Friday, 26 June 2009

NEW YORK film review - 5 stars. The film carries an emotional impact and seeds a bed of uplifting pride for the people of America

By Devansh Patel
Observer, London

New York review

It's plainly evident that all of the film makers of the world have approached the subject matter of 9/11 with appropriate honour and respect. So far so good. But when you sit for two and a half hours and come out of the screening rooms watching a film like New York, you tend to say – So good and so true.

I was worried walking into Kabir Khan's “New York”. Not that it was “too late” or “one more” for a 9/11 movie. I had other concerns. I was worried that Kabir would take this opportunity to get on his soapbox about some conspiracy or another. I was worried that can John Abraham surpass his Taxi 9211 performance for once. I was worried that will Neil be still remembered as Johnny Gaddar. I was worried whether Katrina Kaif could ever act in a film. And most of all, I was worried that a Bollywood film about 9/11 would be rife with swelling strings and easy answers. Well, for the entire film, my worries were unfounded.

The film revolves around three best friends from the New York State University and an FBI officer Roshan (Irrfan Khan) who are dragged into the aftermath of 9/11 with series of unwinding events making their lives a living hell. Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) plays a fresher from India who slowly but surely falls for Maya (Katrina Kaif) but is not able to confess his love to her. Enter Sam (John Abraham) who plays the cool dude American with panache. In a bizarre twist of fate and love, it is Maya who kneels down and proposes Sam. But during that one sweet moment which takes place post intermission, the film must've already taken you into hundreds of breathtaking moments pre interval. The plot may not be rocket science but the scenes, thrills and the suspense is, and for that my good friend, you need to buy the tickets to the most thought provoking movie Yash Raj Films has ever come up with (When was the last time you heard a Yash Raj Film was called 'thoughtful'?)

New York isn't about demeaning the Americans, oh no!. New York has no histrionics. It is simply a strong story telling without being preachy, involving us with the life of three friends and by default, the many whose lives were touched by this unforgettable tragedy. The script carefully walks the line between reverence and worship, emotion and manipulation. With only a blink of an eye exceptions, the material is handled with surprisingly delicacy.

New York is difficult to watch based solely on the 9/11 events it portrays, for which one may get offended but with its welcomed catharsis it's not likely to offend many. By the end of the movie I asked myself a question – What did Kabir Khan made me think about? The answer – In a nutshell, he made me remember that the United States of America was built on the hearts and resolve of its citizens.

Performances have to be witnessed than to be written about, but I'll still write them down. In order of no preference, I'd rate New York as a film completely based on four powerhouses of performers. Irrfan Khan, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh and to everyone's surprise...Katrina Kaif. Yes, you heard! What other directors since half a decade could not achieve, Kabir Khan managed to pull it off. Thus giving Kaif her most memorable role ever. I remember meeting John and telling him that it's going to be impossible to topple his Taxi 9211 performance. But he too proved me and his audiences wrong. John Abraham, please take a bow! Your performance don't deserve points but pat on your back...not butt! Neil Nitin Mukesh thankfully will no longer be remembered as 'Johnny Gaddar' now but as Omar. Neil is simply a crowd puller and it's time we Aa Dekhe Zara this boy from Bollywood. Cannot speak much about this man called Irrfan Khan because he is what he is and the best there ever is in our industry. There was no need to call him a 'museebat'. Jokes apart, in using his eyes to convey anguish, Irrfan delivers the gravitas of the circumstances with style and substance. Hats off!

Kabir Khan gives us an unshakable bird's eye view of the city of New York through the weary perspective of the individuals caught in the vicious circle of detainees while the rest of us remained stuck in shock on the sidelines.

Production values are excellent, from the editing to the interaction between the two friends, Sam and Omar to Omar and Roshan to Maya and Omar, the scenes are not trivialised as tension builds and the story reaches its dramatic crescendo. Dialogues and the Background scores are powerful. Cinematography is soothing to the eyes and the songs take you on an emotional high. New York is an absorbing and riveting film. It is in this context that Kabir Khan succeeds in delivering an insightful and powerful snapshot of one of the stories of courage, determination, love and hope from that fateful day in September. New York carries a gigantic emotional impact and seeds a bed of uplifting pride for the people of America.

New York serves as a catalyst for the manner in which we all shake our heads in disgust to imagine how we all have a tendency to forget the sanctity of humanity on any given day.

Rated as – 5 on 5 – Observer, London.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Review - Paying Guest: It's worth paying for Paying Guest once!

by Devansh Patel: Harrow Observer, UK

When was the last time you picked up a pop corn, your favourite cola, some cheesy nachos and sat in the red lounge of Cinemax with your extended family and laughed out loud on the hilarious one liners thrown by the weird, often crazy and witty characters from a cool comic caper? Make way for debutant director Paritosh Painter who paints the silver screen with his effervescent cast in a family entertainer film titled Paying Guest.

Paying Guest isn't about a plot, anyway. It's about characters, and about the twisted logic of screwball comedy, in which everybody acts the craziest just when they're trying to make the most sense.

Three friends living in Bangkok, Chef Shreyas Talpade, Car sales man Ashish Chowdhary and creative writer Javed Jaffery, are kicked out by their employers for messing things up in their respective jobs. They blow their job is how Javed describes it. Adding to their existing trouble is Vatsal Sheth who comes from India for a job interview. He gives hope to the hopeless three of an accommodation too but soon finds himself as helpless and a hopeless lot like his mates. All four have no option but to stay as paying guests now. But then problem number three is just waiting round the corner at the Bhalla residence owned by a darling couple, Sardarji Johnny Lever and Gujju babe Delnaz Paul. They have one important rule you have to follow in order to be their paying guest. You have to be married. What follows next is a fun ride with the cross dressers Karisma and Kareena played by Shreyas and Javed, Bhalla's four play as described by Mrs Bhalla, the lunatic Lonny (read Ronny) played by Chunky Pandey who happens to be the younger brother of Bhalla and four leggy beauties Riya Sen, Celina Jaitley, Neha Dhupia and Sayali Bhagat.

