Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
"Barring Anurag Basu's 'Metro', most of my films have been solo-heroine films revolving around my character. This is the first time I'm co-starring with another actress. I'm not insecure about it. Why should I be? Priyanka and I have distinct personalities and that's why Madhur has signed us to play the two very different characters," Kangana told IANS.
But Priyanka has a reputation of emerging as trumps whenever pitched against another actress like against Kareena Kapoor in "Aitraaz" and Lara Dutta in "Andaaz".
"Good!" ripostes Kangana. "It'd be healthy competition. We'll both do our best. A film shouldn't be like a kabaddi competition.
"And moreover Priyanka is not one of those actresses who has catfights on the sets or walks off because...bhalaa uski kameez meri kameez se zyada safed kyon hai! She is very secure in her space as I am in mine. 'Fashion' is the first film I've signed in the last six months. I choose my roles according to what suits my personality."
Bhandarkar must be the only filmmaker in the industry who casts for women's parts before getting the guys in place.
For "Fashion" he first trotted to Priyanka, waited till she approved of the final draft before going to Kangana to play the other lead.
"The narration happened just a few days ago. Madhur and I had been in talks for some time. When I heard the story I jumped at it. We start shooting in December," says the actress who is just back from a holiday in her hometown Manali.
Is there a danger of her being typecast as a neurotic, on-the-edge, parapet actor?
"No parapets this time, only the ramp," chuckles Kangana. "I admit it is again a role about a woman on the edge, on the lines of Geetanjali Nagpal's character, though Madhur had written the script long before.
"In any case such stories of wasted dreams are common in the entertainment industry. But Geetanjali and I do look similar, frizzy hair and all."
So will she again play a suicidal character? "What's wrong with playing such characters? Someone has got to play them. And if I can play such uncertain characters with confidence, I might as well do that rather than be a decorative piece in a four-star comedy where I look completely out of place," she says.
The closest that the two actors have come was when Mallika's "Murder" was released alongside Tabu's "Meenaxi" on the same Friday.
In the past too, the industry has had some incredible casting makeovers, like Tabu stepping into Rani Mukerji's space in Mira Nair's "The Namesake" and Lisa Ray getting into Deepa Mehta's "Water", originally earmarked for Nandita Das.
But how did this one happen? Apparently the producers were unwilling to pay the price Tabu asked for. Obviously the role has undergone critical modifications to suit altered conditions.
Chhel disagrees: "I'm a writer. So I know exactly how to place an actor into a character. Yes, Tabu was to do the role. But the way I look at it now, the role is perfect for Mallika. If Naseeruddin Shah had done 'Black' wouldn't it have been different from the way Amitabh Bachchan played the character?"
Chhel asserts that his film isn't a spoof on the classic "Mughal-e-Azam".
"No one in his right mind would satirise that all-time classic. My film is about a theatrical repertoire. Everyone -- Rahul Bose, K.K. Menon, Mallika -- has a comic role."
Rahul and Mallika hit it off like a house on fire during "Pyar Ke Side Effects". While Pritish Nandy Productions is still planning a sequel, Chhel has gone and got the unlikely pair together again.
It would be interesting to see Mallika do yet another role, after "Pyar Ke Side Effects", where she is not cast in her sex-bomb image.
Friday, October 26, 2007
"In 'Laaga Chunari...' it was very important for me to look completely different as the innocent, carefree girl in Varanasi and then this prostitute in Mumbai."
Rani wanted to shock the audience.
"The shock value had to come through. My director Pradeep Sarkar, my hairstylist, my costume designer and I got together and spent hours creating contrasting looks for me as Badki in Varanasi and Natasha in the film. It's so important to have a team that makes your character look convincing."
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Pune, Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt reportedly spent a very nervous day Tuesday after his return to Yerawada Jail here and also refused breakfast. His lawyers said they would move a bail petition before the apex court next week and were hopeful of it being granted.
The celebrity prisoner was brought in a police van from Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai Monday night to the jail after he was given a copy of the judgement sentencing him in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. He surrendered to the special anti-terrorism court after receiving copy of the judgment convicting him under the Arms Act.
Outside the jail, it was bustling with activity with OB vans, camera crews and correspondents talking continuously on their mobile phones giving minute-to-minute updates of whatever they could glean on the actor.
But this time around, what's conspicuous is the absence of Dutt's fans outside the jail.
The police official are keeping tight-lipped on Dutt. However, according to some sources, Sanjay was very nervous throughout the day. He did not sleep at night and refused breakfast. In the post lunch session, his lawyer came to the jail, but refused to divulge any details.
Dutt's lawyer Farhana Shah informed IANS: "We will be moving the bail petition in the Supreme court next week. The grounds of the petition have not been worked out till now, we will be informing the media about it through a press release."
