Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rock On Movie Review

ROCK ON!! DIL CHAHTA HAI 2, one is tempted to ask. DIL CHAHTA HAI was a trendsetter when you look back, paving way for storytellers who wanted a new story to tell. Now, the DIL CHAHTA HAI team of Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar with director Abhishek Kapoor deliver ROCK ON!!, a film that makes you understand the true meaning of friendship.

Put your hands together for one of the finest films of our times. Put your hands together for a director who pulls off a challenging subject with élan. Put your hands together for the actors who pitch in superlative performances.
ROCK ON!! is not just about music. It's about relationships. And relationships can get really complicated and messy as all of us would agree. ROCK ON!! captures it so beautifully, so sensitively, so effectively on celluloid.

Everything is in sync here, everything is just perfect. Flaws? Perhaps, the slow pacing. But come to think of it, you can't play with the edit in a film like this. ROCK ON!! also works because you can relate to the characters, you can relate to the moods, the egos, the highs and the lows...

In a nutshell, here's a film you just can't afford to miss. We've had our share of masala films week after week. Now have a look at a film that India can proudly showcase to the West. ROCK ON!! simply rocks!

ROCK ON!! is the story of four friends [Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny] who put together the greatest band this country has ever seen, Magic, but never make it. Years later, fate conspires to bring them together again and set them on a journey back to where they left off... a soul-searching pilgrimage into their past.

ROCK ON!! bears some resemblance to the Hollywood film THAT THING YOU DO [Tom Hanks], but it could be a mere coincidence. Director Abhishek Kapoor sets it in the Indian milieu efficiently. Watch the bonding shatter into pieces for no fault of anyone in particular actually. It's the circumstances that play the villain here and Abhishek captures it on lens so beautifully. The fragile relationships, how piece after piece is put together and the journey to the climax… the narrative is so compelling, it makes you feel you're witnessing all of it first-hand.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is perfect. It's completely in sync with the mood of the film. Connoisseurs of music have already showered the music with rave reviews and rightly so! Jason West's cinematography is fantastic. The screenplay and dialogues are commendable.

Every performance in the film deserves brownie points. Farhan Akhtar makes his debut as an actor and he displays rare maturity for a first-timer. Known as an accomplished director all along, Farhan will now be acknowledged as a mature actor as well. Arjun Rampal delivers his finest performance to date. Watch him emote those tough emotional moments and also as a failed person in the latter parts and you'd realize that he has only grown with the passage of time. Superb is the word!

Purab Kohli is tremendous and so is Luke Kenny. Purab has always delivered fine performances, but he's touched a new high this time. Luke is equally charged.

Prachi Desai scores in her very first feature. She has a challenging role and footage-wise too, it's substantial. Prachi brings in a lot of freshness and poise. Plus, she's a competent actor. Shahana Goswami is a talent to watch out for. Her performance is one of the most difficult ones for a newcomer and the confidence with which she carries it deserves to be lauded. Koel Purie has a brief role and she enacts it quite well.

On the whole, ROCK ON!! is an amazing experience. The highpoint is the emotional quotient, the skilful performances and the superb execution of the subject. At the box-office, this urban film holds tremendous appeal for metros and mini-metros. Business at multiplexes of Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and NCR, Kolkata and South in particular should be excellent. Very strongly recommended!


Friday, August 1, 2008

'Stallone was very impressed with Indians' - Sajid Nadiadwala

Producer Sajid Nadiadwala has managed to do what other Bollywood filmmakers could not -- rope in Hollywood stars in our movies. Thanks to him, we may get to see Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards mouth some Hindi dialogue in Kambakht Ishq.

Starring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor , Kambakht Ishq almost also saw Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film. But the deal fell through.

Sajid, who flew back to Mumbai to be with his wife, who just delivered a baby boy, chats with Nithya Ramani, and talks about the Los Angeles shoot with Sly last week.

What is Kambakht Ishq about?

The film is about a stuntman, who does stunt doubles for Hollywood actors. That's why we roped in Hollywood stars -- the script demanded it.

Sajid Nadiadwala and Sylvester StalloneHow did you manage to rope in Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards?

We were trying to get in touch with Hollywood actors through various sources. We tried many actors and finally, we could get Stallone and Richards.

Arnold will not be a part of the film. We wanted him to play himself but things didn't work out.

What was Stallone's reaction on reading the script?

He enjoyed the script. He was very impressed with our way of working.

It was a great experience working with him. He is a director's actor. We have grown up watching his films. I have watched Rocky many times. It was like a dream come true, working with him.

How was your shoot with him?

We shot at the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles. He was very punctual. All of us stood up in respect when he entered. Shooting with him was a very good experience. He does whatever the director asks him to.

Sylvester Stallone and Kareena KapoorYou were shooting at the Kodak Theatre, where the Annual Academy Awards takes place. Were you filming an award function?

We were shooting the Taurus Awards, an award given for the best stunts.

How was the rapport between Akshay and Stallone?

They gelled very well. Stallone was very impressed with Indians and our way of working. Akshay and Stallone would discuss their workouts, gym routines and trainings.

Was it tough explaining the scene to Stallone, as he does not understand Indian cinema?

It was very easy. He is like a baby in front of the director. He is as simple as anybody else. The only difficult part was getting them to sign the film. Once he had signed, it was smooth.

He gifted you his Rocky boxing gloves.

Yes, that was a momento. I will always cherish that. He was so impressed with us that he gave his boxing gloves to me. India has come up in a big way off late and people look up to India. Cinema in India is growing big time and people abroad have started recognising us. It is a matter of pride to get boxing gloves from Stallone himself.

How long are their roles -- Stallone and Richards?

Denise has an important, substantial role. We have an eight days shoot with her. Stallone has approximately seven to 10 minutes of screen time. We had a three-day shoot with him.

Jaane Tu Mera Kya Hai - Video

Mallika Sherawat's Ugly Aur Pagli - Review

It's only fitting for a movie about slapping to show a lot of cheek.

One of the high points of Ugly Aur Pagli comes when Kabir (Ranvir Shorey) sits at Yash Ram Films, trying to get them to buy a script. The producer, a bald man with a french beard, is disappointed that the man has come only with an actual script -- where's the DVD, he asks, referring to the film the script must have been ripped off from.

It seems almost as if debutant director Sachin Khot, in a blatantly confessional moment, tossed in a slice of his life, as if he was asked to provide a reference DVD but, unlike Kabir -- who predictably sticks to his guns and writes out his life story -- the director wilfully handed over a copy of the Korean film My Sassy Girl, and assumed that with this cast, his film could be groundbreakingly awesome.

It's not a bad call, honestly. The original is a sweet, fun film about a guy hopelessly devoted to a girl, who constantly humiliates him, and who better to play loser and lioness than Ranvir Shorey and Mallika Sherawat ?

Alas, this film, like its drunken protagonist, consistently staggers.

Mallika Sherawat in Ugly Aur PagliWithout going deep into the originality debate yet again -- it tires me as much as it tires you, really -- if a film does have to be ripped off, can't it be adapted sensibly, like Aamir or Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin, to look at diametrically different ends of the good remake section? But no, Ugly Aur Pagli falls into that same old Bollywood trap, trying to camouflage a ripoff as an 'inspired by' film by replacing plot-points with extraneous songs and playing havoc with the narrative.

As a result, a bittersweet film about an ordinary boy smitten by the girl, who harasses him, turns into an over-the-top farce, the original's charming moments here failing to work minus context. Meanwhile, the plot's roundabout logic, rudimentary even in the Sassy original, here translates into a mess of perplexity and coincidence because of the chopping and changing. (It's likely a completely desi problem, though, for a screenwriter to have to replace an inventive naked-boy-meets-girl situation around, simply because that hideous Neil N Nikki had already stolen that scene.)

Anyway, Ugly starts off all right. Kabir is a dweeb, who runs into a scarily sloshed Kuhu (Mallika Sherawat), saves her life and doesn't sleep with her, and the film is essentially a story of how the masochistically mediocre man gets to know the sadistically slap-happy siren. Yes, the bondage theme runs deep as the girl whacks the life out of the boy, and you can almost imagine him in a gimp mask -- while I'm genuinely surprised she doesn't weild an actual whip. Heh.