Since the comic material is familiar and highly inspired by films like Raffoo Chakkar, Golmaal and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, what's a little amazing is how fresh it seems at times, in the hands of the our Bollywood heroes. Chunkey Pandey is the best surprise; in a role that seems written as a license for flamboyance, he's more restrained than in anything he's done since his last comic act. Vatsal Sheth and Ashish Chowdhary don't have quite the semi-hysterical sincerity and sometimes are a little too obvious, but they work well the rest of the time, especially in their more pensive passages. Though Vatsal and Ashish look fresh in all their frames. Most of the biggest laughs come from Shreyas Talpade and Javed Jaffery, as they play the mismatched wives who confront one another in a nerve-racking test of appearances. As can be expected, the comedy comes from their wicked exaggerated tics, and Vatsal and Ashish's despairing attempt to mask them. But Johnny Lever cannot be forgotten.His is an even effort that captures the humour and grace of the slapstick antics of the masters of the genre, like, Kishore Kumar, Keshto Mukherjee, Mehmood, Jagdeep, etc. He is back with the vengeance and proves that even an old horse can sometimes win the race. Celina and Neha look sexy as always. Riya and Sayali look beautiful. I'm sure you too will notice them with the same intentions. Hmmmm!

The biggest draw back of Paying Guest is its editing. It's the worse I've seen in my eight years as a Bollywood columnist, especially the cut from one frame to the other looks forced. There is no connect. With a little heart and brains, the editing could've been stitched. The film delves deeper into the realm of situational comedy, and every time it struggles to make its audience laugh, Shreyas, Johnny, Javed and Chunky make an added effort to make sure the audiences white teeth are seen. Many critics might have criticised Paritosh Painter to lift scenes straight up from the yesteryear classics but not many know that it could've been Painters deliberate attempt to rip off the films and recall them to you in a newly packaged product titled Paying Guest.

The film has all the pieces in place to be a good comedy if not a great comedy. While it doesn't quite live up to its potential, it's still a heck of a lot funnier than what usually passes for comedy in these days. Paying Guest is worth paying for once if not twice and contains enough belly-laughs and sly jokes to become one of the end of summer crowd pleasers.

Rating - 3 out of 5

Saturday, 13 June 2009

"It's time to get real. Even kids know what a kiss is now-a-days" - Deepika Padukone at the Love Aaj Kal press conference

by Devansh Patel

Deepika Padukone is four films old but too young when it comes to working with her male co-stars. All the actors with whom she has worked with, except Ranbir Kapoor, are almost fifteen years older to her, which takes us back to our first meeting with Miss Padukone in London during her red carpet arrival for the premiere of Om Shanti Om. She was wearing a sexy red dress and painted the Leicester Square red. Back to aaj, she has matured in love and how. We see her in a lovey-dovey pink to promote her upcoming film Love Aaj Kal in front of a packed Indian media. A suburban girl who shot to fame as a supermodel and then to super stardom as SRK's lover in Om Shanti Om, Deepika has now moved up the ladder in Bollywood playing lover girl in all her films. Love Aaj Kal being the fourth. Life's just kind of perfect at the moment. For someone whose name and visage have been used to sell everything from lingere, to jewellery to chewing gums, Deepika doesn't seem at all preoccupied with her image. Padukone seems totally comfortable with all her many roles. In some moments, she sounds like a typical plate-spinning working mom, concerned about getting healthy meals on the table for her kids, till you realise that she is still single. A woman who gives a firm 'no-no' to live in relationships is more than willing to settle down and look after her husband once she gets married. Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent and UK's Harrow Observer columnist meets the immortal figure who believes in having three guidelines when it comes to love: Be happy with what you have, keep things simple and go with the flow.

Four films old
The journey has been wonderful. Everyone's way of acting, everyone's style of acting, everyone's approach, etc has been wonderful. Two out of my four co-stars are also producers. Saif was very kind and polite. Somewhere the nawab in him came out because of his London education. He is a royal man and deserves everything royal.

Luck factor
I hope I bring the same luck to Saif Ali Khan as I did to Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om. Love Aaj Kal will go down as one of the most special films for me, irrespective of what the outcome is and what people are going to think.

Compliment from Saif
It's a huge compliment from Saif if he has compared me to Rani Mukherjee. Something like this is an honour coming from Saif. In fact, I have learnt a lot from him. The fact that he is so experienced and his style is so natural makes you want to work with him again. I really look up to that kind of a performance. I've been a big fan of his right from Dil Chahta Hai.

I don't feel any age difference. In fact I feel secure with my co-stars who are so experienced. It's great for someone like me who is so new and has absolutely no background from this industry. All my co-stars have been giving and supportive and that in turn has a tremendous role in the way I perform on screen.

On Imtiaz Ali
Imtiaz Ali is a genius. He is so sensitive to peoples performances and people in general. As an actor I think it's nice to have a director who understands my approach to a scene. Saif and me are so different from each other as actors. It's nice to have a director who can bring that together on screen and get that good performance out of us.

Kareena controversy
Whenever I was on the sets shooting, I didn't see Kareena anywhere near me. I don't know when she has come and when she has gone. She must've come when I had my days off, I hope. I'm sure she understands that it's not possible for a director to work with the same co-star again and again. It's great that you've had a hit film with a certain director. It's absolutely untrue that there is any sort of discomfort between the two of us or any form of negativity. She knows she is brilliant and she has done a great job in Jab We Met. I guess, Imtiaz was damn sure of who he wanted to cast in Love Aaj Kal.

Reel life to real life
I'm a perfect blend of Love Aaj and Love Kal. I'm practical in real life though. As an actor when you do a film, two things can happen. Either the role you're playing is very different from who you are in real life or it is very similar to the person you are off screen. It's spooky how similar Meera's character is to me in Love Aaj Kal. I think 90% of the film and the way I react in certain situations is the way I'd in real life.

Love yesterday and Love today
I believe that long distance love lasts. I think different people deal with relationships differently. Their definition may be different but at the end of the day, love exists. Different relationships go through different ups and downs. But when you sit together and have a chat about it, everyone will have the same thing to say. Earlier couples used to take hours writing letters and today it can happen in a few seconds by you sending an sms to your loved one. Times have changed but the love remains the same, the feeling remains the same. Meetings these days is a lot easier. You can still stay connected with your loved one via a web cam on your computer. Earlier you'd have to travel for miles to see each other.

Live in relationship or getting married
I am someone who completely believes in falling in love and settling down. I'm not for live in relationships. If I get married, my house and my husband is my number one priority. I tackle my relationship with Ranbir very well. It's not the easiest thing to do but it takes two secure people to deal with things like that. I've been able to do that.

