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December 2007 - January 2008


Latest News from Bollywood

by Kishan Sharma

If everything goes well, a Pakistani film “Mohabattan Sachian” is scheduled for release in India for the first time in almost forty years. Directed by Shehzad Rafique, the film starring Veena Mullick, Babrik Shah, Adnan Khan and Maria Khan, will open in Punjab. It is expected that the cast and crew of the film would specially be present at the time of its release in India.

Senior film and stage actor Satyen Kappu died in Mumbai following a heart attack. He was 76. Satyen Kappu was having lunch with his family when suddenly he collapsed. Satyen Kappu (Satya Narayan Sharma) had acted in more than 100 films, including Deewar, Raaste Ka Patthar, Benaam, Kasauti, Majboor, Zanjeer, Imaan Dharam, Kaala Patthar, Mr. Natwar Lal, Don, Sholay, Jawani Deewani, Seeta Aur Geeta and Kati Patang. Not many film personalities attended his funeral.

Prominent dialogue-writer Ali Raza died at the age of 86. He was the husband of popular old time actress Nimmi. Ali Raza had written the dialogues of super-hits like Andaz, Aan, Amar, Mother India, Saawan Bhadon, Reshma Aur Shera, and Raja Jaani. Only three film personalities including actor Farooque Sheikh attended the burial of the legendary writer.

Legendary film personality Dev Anand recently attended the 60th birthday fund-raiser of the Democratic aspirant to the presidency, Hillary Clinton in America. Though the last many films he has made havenot done good business, his personal charm, energy and enthusiasm make him a great person everywhere in the world. He presented a copy of his autobiography to Hillary.

The Vatican has reportedly objected to Shekhar Kapoor’s second Elizabeth film, “Elizabeth : The Golden Age”. An official magazine of the Italian Bishops Conference has alleged that the distorted anti-papal travesty is a concerted attack on Catholicism. It is well-known that the war of religion between the Vatican and England is an old one and that it forms an important aspect of Elizabeth’s golden age.

The Delhi High Court has asked the police to provide protection to Telugu super-star Chiranjeevi’s daughter Srija and Shirish Bhardwaj, her husband whom she married after eloping with him. Srija approached the High Court saying that her life was in danger as the actor’s fans may harm the couple since the marriage doesnot have Chiranjeevi’s approval. However, Chiranjeevi has clarified that he wants the couple to return to Andhra Pradesh and meet the family members. He has said that there is no threat to the couple from him.

Hindi film playback singer-cum-actor Sonu Nigam performed at the Harvard Sangeet, a South Asian student group of the University. Sonu sang his popular hits alongwith Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan, “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye” on the occasion of the University’s 28th Presidential Installation.

Union Minister for Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel, Ram Vilas Paswan’s son, Chirag is making his film debut as an actor. Probably, Anuj Saxena’s Maverick Productions will launch him.

The Bombay High Court declared that since Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s “Eklavya” has already been sent to the Oscars, it wouldnot disturb the process in the interest of the Nation. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatantra Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud made it clear that the Film Federation of India would henceforth have to come up with transparent guidelines to select films for the Academy Award. Filmmaker Bhavna Talwar had moved the court against the FFI alleging foul play in the selection of “Eklavya” over her film “Dharm” for the coveted Oscar.

In a joint operation of Southall Broadway Police, London Borough of Ealing Trading Standards and the BPI, a search warrant was executed at a private address in Heston and two further related premises searched on Uxbridge Road, Hayes, where lakhs of illegally pressed imported DVDs were recovered. The total street value of the seized goods was around £1.4 million. One person has been arrested in UK in this connection.

Mrs. Meera Dev Burman, widow of the music maestro late S. D. Burman died in Mumbai after a prolonged illness. She was staying in an old-age home in New Mumbai for quite long time. Her daughter-in-law, the famous playback singer Asha Bhosle (wife of late music director R. D. Burman) had brought Mrs. Meera Dev Burman to R. D. Burman’s Santacruz home when Tripura government decided to felicitate her and present her with a cheque of rupees one lakh, recently.

Legendary actress Suchitra Sen is now fine. She was admitted to a Kolkata nursing home recently.

