Friday, 31 October 2008

RGV's RANN starcast is bigger than his films, I guess. Check out the mammoth line up of RANN - A news story

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Now that you all know RGV is getting busier with his next big release Rann - a news story...what's new huh? I'll tell you. Remember RGV saying that Rann will be a high voltage drama and then the speculation about the star cast in the biggie? So if Aamir Khan decided to unveil the first look of his film Ghajini on Diwali day, our very own Varma has decided to unveil the principal starcast of Rann after the D-day, and as usual, bollywood hungama brings you the exclusive list of who's who of bollywood in this news story. Looking by the below star cast, it can be said that this is breaking news. Way to go Sarkar!

Harshvardhan Malik
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan

The founder of the first ever private news channel in the country INDIA 24/7, the Harvard-educated Harshvardhan Malik is India's most respected media personality. He is a hardcore upholder of journalistic ethics. No wonder his Channel is battling for survival!

Jay Malik
Cast: Sudeep

A go-getter and highly aggressive and ambitious son of Harshvardhan Malik, Jay looks at his Dad's news channel purely as a business enterprise that must make profits to justify its existence. He hates that his competition is doing better than him.

Purab Shastri
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh

Armed with a degree in journalism, Purab Shastri truly believes that the media should be the check point for the people of a country, and therefore, it should report news, instead of manufacturing news. Purab's thinking sets him apart from most youngsters of this country. While everyone is chasing their individual dreams, Purab aggressively wants to work towards a better India. Needless to say, a clash between Purab and the powers-that-be looks inevitable. It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong!

Mohan Pandey
Cast: Paresh Rawal

It is every politician's dream to become the Prime Minister of his country. To that extent, the leader of the opposition Mohan Pandey is no different from his contemporaries. The only difference being - if the need arises, Pandey can and will kill to get the coveted chair.

Amrish Kakkar
Cast: Mohnish Behl

Amrish Kakkar was the first to have the VISION and the foresight to realize that even the business of delivering NEWS can be made ENTERTAINING. Amrish therefore can be safely held singularly responsible for taking the television news industry to the dogs, or to the heights, depending on how you see it. His channel is no less than a shady brothel, the content that is NEWS is no less than a cheap hooker, and Amrish Kakkar - the most powerful pimp around.

Nalini Kashyap
Cast: Manisha Koirala

Nalini Kashyap is the programming head of Harshvardhan Malik's news channel, INDIA 24/7. Having been in the industry for long enough, she has developed a practical view of how things operate here. And this comes in direct conflict with what her boss Harshvardhan Malik, thinks. Juggling the cut-throat world outside with the idealistic universe of her boss, Nalini Kashyap has her job cut out.

Naveen Shankalya
Cast: Rajat Kapoor

Naveen Shankalya, apart from being the son-in-law of Harshvardhan Malik, is also one of the topmost industrialists of the country. Despite this, he is the most insecure man on earth, and won't rest till he becomes the number one industrialist in the country. His best buddy Mohan Pandey becoming the Prime Minister of India will surely help his cause.

Nandita Sharma
Cast: Gul Panag

The assistant of an ad filmmaker, Nandita Sharma someday hopes to bag an independent feature film. She is in a live-in relationship with her boyfriend Purab. Nandita is smart, educated, and intelligent. She is also highly indifferent to what's happening in the country, and first thinks about herself and her man, before anything or anybody else. On both counts, she represents the youth of India.

Yasmin Hussain
Cast: Raima Sen

An ex-model, and fiancée of Jay Malik, Yasmin watches TV, reads gossip columns, and for most part, takes everything that is dished out to her, AT FACE VALUE. She does not understand the intricacies of power games, and hidden motivations behind actions of people. The resources at her disposal to know what is true and what is not, are limited. She is not innocent, and she is not clever either. Yasmin therefore epitomizes the 'common man'.

Anand Prakash Trivedi
Cast: Rajpal Yadav

A creative editor, Anand Prakash Trivedi has a knack for sensationalizing even the driest story and making it sound like the story of the decade with super catchy headlines. More than any filmmaker, he makes far better movies. Only, he calls them NEWS.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Tusshar Kapoor - the Jerry Lewis of India on Golmaal Returns and much more

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Arguments may occasionally rage over the acting abilities of Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav, but no one, absolutely no one divides opinion like Tusshar Kapoor in Golmaal. With his elastic features, frantic mugging and screen-hogging antics, many believed that it was the best comic roles of all time in a Bollywood film. Golmaal lauded him as a comic machine-gun, only ever stalling his barrage for long enough to reload, then unleashing another hail of laughs. What's for sure is that no other comic actor, not even Paresh and Rajpal could've equalled Tusshar's manic intensity in Golmaal. Indeed, he is lucky. But in his second outing in Golmaal Returns, Tusshar claims that his role is even tougher, funnier, better and bigger than part one and to top it up, the most exciting thing is that he is the only 'lucky' one who has a girl in both the parts. In his recent trip from London to Mumbai, Bollywood Hungama's correspondent Devansh Patel met up with the tactfully talented Tusshar Kapoor in his office and was surprised to see Val Kilmer and Al Pacino frames on his wall. I mean, shouldn't there also be a Jerry Lewis one too? Tusshar Kapoor speaks his heart and mind out in this exclusive.

You've won an award for not delivering your dialogues in Golmaal. Will Golmaal Returns see the same results?
I feel good only because I was very afraid of playing this character in Golmaal. I had just come out of Kya Kool Hain Hum and I had signed Golmaal. So to do a role with no dialogues was a huge risk. How will I be noticed was the first question in my mind. I just went with my gut feeling. It was my tutor Vikas Kadamb who told me that even the mute can make sounds to convey their message. My character is not deaf, he just can't speak. Golmaal Returns is going to be even more hillarious. So I hope to win more trophies next year.

Did you do your homework before preparing for your role in Golmaal Returns?
I didn't have to go through as much training as part one because I had already done it. There was a bit of a brush up in the way I pitch up my sounds, etc but the hard work was seen on the sets as the story is not the continuation from where the first part ends. In Golmaal, my sign and sound language was translated by my co-star in the film Sharan Joshi who played Laxman. This time around, there is no translator. The only person who can come to understand my sounds and signs is Kareena Kapoor who plays the role of my sister. Here the challenge was more than part one.

What change did you see in your director Rohit Shetty from Golmaal to Golmaal Returns?
I feel he has matured a lot. In part one, he was a little more controlled in not going over board with dialogues and scenes. He took calculative risks in Golmaal as it was his first comedy film. Now in Golmaal Returns, you will see him completely over the board with a lot of masala. Golmaal Returns is more commercial and more funnier than part one. Rohit has put in so much more in Golmaal Returns. Earlier there was a fear factor like some scenes will or will not work.

I am sure the extras in 'Tha Kar Ke' must've made the song the most expensive.
(laughs) The entire set is actually shown as a township. It's not only the song which is shot there. We shot in that set for nearly eleven days. The action in the song was very expensive. It's not like a Karan Johar film song or a Yash Raj types. This song has cars blasting, the firing, the glass breaking, etc. The song is not in the end credits so thankfully people will enjoy it.

You've been paired opposite Anjana Sukhani who has only one film to her credit. How was the new comer?
She is a very natural actor who has a very small role and she is a surprise element in the film. Even though I was the only one who won Rimmi Sen in part one, I still got to flirt with Anjana in part two. Ofcourse, Kareena has the meatiest role of all the other actresses because the whole story begins with her suspicious mind. Amrita Arora is going to be a revelation in this film and so is Celina Jaitely.

Four actor comedies seem to be working in the UK a lot. Dhol, Dhamaal and Golmaal in the recent past proved it. Your comments please.
I think the UK audiences miss our Indian culture. They left India or Africa years back and settled in the UK, which is kind of sweet. The movies which you've mentioned give them the entertainment value and value for their money spent. There are certain people who prefer this kind of cinema because they are the same ones who want to stick to the comedy or the Yash Raj / Karan Johar genre of films. UK market is a lot star driven and I am sure that they won't miss the first day first show of Golmaal Returns.

