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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

'The Dirty Picture' is the most pirated film - Ekta Kapoor

Mumbai: The team of 'The Dirty Picture' launched the DVD of the film here Monday, within two months of the release of the film. Producer Ekta Kapoor said the film is the 'highest pirated film in the history of Indian movies'.

"'The Dirty Picture' is the highest pirated film in the history of Indian movies and if we had not come out with the DVD now then the piracy would have made much more money than it had already done," she said.

'The Dirty Picture' which has opened doors for the single screens yet again managed to make the biggest box office success.

Vidya Balan said "I just knew one thing we all were trying to make a good film as long as you know that nothing is in your control."

She further adds, "I was saying to Milan (Luthria- director) that the film has released two months back and now I want to watch the film again. We have such wonderful memories with this film I would be glad to watch this film on DVD."

Vidya has managed to bag maximum awards for her role as Silk in 'The Dirty Picture'. But Vidya considers her biggest award is being part of the film team.

"I think the biggest award was 'The Dirty Picture'. I got an opportunity to play Silk and to work with this team is the biggest award. Everybody have loved this film and we are grateful for that."

"I will only say I am holding Milan's hand very tightly because only because of this person I am taking all the awards."

You should always give yourself challenges - Ali Zafar

New Delhi: The Pakistani actor Ali Zafar is very enthusiastic about his upcoming film 'London, Paris, New York'. He says," 'London, Paris, New York' is based in three cities. It's a love story of Lalitha and Nikhil. We have sung the songs in the film and Aditi sings really well. I have written the lyrics and composed the music for the film. The way the story unfolds is very interesting. It has a positive youthful vibe as per the contemporary time."

The heroine of the film Aditi Rao echoes the same sentiments," It's a special film with lots of humour and drama. It's an exciting film where people would want to experience the same."

When asked whether he feels any pressure after the success of 'Tere Bin Laden' and 'Mere Brother Ki Dulhan', Ali says," It's good actually. You should always give yourself challenges. I think if you believe in yourself then nothing is impossible."

Ali is also hopeful about his next film," 'Chashme Buddoor' with David Dhawan is my next where I am playing a role based on the character played by Farooq Shaikh in the earlier version."

The film has started creating a buzz but only time will decide its success at the box office.

Didn't refuse to work with Emraan - Bipasha Basu

Mumbai: Actress Bipasha Basu, who would be seen opposite Emraan Hashmi in 'Raaz 3', was sceptical of working with him earlier as she felt she would look older when paired with the actor.

"I did not refuse to work with Emraan. It is just that I couldn't work with him earlier. He was really young and I saw him when he was 18, as an assistant director on 'Raaz'. When we were approached for a film, I looked way older than him because of my weight. Today, I look younger than I looked then," Bipasha said.

"I also have to be convinced that I should look good with whoever I pair up with on-screen," she said.

Ask her, if she would refuse a role if she felt she is not compatible with her co-actor, Bipasha says, "Definitely, I think of whether I would look good when I am paired opposite someone on celluloid. Its my choice and I don't think anyone should be entitled to question my decision. It's my life and I choose what I want to do."

'Raaz 3' a 3D horror film directed by Vikram Bhatt, is a sequel to 'Raaz The Mystery Continues (2009). The film would see Emraan reprise his role from the original, and Bipasha is the new addition. She had featured opposite Dino Morea in 'Raaz' (2002).
Remind the 32-year-old actress about Emraan, the kisser and she says on-screen kissing gives her jitters.

"Please don't remind me. Another bomb is going to explode on my head," she quipped. The film is expected to release in August.

Julian Assange to guest star on 'The Simpsons'

Los Angeles: Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be a guest character and voice on animated TV comedy 'The Simpsons', playing a neighbor of the family after they move from their home in fictional Springfield.

Assange's 'brief' guest starring role will be on the show's February 19 program, which marks the 500th episode of 'The Simpsons', said Antonia Coffman, a spokeswoman for the show airing on the Fox television network in the United States.

In the episode, the Simpsons -- Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and their pets -- leave home and move to a rugged and isolated area where the find themselves living next to Assange, who portrays himself.

Simpsons executive producer Al Jean told Entertainment Weekly magazine that the show's creative team realizes Assange is 'controversial', but that in putting together the show they avoided delving into his 'legal situation'. Instead, the writers made sure the appearance was satirical. Assange recorded his lines remotely from Britain.

Assange is currently under house arrest outside London and due to appear before Britain's Supreme Court on Wednesday to appeal his extradition to Sweden where he has been accused of sexual misconduct by two former WikiLeaks volunteers.

He angered U.S. officials in 2010 when WikiLeaks, in partnership with major newspapers, published a trove of leaked diplomatic cables that exposed the candid views of American officials and their allies about a wide range of topics including the wars in Afghanistan and, at the time, Iraq.

Assange and his supporters are concerned that if he is extradited to Sweden, U.S. officials might attempt to have him brought to the United States where possibly he could be charged for crimes related to the leaked documents.

Last week, Kremlin-funded English language channel Russia Today revealed it had given Assange his own television talk show. Assange will interview noteworthy figures on a show dubbed 'The World Tomorrow', the channel said.

'The Simpsons', which debuted in 1989 on Fox, is the longest running primetime, scripted television series.

Goddesses are worshipped, women treated badly - TV actress Sriti

New Delhi: Television actress Sriti Jha, who plays the female lead in 'Dil Se Di Dua...Saubhagyavati Bhava', says domestic violence is one of the most shameful things prevalent in a country like India where goddesses are worshipped.

Produced by UTV , '.... Saubhagyavati Bhava', which comes on Life OK, shows the stigma of domestic violence with Karanvir Bohra in the role of abusive husband and Sriti as his wife and the victim.

"I was very excited when I got the offer to play such a challenging role but when the shoot started, I was shocked to see the trauma which a woman undergoes while going through such an abusive relationship. This role is quite different from the ones I've done so far. It deals with bubbly girl Jhanvi's life that takes a different turn owing to the domestic rigors post marriage," the 26-year-old told IANS.

"I am glad I am doing such a challenging role and sometimes I feel proud to be the voice of all those women who are going through such a bad phase. I feel sad that in a country like India where goddesses are worshiped, women are treated so badly. It's actually a shame for the society," she added.

Sriti also feels that sometimes women don't show courage to get out of an abusive relationship because of social and family obligations.

"It's the responsibility of family, especially parents, to understand their daughter's feelings and motivate her to speak out. Girls usually feel that talking or discussing can affect their family's reputation, but it needs to be stopped for the sake of their lives. Also, in the hope that world will change for her, they tolerate everything but don't forget that the world can change but not the person's behaviour. There are chances that things can get worse," she said.

Sriti, who was born in Darbhanga, Bihar, made her television debut with 'Dhoom Machaao Dhoom' and then featured in 'Shaurya Aur Suhani', 'Jiya Jale', 'Rakt Sambandh' and 'Jyoti'.

In 'Rakt Sambandh', she played a blind girl whereas in 'Jyoti' she featured as a girl with a split personality. Sriti feels she is fortunate enough to play strong roles in today's time when most of the series are dominated by saas-bahu themes.

"I find myself extremely lucky to play powerful roles and known for playing something different from usual saas-bahu sagas. From 'Dhoom...' to '...Saubhagyavati Bhava', every role of mine has been different and at the same time challenging too. This is what I want to continue doing in future too," she said.

Like many television stars, Sriti too dreams about Bollywood but is not in a hurry to join the brigade.

"Today, most of the channels are targeting Indian women and that is why roles for actresses are more challenging and vast compared to male actors. Bollywood is definitely on my list, but I don't want to make a hurried decision. Let the right offer and right time come, I will happily grab it," she concluded.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Dad's passion inspires Ranbir to do better work

Mumbai: In his about four-decade career, Rishi Kapoor has tried various roles and has been appreciated for his work. Right now he is being applauded for his villainous avatar in 'Agneepath' and his actor son Ranbir says his father is a wonderful performer and his inspiration too.

"I am hearing such amazing stuff about my father and his performance in 'Agneepath'. He has always been a wonderful performer. If a person is a good actor then he will deliver good performance throughout his life," Ranbir told IANS.

"Today my dad is 55-plus and still he gets so many awards. Just by looking at his passion inspires me to do better work," he added.

While both father and son are delivering incredible performances in Bollywood, one wonders when both of them will be seen together on the silver screen.

When asked the same, Ranbir quipped: "If we get a nice script then we both will definitely work together. We haven't got a convincing script yet."

After the success of 'Rockstar', Ranbir is looking forward to Anurag Basu's 'Barfi'.

