Thursday, 31 July 2008

"I am not dancing in Bachna Ae Haseeno", Minissha Lamba on her film, Bipasha Basu, Ranbir Kapoor, her Patiala dress and her perfect mate.

exclusive by Devansh Patel

It seems like Minissha Lamba is worried that I've been getting to know her too quickly. Her flawless face has already graced the cover of numerous magazines and newspapers after she starred in films like Corporate, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Dus Kahaniyaan. The delightful Miss Minissha is unabashed in her enthusiasm. And why not? At 23 she is clearly enjoying herself and proving too, that's she's got the talent to match the belief that has been shown in her by some top filmmakers. So far, she has played a small but undoubtedly eye catching role in the films I've just mentioned but playing the magnificient Mahi opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Yash Raj's next has proved to be one of the most vivid experiences of her career so far. In this exclusive the actress gives Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel a guided tour of her new film Bachna Ae Haseeno, Bipasha Basu, Ranbir Kapoor, Siddharth Anand, her Patiala dress and her yet-to-be-boyfriend.

You're ten films old Minissha in just three years. For a woman who wanted to pursue journalism is now herself the Page 3 girl. Any regrets?
Not at all. No regrets. When things are going positive and you're happy being where you are, there will never be regrets.

So tell me how did this cute Minissha with a smile to die for land up in Bachna Ae Haseeno?
(laughs). I think you've given all the pre requisites for a person to anyway land up. I mean, if it were anything else maybe it'd have been very difficult actually. Well, it was as simple as me getting a call from the producers of our film Mr Chopra who wanted to meet me. I didn't know for what. When I met him I discovered that some project was happening and in a few days time I was told to come and listen to the script. Ofcourse, one doesn't have to listen or have a second thought about working with Yash Raj Films and that's how BAH happened.

Does that mean you got the role without being screen tested or auditioned?
No I didn't give any auditions nor was I screen tested.

You've worked with Bipasha Basu in Corporate. Any change you've noticed in her since your Corporate days?
Not at all. She's the warmest and the most lovely person that one can come across. She is very friendly, down to earth and very endearing. She has one of the most beautiful smiles I've seen in a very long time. It's wonderful to watch her smile.

And what change have you noticed in your own self?
The only change I notice is that I've become more professional, that I've become more aware of my surroundings and the more aware of the place I am in. For any other external changes, someone on the outside would be able to know that more than me.

The Lucky Ali song which features you and Ranbir is just so fresh like you. What kind of freshness do we see you infuse in the film?
When the film first opens, both of them are seventeen and eighteen year olds. So the fact that love is fresh for them and the whole experience of going out on their own with their friends and family is fresh for them. It infuses a sort of lightness and freshness that first love does in the lives of many people. So the locales are the same locales Ysh Raj shot DDLJ in because that is what is vital to the story line. My character Mahi is a girl who is bred on DDLJ. She was bred on the perfect romance which was between Raj and Simran in DDLJ and here she is out looking for her perfect Raj. That's what she wants in her life, a perfect fairy tale ending to her love story.

Which does happen or doesn't?
You'll have to watch the film for that. If I'm going to tell you everything right now, what are you going to watch the film for?

Ever since we saw Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd we knew how gracefully you could shake a leg. Nothing can match those moves Minissha. What say? Will BAH give you the gracefullness back?
I am not dancing in Bachna Ae Haseeno. I really begged Siddharth Anand that I'd love to dance but the songs and the choreography Ahmed Khan had in mind didn't require my character to dance so much. In 'Ahista Ahista' the moves are more about the moment of love, moments of discovering first love and true love. More than dancing it's the love that is emphasised on in the song.

Another thing that catches my attention is the lovely dress you're seen wearing in the film. Is that some sort of a lehnga?
It's called a Patiala. In the film I'm dressed up very Indian. Mahi will be seen wearing kurtas and patialas, kurtas and capri's. She is from Amritsar with a very young look and the period of our romance is the year 1996. So we've used colours that were in fashion then, colours that add the freshness and vibrance to the emotions that our characters go through.

Tell us your experience of working with the other two leading ladies in the film - Deepika and Bipasha.
Well, we have very limited time onscreen together but whatever time we have is cherished because we got to be with each other for sometime atleast. It's great to share screen space with everyone.

Did you take Bipasha's guidance or ask for any advice as far as your acting was concerned?
Actually I don't know because when you're on the sets and together, your performance is mainly dictated by your director and yes, I did ask Bipasha for fitness tips because she is someone who is so fit and so fabulously well aware of how to keep herself beautiful. So one definitely would like to know how she manages to do all of that.

Your first time ever with the newest and the hottest poster boy Ranbir Kapoor.
I am a very shy person and I don't open up easily in front of new people and if someone in front of me is shy as well then there is not much of conversation that would end up. That's what happened with Ranbir and me, both were very shy people. So yes, it did take time for us to open and be friendly but once we did get along, I discovered that Ranbir is a riot. He is so easy to get along with and a gentleman to the core. Working with him was fun, fabulous and supportive. It makes your working day all the more pleasurable when you're working with the people with whom you share the same wave length.

Not many people in their career get an oppurtunity to showcase different talents like you have so early in your career with films like Dus Kahaniyaan, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Corporate. You really don't want to get stereo-typed, do you?
Yes. People are always comfortable when they stereo-type you and slot you in a particular category. But my endeavour is to be a versatile actor, someone who can fit into any type of a role. I don't want to get slotted into a particular role.

So, are you still finding the perfect Raj in your life? Any boyfriends?
No boyfriend at the moment. And Yes, I think there is a bit of Mahi in everyone, even in me. We are all in someway looking for our perfect mate. In some people the dream dies out, in some people the dream is fulfilled, in some people you learn to negotiate with what you get. But one thing which is common in the people is that all of them are looking for the picture perfect romance and a fairy tale ending.

Brief us about the different cities you visited while filming Bachna Ae Haseeno.
For my chapter, we shot in Amritsar, Mumbai and Switzerland.

And how was the experience of working with only a three film old Sid?
For a director, three films is a lot. I mean its not new at all. He is the one who helms the film from beginning to the end. Sid is very young and a capable director who has made two very successful films before this. Bachna Ae Haseeno is also a fresh, bubbly, youthful and a romantic comedy, a genre which we haven't quite seen for quite sometime.

Any nervousness as the film hits the theatres in two weeks time?
No nrevousness and no butterflies in the stomach except that you've had so much fun making this film and you've put so much into it that you only want the people to love it.

Any message for your fans?
Thank you so much of being so supportive of me and my films. Please watch Bachna Ae Haseeno. It's a film that you will enjoy and the experience that you will take home with you will be even more fulfilling.

Monday, 28 July 2008

"Ofcourse, media will be invited for my wedding." Deepika Padukone on boyfriend Ranbir, marriage plans, films, parents and guess what? Aishwarya Rai.

exclusive by Devansh Patel

You can't be a film old and then get so lucky. First film with SRK's production Red Chillies and second with Yash Raj Films. I guess by the time Deepika is ten films old, she'd have worked with Indian Film Industry's top ten production houses. And that is exactly where the problem lies. While the new generation of actors have exploded themselves like a comet in Bollywood, what remains to be seen is how long do they last in India's most competitive and fierce professions. Well, Deepika Padukone thinks she will. In an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel, the dimpled beauty answers my questions to whether Bachna Ae Haseeno will be her boyfriends first big hit, whether Bipasha and Minissha are a complete mis-match for Ranbir, will she last as long as Aishwarya Rai, what makes the song Khuda Jaane so special, whether she will work with SRK again and will she invite me for her wedding. Deepika's got the answers for you.

How different is it to be working with your off screen boyfriend on screen?
It doesn't really make much of a difference because at the end of the day when you're working and you're a part of the film, you are not really looking at whether he is your boyfriend or not because you're in your work space at that moment in time.

Your debut film took you to a lavish red carpet premiere in London. Where is Bachna Ae Haseeno going to take you?
Well I don't know what Yash Raj has planned for this film but I'm sure it will go somewhere as far as the premiere is concerned and for the film, it will go places.

While Siddharth Anand's previous two films were big hits, Ranbir's Saawariya was a complete no-no. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno be Siddharth's hat-trick of hits and Ranbir's first big hit?
Most definitely. That's what I believe. I think we all have worked really hard but more than us, Ranbir and Siddharth have worked that little extra to add in the best in the film. I hope and pray that they both get what they want from Bachna Ae Haseeno.

As far as the pairing goes, don't you think Bipasha and Minissha are a bit of a mis-match combo for Ranbir?
(laughs) I am not incharge of casting here. But the way the story is, the script goes, there are other characters required in the film and both Bipasha and Minissha have done a great job in the film, whatever little I have seen of the film. That's all I can say.

Brief us about your experience with Ranbir in different cities around the world you've travelled for the film.
Well, I only got to work with him in Sydney and then for the song 'Khuda Jaane' in Italy. So both were great experiences. In Sydney, we were there for almost 25 days and there we were shooting the scenes. Italy was great fun too. It was 10 days of shooting this lovely romantic song in these beautiful locations. I don't think I would have discovered this beautiful place had we not shot this song there and now since we have discovered it, its a place I would like to go there for a holiday or honeymoon. The most exciting part of shooting this song was that we would shoot everyday and travel in the evening to another location set up in the next place and shoot again the whole day, I don't think anyone has ever travelled so much to shoot one song.

So is marriage on the cards?
I'm not thinking of marriage as of now. Definitely not at the moment.

When it does happen Deepika, will I get an invite?
Ofcourse. I'm sure the media will be invited.

Khuda Jaane sung by Kay Kay is slowly steadily topping the charts and we know that the song means a lot to you and Ranbir.
The fact that both me and Ranbir are in love makes the song even more special because shooting the song made it lot more easier. It was a nice experience because it was the first time that we both were shooting for a romantic song together. I'm so glad that Vishal and Shekhar have managed to compile such a beautiful song for us with meaningful lyrics.

