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PRIYANKA CHOPRA “If I Am Ever With Someone, I’ll Be With A Showman…”

JANUARY 2016 ` 75 www.stardust.co.in

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AKSHAY KUMAR STYLE SECRETS

SUNNY DEOL On Why He Could Not Become A Commodity “Akshay (Kumar) Is The Calmest Person I Have Ever Worked With.” SONAKSHI SINHA

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“I Don’t Like To Believe That I Am At The Top Of The Ladder” DEEPIKA PADUKONE

RANBIR KAPOOR

THE GRAND RESURRECTION


Happy New Year all you beautiful animals! Hope you had a generous sprinkling of stardust in your lives as you rang in the new and bid the old goodbye. An eventful 2015 it was, with a fitting finale. Jazzing our tinseled journey straight from the Sansui Colors Stardust Awards into January, we have our eyes pinned on magic and masala, glitter and glory and a helluva lot more goodies along the way. But come now, Bollywood tales beckon‌ OOOOO Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol who were all over the place promoting their last release Dilwale, rocked PVR theatres along with Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon and director Rohit Shetty. But the real rock stars of that place were Ajay and Sanjeev Bijli, whose PVR theatres have made the marquee a whole different ball game since 1997. They were busy opening more PVRs left right and centre, and their target was 500 theatres with the release of Dilwale. Their ultra-luxe brand PVR ICON is simply to die for. These two live-wire Bijlis have changed the experience of viewing films on the big screen and how! So see you at the movies then‌ OOOOO

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Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol: Painting The Town Red


Anyway, the chemistry between SRK and Kajol who was clad in a pale blue dress with fabric flowers jumping off the middle, was still enough to make lovers feel giddy. Kajol is gorgeous and has such a light in her eyes and fun in her heart. Just looking at her makes one feel joyous. Varun and Kriti wowed people with their special dance moves and that boy has got a way of worming himself into peoples’ hearts. The breathtakingly lovely Kriti has an innate sense of style, in the film, and off the screen too. She has, like Jacqueline stepped into Sonam’s classy Christian Loubotins, just stepped right into Jackie’s. OOOOO

From Bigg Boss house to Comedy Circus, let’s digress a bit. The inimitable and really hilarious Krushna Abhishek (Govinda’s nephew with the baby face), threw his beloved wifey a birthday party. Kashmera and Krushna’s pad at Madh Island was lit up like a lighthouse beacon and had so many people, there was barely any Kashmera & Krushna: Rocking It standing room. Bumped into quite a few party happies there. Mimoh, Ayub Khan, Deepshikha, Elli, and a whole bunch of telly stars. But coming back to Krushna, he strutted his stuff in moves we thought would make Saroj Khan proud of him! He guffawed at the compliment and shook his chest in one fina ff Q al heave ffor effect. Quite a riot it was! In id ll K h ’ ncidentally, Kashmera’s and her doggie l b d their h i e celebrated birthdays togeth Whil the h pooch h ether. While turned 17, Kash h d us that h she h h showed was still a teen b i hh ny-bopper with her energy levels. The dance ffloor was overrun with g i b di and da gyrating bodies good time wa db ll IIt was one as h had by all. comedy circu us. OOOOO

Elli Avram: The Pink Panther Shoes reminds us of Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss Baby. Pretty Elli Avram who we keep meeting at parties, said we should have our own party soon. Recently, Elli visited the sprawling Pheonix Market City to shop, and painted the place pink literally. Most of the products she picked up were pink. Just back from New York, the actress had her bags loaded with the shopping she indulged in, a good number of them containing shoes, that being Elli’s fetish. And not just any brand, the actress is crazy about the Steve Madden collection. So her recent outing where she shod herself silly, was like a massive window shopping exercise, which she so thoroughly enjoyed, that she bunked her dance rehearsals. She’s a girly girl, Elli is! OOOOO

Another parrty iin the h b b was a tad d burbs more sober. S l b d Sonu S Sood celebrated his wife Son nali’s birthday in a staider fash hion at his elegant home. Yes, it was ffood, ffriends, and ffun here too. Bu ut S Sonu’s always been one to put his ffamily ffirst. Despite his crazy schedules, s S Sonu recently went to Pu j b to meet hi i h unjab, his sister who was visitin f S In the midst ng from the US. of that trip ff to host a p, he buzzed off wedding iin J i All this, hi while hil Jaipur. shooting with i h action i star Jackie i C Chan for his ne K F iji ext, Kung Fu Y Yoga iin B Beijing, then Dub f bai and India, before winging his way off ff to Beijing ffor a month and a ha alff to C China again with Chan. In n ffact, S Sonu’s New Year was witth his ffamily who were in Beijin l b i with ih ng to celebrate it him. Su uch a hard working fella Bo ollywood has! OOOOO

Sonu Sood: The Family Man


Bhatt naturally, we have to update you on the king of them all. Mahesh Bhatt recently attended the screening of a Bengali film Rajkahini, which means Tales of Kings. The story from the Independence period when the partition of Bengal happened, is about 11 girls who live in a brothel, with a border line running through it, separating them from each other. Using partition riots as the backdrop, the director has shown the pain of being uprooted from their own country. And the story of their lives follows. Keeping in the mind the sensitivity of such a story, we heard that Mahesh, always ready to claim a good tear-jerker, is planning to make this story in Hindi. While his films are known to be of the kind where happiness is not the key, Mukesh Bhatt will be directing the film. The movie is doing very well, and lead actress, the beautiful Rituparna Sengupta has even won the best actress award for the film in the Delhi International Film Festival. We do hope that we can watch it in Hindi.

Amyra Dastur: Going Oriental While Sonu is the parallel lead in the film, Amyra Dastur too will be a part of the film and she’s airbound to China for the next schedule too. For those who came in late, Amyra made her Bollywood debut with Issaq opposite Prateik Babbar, and was last seen in the sci-fi thriller Mr. X alongside Emraan Hashmi. OOOOO By the way, did you know what a rage Mr X Vikram Bhatt is on Facebook? The director is on a roll with his statuses, often interesting short stories which are completely different from the movies he writes. They Vikram Bhatt: Compulsive Story Teller are poignant, family oriented and dark and edgy at the same time. We expected a bunch of horror and thriller stories, but this has garnered him a handsome following. So much so that his work is now plagiarised and distributed on social platforms without credit. Little do they know that Vikram also publishes the stories on Wordpress and has them copyrighted. So for the fans of copy paste, watch out for some pissed off lawyers. OOOOO

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OOOOO There’s beautiful and there’s sexy. And the sexiest man in India, Randeep Hooda’s cover set the temperatures soaring, everybody has something to say about how sexy he is - even Pernia Qureshi (another cover girl last month, who didn’t quite match the sizzle quotient of the Hooda on the cover of Stardust) finds him irresistibly hot because, to quote her, ‘His attitude says he gives a ‘f**k’. And the fact that he’s undeniably physically good looking too. He has a raw sex appeal, and he’s not bothered by commercial trappings. When boys are overly made up, too into themselves and very money minded, it’s not sexy at all.” OOOOO He is brazen, but once you know his oddities, it is tough Randeep Hooda: to be at war with Randeep Too Hot Too Handle Hooda. At an event, we caught the actor who is on a weight-losing spree for Sarabjit, eyeing a plate full of goodies laid out for the guests. Even though he looked like he could use some of them, he refused to help himself to the butter cookies, but seemed awfully interested in the exact names of each of the delicacies served there, and where they might be available. Turns out, he is making a list of edibles he isn’t allowed to eat, so that he can gorge on them once he is off the diet. And that list has already crossed two pages - front and back, in fine print. Looking to go gaunt for the role of Sarabjit, Randeep looks like he is almost there now. And yes, director Omung Kumar owes him a month of Sundays in food binges and parties! OOOOO


Randeep Hooda apart, actors nowadays are very calorie conscious, to maintain those million-dollar curves. And to our joy (and validating our ample appetites), breaking this myth was Priyanka Chopra, who during her media interactions, asked for coffee with sugar. Moreover, she had reached the venue utterly famished, as she’d arrived straight from Priyanka Chopra: Being Real Montreal to India for just that day. So, when asked how she was, the diva spouted, ‘Hungry’, a truly unexpected and unconventional answer. Pee Cee knows how to win friends and influence people alright. Queried on her latest apparent link-up with some Los Angeles Lothario, Pee Cee sportingly took it on the chin and gave it right back. Everyone went home in their deluded happiness after that.

we heard that Katrina was not too happy about the ongoing tamasha. Adding more masala to the mix was saucy Karan Johar who threw a question to Deepika asking her who she shared better chemistry with, between Ranveer and Ranbir. In the midst of these ongoing controversies, all four stars remained strong and amply lived out the old saw, ‘Doth the moon on high care for the barking of a dog?’ OOOOO Whilst some gain wisdom with age and experience, some others are victims of their time. When an actor’s career is in the doldrums, or his choices fail to make an impact, he plays it even safer. He’s cautious of the subsequent steps he takes, and critical of all suggestions that come his way. The advice and opinions he considers at such a juncture in life influence

OOOOO Talking of link-ups, can the hottest threesome be far behind? There was too much tamasha going around the recently released Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone starrer. The film did receive good reviews, and the pairing worked like magic for many. But more than the film, the personal lives of ex-lovers Ranbir and Deepika was the talk-of-the-town. While rumours of Deepika and Ranveer Singh dating are rife, it is now officially known that Ranbir and Katrina Kaif are an item. And about

time too! In recent events that had these stars clocking appearances, the media didn’t miss a single chance to grill them about their pasts and their presents. While Ranveer, Deepika and Ranbir kept their cool through these sessions,

Vivek Oberoi: Dangerous Liaisons and affect his career either for good and bad. Vivek Oberoi, who’s in a currently low phase in his career, we heard, has a well-wisher whose suggestions he apparently takes into account before signing films. It seems that Kamaal R. Khan (KRK) (YUKK) is a close confidant of the talented actor. KRK pays frequent visits to the actor and the two discuss cinema and he advices the actor on his career. Do we really need to shake Vivek and remind him that if he continued in present company, ‘happy days are here again’ would be a line permanently from the past? Seriously, Vivek? Is he looking to Frankenstein his filmy future?

Katrina, Ranbir, Ranveer & Deepika: Fearless Foursome

OOOOO


his country, same as everybody Indian did. That was some staunch display, of friends coming to your rescue in times of need. And Aamir certainly looked like he needed a friend in that period. Perfectionist Khan or PK, Raju is certainly his anchor. OOOOO That was timely saving. But coming late for a public appearance is very common in tinsel town. Recently, things got a little rough when Chitrangada Singh was to attend a store launch in a posh mall in town. The entire media fraternity awaited the diva’s arrival. Unfortunately, the city traffic was heavy, and Chitrangda trundled in two hours late, which didn’t go down well with the shutterbugs. They busted the actress’ PR machinery saying that the issue should have been handled better and that no delays should have ensued. Zipping off to all parts of the city for numerous events, maybe, the stars should take tips from the shutterbugs on time m d multi-tasking. lti t ki managementt and

Alia & Athiya Shetty y: Young Rivalry? y? Speaking of horrors, in most cases, the belief that most heroines can’t stand each other, is rather true. Ass much as actresses deny the cat-fights and insist that actresses not getting along is an industry myth, there’’s always more to it than meets the eye. Apparently, Alia a Bhatt happened to bump into Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty. Now when they met, Alia greeted and hugged Sooraj. But Athiya, on spotting Alia, ignored the actress, and walked away. She had no intentions of making any conversation or even greeting the actress. Strange. Considering these two are both too young to be harbouring any old grudges. Moreover, individually y, each of them is the soul of bubbly vivacity and amiable mews. Methinks they should just kiss and make up, even if they haven’t fought! OOOOO A lot has been said about the statement Aamir Khan made regarding intolerance, and our fellow media bug gs made sure it became the highlight of the last year. So, wherever they went and whoever they met, they were e asked to chip in their views on Aamir’s statement, and it grew and grew like Chinese Whispers. Just to add spice to the mix, when they met Rajkumar Hiranii and thought they would be able to trick the master filmmaker into a statement on Aamir, Raju Hirani opined that Aamir had ended up sharing his bedroom conversation with the media, thinking they would understand and empathise. Moreover, it was just a part of the conversation which had been blown out of proportion and caused the forest fire. Raju entreated th he fourth estate to let it go, adding that Aamir Khan loved d

ds In Need Aamir Khan & Rajkumar Hirani: Friend eed


The lensmen were scheduled to head to another event, and en masse, the photographers left the event without clicking a single picture of Chitrangda. When she did eventually land up at the venue, it was a bumpy landing because despite her apology, there was no paparazzi to capture the moment. Can any of the watch brands rope her in for a lesson in telling time, and maybe gift her a clock with a big face? Or better still, a cuckoo clock for Chitrangda. OOOOO By the way, Nikhil Advani didn’t want to be a director. He wanted to be a lecherous professor, if we have to believe him, teasing girls. He grins as he confesses “I had that notion of being a grey-haired professor, wearing those padded jackets, and hitting on young, soft, smooth girls. That was my fantasy. I will put it in one film

somewhere or the other.” Naughty Nikhil turns notorious. We’d like to see that film. OOOOO On a different note, Shekhar Suman’s son Adhyayan is looking to revive his career. He h ki on has b begun working h his next project - a ffilm whi hh i iin which he iis acting a d will ill b i and be di directing ttoo. It’s a beautiful f love sstory called ll d Ai Airport,, a and will go on ffloors a ’ about b any d day now. IIt’s ssoulmates l i meeting a accidentally on a fflight b k between N New Y York a dB b dh and Bombay, and how th h other’s h ’ they purge each d h demons b between them. T l an unusuall story!! Truly Adh l Adhyayan plans to Adhyayan Suman: sshoot the ffilm in Waiting For A Break T k N k Turkey, New Y York a and Bangkok. We hope this fflight soars iinto the h skies ki and d gives i Adh Adhyayan a new sunrise to look ffor. It’s ti h right i h b k time h he got the breaks. OOOOO

Chitrangda: Late Lateef

CAT’S CROWN This month goes to... The extremely disciplined Akshay Kumar could start an academy in discipline and commitment. Despite his hectic schedules and activity, Akshay is one star that Nikhil Advani tells us he really enjoys meeting, especially at the crack of dawn. Maximizing the hours in the day, Akshay often calls Nikhil for meetings at 5.30 am and other such unearthly hours, when they are at their freshest at the dawn of the day. Can’t think of too many actors who wake up in time to see sunrises. Nocturnal creatures they all are. But Good Morning is a whole new story.

From one cat to another, Meeeoow till next month!