Long back, Khakhee and now, Shoot Out at Lokhandwala showed you in an action packed role. When do we see that next?
I want to do another action film soon, like Shoot Out at Lokhandwala. I haven't signed an action film yet but will in a short time. The other films I'm doing right now are very social like Life Partner and then a comedy with Govinda titled Run Bhola Run. Life Partner has Govinda, myself and Fardeen Khan. It's about a set of three friends where one believes in love marraige, one in arranged marraige and one doesn't believe in either of the two. I play a Gujarati guy from South Africa who goes to Gujarat. So you can make out whether mine will be a love or an arranged (laughs). Prachi Desai who was in Rock On playes my wife in the film and Fardeen is opposite Genelia D'Souza. Govinda is still looking for his perfect match (laughs).

Everyone who has seen Golmaal simply adored your character. They are going to come again for you in Golmaal Returns. But tell us something about the new boy in the house.
You mean Shreyas Talpade. Well, what can I say about this versatile actor. He has also done a lot of comic work till now. He has excelled in Apna Sapna Money Money and Dor where he did a bit of comedy. The audiences are looking forward to see Shreyas Talpade after the super success of Om Shanti Om in London. Maybe some of the audiences would want to see Sharman Joshi but they'll have to settle with Shreyas this time. When you go and see the film, you will forget Shreyas and remember only his character just like they did for me. People remember me as the goonga guy and not Tusshar Kapoor of Golmaal.

Your sister Ekta Kapoor is the serial queen of India. She has taken over the entire world from 7pm to 11pm. Was it your idea about Kareena playing the role of someone who loves to watch Ekta Kapoor serials in Golmaal Returns?
It was Rohit Shetty's idea and it's not a personal attack in anyways on my sister Ekta Kapoor. Kareena Kapoor's character is a mad fan of the serials and she believes whatever is shown in these serials. It's like paying homage to these prime time serials. Ekta and Rohit are good friends and we are doing our next film together. He is going to direct the sequel to Kya Kool Hain Hum and it'll be a Balaji film.

Do you think Ekta Kapoor should act in films?
(laughs) What are you saying? She hates acting and is very camera conscious and shy. From childhood she was clear that she wanted to something creative in the television front. She wasn't shy before but now giving an interview on the television is a tough job for her.

Would you ever attempt to act in a remake of your father Jeetendra's earlier films?
I've done a tribute to him four years ago at the Stardust Awards but that's it. I was dressed like him and did an act on stage too. I would love to act in a remake of the film Caravan and Farz. I did put across this idea to dad but to get the right director is a concern. So we are taking our own sweet time.

It's strange but the truth is that Tusshar Kapoor likes to stay away from controversies.
(laughs) Yes, you're right. I never fight with anybody, never come late on the sets, I promote my films, I don't trouble my directors with dates and I love my work. I'm just like my dad, very uncontroversial figure in the Indian Film Industry. Only when my films are releasing, I don't mind landing up in any controversy. That gives the film a little push (laughs).

You seem to be very happy and content with the films you're doing. You don't seem to complaint like your other co-stars. I think you're merry in what you have.
Yes. I am happy in what I am doing. I am sure everyone else thinks the same way but I'm not fussy. I am happy and satisfied with the roles I am doing. Sometimes I do feel that I should act in a solo hero film but I have gained so much from being a part of multi-starers that today directors want me to be a part of their multi star cast film, especially when it comes to comedy now. I will only do a solo hero film if I find the right banner, the right director and the right producer. Everything has to be right and I will never experiment with it. My role should hit the bulls eye. I hope that day comes soon.

Do you think the duration of Golmaal Returns will also decide its fate at the box office?
Ofcourse yes. The total duration of Golmaal Returns is two hours twenty minutes. A film can be an hour long but might feel long due to it's slow pace. Golmaal Returns is too quick. The energy and the screenplay of the film is very important. A lot of people like Jodhaa Akbar. The story ultimately takes over the proceedings. I bet people would love to watch Golmaal Returns for hours and hours. They're are in for a big Diwali surprise this year.

I know you love the city of London. Would you like to tell your UK audiences when you're seeing them next?
I love the city. Whenever I go there and meet my friends and fans, they're really warm and welcoming. I love the music, the scenary and the traffic in Leicester Square. Once Golmaal Returns releases, I'm going to visit London for sure. Go and treat yourself and your family by watching Golmaal Returns this Diwali and a very happy Diwali to all my fans and well wishers.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

"People say that models can't act. Fashion will prove them wrong", Madhur Bhandarkar

exclusive by Devansh Patel

After nearly ten years as a director, Madhur Bhandarkar shows no sign of losing any of the raw intelligence, energy and vitality that have made him a continuing force in the Indian cinema. He has achieved notable success in all his films because he knew what he wanted and showed an adventurous spirit in going out and getting it. For the majority of his films, he lets the simple, resonant situations play out, eliciting excellent performances from his actors right from Chandni Bar to Satta to Page 3 and Corporate. Picking a favourite Madhur Bhandarkar film can be a frustrating and an exhilarating challenge. They are all so uniformly excellent, moving, hard hitting and honest. As a director he has the confidence, generosity, and intelligence to allow his actor and the characters they play the freedom to truly reveal themselves on screen. With his new film Fashion, he reveals the entire Fashion Industry in front of you, right from what the models go through, their turmoil, their morals, their aspirations and their sacrifices. And ofcourse, with Madhur behind the camera, you can expect much more. In this Bollywood Hungama exclusive, the director talks to our London correspondent Devansh Patel and gets Fashion-conscious.

First things first! Will Fashion be your fourth National Award winning film?
What a way to start this interview (laughs). I am really keeping my fingers crossed because some of the people who've seen the movie have told me that Fashion is my best work till now. I believe in making the film and leaving it to the audiences and the critics to decide whether it'll work or not. I have done a good job and am waiting for 29th October, the Diwali day which is an auspicious day to release any film. Hope it works.

It means that it'll be a very fashionable Diwali, isn't it?
(laughs) Absolutely fashionable. I am really happy that the movie is releasing on this day because everytime I've made a film, I wanted to release it during Diwali and that day has come. I am so happy and excited to see the kind of buzz and enthusiasm the movie is generating in India and abroad among the audiences, exhibitors, etc. The songs have also really picked up quite well too, especially, Jalwa and Mar Jawa.

Mr Ram Gopal Varma said that the only film he is looking forward to after string of flops is Fashion. He also went on to say that the content of Fashion will be pretty interesting. Any comments?
It's really great, infact, I just spoke to him this afternoon and he was really looking forward to Fashion. Hee can't wait to see the film. He sent me an sms saying that the promos are also looking stunning. For me personally, it's really nice because I've worked with Mr Varma for couple of years and I've learnt a lot from him as far as film making is concerned. He has this gut feeling about movies and when he says that the film will work, it does work.

Your films are based on reality, events and stories happening in the real life. Will Fashion follow the same path too or is it only going to be fictional?
My movies are always slice of life. They've always been a mixed blend of realism and fiction together. So there will be some element of fiction in Fashion. Before I make any film, I do a lot of research, meet and interact with people. The audiences will relate to Fashion in a way.

Did you meet any of the fashion worlds top models and designers for their advice?
Absolutely yes. I've interacted with almost everybody from the fashion world. From the top of the designers to the top super models, the sponsors, the choreographers, etc. It was six to seven months of research which took me to make such kind of a movie and a lot of people from the fashion industry are connected to the film also. Like there are real models and designers you'll see in Fashion.

There are other fashion icons like Aishwarya Rai, Dia Mirza, Sushmita Sen, etc. What made you cast Priyanka Chopra?
Priyanka Chopra and me always wanted to work together. I remember that she was a great fan of my movies and once we met at one of the film festivals. At that time she had loved my film Corporate. That's when she was really interested in working with me. So I told her that if something comes along, I'll definitely let her know. Once I told her that I'm making this film on the fashion world, she said to come and narrate the film to her. She liked the narration and the character of Meghna Mathur who comes from Chandigarh to Mumbai to make it as a super model.

And why Mugdha Godse?
That's interesting too. When I was researching for Fashion and went to the Delhi Fashion Week, I saw this girl walking on the ramp. I was introduced to her previously by a friend of mine. When I saw the confidence in her walk and her eyes, I knew she was my Janet of Fashion. I met her and straight away told her if she was interested to do a movie with me. The rest is history now. Infact, she has surprised everybody by her performance in Fashion. From Priyanka to Kangana, everybody appreciated her work. People say that models can't act. I can say that Mugdha, the newest model turned actress will prove them wrong.