We seem to give a lot of credit to music directors and forget the choreographer and the cinematographer who are responsible to make the song visually perfect.
Most definitely. Infact the day the song released, people started calling us from around the world and sent us messages that the song is looking lovely and is a big hit in all the cities. Having said that, the three people I called up first after the news broke out was Ahmed Khan, the choreographer, Sunil Patel, the cinematographer and my director Siddharth Anand for giving us such a beautiful song.

Tell us a bit about your costumes. Looking quite elegant, I should say.
Yes because my character is a young girl, an NRI who lives in Sydney. She is very trendy and forward in terms of fashion but at the same time she is traditional in a way. So keeping all these aspects in mind the costumes were made and when you have a designer like Akki Narula on board, I don't think one really needs to worry about being styled in a certain way because I completely trust him. I've worked with him when I was a model and I'm really glad that I got to work with him in my second film.

From the female lead only Aishwarya Rai at the moment is dominating in Bollywood having come from the modelling background. A few more like Diya Mirza, Celina Jaitley and Sushmita Sen too have made a mark. Will you be as lucky as they are?
Hopefully. Aish is someone I definitely look up to. She is someone I've really learnt a lot from and I used to watch her endorsements, her films and her modelling career right from the time she started off when I was very little and young. I also remember watching her when she won the Miss World. If my career goes the same way as Aishwarya's, it's going to be a huge compliment for me.

Yash Raj Films are going through their worst phase in film production. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno bring a smile back to the big banner?
I think it's wrong to generalise. Everyone goes through a bad phase. I appreciate the fact that Yash Raj Films tried to do something different in terms of the kind of films that they made in the last year or two. Some films work and some films don't work but we all have worked really hard on Bachna Ae Haseeno and hope it does well for us and Yash Raj.

After having won rewards and awards for Om Shanti Om, how loyal are you going to be towards Red Chillies Production?
(laughs) Yes. Me and Shah Rukh Khan are working in a song together because Red Chillies is producing a film for Priyadarshan called Billo Barber which also stars SRK. And I've been fortunate enough to star in a song opposite SRK. I don't know the name of the song but they are still working on the song and the concept.

Have you shared screen space with Bipasha and Minissha in Bachna Ae Haseeno?
No. We've shot for a promotional song together and you will see all of four of us together but apart from that I'm not really in charge of creatives. I agreed to do the film because I liked the character and a bit of the script that was narrated to me. I wanted to be a part of this film and I did what I wanted to do.

The last time I saw your dad, Mr Prakash Padukone, was in London for your films premiere. How much of him takes over your decision to choose or not to choose the film you do?
A lot. I talk to my parents everyday and every move that I make, every endorsement that I do, every film that I do and my everydays activities are all discussed with them. My parents just don't prefer being in the limelight. They prefer being in the back seat and taking care of my career. My dad handles my finances. Today I wouldn't have been here had my parents not supported me the way they have.

Any memorable moments you spent in Sydney with Ranbir?
We did a lot of sight seeing in Sydney but apart from that, we also enjoyed a lot in Italy where we shot 'Khuda Jaane'. When we were shooting for the song, there is this one sequence where there are lot of pigeons. There is a shot when I turn and the pigeons fly around me. So getting the scene right was very difficult because they had to put pigeon food on my hand before the shot and these twenty five to thirty pigeons would come and sit on me and before the camera rolled, I could see all these pigeons crawling on my hand and by the end of it I'd have little scrtches on my arm. But that was a lovely experience as I am pretty frightened about these things.

And how was your lovely experience of working with Yash Raj Films? Did you take Mr Yash Chopra's blessings?
I am very glad that I got to work with the Yash Raj banner so early in my career and looking forward to doing more films with them. I met both Yashji and Adi several times.

Any message for the readers?
Well all I'd like to say is be happy, believe in yourself and enjoy your work.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

"As a son I demanded him to stay in his room and locked him up". From L.A to London Abhishek Bachchan chats lots more about his tour, fans and Drona

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

It's amazing what a power of three can do to a film and the Tour. Yes, I am talking about the Bachchan family, Amitabh, Abhishek, and Aishwarya. First it was their film Sarkar Raj that grossed almost £400,000 in the U.K. and now it's their Unforgettable Tour which is selling like hot cakes in America. Not surprised to find out that all the shows are almost house full, I was more than curious to know Mr. Bachchan's recovery. So what if one of the power house took a back seat, we still had the power of three. This time it was Jayaji, Abhishek, and Aishwarya who took over the proceedings. Hours before his first live performance in L.A. Abhishek Bachchan sounds upbeat...and why not? He is having a great response from the Tour so far, is highly excited about his next release Drona, is desperate to perform in front of his audience in London and of course, boosting with happiness to see his dad, our very own Big B, fully recovered. All this and much more from Abhi in this exclusive chat from L.A with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel.

So, how's dad and what do the doctors say?
Nothing, dad's good now. He is just at the rehearsals at the moment. He is back on his feet. He was fine yesterday and the day before. He had a bit of a cold but I forced him to stay in bed because I didn't want it to spread into something which was uncontrollable. So as a son, I demanded that he stay in his room and locked him up. Dad has got a tendency that he pushes himself so much but thankfully he is fine now.

From Toronto to Trinidad to L.A. How's the journey been so far?
The journey has been awesome. The reactions have been over-whelming. I never expected to see this kind of reaction. We were told that every centre, which was to host the show, was pretty much sold out except for the European leg because we haven't come there yet. But America is completely sold out. And all this is just so wonderful because when you get on to the stage and see the audiences reactions, you know that you are not performing for yourself but for them. This Tour is for the audiences and will always be.

First the unforgettable Sarkar Raj collections in the U.K and then this Tour. Looks like London's the hot-spot for the Bachchan's.
London is a wonderful city. A city that is very close to our hearts. We spent a lot of time there as a family during holidays, we've done a lot of work over there and we're very glad that we're going to be coming to London in August. One thing I've been saying to the members of the media that London is definitely going to be the biggest and the best. So we're saving that for the last.

And what else are you doing in your spare time?
Well, there isn't much spare time because of the nature of the Tour. The minute you reach a new destination, you first get into all this media and promotional activities after which it's just down to rehearsals. But it's also important for you to know that nobody is taking this Tour lightly. Everybody is working very hard to put up the best show. We do realize that it is a demanding schedule but the endeavor was to put up the biggest and the best show that we could possibly do and I believe we've got such a show on our hands.

Could you recall one unforgettable incident from your Tour so far?

I think that was when the first time I came on stage in Toronto, the minute the lights come on, I just went blank. I forgot everything and I had to pass through the audience. I froze because the audience was all around and they were jumping around trying to reach out and touch me and shouting slogans. I was totally blanked out. Then finally, my manager Mambo Sharma, who was also from the U.K pulled me and said, "Come on bro, you're on stage, move it". And I replied, "Wait a second. Let me enjoy this a bit more." But it was truly unforgettable. And the unforgettable moment was that I forgot everything.

Mr. Bachchan on his blog stated that Trinidad is like a homecoming for you guys. When you were a five year old, you performed along side your dad on stage for the first time in Trinidad. So how far did that memory go?
Dad used to do a track from his earlier film, Mr. Natwarlal, called, 'Mere paas aao mere dosto' in which he brought my sister and me on to the stage to introduce us to the audience. Now that's a good 25 to 27 years ago. So it was wonderful to go back to Trinidad and win the place in the audiences hearts where we had been before for such shows.

Every Bollywood actor would once dream of dancing with Madhuri Dixit. Any plan?

I have plans of dancing with Madhuriji on the stage in L.A tomorrow night. So the plan is working.

For the first time while working, the Bachchans won't be missing each other. But do you miss the hot Indian food?
No. Wizcraft made sure that wherever we travel, we were very well fed with our Indian ghar ka khaana. Can't miss that for sure!

We are also hearing rumors that Amsterdam isn't going to be the last city where you guys will be wrapping the Tour on the August 29. What else is up the sleeve?
Well, currently there are talks to do another show in Dusseldorf in Germany as they have requested us to do the show there. Plus, the second leg does start post September which will be in the Middle East, Far East and Australia and then we move on to Africa. So the Unforgettable Tour will be continuing. The exact dates though are not confirmed yet.

Everyone is talking about Big B, Abhi and Ash on the stage together. The family is incomplete without Jayaji. Is she going to shake a leg too?
She is on the Tour with us and she will be coming on stage and perform with us. You have to wait and see what song we perform on. Can't tell you now.

After performing some hot numbers on stage in hot locales, how do you plan to cool yourself down after all this tiring schedule?
To be very honest, when you're out there in the audience, you don't think about the heat or the exertion. Their love and support just carries you through every hurdle. You can't think of cooling yourself down. On my part, the minute this Tour gets over, I'll be back in Mumbai finishing my film Dostana and getting ready to release Drona which releases on October 2.

How's the response of the Drona trailer been? Any news?
It's a teaser trailer and the first look into the film Drona. The response has been really huge. On the Drona website,, the response has been fantastic. Even in the kind of fan mail I'm getting, people are loving the trailer which is great because we've worked hard on it and it's wonderful to see the audience liking the work we've done.

We've also seen couple of exclusive pictures of you, John and Priyanka from Miami while filming Dostana. It's all looking great. Now that you're in the U.S, does it bring back the Dostana days?
Well yeah. I was in Miami not too long ago shooting Dostana. We transited through Miami on our way to Trinidad and Tobago. It does bring back those good days.

