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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | OCTOBER 2012

Shah Rukh Khan: Has Karmic Connection with Sid
OMG! First Akshay, Now Vivek
Arjun Rampal: Lovemaking Scene Necessary
Ram Gopal Verma: Spooky Challenge
Katrina Kaif: No Mentoring Needed

Shah Rukh Khan: Has Karmic Connection with Sid

 Siddharth Malhotra (l) and Shah Rukh Khan.

Sidharth Malhotra, the new stud on the block, would be making his screen debut with Student of the Year this month. While he would be entering Karan Johar's world where the only constant so far has been Shah Rukh Khan as a male protagonist, he indeed shares a karmic connection with the superstar if the series of incidents over last half decade have to be believed.

“While everyone is aware that Sidharth started off as one of the many assistant directors on KJ-SRK's My Name Is Khan, not many know the fact that he was actually finalized as a lead hero in an action flick. This was going to be a big budget affair where Anubhav Sinha was going to launch him as an action star. This was five years ago and subsequently when the film got shelved, Sidharth was expectedly heartbroken,” informs a source.

This is where Sidharth and Shah Rukh’s lives intertwined in the most unusual manner. The reason being, Anubhav moved on to work with Shah Rukh Khan on Ra. One while Karan Johar, after working with Shah Rukh Khan on each of his four films, roped in Sidharth for Student of the Year.

“This was an unimaginable swap and though it was definitely not planned, it was reality,” the source adds, “In fact, Sidharth also realized that there were always minimal chances of the action film taking off ever since Anubhav was committed to Shah Rukh for Ra. One. He too decided to change tracks and while he became an assistant director to Karan Johar, everything fell in place when the filmmaker decided to bring in new talent and finalized him for the role.”

“Guess it was destiny coming into play. Luckily my action film got shelved,” laughs Sidharth, “No regret though that Anubhav went ahead with Shah Rukh. Come on, who wouldn’t do that. Guess it is only Karan who thinks differently. He could have gone ahead with the biggest of superstars, Shah Rukh Khan included, but he chose me along with Varun (Dhawan). It is nothing less than life coming full circle after five years.”


OMG! First Akshay, Now Vivek

 Vivek Oberoi and Mallika Sherawat in “Kismet Love Paisa Dilli.”

It is a known fact that Akshay Kumar's film OMG Oh My God! is based on a highly acclaimed Gujarati play Kanji Virrudh Kanji. While the actor recently admitted that he loves watching Marathi plays too, there is another actor in B-Town who seems to have developed a fascination for plays. The man is Vivek Oberoi who would be seen in an adaptation of a Gujarati play soon.

“This Gujarati play is quite a hit and has created many records already. While Kanji Virrudh Kanji has a comic undertone to it, the play which Vivek has selected is a very emotional tale. Rights for this play have already been procured and Vivek has been signed too. The shooting is expected to start soon since Vivek is mighty charged to get going on it,” informs a source.

Though our source was not too forthcoming about the play's title since the makers wish to make the formal announcement soon with the finalized cast and director, Vivek can already be seen telling his friends and close family members about how he is so charged about it's subject and (an expected) sensitive treatment.

“Vivek has been playing a brooding character for quite some time now while his upcoming films this year (Kismet Love Paisa Dilli and Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story) are comedies. However this play is an entertainer with a soul. It belongs to a genre that Vivek hasn't attempted for long,” the source adds.

When contacted, Vivek did confirm the news. Though he neither revealed the play's title nor the people with whom he would be working for the film adaptation, he did drop a hint stating, “I am doing this with a real good friend of mine who is also quite a stalwart in the industry. We have already bought the rights and you would be hearing from us soon.”

Guess after remakes and sequels, Bollywood may well be finding a new formula for success in the form of play adaptations.

Arjun Rampal: Lovemaking Scene Necessary

 Arjun Rampal and Esha Gupta in “Chakravyuh.”

Arjun Rampal was recently seen in Heroine which was basically centered on Kareena Kapoor. Though he did have a fair presence in the film, he chose not to make much noise about his role. However he is all set to do that and more for Chakravyuha, a film by Prakash Jha, where he would be seen as a lead protagonist. The film is also special since it is two years after Raajneeti that he is returning with the director again.