You're working with a fresh and a new team of actors this time around. How was the experience?
I always make it a point to work with a new team and a new set of actors all the time. It's challenging and something different. This is my style of working.

You've said that Fashion is your best work ever, better than all your past films. Is it really?
I don't know or remember where I said this or who has said this (laughs). For me, my best work will always remain Satta which didn't do very well at the box office.

Konkana Sen Sharma and Atul Kulkarni, your two lucky mascots. You can't leave them behind can you?
(laughs) Yes, I can't. They are the best I've worked with. I did approach Atul Kulkarni to play a cameo in Fashion but he couldn't make it for some reason. The good thing is that Konkana is there. She plays herself, Konkana Sen Sharma the actress. Her boyfriend Ranvir Shorey is also there and both of them play a couple in the film.

This is your first film which will appeal to the overseas audiences as well, seeing the subject you've approached this time - Fashion. Any comments?
You're right. For me it's a big leap in terms of the film, the concept and the budget because I've never made a movie of 18 to 20 crores. I've always made it between 3 to 4 crores. I always say that I am an experimental film maker but my films do get a commercial acceptance. So for me, I'm excited by the kind of feedback, messages and calls I'm getting from the U.K and the U.S. I hope that it gets appreciated there.

As you must be aware that the U.K market is star driven. What have you got for them besides Priyanka Chopra?
(Laughs) Priyanka Chopra is the first thing which'll make it big in the U.K. But more than her, it's the concept and the look of the film which people are going to love. I bet, the overseas audiences haven't seen such style in Hindi movies before. Fashion will change that. Priyanka Chopra has changed at least 150 dresses in the film. Fashion is a personal story of these three models and what they go through. I am not making a statement on the Fashion Industry here.

What about the homosexuality element in the fashion world which prevails? Have you shown that aspect too?
Definitely yes. The gay angle in Fashion is very evident.

Is it wise to go on a fashion show to promote your film rather than go to any reality shows?
Reality show or fashion week or any kind of publicity for any film is a must. If we have to do both, we have to do it. There is no way out and there is nothing wrong in it. I think every film maker and the films cast want their film to reach the widest of its audiences. Even the kind of investment put into promotion now-a-days is huge. So it definitely is a platform to promote your film.

Have you met any model who has given up more than just their morals in the fashion world?
(laughs) I know what your question is targeting to. Fashion is much beyond the casting couch story. There are many things that a model has to sacrifice or eradicate like his or hers position, principals, ethics, etc. to reach the top. This film is exactly that. And yes, I have met models who've given up many things than just their morals to reach the standing in their career where they are right now.

You love women, don't you? All your films are more or less having a female protagonist.
Yes, I love my women. Except Traffic Signal, all my films have showcased women as the main lead. You see, even in Traffic Signal, Neetu Chandra and Konkana Sen Sharma's characters were very strong. I really feel that there are certain issues in certain films where the woman protagonist can say the narration in a much better way than the male hero. I've been lucky in that way and my women too who've seen their film worked wonders for them. It's a proud moment.

We've even seen UTV's Ronnie Screwala experiment with different genres. Has he been a great support besides just being a producer?
Ronnie has always been a great admirer of my work and I respect him because he is a man who always encourages new cinema. So after Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate, etc we used to meet so many times in parties and events and he questioned me as to when will I be doing a film with him. That's when one day we met and I narrated him the idea of Fashion. He said that it was a superb idea and we should go ahead with it. This is the first time when I'm co-producing the film with Ronnie. It's called UTV and Bhandarkar Entertainment presents Fashion. It's my first production.

So, your money is at stake then huh?
(laughs) Yes, ofcourse, and not only that, my name and my reputation too.

It's strange to see that in a economic meltdown like this, every actor and director are turning producers to keep themselves secure.
It's not about escapism. Today, people want to invest money only because they know that they'll get something back from it. If you see five years ago, no one used to get such big pay packs as an actor and a director. Now things have changed. It's become a big business now. The kind of multiplexes hitting India and the kind of revenue being generated is larger than life.

Another feather in the cap for you Madhur. You and Aamir Khan are being felicitated at the 7th Third Eye Asian Film Festival. I wish I had a collection of such caps too.
(laughs) I'ts a great feeling for me and when I got the news a few weeks ago, I was over the moon. I know Aamir Khan, and we do interact with each other, not too frequently though. But socially whenever we meet, we talk. I loved his film Taare Zameen Par. It's an unbelievable film and am also proud of the fact that it's the official entry at next years Oscars from India.

When do we then see a Madhur Bhandarkar film going to the Oscars?
(laughs) I just keep making movies. But fingers crossed, hopefully very soon. I've already got my three Oscars from India which are the National Awards.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Ajay Devgan goes all out to promote Golmaal Returns when we meet up last weekend at London Bridge

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Achieving prolonged success in Bollywood could never be described as easy. To do it switching regularly between gross-out comedy, action and art-house drama is harder still. And to do it as an actor, director and producer must surely qualify you as someone very special. Funny, they say, is hard. Funny floats in the ether and only the chosen can snatch it down. So, to be the funniest of them all without making those stretched faces is a challenge few can rise to. Ajay Devgan did this. This is a position he's achieved both through the relentless perfectionism of his approach to his work, and the ferocity with which he protects his private life. Apart from the very occasional tabloid snippet, we hear nothing about the man, only ever seeing him when he's playing someone else - which is, of course, exactly how he wants it to be. The actor took some valuable time out for London correspondent Devansh Patel from the set of his new film London Dreams and shared his views on his big Diwali release, Golmaal Returns, which he thinks has shaped up better than its prequel, Golmaal. So as one Dev questions, the other Dev answers in this Bollywood Hungama's short and sweet exclusive!

You return with Golmaal again. Are you looking forward to it?
Ofcourse I am, because the first part was really appreciated and still people come up to me and say that they've formed Golmaal Return groups which is on the net also. When we started Golmaal Returns we were very hesitant as it had to be funnier or as funny as the first part. So there were many scripts we looked at but eventually we found one and we all thought that it was funnier than the first one.

Did Sharman Joshi's abscence make you feel vulnerable?
Initially we were feeling that how were we going to fit in Sharman in the film. But the first day when Shreyas performed, we were all at ease. I think that Shreyas is fantastic.

Are you happy that you all have a woman in your life now?
(laughs) Yeah, you're right. We were missing themm in the first one but the fact is that the script demanded and all the female leads were not forced in Golmaal Returns.

You've worked with Kareena in Omkara and now in Golmaal Returns. How was it to unite back?
It feels great. I've known her since many years now. It is very important for the co-actors to get along especially in a film like Golmaal because you improvise a lot where humour is concerned and when you keep gelling and then pulling each others leg, it works both ways, isn't it?

Tell us a bit about the comic song where Celina holds you on the ship.
That was really funny. You have to see it to believe it. It was a bit difficult to shoot that song but it all went well. It is the funniest song of the film.

Do you think Rohit Shetty making comedy instead of action is working for him?
Rohit joined us as an assistant in Phool Aur Kaante. Since then, he has been with us. Then he joined Devgan Films. So as a kid brother, as a colleague and as a friend he has been with me for more than 15 years. I know he is good at action but right now he is doing good for himself by making comic films. I always knew that he had a great potential of becoming a director and that's why he started Zameen and now that he has proved himself, there is no looking back for Rohit.

U.K audiences are the most unpredictable. Good films are being rejected here. What have you to say?
That's all over the world. It's happening everywhere right now. But I think that good scripts eventually work and something must be terribly wrong with some films which don't work. What has happened is that people now a days only want to be entertained. So when they are depressed, they don't want to watch another depressing story. But if you show them comedy and family dramas, it works. The problem with such audiences is that they don't want to experiment. They want to forget their personal issues and want to go and enjoy with family. They aren't bothered in which way you entertain them, but they have to be and that's the bottom line.

After U, Me Aur Hum, what next Mr Director Devgan?
I am working on a script right now. I don't want to make films which are just regular films. It has to really come from my heart. The script has to move me. U, Me Aur Hum infact did well in the U.K and now I'm working on something which is a little whacko. Devgan Films is also working on two or three more scripts which I won't be directing.