And the only reason this decidedly unusual undercurrent crackles -- despite the lame-duck script -- is because of the leading pair. Ranvir Shorey -- playing the single most pathetic protagonist I can remember in our cinema -- is fantastic as Kabir, his expressions striking enough to make us laugh, often despite ourselves. The role needs him to whimper and hope and desperately crave, and Shorey, an actor good enough to convince us he's still studying engineering, can carry off priceless between-the-lines moments and petticoats with equal panache.

Mallika Sherawat and Ranvir Shorey in Ugly Aur PagliIn a way, the film is a showcase for the believably aggressive Mallika Sherawat. Well capable of giving anyone a tongue lashing, this film asks her to employ a more hands-on approach, and she clearly enjoys herself. Her Kuhu is a potentially fascinating character, an inexplicably whimsical mean girl with major psychological issues, and even though the film doesn't explore Kuhu, Mallika manages to stay natural even in this weird avatar. You believe her Kuhu even if you don't understand her; when Ranvir instinctively flinches as she merely leans toward him, you sympathise. She looks like a million bucks -- even when dressed 'superhero-style' for a day in her college -- and a significant share of the film's audiences will have cowgirl dreams for a while. Giddyap.

Yet it is a case of two strong actors with much personality trapped in a script that makes even two hours seem long. The first hour is about right, but hour two is a banal procession of more slapping mixed with a high-drama climax, memorable only because we get to see the sexiest woman of the 1970s and her modern-day successor in the same frame.

My Sassy Girl works largely because the tone of everything in the film -- save from the cocky titular heroine -- is normal as toast, which is why placing sauce on it is tasty. Here, the treatment is consistently over-the-top and gets tiresome after the first act. While some of the lines are wicked good -- especially Ranvir's VO, which quirkily once labels Mallika a cross between Medha Patkar and Keshto Mukherjee -- there just aren't enough of them.

There's also a severe need for polish. Pyaar Ke Side Effects had a waferthin plot, but was salvaged by very fresh treatment and the fourth-wall breaking narrator who spoke directly to the audience. Trying to capitalise on that film's attitude, this film loses its own. It struggles to find a voice, initially trying too hard and eventually turning into a different kind of movie. There are random pointless shots of Mumbai, a supporting cast seemingly told not to act, and a set of narrative-killing songs -- bad ones, at that -- which serve only to have Mallika dress skimpy and Ranvir dance with a filmi flair that totally defeats his loser-character. (Also, it's alarming just how much of Kabir's fantasy sequence is dominated by a Punjabi rapper.)

It's disappointing just how boring this film gets by the time the end-credits come around, and one genuinely feels bad for the lead pair. And for the throwaway lines that aren't followed up on. The DVD-seeking movie producer mentioned earlier, for example, claims that he can liken anyone's story to an existing film, and asks for his story. The dare goes by ignored. Sachin, boss, I really wanted Kabir to try and nutshell his and Kuhu's story only to be cut-off midway by the bored producer holding up a copy of the Korean DVD. Now, that would have been special.

In a crazy way, Ugly Aur Pagli could even have struck a blow for women's lib. Why can't girls beat men up, anyway? Behind me, during the first half, a half-dozen giggly schoolgirls were eagerly counting slaps, trying to see if the film lived up to its cleverly devised '99 slaps, one kiss' tagline.

Unfortunately, like the film, they stopped counting midway.

Helen makes a comeback with Bachpan

Bollywood's original 'Dancing Diva' Helen will be seen making her comeback in Bollywood with a film titled Bachpan. The film is directed by debutante director Rajiv Sharma who has in the past assisted filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Satish Kaushik.

Taking on from where last year's smash hit Taare Zameen Par left, Bachpan is a musical family saga, laced with emotions, seen from the perspective of children. In fact, when Rajiv Sharma decided to debut as a director, he zeroed in on this project which reflects the sensibilities of children.

As for Helen's character, she plays the role of a grandmother in Bachpan. An elated Helen says, "The script was simply amazing. And when I read it, I was so overwhelmed, that I decided I had to do it. I have recently seen the rushes of the film and liked the way it has shaped up immensely."

Apart from Helen, the film will also star another veteran actress Padmini Kolhapure along with four talented children.

Sanjay Dutt shoots a promotional video for C Kkompany

Sanjay's voice is pretty unconventional for playback singing but the uniqueness of his voice has always attracted music composers. Sanjay Dutt has recorded a song for Balaji Motion Pictures' forthcoming film C Kkompany. It is the title track of the film.

The song is written and composed by Anand Raaj Anand and Sanjay also features in the video of this title track choreographed by Bosco - Caesar. While recording the song in the Studio, Sanjay looked very much in an ecstatic mood, got engaged in conversations with director Sachin Yardi, music director Anand Raaj Anand, Dharam Uberoi and Ramesh Sippy and also took out some time for the shutterbugs and media. Talking about the song, Dutt says, “I will be introducing the characters of the film C KKompany through this song and I am doing this song on the request of my friend Ramesh Sippy, CEO of Balaji Motion Pictures Ltd.”

“It has been a wonderful experience being associated with Balaji Motion Pictures in the past with Shootout. I really liked the concept of the film C Kkompany and the way they incorporated me to introduce the 3 protagonists in the title song. I enjoyed the song when I heard it and also since it was proposed by Mr. Ramesh Sippy who is like family, I immediately agreed to do it. This is just the beginning of our long association”, quips Sanjay Dutt.

C Kkompany stars Tusshar Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Rajpal Yadav and Raima Sen. The film has been produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor. It will be releasing on 22nd August 2008.

Big B's Shoebite gets a new title - Johnny Mastana

Amitabh Bachchan's Shoebite was always a working title to begin with. Now as the film is more than 50% complete, it has got a final title for itself. The film would now be called Johnny Mastana.

Confirms a source closely attached to the film, "Yes, the film finally has a title now. It would now be known as Johnny Mastana. The film's first set of teaser posters are already out and they have Johnny Mastana imprinted on them. In any case Shoebite was never a confirmed title so it can't be said that the film has gone though a title change."

But why a title like Johnny Mastana? She reasons, "Doesn't Johnny Mastana sound more universal in nature? The film is meant for all segments of audience and Johnny Mastana gives just the right indications. We all love this title here and the moment it was first suggested, we just grabbed it with open arms."

Apart from Amitabh Bachchan, the film also stars Sarika, Jimmy Sheirgill and Dia Mirza in key roles. Shooting of Johnny Mastana has been on since early this year and moving on at a decent pace. Since the film is touted to be revolving around the journey of a man across the entire nation, it involves numerous location changes.

Nods Jimmy Sheirgill in agreement, "It is true. In fact for shooting certain sequences in the film, the time required to reach the location is more than the time we spend at the location. It has been a grueling, yet satisfying experience, for everyone involved."

The film is directed by Shoojit Sircar of Yahaan fame. Incidentally Yahaan starred Jimmy Sheirgill in the lead and got him nationwide recognition.

"The man is just made of something different", says Jimmy fondly, "He has an acumen for that perfect shot taking. Technically brilliant and quite well versed with the medium of cinema, it is a delight to be working with him on a subject as diverse as Johnny Mastana."

While others in the film's cast have been busy wrapping up their portions, Amitabh Bachchan would resume shooting for the film once he is back from 'The Unforgettable Tour' in the month of September. Produced by UTV Motion Pictures, Johnny Mastana which has music by Shantanu Moitra, is now confirmed for a 6th March, 2009 release.

Salman khan and Katrina Kaif in Hello - Trailer

RGV to launch Homam Music

Ramgopal Varma will be launching the audio of Homam, a Jagapati Babu starrer, on August 3rd in Hyderabad. This film is directed by the actor JD Chakravarthy and production is by Kiran Kumar Koneru. Nitin Raikwar scores music. Theatrical release is planned in the last week of August. The logo and posters were launched in April during the final match of Indian Cricket League. JD Chakravarty also plays another vital role. Mamata Mohandas plays the female lead.

Ravi Teja's Baladoor on Aug 14

Baladhoor, starring Ravi Teja and Anushka, on Suresh Productions banner with Uday Shankar directing it will be releasing worldwide on August 14th. Tri Color Movies is releasing the film overseas with 14 prints. The audio with music scored by KM Radhakrishna was released yesterday and is declared an instant chartbuster. After Vikramarkudu, the lead pair has come to repeat their performance in Baladhoor.

Yasho Sagar with Sekhar Kammula?