Any last message for your fans who are going to see you next month performing in London?
To the audiences in London, we are willing to meet you all. We will hopefully make an unforgettable evening for you. It's a wonderful show and you can be rest assured of a lot of entertainment and a lot of variety. I'm really looking forward to perform at the O2 arena. Love you all.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

"I have a sense of rhythm. I used to dance when I was in theatre. I've done a semi classical dancing course" - Manoj Bajpai chats with Devansh Patel

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

Although he may disagree, it's no fluke that Manoj Bajpais' CV is stacked with real-life figures, including some of the most towering names like Bheeku Mhatre, Samar Pratap Singh, Raghavan, Babu and Swami. Manoj is a submersive chameleon whose own subtle, taciturn personality allows him to vanish under the skin of the person he's playing. Nor is it a coincidence that Bajpais' most renowned, iconic role – Bheeku Mhatre – is a blood-curdling sophisticate, able to charm and seduce but flip the switch in a millisecond to unleash the rage-fuelled currents underneath. Off screen, Manoj is a mellow, soft-spoken presence, pretty unusual huh? But these days, he's content to mix it up professionally between the ones he does for quality (the upcoming Money Hai Toh Honey Hai), the ones he does for the bank balance (all his films) and the ones he does for friends (Sanjay Gupta's, Acid Factory), and if meeting this actor in flesh is a rare privilege, over the phone is even more exclusive because he hardly ever does interviews. Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel gets this rare exclusive of an actor who winches his films up several notches with performances that packs in charm, determination, eccentricity and humour.

Your career has not only given you an oppurtunity to be a part of successful films but all the roles you've done so far in Tamanna, Satya, Shool, Kaun, Aks, Pinjar and Swami will be most remembered for Manoj Bajpai's versatility. Any comments?
This has been a very conscious effort in choosing the films that I wanted to do and these were the kind of films I always wanted to do as an actor. Versatility is just a word but eventually what counts is the effort and the choices you make.

Money Hai Toh Honey Hai is your first role where you are seen doing full fledged comedy from frame one and what a U turn for Ganesh too. Was that a really difficult choice for both of you?
It wasn't a difficult choice for Ganesh but because of his conviction in me and the film, I agreed to do this film. Our friendship started with Swami and he always wanted to make Swami as his first film and after that Ganesh felt very emotional about me being in Money Hai Toh Honey Hai and I just went by the flow. For me, this wasn't a difficult decision.

You are the senior most actor in MHTHH. Does that make the film extra special?
It's a unique film because of so many other factors. It's Ganesh's way of making a comedy film, it's completely different from all the other comedy films being churned out from the industry, MHTHH's comedy is just not senseless, it's not just slapstick but the films comedy comes more from the characters and their circumstances. MHTHH's comedy is the struggle of these five losers who want to do something with their life.

Are you trying to say that MHTHH is going to give out a meaningful message?
Yes. It brings out a message that together you can win the world.

Did you go through any research or study for your role because you haven't done any physical comedy before?
Ganesh did not give me enough time to prepare for this role. This role came to me in Novemver 2007 and the crew were about to leave for Mauritius. I was nursing my shoulder injury and was in no physical condition to accept any role. I did not work for the entire 2007. Somehow Ganesh wanted me to be a part of MHTHH and he dragged me out of my bed and the next thing I knew was I was flying to Mauritius.

We've also heard recently that your best pal Sanjay Gupta is praising you left right and centre for your look in his next film Acid Factory.
This look has happened because we wanted to do something drastically different with my character. It is not something that is a part of our imagination but it has a lot to do with the character also. My role is very child like, loyal and quite unpredictable. Sanjay Gupta is somebody who is hell bent on giving me such a kind of role. His conviction for me is hundred percent and I'm just going by his conviction and vision.

I've already asked this question to Hansika bu it now gets pass on to you. What were your reactions when you saw Hansika, the same small girl with whom you acted in 'Jaago' nearly three years ago?
Wow! Hansika was playing Raveena's daughter in the film Jaago. But the first time I saw her as a kid I knew that she would grow into a heroine. I somehow could see that in her behaviour on and off the sets. Even though she was just a 13 year old girl, she wanted to do very well in her career. This is just the begining. She is talented, ambitious and wants to grow big fast.

Actors turn directors, choreographers turn directors too. Who else is left to take on direction? Isn't all this becoming a trend now?
All this is a natural progression. You can't stop it. Farah Khan and Ahmed Khan turned to direction. These people are always dealing with the camera angle and the choreography is the part of the story line. All these people are experts when it comes to techniques and portraying emotions. So if you go by Ganesh's first film, all the things I've just said would make sense. There are no set rules for direction.

The name Manoj Bajpai is associated with quality cinema. Is that what we will see from Manoj Bajpai in the future as well?
Definitely. I am made in such a way that I don't like many of the offers that come by and it becomes very difficult for me to work for 365 days a year. You can call me a lazy or a choosy person, however it may suit you, but I have never given more than three releases in one year. Last year it was 1971, Swami and Dus Kahaniyaan. This year you will see me in two films, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai and Acid Factory.

Brief us a bit about your interactions with your co-stars in MHTHH and who do you think will steal both, Honey and Money by the end of the film?
Govinda is a super star. Both of us got along very well with each other. Both admire each others work so the chemistry was evident on the sets and will be evident on the screens too. I know Aftab since his Mast days and a versatile actor. MHTHH will prove it yet again. Celina is a fantastic person and very obedient. Hansika, as I said is a very talented, hard working and an ambitious girl. But what is going to surprise people is Upen Patel's track 'Awara' in the film. Ganesh's choice of Upen works wonders in the track and then Govinda takes it to another level.

So how far do you think these new comers can go? You are a senior, veteran and a vastly experienced actor. Do you give any advice to freshers like Upen and Hansika?
I try to create an atmosphere which is congenial and comfortable for them. It's helping them in a way but you can call it a bit selfish too. I want my scene to be fantastic and if the actor is a new comer who is nervous, that will not help me in any way. So I have to make things very comfortable for them.

Can you recall any funny moment while filming this funny movie?
When you're doing a comedy film, each and every moment becomes very funny because all of us were making each other laugh. I remember a moment when Govinda and myself couldn't stop laughing and it became very difficult for Ganesh Acharya to start the shoot. The moment he said 'Action', we would fall down laughing.

From all the films you've done so far, I'd rate Tamanna, Satya and Shool as your best three. What about you?
Pinjar and Aks are my favourites and also 1971. I think it somewhere tops the list. According to so many army people, it is the best army film ever made. That was the biggest compliment which came to us. 1971 didn't boast of a great star cast but it did boast of great quality.

What's important for you - box office success or critical acclaim?
Most of the actors in our industry don't care about the critics. Critics, I think, are the people most unaware of the making and process of any film. They are intoxicated by the power of the pen. They have their own agenda's. A little bit of box office matters so that you have the freedom to choose and work the way you want to work but at the end of the day what's important is that if the quality of cinema fails, you fail. One Friday the box office success is there and the other Friday it's gone.

Describe your role in this film.
I play a loser whose name is Lalabhai Bhadoriya. He is from U.P. He is somebody who wants to become a millionaire over night and wants to start his own business. But at the same time, he is the biggest optimist in the world. He doesn't consider any crisis as crisis but for him it's the experience that counts. Bhadoriya hates manupulation and that is why my character and Govinda's is always at loggerheads.

How did you manage to shake a leg Manoj?
It's not difficult at all. I have a sense of rhythm. I used to dance when I was in theatre. I've done a semi classical dancing course. So everything is there. I don't dance unnecessarily. If it is required, I'll do it and make sure that it's not me who is dancing but Bhadoriya.

Any message for your fans who are looking forward to see the talented Manoj Bajpai after a sabbatical?
I love my fans and just want to appeal to them that they should see quality films and support quality films. If they keep on supporting commercial films, only commercial films will be made. So quality will take a back seat. Love you all.

Friday, 18 July 2008

"I hope and pray that Mission Istanbul is much better than Shootout at Lokhandwala" Vivek Oberoi gets candid with Devansh Patel from the airport.

by Devansh Patel

What happens when you stop a Bollywood star who is just about to board an international flight? He'd say 'Sorry, not now'. But if the man in the picture is Vivek Oberoi, what then? I'm sure he'd remind you of Maya in Shootout and you'd rather not mess with him. Here, the story took a bit of a turn. Nicknamed Tiger and Rockstar by his friends and colleagues, Vivek Oberoi is on a high these days because his director thinks Mission Istanbul is his best work till date. Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel grabs the actor moments before he checks in to find out his comment on the quote, his bad and good guy image, his mission and lots more interesting answers to some hard hitting questions.

So, Maya is back after Shootout to complete his Mission. What say Vivek?
(laughs out loud) I like the way you put that. Very creatively done. Have you ever thought of dialogue writing? Actually, I am really excited. Maya was a big bad boy who ended the Shootout. Here the good guy is going to complete his Mission. Rizwan Khan lost his own family, his wife and his child to a bomb blast in Ankara. So he takes an oath that he will try and protect as many innocent lives he can from the dreaded terrorists. That's his mission, he is the hero and the good guy. But having said that, his attitude is a real bad one and that's what I love about him.

Gabbar Singhs famous dialogue 'Jo Darr Gaya, Samjho Mar Gaya' has been transformed by Apoorva Lakhia which reads 'Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai'. So who's right?
Gabbar Singh was a legend and the dialogue is history. You don't mess with legends. But as far as 'Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai' is concerned, it rocks for us. Rizwan Khan forgot to get introduced to fear. He is that kind of guy (laughs). There is a situation where Vikas Sagar, Zayed Khan's character, tells Rizwan Khan which is my character, "Wahan pe bees arm security guards hain yaar, andar kaise jaayenge?", to which Rizwan smiles casually and says, "Pahuncha doonga". And the next moment, they both are in. He breaks through everything and lands up killing the bad guys in the terrorist network. He is in the cold zone where 40 people are staring at him from their work desks and are shocked to see how this guy comes past. Rizwan then comes in and casually looks at all of them, loads his automatic weapon and questions, "Bahar jaaoge ya upar?"

