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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu:

Bollywood Suffers Due to Terror Attacks on Mumbai | Maharashtra Slaps a Two-month Ban on ‘Deshdrohi’ | Hot Ain’t Cool | RSVP | Papa Kehte Hain | No Offense | Thanks, Malaysia | Bullish on Bollywood | Questions Ban

Bollywood Suffers Due to Terror Attacks on Mumbai

(Right): Paresh Rawal in “Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye!”

Despite a severe beating taken by Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye!! and Sorry Bhai at the box office due to minimal audiences in theatres, producers of four Bollywood movies, scheduled for release this Friday, have decided to go ahead as per schedule.

Meerabai.. Not Out, Oh My God, Dil Kabbadi, will hit the screens on schedule, trade sources said.

However, the producers of Khalbali and Kash.. Mere Hote have deferred their Dec. 5 release.

Trade analyst Amod Mehra said that cost of publicizing and marketing a movie is so huge that a producer is not able to defer the release whatever the circumstances may be. Another trade analyst Taran Adarsh said business of films have suffered heavily due to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Oye Lucky... opening was dull while that of Sorry Bhai was disastrous.

Sorry Bhai had to be pulled out of many theatres and multiplexes due to lack of audience. The business of both films especially in Mumbai in the aftermath of the deadliest ever terror attack on the city, has been affected badly, he said.

Subhash Ghai's Yuvvraaj is a flop while Dostana and Golmaal Returns have fared averagely, he said. With two of 2008's biggest releases Shah Rukh Khan starrer Rab Ne Bana di Jodi and Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini scheduled for release Dec. 12 and Dec. 25 respectively, Mehra feels that the situation would be normalized within a week's time.

“We are a bold city and I think we will overcome the trauma by that time,” he said.


Maharashtra Slaps a Two-month Ban on ‘Deshdrohi’

Talk about vigilante film criticism. Once again another film has fallen victim to the law of the jungle that raises its ugly head every now and then in India, with the fear of mob violence making the Maharashtra government give in to street thugs.

The Maharashtra government’s two-month ban on Deshdrohi, a film reportedly based on north Indian migrants to Mumbai, comes after the city police took into consideration the backlash from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and others if the film was allowed to be released in the present format.

“There has been criticism from various quarters, specially the north Indian leaders over the state’s law and order situation in the backdrop of Raj Thackeray-led MNS’ violent agitation against north Indians. Police did not want to take any chance,” a senior Home Department official said.

Promos of the film airing on several TV channels had given police a taste of things to come as several dialogues were construed as being provocative.

“Police submitted a report to the government after watching the film and recommended a ban on it, apprehending law and order problems,” the official said.

Joint Commissioner of Police K.L. Prasad, additional director generals D. Shivanandan and Ahmed Javed were among the top police officers who watched the film Nov. 8. They had asked the film’s writer, producer and actor Kamaal Khan for a separate screening before its release in view of the MNS’ anti-north Indian campaign in the state and backlash in various parts of the country.

Khan reacted sharply to the development, saying he would take legal recourse to ensure that the film is released.


Hot Ain’t Cool

Neha Dhupia in “Dasvidaniya.”

Model-turned actor Neha Dhupia, being hot ain’t so cool no more. The bikini-clad babe made frontbenchers breathe heavy, and once had said that only sex and Shah Rukh Khan sells in Bollywood. Now wants to shed her glamorous image and turn her attention to acting in serious films.

“I had the image of a glam girl, but now after doing serious roles in some films, people no longer see me as a glamorous girl anymore,” she told PTI.

Neha has always had a glamorous image in Bollywood but she has been doing some serious films like Mithya and Dasvidaniya.

Not long ago, Dhupia was dubbed as the bikini girl for her character in her first film Qayamat opposite Ajay Devgan. Subsequent releases Julie and Sheesha added to this image. Neha's first de-glamorized appearance was in Delhi Heights, where she played the character of a working woman. With her roles in Chup Chup Ke, Dus Kahaaniyan and Mithya, Dhupia made cinema critics notice her performance.

Her next film is Maharathi with noted actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal and Om Puri. “I play the character of an aspiring actress, who is very ambitious. It is a complex character with grey shades,” she says.

Although her last film Dasvidaniya with Vinay Pathak failed to click at the box office, she is happy with the kind of cinema she is doing. “I am very happy with the kind of cinema I am doing. I am getting good scripts,” she says.



Amitabh Bachchan in “Last Lear”

Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan has turned down an invitation of former U.S. President Bill Clinton for a fund-raising event in Hong Kong, saying he is “not going to sing and dance” when the country and his city bleeds.

“I cancelled. I am not going to leave my country in this troubled hour to travel to a foreign land to lend cause to a foreign initiative, patronized and guided by a foreigner, for his benefit! I need to see initiative here in my country,” he wrote in his blog.

Bachchan had been invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong to speak on a topic to elevate the conditions of the universe.

The actor has also cancelled his participation in Live Earth concert to be held in Mumbai Dec. 6 and 7.

“I am not going to sing and dance at a time when my country and city bleeds, even though the funds collected were going to be for charity. They can keep their initiative to themselves,” he said.

Taking a dig at the political system, Bachchan said, “Cynical and provocative text come in describing the ridiculous utterances of the system and those that run it. And actions to placate themselves of dire circumstances, prevail among ruling governance.”

The actor said he shared the anger and frustration of the countrymen over the situation.

“This is a determined and definite citizen. A citizen that has decided that every one of them needs to become his own vigilante. For his sake and for the sake of his country.

“I endorse that sentiment,” he said.


Papa Kehte Hain

Deepika Padukone in “Bachna Ae Haseeno.”

If you are wondering how Bollywood’s pretty little nymphet Deepika Padukone is doing, you need worry no more. We have it from good source that she’s doing just fine thank you.

