashmir, Bipasha Basu has a sense of deja vu. Not a happy one, though. “Just landing and driving from the airport to the hotel seems out of a film script when you see it for the first time. The number of armed men on the roads, the checkpoints, vantage posts — the very atmosphere can be unnerving,” she recollected.
We heard a lot about her having a tough time, leaving the city midway through shooting. How much of that is true? “Oh, some days were tough, very scary, oppressively so,” said Bips. “In Anantnag, I was as worried about the jawans’ overenthusiasm as I was about the crowd that was increasingly getting restless and hostile. There was this narrow stretch and I remember thinking, God, I must be the only woman amidst a thousand men here, and I definitely don’t think we have enough security. The atmosphere was heating up, and then suddenly stones began flying. I didn’t wait for anyone, I just RAN to the car with the spotboy and make-up artiste, and locked it from inside, and asked the driver to take us back to the hotel rightaway. But getting out was not easy — there were stones being hurled, people hurling themselves onto the car, jostling and pushing. I honestly thought I’d die there itself, something would happen for sure. Thankfully, we got back in one piece.”
It was after six such days of endless stress and no shooting that the actress said, “Please see how we can get this going, get Sanju here, get the security in place, and then I’ll come…. When it was all in place, after the elections, I went back for shooting, and it was much more peaceful as compared to the first time round. Today, when I see what’s happening in Srinagar on TV, read about the clashes, the violence, the curfew, I understand that it is on the edge, we couldn’t have had normalcy for a premiere there.”
Does Bipasha look at any specific roles that’d define her legacy, especially the intense, non-masala ones such as this one? Her response was disarmingly honest, “I couldn’t care what anyone thought about my legacy once I am through with the industry. I work for today, I enjoy what I am doing, but I am so not concerned with things like what will be my place in the industry X years from now. When someone says you will be remembered as the sex symbol of the industry in this era, I shrug it off and move on. Does it matter? It’s not as if I don’t care about what I am doing — but I’ll not think about it when I am not doing films. That’s the way I am.”
Is this detached mode a legacy of the modelling life — step off the ramp, forget the show? “No, I was hardly detached then — I hated modelling! I completely hated it. I got into it very early, so at 17 or so I enjoyed the visibility, the money, the travelling — the one redeeming feature — and I also got to meet some good people. But by 19, I was like, God, what am I doing here? So I think I was lucky that I got the chance to enter movies at that time when I was offered Ajnabee, and within a year or so, I realised that here was a profession that I enjoyed and I’d like to do more of it. And, well, I’ve been here since!”
UTV goes global with some thrilling, sci-fi gaming action
REAGAN GAVIN RASQUINHA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; April 19, 2010)
In this age of new media, content convergence and the like, it’s only natural that the marriage between gaming and a leading media brand seems to be a match made in heaven.
Accordingly, for the last two years, UTV has been steadily nurturing a global gaming powerhouse — with over 400 world class visualisers, gamers, technology experts working at their own studios in London, Florida, Austin, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mumbai — working on games for consoles, cellphones and the Internet.
“Our focus is the 15-34 age group worldwide. We create, build and franchise content and IPs in all media — movies, broadcasting, TV, mobile and now, games — for a worldwide audience. That’s our focus at UTV,” says Ronnie Screwvala, CEO, UTV Software Communications Ltd. Three new top-flight games are in the offing. The first game scheduled for launch is Wardevil, an action-and-adventurepacked third-person shooter game. Based in a richly-rendered alternative universe with many possible stories and characters showcasing a universe ravaged by war, the protagonist is a one-man army known as the Wardevil. The game comes alive with fantastic weapons, action, breath-taking visuals and film-quality CGI visuals in-game.
The second, El Sheddai, being created in Japan, is also a single player thirdperson shooter game set in the Biblical pre-history era where the Earth has been enslaved by fallen angels. The wrath of God takes human form in your character and is sent to earth to purge the land of evil. Think of the film Legion. A unique, visually-stunning experience with engaging game-play designed to satisfy the casual and hardcore gamer alike.
The third — Reich — is set in a future gone wrong. A first person shooter game that is both single player and online-multiplayer possible, the protagonist is armed with a dazzling array of weapons and telekinetic powers. An engaging plotline, smooth visuals and a good soundtrack make this a rocking combination.
