Saturday, 29 November 2008

"Muslims are the ones the radicals target as their recruting ground", Gul Panag

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Gul Panag dropped an intellectual bombshell last Friday when I called her, surprising the nation with her vision and comment on the Mumbai bombings. She quoted, "I don't know how my comments will be taken by you but this had to happen and is not a complete surprise. Me and you only take notice of terror when it enters the malls or the hotels. But if the same thing happens in the slums we are ok with it. This is a much larger issue than it looks. Have you ever taken into consideration the Islamic population of India? It's in the region of 18 to 20%. The figures keep on varying. Do you know what percent of Islamic population is living below the poverty line? It's 40%. I am not a fundamentalist but I am looking at a much bigger picture. There are certain segments of the society which have not got its due, whether you agree or not. But if you look at the demographics, you'll understand. Whatever the population of muslims in India, is that population propotionate and reflect in the jobs of this country? When people are poor and have no where to go, they have no choice but to turn into radicals. I hope my views and comments make people understand the broader picture".

Gul's comment ignited anger demanding an explaination to the above quote. While some demanded an explaination to her remark, others said it wasn't enough, and some even agreed to what she said. One of the reply to her quote said, "I do agree with what Gul is trying to say, people are just taking it wrongly. Islam doesn't teach violence and neither does it allow innocent killings and mass murders. When Muslims do something like this in terms of revenge, they are called terrorists but when Hindus, Jews and Christians do it, they are called Freedom Fighters". Debashri, one of the users who think that Gul's comment was a flaw said, "Its not because of poverty that some Muslims take the fundamentalist route. Then we would have had an equal number of Hindu terrorists too. I think we have made a habit out of making terrorists look like victims! It is fashionable to side with them. Do we then take out guns and start killing people? No. The trouble is the indoctrination that takes place". Another user Roopa also disagrees. She said, "Poverty doesn't justify the birth of radicalism. Many terrorists are rich and come from educated backgrounds (Osama). If people feel the government isn't helping them, it is up to them to educate themselves and grow". Mamuh who sides Panag said, "I like Gul's view was very much well thoughtout and accurate. We can't stump terrorism, until we see the root of it. Injustice like Gujurat Riots or Orissa Riots need to stop. When significant politician turn a blind eye and something drastic happens. India just sucks if you're a poor or a minority". A user called Light said that the actress did not make sense, "Islamic population is 18%, where as hindus make it 80%. Does that mean all hindus are rich ? Are they not umemployed?. Muslims must learn basic ethics of living and change their mindset. You dont have to go and kill innocent poeple, one can demonstrate peacefully. It's all their wrong teachings for personal gains. If one knows his pocket he will keep track of his expenses. So muslims must just not go and have dozen babies in one family. Learn first and then step ahead.

Well, it wasn't Gul Panag who was made the target for her quote. The above named user Light also dragged actress Shabana Azmi into the picture. The posted comment read, "People like Gul Panag and Shabana Azmi who thinks they are literate think all crap. People like them are the one who provoke peace minded Islamic people to fight and bring terror. Islam was good till the rich Islamic people corrupted poor peoples mind".

So when the actress got up this morning and logged on to bollywood hungama, she was taken by surprise to read comments posted by users on her quote. This got Gul to write even more. Within 10 minutes, the actress sent me what she thought of the above reactions and the many more posted on our website. This is what she had to say: "Yes, there are rich who also get involved. The percentage is small. The machinery in place that goes about recruiting these people is very advanced and unscrupulous. They are highly motivated by people whose full time job is to mislead these people. Their modus operandi is to show videos of Muslims being tortured /killed/women being raped, and other forms of propaganda. In Punjab ( I am a Sikh from a village in Punjab called Mahadian, Distt Fategarh Sahib), many youngsters from well to do families after seeing their relatives/ kin burnt alive by mobs, tortured and raped by the forces were badly shaken up. Psychologically numb. And were ready when extremists came knocking on their doors to garner support. As for the security lapses, I am sure there are many loop holes. We apart from being a booming economy are also a country of the poor and homeless, (who's primary focus is two square meals). We are NOT the United States, where we can single mindedly pursue security). But having said that, it's important to understand, that not even the best trained force in the world can be prepared for someone who is ready to kill himself. The terrorist wins by not losing/dying (for whatever short period he wreaks havoc) and the forces "lose" by not winning immediately (ultimately they do in a Mumbai like scenario, but not in J&K, Iraq). And how can I be biased? Because I am in Indian and believe that the same set of rules must apply to all? So Muslims who kill people are terrorists but Bajran Dal/RSS activists who burn Christian homes, rape nuns are "angry misguided youth"?? My father is a serving army officer; he has 40 years of service to the nation and is currently posted as Army Commander Central Command, at the very tip of the army pyramid. He also served as Northern Army Commander. I have been brought up in the most secular way possible, where I have observed at close quarters what the army does for the Nation. And it pains me to read about people pointing fingers at the forces being "inefficient" when they constantly give away their today for us to be able to blog like this, sleep peacefully and enjoy life as we know it."

As far as I am concerned, the moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it and become blind to the arguments against it. Discussion is an exchange of knowledge and an argument an exchange of ignorance. So when an argument or an opinion flares up, a wise man quenches it with silence. That's all I can say! What say Gul?

Bollywood reacts on the Mumbai bombings

exclusive by Devansh Patel

26th November 2008. The city that never sleeps has come to a grinding halt. Mumbai sees its darkest night ever. The term 'terrorism' or 'terrorists' is enough to scare the living day lights out of you but terrorism is a criminal act that religious beliefs or political positions can never justify. The removal of terrorism should be carried out through reasoned judgment in accordance with laws, not by military retaliations or wars. Two and a half years have passed since the July 11 Mumbai train bombings by the terrorists in 2006, where our police and politicians concluded: 'Mumbai is safe and our security is tightened throughout the city'. The reality, however, is the opposite of this. What has become clear though in the past two and a half years is that our security and intelligence has not only failed to remove terrorism and terrorists but given even more room for such hideous activities. Today these radicals threaten the safety of the Indian people. Like our Independence, securing our freedom now is a long-term struggle but the road to victory will begin and we as Indians won't back off. Bollywood unites once again and from celebrities turn into citizens of this city only to bring out their support and sympathy towards those unlucky few who have been a prey in what's considered to be Mumbai's worst ever terror attack at the Taj and the Trident Oberoi. Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel gets you some first hand comments and anger expressed from the stars just hours after the horrifying incident that not only shook the city of Mumbai but the entire world.