Sekhar Kammula is going to direct Yasho Sagar's next film, sources said. BC Somu, the hero's father will produce the flick on their home production Amrut Arts banner. Earlier, at a press meeting, the producer himself said he was interested to make a film with Sekhar Kammula. Further details are awaited. Currently, Yasho Sagar's debut film Ullasanga Utsahanga in the direction of Karunakaran is into its sixth day run today.

Gopichand - Anushka's flick is Sowryam

Gopichand-Anushka starrer on Bhavya Creations is titled Sowryam. It is produced by V. Anand Prasad in the direction Siva, a debutant. Producer said that the film is about the exploits of a daredevil youth who finally achieves a powerful goal. But for three songs, the film's shoot if finished. Songs will be canned in Swiss from Aug 10th and the film is planned to release in the second week of September. Gopichand is hopeful that the film would surpass the expectations of his previous films. Music is by Mani Sharma. Camera is handled by Vetrivel and dialogues are by M. Ratnam.

Kathanayakudu / Kuselan Movie Review

Story :
Balakrishna(Jagapathi babu) is a poor barber who leads a miserable life in Sirisilla with wife Sridevi (Meena) & 3 children.His Childhood friend Ashok kumar(Rajinikanth) is now a Superstar.Ashok kumar& his film crew comes to Sirisilla for a filmshooting.So the whole village,including his family,converges around Balakrishna seeking his favour for a meeting with the Superstar. Balakrishna is reluctant to approach the star thinking that Ashok kumar may have forgotten his lowly friend in these intervening years.Does the rich n famous Superstar remember his childhood buddy?does he values friendship ? is the rest of the story.

It isn't a regular Rajinikanth kind of mass masala movie.But the film almost resembles his ideology as a person.The Superstar should be lauded for his bold attempt to act in an offbeat subject.(though masala incorporated !)
Unlike other Rajini's films The film has an all Telugu cast Jagapathi babu,MS Narayana,Ali, Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam,Sunil,Brahmanandam(guest role),Ananth,Duvvasi Mohan et al.
Comedy is good,Dialogue writer Marudhuri Raja did a commendable job in this aspect.
Climax is good.Rajini's speech in the climax is the lifeline of the movie.
Cinematography(Aravind Krishna),Art(Thota Tarani) are Good.
Jagapathi babu,Meena are adequate.
Nayanatara portrayed her real life role as actress Nayanatara.

There are a lot of dull and boring moments.
Comedians got more footage than the lead characters.
Screenplay isn't that good.

Rajinikanth told something about his larger than life image,his frequent trips to Himalayas & his political entry .

Public Talk : Just an Ok's Watchable for Rajinikanth,Comedy & Climax if you have got 'some' patience.
Industry Talk : May not work in Telugu.Hardly an average fare.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nitin and Bhavana in love?

The latest news doing the rounds in Tollywood is that young hero Nitin has fallen for the charms of Kerala beauty Bhavana. Are they really in love or just another rumor that occasionally plagues the Tollywood?

Both of them are now acting together in a film titled ‘Hero’ directed by GV (who plays villain roles in movies) and is produced by Manyam Ramesh. Bhavana has entered into Telugu films with Gopichand’s Ontari.

Although, the film is still under progress, rumors about the off screen romance about Nitin and Bhavana are circulating thick and fast. Some see it as 'promotional gimmick' too!

Rajni’s magic: 60 minutes, 60 Crores!

Tamil superstar Rajnikant means business! His last film, Shivaji, was the highest grocer in South India and stood on par with a Bollywood blockbuster. His popularity cuts across the regions. Hence even if he makes a guest appearance in a movie, the film sells like a hot cake. That is exactly what happened in the case of Kathanayakudu/Kuselan.

He is not the real ‘Kathanayakudu’ (star) of the story; he just appears for about 60 minutes in the movie. Rest of the movie is driven by Jagapathi Babu in Telugu and Pasupathi in Tamil.

Yet, both the Telugu and Tamil versions was done about Rs 60 Crores business. Pyramid Saimira has bought the theatrical exhibition rights for that sum.

That means, each minute of Rajni’s presence in the movie fetched Rs One Crore! Rajni is true superstar in South India.

Bhaskar’s next with Ram Charan Teja

Director Bhaskar who made debut with Bommarillu is preparing script for his next film. Reliable sources told us that his next movie would be with Ram Charan Teja. Soon after Ram Charan finishing his current film directed by Rajamouli, he will be start working for Bhaskar’s love story. Naga Babu will produce this movie on Anjana Productions banner.

Although Lawrence and Karunakaran are also in the race to direct Ram Charan’s third movie, Chiranjeevi is in favour of Bhaskar. Chiru likes Bhasker’s way of presenting the story. Chiru liked Bhaskar’s Bommarillu and Parugu.

NTR aims for ‘Sankranthi hit’ this time!

Getting blockbuster in the lucrative ‘Sankranthi’ season is like a dream come true for any hero. History tells us that Late NTR, Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna and Krishna had delivered their biggest hits during that period. So every hero tries to release their films on Sankranthi and rake in big moolah but only few succeed.

NTR too nurses the same dream. Ever since his highly hyped Naga (released on Jan 10, 2003) and Andhrawala (released on Jan 1, 2004) bombed at the Box-office, he has been trying to get a blockbuster during the Sankranthi/January period. This time he hopes to get that magic success in January with director V V Vinayak’s film. This year, Vinayak tasted big success with Krishna starring Ravi Teja during Sankranthi. So NTR believes that the same sentiment will work again in Jan 2009.

NTR and Vinayak’s film is hitting the floors on August 12th and will be wrapped up its shooting by this December. So Vinayak is confident that their film would be ready to hit the screens on Sankranthi. The untitled film has Ileana as the heroine and Devi Sri Prasad scores the music. Kodali Nani and Vamsi are producing it.

Bachna Ae Haseeno - Aahista Aahista (Video)

‘Yes, I’m coming in August’ - Chiranjeevi

Megastar Chiranjeevi has finally let out his political plans. On Tuesday, he interacted with a couple of journalists and cleared the ambiguity surrounding his political entry. “Yes, I am entering into politics in August,” he has confirmed the political plans. Here is sum of what he said..

  • Party will be announced in the third week of August
  • 20 names are under consideration for party
  • After announcing the party, a huge meeting will be held in Tirupati
  • A whirlwind tour across the state in two months
  • Will take stand on Telangana according to the wishes of people
  • 70 percent seats will be catered to youth
  • 30 percent seats are reserved for senior politicians and mega fans

Gorintaku: Biggest hit in Rajashekar’s career!

Hero Rajashekar bounces back with a bang. He is really having great time these days after the success of ‘Evdaithey Nakenti’. Now, his latest release, Gorintaku, a sentiment drama, is all set to become biggest hit in his entire career. The film is doing phenomenal business in rural areas.

The surprising news is that the film is breaking some of the records of big heroes in Andhra and Ceded areas. In Guntur district, it is doing the business in the range of top heroes’ films. Trade pundits predict that it might end up with Rs 12 Crores all over the state.

No one expected that this sentimental drama will put Rajashekar back on ‘hot seat’. Irony is that the film is co-produced by N V Prasad who is right hand man to Megastar Chiranjeevi. And as we all know, Rajashekar has been fighting against Chiru

18 Kathanayakudu prints overseas

Kathanayakudu has been censored with U certificate, 2 hours and 35 minutes is the running time. Rajinikanth appears for 60 minutes, Jagapathy Babu plays the main hero role with Bramanandham and Sunil donning comedy roles. 18 Telugu Prints are being shipped from Hydrebad to US on Tuesday, the movie will release on Friday August across major cities. Expectations are high as the malayalam version was the highest grossing movie last year, in addition to Rajinikath co-starting with Jagapathy babu. Last 20 minuets, climax of the movie talks about friendship and is very emotional between Rajinikanth and Jagapathy babu, which will be highlight and stay in audience heart and mind for a while.

Nayantara starts Kuselan publicity

Hot heroine Nayantara flagged off a mobile publicity van of Kuselan in Chennai. A big van with posters of Rajni in stylish attires fixed to it both sides will reach all the arterial junction in the metropolis, before taking to the overall state tour. The launch comes in the wake of the film's release on August 1. Inside the van, rare pics of Rajnikanth from the yesteryears film Apurvaragangal to the present day Kuselan has been displayed for public viewing. Director P. Vasu was also present at the function.

