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August - September 2007


Film, Art & Culture

by Kishan Sharma

Writer – Editor – and Director of "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S." and "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" is getting most of the awards these days. In addition to the various film awards all over the world, he was also felicitated by the Vice President of India Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, where Hirani got the Bharat Asmita Rashtriya Puraskar, instituted by the MIT, Pune. Born in Nagpur, Rajkumar Hirani has been very actively involved with the Hindi theatre. Son of Sheela Hirani and Suresh Hirani, Rajkumar headed for the Film & Television Institute of India, where he completed his diploma in cinema with specialisation in editing. He began his career in Mumbai as an editor and gradually moved on to establish himself as a director and producer of advertisement films. He started his own ad-film production house called "Canvas Films". While editing "Mission Kashmir", his interaction with Vidhu Vinod Chopra inspired him to write and direct his first feature film, a dream he had nurtured for long. And thus "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S." was made; but there was no buyer. Everybody said that the film will not run at all. Finally Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani decided to release the film themselves. The first show was discouraging; but the evening show had a full house. And after that the film took entire world by storm. When Rajkumar started working on his second project, "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", large number of people came running with bags full of money, but Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani did not accept any money from anybody. They had decided to launch and release the second Munna Bhai film also by themselves. The film has been instrumental in reviving interest in Mahatma Gandhi among the youth in India. It is a fact that since the release of the film, there has been 400% increase in the sale of books on Mahatma Gandhi. The "Washington Post" described the film as "a phenomenon that has turned Gandhi into a pop-icon". Rajkumar Hirani was to start his third film "Munna Bhai Chale America", but he has put it on hold. He says that the expectations of people have grown too much and it is better to wait rather than to present a half-cooked story. He wants good stories and invites all good writers to come forward with new ideas. It might be interesting to know that at first, Rajkumar Hirani had thought of taking Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai for Munna Bhai MBBS; but due to some personal problems, Shah Rukh couldnot start shooting and Aishwarya took up another assignment. The story was then narrated to Sanjay Dutt, and thus the first film got started. Rajkumar is married to Manjeet and has an eight year old son Veer. Rajkumar Hirani doesnot want to act in his films. He has recently shot ad-films with Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt, and is working on the story of a film with light comedy and satire, on present educational system. He is busy moving all around to collect various awards, but wants to remain a simple humble man.


Reema Amarapurkar, daughter of well known film actor Sadashiv Amarapurkar has made a film in Marathi based on the simple life and hard work done by the most effective politician and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. R. R. Patil, who is also the Home Minister of Maharashtra. Mr. R. R. Patil is affectionately called "AABA" by one and all. He is widely known as an honest and non-corrupt politician. The home ministry most of the time faces heavy criticism for large scale corruption. It is a known fact that crores of rupees change hands to seek favourable postings, whenever police officials are transfered. It is indeed surprising that more than 8000 police personnel holding different ranks were recentlty transfered by Mr. R. R. Patil without any talk of money any where. Nobody has raised any finger of doubt towards Mr. Patil, who lives a simple life. Most of the people call him "Mr. Clean", which is a rare distinction among the politicians, who are generally known as most corrupt people. Mr. Patil’s mother, wife and children live in a small village of Maharashtra and prefer to live there only. The family visits Mumbai only during children’s vacations. A law-graduate Mr. R. R. Patil has done tremendous work in the Sant Gadge Maharaj clean village scheme, which has largely been appreciated all over. He is trying to free all villages of crime and lengthy disputes by introducing various schemes to grant incentives to the crime-free and dispute-free villages in Maharashtra. It is learnt that the film "Aaba Atta Tari Thaamba" has no heroine and revolves around Mr. R. R. Patil, who attracts large crowds wherever he goes. There are large number of incidents which have made him a man of the rural and urban masses and all such things alongwith his clean image have inspired Reema Amarapurkar to make a film on him. Mr. R. R. Patil belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party, headed by Mr. Sharad Pawar, the strong Maratha man, who is India’s Agriculture Minister and also the President of BCCI. Mr. Pawar has earlier been the Chief Minister of Maharashtra also.


The playback singer-actor Sonu Nigam wants to settle-down in the USA. He had recently recorded 18 hit songs originally rendered by Mohd. Rafi. He signed up with the famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for this album. Incidentally, Mohd. Rafi’s unreleased tracks recorded in the ‘70s under the music direction of Chitragupta are also being released by Chitragupta’s music director sons Anand and Milind. Singer-actor Sonu Nigam has said that he has been getting lots of work in the US. He has also been performing on the stage there. He neither feels homesick nor misses India, because, as per him, he gets peace of mind in the US. He says that he is not getting good work in India, and doesnot want to be projected as a mere add-on singer in the incredible concerts. He admits that he has had so many relationships with women in the past, but now he has patched-up with his wife and wants his wife to deliver their baby in the US only. This will make the baby a US citizen, which will help him and his wife to stay in the US in future. When there is so much cut-throat business and no good work as a singer as well as an actor in India, it is indeed better that Sonu Nigam packs his bags and settles down in the US. May be, many Indian playback singers will feel relieved.


The eight year old relationship between Kelly Dorjee and Lara Dutta has finally ended. They were living in together for the last three years. It is learnt that Kelly disapproved of Lara’s close bonding with her male co-stars. Kelly is reported to have shifted to a rented apartment in Malad and has left Lara’s Bandra home. They were an ideal couple all these years and had no problem. They were always seen together at social dos. There were also some rumours about the tension between Bipasha Basu and John Abraham, who also have a long relationship and have been moving together all over the world. Nobody knows what is the truth, but it is a fact that now suddenly both Bipasha Basu and John Abraham have started moving separately. Whereas Bipasha Basu and John Abraham’s separation could not be confirmed, as both are not talking about it, the Kelly Dorjee-Lara Dutta break-up is confirmed because Kelly has moved out of Lara’s house.


Antaakshri host Annu Kapoor slapped a unit member on being hit by the flying lid of a confetti can. A production unit member opened a compressed confetti can and the lid burst open and flew straight towards Annu Kapoor, who mistook it as some kind of bomb. Annu Kapoor claimed that his hand was fractured though nothing like that had happened. The workers tried to file a complaint with the union against Annu, but the production head quickly intervened and saved an ugly confrontation. Annu Kapoor said that he was badly injured, but the production team couldnot see even any small injury. The producer and long time friend Gajendra Singh is said to be very upset with Annu Kapoor’s moody behaviour.

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