We also know that the inbox of your email is filled with more than 250 emails from fans across the globe. Hows the idea of interacting with your fans in the U.K working?
I am interacting with everybody and not only the U.K audiences. It's just that I am in the U.K right now shooting for London Dreams and I thought that this can be a fantastic way of interacting with one of Indian Film Industry's biggest market after India, London. U.K is like a second home to us.

Did Shreyas Talpade get along well with you?
He gelled in the first day. Infact you should ask him how he did that. He got so comfortable with all of us. Maybe everyone knew what to expect from everyone after having seen Golmaal the prequel. I like the crew to sit down together and eat. I new that Shreyas was the new one in the gang and if we did not make an effort of making him comfortable, I believe it could've messed up many things. It was just about breaking the ice on the first day and everything from then onwards was a smooth ride.

How was the experience of stretching your legs between two hummers?
I didn't stretch my legs in between the hummer, I was standing on it. The stretching was done in Phool Aur Kaante. It was comfortable and Rohit wanted to continue where I left from Golmaal part one where I was seen on bikes. He wanted to ellaborate a more and thus went for the hummers.

You've won the National Awards twice but we all know that they're under a big scrutiny. Do you think it's losing it's national pride?
I really don't know what happens where, and what leads to what. But I hope things remain good so that the credibility of the National Awards is maintained. That gives you a high or else they'll fall flat.

You're happy that Studio 18 is marketing and distributing your film Golmaal Returns? Your last film saw Eros International doing the same.
It's not about name here. Both are good. There are so many films coming up and so many means of entertainment. Everybody is so busy. So you need to divert their attention and inform them that it's time for some light entertainment. Though this may sound simple and easy but it's not and Studio 18 knows it. But ultimately it's all decided after that Friday night when reality hits you. So you really need to market your films to grab the audiences attention in today's time.

Golmaal is returning after two years after it's prequel. Did you see the first part before you started shooting the second?
No. The film has a very different story all together. It's got similar characters but their characterisation is different. It's another script at another level. It has nothing to do with part one but it will male you laugh more than part one, I'm sure.

How are you going to celebrate Diwali this year?
By watching Golmaal Returns I guess. Diwali is a time fo happiness. That's why I think Golmaal Returns is releasing at the appropriate time. It's an entertainer. So go, watch and laugh this Diwali. It's going to be fun unlimited.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

"Madhur Sir has definitely found a diamond", Mugdha Godse gets FASHION-conscious.

exclusive by Devansh Patel

What's Mugdha Godse got that Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Celina Jaitley and Dia Mirza want? It seems the hottest role any Bollywood celebrity can win right now is to appear in a glamorous film based on the fashion industry directed by India's National Award winning director Madhur Bhandarkar. One of India's top models, Mugdha has been getting the Press, the exposure, the lifestyle, the men...(if she found one) and more importantly, the money - all the goodies usually reserved for celebrities. But come October 29, all this might just not matter as she needs to prove in her debut film that like her above contemporaries she too can act. Will her catwalk from the ramp to tinseltown be steady? Will she be another model who can or cannot act? and will Fashion prove that Madhur Bhandarkar has indeed found a diamond called Mugdha Godse? Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel finds out the answers and much more from the new fashion diva. It's ramp-age time!!

Wow, what a discovery. You think Madhur has found a diamond?
(laughs) Madhur Sir has definitely found a diamond. Yeah, I am really glad that I'm a part of Fashion in a huge way. But I guess, I have to give credit to myself also because it does take a lot to stand in front of Kangana and Priyanka. So I just hope that I manage to do that. So far so good.

It must've been a lot easier to act as a model in your debut film as you are a model by profession too?
It does sound good and easy from your end and you do get a psychological support but it's not a piece of cake. My character is nothing close to what I am in my real life. Not the kind of a person nor a model. So it's a completely different journey I'm playing in a film. So for me it was different. Acting and modelling are two different genres all together. In Fashion I'm not a ramp model and a regular model like what I'm off screen.

So what is Mugdha Godse in real life?
Mugdha Godse is a very very simple girl. She is a bit shy also and not at all classy and I'm being frank here. I'm very bohemian and hippy by nature. Mugdha is a middle class girl which Janet is not in the film. I am chilled out too.

No wonder the chilled out girl is getting the chills already?
Yes, I am getting the chills right now and can't wait for Fashion to release this Diwali.

Tell us a bit more about Janet, the role you play in the film.
Janet has a heart of a gold and she is not a highly successful model. It's a journey of a character and how she helps other people. Few incidents happen in her life and she has to take some important decisions that leads to a few things. Fashion is an emotional journey for Janet. She is bold, outgoing and an outspoken girl. Her language is completely different and she has been in the fashion world for quite long to know what happens in front and behind the scenes.

Being a real life model, did you give a tip to your senior co-actor Kangana on ramp walking and what actually happens in the world of fashion?
Not as such because she is a really good actress. She did not need any tips but she did used to ask me a few times as to what we used to do after the fashion show gets over and all. We used to have a little discussion but I never gave tips to Kangana. I mean, Priyanka is a senior to me in modelling. So I guess she should be the right person to take tips from.

So Miss Mugdha, any trips or falls on the ramp while filming?
(laughs) No. I haven't fallen off the ramp but on the ramp. And believe me it's very normal. I've done thousands of fashion shows on slippery stages, so thses things are bound to happen once in everyone's career as a model.

Madhur is known for his realistic take on his films. Are there any controversial scenes in the film?
I don't want to become the culprit by giving an asnwer to your question. The best person to ask this question to is Madhur Sir. Yeah, but if can wait for two more weeks, you'll find your answer.

Who is your favourite fashion designer?
Actually there are many designers who I like but I'll name a few for you. My favourite is Gavin Miguel who has designed our clothes in Fashion. Then I like Manish Arora and Manish Malhotra. Malhotra is the best in Indian outfits. Then Rohit Bal ofcourse. Without him, the fashion industry is nothing. Even Wendel Rodericks outfits are very feminine. I love to wear them.

So what exactly does Mugdha Godse wear off screen?
You will always find me in my comfortable dresses, my harem pants and a vest or in my shorts when I'm at home chilling. But when I go out you'll see me very dressed up.

Any female models who've inspired you a lot in your modelling career?
I am a very big fan of my close friend and a model Jessi Randhawa. I've seen her ever since I've entered the fashion world. Even Nina Manuel who has got a fantastic skin. There are very few models in India who've got their own personalities and carry them off very well. I forgot another name here of Carol Gracias. They all are my friends but I used to look up to them when I started off in my modelling career as they've all been here for almost a decade and I'm only five years old.

Are your friends doing a cameo in Fashion?
Jessi Randhawa has done one ramp show in Fashion and then Aanchal Kumar who is a good friend has also done a couple of ramp shows in the film.

Let's talk about the opposite sex here. Any male models you've looked up to?
(laughs) I think my last favourite male models were Arjun Rampal and Milind Soman. I have a lot of male model friends but none are hotter than the two I just mentioned to you. Kuch maza nahin aaya baaki sab mein (kaughs).

'In the Fashion world, you have to give up much more than just your morals'. That's the tag line of the film. Can you elaborate a bit more?
Everyone thinks that the film is going to show all the casting couch stories, wardrobe malfunctions, etc. This is what you feel when you hear or see the tag line of the film. But it's all about the emotional journey. When you talk about morals, you talk about how you supress your emotions and anger. I believe in creating my own moral rather than having it.

After the film, do we call you a better model or a better actress?
I think a better actress, after you see the film. I can now call myself a veteran in modelling because I've spent half a decade. Acting is something new I've tried and it's worked wonders for me, thanks to Madhur Sir. I'm enjoying it right now and concentrate there more and...

And quit modelling?
I wouldn't say quit. 'Quit' is not the right word but modelling will always be there as that's given me the name what I am today in the entertainment world. Yes, I won't be able to give that much time as I used to give before in modelling. But today you see film personalities walking the ramp and doing ad-campaigns, etc. So anything is possible.

Any other offers you've got besides Fashion?
There are a few offers which I've got. I have signed a deal with Percept Picture Company for their next film. I'm reading scripts everyday and if something clicks, then I'll definitely do it.

