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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | JUNE 2012

Unconventional Sonam
Sajid Khan: No Flops Here
Emraan Hashmi: No to Stardom
Eight Heroines in Fight for Honors
Arshad Warsi: New Jodi

Unconventional Sonam

Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor is gearing up for shooting Raanjhnaa, a love story where she pairs with Dhanush of Kolaveri Di. With Aanand L. Rai, who gave a different dimension to Kangana Ranaut with Tanu Weds Manu, Sonam is expected to bring on a new personality in the film which is set on the ghats of Varanasi.

However Sonam isn't looking to take on her competition. Whether turning into a village belle (like Priyanka Chopra in Teri Meri Kahaani) or bringing on style and glamor (as in last release Players where she had Bipasha for company), Sonam is happy to say that she is not competing with anyone.

Says Sonam, “As a matter of fact, I never compete with any of the heroines, whether I am starring alongside them or not. I don't think there is any reason to look at any competition and work while keeping that in mind. I truly believe that I am my own competition and that's the way I wish to be.”

No wonder, she has managed similar attitude for her wardrobe and overall styling as well that has been way different from that of a contemporary Bollywood leading lady. Whether it was Aisha or Players, she has believed in chartering a different path for herself, something which is expected for Raanjhnaa as well.

“I don't have to dress or behave the way other actresses do,” she says, “After all, people like me because I do things differently. That in fact is my very USP. I don't want to be a part of the crop. Yes, I know that when you starting your career then in the initial days it could be perceived as your weakness. However as you move ahead in your career, it turns out to be your strength.”

Mausam was an extremely difficult film to do because of its setting and I was constantly stressed. On the other hand Players was a lot of fun. Now Raanjhnaa should be an altogether different experience,” she signs off in a hopeful tone.


Sajid Khan: No Flops Here

Sajid Khan (2nd from r) seen here with Jacqueline Fernandez (l) and Riteish Deshmukh and Chunky Pandey (r).

His Housefull 2 completed 50 days at the box office in May. While the film is still raking in moolah and has collected close to Rs. 175 crores worldwide, director Sajid Khan has moved on. Even as he working at a feverish pace to get pre-production in place for Himmatwala, Sajid, who has the unique distinction of being the only director other than Rajkumar Hirani to have his first three films as hits, is promising yet another entertainer. While even his critics have finally gone quiet after the super-success of Housefull 2, Sajid says that he is only following some basic principles of filmmaking.

“I have that kind of confidence because in today's age when there is so much misery in the world and loads of stress and problems, entertainment in true form can never go wrong. Again, one has to keep in mind that good entertainment is also very limited. While everyone is striving to give good entertainment, whether in cinema, television or sports, still, there aren't too many success stories floating around. One has to be really cognizant of what the audience wants and that's what I have been striving for,” says Sajid, who has earlier delivered hits like Heyy Babyy and Housefull.

Meanwhile, he is set to begin a new association with fresh actors. While he has worked prominently with the trio of Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani in each of his three films, there is an altogether different world expected to be unfolded in Himmatwala.

“I am very clear about the fact that I will make films only for the audience. I don't know how many films I would make in my lifetime; may be seven, eight. I can promise though that they would also be hits. The audience will come back and say “mazaa aa gaya.” I will never give a flop at the box office,” signs off Sajid in his characteristic confident tone.


Emraan Hashmi: No to Stardom

Emraan Hashmi seen here with Esha Gupta (r) in "Jannat 2."

Emraan Hashmi's list of successes is growing. With the success of Jannat 2 and Shanghai looking promising, Emraan is finding himself in an enviable position where he is clearly one of the most saleable young stars in Bollywood other than Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan. For someone who started off as an outsider years ago in Footpath and Murder, Emraan is today finding himself in a position where a good opening is guaranteed for every film of his.

However the young actor intends to be rooted to the ground instead of getting carried away.

“That's because this is the way I am. There is a saying, you are a reflection of what you do. That is exactly the case with me. Some actors get bogged down with all the stardom that comes their way. It becomes an excess baggage but they want to carry it all over with them. I can't do that because I am inherently not like that,” says Emraan who also has successes like The Dirty Picture, Murder 2, and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai behind him.

For someone who didn’t mind getting married when many felt it was a professional harakiri to do so, especially due to his ‘serial kisser’ image, Emraan feels that in a high profile profession like this, it requires good control over one’s self to maintain sanity despite all the adulation, accolades and brickbats that may come from either direction at any time.

