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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | JULY 2012

ROHIT SHETTY: Blasts Detractors
NEHA SHARMA: Newbie Embarrassed
SANJAY GUPTA: Director Reveals All
SALMAN KHAN: Continues Kicking

Rohit Blasts Detractors

(Above): Rohit Shetty

(Above): Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan in "Bol Bachchan."

He is a director with the maximum number of hits to his credit on this side of the millennium. He is also the one to have the biggest Bollywood franchise (Golmaal) to his name. To top it all, he is someone who could well have chosen to hog the limelight but has instead taken a conscious call to stay away from it. Still, Rohit Shetty, whose films have collectively accumulated around Rs. 500 crores in the decade gone by, gets hit upon by detractors who choose to ignore his massive success rate and instead accuse of him making films that are ‘safe’ and ‘way too commercial.’ Obviously, he is in a mood to react, now that Bol Bachchan is up for release.

“Just because technology has become handy and everyone has become a critic on social networking and micro-blogging sites, some people think that they can write about anything and anyone at any given point in time and go scot-free. But really, who cares? Who are these people who are talking? Do they know anything about cinema? Do they have any idea about technique before commenting on a director,” Rohit says in a soft, yet overtly stern tone.

He has valid reasons to dismiss those who seem to be quite high on world cinema and believe that films like Singham and Golmaal 3 are resulting in Bollywood getting regressive. This, when both films have crossed Rs. 100 crores each at the box office inside twelve months flat.

“Are these the only people who have been exposed to world cinema? Do they think those who are making successful masala films haven't seen such films? Really, since you have asked, I am talking about it. Otherwise such talks don't really make a difference to me. If I start bothering about such talks, it would unnecessarily put pressure on the back of my mind. I don't want any of that. I would rather make a film and deliver.”

So would Bol Bachchan turn out to be yet another instance when he would manage to prove the point that it is masala which rules the strongest?

Smiles Rohit after calming down, “You try to prove a point to people whom you look up to and take seriously. I take my audience seriously and am making films for them. As for the others who are repeatedly just making noise, I have no intentions of proving any point.”


Newbie Neha Embarrassed

(Above): Neha Sharma

Newbie Neha Sharma is entirely convinced about Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum after shooting for it. However the pretty girl admits that she had a few reservations before signing on the dotted line. When the makers told her about its risqué content, she was in two minds. Not to mention the reservations she had about her parents' reactions on seeing their daughter in a naughty, adult comedy.

“You have to see the film to believe it,” says Neha in an animated tone, “The writer-director Sachin Yardi has really pushed the envelope with the humor. In fact us actors sometimes didn't get the jokes despite the fact that they were hardly subtle. Like for example the scene where I say “mujhe bade achche lagte hain.” I got it after a while but this elderly lady to whom I mouth the line didn't get it long after the scene was shot. Or this age-old joke about “Rosemary Lelo,” which I wasn’t aware of. So many of us turned red when we were explained what these meant. I wonder how my mom will react.”

“Now that I have done it I am really happy. It's a full-on commercial entertainer that the audience is going to enjoy to bits. I just hope that my parents are ‘cool’ with the fun and humor,” laughs Neha who has also done a small lesbian angle with Sarah-Jane Dias in the film.

Though Neha had convinced herself that the film's genre required naughty jokes and ‘in-your-face’ one-liners, unlike other actors, she made sure she didn't check the monitor after she had given the shot.

“Arrey, it's very embarrassing to be seeing my own dialogs on screen,” laughs Neha, “After canning a shot when everyone from Riteish to Tusshar rushed around the monitor to check how they had done, I stayed away from it. Even when someone called me to say that it was a job done well, I shut my eyes. Guess I won't be able to avoid that while dubbing.”

She understands though that being in the show business comes with its own challenges and after being just two films old in the industry, she is coping with its ways and requirements.

“Still, there are boundaries set,” says Neha, “See, Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum is a sex comedy so there are bound to be naughty jokes. I had my inhibitions initially but I recognize that it's going to be an out-and-out commercial entertainer so fingers crossed. The reaction to the promos have been outstanding!”


More Trouble for Trio

(Above): Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi and Arshad Warsi.

Just days back it was reported that mismanagement of Sanjay Dutt's days had resulted in his Zila Ghaziabad getting indefinitely postponed. While the film's producer Vinod Bachchan had maintained silence over the issue, we have an inside dope on the current situation. As per our well placed source, the film's shooting won't resume before September now, which means that for all practical purposes, the multistarrer would see the light of the day only in 2013.

“Sanju baba has now given his dates for September,” confirms the source, “Earlier the plans were to wrap up the film this summer but since his role has been increased, there are fifteen days required at stretch. He has these dates available in September and the makers have been informed about it. Combination dates are being worked out with other actors now but that should not be an issue. Sanju's dates are on priority.”

It is expected that other actors like Arshad Warsi and Vivek Oberoi would comply as well and reschedule their other commitments since Zila Ghaizabad is a big project for them. However, despite the film's shooting expected to complete in September, the release would have to wait.