What Madhur Bhandarkar's way of working?
Madhur Sir can make any man or a woman act. He made me realise that I can act. When I met him first, I told him, "I can't act because I've never really acted in my life". He confidently said, "Don't worry. Leave it up to me and just listen to me". He opened the right pores and put the right colours in my bottle and I discovered myself as a good actress. I am very thankful to him and I hope that Fashion does as well as Madhur Sir's previous award winning films.

How much of a physical change did you have to bring about in your role?
Because I've been a model, I was in a proper shape. I didn't have to work on my body but just maintain it. But in the future, if any role demands me to put weight, I'll do that and that's how an actor should be like.

Now the readers await some of the exclusive Fashion tips from Mugdha Godse herself. Come on, give us some fashion tips.
(laughs) I don't think any overseas readers require Fashion tips. You are from London and Londoners do not need any tips because they are very fashionable people but all I can tell them is - Just be comfortable in what you're wearing and try experimenting things. Wear your attitude and walk, it'll create your own fashion.

Are you afraid of the screen space you'll get in Fashion after it's release? I mean, you're a debutant and the film rests heavily on Priyanka's shoulders.
Once you see the film you'll come to know that. If I can create an impact with one close up in a one minute promo, I'm sure a few scenes in the film will only make it better. There are going to be hundreds of eyes in the cinema hall. So if you're good, you'll get recognised.

Anything exclusive you'd like to mention about Fashion which I've left out on?
I think everything is exclusive for me when it comes to Fashion my film. But I'd like to say that I've had a wonderful experience working with this team. All my co-actors were wonderful and I think I created two beautiful friends the minute I entered the industry - Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut. We talk very often now. And lastly, a big thank you to Madhur Sir for giving me this oppurtunity.

A critic reviews films. But Fashion will have two such critics. One from the film world and the other from the fashion world. Are you prepared for it?
When a person like Madhur Bhandarkar makes a film, it's his perception and take on a particular subject. So there are going to be people who are going to criticise and there will also be ones who are going to love the film. The definition of perfection is decided by individuals and not by critics.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Salman Khan talks in his one and only exclusive interview for HEROES when I meet up with him near London Bridge. A must read!!

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Now you really need to be lucky to have a sunny day with 18 degrees in London in the month of mid October. Or should I simply say that Vipul Shah is too lucky? It's 1 pm in London and I get ready to visit Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan on the sets of London Dreams. I was given the deadline of 2pm but then there was no need to rush as both were going to be on the set one hour late. Bollywood timings you know? But the result was the opposite. Being stuck in the Underground train due to a signal failure, I reached the beautiful London Bridge location 20 minutes late. Ajay and Salman were seated in their tent with a couple of electronic guitars. Their co-star, MTV vj Rannvijay walks in. Vipul is behind the camera as usual almost ready for the song sequence with extras getting their steps right. In walks the gorgeous Asin. Both Salman and Asin arm in arm get the shot right in three takes. Sallubhai walks in the tent again where I was chatting with Ajay. I ask Salman if he could give me an exclusive on Heroes. To my surprise, he grabs my hand and takes me on one side and says, "Lets do this dude". We sit on a flat concrete seating and just as I was about to take out my dictating machine, Salman says, "The Hero is here, start recording".

Hello Hero!
(laughs) Nice way to start huh! But the ultimate hero is not me but Sohail Khan. Watch out for him.

Sohail has done really well for himself, hasn't he?
Yes. When Sohail did Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, he was appreciated in the film but the film didn't do really well. So somewhere down the line he got a bit demoralised. He was doing well as a director and with his production company. At that point of time he wanted to do action but the fact was tha he was good at comedy. He is one of the few people who can do justice to action and comedy. But as a family we thought that he should concentrate on comic roles. That's when Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, God Tussi Great Ho, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Hello and now Heroes happened.

Your absence was really missed at the premiere of your recently released Hello.
You're right. I truly missed the premiere. But I was here in London shooting for London Dreams. Also because the whole family was present at the premiere and it's the first time I've stayed away from my family on Id.

As you must be aware by now that Mr Bachchan is in the hospital. Anything you'd like to convey to him or his well wishers through this interview?
Yeah ofcourse. He is one of the senior most and talented actors we have in our industry today. It affects the industry big time. We all are worried for him. Abhishek is too close to Mr Bachchan and vice versa. So we are confident that he will be fine and don't forget that Mr Bachchan is a fighter and wil come out as a winner. But something like this to happen on his birthday is quite depressing.

Is Heroes a tribute to the Indian jawans in a way?
Heores isn't about the Indian jawans or the Indian soldiers or against Pakistan. It's about two guys who just want to have fun in life and then they get an excercise to find out whether joining the army is important or not. The jawans in Heroes played by Sunny, Bobby, Dino and myself can be Pakistani, American, Chinese or Japanese but you will find such guys anywhere. Infact, there is one of my dialogues in the film saying, "Yeh jung kab khatam hogi?" and my co-star replies, "Yeh jung thodi hain. Jung to tab hoti thi jab raja maharaja khud aage aate the ladne ke liye. Jis din woh neta jo yeh treaty sign karte hain, jab woh ladenge, tab yeh jung khatam hogi". It's a very meaningful film.

Vatsal Seth brought to my attention that you did not smoke a cigarette just because you were wearing a turban. Very touching I should say?
Yeah, that's true. That's the reason I am trying to quit smoking. I normally don't talk about smoking and I try not to smoke whenever possible.

Do you think Vatsal Seth has a long and a bright future ahead of him?
He is the cute Tarzan Boy. He is an adorable kid. Even though he is around 26 or 27, he looks 15 to 16 year old. He is training hard and trying to put on a bit of weight. And once he gets that, he will be an even more better looking boy, not that he is not now. You know, those lover boy roles which Kumar Gaurav, Aamir Khan and I've done in the past don't work now. It's time for a change, a drastic change. Vatsal will have to change his image if he wants to survive in the industry. With this film, he will do justice to his role just as Riteish, Aftab and Arshad have done in their films. Two hero projects are good for him right now. I think he has already signed three to four films.

Well, it means that you not only respect your country here in Heores but also other cultures?
If you're going to respect somebody's religion and somebody's culture, I think they're going to respect your culture and your religion. I believe that all the religions are basically the same. They preach and teach the same things. It's just that they have different ways of doing it. But I don't understand this Hindu - Muslim rifts sometimes. Tell me one Hindu man or a girl who does not have a muslim friend or the vice versa. This is just a card that the politicians play and some people do this for money too.

From a serious conversation to something not that serious - Preity Zinta. Let's talk about her.
(laughs) She is a serious actress but sometimes she is a complete brat. Can you believe it, she went to some acting classes to learn the punjabi accent. So when she came and started talking in punjabi, I was shocked. It was too good. I've worked with Preity in more than five films now. So we gel along well and have a good rapport.

Is it true that Heroes has nothing to do with war on the battle field?
Yes. Heroes has nothing to do with war, fights and violence. It has nothing in it. Sohail and Vatsal have to deliver three letters to the parents of the three shaheed jawans. Heroes is not a Gadar or a Border or Maa Tujhe Salaam. When you see this film, you'll come to know that it is a very entertaining film with an important message.

You play one of the jawans in Heroes. How did you make your character look rough and tough?
First of all, I did not put a fake beard. I wanted to grow my own beard and make it look very authentic. Then again, we are actors and we have to act. There is no way out. It's more about the convincing nature of the character you play. So even if I was thin, I can look tough. Plus the post production, action co-ordinators, fight sequences, etc also helps build a tough guy. It is not physically possible to do the kind of stuff what Khalli or the Rock can do (laughs).

Brief us the experience of the Mannata song with Preity. It's soothing to the ears.
Yes it is. Actually we were not getting the right lyrics for the song. I did hear the same song from Sajid - Wajid in Hindi and adviced them to change it into Punjabi. So they had to re work on the lyrics. Mannata is an outstanding song and I love it. We shot the song in the fields of Punjab and it was fun. I can still remember the smell of the fresh fields and the sand.

Have you seen Heroes?
Yeah. I've seen the trial of the film and the rushes too. Heroes got tears in my eyes about six to seven times while watching it. That's the maximum I've cried while watching any film. Samir Karnik has done an outstanding job with Heroes. He is the true Hero. The film is also very well shot.