Lip lock moment
Sometimes when you decide to do something, like a kissing scene in the film, you just do it because you feel it's right. I think the scene was necessary for the film and I believed in it. I do not have to take permission from anyone. I've been able to separate my personal life from my professional life and hope to keep it that way for a long time. It's time to get real. Everyone's aware of these kinds of things on screen. Even the kids know about it. So why make such a big fuss?

"Kareena has seen the film and she liked it" - Saif Ali Khan at the Love Aaj Kal press conference

by Devansh Patel

Saif Ali Khan is just five minutes away before he addresses the Indian media on his maiden venture into production for his film Love Aaj Kal in which he also stars opposite the beautiful leggy Deepika Padukone. But inside the PVR theatre, the room temperature is high and our mind is on overdrive. He has it all. A successful career and a blissful relationship with Kareena Kapoor. Media keeps waiting for more than an hour but they don't complaint because the man in question is a 'nawab'. In fact, there is a 99% possibility that he can be declared as the sexiest man alive in Bollywood. So there he was; he walks up to the stage with an English walk, wearing the summer cliché white shirt and blue denims. His brown boots, brown sun-glasses and belt makes him the ultimate spaghetti western and a true style icon of Hindi cinema. For the genial Indian actor, there is more than usual at stake because Love Aaj Kal is too personal for him. Not only is Saif inspired by his idol Clint Eastwood, he also recalls what the American actor once said, “The worst step I can ever take is to get into production. So I've named my company 'Malpaso' which means a bad step”. Khan quotes, “I think that was very brave and bold.” Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent and UK's Harrow Observer columnist meets the desi cowboy in videsi style to talk all about Love Aaj Kal, Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Imtiaz Ali, his take on life, career and how to play it safe in love. Over to Saif in Love!

As a debutant producer:
You are never hundred percent satisfied as a producer. Every detail has to be organised. Even if you want a glass of water, it has to be organised. We've learnt a lot of things into our maiden venture and my dear friend and partner Mr Dinesh Vijan has been a great support. Our entire team of Illuminati is fantastic. But it was Imtiaz Ali who told me that he wanted me to only be an actor as he didn't like me to handle the production problems. Yes, creatively, in terms of promos, posters, etc I've been actively involved with. Being a producer is sometimes frightening but it's also exciting. I'm in a positive frame of mind with Love Aaj Kal.

Advise from Karan Johar , Farhan Akhtar:
I've been fortunate enough to work in a few very good productions. My only success in cinema came from working with big banners like Yash Raj, Excel Entertainment, Dharma Productions, etc. I'm fortunate enough to have friends in the industry who're producers too. Karan Johar and Farhan Akhtar would be happy to advise me on the finer tips about production if ever I asked them for one. I haven't called anyone to ask for help. I'm not saying that I know everything about production but I believe that everything is a learning process and somehow we've managed to make our first film.

Why a producer?
My interest really is not so much in production. But after working for eighteen years you feel that it'll be nice to own a little bit of what you're working for and work a little bit more for yourself and be creatively involved. When your own money is involved, the inputs from friends, colleagues mean something else. So I wanted to learn that level of involvement and business that has given me so much. Today, I do feel more ready as a producer, an independent one because there aren't any independent producers left. All have turned into one big production house.

The mystery woman:
There isn't any mystery surrounding the second actress in Love Aaj Kal. Her name is Harleen. She isn't here as a part of the promotion for the film because we felt that the main focus of the movie is Deepika and myself in terms of characters. Harleen isn't someone whom we've kept deliberately away from you. She is very good in the film.

Why Imtiaz Ali?
When you hear a script and hear a vibe from somebody, it works for me. A famous actor once said, “The clever thing an actor does is not acting, it's the listening he does”. I'm a good listener. So when Imtiaz narrated me the script, I decided that we should go ahead with the film.

Love 1965 to 2009:
I think the experience of love is the same. A lot of cinematic and real life love stories have certain obstacles. In today's time it could be career, distance, etc. The process of falling in love may be different in two different eras but the feeling is the same. That is pretty much what Love Aaj Kal is about. There is a 1965 love kal and 2009 love aaj. So there is a story within the story and it's not really a comparison between two different eras. I'm not playing a double role and Imtiaz Ali isn't going to make a film which is confusing.

Saif Ali Khan the lover:
I guess everybody has the same definition for love. I mean, I am lovey-dovey kinds but also a bit practical and if you're saying that there is too much love happening in my life, I think it's a little bit unfair. That's got a lot to do with the media (laughs). Yes, I've got a lot of love in my life which is a good thing.

On Deepika Padukone:
Deepika's personality grounds my personality on screen, in a way what Rani Mukherjee does because we are different types. I'm a little more western in my things and she is a little more earthy. That mixture makes an interesting chemistry on screen.

Playing a Sardar:
To play a sardar, I had some responsibilities to it also. We met various members of some Sikh organisations like the Akali's. They were all very happy when they heard about the film and my role. Dolly Tiwari who has done my clothes in the film has been so perfect to dress me up as one. A lot of sardarji's will be very proud for the honourable representation that this character has given in the film. I had to work on the accent a little bit.

IIFA is a great platform to promote your film as long as it suits everybody. The main performance slot is the first one or the last one and they both were already taken. The opening act was already booked and the Bachchans are doing the grand finale at this years IIFA. So we didn't want to dissolve or film somewhere in the middle.

On Salman and Akshay playing a Sardar:
I haven't seen Salman Khan's film Heroes but I have seen Akshay's Singh is King. I thought that was a very glamorous and a cool kind of a film and I think he looked very good. The outfits were larger than life but the Sardar I'm playing is very down to earth and there is no comparison. You should see a film as a new and a different world and only then you'll enjoy it. We can compare between us but the idea is just to be genuine within that and not really think about others.

Akshay Kareena battle it out at the Kambakkht Ishq press conference from the Taj Lands End, Bandra

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Look what a strike does for you. It makes a sixty day dry spell and then when it calls it off, within four hours of notice, there are hundreds of media personnel present to attend the exclusive press conference of Kambakkht Ishq at Taj Lands End in Bandra. It wasn't the media alone who were given a short notice. Akshay Kumar had to fly down from Karjat in an hours notice and Kareena had to rush from Mehboob Studios to attend the grand event. “Aap log kaafi bor nahin ho gaye the koi film release nahin ho rahi thi. Kuch masala kisi ko nahi mil raha tha”, said the ever humorous Akshay Kumar by standing up graciously as he attends the media. Kareena Kapoor too joined in and gave a short speech. A glimpse of the films trailer and a song was screened for the media and a surprise cake cutting ceremony was held to mark the release date of the film – June 10. Then comes the stampede. Journalists, photographers and the camera crew rush to the near by room where the two sexes – Viraj (Akshay) and Simrita (Kareena) are ready to battle it out with some absurd, strange, mad and some decent questions thrown to them. As Akshay Kumar aptly said, “The battle of the plexes are over and the battle of the sexes has begun”. Time for some reaction to reaction.