Chiseled looks, bulging biceps and long hair is what we haven't seen much of from Mr Oberoi. What went into creating such a look?
Rizwan Khan is such a cool guy that in terms of the clothing, styling and everything was an extension of his personality. When I read the character itself it was so cool. I mean, he is the kind of guy who'll land up anywhere, anytime. That is precisely what Vikas Sagar tells him, "Rizwan Khan tum toh bhoot ho yaar, kahin se bhi aa jaate ho aur kahin se bhi nikal jaate ho." Anything that is impossible, he'll make it possible with a wink of an eye. One wanted someone who could physically also look like that. Rizwan Khan had to have this demeanour that we had never seen before. Dilshad who is my hair stylist, did my hair, and Falguni Thakore did the clothes and designed the entire look. On the other hand, Apoorva was working with both of them in tandom to create the entire image of Rizwan.

What went into your excercise regime? Did you have to build your six pack and then shoot the film?
The first thing that Apoorva narrated to me was a scene where Vikas Sagar is running through the grand bazaar with six guys after him to kill him. And just as you think that he is going to get killed any minute, in the nick of time, a guy comes from nowhere, grabs him and pins him up against the wall and takes care of the six baddies in thirty two seconds single handedly. Rizwan is that strong. Apoorva wanted me to be strong and think strong to act strong. So there was very little which went into my training, even though we actors have to stay fit. Here I had to stay extra fitter.

When I spoke to Apoorva last week, he said that he had Abhishek Bachchan in mind before he signed you for the role of Rizwan. Do you consider yourself lucky?
You know, it's been strange. I think many people don't know this but my first two films - Company and Saathiya both had Abhishek Bachchan in the lead. I got a break because Abhishek didn't do Compnay and then I got Saathiya for the same reason. Even in Apoorva's previous film Shootout, he had considered Abhishek to do a full fledged role but only managed a special appearance. So all this is rather quite interesting. People remember that Siaf Ali Khan did Hum Tum after I said no. I couldn't do that film. I think it's destiny for all of us. Someones lose is other persons gain.

We've seen you at your best in Company and Shootout. Inbetween, you have a bit of Masti as well. But then again you are on a Mission. Should we change your name to Versatile Oberoi?
Thank you so much. It's a very nice compliment. It actually goes with my initials too (laughs). There are many critics who tell me that I should stick to roles like in the two films you mentioned. Critics will always be critics but the point to remember for me everyday is that I'm a greedy actor and I like to do every kind of role whether it's action or comedy. Recently at the IIFA Awards in Bangkok I had twenty pretty girls apprehend me. They grab hold of me and told me that we are going to threaten the action hero. The point they conveyed to me was that if I didn't do another love story for them, I'd be in big trouble. They said, "We supported you through Shootout, we are supporting you through Mission Istanbul and are going to see it but it's time you do a love story". So yeah, I am doing different stuff now. I am excited. I'm doing a big film in South Africa with Tips and that's a huge solo hero film for me. After that I'm doing Karan Johar's film with Renzel DeSilva directing and writing it which stars Saif and Kareena in it. And there is this love story which I am doing and is being developed in the first quarter of next year. It's a very sweet, Saathiya kind of feel.

You will remember this interview as it's your last before you check in the immigration to go to South Africa. So who and where is the leading lady of the film?
Ahh! That's a big surprise.

This is your first film where you've performed some daring stunts all by yourself. Were you willing to take such a risk?
That's actually untrue. I've been performing stunts from my very first movie. Infact, I earned the nickname 'Tiger' because on my very first schedule in Kenya for the film Company, I was challenged to leap across from a six storey building to a five storey one. I went across the entire length of the road and landed on the other side. In Mission Istanbul too we are coming down from a 44 floor building. That was mad and insane but had to do it.

Does Mika's 'Apun ke saath' start from where 'Ganpat' ends?
Absolutely. It was always meant to be a follow up to Ganpat. Ganpat was such a rage and such a big sensation that we wanted to take it to the next level and promote Mission Istanbul. 'Apun Ke Saath' shows the attitude of Rizwan Khan.

I have to be a bit biased here Vivek. But what do you have to say about the young Gujarati boy Chirantan Bhatt who is just 21 years old and has given chartbuster hits like 'Mission Mission' and 'Nobody Like You'?
Oh my God dude, I didn't even know that Chiru's name is Chirantan Bhatt. We call him Chiru. But I'm really happy for Chiru and Hamza who has worked with him in both these songs. They have done a great job and very happy with not only the two songs you've mentioned but the entire album. I think, by far my favourite is 'Apun Ke Saath'. The kind of dynamics, lyrics and cool quality that Mika has come up with after Ganpat and the kind of response it got at the IIFA Bangkok is truly unbelievable. Everywhere I go now people associate me with this song.

One of the most cliched questions for you Vivek. How was the experience of working with Zayed Khan?
It was great man! All these guys were cool. They were fun to work with and we worked pretty hard, partied pretty hard too. All in all a great experience.

That's a short answer.
Well, that doesn't make it cliched, does it? (laughs)

Mission Istanbul is a film which will have its own target audience. Do you think the film will work in the overseas?
One never thought that Shootout would do very well in the overseas audience. But it did. In the Middle East, it did terrific business. The audiences mind sets are changing. They are accepting change. There are liking different kind of cinema. So we're hoping. Overseas has a big audience and are important for the success of our films. If Mission works in the overseas we all will be very happy.

Any plans of having a premiere in Istanbul?
Yeah. Apoorva always wanted that. I don't know how much of that is going to be possible. At the end of the day, one wants to have a big premiere in Mumbai and then fly off to Istanbul the very next moment. It's not as easy as it looks. If it happens it'll be exciting and awesome. But that really isn't my call. It's between Apoorva, Suniel Shetty and Balaji.

Besides filming, what were you upto in Istanbul?
We had a blast man. I mean, I am a complete party animal. When I get days off I love to club all the way through the morning. One of the other nick names that I've earned from college days is 'Rockstar'. That's not because I'm musically inclined in anyway. I can't play any musical instruments. If I party, I've got a golden rule. I don't come back before seeing the morning sun. You party all night, see the sun and then go home.

Aren't we going to see any romantic side of you in Mission Istanbul?
No man, not this time. You'll just have to wait a year more.

I know you have to check in now. But before I say Bon Voyage, one last question. Your director says that Mission Istanbul is going to be your best performance till date. What are the odds?
I am really excited about that statement. It's a really big statement to make. But I don't know. I've given my best, worked an entire year, I've not done anything else and focused only on Mission Istanbul. I hope what Apoorva says is true. He keeps telling me that. I haven't even seen the film yet but I have faith and belief in Apoorva.

Any message for your fans before you board your flight to South Africa?
A big Thank You straight from my heart. When I was not doing well in films, the one thing that kept me going was the belief in my fans and the support which they have shown for me. Every little 'I love you Vivek' which comes out from them makes you feel so special. My fans aren't just statistics for me, they are the ones who I am today and where I am.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Apoorva Lakhia gets on a mission in this exclusive interview about his latest action flick Mission Istanbul. Get ready for some action!

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Apoorva Lakhia is only four films old. For someone who started his career with a Bachchan and then making both Abhishek and Amitabh appear in his first three films is a revelation in itself. What's more, this bindaas director has again roped in Abhishek for a music video in his next release Mission Istanbul. That makes it four in a row. But it is surprising to see how this man of guts has never gone above the roof. In better words - never been over confident. He continues to make films which he believes in, gets inspired by noir subjects and most importantly, gives a chance to talented new comers to work in his films. Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel gets hold of Apporva Lakhia all the way from London as never heard before. Over to the man on a mission!

There have been many films based on terrorism and good guys saving the world. What makes Mission Istanbul different from the others?
Firstly, my film is not about good guys saving anyone, and my film is not about terrorism. It's about my character who is living in a world which is surrounded by terrorism and when we started getting the idea, we figured out that the most common thing connecting most countries in the world right now is terrorism and not love and peace. My character is travelling through times where all the real life terrorism acts are taking place. For example, 9/11, the Madrid blast, the London bombings and the Mumbai train blasts. We've got real life footage too just like we had in Shootout. All this makes Mission Istanbul very interesting and slightly realistic even though it's a fictional film.

After Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, your lucky mascot now seem to be Viveik Oberoi. Why not cast any of the Bachchans in an action film like this?
I had gone to Abhishek Bachchan with the script very initially at the first stage when I had come up with the idea of Mission Istanbul. But he was very busy and did not have the dates and I didn't want to wait. And I had asked him about the script when we were shooting for Shootout during his sequence. It isn't about any lucky mascot. It's just a question of Viveik and my chemistry was pretty good in Shootout and he did a fantastic performance. So what if Viveik has done action films in the past, he hasn't done anything like Mission Istanbul. I've also seen that in India, somehow the combination also works yaar! It's Apoorva Lakhia and Viveik Oberoi after Shootout At Lokhandwala. I didn't have the star cast like I did for Shootout. So each decision was carefully made here. We really got into Viveik's look and so the advantage was that we had a lot of time while he grew his hair and make his physique, etc.

But why go for a specific genre Apporva when you could have made a non violent film?
This script was actually ready before Shootout. I made a conscious decision after Ek Ajnabee was released. I'll tell you in a bit. Ek Ajnabee was a very good film. It did a decent business in India but the Press just killed it by saying that it's a rip off and a re make of Man on Fire and did not give enough credit. So I decided never to make a remake again in my life. Even when Sanjay Gupta called me to work for his company, he offered me 'Four Brothers' to remake which I refused to do. That's how Shootout came along. But in the Economic Times, I had read an article stating that what would happen to the world economy if Osama Bin Laden was dead? It was like living in Utopia where there is no terrorism. It's like a John Lennon's song 'Imagine'. I have a little book which I keep with me at all times where if I read something interestinf from a mag or any newspaper, I cut it out and put in my book. Overall, to sum up your question, I am an action buff.

When it comes to action, the overseas audiences prefer Hollywood films. For Mission Istanbul, did you have a specific target audience?
See bro, I know from the very begining that I am never going to give a blockbuster like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, etc in my life. I know that and my producers know that. My film will make about 300 to 320 prints compared to Yash Raj or a Karan Johar film which will come out with 1000 prints. I like the cinema I make and no disrespect to anybody else because they make good film too. I am only three film old and learning to be a good director. I like the grey side of life rather than the beautiful side of life. I want my characters to be dark and grey. I like the pace of my film to be relentless. So these are the things I like doing. If my target audience is like me, they'll go and watch Mission Istanbul.