"'Barfi' has been in the news for quite some time. Few days of shooting left, then I will start with Ayan Mukerji's film from March 1. 'Barfi' is a fun film. It's a romantic comedy. It has me, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D'Cruz in it," the 28-year-old said.

Rishi Kapoor's transformation amazing - Vivek Vaswani

Mumbai: Actor-tuned-producer Vivek Vaswani is going ga ga over Rishi Kapoor's transformation from a sweet lover boy in 'Bobby' to the ugliest pimp in 'Agneepath' remake.

"Rishi Kapoor is the sweetest lover of Bollywood in 'Bobby', the ugliest pimp in 'Agneepath'! Amazing transformations of these two stars," Vaswani posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Karan Johar's remake of his father's 1990 film 'Agneepat', which stars Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutta and Rishi Kapoor in the lead roles, has garnered positive response at the ticket window.

Rishi, 58, is one of the villians in the movie and wears kohl (kajal) in his eyes, a karakul cap and kurta-pajama to fit into the Muslim character he plays.

Vaswani, who worked with Rishi Kapoor in 'Aa Ab Laut Chalen', wrote: "A legend in his lifetime, son of a legend (Raj Kapoor), grandson of a legend (Prithviraj Kapoor) and father of a man (Ranbir Kapoor) who will be legend! Rishi Kapoor. And 'Aa Ab Laut Chalen' will always be a highlight of my career. Directed by Rishi Kapoor, 60 days in Manhattan, and friends made for life."

Rahul Bose all excited to play the bad guy in 'Vishwaroopam'

Mumbai: Rahul Bose was last seen in a villainous role in 'Thakshak' in 1999 and after 13 years he is once again set to play a negative character in Kamal Haasan's 'Vishwaroopam'. The actor is excited about the project.

"After 'Thakshak', I have got a chance to play a villain in 'Vishwaroopam'," the 44-year-old actor said at a sports event here.

His last film was 'Kucch Luv Jaisaa', which came out in May last year, and the actor will not be seen on screen before till June this year.

However, Rahul reveals he has shot for some big films but their release will take time.

"One film that I have done is 'Midnight's Children' by Deepa Mehta which is based on Salman Rushdie's novel and will not release before June. The second is 'Vishwaroopam' with Kamal Haasan. It is a big action film and we are doing it in two languages - Hindi and Tamil. The action sequences require a lot of technicalities which are taking time. In April, I'll start shooting for a film with Konkona Sen Sharma," Rahul said.

Rahul's other projects that have been announced include 'Click & Marry', 'Ghosh Ghost Na Raha', 'Laptop', 'Travelling with Mohammad', 'Jeene Do' and 'Ami Charulata'.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Have tasted blood, don't know what next - Karan Johar

Mumbai: The beginning of the year saw the biggest opening ever. Karan Johar's 'Agneepath' has set a new record on its opening day and promises to pick up in the weekend like never before. Apparently, the team of Agneepath gathered on the set of Yash Raj to celebrate the success with the media. Unlike, Karan Johar's other love stories, Agneepath seemed to have more brawl and violence in it.

Karan Johar said, "The dongries and mandwa is a bit new to Dharma productions. The other action sequence I ever had in my film was Hrithik being slapped by Amith uncle.

That's the only action sequence I had in 15 years career. I have tasted blood now don't know what next."

The original Agneepath which didn't click at the box office wasn't a safe bet to play for. Karan Johar told to the reporters, "It's my own revenge to the audience. Own son avenging his father's flop (Laughs). It's strange thing that in perception Agneepath is not a flop. Only trade knows it. There are few films like Lamhe and Agneepath world doesn't acknowledge as a failure. Youth loved it virally on videos and DVD world."


He further ads, "I think we made this film is a big thing it's a tribute to my father.

It's a special film for us it was not an easy task. To make a cult classic it comes with a lot of expectations and baggage. Your working against that baggage and trying to make your mark. I think Karan Malhotra has made this film with his conviction and he is the reason why all of us are here today."

Besides, the success, the press conference also introduced the debutant director Karan Malhotra who was kept away from the media all this while.

Karan Johar said, "I tell to every first director let your work speak for yourself. I never gave a single interview till Kuch Kuch Hota Hai released because I had nothing to say and why should anyone hear me out when they haven't seen what I have done. Today Karan Malhotra is open to the world of media."

Among other stars it was Rishi Kapoor's performance which was praised by one and all.

However, Rishi Kapoor was skeptical before doing Agneepath. Rishi kapoor said, "If I get any credit for this film then that belongs to Karan Johar and Karan Malhotra because there conviction and confidence on me who was like unlike candidate for the role. So, all the credit goes to them. They choose me for this film."

He further ads, "I didn't have the confidence. I might look bad but I can't look evil.

This was possible because of them."

The entire team of Agneepath including Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Karan Johar, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Karan Malhotra graced the event.

BO Report - 'Agneepath' earns Rs 25 crore on the first day

New Delhi: Producer Karan Johar's 'Agneepath' opened to full houses on January 26. The film is expected to have done a marvelous business on the first day of its release. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted," Agneepath *early trends* Thursday figure is 24.5 cr +. Creates HISTORY."

Sanjay Dutt is getting a lot of accolades for his portrayal of Kancha Cheena, while Hrithik Roshan has also been praised by the critics for his performance as Vijay Chauhan.

He tweets," WOW!!!! THANK u THANK u THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! Agneepath 1st day - 25cr!!!! My damaged bodyparts suddenly feel ALIVE, I feel like I can FLY now!!!thank u people, I have the fuel now to make KRRISH EXpLODE!!!! And explode he WILL!!!"

Composer wants to move out of 'Kolaveri' shadow

New Delhi: He is all of 21 and can boast of over 38 million YouTube hits for his song. But Anirudh Ravichander, composer of the phenomenally popular Tamil-English number 'Kolaveri di', is already trying to move out of its shadow.

" 'Kolaveri di' is in the past now; I am trying to move on to new projects," Ravichander told IANS in an e-mail interview.

"Although I'm enjoying the success, I realised it was very important to move out of the 'Kolaveri di' shadow to concentrate on future projects. I'm still young and raring to make good music," he added.

The newcomer, who composed the entire music album for Tamil film '3', completed his undergraduation recently. He is pursuing music full time now.

A trained musician, Ravichander wants to bring something unique to the platter of Indian music with his talent.

"I want to be different. Every song in '3' is so completely different from the other.

There are a lot of music styles and genres in the world, which are really interesting, and are yet to reach India. I plan to imbibe these styles into my music for forthcoming projects," he said.

If grapevine is to be believed, his new projects might also include a Bollywood film or two. Is that true?

"I would love to test the waters in Bollywood and Tollywood. I am really excited about composing music in other film industries. But I haven't signed anything as yet. I have been speaking to people but nothing interesting yet," he clarified.

Ravichander began learning the piano at a young age, and what started off as a hobby, turned into a profession.

He asserts that formal training always helps, and said: "It is very important for every musician to undergo some basic training to turn professional. But at the end of the day, it's the passion and hard work that brings out the best in you."

For starters, Ravichander found a golden platform in the social networking media, through which 'Kolaveri di', written and sung by southern actor Dhanush, became popular. Ever since the song's video was posted on YouTube, it has received over 38 million hits on the website.

"Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are platforms for people to share their work, and for other people to know and sample others' work. It also reaches a wider audience. Social networking is very helpful and it's only going to get better," he said.

The youth believes it is important for music to come to one naturally.

"Whether one is drinking coffee or watching a movie or even while sitting in a bus, the music we hear is always inspired from our surroundings and also depends on the mood and situation one is in," he added.

Veena Malik accused of assault by female co-star

Mumbai: A co-star has accused the controversial Veena Malik of purposely injuring her during a fight sequence for the film 'Mumbai 125'. Malik was reportedly not on good terms with co-actress Vedita Pratap, who is learnt to have been injured on her forehead as a result of the scene.

According to sources, the Pakistani actress had to pull Pratap by the neck and bang her head on an iron rod in a scene but it got too far. The director, Hemant Madhukar, had to be called in as the furious actress said that Malik had intentionally hurt her.

She was reportedly nursed at a city hospital and is said to be currently undergoing treatment to get rid of the scar on her forehead.

Pratap confirmed the incident and accused Malik of 'over acting'.

"It was an action sequence. I was supposed to be beaten up. I don't know what happened to Veena. She actually hurt me and she did it so badly that I had nail marks on my body. I don't know what was wrong with her. And then she pushed me so badly and banged my head on the rod," a Mumbai newspaper quoted her as saying.

"After the incident, I spoke to the director and told him that she is deliberately doing this. Acting is one thing, but this is just over acting," she said.

When asked asked if there was any enmity between the two of them, Pratap said that Malik must be 'insecure'.

