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Shah Rukh: Not Worried About Don 2
Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Having the Time of His Life
Akshay Kumar: Fist of Fury
Players: Gets Hot and Sizzling
Deepika Padukone: Glamor in All Films

Shah Rukh: Not Worried About Don 2

While Shah Rukh Khan starrer Don - The Chase Begins Again was the remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s cult classic Don, Don 2 is an altogether new story as it is an altogether new sequel. Though speculations around how far would the film go this time around are growing with every passing day, makers of the film (Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani) are as cool as ever. Though they are well aware of the immense curiosity that Don 2 is carrying with it today, being challenged by the burden of expectations isn’t something new for them, especially after recent success like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which was huge too.

“Yes, people are really expecting it to be hugely entertainer. As for the expectations, I am not saying that is it good or bad if they are really high. After all if you look at 3 Idiots, it too carried the huge burden of expectations and still delivered in such a fantastic manner,” says Ritesh in a relaxed tone, “Whenever audience are excited about the core set up of a movie and its characters, there are bound to be higher expectations.”

While the film is all set to release in the weekend leading to Christmas, it comes more than six years after Don - The Chase Begins Again had hit the screens. Didn’t Farhan, Ritesh and Shah Rukh think of bringing the film a little earlier, considering the fact that this was a huge franchise that was always meant to create frenzy amongst the audience?

“Well, we were busy with the making of other films (including Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Game) and so was Shah Rukh (Ra. One). Nevertheless, let’s talk about the current times and the fact remains that for audience, Don 2 is a film to look forward to,” says Ritesh, “This is a phenomenon worldwide though when it comes to sequels or franchises.”

Continuing the argument, he adds, “Now look at the new Spiderman which would be releasing next year. Even though I know the basic storyline, I am still so excited to watch it because this time around there would be a new actor playing ‘Spiderman.’ Yet again everyone has high expectations from the film; that’s a global phenomenon. You have to play along with that. Ever since Don - The Chase Begins Again released, it was but natural that Don 2 would happen as well. If the time gap between the two films has excited people all the more, it only works in our favor.”

Here is hoping the wait is indeed worth it guys!


Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Having the Time of His Life

Lukewarm success to My Friend Pinto — his first film as a producer (which he didn’t direct) — notwithstanding, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is bubbling with excitement. And why not? After all he is enjoying his association with Akshay Kumar and Prabhu Deva in Rowdy Rathore and also getting entire machinery in place for the shoot of Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi (with Boman Irani and Farah Khan — who incidentally makes her debut as an actress).

Even though there were talks of a fallout with Farah Khan after their Saawariya and Om Shanti Om clashed with each other, Bhansali has not just resumed a friendly relationship with Farah Khan but is now also giving her a break as an actress, something that surprised her as well with Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi. Really, what happened there?

“Guess Farah ki yahan nikal padi,” laughs Bhansali, “See, the film is titled Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi (it was earlier titled plain and simple Shirin Farhad) and when you see the film, you would realize that Farah was just apt to play a contemporary Shirin here. Now this is one movie which is a comedy in the right sense of the word.”

With so much happening in his professional life as a producer and his directorial outing just six months away, Bhansali claims that he has never been more excited. No wonder, he has shaken hands with none other than Akshay Kumar and Prabhu Deva for Rowdy Rathore, a film which is just not in his zone if one goes by his track record of films like Devdas, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Black and others.

“For that matter even My Friend Pinto wasn’t in my zone,” says Bhansali, “See, these are different kind of films that I am attempting, something that I have never done before. Like Prabhu Deva is an entirely different kind of talent. On the other hand Akshay Kumar is a different kind of a star. Inherently though, both Prabhu as well as Akshay have this hardcore commercial bent of mind. They boast of this great track record of the work they have done over the years. Believe me, it’s fun to be making films with them!”

Hope all this fun translates on screen as well.


Akshay Kumar: Fist of Fury

One can well say that Akshay Kumar is back. Even though he was out of action for over seven months with Thank You releasing way back in April this year, Akshay Kumar can be seen smiling with Desi Boyz making an energetic arrival. With several interesting films like Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Khiladi 786 - Made In Punjab and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 lined up for arrival, one does expect an exciting year ahead for Akshay. Guess the break here was only short-lived and 2012 could well be one super-busy year for him.

“Aah, certainly yes! I wasn’t hatching eggs while I was away,” laughs Akshay, “I have finished almost three films, signed three more, just promoted and released one (Desi Boyz) while currently getting trained for my current action film (Rowdy Rathore). I can happily express that my fists are back in action.”