We've seen Zayed Khan deliver just one big hit of his career in the form of 'Main Hoon Na'. Why cast him?
That's an interesting question. Firstly I did not know Zayed at all. And what I needed in this film was a young guy who was willing to give me a hundred percent and would mature during the film. I first went to Zayed for a guest appearance which Suniel Shetty is doing now. So when I first met him he said that the script is fantastic and it's good of you to come and meet me. He further added that he was at such a stage in life that he could not do guest appearances because he finally wanted to take life seriously. That was Zayed Khan for me - noble and honest. So when he said no and my dates with Bobby Deol didn't work out, I just saw that lets give Zayed a shot. One things sure bro, if Mission Istanbul works or doesn't, this would be Zayed's best ever performance till date.

Why don't we see a well known or an established female lead in any of your films?
My films are very male dominated. If you look at the economics side of things we donot necessarily need an established actress. If I get a big heroine, I'll have to pay her 2 to 3 crores which would not be worth it for an Apoorva Lakhia fim. Mission Istanbul is a film with smaller actors but I had to keep my budget in mind because the film was much bigger. Suniel Shetty has been kind enough to give 24 crores to spend on a Zayed-Viveik film which no other producer would do.

Tell me why Shreya Saran and debutant Shweta Bharadwaj?
I selected Shreya Saran was because I wanted a very beautiful Indian face to have the Indianess in my film. When I began casting, Shivaji was released and I saw her in that. She was mind blowing. The second thing is that though she has done a couple of Hindi films in the recent past, Mission Istanbul would almost be her debut in Hindi cinema. In South, she is a big star but in Mumbai, no one knows her. As far as the other girl, Shreya Bharadwaj was concerned, we needed a girl who would give us 45 days before the start of the film to train in action and how t drive a car because she has a terrific action packed role and that we could not get from any well known actress because they were not willing to give us those crucial days.

Let's talk about Mika Singh. You now seem to have found your Ganpat in Mission Istanbul?
Mika is a very good friend of mine. I got him onto Shootout and we recorded Ganpat by fluke. The story of Ganpat is that we were recording the song by Euphoria 'Hey Maa'. Mika was sitting in the next studio and within a few minutes he came up with this song, Ganpat, which we recorded right there. In Mission Istanbul, he has done this song, 'Apun ke saath jo bhi ladega, sar saale ka wahi phutega'. It's not only a Apoorva - Mika combination coming together but also Viveik - Mika once more after Shootout. In India, the song is a big hit and we released it one week before Abhishek's 'Nobody like you'.

You are also well known for launching new faces. Tell us a bit about the he-man Nikitin Dheer.
I wanted to go out of the box this time around. I wanted a guy who could be the Rupert Murdoch, this media tycoon, but not play his age. Nikitin Dheer is like Rupert Murdoch's son. He owns this huge media empire called the Al-Johara news channel which is spread all over the world. He is harvard educated, spoilt and over confident. He is six-four height, looks like an army tank and when he takes his shirt off, he can blow anyone apart. He can raise his leg over my feet and I am six feet tall. Now you tell me, how can I let this guy not act in my film. It was a little bit of a risk working with so many new comers. There was an article which was published in DNA which said that I was only three films old but have given a break to eight people. I have given a break to my background artisit Amar Mohile, my editor in two films, my costume designer, my DOP and my actors. I started as an assistant and I like to trust everyone who works with me. 'Mission Mission' song and Abhishek's 'Nobody' song has been done by a 22 year old first time music director. His name is Chirantan Bhatt who is a little gujju kid. He used to come to my office everyday and tell me to listen to his music. I ignored him five times and when one day I was smoking outside, I made him and another guy Hamza sing. They blew my mind up dude! I went to his small house in Juhu where he lives with his mother. We jammed from 1 till 2 in the morning and came up with these two songs. So you know, you have to give such guys a chance and if it has worked for me, it'll definitely work for others.

Does Mission Istanbul give out any social message?
There is no message given out in Mission Istanbul. Even in Shootout, there is no message. It is left for the public after Dia Mirza's last monologue. The public should decide who is good and who is bad. I could have taken the police's side or the bad guy's side. Thus in Shootout, both of them were heroes and both of them were villians. In Mission Istanbul, I've not said whether terrorism is good because I truly believe that someone's terror is someone else's war. I haven't educated myself to give a judgement whether it's good or bad. I'm too young to give a judgement.

Did you ever come up with this idea that Mission Istanbul could have been a film with no songs in it?
Mission Istanbul could have been there with no songs in it....but you have to realise once again that I am making a movie with Zayed Khan, Viveik Oberoi, Nikitin Dheer, Shabbir Ahluwalia and two new girls for which I am spendin 24 crores. So I have to keep the songs because the revenue which comes to around 3 to 5 crores is very important to my producers. I would rather make a film without songs but sometimes you have to give and take. I am not Raj Kumar Santoshi or Ram Gopal Varma where I can tell someone 'nahi chahiye yaar!'. Suniel Shetty explained me that if you have an action film which is not the hottest genre in the overseas market, but if you have an action film supported with good music, that is an advantage to you. Touchwood, it is working out the same way as Suniel described. My title song has been on the number one for almost two weeks and the romantic number is also doing well as it's on seven right now.

We have seen your buddy Abhishek doing a guest appearance in Shootout and in Mission too he has done a special music video 'Nobody like you' for you. So the baby is here, where's the daddy, Mr Bachchan senior?
Mission is the only film of mine where we were trying to fit Amitji in some scene or the other but it didn't really work out. Abhishek is as good as Mr Bachchan. I've made a friend for life after 'Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost'. Abhi's song is very good. He hasn't been dancing ever since he got married so it's another great thing yaar (laughs).

Mission Istanbul is an action packed film but are we going to see any special effects in it?
You will see bits and pieces of computer graphics but there are no special effects in Mission Istanbul. All the stunts are done by my actors, including jumping from a building on to a helicopter, then jumping down from the helicopter in to -20 degree freezing in middle of December when the water was frozen, etc. When you see the film, you will see nothing but close up's of the actors doing it.

Out of all the four babies (read 'films') you've directed, which one is your best?
Obviously the baby whom I'm close to is 'Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost', even though it tanked. But I have no regrets. After that, all my other films are close to me. But Mission Istanbul is the only one which is making me nervous right now. I have never been so nervous in my life.

And can you tell us the reason for your nervousness?
Firstly I don't want people to think that Shootout was a fluke. Secondly, I want to be established in the film industry as a serious film maker or someone who takes his job very seriously besides the way I look and my tattoos too. And thirdly because I feel indebted to Suniel Shetty because he was the one person who stood up for me when the whole Sanjay Gupta thing happened. He has the confidence in me to tell me that this is the star cast we hbeen made ave, this is the budget you require, go and shoot it yaar, forget reducing there and here. I think this kind of a movie with such a star cast should have been made with Rs 17 crores. Suneil and Ekta Kapoor have surpassed that figure. So both have been a great support. I am also doing another film with them called 'Generation X' which is worth 65 crores. It is going to kick off in July or August next year which we are shooting in China, Korea, Miami and Australia.

Why should one go and watch Mission Istanbul?
Because it is new age, modern, fast paced and a relentless thriller.

Any message for your fans who loved Shootout and loved Ganpat?
I don't know if I have too many fans. But if there any, I'd say that as an honest director, personally I think Mission Istanbul is better than Shootout.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Riteish Deshmukh on his big plans in London, his female fans, his dance moves, his spiked hair style and wiked costumes for The Unforgettable Tour

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

It is not very often that you see Riteish Deshmukh give interviews and not crack a joke, and the reason is that when he gave this exclusive he was down with a viral infection, cold and flu. But as promised, he did not turn his back like many others and came to promote his first world wide tour, The Unforgettable Tour, along with his fellow co-stars, the Bachchans and Preity Zinta in Mumbai last Friday. One of the very few bankable stars of today, this actor has a habit of delivering his best even when he is at his worst, be it on the big screen, live on the stage or in this quick chat with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel.

What happened to your voice? It's sounding a bit hoarse?
I'm not well yaar! Down with a viral and shooting, rehearsals and no time to rest.

Anyway, then let's quickly finish this interview. Don't you feel that you are the odd one out from all your colleagues? Will you be providing that added masti in the tour?
Odd one out, I don't know. But it's a good mixture right from the senior stars like Amitabh Bachchan, to younger stars like Abhishek and me and you have immense popularity of Aishwarya Rai all over and Preity Zinta who has been around for a long time now. So you can say I'm the odd one out because I'm the youngest. But overall, it should be fun because the kind of songs I'm going to perform are also the kind of image I have.

Are you going to start off the tour by dancing on Bluffmaster's 'bure bure hum hum hum shaitan, zaara zaara bachna re humse'?
(laughs). Wow! That's a good suggestion. But I am sure if I'll be doing this number, I'll put in as much of enthusiasm as I can.

As an actor, you've played more mischief than any of your co-stars have, except Mr Bachchan, but are we going to see some serious moves this time around?
You know, I'm trying to do different stuff where primarily I'm doing Aladin which is not a comedy. Then I move on to a more romantic side of me after my first film. So trying to venture out in romance after a long time. And comedies will keep on being an integral part of my career. As far as the tour is concerned, I am going to be seriously different. Wait and watch!

From the entire Unforgettablt gang, you've only managed to shake a leg with Abhishek Bachchan. Tell us something about this bluffmaster. How good is he?
He is just fantastic. He has got his own style. The Abhishek fan following that started since 'Dus Bahane' and 'Right Here Right Now' was because he brought in that coolness which no other actor got in Hindi films. This good looking, tall guy rapping songs and having great screen presence became a cult. Then he goes mad on the stage and I'm looking forward to this madness.

