Hindi Entertainment News  
Sanjay Gupta gets real, meets Dawood’s brother
 
The filmmaker seems serious about getting his facts right for his film Shootout at Wadala; spends time with the gangster's clan for vital inputs His film goes on floors early next year, and Sanjay Gupta, known to fall back on rented DVDs for inspiration, is doing his homework well for his comeback project Shootout At Wadala, produced by Ekta Kapoor. Mumbai Mirror has learnt that Gupta met dreaded gangster Dawood Ibrahim's younger brother Iqbal Kaskar. The meeting happened recently at Pakmodia Street where Iqbal lives. According to sources, around 10.30 pm, Gupta was led into a small room by five-six friends of Iqbal. These men did not leave the room until the meeting was over. Gupta was accompanied by a gentleman who had arranged the meeting. Gupta and Iqbal spoke for nearly two hours. Revealed a source, "Gupta and Iqbal met but not at Iqbal's residence. They met up at an office which belonged to a third party." Added the source, "Yeh meeting karna aasan nahin tha. If you recall, there was an attempt on Iqbal's life only in May this year. So obviously, he was extremely guarded." Explaining what drove Gupta to Pakmodia Street to meet Iqbal, our source said, "Gupta's film is inspired on Dawood and his (late) elder brother Sabir's rise to power. That is a very important part of the film. Gupta wanted some important inputs from Iqbal so that there were no errors in the storytelling." Another source said, "Gupta also does not want to take chances with Dawood. The meeting would have been conveyed to the gangster, and objections, if any can be dealt with rightaway." When contacted, Gupta said, "Yes, I did meet Iqbal in connection with my film. Iqbal was very warm and cordial with me. I am in fact meeting many other people for my film. " Iqbal Kaskar, wanted in connection with Sara-Sahara Shopping Complex land-grabbing case, was deported from Dubai in 2003. However, he was later acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence. Vivek Oberoi, who had developed cold feet about playing Dawood, is most likely to take it up again. Manoj Bajpai has been roped in to play Sabir's character.
 
Sunday, September 25, 2011
 
Singhing in the Rink
 
Speedy Singhs is formula. NRI-family/sports/underdogs. You've seen it before in films as varied as Bend it Like Beckham and Patiala House, and no doubt you will see it again. But there is comfort to be had in formula. This is true because the romcom factories of the world continue to make money by flogging the same horse repeatedly. Except that it keeps going and winning at the races. The problem arises when - despite all the repetition and practice - filmmakers often botch up the simplest scripts. Let's just say - since you know what to expect in this breezy entertainer - there is little to complain about in Speedy Singhs. Set in Canada, Rajveer Singh (Vinay Virmani) is disinterested in taking over his family's trucking business and chooses to play ice hockey instead. He is good, but no white team will have him. So he makes his own team consisting only of Singhs and enters the local championship. Of course, his father (Anupam Kher) is completely against this and Rajveer keeps him in the dark… you know the drill. For Robert Lieberman, director of D3: The Mighty Ducks, this is a movie he could make while skating on one leg. Speedy Singhs could've been more edge-on-the-seat had each crisis (getting the coach to agree/winning qualifying games/getting the girl/getting father's nod) been deeper, more dramatic, and resolved in a more complex manner, but from the scripting stage, it never seems the makers' intention. They understand that complexity is not an easy pill to swallow by audiences if box office numbers are taken into consideration. You can hardly blame the filmmakers. Russell Peters blatantly improvises and is expectedly amusing, but the funniest scene in the movie belongs to Anupam Kher who - in a bout of frustration - vents his angst at the NRI life: wearing a tie every day, apple pie, peanut butter, … his list is long and quirky. Little touches like this make this workmanlike effort sparkle in places. Other examples: the siblings' relationship and the Speedy Singhs team singing the Canadian national anthem in all earnestness. Performances are par for the course, but a special mention to Sakina Jaffrey for her hip-yet-traditional mother's role. Also, Camilla Belle as Rajveer's love interest sparks the screen every time she makes an entry. She is pretty. Yes. For Indian films - where originality is the exception rather than norm - an underdog-wins-championship cliché tops the boy-girl-marry cliché on any given day. Speedy Singhs is a reasonable watch.
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Satyadev Dubey slips into coma
 