Both Nanhe Jaislamer and his debut film Kyun, Ho Gaya Na were not successful at the box office. Then why did you say Yes to Heroes?
First of all, I told Samir not to make Nanhe Jaisalmer but he wanted to do it. He did approach me for Nanhe Jaisalmer but I said No to it. Then he comes up with Heroes, to which I immediately said Yes. I think this film is going to be a sure sure hit. I mean, I will be surprised if Heroes did not do well. Plus Eros International is doing the marketing. I mean, their last Samir Karnik film did not work. So I hope they do justice to Heroes (laughs).

Your manager Vikas Kapoor has now turned producer with Heroes. He has formed his company Future Picture Productions along with Samir Karnik. You happy for him?
Ofcourse yes. He is my manager and quite efficient with his work. He used to handle production side of things and then turned manager. But after sometime, you need to move on in life, which he did. He then started to handle Sohail Khan's work as a production manager. Then the title of executive producer was tagged on him and now he is the producer. Vikas has always gone a step further in his carerr and I'm very happy for him.

Hows the mid October sunny weather doing for you Salman?
(laughs) I hope it stays like this for a few months till I am here. I am here till the 24th October. It is pretty strange because even when I was shooting for Salaam E Ishq it was summer time and it was cold. I don't know what is happening to our planet man! But a sunny season in October and people around me taking sun bath is a strange sight especially in London. Everything is becoming too unpredictable.

How much of Salman Khan off screen represents Balkar Singh of Heroes?
Every character I play or I've played is somewhere close to me. There is some personality in me which has to have this resemblence. If I don't have that spark of the character, I cannot play it. I choose those roles which I think I can comfortably do it. My onscreen roles brings out some kind of Salman Khan which is offscreen. Balkar Singh is tough, patriotic, loving and a good guy. I too am a good guy and not a bad one as many people think I am.

Where do you want the premiere of Heroes to take place?
I'm here till the 24th October and then going to Mumbai. Vikas and Samir are in Dubai on the 22nd October. So if they come here and do a special screening, nothing like it. I'd love Heroes to premiere in London on the 23rd October.

Why not go shopping during Diwali, why watch Heroes instead?
Wrong question dude! That's too brave of you to say that. But I would disagree with you. There are lots of reasons to go and watch a movie - 'Kya kar rahe ho aaj? Chalo picture dekhte hain', 'do ghante ki film hain, chal dekh kar aate hain', 'maine is film ke baare mein kaafi accha suna hain'. The publicity, the word of mouth, your favourite hero is in the film, it's a good story, etc. I think Heroes would be a combination of just about everything. Plus, there is no 'chechorapan' in the film at all. It's a meaningful film and it doesn't bore you. It's a fun film.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Jackie Shroff, Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Gul Panag, Shekhar Kapur, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Apoorva Lakhia & more wish BIG B a SPEEDY RECOVERY

exclusive by Devansh Patel - London, U.K

As I get up early morning in London for a few deadlines and try to catch up on the remaining interviews for the day, I get an urgent message from one of my colleagues in Mumbai saying that Mr Amitabh Bachchan has been hospitalised on his 66th birthday. As I start sipping the hot ginger tea from my mug, my hands start to get cold. I leave my tea unattended and go to the wash room to splash some cold water on my face. Then I switch on my television and still no news. It was 8.30am GMT. Now that was pretty bizaare. No news on any Indian channels so far. But I just couldn't resist myself. I pick up my mobile in sheer anxiety and call my friend, Apoorva Lakhia, who is the one close to the Bachchan family. I get the news. It's the truth, not that I did not trust my colleague but still wanted to clear the air. Big B's 66th birthday and he gets hospitalised. But the gift he gets on this particular day will always remain special - Prayers, prayers and more prayers from millions of Amitji's well wishers. So as the fans pray for his speedy recovery, I try getting some more wishes from his very own colleagues from the world of Bollywood. This is what they had to say:

Apoorva Lakhia - "My message to Mr Bachchan is - A very very Happy Birthday and lots more to come. As far as the film industry is concerend, he is the industry in itself and I think he has played a very prominent part in making the Indian cinema known to the world. Hope he gets well soon because we've got the whole industry in the hospital. So can't really work you see".

Madhur Bhandarkar - "I am a bit disturbed and hope he gets well soon and comes back. We will be eagerly awaiting his arrival back to Bollywood".

Mugdha Godse - "I am concerned and worried about Big B. I would like to go and meet him at this given point in time. He just needs to take rest right now and my best wishes are there with him".

Abbas Mustan - "I am in a state of shock. The entire industry is behind him today and everyday. We wish this pillar of Bollywood a speedy recovery and will pray for him to come back to work soon".

Tusshar Kapoor - "I wish him a Happy Birthday and I hope and pray that his health gets better. I'm sure it must be something from which he'll be out very soon".

Sanjay Gadhvi - "Mr Bachchan for India is like the president of the Untied States. He is the first family of the film industry. On his birthday I wish him the many many more years to come and wish him a long life. I'd also like to tell him to give me his illness and let him be well".

Shreyas Talpade - "I wish him a very happy birthday and great health. He has inspired us since decades and hope he keeps inspiring us for many more years to come. I wish him a very speedy recovery and all our good wishes are with him. He should keep rocking the way he does always".

Sujoy Ghosh - "I wish him a happy birthday. He is a super hero and nothing can happen to him. I wish him a speedy recovery".

Minissha Lamba - "He is the last living legend that we will have out here in India. I wish him a speedy recovery because I am missing him on the silver screen. It's his birthday today and we pray that he gets back to business soon".

Vidya Malvade - "I wish a very happy birthday and an extremely speedy speedy recovery. He is one of the most respected and honoured actors we've got in the country today. Everybody wants him to get out of the bed fine and quick. I am sure the doctors will do a good job in getting him out of bed fine and quick".

Farhan Akhtar - "I wish him a happy birthday and over and above this has been over shadowed by the fact that he has been hospitalised. I am hopeful and do wish and pray that he is back to good health as soon as possible. He is an icon as far as the face of the Indian Film Industry to the world is concerned and a very special person on those fronts. Everybody near and dear to him are concerned about him and his family. I hope it's not too serious".

Manoj Bajpai - "I wish him all the best and may he live for two thousand more years to come. May he get well soon. Whenever a popular figure like him falls ill, it is bound to affect the Indian Film Industry. Today I pray for his good health".

Shekhar Kapur - "He has bounced back from so many things that ordinary could not do. So in that respect Mr Amitabh Bachchan is an extra ordinary man and wish him a very happy birthday and a speedy recovery. He has got this extra ordinary will power which will recover him soon".

Harman Baweja - "Prayers and lots of prayers to him goes out today. Like the rest of the country, I am an ardent fan of Mr Bachchan and wish him good health everyday and for many years to come".

Anjori Alagh - "I wish him a really happy birthday and lots ond lots to come. I think he is a great role model for everybody in the industry. I really look up to him personally. Hope he gets well soon, hope he fights it and comes well out of the hospital soon. Amitabh Bachchan is a legend. He pretty much epitomises the Indian Film Industry and thus everybody is worried about him and his health. All his co-stars, colleagues and friends wish that he gets well soon and comes out fit and fine very soon".

Jimmy Sheirgill - "First of all I wish this genius a very happy birthday. I wish him a quick recovery too. I have immense respect for him. I think as far as his films are concerned, he has always been one person who is filled with energy and today I pray that he gets back the same energy which can heal him. He loves working all the time and we want him to get back to what he loves best".

Jackie Shroff - "Hope he recovers soon and wish him a very happy birthday. Everyone goes through some kind of a problem and comes out of it. Mr Bachchan to will be out of it very soon".

Gul Panag - "He is an icon of the Indian Film Industry and we all would like to see him back on his feet as soon as possible".

Adah Sharma - "I believe one should always be positive. I don't think any of us should panic unnecessarily. He is a legend so naturally when we see him on the television since kids, he becomes a part of our family. So every individual who lives in India feels like they know Mr Bachchan and considers him to be a part of their family. Our prayers will definitely cure him".

Arjun Rampal - "It's a terrible thing to happen. He is the most respected face in our industry. Something like this happens on your birthday and that's the last thing you want. All our prayers are there with his family and we just want him to get well soon".