Madhur Bhandarkar:
Mumbai won't be the same after this dreadful attack by the terrorists because the scene of the attack was the epicentre or the hub of the city where you have heritage sites like The Gateway of India and The Taj Hotel. What was considered to be the safest place in the city is now not safe any more. People seem to be in a state of shock. The question of all the high profile personalities and celebrities will also have to be looked into now. My sympathies to those who have lost their near and dear ones and for those who are hostages. I hope peace prevails soon.

Kunal Kohli:
This is the worst attack on Mumbai. The Taj is the symbol and not just a hotel. It's a symbol of heritage and culture of Mumbai and when we saw the images of The Taj burning, it was beyond our emotions to describe the scene. This attack is as bad as 9/11. 26th November will be remembered as the darkest day in the Mumbai history. This is not the time to think whether our film industry is at threat or not. It's the time to save more people as we can. There is a time for everything. You cannot be sitting and putting blame on people regarding lapse of security. How do you secure every corner of the city? In Jammu Kashmir blasts take so frequently inspite of security.

Gulshan Grover:
This is absolutely the worst terrorist attack in India. I am very much disturbed and shocked by this behaviour and the way the terrorists have taken innocent people as hostages. I would like to believe that Mumbai will change for better after this horrific incident.

Jagmohan Mundhra:
As you are talking to me, I'd like to tell you that I've just returned from L.A. day before yesterday because my mother-in-law had passed away. It has nothing to do with the attack. Right now I am at my in-laws house in South Mumbai which is just few hundred yards from both the Taj and the Oberoi. All night long we have been up and alert. I could hear the blasts and firing all night long. Never before have I seen South Mumbai in such a shape. This is going to have a tremendous impact on the tourism of India in the near future. This is such a cruel and a random act of violence that there seems to be no logic behind it. It's scary when you think what could be the terrorists motive.

Vatsal Seth:
Right now there is so much of anger in me that I cannot help my own citizens in the time of crisis. There are couple of my friends brothers and sisters trapped inside the hotel so I am really messed up in my mind. I couldn't sleep last night.

Vidya Malavde:
Mumbai needs to change since a very long time and now such incidents are becoming a regular nuisance to all of us. I can't understand how we as politicians or people can't do to stop this act of terror. This is becoming something like a habit for Mumbai. I am so sad today that people are dying left right and centre. I am not angry but helpless that I can't go out there and stop people from being killed. There are bunch of people who come on a boat and blow things up, what kind of a security or intelligence are we talking about? Mumbai will bounce back today or tomorrow itself but that's not the point. The point is that somewhere something needs to be done with our security system.

Vinay Pathak:
Yesterdays attacks are the worst ever I've witnessed in Mumbai. I hope that the security measures in the city should change after all this. Such attacks will never break the spirit of Mumbaikers and this will bring us all a lot closer than ever before to team up against such anti social elements.

Anil Kapoor:
It's the worst ever attack to take place in India. But I am in no mood to talk about this incident because I want the police, the army and the government to answer the questions to what has happened.

Abhishek Kapoor:
I don't know how this incident will change the city of Mumbai but I know one thing for sure that it's going to change the way our security measures are in and around the city. This will put a certain amount of fear in peoples mind for a few days to come but will prevail normality in days to come.

Gul Panag:
I don't know how my comments will be taken by you but this had to happen and is not a complete surprise. Me and you only take notice of terror when it enters the malls or the hotels. But if the same thing happens in the slums we are ok with it. This is a much larger issue than it looks. Have you ever taken into consideration the Islamic population of India? It's in the region of 18 to 20%. The figures keep on varying. Do you know what percent of Islamic population is living below the poverty line? It's 40%. I am not a fundamentalist but I am looking at a much bigger picture. There are certain segments of the society which have not got its due, whether you agree or not. But if you look at the demographics, you'll understand. Whatever the population of muslims in India, is that population propotionate and reflect in the jobs of this country? When people are poor and have no where to go, they have no choice but to turn into radicals. I hope my views and comments make people understand the broader picture.

Anjori Alagh:
I was pretty close to the Taj hotel yesterday as I had to travel in town by 4pm. I couldn't travel to Andheri where I live and am now at a friends house in South Mumbai. The entire area is sealed off and for once I think that the city of Mumbai has changed. What's scary is the fact that people coming in boats with no security or patrol in the sea, get down at the Gateway and enter with guns and grenades in the Taj, Trident and Oberoi and create havoc. It does raise a question on the security, but having said that, we do have security in all our hotels but it's not up to the mark. I mean, I can't see many CCTV cameras outside the hotels or in the nearby viscinity. Every Indian is concerned and I am hoping that we as Indians make an effort to increase the security of our country. I hope we learn something from this so that we don't turn vulnerable again. We really need to fight back these terrorists. They should be killed as ruthlessly as they are killing innocent people.

Arjun Rampal:
It is ridiculous that we are experiencing such events in our city. Every Mumbaiker has the right to ask the government the questions about our city and countrys security. How the terrorists got in so easily and create so much damage is unbelievable but has to be answerable by our politicians. We are all upset but the anger should not be directed towards innocent people. We do have to put our concerns about the security and intelligence lapse to the government. There is a lot of corruption in our country and needs to be addressed immediately, Like why aren't there good enough CCTV cameras in our city? The government cannot come down upon our city and nor can these terrorists. We are only going to grow stronger day by day.

Eesha Koppikhar:
I am fine but in no mood to talk about what has been happening in Mumbai. What's happening is very sad and I hope the law and order situation comes under control soon.

Apoorva Lakhia:
As far as the change in the city of Mumbai is concerned, the government and the army need to see where such attacks can happen from. I mean, people coming in from boats and all looks like some kind of a commando film. It just shows that we need to get a proper cell which deals with terrorism like they do it in the west. Mumbaikers have always shown unity whenever such horrific incidents have taken place in our city.

Minissha Lamba:
The city of Mumbai is extremely resilient. It's a survivor city. An attack on our city is an attack on our country. I don't know whether it's a lapse of security which has lead to such an incident. I mean, how far can the police force protect such a big city like Mumbai. They are doing the best they can to save our brothers and sisters today. It could easily have been me in one of the hotels. This is like an eye opener and has taken the terrorist activity to the next level where they are taking hostages now. This is the scariest day in Mumbai I've ever witnessed.