"I don't know. I think somewhere she is just insecure or just waited for the opportunity to do something like this to me. As a result of the injury, I have marks on my forehead, which I have to undergo treatment to get rid off," she said.

Siddharth confident about the success of 'AK 56'

New Delhi: Meet Siddharth who is quite confident about the success of his forthcoming flick 'AK 56'. Siddarth, who made his debut in Sandalwood with 'Minchu', a re-make of Tamil movie 'Thimiru', expects 'AK 56' to become a huge hit at the box office since it has all the ingredients that are required to attract the classy as well as mass audiences to theatres.

Considered as one of the big-budget films of Sandalwood, producers Venkatesh Babu and Venugopal Nayak have spent around Rs 12 crores to complete this action-oriented film. "The USP of 'AK 56' is the chase sequence. It was shot on NICE Road and producers have spent more than Rs 1 crore for this particular sequence. It is for the first time ever that a Kannada film has a scene where two vehicles are rammed into each other midair," said Siddharth.

'AK 56' is the twenty fifth film for Om Prakash Rao who is known for handling megaphone for action-oriented films. His other film was 'AK 47' in which Shivarajkumar and Chandini were the lead pair while Om Puri had played the role of a strict police officer.

According to Siddharth, 'AK 56' is about an innocent college student who is branded as a terrorist by the police department. "The story revolves around a college student who escapes from prison and eventually proves that the police is wrong," said Siddarth.

He said that the 'bomb blast' incident would be etched in his memory forever.

"The bomb blast scene was picturised behind Samy's Dreamland near Yelahanka. The art director kept real glass instead of an artificial one. It was a providential escape for me when the bomb detonated. I happened to jump from the spot fifteen seconds before the bomb went off. I might have ended up in the hospital. Luckily a major tragedy was averted," recalls Siddarth.

The film's shooting was held for around 120 days at Hindalgi Jail near Belgaum, Singapore, Mysore and Bangalore. Kishori Ballal, Sumalatha, Srinivasamurthy, Atul Kulkarni, Bullet Prakash, Sharath Babu, Loknath are the other artistes in this film that is expected to hit the silver screen on February 10.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Friday Release - 'Agneepath' returns in new avatar

New Delhi: Vijay Dinanath Chauhan is back! The character, made popular by megastar Amitabh Bachchan in 1990 film 'Agneepath', is making a comeback on the big screen, albeit in a new avatar with Bollywood hearthrob Hrithik Roshan.

The 1990 film, directed by Mukul Anand, was produced by Karan Johar's father Yash. Though the film didn't work at the box-office, it won the best actor national award for Amitabh.

Twelve years later, Johar came up with the idea of remaking the film by setting it in the modern day scenario, with debutant Karan Malhotra taking the mammoth task of directing it.

Set in a small Indian village of Mandawa, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan (Hrithik) is taught by his principled father about the path of fire - Agneepath. However, Vijay is left completely broken after evil drug lord Kancha Cheena (Sanjay Dutt) hangs his father to death.
Following the death of his father, Vijay leaves for Mumbai with his pregnant mother, pledging to return to his native village later and bring his father's glory back.

In Mumbai, city gang lord Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor), takes the 12-year-old Vijay under his wings. During his journey, Vijay makes and breaks many relationships.

Vijay only finds support is his best friend Kaali, (Priyanka Chopra), who stands by him through thick and thin. Fifteen years later, his hatred for Kancha takes him back to Mandawa where his life comes a full circle. Henceforth, begins Vijay's quest to seek revenge from his father's murderer.

The role of evil Kancha Cheena was originally played by Danny Denzongpa. But this time, Sanjay has been roped in to essay the villain's part.

Karan admits remaking 'Agneepath' was an emotional decision as he wanted it to be a commercial hit. The film also featurs veteran actors Zarina Wahab and Om Puri. The film is said to be releasing in over 2,000 screens and has already created a lot of buzz.

Sanjay's wicked smile, puffed-up eyes and dreadful first look has attracted appreciation from all quarters for the actor. When Hrithik signed 'Agneepath', he was quite clear of not emulating Big B's portrayal of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. He wanted to give the character his own twist.

Rishi Kapoor insisted on having a look test for his role as Rauf Lala. The 58-year-old is one of the villians in the remake of 1990's 'Agneepath' and wears kohl (kajal) in his eyes, a karakul cap and kurta-pyjama to fit into the Muslim character.

Rishi admits he insisted on a look test because he wanted see how he looks in a negative character.

Of her role, Priyanka says her character is the soul of the film. She brings happiness and naughtiness in the film.

Another highlight of 'Agneepath' is the item song 'Chikni chameli', which features Katrina Kaif. The actress' fast, Maharashtrian dance moves have impressed one and all.

According to composer Atul Gogavale, Katrina spent eight days in rehearsal before starting to shoot the song. It took nine days to finish the shoot, and her energy levels never saw a dip.

The special screening of the film has found appreciation from film celebrities, but whether 'Agneepath' will be able to break box-office records, remains to be seen. The film will release Thursday.

Special screening of 'Gali Gali Chor Hai' held for Anna Hazare

Mumbai: A special screening of the Hindi flick 'Gali Gali Chor Hai' was held for anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare in his native village Ralegan Siddhi on Tuesday night in presence of the film's crew.

"Anna saw the entire film which ended at around 10 pm and expressed satisfaction over it," Hazare's aide Datta Awari told PTI from Ralegan.

"Anna agreed to watch the film despite ill health as it deals with corruption," he said.

Actors Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran and Mugdha Godse, all part of the film, director Rumi Jafferey, and producers Nitin Manmohan and Sanjay Punamija, were among those who attended the screening held near the Shantiniketan ground, Awari said.

"'Gali Gali Chor Hai' is a political satire about a common man's fight against corruption. So, it makes sense to show it to Anna Hazare who has become the national face of a common man fighting corruption," a crew member had said.

Last year, actor Ajay Devgn and director Rohit Shetty had met Hazare after the release of their hit film 'Singham' which also dealt with a common man's fight against a corrupt system.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Vidya Balan redefines acting in 'Kahaani' - Sujoy Ghosh

Mumbai: With two powerhouse performances to her credit in No One Killed Jessica and Dirty Picture, Vidya Balan has a slew of hotshot filmmakers in hot pursuit. Such is the Balan girl's power, even dormant projects come alive.

Kahaani, whose shooting was wrapped a year ago, has been brought out from the darkroom for an early release. Confirmed a source, "Viacom 18, the film's producers, meant to release the film a few months after The Dirty Picture. But with the blockbuster status that The Dirty Picture has achieved, the producers are even more confident about Kahaani."

The film will now undergo technical upgrading, and some of the scenes that could not be shot because of a crowd in Kolkata, will be shot. Kahaani is the story of a pregnant woman, who reaches Kolkata to search for her missing husband. It was shot on the streets of Kolkata and some portions have not turned out the way they were intended.

Apparently Kahaani will now get a fresh, flamboyant and glossy look to go with Balan's enhanced star appeal. When asked about shooting extra footage for Kahaani though, director Sujoy Ghosh denied it. "No I am not re-shooting. I have a very happy one hour 55 minutes of playing time. And I might even cut from that."

However Ghosh admitted that Balan's exacerbated box office position does put an additional burden on Kahaani. "I think appreciation for Vidya has gone through the roof and that will certainly ensure an opening audience for Kahaani. And I guarantee you, she won't let them down. She, very casually, redefines screen acting in Kahaani."

While the director maintains that Kahaani is not undergoing any change, Viacom 18 maintained a stony silence on any possible tweaks that the film may get. Another source said that the upgrading will also involve toning down Balan's pregnancy prosthetics that have been deemed by many to be too in-your-face.

Katrina Kaif and Ali Zafar to record an album

Mumbai: Pakistani pop icon Ali Zafar is having a blast in Bollywood. Immediately after completing a shoot with David Dhawan and the gang of actors of Chashme Buddoor, Ali we hear, is all set to work on an album with Katrina Kaif.

He has been keen to do so ever since he worked with Kaif in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, when the two hit it off.

So far Kaif, who turned her attention to her musical abilities after her on-screen collaboration with Ali and Farhan Akhtar in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, has not found time to start recording for the album with Ali.

Ali has already composed the songs that he wants to do with Kaif. She has already approved them and all that's needed is for her to record the numbers. Ali had wanted Kaif to be part of the composing process, but their schedules didn't allow it.

"The Kat-Ali album is a work in progress. All the tunes are in place. Katrina will record them in the coming months," said a source. While Kaif refrained from commenting on this new step in her career, Ali said, "Why don't you ask Katrina about it?"