This is going to all the fans, friends and well wishers of Mr Amitabh Bachchan. Just heard that he has been admitted to the Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. I immediately sent a text message to Abhishek who is like an elder brother to me. Haven't heard back from him though but today also happens to be Big B's birthday and I want to give him his birthday gift - HIS GOOD HEALTH ! Yes, let's all come together to wish Mr Bachchan a very good health and a very good Happy Birthday. We all know that he has been a fighter all his life. Never given up, always came out as a winner. I remember meeting Mr Bachchan three weeks ago for a brief meeting in his office at Janak. He was wearing his brown suede track suit ready to go the gym. It was my first official meeting with the legend in Mumbai and I still can't forget that walk, that talk, that mannerism and professionalism from the actor.

So today as a Bollywood columnist serving my Indian Film Industry since the last six years, I wish I was sitting next to Mr Bachchan and whispering in his ears - Amit uncle, get well soon because the world waits for you outside. Come and conquer it like you've always done!


Always there for you..anytime..anywhere...anyday.
Devansh Patel

Friday, 10 October 2008

Vatsal Seth, the nanhe nawab talks about Heores, Salman Khan, Preity Zinta, Mithunda and his fussy eating habits in Ladakh

exclusive by Devansh Patel

To most movie fans, worldwide, Vatsal Seth came out of nowhere in 2004, bouncing from his debut film Tarzan the wonder car to a brief appearance in Nanhe Jaisalmer, then snatching a lead role in Samir Karnik's biggest film yet Heroes which releases on October 24. Yet to Indian audiences, Vatsal was already a well known face. Having been the face of many television commercials over the previous decade, he'd become a household name. But Seth's career must surely bring hope to all aspiring screen actors. Seldom has someone of such low cinematic standing and of such little experience climbed so fast in the Bollywood firmament. Devansh Patel, Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent gets hold of the young hero and finds out about his biggest film yet, his experiences of shooting in Ladakh, his fussy eating habits, his respect for Salman Khan, Mithunda's special treat to him, Preity Zinta's non stop talking, his new six pack and why he thinks that Heroes will rise this Diwali. Over to the nanhe nawab!

The Tarzan boy has suddenly become a Hero. What say?
(laughs) I was always one. Something really interesting came up and I am very happy to be a part of Heroes.

You haven't acted in many films, and all of a sudden Heroes comes your way to be the only big film in your career so far. Is it a blessing?
I am very excited to be a part of such a huge film. It's like a blessing, you're right. I am quite fortunate to share the same screen space with all the biggies. I can't wait for Heroes to release right now.

So you've joined the bandwagon too huh? Six pack is back.
(laughs) I am not a guy who is just going to bulk it up. It's just that in the film there is one particular song where me and Sohail are shown as strippers. So for that sequence I had to go topless or should I say, shirtless (laughs). I needed to work out for that song and sorry to say but I don't have a six pack as of yet. I've got a very achievable and a real body that I've got. It's not a body who somebody will look and say - Oh wow!. Samir Karnik told me that you got to be real. Whatever you do people should identify with your character. So my body can be compared to any one else's. Plus, to look like Sohail Khan's buddy, you need to put on a bit of weight. He has a certain screen age and I don't. So I had to age up and grow up my hair too. And a stubble to match up with a man like Sohail. I was very happy when I saw the final look of mine onscreen.

Will Heroes turn you into a Nawab Saab? That's your name in the film right?
You got it. I hope so (laughs). A lot of effort has been put in to make me look like one but it may turn me into a nawab saab, can't say for sure.

You and Sohail Khan are the main protagonists of Heroes. How's the road trip been?
The way you put it isn't right. Honestly speaking, this is a film which is a character oriented film. There is no protagonist, there is no main lead, etc. All the actors on the poster are characters. I play Nawab Saab, Sohail plays Sameer aka Saand because of his bulky body, Salman bhai is Balkar Singh, etc. When you watch the film you will notice that there is no protagonist.

You were seen playing the bade, grown up Nanhe in Samir Karnik's last film Nanhe Jaisalmer. Was that the time Samir thought of casting you?
After Tarzan, I wasn't getting any interesting script. So when Samir Karnik came to me, he said that Nanhe Jaisalmer is just a cameo, it's a special appearance and whether I would like to do it. When Samir narrated me the story, I was like....I am doing this because for me the priority is the script. If the script is good, it doesn't matter if the role is big or small. Infact Samir was expecting that he would need a lot of convincing ability for me to say yes to Nanhe Jaisalmer. But it wasn't like that. So whatever little bit I did in Nanhe, he loved it. When he was writing Mera Bharat Mahaan which is now known as Heroes, I am sure that somewhere down the line he had kept me in mind.

Heroes revolves around patriotism. How patriotic is Vatsal Seth?
I am quite patriotic. I love to go to a cinema hall to watch a film because they play our national anthem. It gives me goosebums everytime I stand up and sing the national anthem. But this is another part which we want to tell the world that we all are patriotic about our own country. We all respect our brave soldires who are fighting on the border to protect our country. But when you actually meet them, you realise that they are doing much more than what we know about them and your respect for them increases. That's what happened to me. We were in Ladakh, Chandigarh, etc and when I met these soldiers, my perception towards them changed completely.

It must've been tough to shoot in the terrains?
We've travelled more than thousand miles and the tag line exactly says that. We started off in Mumbai where it was raining, then we went to Delhi where it was so hot and then went to Ladakh where it was severely cold. We've experienced all the seasons. There was a time when we were travelling from Ladakh to Manali and it's almost like a twenty hours drive where you had to take two night haults. It happened that we were like six to seven hours away from Leh where we were shooting a scene and suddenly it started pouring. Now we had to wrap up leaving the shoot incomplete. Now the question was whether or not to go back six hours or go forward by six hours and come back the next day. So it was quite tough for us to make a decision.

So what about the food then? Were you guys left starving?
That's exactly what I was coming to. There was no cell phone network where we were shooting. So our food truck didn't reach too. Instead of stopping at the shooting location, they went six hours ahead at the next pit stop. That day we survived on Maggi alone. Then suddenly we saw some lights just down the valley. So we went there and it was Indian Army's highest transit camp. Infact, it was the worlds highest. We requested the officer there to let us in and he was so sweet to offer us food too. You won't believe, there were about one hundred and fifty of us.

So how was it to be sharing screen space with all the biggies?
Initially I was very nervous. The first person I met was Sohail Khan. But the first day I met him, he treated me like his younger brother. He helped me throughout Heroes. He is the real life hero and the best co-star to have. Apart from that, I've worked with Preity Zinta in a Perk commercial five to six years back. She is very sweet and a sweetheart. It was great fun talking to her. She is always full of beans and always charged up. We are shooting at three early morning and the only voice you can hear is Preity Zinta who is talking talking talking.

You missed out Salman Khan.
(laughs) No I haven't and I can't. I've seen Salman bhai since his Maine Pyaar Kiya days. I used to always ape him when I was in school. So I was over the moon to be working with him in this film. He is the perfect buddy one can have. He invited me over to his gym and used to work out together. He also gave me some good tips. Then comes Mithundada. We've seen all his great films such as Disco Dancer and Agneepath and he is like a father figure.

I'm sure you can recall some memorable incident with Mithunda.
Yes I do. This was in Ladakh. I am a very fussy vegetarian. I love lady fingers and potatoes. I had a very tough time getting my food right. So Mithundada got to know about my fussy habit. He then cooked the best ever Bhindi ki sabzee for me yaar. It's the most amazing meal I've ever had. For fifteen twenty days I didn't have a proper meal and that day I didn't regret missing those hungry days. Also, one day we were cracking jokes and Mithuda was laughing so much that we had to call the doctor. But it wasn't serious. He said, "Maine aaj tak kabhi socha nahin tha ki tum saale log mujhe haste haste ludka doge".

We will have to talk about Samir Karnik here. Has he grown bade after nanhe?
This is a very creative medium and everybody grows from their work experience. That's what I feel. I read Amitji's interview and he too said that everytime he does a film, he learns from that something new. Samir was so clear in his characters that when he was narrating me the script, I was actually seeing the film. He was clear as to what kind of clothes I will be wearing in Heroes but it's not that he was not open for suggestions. It was great fun to work with again.

Heroes is going to be pitted against yet another multi-starer Golmaal Returns. Two different genres but both with A-list actors. Will it be a mad rush at the ticket window?
If a film is a good film and if ten good films release in one day, every film is going to do well. I think it's all about honesty. The more honest you are to your film, the better it'll work. Heroes is a different topic all together with a very sweet message along with some entertainment value. On the other hand you've got six to seven big stars. What else do you need to have for mad rush at the box office?