Sunil's Banthi from Jan 2009

The buzz over SS Rajamouli's proposed film with comedian Sunil with its title in unofficial circulation – Banthi, was gone a couple of months ago. But, it has surfaced again that the flick would be launched in January 2009. It is said that star writer turned mass director Trivikram Srinivas has readied the script for this film. Though the name of Surender Reddy also surfaced in the past that he would direct the film, it didn't happen as Reddy was said to have opted out fearing being branded as comedy director. The title Banthi is based on the name of Sunil's character in Nuvvu Naku Nachchav.

Rajnikanth's heartfelt appeal

Controversies seem to dog Rajnikanth's new Tamil film Kuselan. The latest is that Rajnikanth has requested the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce to facilitate the release of his film in the state on August 1.

His letter said that it was not his intention to hurt the feelings of anyone when he spoke at the protest rally organised by the Tamil Nadu Film Artists Association.

"I understand that some people in Karnataka are still feeling bitter and pained over what I spoke on the Hogenakal water issue. This has really saddened me. I am not a person who would hurt the feelings of anyone. It is not my habit to make any person bitter with my behaviour or speech. I have always believed that I should not create bitterness or difficulties to the people. This is my desire and ambition," wrote Rajnikanth in his letter addressed to Jayamala, the newly elected president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. 

The letter written in chaste Kannada overwhelmed many in the Kannada film industry. That the superstar could be so prolific in a language he had studied in school amazed some of them. 

Reiterating that his films in Karnataka are viewed not only by Tamilians but also by Kannadigas and people speaking different languages, releasing Kuselan in the state should not pose any difficulty.

Meanwhile, taking note of the letter, Jayamala said that Kuselan will be released on August 1 as planned with ten prints in thirteen theatres across Bangalore. As number of prints has been restricted, Jayamala urged the pro-Kannada activists to forget all the bitterness.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Trailer

Monday, July 28, 2008

Aishwarya, Madhuri floor Los Angeles

Akshay Kumar's Khatron Ke Khiladi - Review

Fear Factor Channel: Colors
Timing: Mon – Thu, 10 pm
Genre: Action Game Show, Reality
Host: Akshay Kumar
Contestants: Aditi Govitrikar, Anita Hasnandani, Anjana Sukhani, Dipannita Sharma, Meghna Naidu, Nethra Raghuraman, Pooja Bedi, Sonali Kulkarni, Tapur Chatterjee, Tupur Chatterjee, Vidya Malvade, Urvashi Sharma, Yana Gupta
Rating: 3/5

The Indian television scene seems to be pretty pathetic. It’s either sloppy soaps or, in recent years, reality shows that seem to rule the idiot box. While the former is intolerable till eternity, the latter too has lost its charm for the staged dramatization by the participants and the panelists to the extent that it has no ‘reality check’. In such a scenario Fear Factor comes as a refreshing breather and the format of the show is such that it doesn’t offer any scope to manipulate facts.

Fear Factor has always been a huge hit amongst action lovers for its genuinely original and meticulously designed stunts. The international show had already been adapted for the Indian subcontinent by Sony TV that was hosted by Mukul Dev. However with Akshay Kumar as the host, the show not only gets star power but also action authenticity, for one can’t think of a better anchor than Akki for a stunt-based show like Fear Factor.

Other interesting variation is too have an all-female cast and see them indulge in some precarious feats which is a pleasant change from the standard saas-bahu prototypes that the feminine form is widely relegated to on the small screen. Though the women weep in both category of shows, the tears here are real, unexaggerated and an outcome of scare over sorrow. Another addition to the show is that every contestant has an ex-army serviceman partner with whom they can swap one stunt in the entire course of the show.

From the four stunts per episode format of the original, this one has only two stunts in each episode to accommodate the 13 contestants. And one of these two stunts includes interface with a live creature that could be a snake, spider, rodent or any other being. While this segment might find varying acceptance with the Indian audience with the stunts ranging from being gruesome to gross, its ratio is clearly increased as compared to the original show, which only makes life difficult for the girls. Plunging head into a snake tank, having spiders crawling on their faces and handling rats are some examples from the first week.

On the flipside, watching 13 contestants do the same stunt, sets in a kind of monotony which will dissipate in the coming days with an elimination in every episode. With this brisk elimination frequency, the show doesn’t unnecessarily stretch itself just to gain additional episodes for telecast, a regular tendency with reality shows. Another setback for audiences who have keenly followed the international version is that many stunts would come across as repetitive.

The makers have also incorporated the ‘luck-factor’ with this Indian adaptation which can conflict with the fairness of the stunt intensity for each contestant. For example, contestants had to choose the number of spiders crawling on their face from a pack of cards which defies equal opportunity, as a lot has been left on luck. Also there are safety belts for the best performers that allow them to skip another stunt which could also dispute with parity.

However the elimination of the contestants has been almost fair so far. Clearly the ones with non-athletic bodies have been eliminated first like Sonali Kulkarni, Dipannita Sharma, Meghna Naidu and Vidya. The ones who are physically agile like Yana Gupta, Tupur-Tapur Chatterjee and Anjana Sukhani are performing pretty well.

The good part of having Akshay Kumar as the host is that he just has to be himself and not act, like Shah Rukh and Salman do in their respective shows. He encourages the girls to give their best shot and with his (in)famous flair for flirting, Akki always looks comfortable around girls. There were complains from the initial episodes that Akshay Kumar doesn’t perform any stunts but he also did that in the fourth episode.

The one big glitch is its desi title. Khatron Ke Khiladi sounds like a B-Grade Mithun Chakravarthy film from the past decade. But what in a name! It’s the game that matters.

Genelia loses her name

Genelia Nothing tastes sweeter than success, and who knows it better than Genelia. After a series of duds, the young actress is basking in all the attention coming her way.

“I am so happy with the success of Jaane Tu.. that I have no problems when people on the road call me Aditi or Meeao”, says Genelia. The actress is enjoying the flowing accolades so much that fans and people who meet her call her by her screen names from Jaane Tu. So if you call the petite actress Aditi or Meeao, you might just get a big cheesy grin from her !

Abhi shakes to Akki’s song

Akshay Kumar rocked the audience at Toronto at the kick-off show of the Bachchan's The Unforgettable show.

So charmed were they by him that at a performance at LA on July 26, of which Akshay was not a part, the crowd kept screaming 'Singh Is Kinng'.

Since Akshay was not there, Abhishek had to perform to the number to keep the audience amused.

Our source, who was present at the show, says, "The show at the LA Sports Arena was packed and the audience loved the performance of everyone on the show.

However, they particularly seemed to miss the Punjabi munda, Akshay Kumar on the show.

After each performance, they yelled 'Singh is Kinng' and hooted for Akshay.

Abhishek Bachchan, who was scheduled to perform next, sensed that the audience wanted to see Akshay on the show.

He grabbed the mike and announced that his next performance was dedicated to his friend Akshay Kumar.

Abhishek then danced to the 'Singh is Kinng' number and the audience simply loved it. In fact Abhishek had to repeat the performance on public demand."

We contacted Sabah Joseph director of Wizkraft, the organiser of the concert, for his comment. But he did not get back to us.

Bhajji's Flame

Geeta Basra

Cricketers and Indian film actresses seem to make great friends.Now gossip mills are grinding overtime with stories of cricketer Harbhajan Singh and actress Geeta Basra hitting the party and social circuit together.

Recently, Harbhajan was spotted talking to Geeta at length, outside a suburban hotel.

An eye-witness says he was so engrossed talking to her that he was oblivious to the roadblock he created by keeping his car parked in the alley for so long.

He was completely unaware of motorists honking behind him, trying to get his attention.

Says the eye-witness, “There was a big line of cars behind Harbhajan's car, but he was so immersed in his animated conversation with Geeta that he did not hear them honking.”

Eventually, Harbhajan and Geeta realised that they were creating a traffic jam and ended their conversation abruptly, and returned to their respective cars. Harbhajan was accompanied by a friend in his car.

When contacted, Geeta admits that such an episode did happen. She says, “Well, it was just a small incident. We were at a suburban hotel that day. Harbhajan and I were talking. I guess such things happen with everybody, some time or the other.”

Harbhajan Singh

However, she clarifies that she is not dating the cricketer. “Harbhajan and I are just good friends. We do hang out together but in a group.

I am also friends with Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi (as Yuvraj is fondly called), Harbhajan and I are all Punjabi, so we all bond well,” she says.