Says Hassan Sadiq, from the Ealing Studios London HQ, of UTV’s console division, “We already have 45 minutes per game of movielike footage, and a great story. El Sheddai has visual art not seen before by global audiences, just like Avatar, and Reich is our hardcore ‘destroy all’ Terminator and Transformer genre whereas Wardevil to us is a more evolved, darker and violent, Star Wars sci-fi of today. So far less than $5-6 million per title, we would have three movies that looked like USD 50 million movies.”
Interestingly, games have a life much longer than movies as the format for releasing the same game is increasing every year. Every game that’s released on console thus can see a digital release a year later adding three times the audience.
So, are you ready to play?
• Where have you been all these months?
I have been in Los Angeles. For a long time now I have been seeking silence. I have wanted to move to a place that was quieter, perhaps a farmhouse. At that time, I didn’t understand that peace of mind ought not to be sought from outside. You don’t need the silence to feel silence.
• So, if silence is to come from within, why LA?
I have known for the longest time that music is only a by product in my life, it’s not my whole life. I’m not supposed to die just a singer. My aim in life is not to just sing 25,000 songs. There’s much more to me. This is the direction my thoughts had taken, when something happened and Chaka Khan came into my life. Chaka is a legend, the American singer who has sung I’m every woman. She is the person responsible for my new life.
Chaka heard my album in which I had sung some classical and jazz stuff, she really fell in love with me and wanted me to come to America to make music together. Last year I went there and she introduced me to the people who have made music for Janet Jackson including the song Scream for Michael and Janet Jackson together.
I didn’t do too much with Chaka and Judi Jam and Terry Louis, but I created my own space there. I also realised that I wasn’t too keen to do anything in Mumbai. I applied for my green card and in fact for the first two months I didn’t even let my wife come there, I just wanted to be alone.
I lived in a small room in my friend’s huge house with not even a TV. I had nothing to do, I just had some books and my laptop and I would just sit and look at the walls. I’ve never done that in my life I’ve never sat doing nothing. In those two months self-realisation happened.
|(Pics: Satish Malavade)|
• What did you discover about yourself?
I’m not me. This is not what I am. I don’t want people to call me mad but I died last year. I don’t exist because what I thought existed, never existed. I realised last year that I’m an eternal creature. We say that life is eternal, the soul is eternal, and God is eternal. Do you really understand the magnitude of this statement that I will never die and I will live for ever and there is no separate God. There is no superior God. I’m not an inferior creature. I’m just a limited vision because I’m trapped in this body.
If you pinch me I get hurt, close my eyes, fifty per cent of it is gone, close my ears another forty per cent of me is gone, what am I left with, only ten per cent of taste and pinching. What kind of world does that create outside me and around me. I realised that everything is about perception and I heard the silence and the noise within. It’s a very contradictory thing.
There is something happening inside which is silence but you can hear it and it’s only when you sit within or around yourself, that you realise that there is nothing.
• This realisation couldn’t happen in Mumbai?
I just wanted some space within myself. When I am in Mumbai, I work all the time. People call up, and there are social obligations. When you go to a place where nobody knows you, you get that space. There is nice mix of nothingness and everythingness.
• So what happens to work, to singing songs, your primary job?
I work over the internet. I did at least forty five songs over there during this period. The tracks were sent to me, I would book a studio and then over skype for video conferencing, with me and my mixers on laptops I would record the songs. I recorded Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and English songs.
• You got your green card within a few months…
Yes, in two and a half months. Even my lawyer was surprised. There was no interview, nothing. Evidently the authorities just googled me, saw my credibility, noted that I don’t have litigations against me and no controversies either. And so, on Diwali I got the news that my green card had been approved.
• What is the sort of work you will be pursuing in America?
Multi genre work, actually. There is this very famous rapper called Mr. Vegas, who heard of me and sent me a song. He said can you add something to it. Normally these guys take a lot of money. It’s a reverse thing. You have to pay them money, if you want to collaborate with a big artiste. This guy googled me, saw my stuff and asked me what I could do with the track. I reprogrammed the song and that song is creating havoc everywhere in UK and USA.
• If you have achieved a oneness with yourself why do you keep changing the spelling of your name. It implies that other factors matter
I did that nine years ago. If I had an option, I wouldn’t do that today but nine years ago, I was not where I am today and that’s when I changed the name, so now whether I rechange it or I keep it, doesn’t make a difference to me.
• Your marriage has been the subject of many rumours and innuendos. What is the truth actually?
The truth is that marriage is never a happy story. You can never be happily married and I say this very openly. In the next 100 years there will be no marriages. There will be contracts, I’m sure and that’s better that way because the killer of a marriage is security.
