The Magazine Covering All Aspects of The Indian World
Editorial Political News Dispatches & Reports Letters Spotlight Lifestyle Spiritual Health Travel India Sport Scene
February - March 2006
News From Bollywood
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh has displayed his talent as a dancer in a Punjabi music video prepared by his friend, pop singer Teji Sandhu. He has said that he has appeared in the video just to promote his childhood friend. The album titled “ GORI “ contains 10 songs written by famous Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi.
Actress Monica Bedi has been in the news for quite some time for various reasons. But she created sensation when she told the special CBI court in Hyderabad that she is unmarried. Produced in the court of judge C.V. Subramanyam she told the judge that she was single. Monica Bedi was arrested in Portugal with gangster Abu Salem, with whom she has been staying for many years, and was handed over to Indian authorities in connection with fake passport and other cases.
Actor Vivek Oberoi has changed his name due to numerological reasons, from Vivek Oberoi to “ Viveik Anand Oberoi “. He has gone through a low phase professionally, and is said to have been neglected by his girl friend, actress Aishwarya Rai, who is more busy professionally these days. Nobody knows if the change in name will bring any good luck to him.
Incidentally, Vivek Oberoi has sung a song composed by music director Anu Malik for Sajid Nadiadwala’s film “Deewane Huey Pagal”. He said, “ I enjoyed the entire experience, but I am not really a singer.
Actor Jackie Chan was in Mumbai recently to promote his much talked about film “The Myth”. Indian actress Mallika Sherawat, who had been on the cloud nine after getting a small role in the film was all the time escorting Jackie Chan. However, the film flopped very badly and nobody talked about it in the film industry.
Producer-director Subhash Sagar received the Hero Honda ITA Lifetime Achievement Award given to his father late Dr. Ramanand Sagar. Huge gathering of celebrities stood up to give a spontaneous ovation to the great movie and television moghul. Films like Aankhen, Arzoo, Geet, Lalkar, Charas, and television serials like Ramayan and Shri Krishna have all been written and directed by Ramanand Sagar, who is described as the father of the television entertainment industry.
Whereas film industry lost Dr. Ramanand Sagar, it also lost producer-director Harmesh Malhotra, and producer-director Raja Nawathe. But, it is sad to see that not many people from the film industry came to pay their tributes and respect to the departed top producer-directors.
A high level Chinese delegation toured Mumbai recently. It is interesting to note that the delegation had only one official request to make. They wanted to make sure that they meet Raj Kapoor’s sons — Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv. Though Raj Kapoor never visited China, but his films found their way into China from Russia and were very much appreciated.
It is still not known as to what the exact cost of Akbar Khan’s Taj Mahal is. First, it was publicised that it is a 100 crore rupee project. Then it was termed as 62 crore rupees film. But many people say that the cost couldnot be more than 25 crore rupees. However, after the film flopped, it would go down in Bollywood history for being a monumental blunder.
Actor Paresh Rawal has sung a song written by Sameer and composed by Viju Shah (son of Kalyanji Bhai Shah) for Naseeruddin Shah’s film “Yun Hota To Kya Hota”, which also stars Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Jimmy Shergill. The song will be picturised on Paresh Rawal himself.
There are problems with the Indian film stars these days. The Enforcement Directorate has summoned some of the top names seeking an explanation on how they are paying the school fees of their children partly in dollars abroad when they are not non-resident Indians. Children of these celebrities are studying at the American School of Mumbai in Bandra, which is collecting fifty per cent of the fees in US dollars, which is credited to School’s head office in New Jersey. Many of the film personalities who move in their foreign cars are also being summoned by the Customs officials. Many film personalities drive in cars imported under the dubious Transfer of Residence route. The Central Intelligence Unit of the Customs Department seized certain documents from foreign car dealers and workshops in Mumbai, and based on these, it has compiled a list of film personalities owning dubious imported cars. The list includes Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Subhash Ghai, Jackie Shroff, Firoz Nadiadwala and many others.