How difficult was it to train under the perfectionist called Shiamak Davar?
You are right. Shiamak is a perfectionist. The best part about it is that he designs songs for the actors and he knows. He won't give a difficult step but steps that will look good on the actor. You have to see it to believe it. He likes doing different things everytime he is on stage with his actors and The Unforgettable Tour will prove exactly that.

Are you going to spike your hair? And what sort of different and funny costumes we are going to see you in?
Loads of costumes yaar! My designer for this tour is Shiraz. Stage costumes are very different. There is not going to be a normal shirt. There'll be shine and glitter and you'll not dare think of wearing such costumes out on the road. As far as my hair is concerned, I'll be definitely spiking my hair and doing all sorts of different hair styles, cutting my hair and colouring it. Plus, for 45 days, I'm not committed for any films I've signed and thus I'm not bothered about my hairdo.

You were last seen in London at the Zee Cine Awards 2008 which took place at the Excel Docklands. O2 centre is ten times bigger than Excel Docklands. Having said that, only Elton John and Madonna have managed to fill up the arena so far. Will this tour achieve the impossible?
As I said, I'm the new one here. This is my first world wide tour. I had no idea about how big the arena was and we were not informed about that, how was it going to be filled up, etc. I'm sure Wizcraft must have come up with some sort of planning regarding that. I'm just glad to be performing where famous international celebrities have performed before.

Are you going to perform solo on the stage or will it be with other stars?Ofcourse I am going to perform solo on stage. My entire first act is a solo act with all the songs from the films I've been a part of. There are only portions of me where I come in contact with other actors. So it's a great mix.

Which song would you prefer dancing to alone on stage?
Lots of yaar! There are songs from Cash, Heyy Babyy, songs like 'Dil Mein Bajee Guitar', etc.

Do you feel proud of the fact that you are a part of this tour or do you feel like you are just a part of it?
As a child, I never thought that I'd be an actor. Now that was past. I am here in front of you and that is the present. Being an actor and then going on a world tour is another unbelievable thing and then being a part of the tour that is headed by Mr Amitabh Bachchan and friends like Abhishek, Aishwarya, Preity and Akshay with whom I'vw worked in my last film Heyy Babyy is another. Then there is Madhuri Dixit. What can I say about her? I have been a huge fan of her since I was a kid and used to have a huge crush on her. So as the title suggests, all this is going to be just Unforgettable. And to answer your question, I do feel proud.

Your female fans will be desperate to see you perform and act on stage. But will you reciprocate to them by singing and dancing to 'Ae Chori, zara nachke dikha' from Cash?
(laughs) Ofcourse, I'd love to start off by saying that. That's going to be one of the songs I'm performing on. Look out girls!

You've travelled to many cities around the world with your films. Where are you most looking forward to perform?
I think, London. London for sure because it's a place where there are not only lots of Indians but even non Indian people in the form of Bangladeshi's and Pakistani's who love our films and songs and give us their undying love and support. I've performed once in London with Salman and Shahrukh. Obviously, the crowd came to see SRK and Salman but to be a part and feel the response was truly great. That was a few years ago. But as you said that O2 centre is ten times bigger, I hope this show too is ten times bigger than all the shows taken place there.

Any message for all your London fans then?
Well, all I can say is, get ready for full on dhamaal and masti.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

"I embarrassed Shahid Kapoor" - Vidya Balan

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

The term 'meteoric' and 'kismat' are often used to describe the career paths of film actors. It's usually inaccurate, ignoring a plethora of dodgy TV shows and unwatchable movies made while the subject gradually and painfully learned their craft. With Vidya Balan though, meteoric and kismat are absolutely on the nail. Within a mere three years of her feature debut Parineeta, she has now become one of the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood. More importantly perhaps, she is already one of the most compelling, convincing and adaptable actors around. In this exclusively long chat with Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel, Vidya recalls her past with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, her present with Aziz Mirza, her future with Shahid Kapur and ofcourse, lots more about Kismat Konnection.

Out of all the films you've done so far, your funny role has never been portrayed in any films inspite of you being a part of few. Will Kismat Konnection change that?
I see Kismat Konnection as a love story and not as a comedy. So for me, I think I still haven't got a chance to explore the funny side of me in the films I've done. But as a love story, I still think that it's different for me because it's a very light hearted film and not emotinally high on content. It's a very breezy, young and a vibrant love story and it's still different from what I've done so far.

You're just three years old in Bollywood and you've done - so far so good. Does it seem like thirty years?
(laughs) Definitely not. I still feel like a new comer. I've got a good kismat of working with a lot of very experienced and well established people. But I am still wonder struck by a lot of things in the industry. So I still feel like a novice and I have a long way to go before I can feel that I've spent thirty years here.

Your first three films were with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Anything on the cards with him in the near future?
I'd love to because my first three films, as you mentioned, were with Vinod Chopra Productions and that in sense is like a home ground for me. I know that whenever Mr Chopra thinks that he has something suitable for me, he'll call me. But there is no expectation from either side that I have to be a part of his every project. I know that when there is something for me, I will get that call.

We've seen your scary side and a scary dance by Monjulika in Bhool Bhulaiyaa. What surprise moves are instored for us in Kismat Konnection?(laughs) The first thing I told myself was that I have to forget that I am going to be dancing with Shahid Kapur because he is such a brilliant dancer. That took the pressure off me. You can't imagine matching steps with the likes of Shahid and Hrithik ever. But it was something new for me to do and I haven't danced like this before. I was actually enjoying myself. I'm hoping it's turned out well.

We haven't seen Vidya Balan wearing too much of western outfits in films except Heyy Babyy. Is Vidya sexy or beautiful?
Both. But as I recently quoted during my Filmfare July launch, sexyness lies in my eyes. The sexiest women have always had their sex appeal in the eyes. It does not matter what you're wearing or how much you are showing.

Tell us something more about Kismat Konnection which the audiences don't know.
I don't know whether this is something that I've shared or not. But when I initially started with Kismat Konnection, it was a new unit for me like every film unit is. But normally what happens before you go abroad for a shoot, you generally do a short schedule in India and then you go off on a long schedule. But here we were directly thrown into Toronto for two month outdoor and I had no clue about how I was going to get along with the rest of the team. For me, it's very important that I get along well with everyone first. I love listening to music. I had my I-Pod plugged in, inbetween shots because I wasn't sure how I would get along. And by second or third day, everyone had their I-Pods out and we started exchanging our I-Pods and sharing the music we were listening to. So music helped all of us bond on the sets.

So tell us your funny experience while taking the autograph of your favourite actor Shahid Kapur.
(Laughs) You know Shahid is a slightly shy person. He is someone who keeps to himself a lot. He was sitting in one corner of the set. It was the first day of our shoot. We had a scene which needed a certain familiarity between us. So we were just rehearsing it and I realised that in getting the scene right we first had to get a bit familiar with each other which would have eventually helped us in the long two month schedule. When I went to him and asked for his autograph, he was completely taken by surprise. I don't think anyone has done something like this to him before. He kept running away and saying that I was embarrassing him. Next, he went upto Aziz uncle. But I was relentless and I did not give up till he gave me his autograph. Trust me, I'm going to sell his autograph and make fortunes (laugh).

Do you believe in Kismat or do you believe in hardwork?
I believe that we are all given oppurtunities and we have to make the best out of them. But those oppurtunities are pre-destined. What we make of them then depends on us. Thus it's a combination of both.

So it's the combination of both which has brought you so far?
Yes. To be at the right place at the right time is really pre-destined for me.

I'm not playing a rank game here, but all the films you've done are with A-list stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, etc. Here, all of a sudden comes this vibrant and full of energy Shahid Kapur. Did you at all feel that you should back off because Shahid is a part of it?
Primarily my decision to do or not to do a film depends on the story, my role and the director. The only reason for me doing the film was Aziz Mirza because I always wanted to work with him. I believe in his kind of films. And besides that it had a Shahid Kapur who we've all known as a good actor. Every actor takes a certain amount of time to come into his own and Shahid is just doing that. Post Jab We Met, he has become quite a rock star from all that I've been hearing from everyone. I didn't think twice because it was Shahid Kapur. So, if anything works out in the future with Shahid, I'd love to work with him again.

'Mauja hi Mauja' was one of the best numbers to come out in 2007. Now we've got 'Ai Pappi', a perfect hip-hop and happening number.
'Ai Pappi' is a very very cool song. It's a kind of song that you just groove to so easily which explains why it's on the top of the charts right now. Soon as we heard the song, all of us instantly loved it and believe it or not but I wasn't going to be a part of the song initially. In the song, Shahid actually talks about Kismat Konnection but when we heard the song, we realised that it was probably going to be such a popular song that they would be mad not to have a heroine in the song which is why you will be seeing me in the glimpses of the song. I was an addition to 'Ai Pappi'. After the choregrapher heard it, he said that Vidya has to be a part of it. Thanks to Ahmed Khan that I'm a part of it, even if it's a glimpse because everything counts. Isn't it?

In Bollywood, seven in every ten films are love stories. What makes Kismat Konnection not a cliched one?
I wouldn't say that Kismat Konnection is a different film. It's an honest Aziz Mirza film just like his previous films. Love stories will always be cliched because they are about two people who are in love, there is a certain situation which they have to overcome to be together, etc. That's the structure of any love story and that ofcourse is true of Kismat Konnection. What really makes any film different from another film is the treatment of the moments captured and Aziz Mirza's strenght lies in these moments. He makes the real moments special. Even in our lives today we are so caught up with the bigger things that we often over look the small pleasures of life. That's the beauty of Kismat Konnection.

We've also noticed that you are not one of those actors who go on a signing spree with films left, right and centre. You are taking it easy. Is that a deliberate move?
No not really. I just have to connect with the work I'm doing. So tomorrow if I get four films which I'm able to do, I'll go for it because as an actor I would want to work in as many films I can. But it's just that I have to believe in the work I'm doing. If I'm able to do that, I am happy to do even six films a year. I can't multi task though so it has to be one after the other. And you know what....I am a greedy actor.