Akshay Kumar:
The strike is over and Kambakkht Ishq has finally found a release date. How happy are you?

I am very happy about it and who wouldn't be happy? I am continuously working and three to four films of mine are already done and dusted. Yes, I was upset and angry that there was not a single film being released since two months. It's like making a product and there is no buyer. I got to know of the strike at 3 am. I have come down all the way from Karjat and going to go back with a big smile on my face.

Who is Viraj Shergill in the film?
You should know this by now as you've even got a press kit but to answer your question, Viraj is a stuntman in Hollywood. I got an opportunity to do stunts with Superman and Rambo (laughs). It's a battle of sexes but the inside news is that the female sex wins.

This is going to be your biggest film as far as the number of prints are going to release. How excited are you?
Well, I don't know about that but I don't know how you know about it.

Aparently it's going to have an English release too considering that it's got Sylvester Stallone in it.
I actually don't know much about it because they have signed me as an actor and not as an exhibitor and a distributor. But I'll surely find out and let you know about it and if it is something like what you've informed me, then I'm very happy because we'll get an international audience. Sajid was aiming for something like this.

Brief about Sabbir Khan the new director.
I've always enjoyed working with new directors. In fact, I've always given hits with new directors. Be it Sajid Khan, Vipul Shah, Guddu Dhanoa, Naresh Malhotra, etc. I always see a greed in a new director because they are very greedy about work, they want to prove it and they bring new ideas on the table. That's what has inspired me about Sabbir. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

How technically different is Kambakkht Ishq compared to all the other Nadiadwala films you've worked in?
From Judwaa, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Heyy Babby, etc, Sajid has always maintained an upward graph. His climb is slow but sure. There is always something new in terms of technicalities in all his films. This is going to be his biggest film.

How different are stunts in Hollywood compared to that of Bollywood?
The West believes a lot in safety. I had to sign a lot of paper work. They maintain the health and safety issue a lot out there which is good. Here it's like, “Chal bhai ab upar se kood. Sab kuch theek hai, tu sirf kood. Boxes bhi theek hai. Kood ja.” I'm from the school of Bollywood and when I go there I learn a lot in terms of safety issues surrounding the stunts. Our school is tough, no doubt about it. Out here we sometimes even fall off the building with no boxes down there. When the West hear about our bizarre stunt stories, they are in for a shock.

Is the USP of the film the stunts you're going to perform?
The film is not about stunts. I'm just playing a stuntman. Mere stunt pe koi katha nahin likhi unhone. Stunt is just my profession in the film.

Why do you think this film will work?
I don't know why this film will work. But I haven't played this kind of a role in any of my films, it's one of my best romantic films. I've been doing a lot of comedy and action. Kambakkht Ishq is very good for a change.

This is the seventh time you're working with Kareena Kapoor. How was the experience?
Well, unke parivaar ka maine thhekaa le rakha hain. I've done fourteen films with Karisma and seven with Kareena. Ab dekhte hain...unke bachhe honge toh unke saath bhi kar lenge.

In terms of fitness, you were pitted against a sixty plus year old man who is physically fit. What did you learn from Sylvester in regards to fitness?
Well, that man had lots and lots of stories to tell. I was very surprised to know some of his stories. We shared a lot of stories in Thailand as he has shot many of the Rambo series in Thailand and I too come from Thailand. I've stayed there for seven years. The way he works is amazing. Sylvester doesn't just remember his dialogues but he knows all the other dialogues of the people around him. It's a good trait and something which we in Bollywood should learn.

What is your the style statement of your shoes?
What has that got to do with the film?

There is a dialogue in the film where you say 'Women are only good for one thing'. Isn't that an insult to women?
Motherhood you mean? Yes, I say that but it's just the character I play in the film who is a male chauvinist.

You're looking dapper day by day. What's the reason?
I eat Chyavanprash everyday. You should also try it.

Kareena Kapoor:
This is the seventh time you're working with Akshay and your chemistry with him is working out fine. What say?
I love to work with Akshay Kumar because I've known him since I was in my school uniform. I met him first on the sets of Deedar with Karisma. He is one of India's biggest super stars. His struggle along with Karisma's has gone hand in hand. It feels like he is a part of a family.

Your best friend Amrita Arora is also there in Kambakkht Ishq.
It's been great. I've worked with her in Golmaal Returns and I'm hoping that this film too does well like Golmaal Returns.

Your look is very different in the film. Tell us something about it.
The stylist of this film is Aki Narula. We've shopped from Milan and Rome for the costumes of Kambakkht Ishq. You will not find such kind of dresses in a normal Hindi film. We've gone to a very understated and a classic look. I've got lots of messages from people about my look and it feels nice.

How different is Simrita from Kareena Kapoor?
Very different. Simrita in the film is a feminist and I'm not. Simrita is a tough nut to crack and I'm not. Simrita is quite insensitive in the first half which I'm not. But that's the whole fun of it because we play roles different from our real life personality.

You too have got a dialogue saying 'Men want only one thing'.
Don't you think so? Lagta toh aise hi hain na? When you watch the film you'll realise that. You guys watch English film, don't you? Then why make such a big issue out of it?

How was it like shooting in Hollywood with Hollywood stars?
I loved working in Los Angeles. We had a beautiful weather and we got to work with the Hollywood crew. What more can we ask for? I've only done one scene with Denise Richards and two scenes with Sylvester Stallone. They are absolutely normal as normal can be.

How physically challenging and tedious can a role be after you've played size zero in Tashan?
Well, Tashan was tiring because I had to maintain a figure which sent the national economy for a toss. It's nice and different in Tashan. Actually I challenged myself to that film. Whereas in Kambakkht Ishq it's more like the girl needed to be voluptuous and fuller. She needed to be more fashion conscious. I will don and change my self according to whatever role.