Karisma is the new 'size zero' queen: Kareena

Mumbai: Kareena Kapoor, who not so long ago had made the tag 'size zero' fashionable, says she is a foodie, she does not starve at all. At a function to launch a book by dietician Rujuta Divekar, Kareena said that being a Punjabi, she loves to eat all sorts of parathas.

"I eat aloo, gobhi parathas almost every day....I have never starved. Even when I was doing 'Tashan' I used to eat parathas.

I feel it's all about being fit and eating right." While the elder sister Karisma, also present, said, "All the young girls who may want to become like Kareena...they should eat correctly and not starve themselves. You can be slim even with eating."

Kareena, who had acquired the 'size zero' during the shoot of Tashan, said it was her sister who is now super slim. "I feel Lolo is now size zero.... the crown of size zero goes to her," she said.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment - Riteish Deshmukh

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh, who is all excited about tying the knot with Genelia D'Souza, says he is a believer in the institution of matrimony. Riteish and Genelia would be getting married next month, after being in relationship for eight years.

"I think it's an institution for much long time... since ages, and there is a reason why marriage has survived. I feel slowly, we are probably running away from it. I personally feel that once you find a person, with whom you truly think you can be with, then that commitment is for the lifetime," Riteish said in an interview.

The couple, who will marry on February 3, has refused to reveal how and where the wedding will take place. Their romance began on the sets of 'Tujhe Meri Kasam', a debut film of both.

"I think when you are seeing each other for long... I don't think the question of freedom arises. You get used to each other so much. We both have been very private individuals. Today, that comfort level is going an extra step ahead with a commitment of lifetime," he said.

Asked about losing freedom of bachelorhood, he said, "I don't think there is any kind of fear as such... like my freedom is gone forever or something," he said. "I was a bird happy sitting on a tree... I did not jump around many trees... so I am fine," he said with a chuckle.

Riteish also confesses that he never racked his brains thinking whether Genelia was 'the right one'. "I never thought about whether she was the one... I was just happy being with her. It did not matter to me to think beyond that."

Veteran actress Salma Mumtaz passes away

Lahore: Pakistani film actress Salma Mumtaz has died in this eastern city at the age of 85 after suffering from diabetes for several years. Mumtaz, who died yesterday, was born in Jallandhar in 1926. Her family moved to Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. She began her film career in the 1960s with the Urdu film 'Neelofar'.

An accomplished dancer, she worked in some 300 movies, mostly in Punjabi. Among her popular movies were 'Maan Puttar', 'Puttar Dai Piyar', 'Sheran Di Jori', 'Mauj Mela', 'Dacchi' and 'Heer Ranjha'.

She also directed and produced a few films. Mumtaz is survived by a daughter, Nida Mumtaz, who is a famous TV actress. She was the elder sister of film actress Shammi, who died a few years ago. Her brother, Pervaiz Nasir, was a film producer.

Film writer Pervaiz Kaleem said, "Though Mumtaz had not been seen on the screen for almost 20 years, her roles in different films were still fresh in the memories of people." Actress Bahar said she had entered the industry during the final phase of Mumtaz's career.

"She was a nice woman and a good actress," said Bahar. She said like her, Mumtaz was also known for playing mothers in films. Mumtaz played the role of a mother opposite many heroes like Muhammad Ali, Waheed Murad, Shahid and Akmal.

I can teach a few lessons on love - Bipahsa Basu

Mumbai: Her eight-year relationship with actor John Abraham has ended but for actress Bipasha Basu, love is still the biggest priority in life and feels one should be honest in a relationship.

"I can teach the language of love very well. For me, love is very important. The biggest priority in life is love...When you talk of love, it is not only about man-woman love but love for family, friends... love for co-stars. As it is my priority... I can teach a few lessons on love," Bipasha told reporters here at the music launch of her forthcoming film 'Jodi Breakers' last night.

According to the dusky beauty, one has to be honest in love. "When you love...just love with your heart. I feel one should be truthful, honest to the one you love and do everything for the one you love from your heart," Bipasha said.

Her eight-year relationship with Abraham ended last year, following which, she has been linked with numerous co-stars like Rana Dagubatti, Shahid Kapoor and Josh Harnett.
Reportedly, when Bipasha was dating John, she had insisted on getting married but he had refused. John is now dating investment banker Priya Runchal and has expressed a desire to tie the knot soon.

It was John who had spilled the beans about the break-up in a chat show, which did not go down well with Bipasha. "What happens between two people is supposed to stay between the two when it's over. That's the dignity that I have grown up with and the respect I deserve. I don't need to be on a talk show to prove my goodness! My relationship with John Abraham is over for good for reasons known best to the both of us," she had tweeted then.

Mahesh Bhupathi 'Skypes' with newborn and Lara

Mumbai: Mahesh Bhupathi was miles away in Melbourne when his wife, actress Lara Dutta gave birth to their first child. But thanks to technology, the tennis ace managed to catch a glimpse of his wife and daughter through video calling.

Lara gave birth to a baby girl on Friday afternoon. "Just spoke to @DuttaLara and baby on Skype. They got to watch the match on TV in the hospital, got to thank the Aus open for moving us," Bhupathi, who is currently in Melbourne to play in the Australian Open, wrote on Twitter Saturday.

The sportsman is on top of the world to be a father to a baby girl as he always wished for one.

If Twitter buzz by actress Raveena Tandon is to be believed, the baby already has a name! She is being called Saira.

"My friends, Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi are proud parents of a baby girl!! Saira Bhupathi. Welcome Angel," tweeted Raveena.

However, a source close to Lara says the name hasn't been confirmed as yet, and a formal announcement shall be made once Bhupathi returns home.

'Joker' is not a comedy - Director Shirish Kunder

Mumbai: Editor-turned-director Shirish Kunder says his much ambitious 3D project 'Joker' is not a comedy film unlike what the title suggests.

"'Joker' has some humour but its not a comedy. Maybe because of the word 'Joker', it is presumed as a comedy. But even 'Mera Naam Joker' was not a comedy," the 38-year-old posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha in lead roles, the film is set for a 2012 release.

Kunder, married to choreographer-turned-director Farah Khan, denied the film was inspired by 2010 Hollywood film 'Alice in Wonderland'. He says the only thing common between both the projects is the fantasy factor.

'Joker' is being jointly produced by Kunder and Farah's Three's Company and Akshay Kumar's Hari Om Entertainment Co.

In the past, Kunder has edited films like 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Om Shanti Om'. His debut directorial movie 'Jaan-E-Mann' released in 2006.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Aruna Irani, Pyarelal to get lifetime achievement award

Mumbai: Veteran music composer Pyarelal of composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal and actress Aruna Irani will be conferred the lifetime achievement award at the 57th Idea Filmfare Awards 2012, reveals megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

"Filmfare wishes to acknowledge two personalities that have contributed greatly to our industry and they talk to me about them because I shall not be able to be at the function," Amitabh wrote on his blog.

"It is a lifetime achievement award for the music duo and the masters in their craft Laxmikant Pyarelal - Laxmi ji we have sadly lost."

"The other is for my very first leading lady Aruna Irani, a fine and most accomplished artist in any field of performance, one that began her career in the most humble beginnings and worked her way up to glory and fame. So proud of them all and the fact that they be honored thus," he added.

The legendary music duo of Laxmikant-Pyarelal created some soulful songs like 'Chahunga main tujhe', 'Sawan ka mahina', 'Yeh jeevan hai' and 'Paisa ye Paisa'.

Aruna was cast opposite Amitabh in the 1972 film 'Bombay to Goa' as the leading lady.

Later, Aruna played supporting roles in many of his films like 'Roti, Kapada aur Makaan', 'Yaarana' and 'Shahenshah'.

The award function will be held Jan 29 at Film City, Goregaon.

I am enjoying being single - Bipasha Basu

Mumbai: While a lot of Bollywood stars are planning to tie the knot this year, Bipasha Basu says she is loving her single status. "I am single and am enjoying this phase," Bipasha told reporters here at the music launch of her forthcoming film 'Jodi Breakers', releasing Feb 24.

The 33-year-old dated model-turned-actor John Abraham for eight years before calling it quits last year.

Ever since, Bipasha has been linked to actors like Rana Daggubati, Shahid Kapoor and her 'Singularity' co-star Josh Hartnett.

For now, she is only ready to be 'Jodi Breakers' with R Madhavan, her co-star in the Ashwini Chaudhary-directorial.

Madhavan, who is happily married for the past 12 years, shared some love tips with the media.

"Three things important for love is that you have to try till you succeed, believe in your fortune, and if you fail try for the next," he said.