The 75-year-old veteran playwright and director was at Prithvi Theatre Cafe in Juhu when he suffered a seizure The Indian theatre fraternity is distraught by the news of playwright and director Satyadev Dubey slipping into coma. On Monday evening, 75-year-old Dubey was at his usual hangout at Prithvi Theatre Café in Juhu when he suffered a seizure. He was immediately rushed to nearby Sujay Hospital. The following day he was moved to another hospital in Irla. Dubey's health has been fragile for a while now and he has been in and out of hospital a couple of times in the last few years. Although he has been conducting theatre workshops occasionally, he hasn't staged a production since 2008. His last production, as a writer-director, Khuda Ke Liye Mat Dekhna was a semi-autobiographical play. The same year, Prithvi Theatre dedicated their annual fest to Dubey. In fact, early this year, Indian theatre's enfant terrible, who is responsible for many splendid productions including Badal Sircar's Evam Indrajit and Pagla Ghoda, Mohan Rakesh's Aadhe Adhure, and Vijay Tendulkar's Khamosh! Adalat Jari Hai, was awarded the Padma Bhushan. We wish the iconoclastic theatrewallah a speedy recovery.
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Season's Beatings
 
Mausam kicks off with much aplomb. Painting-like frames depict life in an indolent Punjabi village, the charming life of young Harry (Shahid Kapoor) as he races trains and takes the mickey out of the village elders. Soon he is infatuated with Aayat, who's only just arrived from troubled Kashmir. There is minimal talking, only nazar milana. Just when things begin to get a move on, the Ayodhya situation forces her to leave without so much as even leaving behind a note. Up to this point, even though nothing's really happened, Mausam is entirely agreeable. Next thing you know, son-of-the-soil Harinder is an IAF officer and waltzing with Mozart-concert-selling Aayat in Scotland. The leap is long, quick, and unconvincing. The atmospherics all but disappear. Mausam's fundamental handicap is its script. It begs the audience to go with the flow, but unfortunately after a point this is not possible. There are just too many critical coincidences the narrative relies on. Literal and figurative disasters strike as the couple vehemently refuses to leave behind a forwarding address or a phone number, choosing instead to globe trot from Scotland to Switzerland to America to Punjab to Gujarat in pursuit of each other, always missing by a whisker. At one point - after running through the snows of Jungfrau and after years of looking - Harry finally finds Aayat sleeping in a train. He doesn't wake her up. He leaves.And whatever the reasons in his head might be, at this point Mausam ceases to be a film that may be taken seriously. It heads down the dreaded path of cheap commercial cinema, the kind where a paralyzed hand comes to life in a dramatic moment of need. The poignancy of early scenes has all but faded away. To be fair, Mausam has its moments. Take the scene where Aayat and Harry are exchanging quiet notes, the words of which transform into lyric and song. Or when young Harry and his multicultural mates spend an off day in their village loafing, stealing an old man's car, gnawing on sugarcane and then making wickets out of them to indulge in a spot of cricket. Yes, all these are in the first hour (or the first season, if you prefer.)The buildup to the Top Gun moment is a tease and anticlimactic. Shahid Kapoor struts around with a rod stuck to his spine to give him impeccable posture as he wears impeccable uniforms for a while, before finally getting into a plane and taking off to bomb 'the enemy'. Well to cut a long sortie short, Top Gun's action flying scenes of 1986 are still airmiles beyond anything Bollywood can hope for in 2011. Fact. Also, it doesn't help the IAF has asked them to chop off chunks that have been left unfilled. It's a real mess. And, undoubtedly, entirely uncalled for. By this logic, Rang De Basanti should've been one long beep. Mausam's biggest plus is its cinematography. Binod Pradhan's frames are busy, luscious, original, and refreshing even in the most clichéd set-ups. Is he the best DoP around? Arguably, yes. Other tech departments also do well: production design, costume, background score: all good. The acting is competent but the writing defeats the actors. While there is little doubt that Mausam is an honest effort to make a beautiful, even epic film, it is way off the mark, missing layers, and struggles to stay afloat. It could've been infinitely better if the intent wasn't purely to stylise scale. And if it was shorter. And shorn of clichés. A poorly made film with a good script trumps a good-looking film with a poor script. Hopefully, Pankaj Kapur realises this before his next.
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
All over again
 