The Only Fear I Have Is That Maybe Someday, Some Exciting Part May Not Come To Me.”

The

CZARINA ‘If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion,’ these lines by Noam Chomsky would suit the life of this starlet, if she rode on the success she has acquired. But she broke the shackles and added another gem in the crown she had been already honoured with. When the world thought that she didn’t have anything more to surprise the viewers with, she struck again; not only demonstrating her acting skills, but amply proving why she is amongst the leading ladies in the business. The year 2015 added a milestone to her filmography with a hat-trick at the Box Office. A proof of her worldwide adulation are the rising numbers of her facebook and instagram followers. Apart from being an ideal-daughter aspirant, a modern-day Juliet, and warrior-princess are just other added dimensions to the personality this artiste possesses. DEEPIKA PADUKONE is on cloud nine with the praise she has garnered last year, and is gearing up for a bigger and better 2016. In a candid conversation with Shravan Shah, the diva opens up about her equation with ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor, friendships and above all, success, which many can’t handle.


PHOTOGRAPHS: MYNTRA


A lot has been spoken about the chemistry between actors, on and off-screen. Likewise for when you and Ranbir were cast in Tamasha. Do you keep this aspect in mind before you sign a film? I think the biggest downfall would be if you come on board thinking let’s create some chemistry. It’s like saying ‘Come on, let’s make a hit film.’ Thinking this way would be stupid. Chemistry is for people to see, sense and judge. The only thing that we, as actors, can do is to come on board individually because we feel the same kind of passion for a script. If a director feels that we are right for the part, he would cast us, and as actors, we try to do justice to the part. In the process of making that film and being honest to the parts we are playing, the chemistry should generally happen on its own. Like it did when Ranbir played Bunny and I played Naina, or when he played Ved and I played Tara. You can’t create that. The day you consciously try to create chemistry will be your biggest downfall. And I think what adds to the chemistry is what the film gives us as actors to play with, or how the characters are written. Very technically, it’s how the character is, and how is it layered. So if you see, 50 per cent is what is on paper and what the director and the writer have written. And the other 50 per cent is what the actors bring to it ,and how they make those characters memorable and special. It is a given that it takes a lot of passion and hard work to be at the top. And at the downfall of that success, as a person, you start feeling lonely. Now, when you’re at the top of the game, what do you feel? I don’t like to believe that I’m at the top of the ladder because if I am, then there’s nowhere to go from there. I think I am still on the way up and there’s a lot more to do and achieve. As far as loneliness is concerned, it is a yes and no. For example, when people come into my life today, I go through the feeling or wonder if they are friends because they genuinely care, or do they want to be friends because of who I am 22 STARDUST JANUARY 2016

and what I have achieved. So that sense is always there, but the flip side and the positive side to that, is that I’ve had a very solid upbringing and a group of friends who’ve been a part of my life since nursery school. Are you very cautious while making friends these days? No, I wouldn’t say cautious. I trust people easily, whether it’s people I know, or people I’ve met for the first time. Someone says something to me and there are a lot of times when people around me have to help me understand things. Like at the end of a conversation, I think someone’s been so sweet, and someone else has to tell me they didn’t really mean it like that. They actually make me realise that someone’s scheming or plotting or whatever. I am someone who takes everyone at face value. And I believe that I need to develop and build my own equations with people. I do not base

be, that’s why I am so possessive and protective about it, because this is the only thing I can proudly say, is my own. So no, I don’t know. I don’t think of success or failure when I am working. I think of passion, hard work and honesty when I am working, and everything else follows. And of course, I don’t take either the highs or lows in my career for granted. People ask me how the high now feels. To me, it feels no different, I am just working. I don’t pay too much attention to the praise or what’s being written or said about where I am in my career. It’s just a part of life. I wake up every morning and go to work, like any other day. Every actor faces insecurities and fears. What do you fear; as an actress, and as an individual? I think the only day I will worry is when I stop getting exciting roles. I think that’s my only fear because, as an actor, I have so much to give and

Ranbir’s and my decision to now keep our personal lives private is based on the experience of our past relationship…It became like a tamasha.” it on what other people’s equations are with the rest. So for me, until and unless I personally haven’t had a bad experience with someone, I am usually very forthcoming and I allow people the opportunity to be who they are. I end up trusting people very easily and this is something that my parents worry about all the time. Considering the field you are in, isn’t that a flip side? I don’t know. Whether it’s a plus or a minus, or a good or bad thing, this is the way I am and have always been, as long as I can remember. I have always been someone who blindly trusts people, whatever they say. Does the fear of failure grow with every success? The more you win, the more you stand to lose? I have experienced it all. Whether in my sports career or film career, I’ve experienced the highs and lows. And I am where I am today because of my own hard work. May

I have learned so much. And there is a lot of fire and hunger in me to juice every part I get. So the only fear I have is that maybe someday, some exciting part may not come to me. I fear nothing else. Actors are increasingly taking up challenging roles and going to great lengths to get into the skin of their characters. Does that in any way affect the personality of the actor in real life? I am sure it does. A lot of people give a lot of themselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally, to become the character. Like if Ranbir Kapoor is getting into Sanjay Dutt’s character for his biopic, it’s not going to be easy for him. And somewhere, no matter how much he tries not to be, he will be affected, even though he has a very solid balance in his personal and professional life. It’s like carrying that character home every day. It has happened to me as well. It happened while I was shooting Cocktail, and


I don’t like to believe that I am at the top of the ladder, because if I am, then there’s nowhere to go from there.�


more recently, with Bajirao Mastani. You give so much of yourself to the character you play, that sometimes, there is a residue of the character in you for some time, and you can’t get over it. This residue remains because it’s not that once shooting has finished, you can get out of that zone. Maybe there are actors who can do that, but I’m not that kind of actor. When I finished Cocktail, it took me a lot of time to come out of Veronica’s mind-space, her zone and behaviour. I had to recollect who I am in real life. Similar was the case with Bajirao Mastani too. Some films demand that commitment. Shooting for Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani at the same time, did you face this issue? Was it difficult for you? For Tamasha, it was still slightly easier to get into the character because it’s a slightly more real and relatable character. Tara could be anyone of us today. Naina Talvar was just me, I just had to be myself, Tara was also similar. But not Mastani or Veronica, where the character is

completely different from who I am. But there are shades of familiarity. What was difficult in Tamasha was the second half, where there was a lot of breakdown and emotional drama between both the characters. That’s tough on you as an actor because you are manipulating your feelings and emotions on a daily basis. We could have woken up in the morning had a great breakfast and got ready to shoot, and then you think, ‘Oh, now I have to get into another scene.’ You are actually manipulating your feelings to suit that scene. I remember the most difficult days for me were all those days in Delhi where the breakdown starts happening, and most importantly, it was that cafe scene. It went on for three days, and I had to hold on to that.

The day you consciously try to create chemistry will be your biggest downfall.”

Ranbir and you were very open about your relationship. But after your split, both of you have made your personal lives very private. Was it a decision based on the experience of your past relationship? Yes. It became like a tamasha. Yes, it is because of our past experiences. From a journalist’s point of view, it’s reporting. But from a human point of view, it causes a lot of stress on a relationship, and emotions are very fragile. So yes, it does cause unnecessary stress every morning if negative things or untrue things are reported. There is conflict, unnecessary unrest, and more than that, at some point, you realise that what you really want to be remembered for is your work and the films you do. And what we


experienced in that effort of being honest, was that there was no end to the speculations. When are we getting married, when are we having children, is his family okay, is my family okay…and I don’t think even we had ever discussed those things, but the speculations were already there. So it adds a little bit of pressure on relationships. I think we learned that, and now, it’s important to protect something and keep it to ourselves.

I don’t take either the highs or the lows in my career for granted.” You recently were in a commercial with your parents. Considering that they aren’t from the industry, did you play their mentor before the shoot? It was lovely. Actually, they are both very camera-shy, and they did it only because of, first, the love for the brand; and very few brands I think, manage to bring out the beauty of a family; and that jewellery brand has always done it. They always bring out a beautiful advertisement with a message. Like even for Mother’s Day, I did an ad with my mother for them. So actually, that was my mother’s first experience. And when we had to shoot for the Diwali one, it was the same team, the same director. A night before the shoot, I saw my mother giving my dad advice saying, ‘See, he doesn’t like overacting and all.’ She was busy at the dining table giving my father advice on how he should perform the next day. ‘Be very real and natural, and don’t overact.’ I found that very adorable and sweet. Even on the first day of shoot, my parents were there, and as a daughter of course, you hope they are okay and are not inconvenienced. It’s different if your parents are from the industry; then you know that they understand lights, camera, this and that. But my parents come from a completely different background. 26 STARDUST JANUARY 2016

Whilst you were finding your foothold in Bollywood, you had to stay away from your parents. Has that relationship grown over the years you had to stay away from them? Yes, it’s made us closer than before. We have always been a very closeknit family, but we are not one of those families that talks everyday on the phone. We are not phone people

in that sense. But at least once in two-three days, they call and find out what my schedule is, where am I, what am I doing, and they give me the full report of what’s happening in Bangalore – it’s raining, we did this, we went for a walk, we did that. So, yes, we are very connected. We know who is where and what is happening in each other’s life at all times.


PHOTOGRAPHS: JOHN PLAYERS


If Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, And Aamir Khan Have To Constantly Prove Themselves, Who Am I?�

THE RETURNS He did not bother when people exclaimed that his career had begun to fade, nor did he let himself get bogged down with the negative predictions on his film career. He began 2015 with a hangover of failure, and just when the audience anticipated another flop, Ranbir Kapoor amazed them with his performance in Tamasha. With his effortless dialogue delivery, natural expressions ,and charming smile, the heartthrob managed to conquer the confidence and love of his fans and critics all over again. Shravan Shah goes back in time, and charts out the journey of the rising phoenix, Ranbir Kapoor.


nce upon a time in Mumbai, a man with Japani joota, Russi topi and an Indian dil, made Bollywood much more than just tamasha on screen. Half a century later, his own flesh and blood and look-alike, his grandson, came back with another version, Tamasha, and rose from near oblivion to declare a return many dreaded. The Kapoor dynasty has in the years seen prosperity, lull, and grand re-entry, just like Ranbir’s career graph. But the boy is here to stay, and that is final. Read on to know why. Bollywood or the world of showbiz is filled with stars and talents (not necessarily in the ascending order), with new faces pouring in everyday, some making it big and some almost forgotten. Eight years ago, a talented actor, possessing both, star-power and talent to boot, comfortably made it to the top. Ranbir Kapoor’s career started on a disappointing note in 2007 with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya, opposite Sonam Kapoor, which tanked at the Box Office. The actor sincerely owns up today saying, “My first film was a disaster. There was so much pressure then too. It was such a big launch, but it didn’t work. People were sceptical of Sonam Kapoor and me.” But destiny presented him with another opportunity with Yash Raj Films – Bachna Ae Haseeno. The film worked, and the Kapoor heir officially stepped on the industry’s first rung of the ladder to stardom. Fast forward to 2013. Ranbir’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, opposite ex real-life lover Deepika Padukone, got him his second seat in the prestigious 100 crore club. The success team included the very talented Ayan Mukherji, powered by Dharma Productions. With the audience feasting on the scintillating onscreen chemistry of the duo while the tabloids went crazy on his off-screen relationship with Katrina Kaif, things were perfect in the Kapoor’s heaven, his real and reel life complementing each other. Nobody predicted that things could ever go wrong career wise. After all, he had already proved his mettle in Rockstar and Barfi!, 30 STARDUST JANUARY 2016

which fetched him a ‘brilliant actor’ image. The charm and impressive looks helped. But like they say, ‘All good things come to an end,’ and that came to pass in Ranbir’s career around October 2013 with Besharam, ironically, a special film where he shared the screen with his parents for the first time. The film was a dud at the Box Office, and people began doubting his choice of films. Ranbir however, defends himself earnestly saying, “As an actor, I can’t do much. The only thing I can do is better my choice of films. I become a part of a story which the director wants to tell, but I think that maybe, I should choose wisely. ” And so the year 2013 had came to an end, with a super hit and a flop in his kitty. The next year went in preparing for Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet,

I become a part of a story which the director wants to tell, but I think that maybe, I should choose more wisely.” a project much publicised in tinsel town since its initial announcement. 2014 didn’t host any of Ranbir’s releases, but the actor made sure he wasn’t missed. Either through brand endorsements or by the intruding paparazzi spotting him with girlfriend Katrina Kaif, Ranbir was ever present in newsprint. The couple typically denied their relationship, but the pictures on social networking sites presented a different tale – pictures of Katrina with the Kapoor khandaan, and Kareena Kapoor’s candid statement saying that if forced, she wouldn’t mind a gay encounter with her future ‘sister-in-law’ Katrina Kaif, thus spilling the beans on the longshielded relationship between Ranbir and his lady-love. The same year, the duo moved into a plush apartment in Mumbai’s suburbs, sending out signals that this liaison was serious, and they possibly intended taking it to the next level. Speculations were already rife about the duo tying the

knot soon. Meanwhile, professionally, Ranbir was seen in cameos in PK and Bhootnath Returns. Apparently, 2014 had to be satisfied with his off-screen drama, leaving his fans eagerly awaiting a mega-hit from him. The start of 2015 was quite adventurous with reports of a Ranbir-Katrina engagement doing the rounds. It was ignited when Katrina was seen flaunting a ring after their holiday in UK. There were even speculations that the parents of the dulha flew down to London. Katrina denied the rumours, but it was just a sign of what was in store for the year. On the professional side, the unusual posters of Roy were promising to say the least, indicating experimental content and a hope that this year would turn the wheels of fortune in his favour. But with the new film came a number of controversies. Some reduced his role to a cameo, while others alleged that his face on the poster of the film was only to promote the film. True or not, the film ended up with publicity which didn’t really work in his favour. Ranbir’s career saw another dud. Lesser actors might perhaps, have crumbled under this pressure, but Ranbir was still hopeful. “Pressure is good as it drives you, and not cracking under pressure is important. Taking pressure in your stride, understanding failures and where you went wrong, and then moving ahead is what we should do,” was his take. His next slated release was Bombay Velvet, a mega-project helmed by the critically acclaimed maverick director Anurag Kashyap and other industry giants. The pressure to deliver was at its peak. Made on a budget of `105 cores, with a larger-than-life canvas, the movie was minutely detailed – from the music of the film right down to a wary match box. Bombay Velvet turned out to be one of the biggest flops of the year at the Box Office, managing to barely scrape up a meagre `23.67 crores (if online figures are to be believed), thus depreciating Ranbir’s career a bit more. This film crowned the hattrick of flops in his filmography, and Ranbir Kapoor was soon termed a