'Jodi Breakers' not a copy of 'Heartbreakers' - R. Madhavan

Mumbai: Actor R Madhavan is not amused by the plagiarism charges levelled against his new Hindi film 'Jodi Breakers' by the Indian distributors of the Belgian film 'Heartbreakers'.

"Let them read our script and point out even one similarity. I challenge them to prove we've copied even a frame," said Madhavan.

Directed by Ashwini Chaudhary, 'Jodi Breakers' is a story of two individuals who break others' relationships but end up falling in love with each other.

It has been reported that the film is embroiled in a plagiarism controversy ever since 'Heartbreakers' distributors opened up about their doubts on the originality of 'Jodi Breakers'.

But the makers of 'Jodi Breakers' have offered to let the 'Heartbreakers' team read the script from first page to last, provided they agree to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

However, the 'Heartbreakers' team is unwilling to sign the documents.

Madhavan, who has rushed to Chennai for the release of his new Tamil film 'Vettai' wants to know why the 'Heartbreakers' team is unwilling to take up the offer.
"We've repeatedly asked them to sign an NDA and read our script. Why aren't they accepting our invitation? If they find even a page similar, we'll do whatever is required."

"The fact of the matter is, there are no similarities between our films, except the similar-sounding title. Maybe in their hearts, they know it too. Why is it that every time a film's promos start, we have such allegations popping up? Substantiate your charge, please. Or face the consequences," added the actor, who has been paired opposite Bipasha Basu in the romantic comedy.

Also featuring Omi Vaidya, Milind Soman and Dipannita Sharma, the movie will release Feb 24.

Julia Roberts, Baldwin to star in 'Normal Heart'

Los Angeles: Hollywood stars Julia Roberts and Alec Baldwin have been tapped to star in 'Normal Heart', an adaptation of the Tony-winning play of the same title.

Roberts and Baldwin will join Mark Rufallo, Matthew Bomer and Jim Parsons in the drama, which will be directed and produced by 'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy, about the fight against HIV/AIDS in New York's gay community, the Hollywood Reporter said.

Roberts is set to play Emma Brookner, a wheel-chair bound doctor who is concerned about the rise of HIV/AIDS in New York's gay community in the 1980s.

Baldwin, meanwhile, is set to tackle the part of a lawyer who has a hard time dealing with his sibling's sexual orientation.

In addition to Roberts and Baldwin, the forthcoming movie has also tapped 'White Collar' star Matthew Bomer and 'The Big Bang Theory' actor Jim Parsons.

Bomer will portray a gay fashion journalist Felix Turner, who is tragically infected by the deadly disease. As for Parson, he will play a a gay activist.

The lead role in the drama will be played by Ruffalo. Weeks is one of the first to raise awareness when what was then known as 'gay cancer' grew in the Big Apple. The character was made famous by Joe Mantello, who performed the play on Broadway last April 2011.

Abhay Deol happy to work with 'City of Joy' director

New Delhi: Abhay Deol, who is making his Hollywood debut in period drama 'Singularity' with Bipasha Basu, says it is a dream come true for him to team up with 'City Of Joy' director, Roland Joffe.

The 35-year-old said he wanted to work with the Oscar-nominated French helmer after watching his 'Mission' and did 'Singularity' for the 'experience'.

"I wanted to work with Roland since I saw 'Mission'. I was really happy when I got the offer and it was incredible shooting with them... It was an experience," Abhay told PTI.

Asked about the difference in the working style of Hollywood and Bollywood, Abhay said he was particularly impressed with how disciplined the international crew was.

"There is not much difference in shooting for a Bollywood and Hollywood film. It's the same but they (Hollywood) are more rigid and disciplined than over here. The attitude is laid back towards things here. Actors can come any time and leave any time here but Hollywood people are very particular about timings."

"When they came to India for shooting they found it a little chaotic but it worked at the end of the day," Abhay said.

The actor, who consciously stayed away from formula films to create a niche for himself with films like 'Dev D', 'Manorama Six Feet Under' and 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!', feels that he is at a point in his career where he can balance both.

Rahman defends 'Hosanna' against objection

Mumbai: A.R. Rahman is caught up in a controversy following objections from a Christian group over the use of the word 'Hosanna' in a song from 'Ekk Deewana Tha'. The Oscar-winning music composer says he didn't intend to hurt anyone's sentiments.

According to reports, Joseph Dias, general secretary of Mumbai-based Christian Secular Forum (CSF), has raised objections on the use of the word 'Hosanna' in the song, claiming that the word is a sacred term used in prayers by Christians and Jews.

But Rahman feels there's nothing wrong with its usage.

"As with any film project I work on, I had spent several months researching before composing and writing all the songs for 'Ekk Dewaana Tha' and had consulted friends who are Christian in particular about the use of the word 'Hosanna' in this song," Rahman said in a statement.

The Tamil version of 'Hosanna' had featured in 'Vinnaithandi Varuvaayaa', which released in 2010.

"The song was a sensation when it was released in the south. It went on to win all possible music awards and was well received by all communities! Therefore I am deeply concerned about the sentiments of all those who appear to be hurt by this song," he added.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar also finds nothing wrong with the song.

"When we write lyrics with great composers such as Rahman, who is one of the most respectable human beings I have had the pleasure of working with, the intention is never to insult any religion, why would we," Akhtar asked.

A spokesperson for Fox Star Studios says a written reply was sent to Dias Friday.

"Our organisation, our music partners Sony Music Entertainment, our producers and all of us are responsible organisations and our view is that more often than not creativity, freedom of speech and expression in art form are stifled by some people who have their own agendas. We have replied to Mr. Jospeh Dias today by letter," the spokesperson said.

The film, directed by Gautham Menon, will hit the screens Feb 17. It stars Pratiek and Amy Jackson.

Will 'Ring Ka King' popularise wrestling in India?

Pune: After international wrestling promotions like WWE and TNA, it's now time for India's very own 'Ring Ka King'! The new wrestling-based reality show is set to hit desi telly, and its goodwill ambassador, cricketer Harbhajan Singh, hopes the show will help in popularising the sport among the urban youth.

"I am very excited to be part of this show as it will promote a rather rural sport like wrestling in India. I won't be judging or participating in the show but I will be encouraging the wrestlers like the audience," said Singh.

"I was skeptical about playing cricket on a professional level but thanks to all the encouragement, I went ahead and made it possible. I wish the same happens to the Indian youth, who are planning to become professional wrestlers. This show is likely to bring up wrestling as a popular sport," he added.

The show, to be launched on Colors Jan 28, will see 30 international and Indian wrestlers fighting it out in the ring to become the 'king'.

The list of wrestlers includes names like Jeff Jarrett, Matt Morgan, Scott Stiner and Monster Abyss, as well as Indian wrestlers with international level training, like Jwala, Mahabali Veera, Romeo Rapta, Zoravar and Deadly Danda.

Wrestling has been more confined to the traditional 'akhaada' in the country, but that will not take a toll on the viewership of 'Ring Ka King', says Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors.
"Until a few years ago, Formula One was a lesser known sport in India but thanks to all the sponsorship it received, a lot of people took interest in it. We are hoping we will get the same response for wrestling too," Nayak told IANS.

They have big plans to market the show, for which the title sponsor is Tata Primus.

"We are planning to have a line-up of many more advertisers for the show and will promote it through billboards across 70 cities in the country. We hope this show will get a tremendous opening which will translate into good TRPs," said Nayak.

'Ring Ka King' will be spread over 13 weeks and will end just before the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches begin.

In the first four weeks of the show, viewers will see exciting matches that will crown a heavyweight champion and a tag team champion. During the subsequent weeks, the champions will have to save their title and fight against the other contenders, who will come their way and throw open challenges to claim their belt.

The show has been produced by Endemol, that has created shows like 'Indian Idol', 'Bigg Boss' and 'Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi'.

'Ring Ka King' is inspired by Total Nonstop Action (TNA), but Deepak Dhar, managing director, Endemol India, says they have Indianised it to cater to desi viewers.

"We have pushed the boundaries with this new style. For Indian television, we have not changed the format much but have built on the existing format. It will capture the interest of the Indian audience," said Dhar.

'Rockstar' leads nominations at the Apsara Awards

New Delhi: Ranbir Kapoor starrer 'Rockstar' is leading the nominations pack at the upcoming Chevrolet Apsara Awards 2012 with 14 nods. The Imtiaz Ali directed film is closely followed by Vidya Balan starrer 'The Dirty Picture' and Zoya Akhtar's 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'.

Movies that are in the running for the best film category are Rajkumar Gupta's 'No One Killed Jessica', Imtiaz Ali's 'Rockstar', Rohit Shetty's 'Singham', Milan Luthria's 'The Dirty Picture' and Zoya Akhtar's 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'.

