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August - September 2008


News from Bollywood

by Kishan Sharma

London’s leading NRI entrepreneur Raj Loomba, campaigner of widows’ rights, who had recently visited India with Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of erstwhile prime minister of Britain, and 17 others were chosen for the Queen’s BirthdayHonours this year. Born inDhilwan in Punjab, 64 year old Raj Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust has been made a Commander of the British Empire for “charitable services to poor widows and their children overseas, particularly in India and to UK-India interests more widely”. Surina Narula, another NRI, who is champion of streetchildren in India, has been chosen for an Member of the British Empire in recognition of her “charitable services in India”.

Dr. Mahesh Kumar, head of radiology at Penine AcuteTrustHospital in the north ofEnglandmakes his acting debut in the crime thriller, “Accident”, a Kannada film, which is premiered in London recently with English subtitles. Dr. Mahesh Kumar appears as Mahesh Longa, the criminal head of a nightclub and pirate DVD empire. He had come to Bangaluru on annual leave when he was offered the role and he finished his shooting and dubbing in 20 days.Now, he has received two Bollywood offers.

Anand Tucker’s latest film “When Did You Last See Your Father”, had everyone at the Cannes film festival sit up and take notice. The film has already taken Europe by storm and is awaiting release in the other parts of theworld.The 45 year oldAnand, son of a Gujarati father and German mother, is the husband of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” fame filmmaker Sharon Maguire.

Hollywood actress Jessica Alba, best known for her roles as an exotic dancer in “Sin City”, splashes out in an orange six yard ‘sari’, inMikeMyers comedy, “The LoveGuru”. Earlier Cherie Blair and ElizabethHurley had been great ambassadors for the ‘sari’.

Veteran actor-filmmaker Manoj Kumar is upset once again. He is considering legal action against the “Om Shanti Om” team. The film’s director Farah Khan is reported to have said in a television interview that Manoj Kumar was talking about her film to gain publicity. This has hurt the veteran actor. Filmmaker Yash Chopra had taken both Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan toManoj Kumar’s residence last time for a patch-up. Manoj Kumar was assuredthat the objectionableportioninthe filmwould be deleted, but that has not happened; and instead, the director is nowsaying that he is raising the issue to gain publicity.

AmbyReddyCreations’ newfilm, “Zindagi Live”, produced by Ambi Reddy, and directed by Madhusudhan Reddy, deals with the issue of legalizing mercy killing.Written by Sutanu Gupta, the film stars Milind Gunaji, Anupama Verma, Raghini Khanna, Pankit Thakker, Bhavesh Dhariwal and Rajiv Dagar . Associate Producer Raju Kariya explained that Euthunasia is aGreek word whichmeans ‘good death’. Netherlands is the first country to legalisemercy killing. It is to end sufferings of the patient, froma painful and non-curable genetic condition. SridharRahul Bhatwill compose music for the film, said the film’s PRO, PreetamSharma.

If all goes well, musician Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, will be seen acting in a Bollywood film opposite Emraan Hashmi.The bi-lingual filmentitled “Breaking Free” is to be directed by AhsanHyder.

Yesteryear actress-singer Suraiya’sMarineDrive flat inMumbai, which was sealed since her death in 2004, is finally up for sale. It is learnt that the dispute was settled out of the court, between Suraiya’s cousin MehfoozAhmedfromPakistan, andAdvocateDimant Thakker ofMumbai, claiming a close relationshipwith Suraiya . She had six other flats in her name atWorli, and a bungalow at Lonavala, alongwith her diamonds and fixed deposits.

Actor Aamir Khan is all set to buy an entire housing society in Santacruz (West).The actor is said to have offered about Rs. 1.5 crore to each of the 22 flat owners of the 32 year oldVrindavan housing society. It is learnt that AamirKhan is planning to set up a studio on the premises.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actress wife Shabana Azmi have been invited as personal guests of Prince Charles, to spend two days at the Buckingham Palace in London. Industrialist RatanTata,Mukesh Ambani, Laxmi Mittal and Sunil Mittal are also invited by the Prince to visit both houses of Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office in July 2008.

Former Culture Club frontman Boy George has been refused entry into the US because of his 2006 conviction for lying about a burglary at his New York apartment. The British singer – real name, George O’Dowd, had planned to perform a series of concerts. Similarly, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart was banned fromtravelling to theUKfromAmerica, because of her criminal record.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Entertainment has signed a mega deal with the Bachchans, worth Rs. 1500 crore. The Bachchans — Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya, will work for the films, television serials, reality shows, andmobile contents etc. of the Reliance Big Entertainment.

The Reliance Big Entertainment is all set to invest US $600 million in Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks SKG, which may exit from ViacomInc.’s Paramount Pictures.

TomHanks and director RonHoward have been forbidden from filming in two Roman churches by religious leaders. The pair is making the prequel to controversial film, “TheDaVinciCode”, in the Italian city. But despite the ban, they will be allowed to film exteriors of the two churches,whichwill be recreated in the studios.