You just mentioned that you want to see Akshay Kumar on the top as he is your favourite hero. What about Saif? Don't you want to see him on top too?
Saif is on the top already.

What was the best compliment you received from Sylvester Stallone?
The fact that I got to sit with him, interact with him and learn something from a hero who is like a father figure is more than what you can ask for. For me, that was my compliment.

We heard that Saif didn't like you wearing a bikini in Tashan and a swim suit in Kambakkht Ishq.
People don't wear jeans and go swimming do they?

Which is your favourite song from the film?
There is a song with my name 'Bebo' in it and that is my favourite.

"Aarav will be Indian Film Industry's next super star" - Rajesh Khanna

by Devansh Patel

They say that if there was ever a superstar in the Indian Film Industry, it had to be Rajesh Khanna. There may be romantic leading men and icons in Bollywood but there is and will be only one superstar for his ability to take cinematic love to legendary heights. Why couldn't anybody replace him? Why since four long decades 'Kakaji's' superstar status is still not passed on? Because he had the biggest and the maddest fan following, especially his female fans. They would write love letters to him soaked in blood. They would kiss his car and faint. They wouldn't marry anybody in their life for they dedicated their life to Rajesh Khanna. His fashion and style statement was evident in all the colleges across India. Such was the impact of a man who, with the rigorous use of his voice to communicate a character's lines like 'Pushpa...I hate tears' and 'Babumushai...zindagi jo hain woh badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi' express emotions, which he achieved through attention to diction and commitment to his character. UK's Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent met the real and the reel superstar who, with his trademark smile and pose, delivered those famous lines from his film Anand and in the ten minutes which we were given, spoke in length about his IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award, how the word 'Kakaji' was born, his superstar status, his film Anand which inspired the country, his first love and first super hit Aradhana, his one liner to describe Kishore Kumar and Bollywood's next superstar, his grandson Aarav.

Congratulations on your Life Time Achievement Award you've received at this years IIFA Macau.
Thank you so much. But this is not my first Life Time Achievement Award. I've already got a Filmfare Life Time Achievement when the black lady turned into gold. Then I was presented one during the Stardust Awards too. IIFA is a different feeling all together. IIFA is a very prestigious award and is no less than an Oscar. IIFA is a heritage of participating to highlight the culture of India to the various countries of the world. This is also the first time I'm attending all the three days of the IIFA Weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

The entire world know you as 'Kakaji'. Please tell us how the word 'Kaka' became so synonymous with Rajesh Khanna?
That's interesting. 'Kaka' in Punjabi means a small little baby. When I came into films, I was called 'Kaka' because I was young and small and with a bit of respect they added 'Ji'. That's how the world famous 'Kakaji' was born.

Indian Film Industry's first ever super-star. Women kissing your car, women writing love letters to you in blood, your style of dressing and talking. Everything you did was tagged as super-star.
No matter who they are. Whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian or any other community, I will always be grateful to my audience. In the corner of their heart, all of them have given me a small little space, stored and bestowed me with their love and affection. I would also like to thank my co-stars who've made me become an actor, then a star and then a super-star. Being a super-star isn't an individual achievement but it's the almighty above there who thinks he likes me. All departments of our film industry made me an actor to a star to a super-star.

When people are on the verge of a near collapse and some who don't have much time to spend with their loved ones, all advice to watch Rajesh Khanna's Anand.
How did you come to know this? You're right. Even today, people advice to watch Anand simply because it was a path breaking film which had a path breaking dialogue, “Hum toh is rang manch ki katputliya hain aur hum sab ki dor upar wale ke haath mein hain. Kaun kya kab yeh koi nahin jaanta. Isliye babumushai...hey babumushai, zindagi jo hain woh badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin honi chahiye. Itna pyaar zyaada accha nahin hain”. People cried a lot during this final scene of the film because somewhere it touched their sentiments. Anand also gave them an inspiration and a reason to live.

Let's talk about your first big super hit Aradhana.
Aradhana was the first stepping stone towards my success. After that film, I never had to look back. For that, my tribute goes to my favourite Late Mr Shakti Samant. I've worked with him in lots of films. He gave me lot of encouragement, lot of affection and never made me feel that Aradhana was my first super hit. Not many know but I was working with yet another super star heroine Sharmila Tagore in Aradhana. At that time she was more famous than I was and did not give me the complex that I was a new comer. She is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated ladies I've ever seen. Aradhana will always be my first love.

They say that you were the one who gave Kishore Kumar his second innings with Aradhana.
I will just sum this up in one sentence. I told Shakti Samant that Kishore Kumar was my soul and I was his body.

How is the relationship you share with your son-in-law Akshay Kumar? Can you recall those moments of sweet gestures between you two, the fatherly advise, etc?
I told Akshay that he works in nice films. My advise to him was that he should dance, he should entertain, he should do good action but overall I did tell him to work in films that has a purpose and stop working in films like the Khiladi series. Other than that, Akshay is doing a fine job.

You proud of your family tree?
Of course yes. I am very proud of this family because of the family tree. It's coming down from Rajesh Khanna to Dimple Kapadia. From Dimple to Twinkle Khanna to Rinke, it moves to my son-in-law Akshay Kumar and to my grandson Aarav. I'm saying this in public today that after Rajesh Khanna the superstar, the next in line will be Aarav, and I'm not saying this because he is the son of Akshay Kumar but because he will carry the talent, the dedication and the sacrifice which everyone of us has carried in our family. Aarav will be Indian Film Industry's next super star.

Deepika Padukone on the cover of VOGUE - Latin America

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Deepika Padukone visited Lima Peru, last month for a stylish photo shoot for Vogue - Latin America and for Cosas Magazine. Deepika is the first Indian face to feature in the Latin American Vogue. During her visit, Deepika stayed at the presidential suite at the Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima, the suite's previous occupants include Bill Clinton, Duran Duran and Tommy Hilfiger.

Deepika Padukone visited Lima Peru, last month for a stylish photo shoot for Vogue - Latin America and for Cosas Magazine. Deepika is the first Indian face to feature in the Latin American Vogue. During her visit, Deepika stayed at the presidential suite at the Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima, the suite's previous occupants include Bill Clinton, Duran Duran and Tommy Hilfiger.

Deepika previously walked the ramp with international model Naomi Campbell at the Lakme Fashion week 2009 in Mumbai, India and also attended the Fashion Week Peruvian Moda as the guest of honour at the invitation of Ms Mercedes Araos, Peruvian Minister for Tourism and Commerce during her visit to Peru.