“I am not a star when the camera is not rolling and that’s the reason why I am still as easy going as I was 7-8 years back. Yes, things have changed but not for me as a person. It is a deliberate attempt on my part to get away from stardom when I am not in front of the camera,” Emraan points out.

Well, he would be seen a lot more in front of the camera for months to come, with Shanghai, Daayan, Ghanchakkar and a film each with Karan Johar and (most likely) Yash Raj Films set to follow.


Eight Heroines in Fight for Honors

Sunny Leone

Bollywood is going through an interesting phase. While women like Parineeti Chopra and Paoli Dam have shown that they can come up with trumps as films like Ishaqzaade and Hate Story turn out to be mighty successful, Vidya Balan has shown with Kahaani that she can be pretty much an industry in herself.

Okay, so Karisma Kapoor didn't quite ignite many fireworks at the box office with Dangerous Ishhq but then there is a whole slew of women who are out there to make a mighty impression with films that have female protagonist as the focal point.

“Much is being read into the month of September being women-packed due to Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Sridevi and Rani Mukherjee arriving with a film each. However the fun begins much earlier, with two other high profile debuts of the year. In the month of August, the ones who would be vying for all the attention are Sunny Leone and Farah Khan. Also, Chitrangda Singh would be arriving in a tailor-made part as well. Between the eight of them, expect a lot of fireworks once their films hit the screens,” comments an industry veteran.

So while Sunny would be beginning her Bollywood sojourn with an erotica Jism 2, Farah Khan, who has appeared in a few cameos before, would be going full throttle in a sweet romantic comedy Shirin Farhad ki Toh Nikal Padi. She would have competition though from Chitrangda Singh whose Kaam-The Unofficial Story releases on the same day as the Sanjay Leela Bhansali production.

On the other hand, Madhur Bhandarkar knows a thing or two about extracting a terrific performance from his female actors. After ensuring that actresses like Tabu (Page 3), Raveena Tandon (Satta), Konkona Sen Sharma (Page 3) and Priyanka Chopra (Fashion) managed to gain awards at the highest platforms, Madhur has now apparently promised Kareena Kapoor that an award is in for her for Heroine.

Though Vikram Bhatt is not making any such bold declarations, he is promising an overall package in the form of Raaz 3 which has Bipasha Basu sharing the screen with Emraan Hashmi. It is a homecoming of sorts for Sridevi as well who would be making a comeback with English Vinglish. A bitter-sweet comedy, it promises to be a worthy enough project for Sridevi to show the current generation what she is made of. However she would be challenged on the very day of its release by Preity Zinta who too is on a comeback mode with Ishkq In Paris.

The one has been quite silent on this front though is Rani Mukherjee. Even though her Aiyya is slated to arrive in September, she has been quietly watching all the drama unfold from a distance. Perhaps she would strike when her competition would be least expecting. Now that would indeed be an exciting sight.


Arshad Warsi: New Jodi

Arshad Warsi

They formed an adorable jodi in the Munnabhai series. However with no signs of Munnabhai 3 really going on floors soon, both Sanjay Dutt as well as Arshad Warsi have moved on. Though they occasionally come together for a Double Dhamaal, one does miss the Munnabhai-Circuit camaraderie that has been the hallmark of Rajkumar Hirani films. However Arshad is in mood to form a new jodi with Sunny Deol in Bhaiyaaji Superhit. While the bhaigiri with Sanjay Dutt is now history, it is some bhaiyaaji magic that Arshad plans to unfold now.

Says Neeraj Pathak, director of Bhaiyaaji Superhit, for whom Arshad was always the first choice, "I was so very convinced that Arshad was the only actor who could play this role. Even though Arshad and I haven't worked together, we share a great equation. The moment I narrated the script to him and he realized there were some excellent sequences that he would share with Sunny, he was on. I could sense his excitement, here was the promise of this new jodi in the making.”

“Yes, in fact even Arshad was of view that since he has made a good pairing with Sanjay Dutt in the past, why couldn't he and Sunny bring on a new association. Okay, so the screenplay of Bhaiyaaji Superhit isn't exactly on the lines of the Munnabhai series but it has ample moments that would demonstrate good chemistry between a veteran like Sunny as well as Arshad who himself has been around for a decade and a half now. It is going to be magic for sure,” promises Neeraj.


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


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