Julie, the nurse, who looked after Amitabh Bachchan, after his “Coolie” accident, was admitted to a hospital, which claimed that it had adopted her and would treat her for free. She is suspected to be suffering from ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis. Nobody from the Indian film industry, including Amitabh Bachchan came forward to help the nurse, who is believed to have received Rs. 25,000 only from some people, who responded to her appeal for donations.

The Government of India plans to give Dilip Kumar, LataMangeshkar and B. Saroja Devi, a “onetime award for lifetime achievement” to commemorate India’s 60th anniversary of independence. Bengal film directorTapan Sinha too would be given the award for excellence in the field of filmdirection.

“Lage Raho Munna Bhai” bagged four awards at the 54thNationalAwards for 2006.RajKumarHirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi got award for the best screenplay, Swanand Kirkire for best lyrics, Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra for the best popular filmproviding wholesome entertainment, and Dilip Prabhavalkar for his role ofMahatma Gandhi as best supporting actor. Incidentally, Dilip Prabhavalkar also received the same award forMarathi film, “Shevri”. “Munna Bhai MBBS” had also won the National Award in 2003. Madhur Bhandarkar won his third award for “Traffic Signal”.He had earlier been awarded for “ChandniBar” and “Page 3”.Konkona SenSharma was adjudged the best supporting actress for her role in “Omkara”, while Divya Chahadkar got it for best child artist for “Antarnad” (Konkani). Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee won the best actor award for “Podakkhep” (Bengali), while actress Priyamani got the best actress award for “Paruthi Veeran” (Tamil). GurdasMaan’s Punjabi film“Waris Shah – Ishq DaaWaaris” got four awards for best language film, best singer, best costumes, and best art direction. The coveted Dadasaheb Phalke Award forOutstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema would be announced later.Names of actor Pran and music director Khayyam alongwith some others, are being considered for the award.

Three people, including two women, were arrested inNagpur after they posed as Raj Kapoor’s relatives and tried to sell off 25 acres of land owned by the late actor’s sister and brother-in-law.

Five changes demanded by the Sikh leaders, will be incorporated before any promotional activity starts for the film “Singh Is Kinng”. Akshay Kumar, and Vipul Shah, hero and producer respectively of “Singh Is Kinng” addressed a press conference and withdrew over two lakh film posters. Vipul Shah also gave an affidavit to the Sikh leaders promising removal of all objectionable references to the community.

In an online poll by a UK men’s entertainment magazine, actress Katrina Kaifhas beendeclared the “SexiestWoman in the World”, outscoring Hollywood beauties like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson and Bollywood stars like Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor. According to reports, Katrina garnered about five lakh votes to emerge as the winner.

The news about a postal stamp of actorManojTiwari being taken out by the Dutch government turned out to be untrue. The news was widely reported all over, as Manoj Tiwari had claimed to be the first Indian actor to have been honoured in this way. The actor infact went in for a personal stamp which any person can go in for, but he publicized it as if the Dutch government had honoured himby bringing out a stamp on him.The Bhojpuri super actorwas recently stoned in Bihar, by a section of youth, which forced his show to be cancelled.

Renowned film financier and producer Jhamu Sugandh passed away in Mumbai recently. He had financed films like “Rangeela” and “Bombay” and had also produced “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Lagaan” (with Aamir Khan).

Film writer and playwright Vijay Tendulkar died in Pune. He had written films like “Ardh Satya”, “Aakrosh”, and Marathi films like “Saamana”, “Sinhasan”, and “Umbartha”.His other works include “Nishant”, “Manthan”, and “Aaghat”; and Marathi stage plays like Ghashiram Kotwal, and Shantata !CourtChalu Aahe. His daughter Priya Tendulkar is a popular actress andTV programme producer.

The Mumbai police is seeking nonbailable warrants for three of Angelina Jolie’s bodyguards, who were accused of intimidating, insulting and assaulting parents of the students of Anjuman-e- Islam school during the shooting of “The Mighty Heart”. The guards have failed to turn up for the court hearings, despite summons, during the last one year.

Kannada actress Maria Monica Susairaj and her boyfriend, Jerome Matthew were arrested inMumbai for the murder of a media executive Neeraj Grover. It is reported that Jerome, a naval officer, foundNeerajwith the actresswhen he suddenly arrivedinMumbai.Mariahad calledNeeraj to her flat previous evening to get some acting offers, and they both slept together. The actress and her boyfriend later choppedNeeraj’s body in small pieces and disposed them off at Manor, near Mumbai.The actress is said to have had sex with her boyfriend while the chopped body ofNeerajwas packed in gunny bag in the same room; and she also had sex with himafter they disposed off the body. Some filmmakers are heard to be seriously thinking on making a film on the entire episode.

Ayesha Shroff, wife of actor Jackie Shroff is reported to have sold her Bandra flat to two persons.One buyer is a reputed builder in Mumbai and the other is a Dubai based businessman. The first deal for salewith the builder struck for Rs. 10.5 crores. After depositing the cheques, she struck another deal for the same flat with the Dubai based man for a few more crores.