"Lucky Hrithik for having Suzanne who can dress him up properly" - Zayed Khan

by Devansh Patel

Your Style Statement names your authentic self. It is a compass for designing a life that reflects the true you. From your wisdom to your wardrobe; from your longings to your living room, your business, finances, and the parties you throw -- your Style Statement is where your essence meets your expression. Mumbai, June 4, 2009, Juhu PVR cinemas experienced the best of the Fashion world at the IIFA Fashion extravaganza press conference held to promote the grand event to take place in Macau next week. The star studded night will see leading designers like Rocky S, Manav Gangwani, Anamika Khanna, Farah Ali Khan and Hong Kong designer Chris Chang showcase their designs. Not only that, there are quite a few show stoppers lined up for the night too. Hrithik Roshan and Suzanne Roshan will walk the ramp for Farah Ali Khan and the always-chic Sonam Kapoor for Anamika Khanna. There's more guy! Bipasha Basu will walk for Rocky S and Neil Nitin Mukesh along with Mugdha Godse will walk the ramp for the events sponsor Siyaram. Adding glamour to the evening, international singing sensation Peter Andre will perform at the Fashion Extravaganza too. But what's the fashion show without its dapper looking hosts. In walks the gorgeous Sophie Choudhary and accompanying her will be the handsome Khan, Zayed. The stylish duo will host the grand fashion show to be held at the Venetian Resort Hotel. UK's Harrow Observer and Gazette columnist and Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel gets into the fashion fever mood as he chats with the host Zayed Khan to talk about everything to do with style, looking dapper, his fashion idol, his fashion flaws, his hatred for the colour pink, the fashionable Fardeen and the not so fashionable Hrithik and the one person who got the entire Bollywood fashion conscious and the nation go ga-ga over his phenomenal style statement – Late Mr Feroz Khan. As Yves Saint Laurent quotes, “Fashions fades but style is eternal.”

Looks like it's a deliberate move by the IIFA to rope in Zayed Khan, knowing that the Khan family (including the Late Feroz Khan, Fardeen Khan and Hrithik Roshan) is always known for their fashion and style.
(laughs) You can either say a deliberate move or a smart move. There is a certain comfort I have with the management of IIFA and there is a certain trust they have in me. It's a big event. It's a grand event this year where they want to show off, and we want to take this opportunity and let them show off.

We thought that it's the yellow, pink or the green season with summer almost coming to an end. You're sporting a dapper pine striped lavender jacket with a purple tie and white jeans. You've changed things.
There are these critical fashion fluxes that keep happening every year and you just take that into consideration and you make your own fashion statement as you go. Yes, it is about pastel colours, it is about cigarette jeans, tapered looks, bondish and fitting stuff. But then you must have the physique and a body for that otherwise it looks terrible. I mean, you and me could carry it off (laughs). I never really look at the colours. It's a woman thing. Men like the sharp cut in anything they wear and if they get that, just about any colour would do. What I'm wearing now is a Manav Gangwani creation.

Recall you first instance in life when you walked the ramp.
I was terrible in school and college. I was called Pizza face. I was very thin. I was a good sportsman. The only thing I can recall was during my school days when we had a play called 'Alladin' where I played the title role (laughs). That was my first ever time I was on stage. That was really nostalgic. But I did walk the ramp last year for the IIFA Bangkok for my film Mission Istanbul. But the first time I walked the ramp ever was for my sister Farah Khan for her accessories she had showcased. After that I've walked for many designers like Vikram Phadnis, Manav Gangwani, Rocky S, etc.

You fond of the colour pink?
You know what, Manav wanted me to wear a pink shirt. I said, “Manav, I'm not a homosexual. I'm not going to wear a pink shirt because it's just not me.” He somehow convinced me to wear that shirt and a jacket on top which I wore during my sisters ten year re-union wows and I can't tell you the good reviews I got from the hot babes present for the occasion (laughs). Sorry Mrs Zayed Khan, but you have to appreciate beauty (laughs). As long as I was getting compliments from women, it works for me.

Two of your family members, Hrithik Roshan and wife Suzanne Roshan are going to walk the ramp showcasing Farah, you sisters accessories. What's their style like?
I can just say one thing, “Lucky him to have Suzanne”, and he knows that. Duggu knows that Suzanne really helps him out in his style quotient. Hrithik has got an outstanding body and everything falls in the right place for him when he wears a shirt or jeans or a t-shirt or a suit. He is a very simple guy. Hrithik is not into fashion but he sometimes does it because he has to do it as a celebrity, which we all do. He is more or less in his chequered shirt, jeans and chappals and that's his quintessential look. But when my sister dresses him up, he looks dapper (laughs).

What about your cousin Fardeen?
Miles apart from Hrithik, I tell you. Hrithik is generally not the person interested in fashion. He does it because it's his job and he does a damn good job of it. But if I had to say who is naturally fashionable and has a flair is Fardeen. If there is somebody I've picked up my fashion tips from, it's Fardeen. If he even wears a watch, he will carry it off with style. That's Fardeen for you.

If there is one fashion guru who got the western influence in the Indian Film Industry, it is the Late Mr Feroz Khan. Do you agree with me?
I totally agree with you. Feroz cha is the quintessential James Bond, Cow Boy, everything. He was a real macho man. If I had to quote him, he once said, “Son, I'm a man amongst men and even better amongst women.” That was his demeanour in life. He would go to the extent of wearing a cow-boy hat with his kurta too. You can't beat his style. He was the one along with Dev Anand saab who brought the western influence into Bollywood. The whole fun element started coming in after Qurbani released. Before that of course, it was Dev saab too who was responsible to some extent. I think that's where Fardeen got it from.

If you were given a chance to dress up Andre, Viraf and Sabbas, the three Wiz kids, for the big night in Macau, how would you do your job?

Wow! Firstly, Andre and Viraf looked like brothers to me. I even thought that Andre Timmins was a Parsi because he has got those looks. But both of them have always looked good in their suits. Same with Sabbas. He is the senior most Wiz kid and for that I'll dress up all of them in their black suits with white shirt and a thin white tie with shiny black shoes, and there they will grace the red carpet, the men in black.