According to Majid Menon, a senior lawyer in Mumbai: "Sanjay should have no problem obtaining a bail in the Supreme Court because of three reasons, namely his not been convicted under the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) act, secondly his being on bail for more that 10 years and thirdly his good conduct when on bail."
When asked about time required to go through the 4,500-page judgment document, Menon said that Sanjay Dutt was capable of hiring as many as 20 lawyers to hasten the process.
The police convoy bringing Dutt had raced along with their celebrity prisoner at almost 130 kmph on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, dodging media vans to reach Yerawada around midnight in a record two-and-a-half hours.
In the morning, Dutt underwent a thorough medical check-up Tuesday as he began his second stint in the prison.
Dutt is soon expected to start carpentry work in jail. During his last stay, authorities said the actor had shown interest in the skill.
The actor has been absolved of terrorism charges but convicted under the Arms Act. The serial blasts left 257 people dead and many injure
Mumbai, The Big B is all set to get back to work with a vengeance. Foremost on his list of must-do are Mira Nair's "Shantaram" and Deepa Mehta's pseudo-historical "Exclusion".
While in principle the Big B has said yes to both the international projects, there seems to be a date problem around the corner. Both Mehta and Nair, seen as fierce rivals, want to shoot their projects in winter. Script and date-wise, Nair has an edge. And the Bollywood icon says he will start shooting for Nair's film as he has already allocated her the dates.
"I've already committed my dates to Mira whereas Deepa is yet to finish her script or lock in on the dates. So naturally Mira gets first priority," Amitabh told IANS.
Canada-based Mehta says her script will take some time.
"After 'Water' I'm locked away right now working on the script. It's not something I can rush through because it requires historic detailing. 'Exclusion' would be my toughest film ever," said Mehta.
As far as casting goes Mehta has already zeroed in on Terence Stamp, John Abraham and of course, the Big B, who incidentally loved both Mehta's "Water" and Nair's "The Namesake" and would ideally not like to relinquish either project.
"I don't know why Mira and I are constantly being put in confrontational situations! I loved her 'The Namesake' and she liked my 'Water'. Now if we're both casting Mr. Bachchan, it shouldn't become a tug 'o' war between us," Mehta said.
London, Delhi girl Tannishtha Chatterjee has been nominated for best actress in the British Independent Film Awards for her leading role in the controversial movie "Brick Lane", pitting her against established stars like Dame Judi Dench and Anne Hathaway.
Chatterjee, a 29-year-old graduate of the National School of Drama in Delhi, plays the role of Nazneen in "Brick Lane" -- an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Bangladesh-born author Monica Ali.
An overjoyed Chatterjee said Tuesday: "It's my first British film and I've been nominated -- you can't get better than this."
The nominations for the best actress also include Dame Judi Dench ("Notes from a Scandal"), Anne Hathaway ("Becoming Jane") and Sophya Myles ("Hallam Foe").
The maker of "Brick Lane" Sarah Gavron was nominated for best director alongside David Cronenberg ("Eastern Promises") and Anton Corbijn ("Control").
Brick Lane is the name of a winding and colourful east London street that is populated mostly by ethnic Bangladeshis and is famous in Britain for the Indian curry restaurants that line both sides of the street.
The story centres around Nazneen, a Bangladeshi girl who comes to Britain as a teenager for an arranged marriage with a much older man. In the course of her life in London -- she has daughters who grow up to be temperamental teenagers -- she meets and falls in love with Karim, an Islamic radical.
The film became controversial when a small group of east London Bangladeshis protested what they called the stereotyping of local immigrants, prompting the filmmakers to relocate from Brick Lane.
Prince Charles and Camilla then pulled out of a royal gala of the film amid security concerns that they may become targets of protests.
Chatterjee, however, said Tuesday that there had been a very good response from screenings attended by members of the Bangladeshi community in London.
"I honestly don't find anything controversial in the film. Most of the people who are reacting obviously haven't seen it and haven't read the book. They have to see it," she said.
Author Monica Ali, in a recent article in The Guardian, blamed "media distortions" for the controversy whipped up around the film, saying most of the so-called protesters had not read the book, and therefore had no idea what they were protesting against.
"And I am aware that given the nature of the press coverage, and the rumours circulating that, for example, the film would show a leech falling into a curry pot in a Brick Lane restaurant (which doesn't happen in either novel or film), people who haven't read the book are now much more likely to feel hostile towards it," Ali wrote in an article titled 'The Outrage Economy'.
Ali revealed that Chatterjee was the first person to be auditioned for the role of Nazneen, and that "though the director and producers immediately thought she was great, she had to wait until they'd satisfied themselves by seeing a lot of other actors".
The author has high praise for Chatterjee's performance, saying, "Somehow she manages to convey an interior life through looks and gestures, and she also seems to get more beautiful as the film goes along, as if in some outward expression of an inner state of being."
The winners will be announced Nov 28.