You forgot another USP of Heroes.

Riya Sen.
(laughs) Yes, she plays my love interest. I've never worked with her before and I am also doing another film with her post Heores. It's nice to work with people who don't have too much of ego. It's gives a very positive vibe when you're working with such people. Riya is one of them.

What's happening with the lavish premiere of Heroes in London?
We've put in a great effort to make this film and I hope people in the U.K like it as much as we've enjoyed making it. As far as the premiere is concerned we are planning to come down to London as Salman bhai is shooting there currently. But let's see, it's all upto the producers and the director. With so much commitment to the film, I'm sure the Heroes will rise this Diwali.

What's next after Heroes?
There are three to four films I'm doing. One is called 'Paying Guest', the other is 'Toh Baat Pakki' and my thrid is called 'Exchange Offer'.

Before you go we need to know which Salman Khan incident shocked you?
This is an incident which not many people know about it. People think that the image of Salman bhai in media is that of a bad boy but he is not that at all. He plays Balkar Singh, a Sikh, in the film. We were shooting in Chandigarh. He didn't want to put a fake beard and had especially grown one for the role. The pagdi which he was wearing was not like a ready made one. He also tied it out which used to take atleast twenty minutes. So I remember the two of us sitting in the van and the assistant director comes in and informs us that there had been a change in location. So Salman bhai said, "Oh God, I can't even smoke now". I told him, "What happened Salman Bhai, why can't you smoke?". He then replied, "Who is going to take out the pagdi and smoke and then again wear the pagdi?" This goes to show that he respected the turban so much.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

GUL PANAG gets talking on her new film HELLO and her angst against the Indian Censor Board

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Gul Panag's early roles did not bode well for a future career as a 'serious' actress. Making her screen debut in Dhoop opposite Sanjay Suri, then commiting a Jurm with Bobby Deol. So it was a surprise to most, especially the critics who said that she was all face n figure, no acting ability at all, when, in 2006, she made a sudden and decisive return in Nagesh Kukunoor's highly acclaimed Dor, an amazing comeback supported by a hard hitting thriller in 2007, Manorama Six Feet Under. Gul's abilities could no longer be denied. It's said that success tastes sweeter the longer you have to wait for it. Well, for a change, Panag can't wait for her biggest commercial film ever, Hello, to release in two days. Looks like she is busy preparing to drown herself in nectar after the films sweet success. Time will tell that, but what I can tell you now is that this gorgeous Gul is getting all geared up to talk about Salman Khan, Sharman Joshi, her passion to write, her marketing strategies, her dancing abilities, her angst with the Censor Board of India and much more with London correspondent Devansh Patel in this Bollywood Hungama exclusive. Hello...are you listening?

With some grounded performances in Dor and Manorama Six Feet Under, are you now ready to greet your critics by saying 'Hello'?
I am definitely looking forward to this film for lots of reasons. Firstly, I am a huge fan of Chetan Bhagat ever since his first novel which was listed as the top Indian best seller. I enjoyed the novel thoroughly. But Hello has come out very true to his next award winning novel 'One Night @ the Call Centre'. Secondly because I will be seen in a never before seen role unlike my previous two films Dor and Manorama and thirdly because it's also a role which has a different portrayal from the many films I've played in the past. So I have a lot to look forward to in Hello.

Hello is also your first biggest overseas release yet. What expectations have you got from your audiences in the U.K and the U.S?
Well, I don't know. Both my previous films, Dor and Manorama Six Feet Under, though weren't released theatrically, did exceptionally well on the dvd. But it's not like they don't know who I am. The ones who do watch good cinema are definitely aware of me and for the ones who haven't, I am really interested to see how a wider reach of audience will react to me.

You seem to be very picky in the kind of roles you choose and the films you sign Gul. Why?
In the line of work that I am in, the kind of work which you do is what defines you and it's not what you do but what you don't do that actually sets you apart from the rest.

Now lets talk about this controversial news doing the rounds since yesterday - Your beeped dialogue where you used the word 'condom'.
I think that's very ridiculous. It's a very simple question I ask Sharman before we go into this love making scene, 'Do you have a condom?' And that's the word 'condom' which the censor board is going to beep out. This is when the NACO which is the National Aids Control Organisation who runs adverts all over the country for prevention and awareness of aids. For family planning we promote the use of condoms. We have ring tones that are being released by the public health department which goes like 'Condom condom condom...' But when such a word is used within a film the censors have a problem. Even in my previous film Manorama Six Feet Under there was a word 'condom' used which was beeped out when I tell Abhay Deol to use one. In that, it was used in the context of family planning but in Hello it is used for safe sex. This is a continuation of India's hypocritical standards towards such things.

Have you then filed a complaint to the sensor board?
I've been adviced to write about it but I will send the letter post the release of Hello.

But somehow all this is going to help market the film.
I have no idea. I don't know if you are aware but I've maintained a blog for which I haven't been that regular recently. I write a lot though and have been a guest columnist for lot of newspapers. I write a column for a magazine called Auto Car for which I review cars. So I have a long relationship with writing. I am not someone who will write only for the sake of publicity. I've written fortnightly columns for three years to Hindustan Times. So if I strongly feel about any issue, I will just write it. You can even access my blog on the website called

You've worked with critics favourite actors - Abhay Deol, Shreyas Talpade and now Sharman Joshi. Tell us a bit about the last one.
Well, I was extremely thrilled when I came to know that I've been cast opposite Sharman Joshi. He is a marvellous actor and by working with them you can only enhance your performance film after film. All my scenes with Sharman have come out very well. He is talented and puts in a lot of energy into every shot of his.

So what's Gul Panag playing in Hello?
I play the character of Priyanka who is a very glamourous and a modern girl of today. She is someone who is very attractive and is completely aware of the power of the looks of the opposite sex. There are grey elements to my role as well. She makes the quintessential choice of choosing to marry a well settled NRI in an arranged marriage rather than marrying someone like Sharman who is the person she's been dating for quite some time but doesn't see any future in. This is a choice which today so many urban Indian women make. They think that it's all good to have a boyfriend but ultimately what matters is the guy who can give her a big house, pool, big cars, etc.

Is Salman Khan playing a major role in the film or is he just there in one particular song which is being aired right now on the televisions?
He is. Infact, Salman is playing himself in the film and he is a very integral part of Hello. He is the sutradhar in the film. The film is seen through his eyes which is why you see him in all the major promotional campaigns on the television.

Are you guys visiting any call centres to promote your film?
We've done that in the past before we started filming. I don't think we will be doing that now. Amrita Arora and myself did an appearance on one of the dance shows recently but that's about it. I am really not aware of any other shows that we're going on.

So what's the news that you guys will be visiting cities where the book 'One Night @ Call Centre' was one of the best sellers?
That is a part of the plan but I am not sure as of now which cities we are going to visit.

After his first flop, how confident does Atul Agnihotri look?
I don't feel the right to comment about someone who is very senior to me in age and in the profession of acting. But what I can say is that he has made a fantastic film. He has been very true to the script and I wish Atul all the very best. He has a very bright future ahead of him.

What about Sohail Khan? Prankster?
He was a complete revelation. I didn't know him much before I signed Hello. It was such a surprise to find him as a thorough gentleman. He is so cultured and so well brought up. I had a good time interacting with him.

We haven't seen Gul Panag shake a leg in most of her films. I can't remember seeing you dance. Will Hello be any different?
Because I was busy trying to prove myself as an actor. Not that some of it has been done, I can get on with other stuff which is less important. As an actor, one does all kinds of work. It was a very conscious decision for me to be able to do the films that take me seriously as an actor. But if there is a good script which requires me to dance, why not? I will not do something just for the sake of dancing and that's not going to happen.

Hello releases in two days now. Good for you as there doesn't seem to be any competition for three weeks till all the other biggies get released.
Good that you mentioned that because the two films, Kidnap and Drona which have just released last week haven't really got a great response at the box office nor by the critics. So I think we have a good week ahead.

Why should one go and watch Hello?
Well, watch a film that has actually got a story rather than just putting many stars together and enjoy it for it's originality and it's freshness. It is an interesting peep into the youth of India today which I think people living out of India has lost in touch with.