Perhaps one can clearly say that since audience too is seemingly glad to see Akshay coming out of Tees Maar Khan, Thank You, Action Replayy and Khatta Meetha zone. Looking at the choice of films that he is doing in 2012, seems like there has been a conscious call on Akshay’s part to shift genres.

“Well, you can say that but then look carefully at my last two years,” reflects Akshay, “I have always made a conscious effort to work in films belonging to genres that are as versatile as possible. I have had a massive comedy with Housefull, then there was this swinging 70s with Action Replayy followed by an intense family drama like Patiala House and then an action-comedy in the form of Thank You. My bare chested ‘family dramedy’ with Desi Boyz added on to versatility isn’t it? I don’t think one can really call that repetitive, right?”

Though one wonders whether all would agree as of now but 2012 seems to be bringing Akshay in a new light altogether, what with films like Rowdy Rathore and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 promising ‘Khiladi Kumar’ to be back in action mode.“Yes, I am getting ready for some fist of fury,” declares Akshay, “I have some great action scripts in my hands so now I am throwing myself at my punch bag.”

We too keenly await all the action Akshay.


Players: Gets Hot and Sizzling

Promos of Players are on and while for many out there it would be quest for gold that would be a major reason to catch the film, for the rest a good dekko at Bipasha Basu and Sonam Kapoor would be a reason to feel content as well. Not just are the two looking smoking hot, they are also carrying forward the tradition followed by Abbas-Mustan when it comes to presenting their leading ladies.

“Yes, we are quite particular when it comes to giving audience something which is visually appealing. It could be the way film’s narrative moves ahead or the leading ladies, they have to look special,” says Abbas (of Abbas-Mustan duo), “Whether it was Bipasha Basu (Race) or Priyanka Chopra (Aetraaz) - each of them had to be special. Same holds good for Sonam as well in Players. She has looked like never before.”

For the makers, the first challenge was to go ahead with an absolute image transformation for Sonam.

“Sonam has never done a full on glamorous role before,” he continues, “She started with Saawariya and then went on to do films like Delhi 6 and Mausam. In none of them she got a chance to get into a glamorous zone. Even in I Hate Luv Storys and Aisha, she wasn’t being one of those quintessential Bollywood leading ladies who are presented stylishly on screen. We wanted to change that.”

Well, one can indeed see that, Sonam being presented in a hot and stylish glamorous avtar. This wasn’t the case though for Bipasha for whom it was pretty much a cake walk.

“Yes, Bipasha came in since we wanted to project the right age difference between two leading ladies,” acknowledges the director, “So while Sonam plays someone who looks like a 20-22 year old girl, for the other character of a ‘mature-n-sexy’ 28-30 year old woman, it was Bipasha who was our first choice.”

We agree to that as well!


Deepika Padukone: Glamor in All Films

Deepika Padukone is being seen at her glamorous best in Desi Boyz. Her song “Jhak Maar Ke” is a hit and one can see her donning a fashionable avtar all over again after doing semi-commercial cinema like Aarakshan and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se, both of which came one after another.

For someone who started off with a hardcore commercial film like Om Shanti Om, found quite some eyeballs reserved for her when she turned further glamorous in films like Housefull and exuded oomph with her seductive act in the title song of Dum Maaro Dum, one wonders whether she should really be experimenting too much as a leading lady. After all these are her best years as an actress when it comes to looking her glamorous best so shouldn’t she be making the most of out it by doing more films like Desi Boyz.

“I understand where you are coming from but then there are different ways to look at glamor. One can’t really categorize it the way it is done in a conventional manner,” says Deepika, “There is one kind of glamor which is about wearing bright clothes, putting a right hair do and getting an overall style quotient on. On the other hand there is this other side of glamor which comes from sheer simplicity.”

She continues, “In Aarakshan I wore simple Indian clothes and in my head that was glamorous too in it’s own way. Whereas in Desi Boyz’ I could don a different look to showcase different kind of glamor. See, I come from a modelling background and understand fashion. There are times when you have to keep it exaggerated while sometimes it has to be clean and natural. I don’t think that performances should be based on the look though.”

“Ultimately at the end of the day it is all about enriching the entertainment quotient of the film in the best way possible. I am a commercial heroine and that’s the way I would like things to be. Glamor, whether it is simple or exaggerated, has to be in accordance to the kind of entertainment a film is offering,” Deepika smiles before signing off.


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


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