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Eye-dentity crisis

Amitabh Bachchan sports different coloured lenses in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. It was a complicated procedure to fit him with those lenses, given his age

Amitabh Bachchan has worn different-coloured eye lenses in Ram Gopal Varma’s Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. The colour of the lens in the right eye is blue, while the left one is brown. Though the idea of Bachchan wearing lenses of two different colours in the eyes was conceptualised by director Ram Gopal Varma, it was Bachchan’s family eye surgeon Dr Himanshu Mehta who got the soft lenses made especially for the Bollywood superstar.

Our source tells us that Bachchan tried out lenses of various hues for which he had over 50 sittings with Dr Mehta and finally settled for the brown and blue coloured ones because it went well with the negative character he is playing in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. The source also reveals, “Amitabh Bachchan would usually arrive in the morning at the clinic and put on the lenses with the help of Dr. Mehta before leaving for shooting Ramu’s film.”

The source also says that taking into consideration Bachchan’s age, making him wear the soft lenses was a lengthy process and required a lot of skill. “As one ages, it is not only the eyesight, but also the organs connected with the eyes that tend to become weak. It becomes difficult for the eye to hold the lenses for a longer period of time then. It was only super willpower and a drive for perfection that made Amitabh Bachchan sport those lenses for hours,” our source adds.

When contacted Dr Himanshu Mehta admitted that it was he who had designed and worked on Amitabh Bachchan’s lenses in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. He said, “Yes I have done Amitabh Bachchan’s lenses and I used to help him put them on too. But I don’t want to talk further about it.”


A bald step?

Will Amitabh Bachchan sport a bald look in Shantaram?

It has been reliably learnt that Mira Nair has convinced Amitabh Bachchan to sport a bald pate in her adaptation of Gregory Roberts’s Shantaram. If he indeed does so, it will be the first time that Bachchan will appear bald on screen. Reportedly, Mira Nair has finally convinced him to do so.

A source says, “Amitabh Bachchan is playing an underworld don Kader Bhai while Johny Depp is essaying the role of Shantaram. Although Bachchan is a little sceptical about his bald avatar, Mira Nair has managed to convinced him. Mira loved the idea of a bald look.  The exact look will be decided on soon.”

The film will be shot in Mumbai, Australia and China.

– Kunal M Shah

“There’s no Raj Thackeray in Sarkar Raj” – RGV

One man factory….
Link Indiafm
By Subhash K. Jha, August 21, 2007 – 14:02 IST
Reacting sharply to a report that character-actor Ravi Kale plays a character inspired by Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray, Ram Gopal Varma laughs, “I see no reason to unnecessarily politicize Sarkar Raj with speculation. There’s no character even remotely resembling the gentleman you’ve mentioned. And Ravi Kale who is in both the Sarkar films doesn’t play a character similar to any politician, living or dead.”

Ramu stresses that he doesn’t have real-life politicians in Sarkar Raj. “As it is, I’ve personally admitted that Sarkar Raj is my most political film to date. If on top of that I’m constantly accused of planting this or that politician in the plot there’s bound to be an unnecessary stress. Right now my concentration is on releasing Aag and Darling on two consecutive Fridays. Let’s see if Darling ko Aag jhulas legi,” he jokes.

Bachchans step in SRK’s shoes


Now it can be told! It was said that the project Ramgopal Varma was supposed to start with Shah Rukh Khan, titled TIME MACHINE, has been scrapped. But it will be made with different stars: It’ll star RGV favorites Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan in lead roles.

RGV confirms the development, “Yes, both Amitabh and Abhishek will star in the film. I haven’t decided on the date [of shooting] yet, since I am pre-occupied with RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG, DARLING and SARKAR RAJ at the moment… It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t make the film with Shah Rukh.”

Meanwhile, RGV is working at lightening speed these days. While RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG and DARLING are releasing back to back, on 31st August and 7th September, respectively, SARKAR RAJ [the sequel to SARKAR], which is already 80% complete, will hit the screens in December this year. Besides, a number of films, produced by him, will also make it in the intervening period. He sure is a factory!