Mugdha Godse:
I don't know what are the consequences which will come out once this dark day is over but I think people, whether it's us as civilians or the government, should pull up our socks. Right now I am just praying for the betterment of all those who are in the hotels and are injured and have died. I am in a shock state of mind. Our city of dreams is no more the same. In todays time one has to take care of themselves and I am sure we all do and I am sure all those who are trapped in the hotels will do the same. We Indians haven't learnt how to bow down.

Celina Jaitley:
I've been stuck at the 4 seasons hotel in Worli which had been quardened off for security and had to stay the night there. I had come for dinner with colleagues of my father here. Suddenly there was chaos . We heard all the major hotels were being targetted and being a major expatriot hotel I started getting phone calls to stay put where I was by freinds and security head of my bodyguards company . The hotel staff was incredibly nice in keeping everyone calm and quite. I started getting calls from my friends in London and Ireland and from my father in lebanon who were watching all the carnage on TV . We were up till 3 am last night close to safe exits till we finally went up to the rooms. I was meant to go to Trident for dinner but some gut feeling made me change my mind am still shaken and scared and will head back home as soon as its safe .My rakhi brother is heading the NSG commandoes operation. They haven't come out yet . Aashish Chowdhary's sister and brother in law are missing at trident . Our city is falling apart. I have one word for these terrorists - "We are not scared and will fight back".

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"Slumdog Millionaire isn't a cross over film. It's a Hollywood film directed by Danny Boyle", Anil Kapoor

exclusive by Devansh Patel

With entertainment dominated by fresh-faced actors now-a-days, it's extremely heartening to see someone break into the corridors of power when in their late forties. Better still when that person's an accomplished actor making a comeback in Bollywood. But what if I say that he is just about to make his Hollywood debut in what's said to be a film which undoubtedly is going to win accolades at the Academy Awards and the Bafta's next year? The film – Slumdog Millionaire, the director – Danny Boyle, step forward Anil Kapoor, a renaissance man who's squeezed several (mostly successful) lives into one and come out on top of the Bollywood tree. In this world exclusive interview from London, the jhakaas actor talks in depth to Devansh Patel about his first Hollywood film Slumdog Millionaire, his London Film Festival experience, his expectations, his family reactions, his special message to his fans and above all, praises, praises and more praises for his director, the award winning director Danny Boyle.

We are all eager to know how did an acclaimed Hollywood director like Danny Boyle sign you up for a role in his next film Slumdog Millionaire?
I received an sms saying that Danny Boyle wanted to meet me regarding his next film Slumdog Millionaire in which he had a role for me after he watched Tall and Virasat. Now as you are aware that in Bollywood one is so busy with their commitments that they tend to forget who Danny Boyle is. But when you talk of films like Trainspotting and The Beach, suddenly the name of the director pops up. So I mentioned this to my son as he is a big Danny Boyle fan, in fact all youngsters are. He loves his kind of cinema which is out of the box, pulsating and youthful. He got very excited and told me to reply back to the sms which was lying in my inbox since quite a few days. So I called my friend Deepak Nayar in L.A who coincidently was handling the production of the same film. He informed me that Danny Boyle is a cult figure in the U.S. Then the script came and me and my son read it. We loved it, fixed an appointment and there I was, without any auditions, a part of Slumdog Millionaire.

Were you at all worried about the screen space Danny would've given you in the film initially when he offered you the film?
When you're working with the likes of Danny Boyle and when the script is written by Simon Beaufoy, there is bound to be a good role for you irrespective of the length of your own role. When you work in an international film like Slumdog Millionaire, even two scenes done correctly in the film work wonders. And you're forgetting that I had already read the script. It's only in India that you worry about screen space and the length.

Danny Boyle has projected Mumbai in Slumdog Millionaire like no other film maker has ever done. What do you think?
I am more than happy about it. In fact, Slumdog Millionaire is a fairy tale kind of a film. You have to see the film to believe it. I mean he has shot some scenes in the slums so beautifully, you feel touched by the direction and the camera work. It was so perfect.

People across the globe who've watched Trainspotting, A Lifeless Ordinary and The Beach wouldn't expect a Slumdog Millionaire, will they?
Danny has got his own style. When the chief of Fox Searchlights, Peter Rice, was introducing Danny Boyle in a tribute to the director in L.A, that's the time I realised the kind of respect he has across the globe. Peter Rice quoted, "Danny has never made the same kind of film ever". When Danny was offered to direct Alien 4, he was offered a big cheque which he refused. He just wanted to direct films which he would believe in and wanted to make. He chose to direct a 15 million dollar film than a 150 million dollar one. He is a risk taker in a way. I mean, the only well known face in Slumdog Millionaire is Irrfan Khan who is known worldwide. All the rest are new comers including me.

You play the host of the famous tele series 'Who wants to be a Millionaire'. From Big B to SRK and now comes Anil Kapoor. Any kind of research went into playing the role of Prem?
A lot of literature was sent to me through the script anyway. But first I spoke to Danny and the way he saw the character and how he wanted him to behave. Then he gave me some material on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. In Mumbai, I contacted Siddharth Basu, the person who was responsible for the programme in India. He was very helpful in the research too. Playing an engineer, stock broker, doctor or a businessman is easy because you meet them in your everyday life. But there are very few hosts of the television programme whom you don't meet regularly. You see them only on the television. So there was not a direct reference point here except for the episodes of Mr Bachchan and Shah Rukh in India and the shows done by hosts in the U.K and the U.S. I went through all these tapes and started doing some episodes with Siddharth and his team. I also had a lot of workshop with Danny and the main protagonist of the film Dev Patel.

But how was it to be working with the British talent Dev Patel who plays the boy from the slums winning the million rupees?
He is the main hero of the film. He is the protagonist of Slumdog Millionaire. His journey has three characters who do the same role. How as a child in slums he grows up, then becomes a bit older and then it is Dev Patel. There are three actors and the casting of those three Dev Patel's is phenomenal. I was speechless after watching the film at the London Film Festival and thanks to Loveleen Tandon who has done an amazing job of casting in the film.