Geeta and Harbhajan have known each other for six months now. She reveals, “We met through a common friend and hit it off well. You should not read too much into my friendship with Harbhajan.

Anyway, I have a lot of male friends and we all hang out together. Does that mean I am seeing all of them? It is difficult to find female friends in the film industry where most actresses generally don’t get along with each other.

Harbhajan and I are definitely in touch, but as friends.”

Aamir rubbishes threat to Khans

"I am not going to change my life because of the threat," Aamir Khan

Actor Aamir Khan has rubbished reports of superstars receiving threats from terror groups... says he continues to lead his life just as fearlessly as before.

Though they may have fought villians in reel life, but it seems the Khan's in Bollywood are face to face with the real enemy this time around.

The recent terror strikes in the country have cast an evil spell on Bollywood, with threats being issued to superstars like Aamir Khan , SRK and Salman Khan.

When quizzed about the threats reportedly recieved by some of the Bollywood biggies, CP police, Hasan Gafur said, "Like I said earlier, the warning has been issued in everyone's interest and we have beefed up secuirty for whoever needs it."

But far from being deterred, it seems Aamir Khan in particular has chosen not to get distracted by these reports. In a press meet on the issue Aamir said, " I have full faith in God and I have faith in our government and also our police force and administration. I am sure that they are doing everything that they can."

"Where the Ahmedabad blasts are concerned, it is not like the police have not done everything they possibly can. I feel that we should not get cowed down and we should not change our lives at all. I am not going to change my life because of the threat," he added.

While Aamirs reaction surely proves the indomitable Khan spirit, we would  love to hear from SRK and Salman too on the threat front.

Sajid Khan confirms the cast of 'House Full'

What's the final star cast of Sajid Khan's HOUSE FULL, his next venture after the immensely successful HEYY BABYY? In between there was talk that Amitabh Bachchan was expected to head the cast of this multi-starrer, which stars Akshay Kumar in the lead. Besides, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone were being considered.

"I had never confirmed Amit-ji," Sajid clarifies. So what's the final cast then? "The confirmed cast is Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone, Jiah Khan and Boman Irani," he says. Kareena? "No, she isn't part of my film, she's doing KAMBAKTH ISHQ. I should finalize one more heroine in a week's time," he adds.

While HEYY BABYY was shot in Australia, HOUSE FULL will be filmed in New York and New Jersey, besides Rio and Bahamas from January/February 2009 onwards.

Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots goes on floors

Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Madhavan and Boman Irani has gone on floors. The film is a feel good family entertainer. It has the same warmth, simplicity and fun associated with Raju Hirani's films.

Hirani doesn't want to give away the look of his protagonists right now, which is why the teaser doesn't have any of the actors in it.

The shoot of the film with the supporting characters has already begun. Hirani and his team will be leaving in late August for the shoot with the principal cast. The film is scheduled to be shot in Ladakh, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai as well. Aamir and rest of the cast will begin shooting in early September. Hirani plans to wrap 3 Idiots by December.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra is producing the film. Abhijat Joshi and Raju Hirani have written the screenplay and the lyrics are by Swanand Kirkire. Shantanu Moitra is composing the music for the film.

Surprises galore with 'Kinng'

That SINGH IS KINNG is eagerly anticipated by people within and outside the industry can be gauged by the fact that a number of producers are keen to launch/include the promo of their films with SINGH IS KINNG, which opens worldwide on August 8.

Since SINGH IS KINNG is being released by Studio 18, the first look of Ashtavinayak's Sanju-Imran starrer KIDNAP [also distributed by Studio 18], will also be unveiled before SINGH IS KINNG begins. That's not all, the promo of Akki's next release CHANDI CHOWK TO CHINA [the promo was launched with THE DARK KNIGHT] will also make it with the prints of SINGH IS KINNG.

Wait, there's more to follow! Promos of Rituparno Ghosh's THE LAST LEAR [Amitabh, Preity, Arjun, Shefali], Atul Agnihotri's HELLO [Salman, Katrina, Sohail, Sharman], Samir Karnik's multi-starrer HEROES and Ajit Pal's VICTORY [Harman], will also be seen, besides the promo of the newly-launched channel Colours. There's a strong possibility that the promo of Dharmendra's CHAMKU [Bobby] might be included as well. Wow, so many promos…

"I enjoy watching new promos when I watch a film. It generates tremendous excitement. I genuinely wish the distributors and multiplexes are kind enough to play all these promos," SINGH IS KINNG producer Vipul Shah tells me. Expect a bonanza with the most awaited movie of the season!

NTR releases Vishal’s 'Salute' music

Hero NTR unveiled the music cassettes of Vishal’s forthcoming film - Salute. Charmee was also graced the event as the guest for the audio launch ceremony that was held today (Monday, July 28th) at Taj Krishna in a grand manner. Huge arrangements were made and gathering was also large. V V Vinayak, Suresh Krishna, G K Reddy and Dil Raju also graced the event. The film’s producer Vikram Krishna and his wife and actress Shriya Reddy attended together an event for the first time post their marriage.

NTR has all praise for Vishal. “I had seen his Pandem Kodi and felt bad not getting such beautiful film for me. It has remained one of my favorites. Vishal is doing right projects and tasting success. I wish him a great success with Salute too,” he wished.

“After D Ramanaidu, only G K Reddy has the distinction of having a popular hero and successful producer as sons. It is nice to see Vishal transforming into a macho hero,” Vinayak said.

Dil Raju informed the press that he is distributing the film in Nizam and Vizag areas.

Director Suresh Krishna shared his happiness over his disciple Rajashekar turning director. “He worked with me about 7 years as associate. Rajashekar has really come up with good product. The trailer is awesome. Vishal is a big hero in Tamilnadu. I wish him the best in Telugu too,” Suresh Krishna said.

Vishal said that the subject of the film is interesting and would surely be appreciated by the class audiences and masses as well. “I play the role of a cop. Police stories are very common but the director has dealt it uniquely. Haaris Jayaraj has given some great numbers. I believe this is my best audio,” he said.

Charmee wished the team all the best.

Film industry: No ‘Kamma’, ‘Kapu’ divide!

K S Rama Rao has been elected as new President for Film Chamber of Commerce. In intense elections, he won the post by the huge margin but it was also marred by the controversies.

Rumors were rife that all the producers belonging to dominant ‘Kamma’ caste voted in favour of Rama Rao just to put Allu Aravind’s camp down. Although Allu Arvind was initially fielded for the post, he and his group walked out of the elections. But the rumors grew in thick that the increasing ‘Kamma’/Kapu divide or Pro-Chiru/Anti-Chiru divide has further strengthened with Rama Rao’s win.

Reacting to these rumors and speculation in a section of media, the industry bigwigs denied the divide in Tollywood. Speaking to reports on Monday (July 28, 2008), they said, ‘we are all one.’

Dasarath's film with Prabhas?

Dasarath is going to be the captain of the ship for a film with hero Prabhas with Dil Raju producing it on his Sree Venkateswara Creations banner, sources said. Dasarath known for his soft and family-oriented subjects is said to have prepared the outline of his project with lighter vein elements, unlike Prabhas' out and out action flicks with serious tones. Though Prabhas did such soft roles in films like Krishnavamsi's Chakram, it didn't click commercially, but brought critical acclaim for him. Further details are awaited.

Sneha Ullal for Nag Chaitanya

Sneha Ullal, who proved her mettle with her debut film Ullasanga Utsahanga, is mostly likely to be the heroine for Naga Chaitanya for his debut film to be directed by debutant Vasu Varma under Dil Raju's production. Of late, there has been a frantic search for the heroine for Nag Chaitanya. Sources said that Dil Raju, who released Karunakaran's UU, got impressed with Ullal's performance and the same is being welcomed by the would-be hero.

Manjari in Maska?

Manjari Fadnis, one of the two heroines of and Allari Naresh's yet-to-be released film, is going to be one of the two heroines in MS Raju's film Maska, starring Ram as hero, it is learnt. The other heroine is already fixed as Hansika Motwani. B. Gopal directs the film. Manjari, who came into limelight with Jane Tu Ya Jane Na, recently, now made her debut with Siddhu from Sikakulam. Earlier, she debuted into Bollywood with the film Rok Sako To Rok Lo (2004).