Actress Mandira Bedi, whose multicrore, multi-storey building is coming up at Bandra inMumbai has been dragged to the Bombay High Court by a neighbour, Wilson D’Silva, who has alleged irregularities and illegalities in its construction.


In 2007, India produced 1146 films and thus has become the world’s largest film producer. A total of 257 Hindi films, 241 Telugu films, and 149 Tamil films were made in 2007. There was no film made in Assamese, Konkani, Garhwali, Awadhi, Sanskrit and some other languages, during entire year. In the first half of 2008, only two Hindi films, out of a total of 114 films, could be termed as “successful”. “Race” and “Jannat” have made producers and distributors happy, but even these films couldnot be termed as “super hits”. False claims have been made by many film producers in the recent past, but the facts have proved them wrong. “Sarkar Raj” was publicized as top grosser in the UK and it was also declared that the film has featured on UK Top 10; but on checking the details of UK Top 10, dated 15th June 2008, the film appeared nowhere on the chart. However, the second half of the year has opened with a real successful film, “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na”. Aamir Khan Productions Pvt. Ltd. And PVR Pictures’ “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na”, written and directed by Abbas Tyrewala has been received very well. Imran Khan and Genelia are extra-ordinary in their acting and looks, and have been supported very well by Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Ratna Pathak-Shah, Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan and Prateik Babbar. A.R. Rehamn’s music is also very good. Unfortunately, the much talked about film of Baweja Movies Pvt. Ltd., “Love Story 2050”, featuring Harman Baweja and Priyanka Chopra, has been rejected. Directed by Harry Baweja, the film has music by Anu Malik. Neha International’s “Hamari Ranbhoomi”is a disaster. Drama Company’s “Ek Chatur Naar” is a flop. Yash Raj Films and Kunal Kohli Productions’ “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic” starring Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Rishi Kapoor and four kids, couldnot attract audience. Risaa Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and Fizz Entertainment’s “Thodi Life Thoda Magic” is a complete disaster. Moxie Entertainments and NFDC’s “Via Darjeeling” is a non-starter, inspite of the fact that Kay KayMenon, Sonali Kulkarni, Parvin Dabas, Vinay Pathak and Rajat Kapur have acted very nicely. Jemi Vision’s “Main Hoon King” is dubbed from the English version, Dynamite Warrior, of a Thai film. It will not get good response. Nikhil Entertainment’s “Munna Bajrangi” is a Bhojpuri film, which might get some Bhojpuri speaking audience. Rising Star Entertainment’s “De Taali”proved to be a poor show. Big Screen Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s “Haal-E-Dil” is a non-starter. NTree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s “Khushboo” is a dull fare. Kailash Entertainment’s “Memsahab” is rejected by the audience. Paramount Films Of India Ltd.’s “Mahabali – Hulk”, dubbed from Hollywood film, The Incredible Hulk, would be liked because of the action. Shemaroo Entertainment’s “Mere Baap Pehle Aap” is a Priyadarshan film, but is a poor show. Atul Productions’ “Summer 2007” is also a non-starter. Phoebus Creations Media Pvt. Ltd.’s “Dashavatar” is a dull show. Adlabs, Z. Picture Company and K. Sera Sera’s “Sarkar Raj” proved to be disappointing fare. Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan couldnot attract the audience to Ramgopal Varma’s film. UTV Spotboy’s “Aamir” , inspired by the English film, Phone Booth, is a well made film, but will not get success at the box-office. Kamaal Amrohi Pictures’ “Hum Sey Hai Jahaan” is a flop. Go Cam Films’ “Hastey Hastey – Follow Your Heart” is a poor show all the way. White Feather Films’ “Woodstock Villa” is a dull movie. Paramount-Lucas-Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones Aur Kapal Ki Sultanat” dubbed from Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is a good time-pass. Sri Dhanalakshmi Productions’ “Maidan-E-Jung” and Suresh Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s “Hero – The Real Man” are both disasters. Samanta Movies Pvt. Ltd.’s “Don Muthu Swami” has gone unnoticed, despite the excellent job done by Mithun Chakraborty. Anushka Images Pvt. Ltd.’s “Dhoom Dadakka” is a wash-out. Shemaroo Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s “Ghatothkach” is a disappointing animation film. Vishesh Films’ “Jannat”, inspired by the Bob Woolmer murder case, is well received. Too much publicity of the film created a market for the success of the film at the box-office. Walt Disney and Walden Media’s “Narnia: Prince Caspian”, a dubbed film, will do well. Rupa Movietone’s “Rani Anaconda” is a poor film. Satya Films’ “De Dhakka” is a Marathi film. It will get good response from Marathi audience. B.R. Films’ “Bhoothnath”, inspired by the Korean film Ghost House, is a dull fare. Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, and Master Aman Siddique have worked wonderfully, but the film will fail to attract the audience. High-Definition Motion Pictures’ “Jimmy” is a dull film.

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