Was Dev at all nervous when he met you for the first time?
Not at all. He was a thorough professional. He originally comes from Gujarat but is born and brought up in London who has also done one T.V serial called Skins in the U.K. For me, it was my first English film and for him, it was his first feature film. So we both were a bit nervous initially even though I had come with a lot of experience behind me. We got along very well and Danny also told me to help Dev out in whatever and whichever way I could. He had to play a slum boy and because I've had a personal experiences in the slums and have done films like Mashaal, etc I could identify with his role. I was very handy in adding flavour to my and Dev's role.

The critics in the U.K are vouching Slumdog Millionaire to get selected as the Best Film nominee at the Academy Awards in the U.S and at the Bafta Awards in the U.K. What do you have to say?
It's a bit too early to discuss this right now. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that whatever you've just mentioned comes true.

Any other Hollywood films you're going to be a part of in the near future after the thunderous applaud you received after the screening?
I am at such a stage of my career that whichever film comes across me has to be exciting, on par or better than the one I've done earlier. Currently I've got my hands full in India as far as Bollywood is concerned and if someone does come knocking on my doors from the West, why not?

What differentiates Danny Boyle from all the Bollywood directors you've worked with so far in your career?
Danny is not only different from the Indian directors but international directors also. He has his own stand and style and when people do have this speciality in them like what Danny has, they always are different from others. As I've mentioned before, he is one director who hasn't repeated his style. Danny improvises a lot and never tells his actors how to act. He gives you the script and lets you be. His instructions are minimal and the most important thing – Danny didn't come to India with any attitude. Instead, he told us to help him make a good film. That made a world of difference. It's a hallmark of a great human being and a great director. There isn't a game show being used as the main part of any feature film script. That's the USP of Slumdog Millionaire.

Has your family seen the film and what did they think about it?
Yes they all have seen the film. My wife, Sonam and my son, all loved the film. They've said it's awesome. The kind of feedback I've received is incredible. The best comment I received was from a critic who writes for The Independent, UK. He said, "Anil Kapoor makes a memorably narcissistic and two faced quiz host smiling disingenuously while trying to ensure the contestant looses". Even the newspapers like the Observer, Telegraph and The Times have praised not only my performance, but all the other actors in the film who were truly worth admiring especially Dev Patel.

Any message for your fans who are awaiting your first ever Hollywood film?
Yes, I'd like to tell my fans in the U.K that the film releases on January 9 next year in the U.K and to my India fans, well, you'll have to wait just a little bit more. Slumdog Millionaire releases in India in the last week of January. That's our tentative date. We are also planning to keep a special première of the film. And more importantly to all my fans across the globe, Slumdog Millionaire isn't a cross over film in English. It is a Hollywood film directed by Danny Boyle. Looking forward for all your comments next year.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

RGV ropes in Himesh, Mallika Sherawat and Abhishek Bachchan in Rann

exclusive by Devansh Patel

In journalism, there has always been a tension of getting it first. But what matters is getting it right. It's been ten days since we first brought to you the breaking news of the starcast in RGV's Rann, and just as RGV always plans to release one film every month, we have decided to bring to you one news every week from his latest offering. Some of the media buffs have already started speculating that Rann has now got another actor in the long line-up to the film. Don't be surprised! be cautious! It's Himesh Reshammiya. Yes, the little birdie tells me that Himesh had gone to meet RGV in his Oshiwara office after hearing that Rann is his next biggie. So what does RGV tell him? Well, again the grapevine hears that the director par excellence told him 'No'. But on the flip side RGV was very impressed with Himesh's enthusiasm and so is now trying to work things out if there is any role for the actor which can be sketched out in his film. Nothing new huh? Well, we at Bollywood Hungama bring you the lighter side of the above news in a form of an exclusive picture which has RGV sitting on his directors chair trying to take a shot and suddenly Himesh enters the scene. Ofcourse, we all know that RGV hates interruptions while he is filming. I guess, Himesh should've known that too.

Getting a bit serious now about the news, I also hear the gossip mills talking about Rann's hidden treasure. It comes in the form of Mallika Sherawat. What role has she got to play in the film only RGV will be able to tell us. In the meantime, another Bollywood big shot is also said to have been roped in the mammoth movie. Like father, like son, Abhishek Bachchan. For all you Sarkar and Sarkar Raj fans, you need not worry now. Both the Bachchans are back but only time will tell whether they both share the limelight again in what is said to be Ram Gopal Varma's biggest directorial film - Rann - a news story.

"I am in a serious relationship with this guy and we are serious about getting married but not soon", Eesha Koppikhar

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Eesha Koppikar believes that there is a price to pay when you work for a Rajshree Production film. The price she paid was that it turned out to be her best ever role she's been waiting for since she began her acting career. The slender and sensuous actress illustrates the physical and mental wear and tear of being hurled into a Rajshree film. So all is not 'khallas' for this Bollywood beauty. What follows after Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is her next best role in Shabri where she plays a woman sandwiched between the mafia and the cops. Gone are her Company days she tells me, there is much more to her than just a glamour doll. That was then, this is now. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is out now in cinemas near you but if you thought that Koppikar is just all face and no acting, believe me, she is sure to stun you this time around. Dressed to hilt in her Indian outfits in the film, she looks absolutely tempting. In this Bollywood Hungama exclusive Eesha gets into a perfect marriage material type talking about Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi, her ongoing relationship with her boyfriend and their marriage plans.

Working with Rajshree Productions is a revelation in itself. Did you ever dream of it that one day you'll work with them?
Once we enter Bollywood, any actor on his or hers wish list has a couple of production houses he or she wants to work with. Rajshree is one of them and I was no different. I've always wanted to work with Rajshree because of the way they portray human emotions on screen and the way they present their female leads. Rajshree's moto is simple living and high thinking. They are such a wonderful bunch of people to work with.

What makes Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi different from other Rajshree films?
The genre is more or less the same, what Rajshree uses in all their films. But the film will be a bit different as far as the story is concerned. It's not too much of a family involved this time. It's about a struggle of a woman and how a man stands by her. I play a typical Rajshree heroine and Sonu Sood plays a typical 'Prem', Rajshree's favourite. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is a new look to Rajshree cinema in a way.

So how was it to work with a face not known by many in Bollywood - Sonu Sood?
There is always a first time for everyone. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi is Sonu's first big film and even mine. I don't think anybody has presented me in a way as Rajshree has. This is one of my best films in my career I've done, including Shabri, which is yet to be released.