I have to start from scratch and go at it again.”

failure. Was it destiny? Ranbir declines. “No, I don’t think it has anything to do with destiny. I believe that a man makes his own destiny. It’s about your choices, your hard work, and your karma. All of that put together.” But destiny or not, each film, hit or flop, impacts the life of an actor in myriad ways, with repercussions playing out long after. Each actor gives his hard work, sweat and blood to a role for almost a year in the making of a product, judged and convicted or acquitted by the public in a single sweep on a single Friday. Harsh though it may be deemed, all the efforts of an entire year is laid open to a general judgement on a single day, without involving even a cursory analysis. Such is the life that an actor exposes himself to when he makes the choice to be an actor. And such was the case with Ranbir Kapoor too. Understandably, all eyes were on Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha, primarily because it was a movie that took him back to his first hit Bachna Ae Haseeno, and by that, we mean Deepika Padukone. With three flops back-to-back, the industry wondered if this movie was a desperate reach on Ranbir’s part for a hit. Was the chemistry he shared with Deepika an important factor for him? Ranbir begs to differ. “Chemistry is not something that I look at; it’s the kind of parts that I like individually as an actor. Like in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Deepika liked Naina’s character and I liked Bunny’s character, and we liked the story. When that happens, we can bring our best to the table, and the characters and the dynamics between us make the chemistry


Yes, I was banking heavily on Tamasha, like I banked on Bombay Velvet, post Besharam and Roy.�


appear on-screen. Having said that, there are films like Gone With The Wind, which is supposed to be one of the greatest romantic classics ever made, and there, the lead actors never spoke to each other through the shooting of the entire film. They were at loggerheads, they were fighting. So it’s not what your personal life or your friendship is. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what you bring to the table as an actor.” The crackling chemistry between Deepika and Ranbir, plus an in-demand director in Imtiaz, clubbed with soothing music by maestro A.R. Rehman was a perfect concoction for a hit. “Yes, I was banking heavily on Tamasha, like I banked on Bombay Velvet, post Besharam and Roy. Every film for an actor is a testing ground. In this industry, you are only known for your last work, you are not known for what you have done before in life,” Ranbir sighed. And despite Tamasha not achieving anticipated numbers at the Box Office, Ranbir proved yet again that he was one of the finest actors Bollywood, a proud legatee of his forefathers, in not just name, but skill too. His enactment of a genius trapped in day-to-day monotony was bang-on. Topping it might have been Deepika’s lucky charm, Ranbir’s destiny, or just the storyline, but the return of Ranbir Kapoor was officially heralded. Other actors might have celebrated this half-victory, but Ranbir seemed to be in no mood. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Karan Johar’s next directorial, also featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma and Fawad Khan in the lead roles, is on floors, and Ranbir rushed off to the US for the shoot, barely allowing the Tamasha reality to sink in. The second coming of the hero is also bedazzled with a comedy drama Jagga Jasoos directed by Anurag Basu, and Rajkumar Hirani’s untitled film which is a biopic on the life of Sanjay Dutt. A fine line-up for any actor, and that is perhaps why Bollywood should roll its sleeves up

for the resurrection of the fallen hero. It seems imperative to mention at this point that the real life of Ranbir Kapoor has successfully caught up with the reel life as well. While his equation with Deepika has been questioned, Katrina seems to have decided to come into the picture and add her two bits as well. Quite uncharacteristically, Katrina went to town on her hitherto unexpressed thoughts regarding Ranbir and Deepika, during an interview with GQ – ‘I can’t enforce my will on the people in my life. Their choices are their own. I may not be happy with them, but I hope that as they mature or evolve, their choices will change.’ Ranbir, meanwhile, has his own reason for keeping his love life private. He said, referring to his current policy of privacy, based on his past experience which came back to bite him in the bum, ‘It became like a bit of a circus. Everything that you did became all about the relationship and related to that. We were really ambitious people and we wanted to make our own identities, apart from the relationship we had in our personal lives, and I think that was important. With time and age, you understand that when you come closer to marriage, when you come closer to seriousness; because it is such a spoken thing and so much is written about it, it is better this way, that both the partners protect each other.” Now that the actor’s life is back on track, perhaps we will see him tie the knot with his lady-love. The actor smiles and says, “Dad got married at the age of 28. This is not very tatting, as I am 33. I think times have changed now. At that time, it was a given that when you turn 28, and if you are a working professional, you get married. I think that when you naturally feel you are ready for marriage, it should happen then. It’s an organic process.” Things seem to be going well with the duo, but Katrina is still apprehensive as far

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as her closeness with the Kapoor khandaan is concerned. In the same interview to GQ, she said, ‘I’m not as close to Ranbir’s family as I’d like. I’d like to hang out with them more. Family will be the deciding factor when I make the decision to marry’. Guess there is still time for this tamasha to end. Well, all said and done, Ranbir is and will always be one of the most talented actors this decade has seen. He possesses the hunger to explore, works hard, and is able to sustain his foothold amongst the superstars, as well as stay a step ahead of the younger lot. Even with his success, Ranbir sounds modest and sensible as he says, “If Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan have to constantly prove themselves, who am I? I’ve just started my career. So the constant search, want and desire to do better is alive, and I do understand the pressures that I have. I understand the kind of expectations that were there and are probably not there today, and I have to start from scratch and go at it again.” However, Katrina seems to think that he can do much better as she claims, ‘I feel like I have a lot of wisdom and a lot of knowledge to pass on, but Ranbir doesn’t seem to want any of it, he thinks he’s doing just fine in his career on his own.’ But whether it is Box Office success or plain acting brilliance, it is clear that Ranbir is here to stay, and perhaps rule one day. His experimental choice of roles might not have worked every time, but his conviction about every single one of his projects is commendable. His assumed thick skin, perseverance, and love for acting, as well as the maturity that has come to him with his industry experiences, has helped him stay put and made him the eligible contender to the throne. It is as they rightfully say, jeena isi ka naam hai...


If I Am Ever With Someone, I’ll Be With A Showman…”

of

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ELEGANCE VALIANCE Recently featured on a magazine cover as America’s Most Wanted, PRIYANKA CHOPRA has redefined the dynamics of working in Hollywood for Indian actors. Opportunity knocks but once, and using it right is what differentiates the visionaries from the rest. Crowned runner-up in the Miss World pageant, at age 17, there has been no looking back for her since. Today, when she bears the Indian flag on Western shores, even the videshi winds can’t break our desi girl’s spirit. The daddy’s li’l girl has grown-up, and how! Going places, cracking the western market with her international series Quantico, Priyanka Chopra has many reasons to wear the sash of stardom. From being the first Indian celebrity to be signed by CAA, to playing the Maratha Peshwa’s gutsy wife Kashibai in her last, it is difficult to ignore the talented lass. At least, that was Nawaz Kochra’s experience.

What has been the best compliment you have received for Quantico till date? It was really funny; ‘She’s Indian’, was the best compliment. People who don’t know me thought, ‘What, she’s an Indian?’ So people questioning my being an Indian was a funny compliment I received. People don’t expect Indian people to look like that and do films like that; I mean we don’t play roles like that. We are always the computer geek, the doctor, et al. and I still made Alex Parrish first in class, teacher’s pet, because that is in our blood. We have to come first; we have to be the first one

to answer, so I always made her sit in the front row in class (laughs). At the trailer launch of Bajirao Mastani, Ranveer said… (Interrupts) That I cried and wanted to quit the film…Rubbish! He talks anything. Many actors desire to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, you even did a song for him in RamLeela. Now that you’ve done Bajirao Mastani, how was that experience?


PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY: GUESS


I did Mary Kom with him. Though he was not the director, he was very involved with the film. Every day literally, I was in his office, which is when he came to me with Bajirao Mastani, before it was even cast. They were still figuring out who Bajirao and Mastani were going to be, and I remember my picture would be there, the others’ kept changing (laughs). This happened for at least four-five months. I asked him to take out Kashi, and suppose that I was also just an option and not doing the film. I wanted to know who the other options for my part were, but I never got an answer to that. I have always been a huge Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan, and I did a song in Ram-Leela because of that.

I did, Mary Kom, of course, because I’m selfish. But even Bajirao Mastani, I did blindly. When I was shooting for Mary Kom in Manali, Sanjay Sir and Prakash (Kapadia) bhai came to narrate the film to me, and I was just greedy to work with him. I just think his vision is something else, and if you do a Sanjay Leela Bhansali character right, it will go down in your legacy. And if you don’t do it right, then it will be very bad. You have great acting skills; you have crooned various singles, and you also dance amazingly well. Do you consider yourself a triple threat in Bollywood? No, not only in Bollywood, I am a triple threat anywhere. I’m just a

If you do a Sanjay Leela Bhansali character right, it will go down in your legacy.” triple threat. It has nothing to do with Bollywood, Hollywood. Take me to Australia, Canada, anywhere... This was the third time you’ve played a Maharashtrian character, how different was it this time? This one was very different, because it was a 500-year-old dialect, and a 500-year-old character. No one has ever seen her picture, you don’t know who, how, or what she was. People talk about Bajirao-Mastani’s love story, but to me, the biggest reason for playing Kashi, was to play a character that history has never spoken about. Nobody mentions what happened to her, what her heart went through, how she felt. I had never played such a soft, and vulnerable character. I have always been the one to pick up the sword, see Jai Gangaajal, Quantico, that’s what I do. I play very tough characters. So when I did a Jhilmil or a Kashi, it was very novel for me. It’s very hard for me to play a girl who cannot protect herself, because I am a modern girl of today, I can beat up people (laughs). The challenge was for me to convince you when you saw the film, to make your heart hurt for her. She was such a wonderfully sweet character. You and Deepika claim to be great friends, but in the film, your characters were conflicted. Was that difficult? Did the friendship dominate your performances? I think it was more difficult for Sanjay Sir, because he used to get really very irritated when we walked in together. We just get along, we’ve always got along. Actors are so busy they don’t end up becoming like, ‘Hey buddy, wassup? Let’s catch up over dinner.’ You don’t have that much time. But whenever we meet at social parties, you’ll always see that chemistry. I get along with most of my female co-actors. I don’t have issues with


any of them because I am supremely content in my career. My career has never depended on other people like that. I have always tried to outdo my own work, and that is a bigger issue, to better my own self (laughs). May be, if my career was not doing well, I might have been insecure. I have consistently had an extremely warm welcome from people who watch my work. I think it’s easy for me to be friends with most people. Deepika and I get along very well; we have fun whenever we meet. And we only had one song and two scenes together, as the two characters never really came together. They were kept separate even through history, yet their stories were inter-twined. You wear the tag of a self-made woman; was it difficult for you to helm your stardom? Life is tough. And it is only tough when you say it’s tough, and make it like that. I feel that grace under fire is the true strength of a woman. So no, it wasn’t tough. Did your Quantico team see the promos and songs of Bajirao Mastani, as well as the film? Yes, they did, and they thought that Hindi films are like that. So I had to explain to them that it was a period film, it was like our Game of Thrones. That’s how I explained it to them, and they said, ‘Oh, people don’t dress like this?’ and I went ‘Nooo’ (laughs). Lately, we’ve had examples of groups of people getting offended with film content like in the case of Bajirao Mastani and the song Pinga. Sometimes, they also resort to uncivil means. Do you feel all this adds up to intolerance? As an artiste, how do you react to all this? Firstly, I don’t think it’s about me as an artist or you as a journalist, or anybody else. As a whole, look at all the wars happening around. For one second, sit down and look around the world we are living in, isn’t everything intolerant? Are we not saying that this person is wrong because his/her religion is wrong, et

It’s very hard for me to play a girl who cannot protect herself, because I am a modern girl of today, I can beat up people” al.? What is happening? It is not a country or a caste or a particular type of people we are intolerant of, we as human beings have become like that. We just have to think, and not go out there and use our anonymity on social media to blast out at people because we can. Think about your opinion. Our forefathers fought for democracy in this country. They fought years of British Raaj so that we could have freedom of speech, language, opinion, as did so many other countries. Even in America, recently, somebody said

that women of colour are doing really well. So in an interview, I said I don’t want to be called as a woman of colour. I am a woman. If you want to divide me, say man and woman, because we look different. Not brown, black, green, yellow, blue, what is wrong with us? What are we dividing ourselves into? I don’t want to see myself as a woman of colour. I’m not going to comment on one particular thing because I am travelling the world right now, and I am seeing it everywhere.


people. Everyone says that the world is so ignorant about the rest of the world, that’s because they are not well-educated. I’m someone who likes to think about peace, I’m a glass half-full kind of a person. So if somebody asks if we have snake charmers in India, I educate them saying yes, but we only use them for entertainment. And no, they are not our next-door neighbours. And people ask me questions about India being known for its rapes. I’m asked that in every interview and it is so difficult to defend it. It’s about educating the world that the light has come upon it, and it is happening to women all around the world, and why are we not talking about that? Just because three people spoke about my country, you don’t attack it. Why are we fighting about where there are more or less rapes, rather than why are there rapes at all? Let’s get our perspectives right a little bit.

To me, the biggest reason for playing Kashi, was to play a character that history has never spoken about.”

see much of a difference. And I’m such a professional, that I can deal with everything that is thrown at me, because I had the best training ground in the most prolific film industry in the world. So I have gone there with full ammunition.

How different was working in a foreign setup for Quantico? The difference for me was television and features. In films, we do one scene in two days, in a relaxed fashion, sab kuch aashiqana hota hai. But my friends didn’t tell me that in television,10 scenes are shot in a day. Who does that (giggles)?

After the different experience of Mary Kom, will you do another biopic of a sports star? I will never do a sports film again, it is very difficult. Sports people sar aankhon par, they sacrifice a lot. I’m an actress, mujh mein itni himmat nahi hai. After doing that film, I have new-found respect for sports people.

But now that you have experienced it? Yes, and I have many friends who are television producers, and I fired them all, that they could have told me. I’ve never done television, so that was a big difference for me. Otherwise, it’s only the language. Indian cinema has so caught up with the world, the way we make films, the way we run our sets, I don’t

As an Indian working in the West, what are the opinions you see they have about you? You should ask them this. I hope I’m a good representation. I am quite opinionated as you know, I cannot stay quiet, I say what I feel is right. But most people are very shocked that I’m an Indian. Most of them are shocked that I speak the English that I do, so I think it’s about educating

40 STARDUST JANUARY 2016

There were rumours about you dating a guy from the US. True? Oh, now, this is entertaining, I have been waiting for someone to ask me about it, I was waiting to get linked with someone. Great! The guy is supposed to be from LA? So for the last four months, I have not left Montreal. I also read he is shy of the media, right? I would never meet such a person; a media shy guy can go jump. If I am ever with someone, I’ll be with a showman, please know that. My dad was one, and whoever I will be with, will be one. Do we get to see a Season 2 for Quantico, and will your future choice of roles depend on the show? Let’s hope. Right now, it is one of the most successful shows, everyone is saying. So it looks like we might get another season. If we do, it will be great. I am under contract with this show, but not the choice of films I make; but how many I get to do will depend. Have you had offers for any other Hollywood projects? Yes, I have. But not up to my standards.