The moment the woman or the man feels secure ke ab to ye mere saath mein hai oh she is going to be with me for her whole life, it’s like ok lets not make love to her now, next week, I’m tired today. You won’t do this to your girlfriend because you know she is going to walk away in the morning.
The moment you start feeling secure, you start taking people for granted. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s just that the institution of marriage is now so cumbersome and so boring. I feel if you have mutual contracts, three years or four years contract, every day you will feel ki ek din kam ho gaya, one day less.
The last six months will be the most romantic months. I understand this very clearly and I have no qualms talking about it because I am speaking the plain truth.
I haven’t seen one happy couple, really really happy couple. I’m not looking down on them. We all understand this but yes Madhurima and I have had our issues in the past but my son Nivaan is so beautiful, so awesome, I’m honored to be parenting a child as intelligent and as positive as that little boy. He’s also brought a lot of samajh into me and Madhu, and into our relationship.
I know it’s impossible to live with a person like me who is always searching for something. Madhu would have probably expected that I would be like the normal husband, get up at 9 o’clock and come home in the evening. She sleeps alone the whole night while I go to bed at 6am. If I am at home, I am working on my music. Of course, I am an irritating husband. I can’t blame her but this is me.
So she has her own problems with me, I understand, but we are trying to do a good samajhdhari ka relationship, trying to put things together nicely. I can’t guarantee the future but right now we are fine.
Kajol talks about romancing her best friend Shah Rukh Khan
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 26, 2010)
Kajol may be feeling too overworked having three releases this year but her fans are more than delighted. Her first film releasing this year is Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan opposite her DDLJ hero Shah Rukh Khan. “But this is not a cliched love story,” the actress tells BT about the film which has been tailormade for her and SRK…
Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan, Kireet Khurana’s Toonpur Ka Superhero and Siddharth Malhotra’s Love You Maa (tentative title) you have three releases in 2010!
God, it is shocking, even scary sometimes. I didn’t realise that I have been working like a dog, which I swore never to do.
Expectations from MNIK are sky-high considering it has one of the best Bollywood screen couples — SRK and you?
As far as expectations go, you can never work for expectations. You have to work against them. My Name is Khan is a very special film. Karan, SRK and I have worked very hard to make it a good film. We’ve put in our hundred per cent and we hope everyone else thinks so too.
SRK said that when the two of you work together, you’ll invariably look out for each other as friends…
SRK and I have the kind of friendship where we do look out for each other. I’m glad we have that kind of friendship. Yes it is true that when we work together, he is concerned about my performance; and I’m concerned about his. We’re on the same level and we often tell each other, ‘Listen you can add this to what you’re doing,’ and vice versa. Our takes aren’t very different from each other.
Was Khan a more difficult film to make because it deals with sensitive issues like the Asperger’s syndrome and even some socially relevant ones?
MNIK is just a ‘more’ film, if you know what I mean. It is not a clichéd love story per se. SRK and I are not 16. So we’re not bubbly teenagers any more. We have progressed to another level and our performances and the film has been tailor-made for that level.
Aamir Khan, SRK, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan… you’ve done films with the top grade Khan level; who’s next?
Oh God, my choice of film has never depended on the hero. In fact, you will see that some of my categorical mistakes had nothing to do with the hero in it. I think I’d like to continue doing good work. I’d like to do interesting scripts. No run-ofthe-mill stuff for me. I also want to do films in my time. Just the thought that I have three releases coming up this year has tired me. I need a break really bad.
MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 3, 2010)
The fortunate few who have already heard the track sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma say it holds the promise of becoming the anthem of 2010. Karan Johar says, “I’m glad Sajda has got an ovation.’’ He adds that working with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on this track was indeed different from the previous experiences of Kal Ho Na Ho and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna — both chartbusters in their own right…but both more similar to each other in a way.
“On the other hand, for MNIK, we decided to have music which is a sharp contrast to the visuals that may dominate the screen. The music has a rustic and soulful feel; the songs aren’t your regular lipsynced numbers, as is the normal practise, yet each track is a haunting melody and will leave behind an indelible mark.’’
Candidly Karan admits, “I’m besura, I can’t sing to save my life, I can’t play a single music instrument, yet if my films do throw up songs that find a following, it is simply because God has blessed me with the ability to say yes or no to a track that is suggested to me by my composers.’’