Raju Hirani’s vaada to Sanju

Raju Hirani’s vaada to Sanju

By Taran Adarsh, August 21, 2007 – 08:52 IST

MUNNABHAI director Rajkumar Hirani has promised Sanjay Dutt that MUNNABHAI 3, titled MUNNABHAI CHALE AMERIKA, will be made with the star only and it would be the best Munnabhai film in the series. “I am going to work extra hard on the script. I want to ensure that it’s my finest Munnabhai film, that’s the promise I’ve made to Sanju. In fact, the idea [of the script] has already taken shape. It’s too exciting,” Hirani tells me.

Meanwhile, Hirani has commenced work on the other project that he plans to make, before MUNNABHAI 3 takes off. This one will star Shah Rukh Khan in the lead. “It’s aimed at the education system. Everyone’s keen on getting the right grades, so that they are assured of a better future. My film will make a comment on this issue. A strong message will be conveyed through humor,” he divulges.

Hirani wants to feature Sanju in this film as well, although there’s no role for the actor in it. “But I’ll try to accommodate him any how. It’s difficult to make a film without him,” he states emotionally.


Tanisha and Uday Chopra

Tanisha and Uday Chopra are no longer a couple

Even as the rumour mills are churning out reports of Neal N Nikki couple, Tanisha and Uday Chopra’s engagement, news is that the two have, in fact, split.

Our source reveals, “It’s rather sad that they have parted ways as they were planning to get engaged sometime soon. But this break-up took place after she got back from Goa recently.”

When contacted, Tanisha chose not to discuss the subject with us, but did not deny the news either. When questioned about her break-up with Uday, she paused for a moment, before replying, “Work has hit me hard and now I’m going all out doing good films. My relationship is a personal matter which I don’t want to talk about at this point in time. Right now, I’m busy with a number of films that I am looking forward to.”

Apparently, things soured between the two because of disagreements about her career. Our source says, “Tanisha and Uday would have endless arguments. Tanisha has been on a signing spree while Uday isn’t. She was out of town for a while, busy shooting for Kumar Mangat’s 123 in Pondicherry and Goa. She got back from her shoot to experience more trouble back home. Apparently, Uday wants more time from her, but Tanisha wants to work on the maximum number of films she can, right now.”

It’s great to see her back in action, but what was the long sabbatical all about? Tanisha says, “I wanted to work with good filmmakers and do better films. But after my last film, I was not happy with the kind of offers I was getting. The roles that were offered to me were rather boring. I decided to take a break till I got quality films.”

And her wait has paid off. Says Tanisha, “I am excited about the films I have signed. There is Kumar Mangat’s big project, apart from 123, another project is in the pipeline and of course, Sarkar Raj where it’s not Ash but me opposite Abhishek, playing a significant role.”

Sanju baba’s out, B-Town’s thrilled

Sanju baba’s out, B-Town’s thrilled
   By: Upala KBR
August 21, 2007

The industry is euphoric over Dutt’s temporary relief from the SC

On July 31, Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to six years rigorous imprisonment in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.

The actor was then lodged at Pune’s Yerwada Jail, amidst unprecedented protest from friends and fans alike. After three weeks of doing time, there seems some ray of hope for the fallen actor.

He’s now got interim bail from the Supreme Court and B-Town is overjoyed at the prospect of seeing him as a free man again.

Sunil Shetty (Actor)

I was in shock when I heard the news. I couldn’t believe it! I’m very happy and have always maintained that God has mysterious ways of doing things.

Sanjay Gupta (Producer)

Justice prevails and our faith in the judiciary stands vindicated. God bless Sanjay Dutt.

Ekta Kapoor (Producer)

I feel he was being used to make an example. I think justice has been done and a celebrity is not being made a scapegoat anymore.

I hope he gets out once and for all. People get vicarious pleasure from seeing a successful person suffer, and those who condemned him in the name of the law belong to that

Ashok Thakeria (Producer)

Dhamaal is releasing on September 7 and I am very happy for Sanju. He’s not just a star in my film but also a good friend.