The source is her father Prakash, a celebrity in his own right.

“I think she is doing quite well. She is happy. I don’t think she could have asked for anything more,” the legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone of his daughter, who has already made her mark with hits like Om Shanti Om and Bachna Ae Haseeno.

He said the main thing is that the Bangalore girl is enjoying what she is doing, in spite of life being very tough.

“The time...long shoots, schedules. People don’t get to see that (the hard work that goes behind the cameras). They (audiences) see the final product. I am sure in every field, it’s the same,” Padukone told PTI.

“So it’s a very, very tough life (for Deepika)). Very strenuous, very demanding, very tiring. But she is enjoying. We are happy with that more than anything else.”

Asked if Deepika was looking for a long-term career in Bollywood, Padukone said, “I think so; we would like her to.”

And did he think of any dream role that he would like his daughter to play?

“Not really. I have not thought anything in particular. She has a long way to go,” Padukone, a former All-England and World Cup champion, said. “She is very clear. She knows what she wants to do.....when she has to do.”


No Offense

John, Abhishek and Priyanka in “Dostana."

Producer-director Karan Johar has refuted media reports that his latest production Dostana is offensive to homosexuals.

“I only wish I had called them to a recent screening we had for members of the gay community in Bombay, who laughed and laughed, cried and left the cinema hall gratified. I don’t need to say any more about this because our work here, to put it very simply, is done,” he wrote in his blog Nov. 20.

The producer added, “My principle aim is to entertain, but if I can change a few hearts and minds along the way, that’s precisely what makes filmmaking so special.”

Karan also thanked the audience for making “Dostana” a hit, saying, “It’s heartening to know that a film, comedic for the most part, can still make an impact on people’s thought processes.”

The director is specially impressed by the fact that the audiences are not uncomfortable over the male bonding depicted in the film.

“Rather, the number of repeat viewers in the first weekend itself has been the true testament to the success of the film and more importantly, to the way it’s been treated,” says the satisfied producer.

Karan will soon leave for Philadelphia where the shooting of Rensil D’Silva’s film starring Saif, Kareena, and Vivek is all set to begin. The movie is D’Silva’s debut as director while it has been written by Karan himself.


Thanks, Malaysia

Shah Rukh Khan in "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi."

As Malaysians debate on whether Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan should be honored in the country, the actor has thanked Malaysian authorities for being awarded Datukship.

“After I heard about the award, I have not stopped telling everyone around the world — in the U.S., Britain and South Africa — that I have been knighted,” he told a local daily and apologized that he could not come in October to receive the title during the official ceremony.

The Malacca state has conferred the title on him stating that the actor, by shooting two movies, including One Two ka Four, had made Malacca popular across the world as Hindi films are seen by people in several countries.

Shah Rukh Khan is popular among the Malays who like watching Hindi films. However, the majority of the ethnic Indian population here are Tamils and their heroes are usually from Tamil movies.

Several Tamil films have been shot all over Malaysia but no south Indian star has been given the honored title by any of the states.

Meanwhile, a cross-section of Malaysian public are upset over the selection of Bollywood actor for the award saying that there were talented local artists who could have received it instead.

“I would also like to thank the Malaysian government, my friends, fans and Malaysians who have showed me so much love,” said the popular actor.

Khan was awarded the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka which carries the title “Datuk.”


Bullish on Bollywood

A new kind of cinema is making its mark at the box office, and Bollywood is no longer hesitating to cast supporting actors in lead roles, says actor Vinay Pathak, whose Dasvidaniya has released.

Small budget films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bheja Fry, Johnny Gaddar and Mithya became runaway hits. Pathak had played key roles in all these films. “Filmmakers nowadays are ready to cast any actor in the lead, provided the actor brings in box office success,” he says when asked about whether Bollywood is maturing enough to cast supporting actors as protagonists.

“With new scripts being written in Bollywood, filmmakers are ready to experiment. Multiplexes have reduced their risk with the increase in business.”

Pathak began his career in the Indian film industry with films like Fire and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but remained unnoticed among the multitude of stars. But the trinity of Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey has made a successful mark with offbeat but successful small budget films. “Stories are no more about a boy falling in love with a girl and a villain. Scripts have become the protagonists now,” he says, adding that in Khosla Ka Ghosla, “every character in the film was equally important.”

The actor blames the stereotyping of actors as supporting actors, heroes or villains. But the actor is happy that actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher and Boman Irani are breaking the stereotypes.


Questions Ban

With Deshdrohi, a film based on North Indians migrating to Mumbai, a controversy in Maharashtra, Lok Janshakti Party leader and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan Nov. 13 questioned the banning of the film in the state despite getting a Censor Board clearance.

“What is the harm in screening the film? It has got clearance from the Censor Board. No other state has banned it,” he said at a press conference here when asked to comment on the ban imposed by the Maharashtra government on the film scheduled to be released Nov. 14.

Paswan said he had seen some promos on television channels and found nothing provocative in them. The Maharashtra government has imposed a two-month ban on the film, fearing backlash from Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and others if it was allowed to be released in the present format.

“The ban should be imposed on MNS. LJP was the first to make the demand at a meeting of the union cabinet. We have demanded arrest of the MNS leader and his trial on charges of sedition,” he said.

The Maharashtra police had asked the film writer, producer and actor Kamaal Khan for a separate screening before the film’s release.



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HUMAN RIGHTS: Fighting for Dalits
SUBCONTINENT: Asian Gas Pipeline
TRIBUTE: Mumbai Meri Jaan
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TRAVEL: Skiing at Mt Rose, NV
AUTO REVIEW: 2008 Honda Pilot 4WD
RECIPE: Eggless Cake
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: Yuvvraaj
COMMUNITY: News in Brief

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