Since 1994, I Have Always Been The Favourite Whipping-Boy Of The Industry.”

ATLAS

AIRLIFTED An articulate man with a point of view on most matters, the seemingly world-weary NIKKHIL ADVANI is not afraid to speak his mind. And he doesn’t dress it up for you. Nor does he cringe when dosed with tough shit. After a year that saw what were mercilessly termed two flops under Nikkhil’s helming, ‘Airlift’, produced by Nikkhil’s production house is a quiet comeback, which will echo differently. Mum in the times post his releases, to goading and needling, Nikkhil has been working away with as much ardor and conviction as he puts in every project. He does not batten down once as Suguna Sundaram Court-Martial’s him, and finds it rewarding, in his unflinching honesty and grounded responses.

Nearly two decades since starting as an assistant director (AD), have the years gotten better? Have the times gotten better in films? It depends on the day. It depends on what you have planned for the day, or what you want to achieve by the end of the day. Yes, times have become easier. But if you’re asking about it since being an AD, then, no; because when you’re an AD, you can take lot more chances. Especially the atmosphere that I inculcated and encouraged in all three places where I worked as an AD was to say what you like, and if he doesn’t like it, then, too bad. I was like this wall between Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Sudhir (Mishra) and the rest of the unit. The first AD according to me is the most important person on sets. I cut out 13 seconds of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai without Karan even knowing it. He found out after the film was released, when we had gone to Adi’s house for a party, when I told him. He told me, ‘Never tell me these things ever again, just do what you want to do.’ So I had that kind of power in Dharma Productions. And yes, considering I enjoyed that, I do give the same to my ADs.


You’ve shot your films extensively here in India as well as in other countries. Do you see your productions becoming like the West, or are we still far away from that? Oh, very, very far. Just because we’ve started working on MacBooks and we’re using various softwares, doesn’t mean that our mental frame is the same. If you sit across any studio and tell them that you need to do preparation, they’ll ask why. But the prep is the most important part. We shot 104 days of Kal Ho Naa Ho, of which 52 days were in New York. And in those 52 days, we finished only 50 per cent of the film. In New York, simultaneously, the Spiderman shoot was happening then. Sometimes we overlapped streets over permission. They finished shooting the entire movie in 42 days. They finished the film in fewer days because they underwent one year of prep. From your own myriad film responses, after a film releases, does its fate dictate your next – both, commercially and emotionally? Of course, it completely does. It can get very bad, it can get very good. If it’s a perceived blockbuster, then you can do anything you want. You have people calling up to ask when we can do a film together. It’s not only whether the film has done well or not, it is also about whether it is perceived to be doing well. In the

case of D Day, I took the script to everybody and they said a no. A big studio did not make the film because there was a discrepancy of a crore. They told me to make it in a specific budget and I couldn’t, so we slashed it. Everybody said that it didn’t have a John Abraham, Akshay Kumar or Ajay Devgn who were action stars. I didn’t want to take them, because if I took them, I had to do a more mainstream kind of film. When we eventually made the film the way we thought it had to be made, suddenly, the people who were fighting for one crore at that time came and said, ‘Part two kab bana rahe ho?’ and ‘How can we get into part two?’ and if I had another story like that. 50 per cent of your films have been huge films, and as many flops as hits. Is the flak also greater with the size of the film? How do you go through that? Yes, it is. You surround yourself with people who keep it real for you. You can have parties every Monday and say that the movie is doing so well. People say that we have collected so-and-so from this territory or that. The minute you start talking about territory, you know the film is not doing well. You are saying it so many times because you hope that it ends up being a hit. Because the arrow has already left the bow, you have to reach somewhere. Salim (Khan) Sir once told me that a great marksman misses the bull’s eye by a few

Katti Batti was made in 17 crores. I knew I was making a film with Imran Khan, I knew Imran had three flops before this.”

inches. He said that when he sees my films, he takes back something from every film he sees of mine, so there is something good. There are also some flaws where people can’t find the connect, but that does not happen when there is honesty in the films. I don’t think that anybody can tell you how big a film is going to be. I don’t think Anand L. Rai knew that Tanu Weds Manu Returns was going to do so well. But expectations do get attached to a director or an actor… No, I don’t feel that at all. There are five directors that the world knows of. I was having this conversation with my team- that there is this notion of I watch a film as an audience. But I can’t claim to be that audience. I belong to a community where I follow twitter and social media and so am already biased. I’m not the guy who is going out on Friday without the notion of what’s going to release and saying, ‘Chalo, film dekhte hain.’ That guy is the audience, I’m not the audience. It’s a sham when within the industry, they say they watch films as an audience. Nowadays, people don’t come out of the theatres saying good film or bad film, they come out saying 100 crore ki picture hai ya 200 crore ki. That is not their work; the person who has invested money has already taken that punt. Your work is to say whether the film is good or not good, and why it is good or not. What happened to that? Where did that go? Hero and Katti Batti – both films were said to have done very badly. Moneywise, both films have made money, Katti Batti was made in 17 crores. I knew I was making a film with Imran Khan, I knew Imran had three flops before this; I knew I was making a very niche kind of rom-com. It was an Indie–US Film Festival kind of a film. When we went with the budget to Sidharth (Roy Kapoor) I told him we have to make it within this. In Hero, we were launching two new people, but we had Salman (Khan) who said that any extra money we incurred, he would pay because he wanted it. Hero is doing massively well on satellite. The channel asked me to tweet the satellite numbers, and I


said I will get a lot of flak. I never did. On any Friday, whether a film does good or bad, I don’t tweet about it. Do you think you have become the favourite whipping boy of the industry? I have always been. Since 1994, I have always been that. Is it because the industry likes thing to be dressed-up and you are brutally frank? Does it bother you? It’s possible, but it doesn’t bother me. Going back to the favourite whipping-boy thing, basically we are talking about Bandra to Malad na. How can I resolve that? Do I have to do a Dubsmash with that person and dance with the people? I don’t know. You have been held responsible for Hero’s insipid response? On hindsight, what would you have done differently? I wanted to make Hero like Satya. I wanted to make it a very dark film, but the story came to me readymade. How much are you banking on Airlift especially after Hero and Katti Batti? Airlift is my first film as a producer. It’s directed by Raja Krishnan. I have taken a back seat and have told them to keep me out of everything. So, Airlift is not my film. My job on Airlift was to make sure that the director got everything he wanted, to tell that story he wanted to tell. It belongs to me on a different personal level because it’s the first that is coming out of my production company. It is important for other directors who might approach us with films, to understand that we as producers, give the director everything he wants. For me, that is the biggest takeaway from Airlift. Other than that, it is a very important story that should have been told. This is the kind of film that the company should be making and we want to make. Was Akshay Kumar easy to work with? You are supposedly strict, but also, you’re younger in body of work, despite having worked with the big stars.

Hero is doing massively well on satellite. The channel asked me to tweet the satellite numbers, and I said I will get a lot of flak. I never did.” I wouldn’t be able to produce a film with him if I didn’t have a certain relationship with him. I did Hero because Salman Khan called me. Had anybody else called me from Salman’s company, I would have possibly said a no. The fact that Salman picked up the phone, and asked me to do the film because it was his first home production, is why I did it. It was first going to be out before Bajrangi Bhaijaan. I have a certain relationship with Salman which goes beyond the films that we made together. In the case of Akshay, I’ve worked with him on two films- Chandni Chowk To China and Patiala House. In this industry the only thing that matters is relationships, nothing else. So at the end of the day, goodwill should beat commerce? But somewhere it wavers a bit, don’t you think? That is how it should be. I don’t think it wavers; it is the only heartening thing that happens. For Akshay, Patiala House was one of his favourite films. He himself says that it was our bad luck. Also, before Patiala House, he had three back-to-back unsuccessful films. So I

couldn’t even convince people to go and watch Patiala House because he was damn good in it. Timing is most important in this industry. Does it get tough to find people to invest faith and money in you after a film tanks? Of course, the guy who is investing money doesn’t care about the goodwill. For him, the bottom line is his return on investment. What we did with all the four films that we made, from D Day to Airlift, was, we made sure to be very cognisant and clear about the numbers invested. Do you still dabble in television which is a whole different world with a different set of rules? How do you straddle the two? Television is tougher because you will still think twice or thrice before leaving the theater, but you won’t think before switching off your TV set. And we say that we are achieving excellence in cinema. Possibly the best film last year was Masaan and nobody talks about it. Only small films will touch people. The big films you can’t make without compromising to a formula.


As a director do you sometimes feel you have to succumb to a bunch of other factors that limit your creativity? Constantly. You have to find a midway and have to be able to balance. That is what our job is, that is what we are doing. I think the director’s job is over when they go on sets on the very first day. The creative part is over. That’s why I say that prep is important. I think we should fight all the battles in prep, do your workshops, sit down with the actors and tell them how you want the scene to look. So when you go on sets the first day, it should only be execution, you should only think about what will be there for lunch. If on the first day you feel free, you’re going to make a good film. I’ve felt that with D Day and Katti Batti. If you felt that, then what failed in Katti Batti, in spite of the fact that it had the best actress in it? A lot of people said that Kangana was not there in the first half of the film. It’s a one-hour five-minute first half, and she is on screen for 40 minutes. But it looked like she was doing nothing, because she was not playing Datto or Rani. We didn’t anticipate Tanu Weds Manu Returns being such a massive hit. When I was getting into the last scheduling

of Katti Batti I saw Tanu Weds Manu Returns. I called up Sidharth and said we needed to add five more scenes of this girl. He told me to not get carried away and just make the film. That is why they thought that she hasn’t been there in the first half of the film. By the time we reached the last 20 minutes where she is fighting cancer and losing her hair, audiences were already frustrated. Rahul Nanda who is doing the posters of Airlift, when I had shown him Kangana’s bald look, had said that, that should have been our first poster, and that the audience would have waited two hours to see that come. We kept thinking, why would people stay if they knew she dies in the end. We didn’t anticipate that people will stay for just that one look. It’s important to learn from your mistakes, and that is why when we did the trailer of Airlift, we showed it to people within the industry. And people told us that we were revealing more than we should have, and to show only Akshay. But we said no because I wanted to show the story. The story is the king of this film. I want to show one lakh people being evacuated. Friend, mentor, director, friend, enemy- what’s the katti batti status on your relationship with Karan Johar?

I wanted to make Hero like Satya. I wanted to make it a very dark film, but the story came to me readymade.”

There is no status quo (laughs). I don’t understand. John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not break-up; it was Karan Johar and his assistant. We made it so big just by talking about it. Whenever Karan and I meet, we discuss working together, and say let’s do this and that. Then we each start doing other things, and then it’s we’ll do it later. Karan and I are family, our families know each other. We were in school together, he was one batch below me. But we both went through very insecure times when Kal Ho Naa Ho released. We didn’t speak to each other, my room was right next to his room, but we didn’t talk. I kept hearing that Karan said this about me and he kept hearing that Nikkhil said this about him. It was funny, till eventually it became ugly. We still meet all the time for work, and we discuss each other’s work. For someone so practical, do you give any weight to the luck factor? I changed my name and added another K to it. I’ve changed it since these two films; it is because Karan put number eight into my head. Nothing should be above eight, don’t do anything above eight. Katti Batti is my eighth film, it started on the eighth, and the day Katti Batti reviews started was a seventeenth. Then I went to Sanjay B Jumani, then he said Nikkhil is 35 which is eight, 2015 comes to eight, and lots of other stuff. He told me that he was waiting for me to call him because it was pre-destined. I, in fact, was trying my best to not let Katti Batti be my eighth film, but it was. Salman is a good ally to have. Despite the fate of Hero, is there any more work you’ll be doing with him? Salman decides what work he wants to do and with who. That applies to everybody, not me alone. I think for Salman today, a blockbuster by him is nothing less than 300 crores. An average film by Salman is about 200 crores. So the pressure to do that is so big. I was in the D Day mode, when he called me to do Hero, and my reaction was, let’s make it as gritty as Angaar or something like Satya. But he told to me that they


were launching a girl and a boy, and that he wanted the Nikkhil of Salame-Ishq to come. I found merit in what he was saying, and also, I was in the film only as a director, everything else was his. There was a brief to make it as big as possible. Salman is a great ally to have, but he decides where he has to go in his life, where he wants to take his company, and how does a particular person fit into his math.Earlier, a lot of other people were deciding for him. And because I have been a part of his life since 2004, I’ve seen the down that he was going through. A lot of people who were not qualified or did not possibly have Salman’s best interests, were influencing him, attaching him to their lives, and asking him to make decisions. The best thing that happened to him is Reshma (Shetty, from Matrix). She came in, distanced people, and had people come to him through her. What is your criterion for picking up a story? What do you seek when you want to make a film? What do you endow in a film that is uniquely yours? Till the last two films, my thought process was to try and do something that I’ve not done. I’ve been told that one needs to establish oneself in a particular genre and then start moving out. And then when you move out, you’re called fickle and when you stick to one, you’re stereotyped. For me, it necessarily has to be something that I identify with, to work. I won’t be able to make the film otherwise. For me, Patiala House is a story of man looking for second chances, because I was looking for second chances in my life. Katti Batti is not a film about Kangana dying, it’s a film about Imran caring for her. It is not a love story, it’s a story about caring. It’s about how somebody who says that even the four months I spend with you is like a lifetime. I need to find my voice in the script. When Raja came to me with Airlift and told me the story, I said it’s not true. I never knew that one lakh seventy thousand people were stuck in Kuwait. He showed me two articles and told me why foreign press embargoed this

Possibly the best film of the last year was Masaan, and nobody talks about it. Only small films will touch people. The big films you can’t make without compromising to a formula.” entire thing. As a producer, my first and only contribution to Airlift was to do the film. What are your upcoming projects after that? After Airlift, we have two productions which will not be directed by me, but by my assistants, one of who became my second director in all my tough films, and one who is my assistant director. And then I’ll direct Bazaar. Does it bug you that you’ve been called arrogant?

I’m not arrogant, I used to be. I was asked how it felt to be one of the top directors, and I said it was a comedown because I used to be the best assistant director in the industry. I don’t want to hype what I want to say, I say what I want to say. My wife keeps asking me why am I so honest because people don’t want to hear someone honest. What does it take to be a director, which you didn’t want to be? The ability to wake up every morning and say lets go to work today, and show up at work.