Smiles Arjun, “Yes, and I am happy to call this as my pet baby project of the year. I have put a lot into it and working with my favorite director Prakash Jha is anyways something different. I always thought that if at all I had to play the role of a cop, it had to be with him. Now I would be working in his Satyagraha next.”

One does feel though that a film based on the Naxal issue could get a little too serious.

Reasons Arjun, “The film doesn't even intend to be preachy or give solutions. It is an entertaining film with just the backdrop being about Naxals. It tells us about why these people are like this, where is the system going wrong, how so many out there are stuck in a situation etc. etc. Prakash Jha is excellent when it comes to creating a realistic setup with entertainment quotient as well.”

Is it due to this reason that there is a love making sequence with Esha Gupta being included as well?

“This only brings a humane side of the story. It is just a moment between a husband and a wife. Nothing more should be read into it,” defends Arjun, “Esha, who is playing a cop in the film, understands the dilemma that my character is going through and the lovemaking is just one of the beautiful moments shared between the two of us in the film. It was absolutely necessary for the film.”

We will take your word on that, Arjun.


RGV: Spooky Challenge

 Ram Gopal Verma

The last time he scared the audience in a big way was Bhoot (2003). In almost a decade that has gone by, he has made films like Phoonk and Agyaat, he chooses not to term them as horror films. However now that he is ready with Manisha Koirala and J.D. Chakravarthy-starrer Bhoot Returns, and that too in 3D, the maverick filmmaker claims this could really spook the audience.

“I honestly feel that a horror film never works on a story. At the end of the day, ever since we were kids, we have been hearing horror stories so where is the novelty factor? How you can still make it all scary is by bringing some sound here, some apparition there and that's about it,” says RGV when asked whether Bhoot Returns indeed has a shocking storyline to boast of as well.

No wonder, he is happy to confess that at the end of it all, it would boil down to the formula.

“But then, the trick of a camera following a person from behind has never failed, has it,” he counter questions, “You use this technique a million times and still it would work. I will give you example of my own Bhoot. It wasn't even an original story. Something like this has been told in all countries and languages. In fact the actual story of Bhoot was just in the last twenty minutes. Otherwise, it was all technique,” he adds.

The million dollar question that remains – ‘Will audience indeed get scared with Bhoot Returns?’

Says RGV with a straight face, “I personally feel that when audience step in for a horror film, they challenge a director that “chal, mujhe dara ke dikha.” My response to them through Bhoot Returns -- Please, be my guest.”

Katrina Kaif: No Mentoring Needed

 Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif in "Jab Tak Hai Jaan."

Katrina Kaif is all set to be seen in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, arguably her biggest film in a near decade-long career. While filming for the Yash Chopra-directed affair, she found herself in a balanced state. While Shah Rukh Khan was many years senior to her, there was also a relative newcomer, Anushka Sharma.

Since she is far more senior, did Katrina ever feel like coming forward and play mentor to Anushka so that she could ease the nerves for her? After all, both of them were pretty much sailing the same boat in the presence of a legends like Yash Chopra and Baadshah Khan.

“Well, Anushka and I hardly have any scenes together so we seldom bumped into each other during the film's making. As for me playing her mentor, then come on, she was perhaps better off than me. After all, she has already worked with Shah Rukh and Aditya Chopra,” smiles Katrina.

One does expect the trio to create some cinematic magic with this Diwali release. While it is expected that from a quality perspective the film would be nothing less than superb, what with the entire package fitting in well, and A.R. Rahman's music expected to do the trick, it is naturally expected to translate into huge profits as well. No wonder, this time around expectations are of collections that go much beyond than just the 100 crore mark.

“See, all that I want is my films to have something good to offer to the audience and turn successful. Moolah that comes in is a byproduct of that. That could be 100 crores, 150 crores or 200 crores; what's the point even planning, debating or discussing about it. Let the film release and if it is liked by the audience, numbers would flow by themselves,” smiles Katrina before signing off.

Well said lady!


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


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