Priyanka Chopra (7 Khoon Maaf), Katrina Kaif (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), Rani Mukerji (No One Killed Jessica), Mahie Gill (Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster), Kangna Ranaut (Tanu Weds Manu), Vidya Balan (The Dirty Picture) are competing for best actress in a leading role.

Nominated for best actor in a leading role are Salman Khan (Bodyguard), Shah Rukh Khan (Don 2), Emraan Hashmi (Murder 2), Ranbir Kapoor (Rockstar), Ajay Devgn (Singham). Shreya Ghoshal has bagged two nominations for 'Teri Meri'.

(Bodyguard) and Saibo (Shor in the City) while Sunidhi Chauhan has been nominated for her foot tapping hits Te Amo (Dum Maaro Dum) and Aa Zara (Murder 2) for best singer female.

In the best singer male category Mohit Chauhan is leading with his two tracks --Saada Haq and Naadaan Parindey (Rockstar), Akon for Chammak Challo (Ra. One), Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for Teri Meri (Bodyguard) and Mohammed Irfaan for Phir Mohabbat (Murder 2).

Actors nominated in the supporting role category are Rana Daggubati, 'Dum Maaro Dum', Randeep Hooda 'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster', Gulshan Deviah 'Shaitan', Naseeruddin Shah for 'The Dirty Picture', Emraan Hashmi 'The Dirty Picture' and Farhan Akhtar for 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'.

Fashion of 1970s is back - Amitabh Bachchan

New Delhi: At 69, megastar Amitabh Bachchan makes quite a style icon with his designer jackets, suits, sherwanis, kurtas and sometimes, also his casual look! But he senses that the fashion world of 1970s is making a big comeback nowadays.

"They say fashion repeats itself after some years, so if you have saved some of the clothes of the 1970s, it is very likely that in a couple of years, spending for new latest designs would not be necessary," Amitabh posted on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.

A style icon of his times, the tall and handsome actor, who used to wear bell bottoms, says he let go of some of his belongings of the era, sometime back.

"I threw away an entire bunch of my old sunglasses and the kids could have killed me for it! They are all back in fashion again," he added.

One with a liking for sunglasses and spectacles, Big B says he misses the shades he wore in the 1978 movie 'Don'.

"I met some friends of this generation at a social evening and they asked me where I had got those tinted glares I wore in 'Don'. I told them they were my personal. They yippied and yupped about it, until I told them I had thrown them away," wrote the actor, who still has a penchant for eyewear.

German orchestra to perform on Rahman's tunes

Mumbai: Over a 100 orchestra musicians performed live on AR Rahman's composition here Thursday as part of 'Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities'.

The concert to be held Friday is titled The Classic Incantations, where a well known German film orchestra Babelsberg will perform with Rahman on his film score.

As the orchestra doled out a two-and-a-half minute piece on Latika's Theme from 'Slumdog Millionaire' that won Rahman two Academy Awards, the audience was held spellbound with the lilting tones from various instruments played live.

The Babelsberg orchestra will tour four other cities in India after the concert tour premiers in Mumbai Friday.

The tour coincides with the celebration of the centenary year of Studio Babelsberg, a film studio located in Germany, After the concert's premier in Mumbai Friday, it will then travel to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore, creating a new high point for music lovers across the nation.

Also inducted in the concert tour were about 30 former and current students of the K. M. Music Conservatory (KMMC), Chennai. KMMC was started in 2008 by Rahman with an aim to provide advanced training in Music. The students will with the orchestra alongside Rahman, who will also perform in the concerts.

"It feels surreal now to see this actually happening. We have been planning for this event since last three years and I am glad it is finally happening," said Rahman after the preview.

"I am glad about two major things. One being the right interpretation of music by the Babelsberg and the second is the integration of the students' choir from KMMC. I am thrilled to see them sing with the orchestra," Rahman said.

He thanked the German orchestra and the initiative for the opportunity.

As many as 16 pieces from various movies whose music has been composed by Rahman will be played at the concert Friday including 'Mangal Pandey', 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Lagaan', 'Bombay' and 'Meenakshi'.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Review - 'Underworld 4 - Awakening 3D' lacks coherence

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, India Eisley

Directors: Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein

Sometimes you just feel good that the film is in 3 D, because its absence could have made the situation worse. 'Underworld 4: Awakening' takes six more months to start after the third franchise's time period.

Selene (Kate Beckinsale) sets herself free from the cryogenic suspension entrapment after 12 years. In the new scenario, the local government and the public come to know about the existence of Vampires as well as Lycans. Selene escapes the prison and finds another absconding prisoner Eve (India Eisley), a hybrid, on her way to connect the clues. Now she has to start a crusade against the humankind that wants to eradicate the two immortal species.

'Underworld' is one of those series which couldn't boast of a substantial storyline. The story can be explained in just one line. See mindless action in 3 D. The new edition demonstrates the value that bigger studios give to the audience's intellect.

One can argue about the flaws of the story but then it will be difficult for the challenger because how can you question any film which has just action.

Kate Beckinssle is the new wonder woman. She thinks about her hybrid lover even while dodging the bullets. Start counting the number of people rather living beings and you will learn the counting till thousand at least. Killing, killing, and more killing. Spare me.

Miserable script allows the directors Mans Marlind, Bjorn Stein to go on a hunting spree. They have come up with the finest possible three 3 D effects. Perhaps the technicians have shown more aesthetical sense than them. Excellent CGI gives the otherwise pathetic story a new aspect. Close up shots are extensively used to showcase the ruthlessness of Selene.

The nonsense has taken a new height with 'Underworld 4' as the film basically feeds on the misery of audiences. Some may find the return of Kate Beckinsale as a treat to watch but trust me it would not have made any difference even if Milla Jovovich or for that matter Sandra Bullock would have been the heroine. All they need to manage is to stand with two feet distance between legs and a little hunch. And they require doing one more thing, look menacing. By the way the ticket collector looked more menacing as he is the one who has to bear this torture for more than one show.

The 90 minute celebration of violence is also about finding the hybrid daughter of Selene and Michael and a pharmaceutical company that wants to create ultra powerful Lycans. It took me a little while to figure this out.

No explanation given, the only image which remains in our head is of Kate Beckinsale, other characters are forgettable. The other good thing about the film is its length.

Make up your mind and snooze but then you can't do that also due to the super loud background score. There is a sequence where Selene enters into a prohibited zone in absolute silence, that's your only chance. You know for what.

Too much focus on shock element makes the spectator absolutely shock proof towards the end.

'Underworld 4: Awakening' is a great test of patience. Go with an iPod if you are a big Kate Beckinsale fan.

Bengali Review - 'Aparajita Tumi' is all too familiar

New Delhi: Bengali cinema has come of age but a few more steps towards something new would not hurt. While on one hand they regularly dish out the commercial fare, they also pull out an occasional gem from the everyday and the common place. However, when it comes to relationships – as experimental and bold Bengali movies have tried to be – they are still a tad bit stereotypical and predictable.

‘Aparajita Tumi’ is no different. The basic premise of the movie rests on these multifarious relationships mostly involving love, a dying love story, a love story that is long over and then some lust. Based on Sunil Gangopadhyay’s novel - 'Dui Nari Hate Tarabari' – ‘Aparajita Tumi’ literally translated to ‘The unvanquished’ is about situations all too familiar to make the movie a masterpiece.

The story works it self around Pradeep (Prosenjit), Kuhu (Padmapriya Janakiraman) and Ushashi (Kamalinee Mukherjee). Pradeep and Kuhu are married and have two kids. Ushashi is married to Ronojoy. The couples live their ‘perfect’ lives in San Jose. And as most stories go – perfection is only surface glitz.

As Pradeep keeps playing notes to a tune he can’t get right and steals glances at other women – Kuhu cannot understand his ‘juvenile’ oddities. In-your-face Kuhu is too busy running after her kids to make time for such banalities. Ushashi on the other hand nurses serious complexities – she is beautiful but she is under-confident. Her need for approval clashes with Kuhu’s no-nonsense comments. Pradeep tries damage control – but for a woman who has left behind her chances of becoming an actress and is now stuck in the US with a disinterested husband and no kids – solace is a hard bargain.

Hurt after one of Kuhu’s stray unguarded comments made one evening in their house as they host Soumitra Chatterjee, Ushashi and Ronojoy shift to Claremont.

Pradeep gets invited to their new house on one of his business trips to San Francisco.

Ushashi seduces him in a span of a dinner and in a few days time Pradeep returns to respond to her advances – their affair starts. Whether she seduces him to get even with Kuhu or it is simply to fill the void in her life - it never becomes too clear.