"I wanted to marry K.L.Saigal" - Lata Mangeshkar

By Devansh Patel

Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of our Indian Film Industry is loved by one and all for her melodious voice ever since she started singing. But do you know the name of the singer she fell in love with in her childhood days? Do you know the person whom she fancied? And did you know with whom she wanted to tie the nuptial knot? After digging a lot, our sources from London sourced out some exclusive information about Lata Mangeshkar's loveable musical journey. An insight which very few till today have known. Let's then take it from the top, shall we?

The Mangeshkar family will always be remembered for their undying and invaluable contribution to the world of music. Back in the early 1930's, the family of singers too had their own idol, singer K.L. Saigal. His songs were very popular in the Mangeshkar household. What's more, in times of conservative India back then, they were only allowed to sing songs sung by Saigal. So with no other singer's voice heard in the entire household, Lata Mangeshkar started to weave her dreams of getting married to K.L.Saigal in her early childhood days. The nightingale quotes, “As far as I can remember, I always wanted to meet K.L.Saigal. As a child, I used to say that I will get married to him after I grow up and that's when my father explained to me that when I'll be big enough to get married, Saigal saab will be too old enough to get married.”

Having said that, it'll be quite a shocker for you to know that after having sung more than sixty thousand songs in her career, Lataji has never been able to meet up with her dream man. In her own words, she said, “I will always regret not to have met K.L.Saigal, the man of my dreams. But yes, with the help of his brother Mahendra Saigal, I did get a chance to meet his wife Ashaji and his children who gifted me K.L.Saigal saab's ring.”

Mangeshkar family was never supportive of film songs back then. It was only Lataji and her father, whom she calls 'baba', used to listen to the songs sung by K.L.Saigal. Lataji recalls, “Baba used to love Saigal saab's songs. Even I used to sing his songs. I remember singing 'Ek Bangla Bane Nyaara'. I was the only member of my family who was allowed to sing Saigal saab's songs.”

Speaking about reservations and how strict her father was, Lataji said, “My father was very conservative types and never allowed us to apply any powder or make up when we wanted to go out to see a play. He was also very strict about the type of clothes we wanted to wear. He didn't allow us to watch any Hindi films because he himself didn't like them. We were only given the permission to go and watch Bhalji Pendharkar's marathi films.”

Strange isn't it? With so many restrictions in the family, if we throw light on Lata Mangeshkar's life and career, you'll be surprised to know that her first claim to fame was the 1949 Hindi film 'Mahal' in which she sung the chart buster song 'Aayega Aanewala...aayega....aayega'

"Ranbir Kapoor has a long way to go", Manoj Bajpai on Rajneeti

by Devansh Patel

Politicians can be so honest sometimes. Many years ago, before the satellite television revolution started to rule our lives, there was a news programme telecast which showed Devi Lal wearing a white vest and a dhoti giving an honest answer to a reporter who asked him, "Why did you make your son Om Prakash Chautala the Chief Minister of Haryana?" Devi Lal replied, "Toh Kya Bhajanlal Ke Chhore Ko Banaau?". An English translation - "Then shall I make Bhajan Lal's son the Chief Minister?". Cannot match the rustic delight of it. Loved the riposte. Of course, it was a rare moment of honesty from an Indian politician. Devi Lal could've said that his son was a fine leader and had served the people of Haryana. He could've also said that it was a democratic decision by the party. But his statement made no pretence of denying what we all already know: Politics and politicians are motivated by nothing other than their lust to power, and once they acquire it, they want to pass it on, like a material possession, to their progeny.

As far as Prakash Jha's film Rajneeti is concerned, Manoj Bajpai too plays a politician who wants to achieve that power to rule. Speaking exclusively to Bollywood Hungama, he said, "Rajneeti is a rule to rule the country. It is a reflection of today's politics that we see and experience in a family conflict with politics being the backdrop. The primary concern in politics is the nation. There are people in it for power, some are there for social service, etc. So it depends on person to person." Surprisingly, Manoj was to choose one of the two roles he was offered by his director Jha to play in Rajneeti. Though he didn't want to reveal the name of the actor who is playing the role he rejected, but to everyone's surprise, he picked up the grey shade which he thought suits him the best. "Prakash gave me two options. He asked me to choose from the two characters. One was a a grey shade and the other had a bit of a white shade which is now being played by another actor in Rajneeti. I am very happy with my role because my role was posing a great challenge as I had to depend a lot on my own ability to look good and excel. Nothing I put on is for the sake of putting on. We needed this regal kind of a look for my role. He is a powerful guy and comes from a powerful family. He is the eldest son of the family and is a power hungry person", Bajpai claims.

Aware of the fact that the film is highly inspired by the epic Mahabharata, Manoj isn't too excited about the reasoning. He said, "Yes, politics is fought like Mahabharata because there is no black and white. The primary concern is the nation and everybody feels that it is their karma and duty to do things that they are assigned to do. Likewise in Rajneeti, all the politicians are having grey shades. I am an avid watcher of daily news and read a lot of newspaper stories daily. I've always been aware of the political happenings of our country and what it takes to be there and what are the conflicts that a person goes through in today's politics. How it kept on changing every decade. It is not surprising to see the battle in politics similar to that of the Mahabharata." In the directors previous encounter with politics in films like Gangaajal and Apaharan there was an underlined message towards the end of the film. The question is: Will Rajneeti be any different? Manoj answers, "A film not necessarily has to preach. Rajneeti as a film is a reflection of our society. Each and every person learns something from their life or others life. Rajneeti provides a great insight into ones political life. Prakash Jha's political and social concerns have been very very strong without being preachy and you'll see exactly that in this film. It's going to hit people very hard."

With such an ensemble, experienced and a versatile cast in Rajneeti, including two of Jha's favourite - Ajay Devgan and Nana Patekar, there is also an inclusion of the new kid on the block, the not so experienced Ranbir Kapoor. Manoj gives his viewpoint on the young protege. "I haven't seen any of his films. I do not go by the family name that he is a Kapoor kid. He looks like a star material and hope that he works really hard to become a complete actor. I've interacted with him only once over the phone and he came across as a very genuine and a very well brought up guy. Ranbir has a long way to go. He is going to have a tough time as the penultimate one months shoot is still pending. Ranbir's topsy turvy ride continues with Prakasha Jha."