Chandrachur Singh, who debuted with Arshad Warsi in Tere Mere Sapne, will share screen space with the actor in his Bollywood comeback film Zilla Ghaziabad after their successful debut in Tere Mere Sapne, Warsi and Singh then went on to work together in Betaabi. While Warsi went on to make his mark many years later with Munnabhai MBBS, Singh did some major roles in Kya Kehna with Preity Zinta and Josh with Aishwarya Rai. However, after Sarhad Paar, which was shot in 2004 and released in 2006, Singh took a hiatus from the industry. A source informed us that Singh is now all geared up for his comeback in Zilla Ghaziabad. When contacted, Singh confirmed, “Yes, I am shooting for the film and it is a very interesting character. I am working with Arshad after so many years. I am playing an army officer. However, I am not allowed to say anything more than this. But I am pretty excited. The producer called me for the role and I said ‘Why not? I would love to do it.’”
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Boxer auction
 
Akshay gets creative while shooting for Desi Boyz, develops a contest where one can win his shorts The poster shoot of Rohit Dhawan's Desi Boyz was a fun filled episode. The actors had to shoot in extremely cold weather wearing just their boxers. Also, Akshay Kumar came up with the idea of a contest. And the winner could get into the very pairs of boxers. As appealing as it may sound, getting into the actors' boxers won't be that easy. To win the underwear, one would have to guess the name written on Akshay Kumar and John Abraham's boxer shorts. A source said, "Akshay and John were shooting for those scenes where the temperature was really low. They told Rohit that the shooting looks more like a popular underwear brand's photo shoot. But Rohit convinced them saying that it was the exact look that he wanted. In midst of all that, Akshay held an auction to have some fun."
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Testing real on reel
 
Determined to defy the statistics of real-life couples, whose on-screen pairing ended with box-office duds, Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai will star in the zombie film, Shaadi Of The Dead The odds are literally against them. But Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai are reportedly determined to defy the statistics of real-life couples, whose on-screen pairing ended with blockbuster duds. Cases in point are Shahid-Kareena in Fida, John- Bipasha in Madhosh, Saif-Kareena in Kurbaan and Abhishek-Aishwarya in Raavan. A source informed us that Abhay and Preeti are now gearing up to star in a zombie film, titled Shaadi Of The Dead. Interestingly, the film is co-produced by Balaji Films, which happens to be the same production house that launched Preeti in Shor In The City, earlier this year. Since then, however, the former Miss Britain has not had too many offers coming her way. And so, the source informed that Abhay, who is close friends with the Shaadi Of The Dead director Navdeep Singh, recommended Preeti for a role in the film. When contacted, the film’s other co-producer Siddharth Jain told Mumbai Mirror that Preeti has been cast in the film, but her character is not paired with Abhay. “Abhay is actually paired with Genelia D’Souza. Preeti will make a cameo appearance,” said Jain. While Jain refused to divulge any further details, the source revealed, “Abhay and Preeti share a few moments in the script.”
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Priyanka, Vidya snub Shahid
 
Apart from his ex-flames, friends Ranbir and Imran too gave Mausam premiere a miss. On September 22, Mumbai Mirror told you how Shahid Kapoor, who along with his father Pankaj Kapur chalked out the guestlist for the Mausam premiere held on Thursday night, had invited his ex-girlfriends Priyanka Chopra and Vidya Balan. The actor however, had decided to give Kareena Kapoor the royal snub. Looks like the actor got paid back in his own coins, albeit by the two ladies he had invited. Despite the absence of his two ex-flames, Shahid's much-awaited movie of the year did manage to draw most tinsel townies out of their homes. Genelia D'Souza, Bipasha Basu, Sonakshi Sinha, Amisha Patel, Kangna Ranaut, Tabu, his Dil Bole Hadippa costar Rani Mukerji, Aayesha Takia and even Amrita Rao (who happens to be Shahid's ex-love as well) added some razzle dazzle to the show held at iMax Wadala. A source informed Mumbai Mirror, "Vidya Balan was shooting for Dirty picture at a studio in Goregaon on Thursday evening. Though her co-star Tusshar Kapoor did take a break for a couple of hours to attend the birthday party of his Hum Tum Shabana producer Sunil Chainani, Vidya decided not to follow his example. She continued shooting for the film. On the other hand, Priyanka Chopra chose to perform with SRK at an awards function in Delhi and skip Shahid's movie premiere." And it was not just his ex-flames who gave the premiere a miss. Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan, two actors Shahid has been bonding with really well of late, were conspicuous by their absence. "It was shocking to see that neither Ranbir nor Imran turned up for the Mausam premiere. Everybody was talking about their absence in hushed whispers at the event," informed a source. Imran's wife Avantikaa however, did make an appearance with director Ayaan Mukerji. Though some speculate that Ranbir might have given the premiere a miss because of Sonam Kapoor, the leading lady of the film, a friend of the actor defended him saying, "Shahid knew Ranbir wouldn't make it for the premiere. Ranbir was busy shooting in Chandivli." A source revealed, "People at the event were speculating whether Imran missed the show because Mausam's first day collections are higher than Mere Brother Ki Dulhan." Distributor Aditya Choksi confirmed, "The collections of Mausam are 15 per cent higher than those registered by Mere Brother Ki Dulhan on day one."
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Kat has her clause out
 