Actress and Member of Parliament Hema Malini, who is also the brand ambassador for Vision 2020 announced that she would donate her eyes and urged others to help the blind by pledging their eyes.

A monetary dispute between veteran music director Ravi and his son Ajay Sharma turned ugly when the octogenarian music composer lodged a complaint with the Federation of Western India Cine Employees against his son. Ravi and Ajay were summoned by the Federation but Ajay did not turn up. Ravi lives with his daughter on the ground floor of the spacious bungalow at Santacruz, while Ajay and his actress wife Varsha Usgaonkar live on the first floor. Both families are not on talking terms and Ravi claims that he has been footing all the household expenditure.

The long-standing dispute between actress Priyanka Chopra and her ex-secretary Prakash Jaju, over the payment of his commission has been amicably settled. Jaju had filed a case against Priyanka and her father Dr. Ashok Chopra claiming that Priyanka owed him over rupees one crore and he was getting threats from an underworld don at her father’s behest. Earlier Dr. Ashok Chopra was granted bail by an Indore court in this case. Adlabs’ “Johnny Gaddaar”, which was due for release in the U.K. will not be shown in the cinemas there. The film was issued an “A” certificate by the Censor Board in India. An ‘adult only’ film usually doesnot get a universal exhibition certificate in the UK. The debut-making film of Neil Mukesh, grand son of legendary playback singer Mukesh, would also not hit the screens in Australia and Singapore, which would mean a substantial loss of revenue from the Overseas market.

A Muslim organization issued a ‘fatwa’ against actor Salman Khan for attending a Ganesh pooja, during the Ganesh festival in Mumbai. Salman Khan actually not only attended the pooja but he alongwith members of the family brings home the Ganesh idol every year for one and a half day, prays before it and then takes it for immersion. Even actor Shah Rukh Khan visited Ganesh pandals in Mumbai during the festival. Salman’s father, well known writer Salim termed the ‘fatwa’ as ‘ridiculous’.

Actress Urmila Matondkar helped Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan to raise rupees three crores in Dubai for a new branch of his cancer hospital in Karachi. Urmila also sang a song and danced in the charity show.

Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister R. R. Patil has said that the state government has decided to take strict action against film pirates under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act. The Hindi film industry loses crores of rupees to pirates annually. The film industry has decided to felicitate the Deputy Chief Minister for his tough stand in this connection.

Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley has reportedly married a Brazilian actress secretly. Kingsley (63) wed Daniela Barbosa De Carneiro (32) in Oxfordshire. Kingsley, known for his acting as Mahatma Gandhi divorced his third wife Alexandra Christmann last year.

Famous ghazal singer Jagjit Singh is now back in his house. He was admitted to Bombay Hospital since he was suffering from mild circulatory problem in the brain. Dr. Keki Turel said that there was low blood circulation to the brain but with timely treatment, Jagjit Singh has recovered fully well.

The Supreme Court has granted permission to movie starlet Monica Bedi to restart her film career. Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan heading the bench which heard her case said the actress needs to inform the police about her film assignments before leaving her native place in Punjab. The bail condition restraining her from leaving Hoshiarpur in Punjab was said to be a hindrance to her film career.

If both actresses agree to the proposal of Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai would be playing Bipasha Basu’s mother in the historical film based on the romance between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Whereas Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan has been offered the role of Mumtaz Mahal, Bipasha Basu has been offered the role of the daughter Jahanara Begum. Kingsley himself will play Shah Jahan.

Actor Saif Ali Khan’s production house Serendipity Films is making a film “Agent Vinod” directed by Sriram Raghavan. It is learnt that Kareena Kapoor has been offered the lead role in the film.

Legendary music director Khayyam received the coveted Gaan Samragni Lata Mangeshkar Award 2007 instituted by the Government of Maharashtra. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil gave the rupees one lakh award in presence of Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Ashok Chavan, Minister of State Rana Jagjit Singh Patil, Cultural Secretary Bhooshan Gagrani and Director of Cultural Affairs Ajay Ambekar at Delhi. Khayyam accompanied by his singer wife Jagjit Kaur rendered one popular song – “Woh subah kabhi to aayegi”.