All the films you've been a part of have won at least one award at major Bollywood award ceremonies. You've touched Kismat Konnection now. More awards to follow in 2009?
Inshallah! if that has any bearing I hope (laughs) it holds to with Kismat Konnection also. I believe that Kismat Konnection will bring with it its own kismat. I hope people like the film and beyond that, awards are just the perfect icing on the cake.

We saw the first ever blue ray disc of your film Heyy Babyy which came out a few months ago. Did you give any suggestions to Aziz Mirza to come out with one for his film?
I think, releasing Kismat Konnection on a dvd is a far better diea than a blue ray disc because firstly it is very expensive to afford a blue ray and you need to have a HD T.V with a blue ray player. Now a days, dvd's are far more accessible and everybody can afford them. So releasing the film on a dvd at this point of time is more economical.

Some sections of the media say that you are sharing a special relationship with Shahid. Is this the real connection or the rumored connection?
I think people are really using their imaginations in a really wild way. But now I'm quite used to it. It's a great onscreen rapport that we shared but beyond that we just got along really well with each other and that was about it. If people want to read what they want to, they can. I'm here to build a career and not some relationship.

Does that mean you'll let the people and the media know once you come out in the open with your relationship someday with someone?
I'm not the kind of person who will scream from the roof tops. But I'm not someone who will keep a relationship obscure either because I think it is very important for one to be able to acknowledge the other person. I'm not the kind of person to hide any relationship. I don't feel the need to. If I was with someone, I'd be celebrating it.

Vidya means education. Any thing the viewers will get educated by from the film?
Primarily Kismat Konnection goes beyond a love story. It has an inherent message without being preachy that in life, the best always comes to you and you are not always able to see that which is why we keep saying - It's destiny. Whether it's work or personal relationships, when certain things don't work out, they are sometimes the best for you and maybe something better is instore. Only time can prove that. That's the small message that Kismat carries.

Any message for your fans in London?
London is a very special city for all us actors in Bollywood because the kind of warmth and love you receive from audiences in London is incomparable to any of the other NRI audiences. Please go and watch Kismat Konnection because it will put a smile on your face.

We heard that you guys are planning to do a premiere here in London?
We were hoping to come to London during the time of release but for some reason it hasn't worked out. I'd love to come there but India has now become a huge market for promotions with reality shows, music shows, talent shows, etc. So commitments here will be our first priority.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Only 17 and she's got it all...she's as sweet as Honey, she has got the money and the film 'Money Hain Toh Honey Hain'.

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

For any seventeen year old, to star as a leading actress in a Hindi film can only be a distant dream today. But for Hansika, it was never going to be difficult. After seeing her on television and a few films as a child artist a few years ago, now, Hansika is barely recognizable. In the past few years, however, she seems to have turned things around, making better personal and professional choices, if getting a bit of weight to put on. Ever since her childhood days, Hansika has lived her whole life in the limelight, be it television or cinema. And now as she sets her sights on some serious acting, and not so serious in Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel finds out how this lazy child turned out to be so proactive, sheer professional and not to be messed around with in this exclusive and an interesting chat.

Now that you've grown up from a small cute little girl of small screen to a leading lady of Bollywood films, how would you describe your journey so far?
I'd describe my journey in a very positive way and a lucky manner. As a child artist, I was very lucky that I got to do big small screen serials. But there is always time to move ahead especially when you grow up. I was in the 9th standard when I left television because my 10th board exams needed me to study very hard. In that process, I grew up and while I was in my 11th standard, I got to do my first film with Himesh Reshammiya, Aap Ka Suroor. So the journey for me has just begun. Wait and watch, there's a long way to go.

Aap Ka Suroor was a very serious film but your second big release Money Hai Toh Honey Hai seem to be a complete transition from a serious role to a funny one. Do you associate at all with the character you're portraying in this film?
Of course yes. This is the closest character I can come to with to my real life because I play a role of Ashima Kapoor who is the best and the top most actress of small screen and how she wants to become even bigger in the world of Bollywood. She finally gets the big break but only gets roles of saas and bahu types because of her small screen success. It's really funny. You will see me at my best in Money Hai Toh Honey Hai.

Why leave the small screen when you could have grown bigger and better in television?
It was never about growing bigger or better. It was about making the right decisions. My mom had already told me to concentrate more on my studies and complete my 10th boards and then again think of pursuing my career. It makes a lot of difference if you are educated. I have no regrets quitting small screen because I cherish every bit of my time I had dedicated to the television for three whole years.

You played a small girl in the film Jaago which also starred Manoj Bajpai. What was his reaction when he saw you all grown up to become a lead actress opposite Govinda?
His mouth was wide open and he was zapped. He said, "Is it you Hansika?". And I said, "Yea Manoj sir, it's the same me." Manoj sir is a brilliant actor and has matured over the years and so have I. But he treated me in the same way and manner as he treats his other co-actors and gave me the same space as others. I was really touched by his gestures. He is simply great and not many know that he can do excellent comedy.

Now let's talk about Govinda. What was it like to work with Indian Film Industry's one of the finest and the best dancers and comic talents?
He is a gem of a person and a complete gentleman. I am very fortunate to have got my second film with such an experienced and a good co-artist. He has actually helped me a lot to grow as an actor too. Chi Chi sir is not like a father figure who gives advices as to this is how you should work and act. He is equal to each and everybody. Whether it's Upen Patel, Celina, Aftab or Manoj sir. He will come up to you and motivate you to do better and will say, "You could have done it better." Such is his persona.

Was there a moment that you forgot your lines opposite the highly experienced Govinda?
I am not bad at forgetting lines (laughs). Actually, if anyone of us would make a mistake or crack a joke or give an expression, we all would just burst out laughing out loud and then tears would come out of our eyes. Infact, we would do the same if there was no reason what so ever. Strange isn't it?

What about Ganesh Acharya, who share the same story as you do. His first film too was a serious affair called Swami?
I know Ganesh sir since childhood. My first films song, 'Tera Mera Milna' was choreographed by Ganesh sir. He is a beautiful person. When I saw Swami which was directed by him, I knew that this is not Ganesh sir. But when I heard his second film which he narrated to me in Germany while shooting Aap Ka Surooor, I knew from the word go that he had made my character by keeping me in mind. Not to forget, both our families are really close to each other. Money Hai to Honey Hai brings out his true personality.

What makes Money Hai Toh Honey Hai different from hundreds of such comic films made in the past?
For me, this is a film which is special and close to my heart because I play someone who I am in real life. Also, it is my second film. For the first time people are going to see my actual talent from a serious one. I've shed weight, my hair, make up, everything has changed to the core. But what's important is that comedy as a subject will never get old, and that's what makes this film differently same.

Have your close friends, family members or teachers ever expressed their grief on you joining the world of glitz and glamour at a tender age of just 17?
I don't think anyone you've mentioned will come up to me and say that. They have been all so supportive towards me and my decision and have said that it's good that I have been an inspiration to many to take up acting or any profession they want before they are in their 20's. If I wouldn't have been in acting, I'd probably be studying and bunking at the same time. I'd just be sitting out at Costa or Barista doing nothing. My best friend has always supported me and she said that I have inspired her to go to New York and study. She gives me credit but I know it's not me, it's just because of her.

How does it feel to be the youngest female lead actor in the Indian Film Industry?
Superb. It's the best feeling for anyone who is my age and have reached so far. That does not put me in a situation where I start thinking that I don't have to be in public. I still go to Costa coffee but very rarely. I go for shopping just like any other person does. I am very fortunate to get all this when I'm only 17 years old.

You mentioned shooping. Where do you like to shop from? And are you a brand person?
I am like all the other girls around me who like the colours Green, blue, red, yellow, brown, whichever colour. I love nail polishes and have loads and loads of shoes. In Germany while shooting, I purchased quite a few shoes because I love walking a lot. As for clothes, I am a bit brand conscious but if I see something in a normal shop which excites me, I'd buy it without reading the label. When it comes to really expensive stuff, I get a little brandy.

Where have you enjoyed shopping the most?
My first expensive shopping began in Dubai. I love to shop there. Now, it's Austria, Singapore and Germany.

Has it ever happened that success has made you over confident?
Not at all. My parents and my brother will throw me down on the ground. I can never ever get over confident. My friends and family are very open to me. They are not biased. They will tell me if I look bad in some scenes or haven't performed well in the film. They know my weak points and good ones. So if stardom comes to me head, my mother, who is my biggest critic, will say enough is enough. It's time to quit this profession.

Which is your all time favourite film?
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge. Whenever it comes on television, I make sure not to miss it.

Have you recommended some of your co-actors from television with whom you've worked as a child artist to join in films?
It would feel miserable to do such a thing. How can a 17 year old recommend a 40 year old guy who is vastly experienced? Somewhere, a bit of sourness comes in the person who would think - A teenage girl with a few years of experience is recommending me? No way! I am not here to recommend anyone. I am here to entertain the people and I would definitely not be the right person to start recommend others who are far more superior than me.

Do you think the title of your film, Money Hain Toh Honey Hain, stands true in today's time?
(laughs) I am too small to answer this question. I don't even carry money with me. I mean, I get pocket money every month but whatever I earn goes in the savings. So when I am 18 next year, I can remove as much money I want.

As a teenager, what have you learnt from observing a star like Govinda on and off the sets?
The patience he has in him. He is not like one of those actors like only my work should get appreciated by the people. He will give out ideas to the director and if they are rejected, he wouldn't mind. But he definitely gives his experienced inputs. Having said that, he is also open to suggestions. Not to forget, he is a cute and a sweet man.

What about your co-stars like Upen Patel, Celina and Aftab?
They are all dignified actors who are true professionals.

