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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | MAY 2012

Salman Khan: Big Strike with Ek Tha Tiger
Madhuri Dixit: 'Heroic' Comeback
Bhansali Loves Farah
Successful, Jackie Flying High
Karisma, Priyanka, Kangana, Kajal: Turning Vintage

Salman Khan: Big Strike with Ek Tha Tiger

Salman Khan in “Ek Tha Tiger.”

It's that time of the year when big announcements are set to be made. Salman Khan, who was in hibernation for the last few months, has not just resumed interaction on social networking but is also getting set to begin promotion of his much awaited film Ek Tha Tiger. While the promos of this Yash Raj film are all set to be unveiled along with their Ishaqzaade, here is the latest development. The film is set to release on Aug. 15, hence enjoying an extended nine-day long weekend.

"Ek Tha Tiger was always supposed to release around Eid and 15th. August is just the apt date,” informs our source, “Eid falls on Monday, 20th August and this would give Ek Tha Tiger a huge six-day long weekend, which is going to be a first for any Bollywood film. Expect massive box office records to be created for the film here.”

Last year even Bodyguard had released in the middle of the week just before Eid. However that was a five-day long weekend. This time Ek Tha Tiger is all set to go one up by adding Monday to it's kitty as well.

“Expect tremendous outcome for the film since the challenge of a dreaded Monday has now been taken care of as well,” says a trade expert, “Normally the biggest of the films suffer some form of drop in collections on Mondays. However with Eid falling on Monday, it is going to be an added bonus for Ek Tha Tiger. Now it would be enjoying four holidays between Wednesday and Monday, something that is unprecedented.”

Holiday season always works for big films and this was the case with Bodyguard last year as well. After a record breaking 21 crores first day, the film held on amazingly well to accumulate over 85 crores in its first five days. Later, it enjoyed 110 crores in it’s extended week and then topped the 140 crore mark in it’s final run, hence turning out to be Salman’s biggest ever grosser.

“Now expect added moolah to come in for Bodyguard,” the expert continues, "Ek Tha Tiger would easily be the biggest money-spinner ever for Salman. Don't be surprised if the film manages entire collections of Bodyguard in its first week itself. After all, his loyal audience is expected to rush into theaters after Eid which means even the weekdays would be strong. To release the film on 15th. August will most definitely turn out to be a master stroke for Yash Raj Films.”

Though Yash Raj Films are still guarded about making a formal announcement, our sources vouch for the fact that it is going to be Aug. 15 indeed for Ek Tha Tiger.


Madhuri Dixit: 'Heroic' Comeback

Madhuri Dixit

It's confirmed. There would be none other than Madhuri Dixit who would be leading the show for Gulab Gang. Just like Vidya Balan who surrived to tell her kahaani without any support from a leading man, Madhuri won't have anyone invade her territory with this gangster film.

“Madhuri is the central protagonist of the film and it would remain that way,” informs our source, “Gone are the times when one had to follow the rule book of hero-heroine. Madhuri is not the heroine in Gulab Gang; she is the hero and that's how things have been written and would be executed.”

This is in star contrast to Madhuri's last comeback affair that had fizzled despite the presence of Akshaye Khanna in the enterprise. Even though Aaja Nachle was promoted as a Madhuri-starrer, presence of Akshaye seemed like a forceful commercial decision that didn't quite work either for the film or for the actress.

“Anubhav Sinha and his director Soumik Sen are conscious about the fact that they won't allow any unnecessary intrusions with Gulab Gang. Audience will watch the movie regardless of it being male or female drive. They have given their nod of approval to Kahaani and before that to No One Killed Jessica despite no male lead in them. Similarly Vicky Donor has now worked despite it not being set as a love story with a quintessential female lead. Things are changing and Gulab Gang would stand the test of times,” the source continues.

This means that even though female centric films like Heroine (Arjun Rampal), The Dirty Picture (Emraan Hashmi) and Madhuri's own Desh Ishqiya (Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah) have roped in known faces for male protagonists, Gulab Gang doesn't require any such add-ons.

“Madhuri is the hero of the film, period,” declares Anubhav, “She has gone an extra mile to make this film happen. She is super excited with the kind of set up she is entering. Also, she understands the fact that the entire film is running on her shoulders. Her character in the film doesn’t require anyone else to share that burden.”

Last time when Madhuri succeeded in doing that, the film was Mrityudand. We look forward to similar magic being recreated all over again, albeit with better commercial returns as well.


Bhansali Loves Farah

Farah Khan

Regardless of how his films have done commercially, one thing consistent about Sanjay Leela Bhansali is his ability to extract good performances from his actors. However the most unsuspecting of them all has turned out to be Farah Khan who is now debuting as a leading lady in his upcoming production Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi.

“Simply put, Farah has bowled over Bhansali with her natural act,” informs a source, “She has done cameos before but there she was basically being herself. However Shirin Farhad required her to act as another character. On the sets, makers could see that Farah had really prepared herself for the role. However when they saw the edited copy earlier this week, they were in for a pleasant shock.”