I plan to go and meet him when he comes out. We would love to have a premiere for the film but it depends on Sanju and what his state of mind is.

Rohit Roy (Actor)

I am overjoyed. His interim relief has given us all great relief. The very thought of Sanju sir spending any more time in the slammer was a source of discomfort for all of us. Nightmarish actually. So I am happy that he’s going to be home shortly.

Bunty Walia (Producer)

I’m delighted. I’m dying to see him again. Our prayers have been answered. I am mostly going to go and fetch him back.

Karan Johar (Filmmaker)

I am thrilled for Sanju and his family. He has been in my thoughts and I feel a sense of relief. I can’t begin to imagine what he must be feeling today. Sanju is very special to my family. We love him dearly and wish him the best from the bottom of our hearts.

Subhash Ghai (Producer)

It’s the result of millions of prayers that he has got justice. My family and I are extremely happy that Sanju can now breathe easy. He has been punished enough for his mistake, so now we should let him make his late father, family and nation proud.

‘Chak De’ Shah Rukh’s magic will last a long time

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) After playing yuppie lover in several romantic films he got tagged as the best entertainer in the country. But Shah Rukh Khan has surprised everyone with his latest “Chak De! India” where his performance as a no-nonsense hockey coach establishes him as one of the finest actors in the Hindi film industry.

If writer Jaideep Sahni and director Shimit Amin are getting accolades for making such an unconventional film, Shah Rukh too is winning praise for his natural performance as Kabir Khan, the disgraced hockey player who tries to redeem his prestige by coaching the women’s hockey team and making them winners.

Those who thought “Swades” was SRK’s best performance, as an Indian American NASA scientist who comes home on a visit only to get involved in developmental projects in a village, will be surprised with his emoting in “Chak De! India”.

The actor, who had earned much flak for doing “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”, shows his prowess and shuts up critics as “Chak De…” has so far not received any negative feed back.

While fans say they are proud of him for choosing an unusual film like this, critics across the globe are raving about how effortlessly he plays a coach who travels to glory from gloom.

“After ‘Swades’ Shah Rukh has again essayed a role where he has totally negated his own superstar self and completely become the character he is supposed to play. There is not a single trace of the superstar that we have seen in most of his films like ‘Don’,” said Anuradha, a Shah Rukh fan.

Critic Andy Webster in his review in New York Times writes: “For his part, Mr. Khan, to his credit, lets his co-stars’ youthful charisma carry the movie. He also laudably portrays a man who vigorously and unabashedly advocates the advancement of women.”

The film is based on former India goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi who lost his glory after conceding several goals in a match against Pakistan in the 1982 Asian Games final. He was dropped from the team. Negi returned to the hockey field, most grudgingly, 16 years later as a goalkeeping coach and helped India in winning the 1998 Asian Games men’s gold at Bangkok and the women’s gold at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Shah Rukh convincingly portrays the shame, disillusionment of the disgraced hockey player and determination to win back his prestige.

Negi, who was roped in as a technical director of the film, said he was impressed by Shah Rukh’s performance.

“He is a fine actor and evoked the right emotions in the movie. He has done justice to the role,” Negi told IANS.

Aditya Chopra’s mega hit “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” gave the actor the yuppie romantic hero image, and others hits like “Dil To Paagal Hai”, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and “Kal Ho Naa Ho” built on that persona.

Post the success of these films he became the superhero and directors began to concentrate on his image, mannerisms and style. As a result, Shah Rukh never got enough chance to prove his versatility as one who could ably play unpredictable roles.

However, film critic Anumpama Chopra’s recently released book “King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema” reveals that diverse roles give Shah Rukh creative satisfaction.

Which is quite true. The actor, who is often accused of playing safe and not working with untried directors, tried to be versatile in “Baazigar” and “Darr”. They were anti-hero roles and nobody would have dared to touch them, but he managed to twist negative roles in his favour.