PHOTOGRAPHS: ABHEET GIDWANI


CHILD If I Am Playing Lead Characters In Bollywood, Why Should I Settle For Anything Less Just Because It’s The West?”


She’s one heroine who’s enjoyed the privilege of delivering maximum Box Office blockbusters. Year after year, this escalation has not only catapulted her to stardom, but also earned her the status of being one of the most bankable performers. Although her last cinematic year didn’t add much to her acting career, the actress remains undeterred. SONAKSHI SINHA is levelheaded and quick to adapt to changes in any circumstance. After her critically lauded Lootera, this will be her return to more demanding roles, with Akira, Force 2 and her much-awaited biopic on Hasina Parkar. In conversation with the talented actress, Pooja Sharma finds out what makes her tick. Akira is soon up for release. After almost a year, you’re back on celluloid. For someone who’s used to two to three releases a year, did you miss the action? No. In fact, it’s been one of my busiest years in spite of not having a film release. I was part of Indian Idol Junior. I’ve been doing shows and travelling and shooting for Akira. It was so busy for me, I didn’t feel it.

After Action Jackson and Tevar’s poor performance at the Box Office, do you feel pressure now, with Akira, more so because you are the face of the film? No, it’s fine. It happens in every actor’s career. I’m not the only one. And I’ve been busy, by the time the film releases, you’ve already moved on to your next film. There’s very little time to dwell on it. Obviously,

being a part of the film, you feel a little bad, but then you move on and life goes on. You work on the next and try and get your next one to do well. But the fate of a film is never in your control. So I don’t dwell on it. In fact, it’s good. Ups and downs should be part of everyone’s lives. Those experiences actually teach you. You’ve had a successful run at the Box Office. But when films fail to create any buzz, or they flop, or people criticise your performance, how do you face failure and react to criticisms? You take it in your stride. Everybody has their good and bad days. Sometimes, people shower you with praise; sometimes they pan your work. We need to understand one thing, that at the end of the day, everybody is doing their job. I was told to do a certain job which I did, in a particular film. The person who’s writing and panning me is doing their job. They are being paid by the newspaper or the magazine. For me, what matters is audience’s appreciation eventually in life. And luckily, with social media, like Twitter, you are directly in contact with people who love you and appreciate you, whether good or bad. They stand by you. So, I feel, these are the kind of people that you should give maximum importance to. How seriously do you take critics or reviewers? Like I said, they are just doing their jobs. Only one film of mine has got a decent review, Lootera. But the others have been monsters at the Box Office, in terms of collections. Honestly, I don’t take it very seriously. For me, a critic is just one person from the vast audience who’s watched my films. They have not liked it; they have had the power of the pen; they wrote about it. The overall appreciation has come from people who don’t have the power of the pen. I don’t think too deep into it.

Ups and downs should be part of everyone’s lives. Those experiences actually teach you.”


In case of any doubt or when you want feedback, who do you go to? I get feedback from my family first, and then there are my friends. They are also not kind to me if they don’t like what I have done, they tell me straight to my face. The only difference being, they are always there by my side whether it is good, bad or ugly. These are the people whose feedback I take seriously. Do you feel South remakes or formula films are passé and done to death? I feel everything has a time, and that’s true with anything, it’s in fashion and then it goes away. That happens in our world of entertainment too. There was a phase when these kinds of films did really well. People enjoyed it and had a blast watching it. Now, the audiences have changed. They are more accepting of different kind of content on screen. Content is king. So nothing can stop a good movie. If the script is good, nothing can stop it from becoming a hit. People have moved on to different things. Both, Akira, and Force 2 are action films. Are you aiming to be the next action queen? I think by default I will become that because I’m doing action films back-to-back. But it was a mere coincidence that these two came to me one after the other. Both are completely different from one another. Akira has very raw kind of action, very earthy. Force 2 has very stylised kind of action. There are car-chases, running and gun-fights. It’s very slick. It was a nice experience shooting both these films. I had great fun. You share the screen with John Abraham in Force 2. What did you two bond over? I met John for the first time on the sets of Force 2, and had a proper interaction with him. Before that, I’ve only seen him at events and exchanged greetings. I’d never spoken to him beyond that. He’s a very easy-going person, jovial and positive. It’s really nice to have such people around you. He’s a fitness freak. He was always giving tips on what to eat. So if I had to ask him

Everybody has their good and bad days. Sometimes, people shower you with praise; sometimes they pan your work.”


for the nutritional value of any food, in terms of its calorie count or ingredients, he is an encyclopedia. You’ve also signed the biopic on Hasina Parkar. It’s quite an unusual choice to play a lady mafia don. What was your first reaction when you were offered the role? My natural reaction was, ‘Oh My God! You want me to play this?’ But when I heard the script, I was sure. Scripts that are well-written are rare to find. Just reading the script and saying yes in the first go on the basis of that, is a rare situation. And that is exactly what happened with this film. I was quite skeptical. But when my dad heard it, he liked the role and the script so much that he said, as an actor, I should take up something like this. Do you see yourself play something so different, a role which very few heroines would attempt? You’re even expected to put on weight. Won’t this affect your other projects? How do you plan to approach the role? I will definitely have to prepare for it. I have to get the nuances right, the way

I won’t strategise. I have always worked very instinctively. I like to follow my heart.” she spoke, how she looked, and how she dressed. I will have to take help of a lot of padding because for me, losing weight… I mean, I would rather not put it on (laughs). I worked really hard to reach here. So whatever help I can take from the outside, I will. Let’s see how it goes. We haven’t even started the shoot; we are doing the look-test. Once we do that, we’ll know what actually needs to be done. You have said in the past that you don’t believe in worrying or getting anxious, and posses a Zen like attitude in life. Who have you imbibed that quality from? I think my dad. He is a very calm and composed person. He is very pragmatic. You take a problem to him, he will think with a calm mind about the solution. I’ve got this quality from him.

From all your co-stars you’ve worked with, who shares this similar quality? Akshay (Kumar). He is the calmest person I have ever worked with. I have done five films with him and not once have I seen him lose his temper, talk badly to anyone, or get affected by any situation. Showbiz is unpredictable. What works today may not work tomorrow. How do you make your choices in that case? Absolutely! I agree with you. But that’s the risk you have to take. I am someone who won’t do the math or strategise. I have always worked very instinctively. I like to follow my heart. If I like something, I will do it, if I don’t, I won’t. You’ve dabbled in television, and you’ve even said you like Bigg Boss. If you were offered to host Bigg Boss, would you take it up? If I am, I would. But I don’t think they will, because Salman is doing a good job of hosting the show. But given the opportunity, maybe, yes. Last season,


I had hosted a segment and I really enjoyed it. It’s something very impromptu. You’re dealing with very different kinds of personalities within the house. It would be interesting. Even Indian Idol Junior, I really enjoyed the show. I was dealing with kids. There was a live audience. I think television is a great medium. And if you’re offered fiction on television, would you take it up? 24 was the only decent fictional show that I have seen on television. I feel it still has a long way to go before I would want to be a part of it. 24 was a great show. Other than that, I like reality shows, and talent-based shows. I like shows where there are real people coming from different walks and parts of the country, I like watching that. Our country is so full of talent. Given a choice, I would stick to reality shows. With actors now looking at making a career in the West, do you aspire to explore international cinema or American TV? Not now. I’m actually quite content with what’s coming my way here, workwise. I am really happy for Priyanka (Chopra). The only reason I have said I wouldn’t want to go there is because I believe they have never written good enough roles for Indian actors. But in a show like Quantico, the entire show is based around her. She is on every hoarding, and is the central character of the show, I think that is fantastic. I think no other Indian actor has been able to do that till today. If something like that came along, then yes. If I am playing lead characters here, why should I settle for anything less just because it’s the West? And what about regional cinema? I’ve done a Tamil film. It was a great experience for me to be a part of Lingaa. I got how to do my lip-syncing and people appreciated me in that role. I’m open to regional cinema. You’re one of the most popular personalities on social media. How do you maintain that and always surprise your fans with something new? It’s actually very organic. Like I said, I am not someone who strategises. It just happens. I also grew up in a time when Facebook and Twitter were just coming in. These are just things you are used to from the beginning, since their inception. It’s like second nature. I really enjoy interacting with people who like you and your work. You even popularised Dubsmash… I really enjoy it. I think it’s a great concept. It’s a great way to pass your time.

I am really happy for Priyanka (Chopra). The only reason I have said I wouldn’t want to go there (to the West) is because I believe they have never written good enough roles for Indian actors.”


BACK ON

TRACK Not All Films Work Out Well, But You Take Chances.”

Ups and downs are a part of life and taking them on heads up is not an easy Joe business. Yet we saw this diva stayed put at her position. Forthright and beautiful, CHITRANGDA SINGH has successfully carved a niche for herself. Just when her name almost joined the many lost ones, she resurfaced, and now, is in no mood to bid farewell to the business of entertainment. In a candid conversation with Shravan Shah the starlet opens up about her long sabbatical, item number and the game-Bollywood. You were at a point of your career when things were going well for you, and then suddenly you took a backseat. Why this sabbatical? I guess everybody has their ups and downs and I was going through something. I really had to sort out my life. I am working now and am happy to be back. Are you Sudhir Mishra’s muse? I don’t think so. That’s the way people like to think of certain things. It sounds much more interesting that way I guess. Previously, a lead actress wouldn’t be seen doing an item number, now things are different. What made you agree to do an item number? As much as it sounds like I had to be in the news and be seen doing item numbers, there was no such thought behind it. I am happy I did the item number and that people liked it. Being an artist, you have to take chances. Not all films work out well but you take chances (laughs). I think I had a good time. Do you think you’ve received your due in the industry? I am no one to decide that. I think you get what you do and then you choose out of what you get. I really think that choices are a very important thing; it becomes a part of your life. You have already done a cameo for a Tamil film, are you planning to establish a career in South movies? Not really. There have been offers but I don’t want to sound like a finicky person. If something comes along, I

would love to take it up, but nothing has come up so far. Tell us something about your upcoming film and the role you play in it? We started working on a film called Babumoshai Bandubaaz, but because Nawazuddin Siddiqui has been busy (laughs), we are looking at completing the film now. We will finish it early next year. The other project I am a part of is called Band of Maharajas. It’s a working title. I play Billo Mumtaz, a Pakistani singer in the film, and it’s about her life. It deals with how difficult it is for musicians, especially in an area like the North-West Frontier where there is a presence of strong religious groups, and how one person tries to break it and do what she loves to do. The grapevine has it that a film you were a part of directed by Sudhir Mishra is back on track, but you have been replaced by Kangana Ranaut. How true are the rumours? It was a project which was supposed to happen but due to uncertainties, got shelved. I do not know about it. If it happens, Sudhir Mishra will decide who will be a part of it and who won’t. I do hope for his sake that it gets made because he has worked very hard on it. How do you feel about your association with the brand Aldo? It is a very famous, stylish, young brand. It feels great to be associated with them and bring in the festive collections. I love shoes, I don’t end up wearing all of them, but in general, I like them. JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 55


PHOTOGRAPH: DABBOO RATNANI

After Dhoom, The Next Big Franchise In The Country Is Golmaal…”


BACK WITH A

BANG His kitty is filled with characters still cherished, but he always ventures something different with each film. Breathing a sigh of relief after the Censorship tussle over his next, TUSSHAR KAPOOR finally gears up to sizzle the silver screen once again, as he talks to Nawaz Kochra about his upcoming films, Censor Board regulations and more…

Your choice of roles have always been very extreme, any reason behind that? Whenever I do a film, whether it’s romantic, comedy or a gangster film, I really get slotted in that character. And if the movie does well, people think that is what suits me. But there are filmmakers who think I can break that mould and do something at the other end, so I guess, filmmakers like to throw challenges at me, and that’s a good thing. But I have never really planned to break one mould and go the other way.

Mastizaade has been controversy’s favorite child. Last year, we heard that nearly 75 shots were asked to be removed. With the Censor Board coming down so harshly on films, what did you anticipate Mastizaade’s fate to be? I have seen the film and it’s not been trimmed too much. There are a few cuts, but we shot extra as we had anticipated some give-and-take with the Censor Board. And we came to a point where it is really funny and as good as any other adultcomedy of the past. The film is an uproarious laugh riot and I am just waiting for it to release. We were rejected two-three times but eventually we came out with flying colours, and two thumbs-up to the Censor Board from us. I feel bad that I didn’t have a release in 2015 simply because of this problem. Does one expect, Kyaa Kool Hai Hum 3, to offer something different at the table? Kyaa Kool Hai Hum 3 is definitely a notch higher than the previous two parts, it’s set in the porn industry, and is also connected to a family and the porn industry. So I won’t call it an adult comedy, but a family adult-comedy. Your role in Golmaal is remembered even today. How close are you to that character? I am really close to that character, that film

changed my career. I am known today especially amongst kids, because of Golmaal. Kids were a major target audience of that character. I would say that after Dhoom, the next big franchise in the country is Golmaal, and I thank God for bringing it into my life. I would always be a part of it if I can be, and it’s something I am very emotional about. As rumours do the rounds, do we see you in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 3? No, I don’t even know if it’s in the running. I don’t have a clue of who the cast comprises of, but I haven’t been a part of the previous two, so I don’t think I’ll be a part of the next one. Is it difficult for you to play negative or grey characters, since you have a ‘good boy’ persona? People have associated me with being a good boy on-screen, or then this naughty boy from the sex comedies (giggles), which are two opposites. But if they have given me that kind of an image, may be they are right. So I take extra effort to play these mad, wild characters and I feel that helps me bring out that side of mine, which people haven’t noticed in some of my earlier films. When they see me in these films, it brings out a different colour of my personality, and that really helpfs in proving your versatility. So I hope these naughty and dirty films like Kyaa Kool Hai Hum or the Shootout series have changed the stereotype people have about me. Are you otherwise involved with Balaji Telefilms? I am not at all involved. I am just like a well-wisher and a part of the family and the Board of Directors, so I attend the board meetings where I’m involved in an external way. But I am not involved in the internal working of the company. JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 57


I Could Not Become A Commodity.”

RETURN OF THE

RAGING

STAR In sharp contrast to his intense, gritty, fierce on-screen image, he’s painfully shy and reserved. Although is a man of few words, once you break the ice, he’s delightfully honest and sincere in conversations. He values his privacy and has no qualms about not adhering to conventional modes of functioning. He picks subjects that appeal to him, and stories that need to be told. SUNNY DEOL, who’s in a happy space, is awaiting the release of his directorial venture, Ghayal Once Again. Besides, the actor is also gearing up to wield the directorial baton for his son Karan Deol’s debut venture. After more than three decades in the industry, the talented actor is as enthusiastic and passionate about his craft. On a balmy noon, in the plush interiors of Sunny Villa, the reticent actor engages in a free-wheeling chat with Pooja Sharma.

JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 59


What’s the secret behind your longevity in the profession? I don’t know what the secret to any damn thing is. It’s just that we keep working. The industry is full of so many actors who’ve been there for so many years. As long as you connect and are not thinking about how many years it is, you just keep on working. It’s basically a creative job that you love. Times and processes have changed. In your opinion, is every change for the good?

It’s not only the film business, the country has changed. In every profession, things have changed and everybody adapts to that change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it happens with time. Whether a change is good or not good, depends. You have to go along with it because one person can’t do anything. Of late, I see everybody is trying to sell goodness. So that’s a new thing that’s come in. What was the thought behind taking up direction again?

I always wanted to become an actor. Acting is a vast field. But even during my first film Betaab, I was fully involved in the scripting and direction. I was fortunate enough to have worked with directors of my age. I would always take keen interest in different aspects of filmmaking. How easy or difficult was the process this time, with Ghayal Once Again? I had directed Dillagi earlier. When I came into the industry, I came in

I’ve been very lenient with my kids. They do what they want to do. But they do know when they shouldn’t cross the line.”


with a belief of doing good cinema and picking up stories which were relevant. That’s how even Ghayal Once Again took off. A lot of other people around wanted to do it, but when it came down to pinpointing the story, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, so I took over eventually and got involved in the creative process. I wanted the film to be relevant. I might have done one or two films where things might have been picked up. Most times, I’ve been part of original content, and tried and created something new. That gives me more happiness and satisfaction than picking up something that is already there. Why did you choose Ghayal for a sequel? Does it take the story forward or is it a completely new plot? We’ve just picked up the character of Ajay Mehra. What he would have gone through, what he may be doing, and if he is there today, how relevant he would be in society. And the relevance of society is always the youth. Last time, Ajay Mehra was himself very young. So if he gets involved in the problems of today’s youth, how he would take things further, is what we’ve tried. You’re planning to direct your son Karan in his debut. However, Yash Raj films had offered to launch him. Why did you decline the offer, considering they are known to make even non-entities into superstars? All those stories are false. No one had really approached us. People have been talking about it. People wanted to make an approach or whatever, I never gave it a second thought because we would be doing it ourselves. So, did you always intend to launch him? Not necessarily, but if you’ve seen, we all have been launched in-

Sadly, I’ve noticed that the focus has shifted to everything else but acting.”

house. There’s a reason why we get launched with our in-house productions, also because we are from the fraternity. If we were not from the fraternity, it would have been different. Betaab happened to launch me. The reason we prefer everybody being launched in-house is because when dad wanted to launch his son, he couldn’t think of anything better, and also with his other son. Similarly, now it’s my son, so it’s the obvious way of doing it.

realise why your father was the way he was. Till then, you don’t know, and you wonder why he’s saying certain things. So, one has gone through the process and seen what should be and what shouldn’t. I’ve been very lenient with my kids. They do what they want to do. But they do know when they shouldn’t cross the line. Even if they did something, as long as they realise what they are doing and know it is not good and rectify themselves, it’s fine.

When you are in school or college, those friendships are quite meaningful…After that, you drift into your own individual lives, and then it all gets purpose-based.” How’s the project shaping up? We are still working on it. But we will go on floors this year, and hopefully we should be through by the end of the year. I’ll be directing and I don’t want to talk much about it yet, but it will definitely be a young, romantic film. Not like what everybody is doing of late, that you have to have six-packs or be a gymnast. The film will portray the story of a normal guy. Did your son Karan always harbour showbiz dreams? Yes. In fact, both my sons, Karan and Rajvir, always wanted to become actors. How involved are you with his career? Do you let him take major decisions? We all live in a joint family. Like I was with my father, he is with me. So when he wants to discuss something or needs advice, he asks me. And if he wants to do something which is absolutely okay, he does it. He is a sensible boy. He will take a decision which is good for him, because at the end of the day, you learn from your own experience, more than anyone telling you anything. What kind of father are you? Do you believe in giving complete freedom, or setting restrictions? When you become a father, you

In matters of the heart, do they open up to you? Not really. There’s a little distance, which I think, should be. These titles are given for a reason. There’s father, mother, friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, and so on. Each has its own responsibility. For instance, I am scared of my father not because I have done something wrong. It’s just the respect I have. My dad wouldn’t like me doing so-and-so thing. So we don’t talk about it. Who is Karan closest to in your family? Children are usually closer to their mother (laughs). It’s a natural tendency. I’m very close to my mum too. Was it only for your son that you took up direction? I’ve directed earlier. Ghayal Once Again was a film I wanted to do, but it wasn’t happening till I put myself into it. I was not getting into direction for the simple reason that acting is much easier and carefree. When you get into direction or production, it’s a huge responsibility. But I took it up and I’ve really enjoyed the process. I’m directing my son because I’ve got the experience of many years and I’m sure I’ll be able to justify it. Do genuine friendships and equations in the industry seem JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 61


lost, considering things are way more professional now? Friend is just a we word use. We are basically colleagues. If you ask me, that’s the scenario in life generally. When you are in school or college, those friendships are quite meaningful. And we fight for it. After that, you drift into your own

I’m directing my son because I’ve got the experience of many years, and I’m sure I’ll be able to justify it.”

individual lives, and then it all gets purpose-based. Who did you enjoy working with the most from your co-stars? I don’t want to name them, there’s no point naming them. And what difference does it make? Some actors are relaxed and interesting,

Of late, I see everybody is trying to sell goodness.” so the film turns out on a different note. And then some people have an air about themselves and their egos… you tackle all these things. That makes life spicier and interesting (quips). Govinda was recently in the headlines for slapping a fan. How do you react to overzealous fans? When you hear something, it’s always one-sided. Why he slapped him, what was the situation, one doesn’t know the reason behind it. People just say Govinda ne slap kar diya. The sad part for anyone who’s in the glamour business or is a celebrity, is that people will take them down for doing something, rather than try and understand the situation. Aisa zamana bhi aa gaya hai where people say bad publicity is also good publicity. I can say about myself that I’m in this industry for no other reason but the passion I have for films. So you won’t catch me anywhere, you won’t find me talking about anything, because I’d rather spend that energy doing something which is creative or beautiful. But how do you react to overenthusiastic fans? We have grown up over the years. When we were young, when we started off, we never knew why fans would behave in a certain way. For us, it was something new. It’s like only after a child starts walking does he understands how it’s done. Initially, I’d have reacted differently. But as it goes on, you start realising the warmth of the fans. And the minute you feel that warmth, you become humble. You can see if someone has that love, care and affection for you, you can’t throw them away. So a love arises for them within you, and it starts moulding you. That’s what happened to me. I have been fortunate enough that wherever I have been and gone; people have showered their love. At


times, I would really wonder why they would do that. Then you realise that certain films that you’ve done have really gone to their hearts, and they believe you to be like that. So it becomes a responsibility for whatever you do. I greet my fans very well. The innocence they have in their eyes humbles you. Is it also the price that stars have to pay for being a part of this profession? When you are popular, from an actor you turn into a star, you obviously don’t have any privacy. That’s why I’d rather not go anywhere, because all the time, you are being stared at or clicked. Even if you are sitting in your car, anyone can click a picture with their cell phones, and it goes viral. From that point of view, technology has changed things a hell of a lot. You made a statement that action heroes today do the kind of action in films that you already have done in the past. Do you think the established names are responsible in bringing about change, and should experiment with newer content? I just feel that now, every actor basically wants to be a star rather than an actor, because in real life, one is acting so much. So I think they get tired when it comes to the screen (laughs). I can’t comment on most people. I’d rather do the kind of cinema I want to do, and not

I just feel that now, every actor basically wants to be a star rather than an actor, because in real life, one is acting so much. So I think they get tired when it comes to the screen.” because it would become a superhit. I’d never do something that some other actor has already done. People do that because everybody is desperate for success. They feel there are other ways of getting success rather than through talent. That is a sad thing which exists today. Anyone who comes up to me; first asks whether my son is doing weight-training. I say that’s not part of acting. Why do we ask such questions? Because then, you are giving the younger generation the belief that to become an actor, these are the things you need to do, and nothing else. It’s purely the passion, love, and desire for the craft. Sadly, what I’ve noticed is that the focus has shifted to everything else but acting. You’re shy and low-key, off screen. Don’t you think actors today can’t afford to keep a low profile, as per as the demands of the profession? It depends on the individual and how one wants to take his career ahead. Like people say, it’s become a demand to promote your film. That’s not a demand, it’s a way of reaching out to people. Everything everywhere is in your face, and we are not letting people think. It’s sad.

Movie-watching has just become an outing, not because of what is in the film. And did the story or the performance of actors take one anywhere? The way of looking at films has changed. Do you feel you the need to change with changing times? I have not changed per se, but you adapt yourself to things. I have not been able to change into what people are becoming now. I could not become a commodity, in short. You’re known for intense performances in action-dramas. But in the dance department, who did you always admire from your times, and today? (Laughs aloud) A lot of them are very good at it. Hrithik Roshan is very good with his movements. My brother Bobby has his own way of dancing. He’s got a rhythm in his body. There are certain actors who have got genuine rhythm and it doesn’t look like an effort. But action has become so technical with cables or face replacements. It wasn’t so earlier. We would do stunts on our own; even now we do our own stunts till my body permits. I would do action because I was a sportsman. Even the action guys couldn’t do it, and I did it easily. I damaged my back in the process, but back then, we didn’t have safety. We’ve jumped from buildings. When I came in, we had a lot of horse stunts. I have fallen off horses a lot of times, with and without the horse. And besides films, what keeps you occupied? Frankly speaking, it’s just my passion for films which keeps me occupied, most of the time. We are from a background of farmers. So I love nature a lot. I love to go to the mountains, go hiking. I even enjoy music. I may not be a dancer, but I love music. JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 63


Pride & Poise In her heyday, she’s seen it all - Success, glory, failure and a fair share of struggle. She feels it’s essential as part of the evolving process that has only helped her reach where she is today. Her focus has now shifted to selective and meaningful cinema. Even in the few-and-far between roles she takes up, she makes sure it’s portrayed in good taste. JUHI CHAWLA, who, at one point, was known for her soft, bubbly roles on screen, has, over the years, showcased a gamut of emotions in her portrayals. Even off it, the soft-spoken actress is known to put her point across and make the strongest of statements in the most endearing way. That’s her charm and inherent grace. In a late evening tete-a-tete, the actress shares interesting anecdotes and discusses different aspects of cinema. Pooja Sharma is all ears.

Your next release is Chalk And Duster, in which you play a school teacher. Did you take up the film because you’re a parent, and also to put forth issues concerning parents today? I can’t say that. It was just the script that was very interesting and touching. It’s also about respecting your teachers. I found the story very engaging and heartwarming, with drama, light moments and some serious stuff, and a very happy and uplifting ending. I really enjoyed it. Do you feel the Indian education system has loopholes? How according to you could it be rectified or modified? I can’t say rectify. I’d rather believe in having some improvement, forget what’s being shown in the film. Speaking as a parent,


There Was A Lot More Innocence In The Films That I Did.�


I find my children carrying so many books. There’s so much information stuffed in those books. They are in the fifth standard and they need to learn topics that I was learning in the eighth. Where’s the rush? Children are being burdened with so much information. Every time you see, kids seem to be getting smarter. But I don’t say they are smarter. They have taken to learning things. They end up performing well in their exams perhaps. So things get pushed on them at a younger age. In school, there’s pressure that you must be good at academics. And you must be a good dancer, running on sports day, standing first, and on the annual day, you must perform in a play in the lead role. Arre! Give the child a break. Everybody cool off a bit. I find too much is being pushed on to a child. I came across a piece recently that said ‘You expect the child to know all the subjects, but there’s a separate teacher for every subject. No teacher knows all the subjects.’ This is so true.

that works. People want to dance to those tunes in night-clubs. It’s very sad. It’s a bit of a circle. If the audience doesn’t come, these films won’t be made. Having said that, I have gone to film festivals, and children’s film festivals held by the government as well. There are so many films made for kids from across

There aren’t too many films made especially for children. Do they seem to There are just some films I can have been neglected as an audience, by into. I’m like that awkward kid who’s filmmakers? a kid nor a teenager.” I’ve been part of films which were for children, like a the world. I was impressed people Bhootnath. It had a big star cast. are making them; they are just not That worked in a different way. making it to the popular theatres. I worked for a lovely film titled Main Krishna Hoon, which was an Are you picky about offers coming animated one. But we didn’t get the your way today? audience. If the audience doesn’t There are just some films I can even come in, the producers make no fit into. I’m like that awkward kid money; so they feel why should we who’s neither a kid nor a teenager. make it? Let me make the item songs Now at this stage, I’m neither the and run-of-the-mill content because heroine nor am I the hero’s mummy.

I’m still struggling in the in-between age and stage. But where I can fit in, and of the roles that come to me, I listen and take on those that I, from within, feel, ‘Wow, this is something that’s got to be done!’ There’s a plethora of films being made. Is it the best time to be in cinema? There was parallel cinema even fifteen years ago, where there were storybased films. We are talking as if it’s only a phenomenon now. What I feel is, today, apart from films, we have television, and you can dabble in theatre as well. You can be an artist in different mediums. That perhaps, was not there earlier.

even fit neither

What’s your take on lyrics and content of certain item songs being shown, especially on a medium like television? I can’t talk about what’s shown on television because I rarely watch television. But take lyrics in general, in films. A lot of things have improved in films, but some things have deteriorated. And this is one department. It’s not in great taste.

What do you have to say largely about films being made today? In general, there are no good dialogues that you remember, no memorable scenes. Bohot halka hote jaa rahe hain… maybe that’s why we can’t remember them. Like Gulaab Gang, will do you another multi-starrer co-starring your contemporary?