When Pradeep confesses to Kuhu, she packs her bags and the kids and goes to her mother (Tanushree Shankar). She doesn’t know who the other woman is – and she says that knowing her identity would not change the damage caused. Kuhu leaves her kids with her mother and goes to New York to get some ground on her life. Back to her college days, Kuhu bumps in to her ex-boyfriend Yusuf.

Yusuf follows her relentlessly, admitting that he still loves her and perhaps that is why his marriage failed. Torn between her own dilemmas and love and attention she has missed – Kuhu succumbs to one night with Yusuf. But when morning comes Yusuf leaves her with a poetry book and a note – she had made it very clear that their chapter is over.

As Kuhu tries dealing with the changes she receives the news that Pradeep has a malignant brain tumour.

As Kuhu returns to take care of Pradeep, Ushashi comes to confess. Kuhu’s gracious acceptance makes Ushashi feel no better for Pradeep has already said his goodbyes.

The movie has strains of ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ but thank God for small mercies – the great couple exchange does not happen. Ushashi does not try to make her way back in to Pradeep’s life or make her amends with Ronojoy nor does Kuhu give up on her place next to the suffering Pradeep.

Predictability and familiarity aside – the movie is beautifully shot. It has the cosy feel of a matured Hollywood love story. And both the actresses – Kamalinee and Padmapriya look stunning in the shots. Padmapriya as Kuhu has the face of the poetic romances – in scenes she looks strikingly like Mahi Gill – but a prettier and a softer version. Confident and intelligent in her role as Kuhu, one expected a little more resistance on her end when she effortlessly becomes the caring wife.

Perhaps relationships are like that – faced with the direst of resistances – personal ego and anger falls away as easily as they find ground as moments of unhappiness.

Prosenjit aces his role as Pradeep. The stolen glances at other women in restaurants, him succumbing to the seduction of the other woman, the aching nostalgia for a tea stall left behind in Beltala and the piano tune he struggles to complete – is all Prosenjit and perhaps originally so. He makes it look all so effortless.

The movie is a slice of life out of the NRI pages – the American accents against the flawless Bengali, the occasional East Bengal strain in the words – all are very real.

This is one more of those Bengali films that can boast of exquisite songs. Music director Shantanu Moitra leaves no room for complaints.

The movie flows like poetry – but well in to the movie – one realizes that we have heard the rhythms before, the rhyme is familiar as is the lilting feel of the words.

But none the less, as comfortable familiarity goes – one will listen till the end.

Starring Prosenjit Chatterjee, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Indraneil Sengupta, Tanusree Shankar and Kalyan Ray, it is directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

Kodak bankruptcy dims once bright Hollywood star

Los Angeles: Kodak's star may never shine again in Hollywood.

The bankruptcy of the American icon that invented the handheld camera is reverberating beyond Wall Street and around the world's entertainment capital. Insiders say Hollywood may be on the verge of scaling back a decades-old symbiotic relationship, and seeking business alternatives.

Kodak's star began to fade in the late 1990s as digital technology began chipping away at its century-long stronghold on film distribution. But the company still provides a significant amount of film to Hollywood and it remains a presence in the land of make-believe, where the Kodak Theater is home to the Oscars.

Sources say major studios - listed among Kodak's top unsecured creditors because they are owed millions of dollars in film rebates - fear they will not get repaid and have started to look elsewhere to buy film.

Major entertainment companies listed among Kodak's top 50 unsecured creditors include Sony (6758.T), owed $16.7 million; Time Warner's (TWX.N) Warner Brothers, due $14.2 million; Comcast (CMCSA.O) NBC Universal, short $9.3 million; Viacom's (VIAB.O) Paramount Studios, owed $6.8 million; and Walt Disney (DIS.N) Studios, $4.2 million.

Bankruptcy experts say Kodak's creditor arrangements are up for scrutiny. Two sources with knowledge of the contracts say most of these debts are related to film rebates owed to the studios who buy film from Kodak on a picture-by-picture basis. The price of film varies and often drops as a studio uses more, which is why they are often owed rebates.

"In bankruptcy, Kodak will have the option to continue with these arrangements," said Edward Neiger of Neiger LLP, a New York based bankruptcy law firm.

But he noted that if Kodak decides to continue with any contracts, it must demonstrate it can still make its payments under the contracts as they come due.

If it decides to reject contracts, "they will only have to pay what is owed in bankruptcy dollars," which is discounted from the original amount, and then the counterpart would be free to find other partners.

All the studios were either unavailable for comment, declined comment or had no immediate comment.

HEDGING BETS

One of the two sources, who works for a company that buys film from Kodak and spoke on condition of anonymity, said studios have been stockpiling Kodak film in anticipation of a bankruptcy filing. Now, they are also talking with other film suppliers, like Fuji (4901.T).

That executive said he received a letter from Kodak on Thursday stating it would continue to supply film but not addressing the matter of its debts - a potential sticking point in future relationships.

At its peak, Kodak probably generated about $500 million from film distribution for motion pictures annually, experts estimate.

In addition to setting the standard for 35mm film, Kodak also won numerous Oscars for technical achievement. Its founder, George Eastman, was named an honorary member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Chris McGurk, CEO of Cinedigm (CIDM.O) and former COO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, said that in the late 1990s, studios, filmmakers and theater chains stepped up efforts to digitize movies, eventually rendering Kodak's staple 35 millimeter film a relic of the past.

"Kodak failed to recognize the game-changing impact the digital technology would have on the film-making business. Those who didn't see it have fallen by the wayside," McGurk said.

"It's easy to see how that could happen. Industry has been resistant to change and projection film on 35 mm had been happening for 75 years but the fact is that the world has changed and digital takes enormous costs out of the distribution system."

WIDENING RIPPLES

Beyond mere film supply, speculation persists that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, may exercise an option in its contract that allows it to find a new home for Hollywood's glitziest awards show.

The Academy said in a statement it has not begun venue negotiations for the Oscar telecast beyond 2013.

But many industry watchers feel the Oscars may want to disassociate itself from Kodak - or prepare for the company to become a punchline at the upcoming Academy Awards.

"I don't think it's good branding at all for the Oscars to be associated with a bankrupt company," branding expert Adam Hanft, CEO of Hanft Projects, said.

About 10 years ago, Kodak agreed to pay $75 million to Hollywood developer CIM Group LP, which owns the building, over some 20 years to see its name on the 3,400-plus-seat theater.

The film academy has a 20-year deal with CIM to host the Oscars there, with an option in the 10th year to explore other venues or renegotiate the rest of the lease term.

A third source who was familiar with the situation said the film academy is currently at the 10-year point of its lease, stoking speculation the Academy would at the very least use Kodak's precarious financial situation as leverage to negotiate a better deal.

"The fact that Kodak committed that much money to a deal, when they were desperate for cash and funds for R&D, shows how short-sighted they were," Hanft said.

The ripples of the bankruptcy extend even to the Magic Kingdom. In 2002, Kodak and Disney announced they had renewed a multiyear promotion accord first set in 1989, which marketing experts said could be valued at tens of millions of dollars.

Under the original deal, Kodak paid Disney for the rights to use Disney characters in promotions and advertisements worldwide, and to advertise its products on Disney's cable television channel and in Disney publications.

In 2002, the companies renewed their alliance and provided for sales and promotion at Disney properties of traditional film and one-time use cameras; on-site photo processing and services; provision of imaging kiosks; and other services.

Neiger said this deal could be revisited as well.

"One of the biggest assets that Kodak has going for it is its brand-name recognition and its goodwill. Very few companies have the name recognition that Kodak has. It's up there with Xerox and General Motors," he said.

"Some of this goodwill can be attributed to Kodak's high-profile placements, such as its sponsorship of Disney and the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held."

"In its bankruptcy, Kodak will analyze whether they're getting the right bang for their buck with these arrangements, or whether the money could be better spent elsewhere, for example, on R&D."

Sundance opens with eye on broken American dreams

Park City, Utah: The Sundance Film Festival opened on Thursday night with four features, including a documentary highlighting America's housing crisis, the fractured American dream and values humbled by today's lackluster economy.

The documentary, 'The Queen of Versailles', follows self-made former billionaire and timeshare mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie, who at first glance may not seem in touch with many Americans who have struggled in the current, downbeat economy.

The film, which debuted Thursday night to a packed house and solid applause, opens with the couple constructing their dream house: A sprawling 90,000 square foot mansion named 'Versailles' inspired by the French palace.

But the story eventually comes to resemble many of the lessons learned by those who have lost their homes, jobs and experienced the effects of the economic crisis.

"The American dream has always been this idea of home ownership," director Laura Greenfield told Reuters, but the film shows the Siegels dealing with the slumping economy, like many in the United States, and "how they downsize and cope with the situation," eventually rediscovering what is important to them.