That's a very short answer.
Yes, because I don't want to give out the same monotonous answers like I loved working with them, they were so friendly, we all used to sit together and chat after the shot was over, etc, etc. You will get your long answer after you see the film.

Now that you're getting established on the big screen, do you sometimes get bossy?
Not at all. Yes, I used to when I was a kid. Infact, I was a lazy bum who couldn't even get a glass of water for myself. I used to wake up, go to school, come home, eat and then study and go to sleep. That was my lazy life. Now, it's taken a complete turn. I can't afford to wake up late, have to go to the gym everyday and work out for two hours, no matter what time I come back from work. Sleepless nights and eating calorie conscious food. But now it's so much challenging.

Why go and watch Money Hain Toh Honey Hain?
Because it's my second film. Because Kumar Mangat ji and Master ji (Ganesh Acharya) have put in a lot of effort to make a good comedy film. The script who is the actual hero of the film and of course, for all of us, me, Chi Chi sir, Celina, Aftab, Upen and Manoj sir who has given his best shot at acting in a comic film. And last but not the least, take your money and honey and come in the theatres and enjoy the film.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Shahid Kapur chats with me exclusively on the 3 K's - his Kismat, his Konnection with Vidya Balan & Kareena.

by Devansh Patel

So what if his Kismat didn't stand by him on the personal front. Professionally, Shahid Kapur is having a ball of a time. With his biggest release and his highest grosser Jab We Met behind him, this energetic actor is giving all he can in his next venture titled Kismat Konnection to portray what he calls is his best role till date. All the way from London, Bollywood Hungama's Devansh Patel has a detailed chat with the shy guy who is difficult to catch hold of when it comes to giving interviews. And look at our kismat, we not only go hold of him but also managed to ask him a question which he would have avoided. But we did, and it was about his kismat, his konnection with Vidya and wait......Kareena!

Well, after a long one week awit, I've finally managed to get hold of you. Shall I say it's my Kismat?
(laughs) Ofcourse yes. It's your kismat and mine too for talking to you in London.

You did change your kismat with Jab We Met. What's going to change with Kismat Konnection?
To begin with, it's a new film, it's a different film and a very new character for me. I think in Jab We Met, my character was very quiet and introvert kinds. Here is loud, voicetrous and talkative. So I'm hoping that it'll be a change for the audiences to see me doing something different here. Apart from that, my kismat is in the hands of my fans. If they love the film and my role, I have no complaints. If they don't, I still have no complaints.

It's Aziz Mirza coming back after a long time, it's Vidya Balan with you for the first time and above all, Sanjay Chel who is the script writer of Kismat Konnection. How did the Konnection workout with all of them?
Well. Aziz uncle hasn't made a film since five years. And then he came across a story which he really liked and wanted to make a film with it and contacted me. This is the first time that Aziz uncle is working with someone besides Shahrukh. So, it's a huge compliment. I really liked the subject because it was very different from what I've done in the past. Then he told me that he wanted to cast Vidya. The cast was decided and we started shooting soon. Sanjay Chel as we all know is a brilliant script writer and his scrrenplay has always done well. So I hope this film changes a lot of kismat's.

Were you surprised when you first heard that Vidya Balan was going to be paired opposite you?
Not really. As I said that when I met Aziz uncle, he had already told me that he wanted to cast Vidya. He thought that Vidya was just the right actor for the part, and I had full faith in him. Yes, it's my and Vidya's first film together so I hope the chemistry works. I think it's worked out really well and we both are looking very nice on screen together. She's a great girl and we had fun working together. A lot of people had certain reservations because people had seen me in boyish roles and Vidya in serious roles. But right now, people are reacting very well to the promos and so I guess it's all good.

Now that we have seen your solo release JWM do really well. Will Kismat Konnection finally establish you as an actor who can carry a film on his own shoulder?
I don't know whether Kismat Konnection will establish that or not. But it's not only Jab We Met which has established me as a solo actor. I've also been a part of two other solo films - Ishq Vishq and Vivah. They both did really well for me. Eventually it's about doing good films and a director coming up to me with a role which I'd like to do regardless whether or not it has another lead actor or not. But I am proud of the fact that few of my solo hero films have done well and it's a good and a happy feeling for me. Hoping that Kismat will also follow on the same track.

Tell us something about your new long hair style. Who recommended it to you? or was it your own decision?
I am trying to do something new in every film. I don't want to sport the same look in every film and I've just started a new film with Vishal Bhardwaj for which I needed a different look. So the long hair style is for that. But I guess after a couple of my new releases, I'll do something drastically different by cutting my hair really short. I'm tired of the long hair already.

Aziz Mirza has always given hit numbers in all his films. We know he loves his music. What strikes a chord here? I mean, we've never seen such groovy tracks in an Aziz Mirza film before?
Aziz unlce was and is very clear about the fact that Kismat Konnection is a very young film and wanted me to dance in the film. He knew that the USP of KK lies with it's connect with the youth. So we roped in Pritam who is going through the best phase of his career right now. That's one of the reasons why the music is very upbeat and also because he is making a film about a character settled in Toronto. So the music should be made keeping in mind the location and should sound like that. Keeping all those things in mind, I think Kismat Konnections music is going to rock.

You're also working with directors who are debutants for you. Vishal Bhardwaj and your own father Mr Pankaj Kapur. But keeping in mind the genre which both these celebrities are fond of, are these two films going to be very contemporary, rural or dark? And will it show a new Shahid?
Absolutely. I am really excited about both these films but it's a bit premature to talk about them right now. I've just started shooting for Vishal's film and dad's film is being scripted as of now. But yes, both the films will showcase a new Shahid and a different side to me which the audiences will be surprised to see.

Your father has worked with Vishal Bhardwaj in the film Blue Umbrella which won a few awards in prestigious film festivals. Any tips or advice you got from your father or did you take his for you are now a part of Vishal's film?
Dad wants me to discover myself as a person and as an actor. He gives me a lot of space. Yeah, both have done great work together in the Blue Umbrella and there have been conversations which have happened where I've asked him and he said that he was really happy that I was working with Vishal. I am my own person and I will take as much advice I want to from my dad. But at the same time he is also somebody who wants me to find my own way and to understand what works good for myself.

Which is your favourite track from Kismat Konnection?
I really like the song 'Bakhuda Tumhi Ho' sung by Atif.

In films, you've held too many beautiful ladies in your arms. When are we going to see you hold a gun?
(laughs) Very soon man! Very soon.

Your biggest success has been with Kareena Kapoor. Professionally, are we going to see both of you together sometime?
It's not really up to me. It depends on my director who approaches me with such a script and if he thinks that Kareena is right for the part opposite me, I'll have no issues about working with her because at the end of the day we are professionals. If my director thinks that Kareena will be a part of the film then I will support my director all the way.

What's cooking between you and Vidya off the sets?
You had to ask this, didn't you? What can I say? She is a good co actor and a great person with whom I've shared some fantastic 80 days of shooting the film. Everything else you want to hear can be found in the gossip mills. Do I have to be linked with all my female actors just because we get along very well on and off the sets? (laughs)

Has Imtiaz approached you with a fresh script?
Let's see. Imtiaz is one of the best talents that we have in our industry right now. He has just started out. We've had great fun working on Jab We Met and if he feels that something comes along which he thinks is right for me, he'll come to me and I'm always looking forward to work with him.

You've said earlier that you've done enough boyish roles. But the promos of Kismat Konnection aren't very different from what you've mentioned earlier.
To say that I won't be doing any boyish roles is not what I have in mind because people have really liked me in a certain space. So I'm not going to lose that. I'm 27 year old, I connect with the youngsters, connect with the youth, I am going to do young roles which I feel are my USP. I will never let that go and at the same time, I'd like to discover new areas and try something different as well. It's going to be a healthy balance of both.

Tell us a bit about your Toronto experience while filming for Kismat Konnection.
I loved it. It's a beautiful city. We spent nearly 60 days there and we were really lucky to go there in the summer because it's terribly cold in the winters. We shot downtown which reminds you of Manhattan, New York. There are lot of Indians there and time felt pretty much at home because if you wanted an Indian meal, you'd just drive down ten minutes to a restaurant and you'd find a nice tasty Indian food.

Did the first time with Vidya make her or you forget your lines, steps taken wrong, etc?
(laughs) The first day we were shooting and Vidya came up to me because she wanted to break the ice. So she took the paper and pen out and asked me for my autograph and the whole unit started laughing. There was a good atmosphere on the sets generally. Everyone was chilled. Aziz uncle is someone who likes the work to happen not very seriously and likes to have fun on the sets. That's what reflects in his films and that's why his films are so light hearted and easy to watch. Vidya is a very good actor and it is always good to work with somebody who is talented.

Anything besides giving interviews you guys have planned to promote this film? Any merchandising, etc?
Yeah, we will do everything in our capacity to promote the film. I don't think that this film requires merchandising and there are certain subjects which do not justify merchandising. But we will be going out on television shows and do press conferences to make as many people aware about the film as we can because we are all happy with the way the film has turned out. We will be giving our best shot.

Any message for your fans who want you here in London to shoot a film?
I'd love to come to London and shoot my film. I love the city, the weather and the people. It is one of my favourite city's in the world. If given a choice to spend my holiday in a city, it'll definitely have to be London. I hope something comes along the way so we can come to London and shoot. I want to give all my love to my fans and thank them because Jab We Met really did well in the U.K and would like to thank each and every one who went and saw the film. Kismat Konnection is a first film I'm doing which is a NRI film. I hope that all the people living abroad will connect to my character, and you know, in Hindi films NRI's are always shown as rich, affluent people. I think there is a huge section of NRI's who are just like regular people and trying to make their ends meet, are working hard and living a normal life. That's Raj Malhotra for you in Kismat Konnection. Indians abroad have that kind of life and find a place for themselves with hard work and dedication. I hope my audience will accept me in this new role.

Describe Kismat Konnnection in one sentence.
If I had three hours to kill, I'd go and watch this breezy, feel good, young, fun and worth-your-time film.