Eight year old Harshvardhan Desai has become the youngest script writer ever for a feature-length film. His one and a half hour Marathi movie “Zoom Zam Zombi” was premiered recently. Infact, Harshvardhan is disappointed that his script in English had to be translated into Marathi, since the producers couldnot make the film in English. Harshvardhan is a student of Bombay Scottish School.
Whereas everyone made it a point to visit ailing Amitabh Bachchan at the Leelawati Hospital in Mumbai, nobody paid any visit or enquired about the health of legendary music director O.P. Nayyar, who was also admitted in the same hospital, during the same period. Incidentally, actor John Abraham was also admitted there for treatment; but the visitors wanted to register their attendance only for Amitabh Bachchan, though most of them couldnot go beyond the main lobby of the hospital.
U.K. based White Water Films Ltd. (WWFL) has signed an agreement with Sujata Films for promoting its Indian operations. WWFL is offering UK lease back benefits and other incentives to Indian producers who are considering shooting their films in the UK. There is a rush of film companies to shoot in the UK in order to take benefits of the subsidy offers of the UK government, including sales and lease back benefits. However, there are stringent conditions for availing these facilties.
Zulfi Sayed, hero of Akbar Khan’s Taj Mahal met with a serious car accident. He was returning from Pune to Mumbai when the rear tyre of his speeding car burst. Zulfi was thrown out of the car and sustained injuries.
The richest bar girl Tarannum has received many offers from film producers to act. After the dance bars are closed in Maharashtra, the famous bar dancer is reported to have accepted the offers, on her release from the jail, where she was having company of another aspiring actress Preeti Jain, who unfortunately has been neglected by the film industry.
Lyricist Javed Akhtar gave a lecture at the University of Chicago recently. Singer Anup Jalota gave a lecture at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan’s School in Singapore, and another lecture at the Princeton University. Compere-Singer-Lyricist Kishan Sharma (film correspondent of India Link International) is also in high demand for his interesting lectures all over India. Various schools, colleges, universities, institutions and clubs are regularly calling him for his humorous and informative lectures.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan announced that he was quitting smoking, though he is a chain smoker. It is surprising to see the actor often puffing in the corners at different places. Probably, he made the announcement that he is quitting smoking “on the screen” only.
Singers Asha Bhosle and Jagjit Singh have for the first time rendered together a romantic duet for producer Rakesh Barot and Film Fair Enterntainment’s “Dishaant” . Aadesh Shrivastava has composed music while the film is being directed by Sanjay Chauhan.
It was earlier reported in these columns that the three Deols will be acting together in a film. Now it is confirmed that Dharmendra and his sons Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol are acting together in Anil Sharma’s film “Apne”, and have given joint dates for 40 days for the shoot in Chandigarh.
Playback singer Suresh Wadkar has opened Ajivasan Cambridge International School at Juhu in Mumbai. The school is associated with Cambridge University of UK and it believes in the ancient Vedic gurukul system of teaching.
Saif Ali Khan is contemplating turning a producer. He is said to be negotiating with couple of directors, including Pradeep Sarkar of “Parineeta”, to make his first film.
In all 244 films were released in India in the year 2005, out of which 53 were dubbed versions and 7 were made in English. Only 19 Hindi films and 5 dubbed films proved successful on the box office.Bhojpuri films were on a high. Udit Narayan’s “Kab Hoii Gawna Hamaar” became the first Bhojpuri film to be shot abroad — in Mauritius. As per film market reports, there was no sper-duper hit in 2005. Two films — “No Entry” and “Bunty Aur Babli” were considered as super hit, while “Kya Kool Hai Hum” proved to be a hit film on the box office. Biggest disasters of 2005 are said to be “Taj Mahal”, “Dil Jo Bhi Kahey”, “Home Delivery”, “Shikhar”, and “Kisna”.