If they give me as interesting a role, I would love to do it. I enjoyed myself shooting Gulaab Gang. But I must give credit to the director whose vision it was that I must try this kind of film. It was he who got out this kind of performance from me. Otherwise, I couldn’t have. Based on personal equations, do actors recommend their friends for a film? Did it happen earlier, does it happen now? Directors usually have very strong views on who they want in their film and why. So when you cast correctly, half the job gets done right there. A good director won’t ever compromise on the actors. For certain kinds of performances, you need certain faces and personalities. Maybe in rare cases, getting a friend or pushing someone in a project happens. It’s a common notion that actresses have a shorter shelf-life in the industry? How prominent are the disparities between heroes and heroines? I’d come across a quote that said that the strength of a woman is not in doing what a man can do, but doing what a man can’t do. We are confusing ourselves. We feel, to be a strong woman, we have to go out there and work like a man, fight like a man, be strong like a man. He can never have those curves and look pretty. If there is a hero, there has to be a heroine. She brings all the love and romance and the songs. Without her can you have a song? There’s no competition. There can be a womancentric film on the other hand. I feel there’s no need to compare, but we are so caught up with these words. Would you venture into film production again? Not until someone puts a gun to my head (laughs). I don’t do it because it’s a lot of work, and thankless work. I’m so much happier being an actor. It’s a lot of responsibility, so no. I don’t think so. So once an actor, always an actor… Once an actor, twice an actor… maybe a director, but certainly not a producer.

Are we going to see you wield the directorial baton soon? Nothing is planned, but maybe if I have a subject which I feel very strongly about, I will look at it, at some point in my life. It’s a trend that actors are also coming out with their singles. Would you experiment too? If at all I come out with something with my singing, it won’t be pop or hip-hop or any such category. It might be a devotional song or a soft melodious number; it will be in that space. But definitely it won’t be played in bars or clubs (laughs). You belong to the generation who has seen the transition in the industry. Do you feel lucky to be a part of the generation that has

If at all I come out with something with my singing, it won’t be pop or hip-hop. It might be a devotional song or a soft melodious number… But definitely, it won’t be played in bars or clubs.”

done a lot of guest appearances. If it’s anybody I have worked with in the past, I’ve said okay to be part of it. I’ve done it if I’ve known someone in the team, even someone in production or direction. So yes, I have done it. So would you say the current phase is one where it has become all motive-driven? Are we going to blame it on the fact that it’s become so proper and organised? Everybody has their vanity vans and everybody has a mobile phone. And there are bodyguards, and you’re walking to the set and you have an assistant. And after the shot, you head straight to your vanity van. It’s become very to-the-point. Maybe because things were not so defined earlier, people interacted more. You did improvisations earlier, you added to the scene. Things were written on the set. Now you just come and do your thing, and when your part is over, you are not required. Then you also think, maybe I will look bekaar if I sit around on the set…maybe I am feeling this, and maybe this generation is fine with it. When you look back, are there any regrets? No regrets. I think I just learnt from all the silly things I did as well. It’s gone off very well. How can I complain? You are still talking to me, even after 20 years of my being around.

witnessed the change? I’ve seen the transition from doing your make-up on location under a tree, to being in vanity vans, from sweating it out in a Kamalistan studio to now being in an airconditioned studio. I am happy to be in the space I am in. But I’m also very happy that I could do films in the nineties. I don’t think I could do what they are doing now. It’s changed so much. There was a lot more innocence in the films that I did earlier, and I am happy about it. It was also a little more charming then.

From all your films, which one is your personal favourite? My personal favourite is Gulaab Gang. I feel this was the best performance of my life. And from films back then, there’s too much competition there. I can’t decide between Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak or Darr.

Have you too been a part of films for emotional reasons, like signing a film for a friend? Earlier, many a time, we didn’t know the story of the films we were part of. We did it because the director was somebody, and the producer was some known person. That apart, I’ve

If you have to describe your journey in one word, what would you call it? One word only? (Laughs) It’s been amazing! I think I got some extraordinary chances in my life, which, when I look back at, I am amazed.


CHISELLED Actors generally dress up for interviews, but SONU SOOD sat through the interview in a singlet and jeans, at his homely heaven. It was a sign that stardom hasn’t taken over the actor’s mind. Though his tall and well-built frame is quite intimidating, the actor is a delight to talk to. His prized possessions are his wonderful life experiences, which he earnestly shares with Nawaz Kochra, in a free-wheeling chat about pictures, physique, pals and more…

You’ve been in showbiz for quite a while now. What is that one good thing and one bad thing about your job? The best thing about my job is that you get to travel a lot and meet many people. Apart from that, when you play so many characters, you get to live those lives. I have done almost 65 movies till now in all the languages put together, and I have grown as a person. When you work in so many movies and with so many people, you get famous and make your family proud. Obviously this was my dream, and dreams do come true. The bad thing is you don’t get to spend much time with your family since you’re travelling all over. You miss so many years with your kids and your family. But like I always say, everything has a price, and this is the price you pay for being an actor.

You’ve always fit into the mould of every character. Initially, you experimented with genres. What made you opt for non-meaty roles in your further choices? I was offered many lead roles, but some of the scripts, producers or directors were not convincing. Then there was a phase when a lot of multi-starrers came and actors had no qualms playing negative roles. In Dabangg, Chhedi Singh was as important as Chulbul Pandey. So it’s not about playing a solo lead. Today, making and releasing a film is so difficult. The right package of a good producer, director, script, and a good role, is very tough to get. But I’m sure somewhere, someone is writing a great script or a great role, your work never goes unnoticed. Shooting with Jackie Chan, I realised that a person like me, who hails from a small town in Punjab which many people haven’t even heard about, is now shooting with an international star Jackie Chan. So there is some kind of an impression in the universe with your work, because of which people call you, and make you a part of big-budget films. I feel I’m going the right way, though I still have miles to go. But I hope to take the journey forward more in India.


PHOTOGRAPHS: MUNNA S

I Have No Qualms About Taking Off My Shirt…”


Do multi-starrers with an ensemble cast give you a chance to explore your character on-screen? Sometimes there are chances where you might get lost. Three years ago, I did a film called Maximum with Naseeruddin Shah and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. Even though the film was critically acclaimed, it didn’t do well. But I would still say that Maximum is one of my very special films. Is comedy your adopted genre today? There was also a phase in your filmography where you played the baddie. What got you more acclaim? The characters you play always have to be entertaining, whether they are positive or negative, and comedy is one genre where everyone connects. When you make people smile or laugh, they really love you. In Dabangg, my character was of an angry man who always used to shout and beat people. So I insisted to my director and producer to make Chhedi Singh more entertaining, to add a comic streak to his character, and that’s how the whole character was sketched. I still write my lines, all the directors I’ve worked with will vouch for that. I come up with some great one-liners. Till you don’t work on your character, it’s not going to get the kind of acclaim you want. So any role you play, an actor has to bring something to the table to make that character memorable. I try to add a comedy streak in whatever roles I do. What kind of roles do you find creatively satisfying? A role with grey shades, again, which has a comedy streak. If you see my role in R…Rajkumar, that too had a lot of comic colour attached to it. Happy New Year (HNY) was a positive role with a comedy element. Lately, I have realised that people enjoy watching me do comic roles, so that’s what I try to add to my roles. But I won’t say there is any particular genre that is more creatively satisfying, it’s the whole package that gives you a high. When I played Dawood Ebrahim in Shootout at Wadala, I really enjoyed it. The intensity of the role was very satisfying. Whichever scripts I choose, I make sure they give me the high, to get up and go to the sets in the morning. Till you get that feeling, you will not be able to do justice to what you get.

Till you don’t work on your character, it’s not going to get the kind of acclaim you want.” You have a very good equation with Farah Khan. Does that help you professionally? Yes, it does. Farah is the most grounded person I have come across. I really connected with her during Happy New Year. Before that, when she had choreographed Munni badnaam hui was when I realised that she is one person who has achieved a lot and is still very grounded, and that is very rare in the industry. That’s the reason we both connected with each other well. Tell us something about your recent television outing. There were lot of television offers that came my way, but I wanted to do something entertaining. When this comedy show came my way, I did it to connect with new talents. I remember my struggling days, when I was new and learning my lessons; and when you see these new performers come on stage, who want to do so much in life, you can connect with them and motivate them. That’s why I chose to be a judge in that comedy show which I thoroughly enjoyed. You are admired by many as a beefcake. Even Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan have complimented you for it. Do you like flaunting your body on screen? Dabangg and HNY had a lot of bare-body sequences. Salman and Shah


Farah Khan is one person who has achieved a lot and is still very grounded, and that is very rare in the industry.�


Rukh always say that I am one of the most disciplined actors they have seen in their lives, which is quite motivating. I started working out even before I thought of being an actor. So this has been a part of my life all these years. Even in college I had six-packs which people generally only make for movies. So, body building is something I’ve lived with all my life, it’s not something new. Have you ever been offered a role only because of your physique, in a film? I don’t know whether I’ve been offered a role only because of my body, but HNY was a role where Farah told me that I was playing a hulk in the movie, and so she wanted a great body. And that’s why there was a lot of body display in the movie. That was one film where I worked on my physique, I was literally living on salads. We shot for 200 days, so I had to maintain it, because any day, I might have had to go bare-body and I had to be on my toes. It’s not for a particular sequence that an actor is making a body, so I had to maintain those six packs 365 days, and I still do. So, HNY was one film which required me to bulk up. Are you always willing to take off your shirt, or is it directors who insist you flaunt those abs? I have no qualms about taking off my shirt, but again, people know that and they want to see me. So they don’t mind writing a role or a scene in which I have to go bare-bodied. And vice-versa too. Not only do people write roles for me, but sometimes I suggest to them to write roles where I can go barebodied. If people want to see my body, why not flaunt it? Would you completely lose your muscles for a role? I wouldn’t mind if the role is really good. You have shared the screen with Salman and Shah Rukh. Do we see you working with Aamir? It is not like I wished or thought I want to work with Salman or Shah Rukh, it just happened in life. The scripts came my way. The roles were good, so I became a part of it. And I’m sure whenever there is a role good

Salman and Shah Rukh always say that I am one of the most disciplined actors they have seen in their lives, which is quite motivating.” enough for me to be a part of, in an Aamir Khan film, I would choose it. But it’s always the role that excites me, not the actor I’m working with.


As an actor, you seem the commercial pot-boiler material. Would you try your hand at offbeat cinema as well? I would love to do an offbeat film. But given a choice, I am an outand-out commercial actor. Those films have more reach. When you give six-eight months of your life to a film, I believe it has to be seen by a lot of people. But if something is really exciting in an offbeat film, I would love to be a part of it. Are you the outgoing sorts or reserved? I prefer staying indoors, I’m not an outgoing person. I hardly party. In all the films I’ve done, I am always dragged by other actors to go and party with them. I’m a reserved person. I step out just for my workouts, then I’m back home.

It’s always the role that excites me, not the actor I’m working with.” Shouldn’t you be out there, especially when times are so competitive today? I’ve always heard these words about visibility. When I started my career, people said that I should hang around at parties, meet people, socialise, and only then work happens. But I never believed in just partying around. I’ve always felt that you need to be disciplined, very focused, and try to give your best with whatever you are. Only your work will get you more work, and your goodwill will help you stay alive in the industry. I’ve always followed those rules, and I am glad I have. What would you say about the physiques of Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff? All three have great physiques, but after spending all these years in fitness, I believe they are all different body types.

Tiger is more into gymnastics and he also has a little bulk. Varun is more on the fitter side. Ranveer is leaner and fitter. They all have good physiques, it is difficult to rate them. But all three are super-fit guys. What next do we look out for, in your upcoming films? Currently I’m shooting for a South film. I’m also doing a film called Kung Fu Yoga with Jackie Chan. We’ve finished one schedule in Dubai. Next stop is Beijing, then Iceland and then India. For some months, I’ll be doing a lot of action. I haven’t signed any Hindi films lately because what was offered didn’t excite me, and my dates were occupied with this Hollywood production. Let’s see if something exciting comes up. But till then, I have my diary full.


I Was Offered Hate Story 3... The Reason I Said No Was Skin Show.” Like women want someone tall, dark and handsome, men too want a girl who is fair, tall and sexy. The delectable SONNALLI SEYGALL, model, Miss India, and movie star fits that mould perfectly. Her claim to fame, the Pyaar Ka Punchnama series, gets her the red-carpet treatment whenever she steps out. Rejoicing at the recent success of her film, the actress makes some revelations to Nawaz Kochra, and ends it with a “Why do I feel scared after doing this interview?” Read on…

How have things changed after Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2? Everything is full of excitement, even a mundane cup of coffee in the evening is exciting for some reason. Life is exciting, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I am a sucker for appreciation. All artists are. Recently, in Kolkata, I was literally mobbed at the airport. One of the guys apologised and said I must be hating it. But I told him that I loved it. The film has done really well and life is on a high now. Feel’s like I’m on a drug or something (laughs). What was the best compliment you received after the film? The simplest was that I had given a wonderful performance. I was a little worried because the character was not like me. In PKP part one, my role was a glamorous one, but in part two, I had a completely different role. The girl had to be scared of her parents,

she was a bit timid at home, and had a little dual personality according to me, and I am not like that at all. In fact, my director had to call up my mother and tell her not to let me get out of the house without her permission, and that is not like me. So, for me, the biggest thing was when people said they didn’t imagine me doing something like that, or that I surprised them, and I’m very happy with that. How important is looking sexy for an actress today? It is very important, in fact the second most important thing, apart from acting. Do you feel nowadays, that skin show is the new ticket to Bollywood? No, it isn’t. If that was the case, all porn stars would have been actresses. Have you rejected films because of skin show? Would you ever?

I actually did that recently. I was offered Hate Story 3 while I was shooting for Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, and I really wanted to do it because it’s a hit franchise. I thought it would be nice to have a release with a big banner after PKP 2. The story was very interesting, the previous parts have done so well, so I met Vishal Pandya for the whole narration. The film was a superb thriller and I love thrillers, but the reason I said no was skin show. I am not saying that tomorrow I won’t do it, I am okay with a certain amount. But at that point, I wasn’t comfortable. I also felt that I had PKP 2 releasing, and thought that after part one where I played a bolder role, all the offers I would get would be glamorous and sexy. I got a bit skeptical thinking that models tend to get stereotyped, and then I also did a role like that. How much would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, when it comes to your hotness quotient? I rate myself nine on 10 on the hotness quotient. Amongst the current lot of actresses, who do you find the hottest? Priyanka Chopra. I just love that woman and everything about her. Conventionally, you would not call her the prettiest looking, but she is so sexy and confident. The best thing I love about her is that she is forever driven.


PHOTOGRAPH: ROHAN ZUTSHI


If a script demands a nude scene, will you agree? It depends, when it is and what the film is about, but I would do it. I would probably do it in Hollywood.

show with Marc Robinson, and our picture was in the papers the next day, where I was wearing Manish Arora’s design, a nice jacket and shorts. Some boys in my school made some stupid, irritating comments like ‘Aur chhote kapde nahin mile’. I was just 15 and was very disturbed because I didn’t know how to handle it. But today, when I look back, I think how shameless that was.