What was so challenging after you mentioned that you've never been presented like this before?
I've never got an oppurtunity to showcase my talent in a way I've done in this film. I've never really got a script of this kind and the length too. You will never see the emotions portrayed by me in this film somewhere else in my earlier films. To bring out the emotions and serious acting is the biggest challenge an actor goes through and if you are successful in that, you've won the battle.

Which Rajshree films inspired you the most?
Maine Pyaar Kiya. I was very small when I saw the film but I remember falling in love with Salman Khan after seeing the film. Even Hum Aapke Hai Kaun inspired me and somewhere down the line I wanted to be a part of that film. Now that I am, I have no regrets.

How was the experience of not being directed by Sooraj Barjatya?
I have no complaints as long I am working for the banner Barjatya. I can tell you something about working with the debutant Kaushikda. He looks frail and fragile, thin and short man but he has got a tremendous command over what he wants to bring out of his actors. He is so thorough in whatever he was doing. I didn't go for any singing lessons because Kaushikda's vision is so good that I did whatever he told me to do. I was very convinced. The first day he started narrating the script to me, I started crying.

Rajshree is synonymous with its music too. Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi doesn't sound blockbuster kind. What say?
Well, I could be a little biased here because it's my film. I think there is a lot of variety in this film. I'm a folk singer, there is a Qawali, classical and ghazal. Then there are situational songs which move the film forward and backward six to seven years. There are songs with only two para's to add to the scene. At the end of it, you feel that there should've been more than 12 songs. It's a Rajshree music afterall.

You're looking the most beautiful in this film than all the other films we've seen you in.
Thank you so much. What happens is that a lot of time your role may be good or ok, but not that much effort is taken in presenting the character. I am not talking about the actor here. Not much homework is done about the character. So somewhere the actor does not look convincing in that particular role. But the amount of effort and research we've done before the shoot reflects in our work. I play Chandni in the film and I relate to her to a very large extent because I come from a very close-knit family. I'm very close to my parents. I believe that once you make a relation, whether it's a friend, boyfriend, daughter-mother or a daughter-father, till you die you have to maintain it. I will maintain all my relations till my last breath. Plus credit should also go to Ana Singh who's designed our costumes. They look so simple and yet so stunning.

What about the other roles which you've portrayed in your previous films? Aren't they special?
They are special but I do not identify with the 'khallas' kind of roles I've played in the past. Infact, I've done about twelve films in the South before I played a 'khallas' girl. All my South fans were pretty surprised and told me that they couldn't imagine me playing such a role. They couldn't see me so glamourised. I've always played a girl-next-door type of roles there. I am more comfortable playing the latter than the bold and glamourous types. The three films I've enjoyed doing the most are Kya Kool Hain Hum, Shabri and Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi. The other film I'm really looking forward after this one is Hello Darling where I play a Haryanvi girl who comes to Mumbai for a job.

Do you think now-a-days, Rajshree going audiences have patience to watch a long film?
Well, this film is two hours and ten minutes long. But you're right. Today, the audiences have lost patience. They are more restless but at the same time the script matters. Kaushikda is famous on small screen after directing serials like 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' and 'Sanjeevani'. That's how he started. So he is very fast and not used to stretching it too much. When you speak to him you'll understand his sensibilities. I myself was shocked. I did a film in 120 days, which is almost half a year. You normally finish a film in three months. So I was shocked to see the film is of such a short duration, not because they've edited anything from the film. Hardly anything has been edited. It's because the cast and the crew have shot this film with so much love and affection.

We've also seen that Rajshree has a habit of releasing their film with fewer prints and then hitting it big. Will Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi see the same results?
It's their style. I guess they have complete faith and belief in their product. In the overseas market this film will do very well because in the U.K and the U.S, family dramas work the most. They love the human emotions and in some ways the overseas audiences miss our culture and heritage. This is the only way they can relate to it, through films.

So, the spell change is working for you huh?
Yeah. I've changed my name now. Somebody came up to me last November and said that my name which spells with an 'I' is not falling on an auspicious number and thus I should change it. The whole mankind tries and hopes. So I went for it. Let's see if it works.

Brief us a bit about Shabri.
Shabri is a story of a spoilt woman in Mumbai city and how she is sandwiched between the mafia and the cops. It's my best ever role and it's directed by yet another debutant Lalit Marathe. He had written Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot.

So the entire journey of the Vivaah was smooth. Nothing went wrong?
Actually it's good you mentioned this because one day on the sets I collapsed. I was dehydrated and was immediately taken to my dad's hospital.

We've been talking about Vivaah all this while. Let's get more serious. When do you plan to get married?
I really don't know. With six releases this year, definitely not. I've just got into a relationship and have started dating a guy. So will take a while. Having said that, we are very serious about each other and are planning to get married but not so soon. We haven't fixed any dates as of now but will keep you posted as soon as I'm ready.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

"EMI is coming at a time when our economy is in a mess", Arjun Rampal

exclusive by Devansh Patel

It was as natural as rain, as predictable as the entertainment taxes - one day Arjun Rampal would win over his audiences. What was surprising was that when it happened, in 2006, after the release of Don, then came an award winning performance in 2007 - Om Shanti Om. Come September 2008, Rock On created a stampede and he is busy making space on his shelf for some more trophies for the next year. Over the last 7 years Rampal had delivered a series of usually small and sometimes big but almost always scene-stealing performances. Remember the Deewanapan of Suraj Saxena? The blind Arjun Verma of Aankhen who robs the bank? A tattoed and shameless Ek Ajnabee who back stabs his colonel? All Rampal, all brilliant. The lead roles were few and far between, the financial imperative unfortunately dictating that acting matters. So, when given the chance, Rampal really pulled out the stops by pulling out his guitar and giving his best ever performance in Rock On. Rampal was clearly among the very best. Maybe he was the best. For an actor who once feared Fridays was now fearless, and is getting ready for his next multi-starer hitting cinemas this Friday, EMI. Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel caught hold of the very busy Arjun Rampal in a light mood where he struggled with time but not his answers, in this five minute exclusive. Well, success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

From a rock star guitarist to playing a D.J in EMI. Music in flowing in your blood it seems?
(laughs) You said it bro. Actually I started doing EMI before I signed Rock On. I even finished shooting EMI before Rock On. But unfotunately it's releasing a bit late. Yes, both are musically inclined films that have come to me. I am turning into a music lover slowly.