Explaining how Bollywood film music has been his raison de etre for 30-odd years, Karan says, “I’m obsessed with Hindi film music. Be it on my radio or my iPod you will find me listening only to Hindi film songs. I have grown up listening to music from the 40s until now; and in a way, I can say I have developed a keen ear for it.’’ Praising his composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the filmmaker says, “I don’t know how the three of them work in such perfect tandem. But they do. If I had to have a co-director, I’d probably kill the person. But these guys are amazing.’’ The trade also has given Sajda a thumbs up. This track which has a sufiana kind of feel climbed to the eighth spot on the charts within minutes of it being aired. Of his lead pair, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, on who the MNIK tracks have been picturised, Karan says, “If Kajol loves a song, she’ll say so instantly. As for Shah Rukh, most of the songs he vocalises seem like they are owned by him because he is one actor who gives 300 per cent to every song he sings. SRK’s tracks have that evergreen quality because when he is on screen singing them you just feel the song was made for him and none other.’’
DEEPALI DHINGRA (BOMBAY TIMES; December 1, 2009)
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And that’s exactly what Sonal Sehgal had to do, after waiting eons for her film Aashayein to release. The Nagesh Kukunoor film where she stars opposite John Abraham got delayed so much, that Sonal decided she could not wait any longer and signed her next film Radio. “It was six months after the music launch of Aashayein and I thought to myself that if I keep sitting at home, I’ll probably forget how to act!” she laughs. Of course, that doesn’t mean she isn’t disappointed about her first film being delayed so much. “It’s my first film, so it’s naturally very close to my heart. Plus it’s a beautiful story. When I asked Nagesh last when it would release, he said ‘soon’, so I’m waiting for that to happen soon,” she smiles. On the other hand, she’s a firm believer in destiny and believes that whatever has happened, has happened for the best. Says Sonal, “Since Aashayein got delayed, people don’t have any pre-conceived notions about me yet, and that’s why I was able to sign such diverse films as Radio and Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai.” Talk about Radio where she’s paired opposite Himesh Reshammiya and we can’t help but ask if she was advised against taking up the role by anyone. “If the director has such faith in Himesh, then who am I to judge?” she dodges the question diplomatically, and then laughs, “Anyway, I rarely listen to people’s advice. I want my success as well as failure to be credited to me alone,” she adds. But the actress is kicked about her role in the film. “It’s a contemporary look at relationships,” she says, adding that anyone who’s been in a relationship would identify with the film. “I play a girl who gets divorced from her husband but the habit of the relationship is hard to let go for her,” she explains her role. With so much work in her kitty, Sonal is glad that all the hard work and patience is finally paying off. “We make plans for our lives but God always has bigger, better plans for us,” she says with a smile.
Touchwood, we say!
I had gone to Tirtanr, a village in Jharkhand to campaign for my close friend, Vinod Sinha. We had gone to Tirtanr from Dhanbad in a chopper and were supposed to return the same way. But, a snag in the chopper’s fuel tank discovered just before we boarded on the way back meant I had to come back some other way as I had professional commitments in Mumbai.
I opted to go from Tirantr to Kolkata by road from where I would take a flight to Mumbai. I left Tirtanr with a close friend Rajkumar Shrivastava and my driver. As the route from Tirantr to Kolkata is akin to a base camp for the Naxals, I asked for some security.
The cops joined the convoy two kilometres before the place of the attack. It was around 11.25 in the night when we saw a huge red divider kept right in the middle of the road. I am told that it’s a Naxal sign. The cops immediately told us to lie down in our van. They said that the place was the abode of naxals. They asked the driver to drive as fast as possible through the divider.
The people who laid the trap didn’t know that there were cops in our midst. This served us well as they were not prepared for any retaliation on our part. I was lying down in the car with my eyes shut. I could hear the bullets. It was like being in a war zone, I was completely shaken.
The cops called the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force). To be safe, we had to reach a police chowky which was about five kms away. A few cops from that chowky had rushed to our aid. When we reached the chowky, the cops who were being updated on their walkie-talkies said that the Naxalites were angered by my escape, they would strike back. They believed that the chowky could be attacked.
By then, three vehicles of CRPF with about 25 soldiers each arrived. They said that they would escort me to a safe location. I was taken to Dhanbad in one of those vehicles, with one preceding us and the other following.
The first thing I did after reaching a safe spot was to call my wife. She was extremely worried. I then spoke to my eight-year-old daughter. She asked me if my plane was hijacked.
My conversation with these soldiers and my first hand experience of the perils they face is something I will never forget. I am still upset and scared.
I want to thank the almighty God and the soldiers who risked their life to take me out from the jaws of death. If not for them, I would not be speaking to you. It was the most scary and dreadful experience of my life.