Renowned music director Ravi has been selected for the fifth Kavi Pradeep Shikhar Samman, by the Malwa Rangmanch, Ujjain. A shawl, cocnut, trophy and cash prize of Rs. 51000 will be given to him. Singer Madhushree has been selected for the Malwa Kala Samman. These awards will be presented at Ujjain in February 2006.
Only one person had gone to see the first day-first show of Dev Anand’s “Mr. Prime Minister” at Highland Post Cinema Hall in Kolkata. The theatre management decided to run the show as a token of respect for the legendary actor-film maker Dev Anand and in the honour of the only one film lover; but the management discontinued the film immediately after. Film shows were also cancelled in Mumbai and some other cities, due to lack of audience.
The recent period has not been good for the films in India. Recently released films have flopped or have not done good business.
“Jawani Diwani — A Youthful Joyride” couldnot bring any joy to its distributors. The story is routine and the screenplay is childish. “Devaki” has proved a disaster. It is based on a real-life incident in which a woman was actually auctioned, but the film has a weak script and poor direction. “Ankush — The Command” has not been able to draw the audience. It also has an inept script and weak direction. “Retake” couldnot run for even one take. Plain bad script and ordinary screen play and dialogues have resulted in a weak film like this. “Ek Pyar Aisa Bhi” is another film to be forgotten. The weak screen play and poor direction have killed a promising story. “15 Park Avenue” may not prove to be a very successful film commercially, but it is a fine film that makes for good viewing. Aparna Sen deserves all praise for her sensitive script and impressive direction. Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose with Waheeda Rehman and Dhritiman Chatterjee have acted very well. “Meri Zindagi Ek Agneepath” has not found good box office report. Chiranjeevi has acted very well but bad screen play has not helped the film. “Shikhar” has been rejected outright. Inspite of performances by Ajay Devgan, Shahid Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Amrita Rao, the film has failed to attract the crowd. “Mr. Prime Minister” made by Dev Anand is a major disappointment. Shows had to be cancelled at many places since there was no audience. “Anjaane — The Unknown” proved a non-starter. Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Kapoor, Helen and Daisy Irani have acted in the film, but poor direction and uninteresting script have left no place for the film at the box office. “Dosti” is a flop in India, though it has done well in the UK during Christmas holidays. The film has Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Kareena Kapoor, Lara Dutta, and Juhi Chawla, but the film has not pickedup anywhere in India.”Vaah Life Ho Toh Aisi” ia another disaster. Sanjay Dutt, Shahid Kapoor, Amrita Rao, and others have failed to attract the audience; and Mahesh Manjrekar’s direcion is confusing and irritating. “Bluffmaster” is more hype and less substance. It is doing well in multiplexes in big cities, but the position in smaller towns is worse. Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and Ritesh Deshmukh (son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh) disappoint. Only Nana Patekar is excellent. “Ek Ajnabee” is a loser all the way. Though Amitabh Bachchan has acted very well, and Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek Bachchan and Lara Dutta have done good job in brief appearances. Arjun Rampal, Perizaad Zorabian have also acted well. Rucha Vaidya’s performance is extraordinary. Amitabh Bachchan’s hospitalisation and operation added some hopes for a superb response; but unfortunately the film has proved a heavy loser. Sex doesnot sell always is the reaction of audience for the film “Neal-N-Nikki”, which has not found acceptance. Tanisha has exposed her anatomy without any inhibitions, but the audience has not accepted all that. “Kalyug” has proved to be a successful film. Directed by Mohit Suri, the film stars Kunal Kemu and Deepal Shaw. “Apaharan” is another film, which has been accepted well in the Hindi belt. Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Bipasha Basu and Yashpal Sharma have acted very well and PrakashJha’s direction is excellent. “Home Delivery” is a supreme disaster. Sujoy Ghosh’s direction, story and screen play are weak. “Mr. Ya Miss” is another supreme disaster and may bring tears to the eyes of the distributors.