“Sanju is expected to give his first priority to Son of Sardar where he has a pivotal role,” the source adds, “Since the film has his thick buddy Ajay Devgn in the lead, he won't want to bring one of his own films around the same time. Also, he wants to compensate him for the Rascals debacle. Since Son of Sardar has a Diwali deadline, Zila Ghaizabad gets pushed further. Later in the year there are biggies like Talaash, Khiladi 786 and Dabangg 2 lined up. Why would baba want to invade their space.”

This further translates into the fact that not just does Zila Ghaziabad move to 2013, there are further costs added to the project as well. Guess we haven't heard the last of real time woes for this 'realistic' film!


Director Reveals All

 Anil Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and John Abraham

Sanjay Gupta's Shootout at Wadala is one film that has forever stayed in the news, most recently though for all the casting hassles it had to go through. There were quite a few names considered with a game of musical chairs being played. Now as the film approaches its 50% completion mark and every cast member has practically shot for at least a scene apiece, Sanjay is in a tell-tale mood.

“Such things were troubling the film from the very beginning. But then we too had this attitude from day one that boss picture toh hum bana hai rahe, chahe kuch bhi ho,” says Sanjay with a wry smile, “I was so much sure about the story I wanted to tell that even if I would have lost Anil Kapoor and John Abraham, two actors who were on board from day one, the film would still have been made.”

However in the process he didn't quite earn a friend in Asin. Reportedly the actress was livid when the to-and-fro happened around her so-called inclusion in the film while stories about her backing out and then subsequently getting replaced by Kangana Ranaut made headlines as well.

“Okay, so let me bring things on record all over again and in the right perspective. To begin with, my first choice for the film was always Vidya Balan and then the next was going to be Kangana Ranaut. See, Vidya is a powerhouse performance and the next person to go to when hunting for someone in that category is Kangana. She has been bold with her choice of roles and characters and I knew I could count on her if things didn't work out with Vidya,” says Sanjay.

“As a matter of fact even I don't know how Asin or any other name started floating around. No one else was ever considered other than Vidya and Kangana; now that's the fact and nothing else,” he adds.

Things turned murkier though when he lost Vivek Oberoi. After all, the Company actor was all but signed for the part of Dawood Ibrahim. As per the actor, he refused the film since his part was not being meaty enough.

“Now this is what really pissed me off. Taste of the pudding would be once the film comes out; then everyone will see how fantastically it has been written. Frankly, beyond that he is not really worth my time so I don't want to say much,” says Sanjay in an irritated tone before signing off.


Salman: Continues Kicking

(Above): Salman Khan

Even though rumors have been floating around Salman Khan's neurological issues preventing him from indulging into any more on-screen action, those attached to his film insist that there are no change in plans for what would ultimately unfold on screen. Moreover, there is no delay in the kickstart of his films either, case in point being Kick where, unlike what the title suggests, he won't be required to get into the dhishoom-dhishoom act but instead indulge in some cool road action sequences.

“Of course everyone is well aware of the fact that Salman needs to take precautions against getting even the slightest of blows. However Kick is a different kind of a film altogether,” says a source attached to the film, “Yes, it is going to be very high on action but then it has a background similar to that of Dhoom series which means there would be enhanced adrenalin pumping sequences instead of any blows or kicks. There would be numerous bike and car chases due to which pressure would be much lesser on Salman.”

In fact director Shirish Kunder and producer Sajid Nadiadwala had promised at the very onset that the film would be the coolest ever for Salman. They wouldn't have known though that the word ‘cool’ would one day take a literal meaning since they can't expect much heat on the sets or on location now. Meanwhile the action director associated with films like Transporter and Bad Boys is already on the job and has presented the entire design and execution plan for all the action which is expected to unfold in as many as five top international cities across Asia, Europe as well as Americas.

“Bhai is very excited about Kick and is waiting to kickstart, pun intended,” the source adds, “In fact his pre-condition to thick buddy Sajid was that he would be willing to come on board only if the film could make people forget his earlier efforts.”

Meanwhile, since he has already done his bit of raw action in films like Bodyguard and Dabangg, the message was to now compete with the likes of top competitors like Shahrukh Khan [Don 2] and Aamir Khan [Dhoom 3] when it comes to some cool action. However, Salman fans won't feel alienated since masala elements won't be done away with.

Adds our source, “Shirish would be maintaining a balancing act between Salman's current image and add on a macho element to it via action sequences in Kick. One can't think of taking away an intrinsic charm of Salman which means he would continue to play to the gallery, sing songs, dance with his leading lady, indulge in comedy and also mouth those seeti-maar dialogs. Yes, there would be precautions taken as far as action is concerned but the shoot is definitely not getting delayed. His dates are booked from November onwards and that is when we go on floors.”


Joginder Tuteja is a Bollywood writer based in Mumbai, India.


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