Allari Naresh tilt towards direction

Busy comedy hero Allari Naresh said that though he is breathlessly enaged to film after film as hero, his ultimate passion is for direction, which he would take up at a later stage in his career. Talking to reporters at Vizag, he said that he didn't want to retain himself to just comedy roles, but was desirous of proving himself in all angles of histrionics as he did in a Visakha Express or Gamyam. Replying to a question, he said his marriage was likely in 2010, after that of his brother Aryan Rajesh's. "My father, who is so careful in selection of heroines for me in films will definitely get a good heroine for me in real life," he maintained. He further said he would make it a point hereafter that all of his forthcoming films should have a schedule in Vizag, "which I like most and attached to sentimentally." His latest Siddhu from Sikakulam is ready for release on August 14.

Namita’s Jaganmohini launched

SexyNamita never disappoints the men who ogle at her hot body at publicfunctions. She always grabs the attention by wearing most outrageousoutfits. At the muhurat of Jaganohini, hernew film, she was the cynosure of all eyes. She shot for the muhuratscene in her red sexy dress that revealed her booty. Dasari Narayan Raoclapped the sound board for the scene at the special launch ceremonyheld today (July 28, 2008) at Ramanaidu Cine Village, Hyderabad.

Jaganmohiniis the remake of the yesteryear classic by the same name, which wasstarred by then vamp queen Jayamalini. Namita does the role ofJayamalini’s while Meera Chopra is enacting the role that was done byPrabha. Raja steps in the place of Narasinha Raju.

Namithasaid: “It is nice that I am making comeback to Telugu films with thisbilingual. It is an exciting role but the movie is not exact remake ofJaganmohini. The director has taken only the basic line and has changedto suit the tastes of today’s audiences.”

Rajasaid he was feeling great to co-star with the sexy Namita. “She is ahuge star in Tamilnadu. I feel happy to act with her. Most of myfriends questioned my decision to star in this periodic movie. Mybelief is that an actor should do all kind of roles and it is myfortune to get such variety. I am even happier that Ilayaraja iscomposing the music,” Raja shared his feelings.

“It takescourage to do such period movies when love stories and masala dramasare ruling the roost. Am happy to be part of this unique movie,” Meera Chopra said.

The film is shot in Tamil and Telugu by director Vishwanathan and produced by H Murali.

Rajnikant launched Adivishnu music

Tamil superstar Rajnikant graced the music launch of Adivishnu, starring Dasari Arunkumar and Sneha. The audio was released on Sunday night at Taj Deccan hotel in a grand style. Rajnikant who was shooting for his animation film, Sultan, in Hyderabad attended the function on the invitation of Dasari Narayana Rao. Both Rajni and Dasari are close friends. Bharat Parepalli is the director for this movie which was made on the banner of Sowbhagya Media.

Rajnikant shared his experiences with Dasari. “Dasari told me that one should not scoff at a person who is not efficient in a language. I used to laugh at person’s who speak butler English or Tamil. Now, I have stopped this on the advice of Dasari. I wish his son a great success as actor,” Rajnikant said.

K Ragahvendra Rao, Mohan Babu, Sneha, Rajasekhar, Jeevita, SVK and others attended the event.

Dasari Narayana Rao thanked Rajni for gracing the event. “Some of socalled superstars here evade when I call them. But Rajni never gives false promises. That is why he became real superstar. Regarding my son’s film, I regret for not promoting my son well. With this film, I am sure, he would arrive”, said Dasari.

Mohan Babu wished Arunkumar that he should become as big as NTR.

Hijack - Music Review

Music to be composed for an action film is always a tricky business. Not many, except for perhaps Sanjay Gupta, have perfected this art when it comes to movies being made today. So, with expectations of a theme track, a hot item number and a couple of melodious number, one plays on Hijack which promises to show Shiney Ahuja do a Bruce Willis a la 'Die Hard'. Hijack has music by new finds Justin-Uday with Kumaar writing lyrics for this debut directorial venture of Kunal Shivdasani.

One minute into the song and you know that Justin and Uday have kick started Hijack well with a romantic number 'Aksar' which takes on truly from where 'Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai (Pritam composition from Woh Lamhe) left. Just the same in sound, spirit and soul, 'Aksar' gives the listener one more song to play on in a loop and be entertained for hours at a stretch. A well orchestrated number which has 'Mr. Reliable' K.K. coming up with an impressive act yet again, 'Aksar' deserves to be heard more often and aggressively promoted.

No wonder, the song is heard thrice. The 'Unplugged version' is first to come and this time around it is Shaan who goes solo for 'Aksar'. An extended guitar piece plays on (while creating a romantic scene) before Shaan is heard in this tad slower version. Even though the lyrics remain the same, the change in singer and pace of the song makes 'Aksar' a delightful composition all over. The longest composition of all with close to 7 minute duration, it is followed by a 'sad version' by Shaan which lasts only a little more than a minute. In addition, there is also a 'remix version' by KK and Joi which certainly has in it to do well, if accompanied by a promotional music video.

A quintessential number follows next and does hold promise to engage the audiences while it is accompanied by some hot visuals and aggressive choreography. With a mix of English and Hindi lyrics, 'Dekh Dekh' has Sunidhi Chauhan being largely responsible for the song with Suraj Jagan and Joi chipping in a little as well. Mainly orchestrated as a Western track with beats dominating the proceedings, 'Dekh Dekh' is seemingly a pre-climax track which solves its purpose of taking the narrative forward but that's about it. Don't expect the number to create a riot, though the faster paced 'club remix' version may just do better at nightclubs and discotheques.

The name Shilpa Rao raises a lot of expectations. Very recently she has delivered a chartbuster 'Khuda Jaane' [Bachna Ae Haseeno] and now she is back with 'Koi Na Jaane' which is kick started by K.K. A situational number where the protagonist gets into a pensive mood and is looking forward to The Almighty for a direction to move ahead, 'Koi Na Jaane' is surprisingly ordinary in feel. However, what really disappoints is that Shilpa Rao is not heard in the song at all except for a faint 'alaap' at the very beginning of the song. Come on, she deserves a better outing!

One wonders if the song would play in entirety in the film's narrative since an action-thriller like Hijack risks slowing down in pace with a song like 'Koi Na Jaane' in the background. The track by itself is not a bad hear; it's just that it is core situational and doesn't make one pick it up and play on a repeat mode.

An aircraft taking off is what begins 'Theme Of Hijack' that promises to be an engaging hear, courtesy the thriller genre that the film belongs to. However, instead of being just a theme piece with only an orchestra taking charge of the proceedings, 'Theme of Hijack' turns out to be a 'Hinglish' outing with Suraj Jagan and Uday coming behind the mike. However, it isn't really an impressive tune to boast of and yet again, all would depend upon the track's placement in the film and the visuals that accompany it. And yes, just like the song preceding it, this one too doesn't make it to the wish-list of those looking at extending their collection on the iPod!

Eventually, it all boils down to the number 'Aksar' which is not just the best of the lot but in isolation too quite a good composition. With 'Dekh Dekh' being the only other number to really look forward to from the album, one now waits for the film Hijack to arrive at theaters.

Rating - 2/5

‘Kareena is great fun to be with’ - Soha Ali khan

Fewwould know that actress Soha Ali Khan aspired to become a journalist and alsowrote a few articles for some national dailies.

However, sheended up picking up a Masters degree in International Relations from LondonSchool of Economics and Political Science and also worked with a corporate bankfor nearly 18 months, before joining the glamour industry.

But nowthe actress is about to fulfill her childhood dream as she plays a TV journalistin her forthcoming flick Mumbai Meri Jaan. In a freewheeling chat with NT, Sohaspeaks about her on screen experience as a journalist and her brother’scurrent love interest, Kareena...

Reel lifejournalist

Ask Soha how it felt to step into the shoes of ajourno and she says candidly, "It was quite an eye opener. There are times whenI feel that the journalists go overboard to get a bit of juicy news, but I guessthat's a part of their work." Talking about the film she adds, "The movie isbased on the July 11, 2006 serial blasts, which took place on the local trainsof Mumbai and I have a powerful role init."

On Kareena and bhai

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena are one of the hottest couples oftinseltown. Ask Soha what's the best thing she likes about her bhabhi-to-be andshe says, "The fact that Kareena loves my brother, and makes him really happy,is what I like about her. Kareena is great fun to be with. She takes a lot ofefforts with my parents too. I wish her loads of happiness."


