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Sajid Khan: Reveals His ‘Extra Special’ Friendship with Ajay Devgn
Mallika Sherawat: Yearns to Balance Hollywood and Bollywood
OMG!: Director Reveals His Inspirations

Sajid Khan: Reveals His ‘Extra Special’ Friendship with Ajay Devgn

Ajay Devgn and Sajid Khan

Though it is a well-known fact that Akshay Kumar and Sajid Khan are good friends and also share great professional rapport (their three successes together are an epitome of this), Sajid Khan surprised us by revealing that he and Ajay Devgn (his lead actor in Himmatwala) were on back-slapping terms 25 years back when the latter was Vishal Devgan.

“Do you know that Ajay was my college friend? In fact he, (cinematographer) Sameer Arya and I used to hang out together from morning till night. That he was the time when he was Vishal Devgan - ‘the rich guy.’ He used to wear those costly sunglasses and came in a fancy jeep while we were these ‘kadkas’ who depended on him even for our daily cigarettes. Somehow after Phool Aur Kaante he got busy while I too was occupied with my TV shows. We couldn't meet each other too often but now that we are doing Himmatwala together, it has been a reunion of friendship,” Sajid gets nostalgic here.

While the two are bonding immensely while finding themselves in each other’s company, Sajid says that 25 years down the line, he has only turned an admirer of the superstar actor than just being a friend.

“I know many out there may say ki ab toh yeh bolega hi kyunki picture saath mein kar raha hai. However that’s not the case. I am genuinely fond of Ajay. Not only is he a great husband, he is also an extremely good father. This is very rare in today's world. Also, he is one of the best sons that I have come across. See, I am seeing him in a different light today. There are certain things about him that haven't changed while there are others which have, over the years. The way he has balanced his life is simply amazing,” continues Sajid.

With friends continuing to find prominence in his life for all these years, Sajid says he is happy to live his personal life as well as form a professional equation in a similar manner for years to come.

“My rapport with actors is such that I love them. I understand what it takes to be an actor and this is the reason why I don't judge them with parameters like whether they are big or small, have a large or miniscule role or get fat or thin pay package. I have faced the camera for 15-20 years and I know the insecurities, tantrums and mood swings that an actor goes through. This is the reason why I have an edge over certain or most directors because my tuning with actors is almost like that of a friend,” concludes Sajid.


Mallika Sherawat: Yearns to Balance Hollywood and Bollywood

Mallika Sherawat

While talking to Mallika Sherawat, one is tempted to bring on the topic of Antonio Banderas with whom she has been spotted some time back. However a cold silence from her about this much taboo topic makes one ask her about another firang man in her life, Bruno Mars. She recently did a music video with him which was a spoof of sorts and had her playing a Bond girl. In the times when just walking the red carpet in an international film festival is considered a big deal by many, a starlet, Mallika, who has been famous for making the smallest of information about her seem big for the audience, surprisingly stayed quiet till the music video actually became public.

“This is the way I wanted for this video,” smiles Mallika, “Bruno is an icon and the video has been a smash success in America. In fact it took everyone by surprise. I am happy to do well in that side of the world because before this my Politics of Love too releases there. I am enjoying it all while keeping a good balance between Bollywood and Hollywood.”

No wonder, she has already started working on another assignment from the West, details of which she was unwilling to reveal.

“See, you heard all details about the Bruno Mars video when the time was right. Now I am again shooting for something but then I can’t make an announcement. That has to come officially so guess it's going to be some wait for that,” Mallika smiles.

Though one waits to see a global release of a Hollywood flick of hers, Mallika is content with what she has managed to achieve so far.

“It's a choice that I have made and I am happy about that. What I am doing currently is a perfect balance between East and West. What others may perceive about me doesn't affect my life. I am not complaining at all either. I am true blue warrior, doing well for myself and that too without any famous boyfriends,” gleams Mallika.


OMG!: Director Reveals His Inspirations

Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal (riding behind) in "OMG! Oh My God."

OMG! Oh My God has grossed over Rs. 100 crores worldwide, hence turning out to be the biggest surprise success of the year. Though the film was expected to do well with the audience, considering the fact it's director Umesh Shukla had already collaborated with Paresh Rawal on the play on which it was based, the mind boggling collections have defied all predictions whatsoever. Moreover, it has also emerged that the filmmaker, while carrying a novel subject no less, was visibly inspired by some terrific filmmakers from past and present who have managed to bridge the gap between quality cinema and commercial success.

“When I saw films like Rang De Basanti or Munnabhai MBBS, I could sense that these were cult films in the making. I just wondered what went in the mind of a script writer and how would the narration have actually taken place. After all, these films were so different from what was being made in the times when they were released. After Dhoondte Reh Jaoge didn't work in accordance to the kind of potential it carried, I wanted to come back in a big way. I knew that if I allowed a chance like OMG to slip, ‘toh main kahin ka nahi rahoonga.’ I wanted script to be the hero and was back to the basics,” says Shukla.

Resultantly, there were quite a few filmmakers whose work started inspiring him. Though subconsciously he was always fond of films coming from the house of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Rajkumar Hirani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prakash Jha, to name a few, it was time for him to start observing their work far more closely.

“I had to bring in simplicity like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, entertainment in the mode of Rajkumar Hirani, a hard hitting statement in the Prakash Jha-way and some real life mood and setting, just like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra excels in. I felt that OMG was the kind of film where this cocktail could have worked,” smiles Umesh as he reflects in retrospective, “I had tremendously enjoyed films made by these men and wanted to bring those ingredients in the right quantity for my film.”

Now that the film as well as he is being heard and spoken about, suddenly Umesh is finding himself rising like a brand. While Bollywood seems to have finally woken up to the filmmaker, there are already offers galore.

“It would be impolite to name anyone in particular till the deal is signed and sealed,” he smiles, “It is always a great feeling to get calls from all over; this is what you want as a filmmaker which is to make the kind of films you want and with other like-minded people. I am meeting a lot of them but one thing that I am clear is that my next film too would bring in a message in its own entertaining way.”


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


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Blending Business and Philanthropy:
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EDITORIAL: Lending a Helping Hand
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FINANCE: Small Business Tips
LEISURE: Kama Sutra Inspired Wine
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COMMUNITY: Sir Syed Day in SF
AUTO REVIEW: 2013 Kia Soul
RECIPE: Gajrela with Ice Cream
BOLLYWOOD: Review: Chakravyuh
TRIBUTE: Legendary Filmmaker Yash Chopra
FAREWELL: Satirist Jaspal Bhatti

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