EMI is a light humourous entertainer. We haven't seen you in a comic avtaar before.
It's all the serious roles I've been doing off late. Be it Ek Ajnabee, Rock On, The Last Lear, and now EMI gave me the oppurtunity I was waiting for, to do a light role. Also, I was missing the song and dance routine (laughs). You will see me shake a leg after the stupendous success of my last hit number 'Stranger' from Ek Ajnabee.

Do you love dancing?
I do shake a leg sometimes. In Bollywood you have to learn the A to Z. There is no way out or you'll be termed as a stereo-type. And when you're playing a DJ or a Rock star, you need to dance anyway.

EMI also comes at the time when the world is going through the credit crunch scenario.
Yes, EMI is coming at the time when our economy is in a mess and the banks are in a bigger mess. But the film is a light hearted take on the credit card scenario here (laughs). People will have a laugh and much to think about and learn too from EMI.

Heard you play a catholic once again. What a coincidence?
It's a sweet coincidence. I bet the catholic community is already falling in love with me (laughs). I play this character called Ryan Breganza who is a D.J. Like most young ambitious people, he wants all the good things in life and is always in debt and trouble but he manages to find his way out of trouble. It's an interesting role for me plus all the four stories in the film run parallel to each other and yet interconnect with them. Ryan Breganza fights the ongoing battle to pay his loan on time like all the others do in the film and then in walks Sattarbhai to help them out. There is a sweet message at the end of the film which people will take home.

This is your first film with Sanjay Dutt. How was the tough experience?
It wasn't a tough experience but if you've used a pun, then he is a tough guy. I've known Sanju for a long time now but haven't had a chance of doing a film together. He is a very warm person and a talented actor. He is an easy going guy. There is no one who could've played Sattarbhai besides him.

There are two current actresses who have a crush on you.
What are you saying? I do not agree with it but I do agree some of them have had a crush on me while they were in their school or college. I'd like to know their names anyway.

One is Deepika Padukone and the other is Mugdha Godse, who recently delivered a stunning performance in Fashion.
Good to know that. But I think Mehr is lucky (laughs). I think you'll have to ask the two pretty ladies why they've had a crush on me so that I can make some kind of a comment. I can't be that lucky (comments).

You're 37 now. Don't you think you've got success a bit late?
Not at all. I was a well known model before and the entire country is aware of that fact. So Arjun Rampal was a successful model but as far as films are concerned, yes, initially some of my films didn't work at the box office and it's only after Om Shanti Om that I felt so close to success that I could touch it. Rock On just doubled it up. My fan following has gone up too. Suddenly Arjun is the talk of the town and I am happy. Better late than never. I don't believe that an actor has a shelved life. Today I am successful only because I've never given up and have always focused on acting than modelling.

Your debut film Pyaar Ishq Mohabbat had Suneil Shetty as one of your co-stars. You're working him with him again but this time he is a producer. How was the equation?
We added up well (laughs). He is a great host as we all know. Actually Suneil Shetty is one of the most helpful people within the Indian Film Industry today. He is always the first one there to help anybody. As a producer he is that much more caring and is a fantastic to work with on and off the sets. He is very thoughtful and takes each and every decision carefully. I hope EMI does well for him as a producer.

Rock On wasn't that well received in the overseas box office. Will EMI come as a welcome relief?
I hope it does well in the overseas territory. I know that Rock On had to struggle knowing the theme of the film plus fresh new faces but EMI has a lot of factors going with it. It's got me (laughs), Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar, Mallaika Arora Khan and it's a Sunil Shetty film. What else do you need? Infact, the script is good too and plus it's a light hearted comedy. I've heard that comedy films work in the overseas. EMI will definitely be a success.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Suneil Shetty on EMI, Sanjay Dutt and the worst phase our Bollywood is going through

exclusive by Devansh Patel

With the stock markets crashing, the world economy in a mess and a global recession taking place, there is one man who comes as a saviour - Suniel Shetty. In the times when money is termed sexier than sex, EMI (Easy Monthly Instalments) comes with all the solutions to it. Produced by Anna, as he is fondly called, EMI is a laugh riot with a message. It would be something of an understatement to say that Suniel Shetty, Bollywood star of almost two decades now, has not had the best of years. Yet as the businessman turned actor turned producer chats with me, he talks straight and makes sense and clearly anxious to put behind him, what he calls "all that other crap" that took place in the media about him and his co-star friend Sanjay Dutt. Suniel is trying to look forward, concentrating on promoting his second film as a producer, EMI, referring to the recent above events as "just peripheral stuff that happens to people". Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel spoke to the busy man where he gave us a lowdown on his film, the underlying message to the readers, his intentions on becoming a director and why the Hindi Film Industry is going through its worst phase ever.

Is it right for me to say that in the world economic crisis, EMI is the only way out this year end?
(laughs) Definitely yes. But on the serious side, I'd say unfortunate because the scenario is pretty much dead the world over. From a producer and the film point of view there couldn't have been a better time for EMI to release.

So what made you produce EMI? The new director, the story or your close friend Sanjay Dutt?
It will always be the story of EMI which impressed me because it covered people from all walks of life. The story has a problem that I always saw rising in India. We have a tendency to follow the western culture and with the credit card companies coming in, people didn't forecast the impact of what would happen if they tried using their credit cards. It was this subject that really inspired me the most. EMI also made a great commercial sense because it had a character called Sattarbhai who works as the recovery agent for the bank which was very interesting. That's when I thought and decided that if Sanju could hear and liked it, we'd probably go ahead with the film. Sanju loved the script instantly and we started shooting ten days after he heard the script.

EMI, Easy Monthly Instalments is a serious issue off screen. Do you think the film is looking at it not so seriously?
No it's not. Looking at the promos the film might look not so serious and the viewer might think there is a lot of humour to it. Sanju plays Sattarbhai who initially tries to recover the money by bashing up people but slowly understands that there is a whole lot of a serious issue to it than what it looks from the outside. When you get into the house, you realise the problems that a particular family is having and if there could be a solution offered to their problem it could help them. So more than the bank, it is Sattarbhai who understands them and comes out with an answer to it. The film has a very happy ending too.

So there is an underlying message to the film.
Absolutely yes and that's why I am producing this film. I want to say that the penultimate fifteen minutes of the film will make people appreciate EMI.