It was her mom, Sharmila Tagore, who startledthe industry by wearing a bikini in the 60s. But, it took Soha quite a few yearsto shed her inhibitions and also the clothes. Commenting on her picture in abikini, for a magazine cover she says, "I had never given a thought to wearing abikini on screen or for a photo shoot. But, when this offer came along, Ithought of giving it a try. I was a little scared initially, but then finallywent ahead with it." Speaking about her family's reaction, she says, "Bro anddad have seen the pictures, but we've never discussed it. And mom is cool aboutit." Tell her that quite a few top line actresses have worn a bikini on screenand she replies promptly, "I am not interested in doing such roles. I wouldrather do something more challenging-maybe an actionflick."


Speaking about mommy dear, Soha says, "Ma is my biggestcritic. When she cleans my cupboard she keeps nagging me as to why I have 20shoes or why my accessories don't match my dresses. I just keep hiding thingsfrom her. There are times when I wonder why she can't praise me like othermommies. But, in a way she is right and I like it when she corrects me."

Clearing the air

Thepretty lady clears the air about her affair with Southern heartthrob Siddharth."Oh, I have been linked with my costars Abhay Deol and Shiney Ahuja too. But,there was no truth in it. I don't like to discuss my personal life inpublic."


Compliment Soha on her elegant looks and ask herabout her style statement and she says "I don't think I make any stylestatement. I am allergic to metals, so, I am minimal on accessories. Also, Idon't wear watches. And when it comes to clothes, I love the feel of cottons andmulmul. Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Manish Arora design them for me.”

Chilling out

Ask herhow she chills out and she says, "I love watching movies and I love playingtable tennis and badminton. Apart from this, I am very fond of reading books."And being a former banker do money matters interest her? "Not at all. Politicsand history excite me more than anything else, but please don't ask me tocomment on the present political scenario of the country," she says beforesigning off.

AB Baby grooves away

Abhishek Bachchan “I have performed in Toronto and the Carribeans, and both were awesome. Its really tough to say which was one better”, opening lines from Abhishek Bachchan as he talks of his first stage performance for the first time.

“Just before the show started, the entire cast and crew got together and said a prayer. As soon as that was over I blanked out! I could not for the world of me remember any step of mine. Shaimak told me to just go out there and have a ball, so I did. Thankfully everything came back just in time and the performance went off without any glitches”, confesses the actor who was performing for the first time outside the comfort of his film fraternity.

On sharing the stage with his father and wife for the Kajra re number, AB says, “It was great fun. It took us back to the IIFA awards in Amsterdam where we performed together on stage for the first time”.

But Ash who is a great dancer did have something to say on his performance, “Initially, she couldn’t say much because she was on stage immediately after me. So by the time I came off the stage she was already in position for her entry. But after she finished she told me that she thought it was good. Although I felt she was way better.”

And with the American leg kicking off in a big way, AB concludes, “Madhuriji joined us for this leg. We’re all very excited to have her with us.”

Aamir Khan's Andaz

With Aamir and Salman Khan bonding big time, the long-lost friends have chosen to work together again.

Their comeback vehicle as a pair will be a sequel to their 1994-cult movie, Andaz Apna Apna . The film will be produced by Aamir Khan and directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi (who directed the earlier version).

Says a source, “Aamir has already spoken to Santoshi about the sequel and the latter has loved the idea of directing Aamir and Salman together again.”

When contacted, Santoshi confirmed that Aamir had spoken to him about this. He said, “In fact, Aamir has been talking about this to me for some time now. I will be writing the script. However, it won’t be a sequel. Let’s leave the details for a later date.

It’s too early to talk about it now.” When we asked Santoshi what he thought of Aamir as a producer, he answered, “Aamir is a friend and a fantastic producer. He is the right guy for producing this film.”

We wonder if Aamir and Santoshi will rope in the earlier heroines Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor, or will settle for younger heroines.

Imran on a high!

Timewas when nephews and nieces did something right, and were treated to a bar ofchocolate from uncles and aunts.

But life is a lotfancier for Imran Khan. He was gifted a white BMW by Maamu Aamir Khan forgetting Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na right. “I wasn’t too sure it wasmine, till he gave me the keys,” smiles Imran.

This is awardenough. But with such a successful debut, is Imran ready to walk up the stage ataward shows and accept trophies for his performance, something that Aamir justwon’t do? He gets pensive, and then states, “It depends on whataward it is. I’d consider if I’m worthy enough of it or then if itis worthy enough of me.”

Nothing can match the adulation andlove of the junta. Women of all age are going gaga over him and even proposingmarriage. Never mind that, the guys have taken a liking to him as well.“Yes, that’s the interesting part. Never mind the women, the guysseem to like me, too. I guess that’s just because of my character in thefilm. I’m very non-heroic, they must’ve related to that,”explains the newbie. But no proposals from this gender? “None!” heexclaims, laughing.

Imran is a 12th pass, and has no plans tograduate. “I don’t feel the need to continue studying, simplybecause I know more than most graduates do. I read a lot. I read anything andevery thing that’s printed or written on paper. I’m eccentric. Isuffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder,” he admits, “I needeverything to be kept at right angles.”

Bombarded withscripts, and with a dozen producers queuing up to meet the boy, how has lifechanged for Imran? “Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. Life’sthe same, just more SMSes, calls and yes, lots of people wanting myautograph,” he says, forgetting to mention the new car.

Harman Baweja plays cricket with Ranji players Jodhpur

If Harman has the pluck to play cricket with the champs, it's because national cricketer Praveen Ambre has been taken on as the expert consultant in Victory to make sure Harman gets it right, each time.

Making a cricket movie isn't easy. So, Harman Baweja has discovered while shooting for debutant director Ajit Pal's Victory. Usually, acting is about faking it. And when Aamir Khan played cricket so expertly in Lagaan, he didn't have face up to professional players on screen.

In Victory, where Harman plays a professional cricketer he was pitched against professional real-life cricketers. After playing with pros of the field in Australia earlier this year, Harman on Thursday manoeuvred the bat with Rajasthan's seasoned Ranji Trophy players like Mohammed Ahmed and Abhijeet Sharma.

Sunburnt and suffering from a serious sun- stroke, Harman says, "Earlier in Australia I played with Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mike Hussey. I'd like to think I looked authentic enough playing with them. Now I play with Rajasthan's Ranji players since yesterday. And I'm having a ball. Because although I'm playing a cricketer, I'm playing for real. Man, you can't fake it with these guys. And considering Rajasthan has just won the IPL, you can imagine how good these guys are at the game. "

To ensure complete authenticity in the cricket scenes, cricket expert Praveen Ambre was deployed all through the shooting. "Praveen Ambre was part of the Indian team in the mid-1990s. We didn't want to falter for even a bat of an eyelid, pun intended. Hence, the expert advice," says Harman.

The cricket scenes being shot in Jodhpur show Harman's characters beginnings as a star-cricketer. "It's the story of a cricketer Vijay Shekhawat's rise from a small-town player to a national-level cricketer. My big moment came when these Ranji players said I played well. They told me there's a lot more to cricket than just the shot. They said I looked convincing in the way I wore my helmet, gloves, stood my ground, ran and connected with the field. I worked on all of that. As far as playing the game goes, I was a cricket player from school and college. So, I only needed to brush up the game. It was getting the other details about a cricketer's personality right that was tough."

Since Thursday morning, Harman was playing cricket non-stop for 12 hours. "By the end, of it I was ready to collapse. Everyone else in the crew had breaks. They ran under trees, checked the monitor in the shade while I had to stand in the burning sun and play non-stop for 12 hours, rehearsing and doing final takes…I'm so exhausted by the heat I can collapse right now," says Harman who suffers from a heat allergy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bachchna Ae Haseeno’s music stunt

Bachchna Ae Haseeno It’s a sure shot way to garner attention. Start the publicity of a film with the track of a hit yesteryear film. And Yash Raj Films is now desperate for a hit. After a series of flops, the think tank at YRF is marketing their latest film Bachchna Ae Haseeno by using the hit song of Rishi Kapoor’s Karz for the first phase of its campaign.

Taking it a step forward are the music composers of this film, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. For the original track, Kishore Kumar had lent his voice. So for the newer version the composers have roped in the maestro’s son Sumit Kumar to recreate the same magic and yet have a different flavour.

Its like old wine in a new bottle, but with the song getting the audiences excited, YRF will settle for any brickbacks so long they can finally get a hit !