Writers Notepad - The Grand Finale - Anjum Rajabali on Rajneeti

Exclusive by Devansh Patel

Does history repeat itself? Even centuries later, do people carry within them the DNA of age-old fratricidal wars, like some devilishly complex proteins? As Kurukshetra, Haryana was where thousands of years ago the bloody Mahabharat wars were fought over land and till today, they say, that if you dig hard and long, your chances are that you will find the red soil which was synonymous to the worlds bloodiest battle ever fought on land. It seems to be once again becoming the source of many abominable tales of corruption, of violent revenge killings, murky land deals and dirty politics. So, the conclusion is that the present begins from the past and present depicts the future. So it is essential for everyone to know the history of our past because every present emerges from the past and despite modifications, the base of all the things remains same. Come to think of it, Mahabharata is a glorious welter of incident and digression, evoking not just a central story of ruinous war but an array of myths and human archetypes and an animal world a quiver with magic drawn to its transcending themes: man's joyous awakening to nature and love and duty, the menacing lures of vanity and ambition and war with political degradation. .At least hindsight is a must for those who have no foresight. For the sightless Dhritharashtra of the epic Mahabharata and the progenies in terms of vision less political parties of today, someone like Sanjaya has to interpret characters, situations and their meanings, for all times to come. In our grand finale of the Writers Notepad, Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent and UK's Harrow Observer columnist present to you a writer par excellence, Anjum Rajabali and his take on his most ambitious project this year – Prakash Jha's Rajneeti which is highly influenced from the epic Mahabharata. Come, join us in this final battle of the pen versus the sword.

Rajneeti - An ambitious film
A couple of reasons for that, actually. One is that while I’ve dealt with political subjects in a couple of earlier screenplays, this is the first time that I’m tackling a plot that deals squarely with the electoral politics of the Hindi heartland. When Prakash (Jha) invited me to write ‘Rajneeti’ with him in 2004, my first reaction was to decline politely as I didn’t have any useful understanding or even familiarity with that political culture. I mean barring what one gleans from the news media. However, Prakash knows that territory like the back of his hand – having observed it for decades and now being an active participant in elections there. He assured me that he’d educate me about the ground reality and since he was to co-write it too, he was responsible for ensuring that the script and the film would have a credible political flavour. That made me comfortable taking it on. Two, apart from the backdrop, the scale of the human drama too is immense. Not just does it deal with the shenanigans, skulduggery and manipulation that goes on during the run-up to an election, but the dramatic canvas includes sub-plots of relationships that get rocked and buffeted by electoral imperatives, often with tragic personal consequences. The challenge therefore was to weave in the stories of these interesting characters into the political manoeuvres and keep it credible.

Politics - Old wine packed in a new bottle
This question expects me to be defensive! Anyway.. Not only is the story contemporary, but even its treatment – the characterization, the relationships, the politics – all these reflect today’s values and experience. Moreover, I haven’t come across a plot like this in earlier films that dealt with political subjects. Both of us have tried to make sure that the script has a fresh flavour and has a resonance of today’s ground reality. So no, I wouldn’t agree that it is old wine in a new bottle.

Politically correct or incorrect you can get while writing a film like this
That cannot be a consideration while writing a film like this. You see, the aim is discover a story of interesting people and their relationships amidst all this political jostling and tell that in an impactful way. If you aren’t judgemental in telling a story, then being politically correct or incorrect is hardly an issue. All you have to do is to create fictional characters in this milieu and then merely observe how they respond to their situation, and capture that in as engaging a way as you can.

We had a single source of information and research: Prakash Jha. Not only did he draw upon his observations and insights, but so did I.

The challenges faced
Well, apart from what I mentioned in answer to your first question, let me mention two constructive challenges. Challenges which needed effort but offered big creative rewards. Firstly, both Prakash and I are fascinated with the Mahabharata. (Who isn’t!) It was his suggestion that we look at some core aspects of the Mahabharata story and some key characters and see if they were relevant to our story, and if so, we adapt those. This may sound simple but it takes some doing, I assure you, since the milieu of our story is contemporary. Reinterpreting the characters and their dilemmas and making them relevant to today’s situation was an interestingly difficult task. Secondly, working with a director who is also your co-writer presents some rather unique challenges. You see, even though I wrote the first draft of the screenplay and Prakash was to rewrite it, as I was constructing it, it was imperative to keep in mind Prakash’s requirements as a director. Which meant synchronizing your sensibilities and story-telling style not only with Prakash as writing partner but also with the same person as director. Never easy. If the partnership is not democratic, it can become a rather serious problem for both. Fortunately, Prakash and I have known each other since 2002 when he asked me to be script consultant on ‘Gangaajal’. That arrangement worked out quite well, and so I was consultant on ‘Apaharan’ too. We became friends and while working together developed a healthy respect for each other. Given this, the co-writing arrangement turned out to be a rather satisfying collaboration, I must say.

Mahabharata in Rajneeti - It's concept and it's significance
The Mahabharata lends itself very appropriately to a premise like ours. After all, Mahabharata was about politics and the struggle for the right to rule. To power. And that is also what, in a way, electoral politics is all about.

Big B and Ben Kingsley from the city of Big Ben

by Devansh Patel

We finally have it here. Three exclusive stills of Teen Patti from the land of Big Ben where you see Big B who plays Venkat Subramaniam, a reclusive Math genius from India who cracks a theory that could redefine the principles of probability and randomness along with Sir Ben Kingsley who plays Perci Trachtenberg who is known as the world's greatest living mathematician. And we all know that when they two meet, it's going to change the world for good. This picture was taken in the outskirts of London and looks more or less like a University building somewhere in Oxfordshire. The story has it that Venkat is encouraged to test his theory in the real world. But what starts out as an experiment between a charismatic young professor and an eccentric older one soon descends into a game neither of them can control. Convinced that Venkat's discovery has the originality and significance to change the narrative arc of mathematics, Perci understands that Venkat's theory, in essence, questions the idea of what is random and what is fated. A surprising and deeply moving redemption, initiated by Perci, closes this stupendously modern film that is as much about the private equations of honour and chance, as it is about knowledge that can change the world.

What is also surprising is the fact that besides both being cast together for the first time in a full length feature film, there was a missed chance way back during Kingsley shot for Gandhi when the two were suppose to meet. Yes. Sir Richard Attenborough wanted to cast Amitabh Bachchan for one of the roles in his Oscar winning film Gandhi but due to reasons unknown to us, things didn't work out. For the moment, lets hope that Leena Yadav's two lucky mascots - Big B and Sir Ben bring as much luck to her as Sir Richard Attenborough and Sir Ben Kingsley brought to Gandhi.