But why Sanjay Dutt for Sattarbhai?
When Saurabh Kabra, the director, narrated me the character called Sattarbhai, the only image in my head going through was that of Sanjay Dutt who is larger than life and all heart. There was nobody I could've thought of except him when it came to Sattarbhai. After Munnbhai, Sanju's soft side was loved by people. So I hope people love him in EMI too.

You've always been the most successful businessman cum actor in the industry. Does that make you the jack of all trades?
If you say so, Yes (laughs). But an actor first, then a producer and then a businessman. It's purely because of my branding as an actor that people know me, believe in me and do business with me. Fortunately for me, I did my B.Com, then my Hotel Management. So somewhere down the line it has only helped me. That's why I also strongly believe that whatever profession you end up with, it is very crucial to educate yourself and you'll see the world open in front of you.

Then why aren't we going to see Sunil Shetty act in EMI?
I've been wanting to keep production and acting completely seperate from each other. I share a very good rapport with a lot of my co-actors and I don't want them to feel that I take care of my role more and my promotion more than them if it's my own production house. It's very difficult to juggle between two roles. It's easy when I'm a producer where I can go spend more time on the sets and on the edit table and can be more creative.

With so many feathers in your cap, is direction looking likely in the years to come?
I would love to direct a film one day. But because there are so many tracks running simultaneously with me, I feel it is easier to sit with a director and work on the film rather than make one myself for the time being.

Tell a bit more about the different characters in EMI.
Ashish Chowdhary and Neha Uberoi represent the young couple that are in love and want to get married because they believe that the world is a beautiful place where both of them are making money. They now want a house on EMI, car on EMI and everything on the credit card. It gets difficult after a while and that's what they both go through. Then there is a story of a new boy Pushkar who wants to go to London to study and the father does not have money but also believes that if he does not do it now, his son will blame him for the rest of his life. And when he does manage to come back from the lush green outskirts of London, he wants to then become a photographer. So how will the EMI be paid? Then there is Urmila's character who has a high flying husband who thinks that he can conquer the world. But when he can't match up the pressure, he ends up killing himself and how she as a widow takes care of her daughter and the EMI. And lastly there is Arjun Rampal and Mallaika Arora who get hooked on by the EMI. So there is a lot of diversity in this film.

Is it an intentional move on your part to release the film after Diwali, just the right time when people start paying off their EMI's after the Diwali expenses?
Yes. That's the period when people flash their credit cards and use it more. Diwali is the time of buying, spending and after it's over the people don't realise that how will they pay their monthly credit card statements. This film will also teach them the right use of the credit card and the wrong use of it.

Have you ever misused your credit card?
Not really. I've lived within my means but the thing is that you've always got a sword of EMI hanging on top of you whether it's for your tax benefits or taking money on interest. You do get stuck in situations like that but so far I've managed it. I come from a simple background and even from a company point of view, I know that there is recession world wide. I know the industry is going through a lot but somewhere down the line I know what my role is, that of the content provider. So I didn't jump the gun and played it safe.

What makes you say that the Hindi Film Industry is going through a dull phase right now?
Because majority of the films aren't doing well. There is no buying in the market and there are only three or four companies that are buying. So each one has to pull up their socks and believe that if they deliver the right script, then only will it work for them. I think the next six months is definitely going to prove what I'm saying right now. These so called figures like eighty, ninety and hundred crores won't exist. Somewhere there'll be a reality check. There will be smaller risks taken for the next two to three years till things get stable. But yes, if the share market picks up, there will be money.

After coming out of the prison, Sanjay Dutt first shot for EMI. Did his personal grievances come in play while filming?
As a matter of fact, I got to know the real Sanjay Dutt only during that period when he was going through a low phase and then when he was arrested. When the first letter that came to me from Sanju said, 'I'm sorry Anna. I wanted to start and complete the film but I don't think I have kept my word. I don't know when I'll be out. If you believe you need to take someone else, go ahead and complete the film. I don't want Pocorn to suffer." That was one of the most touching letters sent to me ever. That's why I believe that the industry calls him 'baba' only because he is all heart. He does first and then thinks, which has also got him in a lot of mess. Sanju has such a huge fan following only because of the way his well wishers feel for him and how much they love and miss him.

So what's next in the pipeline for you Anna?
After EMI, from Popcorn, I've got a film called 'A little Godfather' which is about the Mumbai train blasts that took place and what happened to the kids who do their daily business in and out of the train selling things. It's a very emotional film. Then I've got 'Mumbai Chak-a-Chak' which is a love story about a man's obsession about cleanliness and how he wants to see his Mumbai clean. As an actor I've got this lovely film by Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria's next called 'Daddy Cool'.

Any message you want to give to those who are or are not in an EMI mess after Diwali?
Watch EMI very closely because somewhere down the line each and everyone of us will relate to the eight or ten characters we have in the film. So rather than getting depressed, if we realise our mistakes through this film and get the message right, you'll enjoy the film.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Exclusive first look of Ram Gopal Varma's Rann - A News Story

exclusive by Devansh Patel

First the news that RGV is making Rann which revolves around the media hits you like a hammer on the head. Then last week we brought you the exclusive who's who of Bollywood in the film and the characters they play in it. Looks like RGV likes hitting us slowly but surely every few days. So if you're lucky and have just logged on, the chances are that you'll be hit for the third time by the hard hitting director. Check out the first ever look at the poster of Rann - A news story. It's all dark red which symbolises the strength and the power of the media. It's got blood stains which I think tries to tell us the brutal killings taking place around the world which dominates the front pages of the newspapers and news channels everyday. What's also interesting is the fact that RGV announced his film Rann with a byline saying 'A News Story'. But the creatives is missing that bit of the line and instead has 'Truth is Terrible'. We know Ramu's unpredictable element. For once, if you have a close look at the title, it's not in English. Rann is actually written in Hindi to give an impact. The two words 'Ra' and 'ann' are razor sharp and looks like a knife and a sword telling us about the razor sharp competition among the news channels and the print media. Even though the name of the film sums itself up in two words, the word is much bigger in scale including its star cast. There isn't a hard lesson to be learned from this, or a groundbreaking discovery to brag about, but as an observation on the recurring colour choices of the RGV medium of films in the recent past, I found this exercise oddly fulfilling because it's the first time I've written something about a movie poster. And it goes without question that this is anything but a definitive assessment, as there are hardly any movie posters out there which depict lot more in just two words. Yet I'm still somewhat captivated by the use of the red colour in this poster, more so after I put my above imaginations to it. Looks bloddy haunted! Knowing RGV, you never know what else is going to hit you next week! Be red-y!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