-- Kishan Sharma

Two films releasing on one day during the Diwali festival, have entered into a well planned war of publicity. Om Shanti Om and Saawariya teams are leaving no opportunity and no space to publicise their respective films. Such a war has never been seen in the Hindi film industry. Smallest opportunity to get some publicity brings the producers, directors, actors and other people related with these films at any event. Full page advertisements, repeated different type of interviews, well written news items are appearing in almost all newspapers, film magazines and on television channels and radio channels. Crores of rupees are believed to have been spent by concerned production houses in a bid to attract the attention of film-goers. Only time will tell if both the films are liked or not; but atleast the advance booking of both the films is very good because of so much of publicity. Same news items appearing in all the newspapers and magazines and also on the radio and television channels make it clear that they are prepared and sent by the promoters just to boost the prospects of the films. However, the box-office report of other released films is not very encouraging.

Maruti International’s Dhamaal has a story lifted from It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Sanjay Dutt, Ritesh Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Javed Jaffery and Asrani have acted well in the comedy film but it has not succeeded in getting good audience. Super Cassettes Ltd.’s Darling is also inspired from the Hollywood film Click. Ramgopal Varma directed film has flopped. Imaginationworks’ Apna Asmaan fell very badly. Tvisha S. Films’ De De Ek Chumma De is too ordinary a fare to make any mark. Salgia & Co’s Main Hoon Mallika also flopped. Siddhi Vinayak Creations’ Aggar proved to be a non-starter. Dharam Motion Pictures and K. Sera Sera’s Nanhe Jaisalmer starring Bobby Deol and master Dwij Yadav is extremely dull fare. In UK, the film got no response. The cost of one print reaching UK was around 900 pounds, and the first day collection was only worth 880 pounds. Maa Chamunda International’s Cocktail – The Deadly Combination is a disaster. Percept Picture Company’s Dhol, directed by Priyadarshan took a dull start.

Shemaroo Entertainment’s Manorama Six Feet Under has gone unnoticed. Horn OK Please Entertainment Pvt. Ltd’s Lions Of Punjab Presents has not been patronized. Adlabs Films Ltd’s Johnny Gaddaar directed by Sriram Raghavan and starring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Dharmendra and Rimi Sen has been rejected. Prakash Jha Productions’ Dil Dosti Etc. couldnot pick up at the box-office. Futureworks’ Go couldnot go too far. Swadeshi Entertainment’s Chhodon Naa Yaar is a weak fare. Percept Picture Company’s 50 Lakh went unnoticed. Animaa Films’ It’s Breaking News is a well made film but it has failed miserably. Hersh Kohli’s Kaun Ho Sakta Hai? is a big disaster. Yash Raj Films and Apocalypso Filmworks’ Laaga Chunari Mein Daag starring Rani Mukerji, Konkana Sen Sharma, Jaya Bachchan, and Anupam Kher , Abhishek Bachchan and Hema Malini (in special appearances) has not received good response.

T-Series’ Bhool Bhulaiyaa directed by Priyadarshan and starring Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Ameesha Patel and Paresh Rawal proved to be a good entertainer. Baweja Movies Pvt. Ltd’s Speed is a poor copy of the Hollywood film Cellular. Current Entertainment, Fierce Entertainment and Mosaic Media Group’s Aakhri Muqabla, a dubbed version of Rogue Assassin is a dull fare. Prassanna Kothari Films Pvt. Ltd’s Surya is worth no mention. Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd’s Jab We Met has a good story. Directed by Imtiaz Ali, the film has Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, and Dara Singh got good response in the big cities and multiplexes, but has not been greeted warmly in towns and single screen cinema halls. Inspite of all type of publicity regarding broken relationship of Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, the audience did not rush to the ticket windows. Big Screen Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and Vishal Bhardwaj Films’ No Smoking has bombed at the box-office. ASA Film Pvt. Ltd’s Mumbai Salsa is a big disaster. Dhruv Entertainment Media’s Sanak The Deadly Passion has nothing to attract the audience. The only film that can be termed as successful at the box-office during this period, thus remains – Bhool Bhulaiyaa.

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