"They do take on this everyman quality that ends up putting them nearer to us in terms of the overreaching of America and downsizing and getting back to core values," said Greenfield.

'Versailles' is one of several high-profile films here that show Americans tackling problems associated with the weak economy, greed and dreams reevaluated.

"It's no secret that times are dark and grim," Robert Redford, whose Sundance Institute for independent filmmaking backs the festival, the largest gathering for U.S. independent filmmakers, told reporters on Thursday.

Even though Americans were experiencing some hopelessness, including a Washington in "paralysis," Redford said Sundance audiences could be upbeat because while some films "might be reflective of these hard times...there is not paralysis here."

10 DAYS; 100+ FILMS

Overall, there are more than 100 fiction and documentary films showing at the festival that runs for the 10 days in the ski resort town of Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City.

Other opening night screenings include two fictional tales, 'Hello I Must Be Going' starring Melanie Lynskey as a demoralized, divorced 35-year-old who moves back in with her parents and "Wish You Were Here," an Australian film starring Joel Edgerton as a man clinging to a shattered family.

'Searching For Sugar Man', competing in the world documentary section, completes the opening night lineup. It is one of many films here centered on musicians and shows two fans looking into the mystery of how a would-be 1970s rock icon declined into obscurity.

Festival director John Cooper said the opening night films reflect the choice of more experienced storytelling at a festival that prides itself on being a launch pad for careers and for premiering low-budget hits like 'Little Miss Sunshine' and documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

"We like a filmmaker who knows the ropes -- something that will play well," he said.
Of all the opening films, Greenfield's 'Versailles' was the most hyped. Adding to the buzz, David Siegel sued the filmmakers and Sundance for defamation over promotional materials for the film, but Greenfield said she could not comment on the lawsuit.

Coming into the festival, other films on which audiences and buyers are focused include Spike Lee's 'Red Hook Summer', 'Red Lights' with Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro and Stephen Frears' 'Lay The Favorite' starring Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
'Bachelorette', with Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher tells of a group of young, single women casting aside bitterness at a hedonistic bachelorette party. Numerous other stars are expected to appear including Kate Bosworth, Chris Rock, Julie Delpy and Paul Simon as the tiny, snowy town transforms into promotional suites and film parties.

Redford talked of the "two sides" of Sundance with marketers having descended upon its success years ago and at times misplaced hype, but said it was still a place for indie filmmakers to find their feet.

Sundance is offering filmmakers a new service this year advising on the latest methods of Internet distribution and Redford heralded more freedom and control for filmmakers by releasing films and reaching audiences via the Web.

"It's pretty obvious we are in a period of tremendous change," he told the opening film audience. "We embrace it."

'Adaminte Makan Abu' director happy despite Oscar loss

Mumbai: His Malayalam film 'Adaminte Makan Abu' may have lost the race for the Oscars but debutant director Salim Ahmed is happy that the story of a poor perfume seller went so far despite his limited means.

"I am happy. When I made the film I never thought that it would win so many National Awards and will even go to the Oscar jury members," he told PTI from Thiruvananthapuram. Blaming it on the tough competition in the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards, he said he tried his best to promote the film within his limited resources.

"I didn't have a big marketing budget needed to promote the film for the Oscars. But whatever was possible for me to do, I did. I gave my best," he said.

The film, a heartwarming story of a poor perfume seller's struggle to go to Haj, had won four National Awards, including the best film, last year.

But it failed to make it to the top nine shortlists for the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars yesterday. The 39-year-old lamented that besides his close friends nobody came forward to fund the high promotion cost needed to impress upon the Oscar jury. He had written letters to the state government as well as the central government seeking financial assistance. But nothing materialised.

"I managed to gather Rs 50 lakh from various sources, including my personal savings, and had five private screenings for the jury in Los Angeles," said Ahmed, who was inspired to make the film on the problems faced by Haj pilgrims while working as a travel agent.

He said that the feedback from critics and jury members was very encouraging. Besides getting tips from Aamir Khan on how to sell his film in the foreign market, he had roped in Oscar-winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty for re-designing the film's sound and re-mixing it.

Ahmed is now working on two scripts one is a historical film while the other is a simple human interest story.

Ranveer Singh to act in the Hindi remake of 'Magadheera'

Mumbai, Jan 20 (PTI) Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh will play the lead in the Hindi remake of 2009 Telugu blockbuster 'Magadheera'. 'Magadheera', a historical-drama-love story, will be remade in Hindi by Anurag Kashyap and Vikas Bahl's production company Phantom.

The film was dubbed and released in Malayalam as 'Dheera-The Warrior' and in Tamil as 'Maveeran'. For the Hindi version, rumour mills were abuzz that Ranbir Kapoor would do the film. However, Ranveer, who was last seen in Adtiya Chopra's 'Ladies vs Ricky Bahl' has been roped in to play the central character.

"'Magadheera' is a passion project for us at Phantom and we are so excited to have the rights to recreate this magical piece of work. Ranveer is the best thing that could have happened to it. He has all the ingredients to be a passionate lover, a warrior and an entertainer all at the same time," Bahl said.

The lead actress and the director to helm the project are yet to be finalised. The Hindi version, is reportedly being made with a budget of Rs 50 crore and the film will go on floors later this year.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

'Dhobi Ghat' out of BAFTA race

New Delhi: Kiran Rao's directorial debut 'Dhobi Ghat' featured in the BAFTA Longlist in Film Not in the English Language category, but it has failed to make it to the top five list for the prestigious international award.

Set in Mumbai during the monsoon season, the movie revolves around intertwined lives of Aamir Khan (Arun in the lead role), Monica Dogra (NRI girl Shai) and Prateik (washerboy Munna).

The longlist is the result of round one of voting by members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts members. It lists 15 contenders in each category, which are reduced to five for the final nominations.

The five films which will vie for the best foreign language film include 'Incendies' (Canada), 'Pina' (Germany), 'Potiche' (France), 'A Separation' (Iran) and 'The Skin I Live In (Spain)'.

'Dhobi Ghat' was produced by Aamir, who is known for keeping away from Indian award functions. But his films have been nominated for various international honours.

His debut production 'Lagaan' was among the best foreign film Oscar nominations in 2002, but it failed to win the golden statuette. His acting project 'Rang De Basanti', directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, was in top five nominations for best foreign language film category at BAFTA in 2007, but it lost the title to to Mexican film 'Pan's Labyrinth'.

The nominations for the BAFTA awards were announced in London early Tuesday morning. The presentation ceremony is to be held Feb 24.

Not remaking 'Appadi Podu' song - Sonu Sood

New Delhi: Actor Sonu Sood has denied reports that he is doing the Hindi remake of Tamil chartbuster 'Appadi Podu', saying the rights are with Bollywood star Akshay Kumar.

"Hi, all the stories of me doing the 'Appadi Podu' song for 'Lucky Unlucky' are not true. The rights are with Akshay Kumar for his home production," the 38-year-old posted on Twitter.

"Will really look forward to it, I am sure he will rock," he added.

According to reports, Sonu had bought rights of the song for his home production 'Lucky Unlucky' and that will dance on the song with Mallika Sherawat, his leading lady in the film.

It is now said that Akshay will use the song for his upcoming film 'Naam Hai Boss'.

I want to work with Shah Rukh, Hrithik - Anurag Kashyap

Mumbai: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is known for making small-budget films with newcomers or not-so-big names. Now the writer-director wants to work with stars, but he hasn't finalised anything yet.

"I know Shah Rukh for a very long time. Longer than anyone. Firstly, we are from the same college and we also played for the same hockey team, but we have never worked together. I want to work with him. I want to work with Ranbir Kapoor, I want to work with Hrithik Roshan," the 39-year-old filmmaker said at a Jameson Empire awards press conference.

He has so far made films like 'Black Friday', 'Dev D', 'Gulaal' and 'Udaan'.

Now Kashyap is looking for exciting ideas before approaching big names in filmdom.
"I really wanted to work with Amitabh Bachchan, but it has to be one thing he is excited by. If I meet him, it does not mean that I am doing a film with him. I am trying to figure out what can I pitch to anyone so that they get excited and make a film," he said.

"I really want to make a big film but the other party should also be excited. So, let me first propose an idea," added the filmmaker whose production venture "Shaitan" was appreciated by the audience this year.

Meanwhile, Kashyap is busy filming thriller, 'Ugly', which has Rahul Bhatt, Ronit Roy and Tejaswini Kolhapuri. He is also working on 'Gangs of Wasseypur' and is co-producing Rani Mukerji starrer 'Aiyaa'.

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