This happened during the in-house screening held for Bhansali where he was reportedly ‘ecstatic’ at the ease with which the first time heroine played her part. Given the fact that the likes of Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukherjee and Manisha Koirala have delivered award-winning performances for his films, the bar had been set further high for Farah.

“Even Bhansali was quite nervous since he had played a gamble with Farah. Neither is she playing one of those size zero heroines in the film, nor is she all decked up in a glamorous avtar. All she could do to make an impression was act naturally,” the source continues, “Bhansali saw the first half with bated breath a few days back and was impressed with what he saw. However what made him fly really high was the film's second half. He has been singing praises about Farah ever since.”

Farah though is keeping her excitement in check and is waiting to see herself on the big screen.

“My cameos were easy since my directors just let me loose and asked me to be myself. Here I had to be Shirin,” she says, “It takes a lot to be this over weight woman who walks with her feet spread out without worrying about her make up and all. It is hardly anything that you relate with a conventional heroine. I was nervous but since Sanjay is satisfied, guess I can smile as well.”

Well Farah, given the fact that a heroine or two have dropped a tear on Bhansali's sets, it seems nothing short of an achievement on your part to have come back smiling!


Successful, Jackie Flying High

Jacqueline “Jackie” Fernandez

Housefull 2 is a superhit and Jacqueline Fernandez a.k.a. Jackie is all set to kickstart Definition of Fear, her first international film, which has a reasonably good budget of 2 million pounds. Since this is decent enough sum for a film belonging to this genre, one can be sure that Jackie trusts this to be a safe commercial outing for her. More so since it would also get her on to the international cinema map.

Nods Jackie in agreement, “Yes, I am indeed excited about working in Bollywood as well as West and don't mind traveling. However I am yet to sit down and take a final call. In any case, these are exciting times since Housefull 2 has turned out to be a huge success. Let me revel in it’s success for a while. Things are looking their best today and I would be ready for some announcements after a little break.”

One can well understand where Jackie is coming from. After all, her Miss Sri Lanka stint was over half a decade back and while she was continuously being a part of the glamor world, it was Bollywood where she indeed wanted to make it big. Now that she has Murder 2 and Housefull 2 to bring her into the reckoning, Jackie is one relieved girl.

“I do feel that I have been around for quite a while. My journey too hasn't been all that quick though I am sure these films will take me a long way. It just warms my heart that now in Housefull 2 I see myself playing the kind of role which I had envisioned for myself," she lights up here.

“It is fabulous that my mom and dad are watching me in such quintessential commercial cinema. Now that's what the core of Bollywood movies is all about. Being seen as an Indian girl in full-on bridal attire is a dream, especially when it is for the big screen. Housefull 2 made it possible for me,” she adds, "It is time to move on to Race 2. I would be seen in an altogether different avtar there because Abbas-Mustan have their own way of presenting their girls. Wait and watch!”

We sure would Jackie and if Definition of Fear turns out to be reality, it would only be further icing on the cake!


Karisma, Priyanka, Kangana, Kajal: Turning Vintage

Kajal Agarwal

What started off as a mere glimpse two years back is fast emerging as a trend if upcoming Bollywood flicks are any indication. After Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut took the retro/vintage route in Action Replayy and Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai respectively, number of other leading ladies would soon be following suit in months to come. They are Karisma Kapoor (Dangerous Ishhq), Priyanka Chopra (Teri Meri Kahani), Sonakshi Sinha (Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2), Kajal Agarwal (Special Chabbis), Mahie Gill (Zanjeer) and Kangana again in Shoot Out At Wadala.

“Yes, since my film is set in the 70s and early 80s, I am bound to take retro route. Also, not just the setting but overall costumes would have to be as per the era,” says Sanjay Gupta who isn't stepping into this zone for the first time. “In fact, entire first half of my Hamesha was set in a retro zone where Kajol was seen in 60s/70s outfits. Now Kangana would be getting into the same mode.”

Director Vikram Bhatt has kept that in mind as well for Dangerous Ishhq where he has the added responsibility of bringing Karisma Kapoor back on the scene as well.

“Karisma would be getting into various attire from the Mughal, Meerabai and Partition era amongst others. While she would be boasting of contemporary look, there were costumes specially designed for other looks from the era gone by. The pleasure was all mine because when you have Karisma in your film and that too in characters belonging to various time zones, you want to make the most out of it,” says Vikram Bhatt.

This is pretty much the case for Kunal Kohli as well who is telling a love story three times over in Teri Meri Kahaani. While Priyanka Chopra would be boasting of a contemporary look as well as one from the past, there is a 60s feel in the middle episode as well, the look of which has already been revealed.

No wonder, newbie Kajal Agarwal doesn't want to be left behind either and is happy to see her step into the late 70s/early 80s zone with her second Hindi film Special Chabbis.

“Yes, my dressing is according to the time in which the film has been set. I would be seen as this pretty nice girl in salwar kameez,” smiles Kajal, “I guess somehow it works quite well for me because I like this attire. I don't mind wearing a short skirt but then a role should really demand that. When the retro setting of my film demands me to go simple, I don't believe in strutting around in a hot-n-sexy look.”

Guess Mahie Gill would fill that slot once she emerges as ‘Mona Darling’ in Zanjeer!


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


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