SRK fails Paanchvi Paas

Shah Rukh Khan Whether it’s his films, shows or his ad films, the Shah Rukh Khan magic never fails to work. The industry folks call him the hit machine. Amidst all this, a downer like Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hai comes as a shock. Wrapping up the finale of the show, SRK analyses what went wrong with it. To begin with, the show that was launched with loads of glitz and publicity didn’t manage to entice the viewers. Was it hard to digest the failure? “In life you can’t always be giving hits. Success and failure are part and parcel of life,” SRK says coolly.

In the past, the man has anchored Kaun Banega Crorepati which was a runaway success. So what went wrong this time? Was it the format of the show or Shah Rukh Khan himself? “This is one question I keep asking myself. Look, I don’t understand the TRP business. Personally I’ve really enjoyed working on Paanchvi Paas more than KBC . But, I do not want to play the blame game here. I’d like to believe that it was a rough patch.”

Khan has always had the courage to call a spade a spade. So, does he accept that he could be one of the reasons for the failure of Paanchvi Paas . “I’m as responsible for its failure as I am for the success of my films and shows. I shouldered the responsibility of the failure of Paheli . I understand that as a celebrity I play a larger role in the fate of a project. So, here if there is anything that’s gone wrong with Paanchvi Paas , it’s me,” he smiles.

Currently, recuperating from his knee injury, Khan is also busy winding up Biloo Barber. “After Paanchvi Paas , I had to shoot for a song in Biloo Barber . And then there is my knee that’s demanding my attention.” Style, humility and smartness all rolled in one. That’s Shah Rukh Khan for you.

Sonam still friends with Ranbir

Sonam Kapoor After Ranbir declared his love for Deepika and made his relationship public, rumours of him falling out with Sonam started doing the rounds. Both being close friends chose to keep quiet regarding the issue. Both started their career together not only in Saawariya as co-stars but also as assistant directors of Sanjay Leela Bhansali much before they became actors!

Sonam’s alleged rivalry with Deepika and Deepka being known as a possessive girlfriend added to the controversy!

We managed to get in touch with Sonam and ask her about the issue. “I have no issues with Ranbir and we may not be constantly in touch with each other but that doesn’t mean we are not on talking terms” she clarified.

She further added, “We were always close as friends and even if your girlfriend gets a boyfriend she is bound to give more time to him so what’s different here!”

Hopefully that reply will end the rumour of Ranbir seeing Sonam once upon a time!

Genelia’s confession

Genelia Dsouza Genelia is a happy girl these days. Not only for her film’s success but also for all the appreciation she has been getting from film-lovers and critics for her portrayal of Aditee aka Mau! ‘Genelia overshadowed Imran in the film’ was a common opinion and the young actress couldn’t be happier !

“I am feeling fantastic! After Jaane Tu, people have rechristened me as Meeao or Aditi and that feels great. People recognize me as Aditi now! I am glad to know that the film has clicked with almost all kinds of audiences”, says Genelia who is busy basking in the glory of her film of late.

You have tasted success today in Hindi films but your initial films didn’t click! “Working in films was never my ultimate career option. I never expected much, also I took failures in my stride back then”, comes a prompt reply.

Talking about success, do friends make for great lovers in real life as shown in her now successful film Jaane Tu? “If you have a close friend there is bound to be that attraction” says Genelia. That definitely prompts us to ask if she has felt the same for ‘good friend’ Ritesh? “Ritesh is a good friend and all the talks about our marriage are nothing but baseless rumours”, says the young actress yet again denying her alleged linkup with Ritesh.

So what’s next for Genelia? “I have ‘Life Partner’ which is an Abbas Mustan production, an untitled film with Harman Baweja which has been directed by Anees Bazmee.

So after working with Imran, she is now working with arch rival Harman! “(Smiles) both are extremely spontaneous actors, are intense and extremely focussed on their work. They are quite similar!” concludes she, trying to be at her diplomatic best!

Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam - Music Review

Now this one may turn out to be a laugh-riot. And looking at the likes of Mallika Sherawat, Rahul Bose, Kay Kay Menon and Paresh Rawal coming together on a common platform for a fun ride, Maan Gaye Mughall E Azam promises a whacky soundtrack. However, there are slight apprehensions too. Anu Malik has been inconsistent in his new innings and while Ugly Aur Pagli has been doing well with Love Story 2050 doing OK, there have also been duds like Good Luck and Hastey Hastey. After listening to the soundtrack of MGMEA, one can conveniently add one more to the list.

Classic track Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya from Mughal E Azam gets it's modern day disco avtar the moment Mallika Sherawat comes to fore. What surprises is that even though Ishg Bector sings a major part of the song (he kick starts with a rap and is present throughout the 5 minute duration), he hasn't been credited in the album. Sounding like Bali Brahmbhatt, he makes way for Anushka Manchanda and Mahalakshmi Iyer to give two different flavors to the song.

By the time Shaan joins all the fun in this item number which is meant for a stage performance, one realizes that 'Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya' is neither serious nor spoofy. Instead it is plain fun with Sanjay Chhel's lyrics being largely responsible for keeping the entertainment quotient well in place. One looks forward to the picturisation of this song which features the entire principal star cast of the film creating a riot in one common setting!

Marmari Baahen is a kind of quintessential romantic number which can't ever be hated by a listener. However, even though the number has a melodic base to it, it doesn't quite enthrall as such since it follows the basic routine of mush and romance while keeping it soft and simple. Moving at a slow pace with some ear pleasing arrangements, 'Marmari Bahen' is a decent duet by Shaan and Mahalakshmi Iyer which doesn't really have in it to go all the distance, but stays on to be an OK hearing overall! Later, Blue Zone 'remixes' the song with Anu Malik himself choosing to come behind the mike. Well, the way he goes about crooning the number, it is assured that 'Marmari Bahen' has Malik's trademark stamp to it.

It is time to expect something interesting, what with Pankaj Udhas coming back to singing for a Hindi film after ages. Anu Malik ropes him in for Ek To Sharab Kum which appears in two parts. Well, it is absolute shocking to hear the track because if at all there would be one really forgettable Pankaj Udhas number for a Hindi film, it would be this. The built up takes a horrendously long time and by the time one expects some rhythm in the proceedings, the end result turns out to be damp squib.

There are chances that 'Ek To Sharab Hai' is spoofy in nature, but that by any means doesn't turn out to be a good enough excuse for the song to be so lifeless. To give Pankaj Udhas some credit, he is decent in the way he goes about singing this 'ghazal', but it is due to some really boring arrangements which pull the track down completely. This one clearly disappoints!

With a fine track ('Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya') followed by an average number ('Marmari Bahein') and an absolute letdown ('Ek To Sharab Hai'), one is quite apprehensive before playing the last song in the album, Ishqiyaan. Well, the expectations have ebbed to such a low point by now that whatever reasonably is fine turns out to be some saving grace. This way 'Ishqiyaan' succeeds to an extent as it is not a bad hear, though being stuck in the musical style of 90s.

Primarily a rhythmic-n-peppy duet between Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan, 'Ishqiyaan' has the potential to do well on screen with some funny picturisation. Towards the end, Aftab Hashmi Sabri joins for a 'qawalli' outing while Blue Zone does chip in with a remix version as well. Also, it is exit Sunidhi Chauhan and enter Alisha Chinoy this time around.

Overall, Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam has a forgettable soundtrack which won't make any impression whatsoever in either a short or a long term. The only solace that the makers of the film can take is from the fact that a couple of tracks may well keep the audience engaged due to the funny mood of the film. However, even for that, a lot would depend upon its director Sanjay Chhel to make it happen on screen.

Rating - 1.5/5

Ranbir in Ravi Chopra's Kohinoor?

Producer-director Ravi Chopra (Baghban, Babul, Bhoothnath) plans to cast Ranbir Kapoor in his next film, titled Kohinoor.

Not only that, the film will also be the launch pad for Chopra's sons Kapil and Abhay. His elder son Kapil will make his debut as an actor and the younger one, Abhay, as a director. BR Chopra will produce the movie under the banner of BR Films.

Ravi Chopra who is currently busy with Banda Yeh Bindas Hai, says, "Yes, talks are definitely on with Ranbir because he is a good friend of my sons. He has not been signed on the dotted line."

About the film, he says, "Kohinoor is a two-hero project based on the Kohinoor diamond. We plan to launch this film in August. Prakash Kapadia who has written Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas is writing the script."

If all goes well, this will be the third generation of Kapoors and Chopras working together.

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