Aditya Chopra accepts the actress’s no-bikini conditions just like he did for Ash in Dhoom 2 ; signs Kaif for the third film of the series. She might have had to wear a bikini in her debut film Boom in 2003. But it seems that Katrina, who is relatively newer in the industry, is taken as seriously as veteran actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Reportedly Katrina, who has signed on to Dhoom 3, managed to get Aditya Chopra to agree to her terms that two of the former leading ladies (Esha Deol and Bipasha Basu) of the YRF franchise had no say in. Aditya seems to have given in to Kat’s terms, just like he did for Ash in Dhoom 2. A source informed Mumbai Mirror that initially Aditya had categorically told Katrina that she would be required to wear a bikini in the film. In the past too, YRF had got Esha Deol and Bipasha Basu to don the two-piece swimwear for Dhoom and Dhoom 2 respectively. “Whether they did it willingly or reluctantly, nobody knows. But Katrina was extremely reluctant,” said the source. The source explained that there was a lot of back and forth between Aditya and Kat before the decision was taken. The source added, “Aditya is very fond of Katrina and they are very good friends. He had other options, including a few foreign actresses, but Katrina towered above all those options. Katrina managed to convince Aditya that it was not necessary for her to wear a bikini in the film.” Talking about the entire bikini issue, another source informed us, “Aditya is not even disappointed. In fact, he is very happy that Katrina is on board. Bikini ka problem shayyad ek hi reason tha that he took so long to finalise the female lead in the film.” Justifying her no-bikini stance, a friend of Katrina said, “Today, Katrina is a big star. She adds tremendous value to a project. She is justified in her reservations, if any, when she signs a film.”
 
Friday, September 23, 2011
 
Rascals hits a roadblock
 
Cinemax Pvt Ltd has filed a law suit against Dutt’s production partners and asked for a stay order on the release of the film slated to hit theatres on Oct 6 Sanjay Dutt’s maiden production Rascals, starring Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn and Kangna Ranaut has run into trouble. Cinemax Pvt Ltd has filed a legal suit against Dutt’s production partners Vinay Choksey and Sanjay Ahluwalia. The suit demands a stay order on the release of the film that was slated to hit theatres on October 6. A source informed Mumbai Mirror, “Cinemax Pvt Ltd has been angry with Choksey and Ahluwalia for a while.” Confirming the story, Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax Pvt Ltd said, “Yes, this is true. The hearing on the stay order which we have demanded will be held on either Monday or Tuesday.” Explaining why they decided to file a lawsuit, Punjabi said, “Choksey and Ahluwalia had taken Rs 2 crore from our company in 2008. Their company Rupali Aum Entertainment was supposed to make a film for us with that amount. That film never got made. We want our money back.” Punjabi also informed that the stay order, if passed, would stall the film’s release not just in Mumbai but across the country. Choksey, however had a different story to tell. Admitting that he and Ahluwalia had taken Rs 2 crore from Cinemax Pvt Ltd, he said, “Look, we have been fighting a legal battle with Cinemax Pvt Ltd for over a year now. Seeing that our film with Dutt, Rascals, is releasing next month, they have simply thrown a spanner.” “The matter is under arbitration. In 2008, we had made an agreement for a film with Cinemax Pvt Ltd. We distributed the Rs 2 crore which they gave us; we hired a director, shelled out signing amounts to some actors and recorded three songs. Suddenly, Cinemax Pvt Ltd wanted to back out from the deal. They refused to shell out more money. They made us wait and gave us various reasons for the same. We had no choice but to stall the project,” added Choksey. Taken aback with the accusation by Cinemax, Choksey revealed, “There were many witnesses for our 2008 deal. I don’t want to name them and spoil their relations with Cinemax Pvt Ltd. They all know who is right and who is wrong. There is a lot of evidence in the form of mails exchanged between us and Cinemax.” Choksey finally said, “We are yet to receive the papers of the new legal suit. My lawyer will read the papers and then decide how we fight them ahead.”
 
Thursday, September 22, 2011
 
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