High Five for Fashion!

exclusive by Devansh Patel


Although the 2009 summer collections won't be unveiled in London till the early next year now, the city is already in the grip of 'Fashion' fever. The cause? Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Fashion'. The movie is generating word-of-mouth as the best Bollywood film ever made about the fashion world in India.
Most movies about fashion are frothy affairs, long on glamour, decadence and the obsession with celebrities. For a change, Bhandarkar's Fashion finds deeper similarities between cinema and haute couture both, not just with style alone but with a lot of substance to it. Will Fashion bag another National Award for Madhur? Is Fashion, Priyanka Chopra's best ever work? Does Kangana Ranaut look too hot to handle? and can Mugdha Godse win the best debutant female award? Well, thankfully the answer to my above questions is going to be short and sweet - Yes!.

Sometimes the best fashion statement is not trying to make one at all, and that's what Madhur Bhandarkar has been successful at with Fashion. So here's how the story takes off. Priyanka Chopra plays Meghna Mathur, an aspiring model from Chandigarh who now wants to become a super model by moving to Mumbai. The film brilliantly skewers around the former Miss World who lives, breathes, thinks fashion above all else. Unaware of how the fashion industry works in Mumbai, she meets her long lost friend, an upcoming gay designer who helps her find small fashion contracts with the help of a small time fashion co-ordinator. On her way up the ladder of success she even meets a veteran male model Manav Bhasin played by Arjan Bajwa who is trying to make it big since last nine months on the ramp. Paving her way through model coordinators, portfolio photographers, talent managers, fashion designers, media moguls and business magnates she finally gets to rule the ramp. Credit to Meghna's stupendous rise also goes to a sexy struggling model named Janet Sequierra played by debutant Mugdha Godse who claims that people who use less brains can achieve instant success. Enter Shonali Gujral played by Kangana Ranaut, India's reigning model, an icon for Meghna to aspire to. She is the pin up girl for the country's leading fashion company 'Panache' owned by Abhijit Sarin played by Arbaaz Khan. But there is one person who knows the rules of the game much better than Sarin, Mathur and Shonali, and that is Anisha Roy played by India's former model Kitu Gidwani. She runs the most successful modelling agency in Mumbai called Profile. One of her clients is Panache for whom she has discovered many talented models. And ofcourse, fashion will be incomplete without it's top designer, Rahul Arora played by Sameer Soni, the lead designer of the brand Panache whose designs are adored by the glitterati. That almost sums up the principal cast of the film.

The urge to become the numero uno of the fashion world bites Meghna big time and she clearly understands that the ramp calls for some attitude. Panache's face is Shonali but though very successful, her drug habit starts becoming a problem for her and subsequently for Panache. Abhijit decides to terminate Shonali's contract and ropes in Meghna in her place. Soon, Meghna is everywhere – right from being the showstopper at the biggest fashion shows in town to fashion magazine covers to print ads to TV commercials. The overnight success spoils Meghna and the budding love relationship between her and Manav, with whom she shares the apartment, also comes to an abrupt end. What happens after Meghna reaches the pinnacle of success in the modeling world and how her journey also invariably leads to the downfall of Shonali and what shocking things further await Meghna forms the rest of the film.

As we all know that the U.K audiences love the glitz, the glamour and the golden show, Fashion is exactly the film for this fall winter collection. The intensive two years of research by the director Madhur Bhandarkar certainly shows that the fashion industry is much more than just the gay designers, sexy ramp models and a glass of red wine. And for those who've liked his previous films like Chandni Bar and Page 3 will surely love Fashion. The director calls his films a slice of reality. For me, Madhur's work is a slice of brilliance. He knows that fashion is not something that exists in dresses only, but it is more to do with ideas and ideals, commitments and compromises and success and failures. Take a bow Madhur because only great minds can afford simple styling.

Music is absolutely brilliant. Hats off to Salim - Suleiman for giving us 'Fashion Ka Jalwa' and 'Kuch Khaas Hain' weaved into the ramp walks and various scenes. I mean, imagine a couple dancing on the ramp with a dozen extra's shaking their legs in bikinis. That would indeed stop the show by the so called 'show-stoppers'.

Now let's actually talk about the three show-stoppers of the film. My line up goes this way - Priyanka Chopra, Mugdha Godse and Kangana Ranaut. The size zero Kangana looks absolutely hot on the ramp. She walks like a cat with attitude, a 'doesn't give a damn' one. Ranaut looks slick and slim and sexy, no doubt about that. She delivers her dialogues gracefully, which often rings a bell whether she has been drinking red wine on the sets or not. Jokes aside, Shonali shines in Fashion.

Now this one comes as a real shocker guys! Debutant Mugdha Godse, spare me the horror! Oh my God Godse, what are you doing in the modelling world, darling? Bollywood's calling you big time. Mugdha plays the caring catholic model with a bindaas style. Her transformation from a rugged looking model to the bikini clad babe is awesome. She is a complete natural and not for a second her character looks forced. Didn't I say that Madhur has found a diamond?

And now the number one show-stopper, Priyanka Chopra. There is some magic, either in Priyanka or in the ramp. The ramp gets her the Miss World crown and the same ramp gets her the best ever role she has played to date in a Bollywood film. Wow! What a coincidence. Today I say that there is a similarity between Madhur's Fashion and Priyanka's style. Both possess quality. Priyanka is the unforgettable, ultimate accessory of Fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.

All the other actors are competent, especially Kitu Gidwani. I remember when I was in school, I used to go head over heels while watching her in commercials. After seeing Fashion, I still don't mind going the same route again.

There are hardly a few directors in Bollywood who claim to make different cinema. Madhur Bhandarkar is one of them. So after giving two films in 2008 a five star rating, one Sarkar Raj and the other Rock On, Fashion comes third in the list of my five starer. Not because it's directed by Madhur, not because it has Priyanka Chopra's best performnace, not because it's got a stunning Mugdha and a sexy Kangana, but because it's a subject which hasn't been dealt with in the Indian Film Industry before.

And by the way, can someone please remind Queeny Dhody that Madhur and his team made no mistake of coming on the NDTV show before the films release. See you soon at the after party Queeny!