He has tried to play unconventional roles – in “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani”, as a journalist, in “Asoka”, a historical, and “Devdas”, as an alcoholic lover. But the films, though appreciated, didn’t benefit him much.

But it was Ashotosh Gowariker’s “Swades” which was the turning point in his career, which critics described as his coming of age. His performance as NASA scientist Mohan Bhargava didn’t show a single trace of his iconic attitude. He immersed himself in his character and wowed both critics and fans.

And now the acceptance of his role in “Chak De! India” substantiates the fact that there is perhaps no one like Shah Rukh.

People can go on arguing whether Aamir Khan or Irrfan Khan or Amitabh Bachchan is a better actor than Shah Rukh, but the truth remains that the superstar is being accepted as the best and one shouldn’t underestimate his potential.

Such is the performance of Shah Rukh as Kabir Khan that it will live with the audience for a long time.

Top 5 Reasons Why RGV ki Aag Will Suck!!


RGV Ki Aag is almost ready to burn the Box Office…..or IS IT? (I love that usage). Since the movie was announced it’s been in the news for a variety of reasons, first people calling RGV an idiot for trying to remake Sholay, then the whole casting rumors – who’s playing what? then the Mehbooba song and so on and so forth…..

I used to be a big fan of RGV’s movies and I would still like to see him make great movies, but lately his attitude and his ego coupled with some crappy movies, has made me think that probably the guy’s best days are over. That’s why this whole circus around this upcoming movie is quite amusing. In a way this publicity might help him get a good opening, but I have a hunch (actually pretty reasonable amount of certainty) that the movie will suck and suck bad….Here are my reasons for it…

Miscasting – More than 75 percent of the job is done if the movie has a great cast. Aamir Khan in Rangeela, Shahrukh in Darr had so much curiosity surrounding them that people actually went to watch the movie to see how they would perform in these roles. Now in case of Aag, people might think that Amitabh Bachchan, the great actor he is will be awesome in the role of Gabbar. Newsflash people: it doesn’t matter if he gives his career best performance (last two times he did that ,the movies flopped- Nishabd, Eklavya) he would still not be able to top Gabbar because of two reasons –
1. If Amitabh was creating a fresh character, no doubt he’ll be killer, but trying to wipe out Gabbar’s memories will be tough (for example SRK looked like a caricature in Don, if SRK was doing a fresh character the result would have been much better).
2. Amitabh is known for playing a good guy, I mean he’s the ultimate savior, the true Hero, for him to pull off a bad guy at this stage in his career will be really tough. He’ll have a hard time being convincing.

Well even though I believe AB will not be great in this role, he’ll at least draw the audience into the theaters. Rest of the cast is so (YAWN) boring I can’t even think why they were signed in the first place. The only reason I could think of is the big man’s ego. He thinks a young model can pull of Amitabh’s role, he thinks Nisha Kothari ,who if not for RGV wouldn’t even get a music video, can pull off a Basanti. Even veteran actor like Ajay Devgan who is no where close to Dharmendra’s comedic talent will look stupid in this movie. I think the saving grace for this flick could be Mohanlal and Sushmita Sen.

Music sucks – I don’t know if you’ve heard the music yet, but it’s really awful. Except for maybe the mehbooba song there’s nothing in that album to listen to. How did he think he was going to top a classic like Sholay with such pedestrian music?

Reasons for Making it – Again going back to the fact that RGV is such an egomaniac that he probably thinks that he’s the best director India has ever produced and what best way to make that a known fact – remake the most popular hindi movie ever made in India . He doesn’t care about Sholay, all he cares about is finding ways to flatter himself. Now you’ll ask what has that got to do with the quality of the movie? good question, but history is witness, every time a director has tried to make a movie to satisfy his ego and to prove he’s the best out there, the movie has really sucked. It’s not just Indian movies it’s Hollywood as well.

Setting Up for Failure – Don survived because there was Shahrukh Khan in the movie and audience still likes Farhan Akhtar. So even though the movie was bad, SRK fans kept the movie afloat. SRK has lot of crazy fans although not as much as Salman Khan. However in this case going up against a classic like Sholay with no current matinee idol is suicide. RGV probably thought people will come and watch his direction and he doesn’t need a Hrithik or SRK for his movie (Yeah Right). So no matter how good or bad the movie is, the comparisons with the original will be a huge burden.

Excuses- All said and done if RGV stayed arrogant and like a man said I’m going to be brave and attempt to make a movie better than Sholay, I would still have lauded the guy. But trying to take on the biggest movie ever, with excuses? that just shows weak character (and on closer look the self realization that the movie being made is really bad). What I am referring to is him saying in every interview, “this is my version, this is how I think Sholay should be in contemporary times”. Dude we get it, you’re making it, it’s your version. But by constantly repeating it you’re making me suspicious. The other thing is the last time I believed RGV and went to watch “his version” of a love story, I ended up sitting in a 2 hour boring saga of an old dude lusting over a skank. So him saying that this is his version of Sholay makes me one suspicious member of the audience.

That’s it folks my job wasn’t to dissuade you from watching this upcoming classic (disaster), but more like giving you heads up on some of the stuff you should think about before parting with that precious cash.

The changing costumes of Big B

The girl at Starbucks for the third time this week refused to take money, “It is OK” she said. This Starbucks is the farthest from my office in NYC. I cannot go any further for coffee. I had a similar problem at the other locations (closer to my office) too. I wonder when those days ended when girls used to just smile and flutter their eye lashes. At least then I could just act innocent, blush a little and walk away without feeling obligated. But Hey everything around is changing. Once upon a time I knew what Big B looked like. Today in every movie he is in some over the top weird costume, it is hard to recognize if this is the same Big B who once was such a poor actor that Prakash Mehra, his then friend, decided to make Devdas lite (Muqaddar’s Sikandar) keeping his acting limitations in mind. If you don’t know then let me tell you that the worst kept secret in Bollywood is that Big B’s biggest sore point is Muqaddar’s Sikandar because it records his inability. He wishes that he had not been part of a movie which proves that he was not good enough to do a full blown Devdas (To make matters worse, SRK’s Devdas received standing ovation. SRK won most of the awards that year for Devdas).

We all understand that Big B was in his hay days, at best, the Kesto Mukerjee of Angry Young Men. He was the best in that limited range. When he did upscale comedy like Chupke Chupke he was awkward and a liability, thank God for Dharam Paaji who saved that movie. Big B was good either delivering Salim-Javed’s dialogues or behaving like some Doodhwallah Bhaiya from Allahabad. Big B’s great comedy act was playing the Doodhwala Bhaiya, that was his goto act. Hence in Big B’s hays days, Big B’s jacket changed from regular to leather to signal that now he was really angry. Or the back ground music increased by a few thousand decibels. Given lemons, the directors then resorted to making lemonade. Pick any old Big B movies (the movies which the Bachchanistas swear by) and you will find that even an Emraan Hashmi could have done better. A brooding Emraan Hashmi in “Awaarapan” is far better than Big B is most of his old movies (top three performances of 2007: i) SRK in CDI; ii) Emraan Hashmi in Aawaarapan; and iii) Akshaye in Gandhi).

Having played a mediocre first innings, Big B (and especially the Bachchanistas) wants to rewrite history in his second innings. In keeping with the saying, “when you cannot convince them with substance try to baffle them with bull shit”, Big B is trying very hard to hide his lack of talent behind some weird getups. He is hoping that if his getups is the worst things about his role, i.e. if his getups become the lighting rod and attracts all the negative attention, no one will notice his poor acting. He is hoping that relatively his acting will supeficially appear good. Hence be ready guys, Big B is out to prove that he is a great actor via one god awful costume after another. In one movie he will have mismatched neon eye lenses, in another he will be in a Cowboy/Street-Urchin clothes, in another with a pony tail and yet another he will be bald. A desperate pursuit to cover-up his average talent.