Have you ever been a victim of the infamous casting-couch? How did you cope with that situation? Not a victim, but I definitely met some strange people when I was new. I had just won Miss India and come, and I had no idea about the industry. So in one or two meetings that I had, there was a slight hint of it, but I ran away as soon as I could, even before the casting-couch proposal came to me. I kind of gauged it.

If skin show was the new ticket to Bollywood, all porn stars would have been actresses.”

Have you ever been hit on by a lesbian? How would you manage such situations? Yes, I have. I just treat it as any other attention. And it is actually a little more flattering when it comes from a woman, because men hit on you all the time. But when a woman hits on you, you know you’re special. Lesbians have very good taste, so they will not hit on just anybody. Men hit on anybody and everybody. But when a lesbian hits on a woman, I know that they are hot, so I take it as a compliment. It was at a friend’s house and I was dating a guy then. The huge party had a lot of people. This chick wasn’t Indian, but she was a hot-looking girl. She kept coming to me and my then boyfriend and kept talking to me. Initially, I thought she was interested in him; but then she followed me to the washroom and told me I was really hot, and asked whether I was only into men. I laughingly replied yes, and gave her a peck on the cheek.

Has anyone ever made lewd comments on your attire? How did you react? Yes, that happens a lot. I remember when I was in Kolkata, someone said something and I just rubbished it off. Today, the same people are actually trying to reach out to me on Facebook. I was in school then, and Kolkata wasn’t too big on the modeling scene. I had started taking part in local pageants, and a group from Mumbai had come down, who wanted tall girls for modeling, so I fit in. That was my first stint at modeling. It was a big

PHOTOGRAPH: JATIN KAMPANI

Have you ever been in a situation where a guy has been constantly hitting upon you? Yes, many times for sure.

Moving to relationships, what is your take on infidelity? Have you ever been cheated on? Not cool at all, but it exists. I feel sad for people who have to face it and deal with it. I hope I don’t have to face it. And no, I have never been cheated on in a relationship. Your take on one-night stands? Would you indulge in something of that sort? I don’t know, I have never experienced one (laughs). I don’t think I would be up for it. It might sound very clichéd that women need to connect, but that is true. I might connect in a week, but in one night, I will definitely not connect to somebody, and I am not a person


who falls for looks. I have had some of the most average-looking men in my life, who had an X factor about them. I’m known for that in my friends’ circle. That I cannot spot in one night anyway, so this concept holds true for people who fall for looks, but not for me. I don’t think I will ever have a one-night stand.

before marriage. Today, people are okay with it. And divorce rates are so high that it actually makes sense to try something before you get families and kids involved.

People today are moving towards livein relationships. Would you be okay with one? There are many reasons behind it, and society has become more accepting. Even the people who are in a live-in relationship are much cooler. Earlier, girls might have shuddered at the idea of living together as a couple

Lesbians have very good taste,they will not hit on just anybody… when they hit on a woman, I know that they are hot, so I take it as a compliment.”

Do you feel live-in relationships imply that one of the partners is

commitment-phobic? No, I think it’s the contrary. If you are commitment-phobic, you will not even do that. A live-in relationship is something you do out of choice, and you also have a choice to walk out. But in marriage, you have to deal with the parivaar, the legal system, divorce, paper-work, and think 10 times before. Sometimes they just carry on due to other issues, but in live-in relationships, they work only because two people want to stay together, not because they have to stay together. ‘Men use love to get sex, women use sex to get love.’ Your opinion on this statement, and what do you believe in? I would like to believe that men don’t use love to get sex, it’s sad. But I feel both are true. Eventually, men start enjoying love and women start enjoying sex (laughs). What did sex mean to you when you were? 18: It was this big bad word. 24: (Laughs) Is still a big bad word. What has been your wildest fantasy? For me, everything starts and ends with the beach, I have no idea what. But the date will involve food and drinks on the beach, and the fantasy will involve everything on the beach without the clothes, I guess. Have you ever been caught watching porn? No, I’m very smart like that. What according to you, is the best place to make-out? A restaurant. What is the first thing you notice in a man? It is chemistry. Something inside me rushes the chemicals, it happens in madness. What in a man turns you on? The perfume a man wears. And what puts you off? Bad body odour puts me off completely. Have you ever dated somebody just for physical intimacy? Yes, but I wouldn’t call that a date, it was a fling. I won’t give him the luxury of saying he was dating me.


PHOTOGRAPH: JATIN KAMPANI

In a case of mutual attraction, if the guy doesn’t make the first move, would you? Do you feel it is always the guy who should make the first move, else he is not man enough? No, I wouldn’t, but it rarely ever happens. I will give him hints strong enough for him to make the first move. It’s not less manly. More than that, I feel a lot of men have ego issues. But for me, it’s a big no. I will never make the first move. It’s a turn-off for me.

I would probably do a nude scene in Hollywood.” What if the man is not egoistic, but just shy to approach you? If a man is shy, I will give him hints and make it easy for him. But even after doing that, if he does not make the first move, then it’s difficult.

An eternal standing debate is one where women complain that men are bad at expressing emotions. What do you think? No, I don’t think so. I’m just going by the men I have been with, they’ve been quite expressive. I am not expressive according to women’s standards; I think I am a man like that. So for me, it’s okay with whatever is expressed, because I express even lesser.


Who from the current lot do you see as the Greek God of Bollywood? Ranveer Singh. Would you be ready to do an intimate scene with him if the script demands? Yes, it’s acting after all. If you had to do an intimate scene, would you be comfortable doing it in front of the entire crew, or would you demand a bare-minimum crew? I would ask for a bare-minimum crew. In fact, in Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, I had an intimate scene, a lot of which was edited because of censorship, for which I am happy. But the shooting process was obviously long, we kept the bare minimum crew with all female AD’s. So it was more comfortable. Do you think it is more uncomfortable for a woman to do an intimate scene, than a man? In our case, Sunny (Singh) was more uncomfortable (laughs), I had to make

I have never been cheated in a relationship.” him feel okay. But I can’t say much about this because I haven’t done intimate scenes with many actors till now. So I don’t know how it is, but I am quite comfortable. It was a little difficult but I was okay. Since my co-actor was not so comfortable, it just gave me that little more ease.

Would you ever pose nude for a magazine cover? No, not for a magazine cover. Have you ever lied saying ‘good friends’ when you’ll have been more than that? Yes (laughs). I never dated anyone in school or college. But it was just recently, when I started working in the industry, because our industry is such.

PHOTOGRAPH: ROHAN ZUTSHI

Which director would you not mind doing intimate sex scenes for? Many of them. I am on a high right now, I always have been, but I would love to do it for Imtiaz Ali. He can’t depict anything cheaply; even if it is cheap, he would make it look beautiful, he’s like that. His idea of love and sex is so unique and lovely. I saw Tamasha, and fell in love with the film.


ON TH FLIP SIDE

ANUPAM KHER is an ace raconteur. His anecdotes are peppered with humour and wisdom, albeit, based in reality. It’s a rare human being who can infuse laughter in life’s trying situations. Anupam does that and manages to maximize the fun out of life in the retelling of his stories. A recent tete-a-tete with him had team Stardust rolling on the floor laughing. We bring it to you unedited….

ANUPAM KHER

REMINISCES A

fter three decades and more in the industry, Anupam Kher has myriad experiences to recall, some heard before, and some unheard of. From facing the rough in the city to hosting a television show today, he has successfully lived and proven his favourite line - Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, a line that he often uses to describe his journey. A man of words, he engulfs you in his mind-talks, and not once will you find your thoughts diverted, he holds you in with seasoned recounting. One afternoon, he sat across to share his experiences, and we soaked it all in. The one that took the cake was about his film Nigahen: Nagina Part 2, starring Sridevi, Sunny Deol, and Anupam as the antagonist.


Circa 1986. Nagina, starring Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor as the lead, and Amrish Puri as the negative lead, had received ample appreciation from the audiences, turning it into the biggest blockbuster that year. Sridevi’s special dance number to Mein teri dushman, dushman tu mera, has since, always been counted as one of the most eccentric dance numbers in Bollywood. Receiving positive reviews for the film, three years later, the makers thought of a sequel to it- Nigahen: Nagina Part 2. While Sridevi remained the lead and Sunny Deol was roped in to play the hero, Anupam Kher was chosen this time, to play the antagonist. Anupam took this as a huge step towards out-doing Amrish Puri’s performance as the villain, and wanted to put his life into the character. The camera rolled and Anupam, (according to him), was giving his best performance possible. Explaining the story, he said, “Amrish Puri played a fantastic tantric in the film. But he dies in the

first part of Nagina. They needed a new actor and when they signed me, I thought I’m going to kill Amrish Puri in this one, as an actor, and people will forget that he acted in the earlier film.” Elaborating further, he quipped, “I put so much energy into every scene. While dubbing, even I felt that I was shouting too much, but thought that with the music and all, it would turn out fine.” The film was yet to release and Anupam Kher was banking on his performance to be lauded as better than Amrish Puri’s. Before it hit the theatres, the distributor of the film Pooranchand Raoji sent Anupam a bottle of Blue Label whisky with a tag attached that read – ‘For your greatest performance in Nigahen.’ This had already sent Anupam bonkers, and with chest swelling with pride, he decided to keep a private screening for his close friends, including Yash Chopra, his wife Pam, and Rekhaji. Wife Kirron, and a few more of his friends were also present to watch the show. Anupam mentioned that whenever they watched a film of his,

he could guage Kirron’s reactions by the pressure of her hand on his arm. The screening started, and as soon as his first scene ended, Kirron who was holding his hand, let go off it. Anupam felt he had gone overboard with the scene. As the scene got over, he heard Pam heave a sigh of relief. He hoped that the second scene might salvage some of his pride. As the second scene started, Kirron was now agitatedly poking her elbow into him, and Pam Chopra in the row behind, started a prolonged coughing fit, saying she was feeling distinctly unwell. Yash Chopra was heard muttering some choice expletives under his breath and rubbing his bald pate. By the time the third scene came in, Yash and Pam Chopra left in a hurry, claiming ill-health. By now, Anupam wanted some natural calamity to happen, the earth to open up, flood or storm, anything. Anything to somehow stop the screening! Post the interval, there was no further issue since everyone had left. Anupam humbly admits that actors are invariably led to their own downfall when their heads swell up with complacency or overconfidence, which was what had led to that act of temporary insanity. And yes, he also blames that bottle of Blue Label that came to him, for it was the bottle that led him to think that it was his best ever performance ever. Needless to say, this was a lesson in humility for Anupam, and for us who heard it straight from him, that he could, in such a fair manner, without sparing himself any embarrassment, relate the story to us. Life’s best lessons are learnt from failures. And Anupam learnt it the hard way. But it is precisely this mixed bag of amazing experiences and their assimilation that adds myriad dimensions to Anupam’s portrayals of the characters he plays in all human hues. Consummate actor that he is, he admits to milking every experience of his, as fodder for his growth as an actor. And that he imparts it to his students in the acting school he runs, is a measure of his own joiede-vivre and lust for life.


If I Ever Do An Item Song, I Would Love It To Be Hardcore Dance, And Not Just To Show Off My Body Parts.�

NOT JUST A Despite having no strings attached to Bollywood, her journey so far has been a bed of roses. The Swedish ELLI AVRAM accredits her choices and Lady Luck to her humility. Rejoicing the success of her last, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, the actress talks to Nawaz Kochra about Bollywood, Salman Khan, and how life surprised her beyond imagination.


BEAUTIFUL FACE How is your Bollywood experience so far? Bollywood is treating me well. I’m still very new and my experience this far has been interesting. I have learnt a lot and am still getting to learn more, not just from the industry, but by being in India too. It is quite different from Sweden.

Your debut film Mickey Virus tanked at the Box Office. Did that make you rethink your decision to be in Bollywood? No, not at all. In fact, I never had the desire that the film has to be a Box Office hit. I always wanted my movie to get a great response. I, personally,


liked the film. It was my dream to be in a Bollywood movie as the main lead, so I literally achieved my dream. Getting the film was a big thing in my life, and when it did not do well, it wasn’t like ‘Oh my God, what will I do now since the film didn’t work’. After shooting Mickey Virus, I wanted to work more in Bollywood, this magic of screen has

It was my dream to be in a Bollywood movie as the main lead.”

always been my dream. Actually, my biggest dream is to do a period film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, because the first Hindi movie I saw completely was Devdas, and since then, I wanted to do something like that in my life. What kept you off-screen for two years after Mickey Virus? The reason I was not seen was because I hardly met anyone. Being new in the industry is all about socialising, which I was not good at. I was a figure-skater, I wasn’t elite.

And in a week, six-seven days I was practicing figure-skating, I had competitions every month. Figureskating had become my life. Socialising is something I have to work on. Of course, I have become better and started meeting more people in the industry. But a week after the Mickey Virus trailer launch, I was offered Bigg Boss on Facebook. I completely ignored it because I didn’t know much about it. One day, I happened to tell my director’s wife about this offer, and she asked me to reply to the message. I did that, and 15 minutes later, my manager contacted me, to talk about Bigg Boss. I was very clear that I was here to do movies and so initially, I rejected the reality show. But the film people around me told me to try it out. I thought that I won’t get very pushy, but if they called me back, I would take it as a signal from God and do it. I went back to Sweden, when I got a call from my manager that they wanted me on the show. And see how amazing it actually turned out for me! I never imagined lasting on the show for so long, or that Salman Khan would notice me and be so supportive. I assumed I’d be out before my film. Has the Bigg Boss house changed things for you? Would you make a visit to the house again? The Bigg Boss house has absolutely changed my life. The kind of publicity I got from the show was huge. From not being known to becoming a household name, and worldwide, people knowing me is because of Bigg Boss, and because of the importance that Salman gave me. I never expected that. I actually liked Bigg Boss (laughs), I must be the only person to say I enjoyed being on the show. It was such a great experience. Of course, it was very tough, but I feel real life is like

I never imagined lasting on the show (Bigg Boss) for so long, or that Salman Khan would notice me and be so supportive.”


Bigg Boss. In the show, the space is just smaller. Hopefully, I will be considering a lot of work here but I wouldn’t mind entering the house again as a guest. How is your equation with Salman Khan? Do you count him as a friend? We don’t meet often, he is very busy in a lot of things. But if there is some issue where I need his advice, I contact him, because he is definitely someone who can guide me correctly. Yes, I count him as a friend. Does having him backing you make networking easy? When it comes to networking, it is up to you. I don’t think anyone can push you. It all depends on how you connect with people. You mentioned that Salman was very impressed with you during Bigg Boss. So, did he recommend you for films? Yes, Salman recommended my name for Bajrangi Bhaijaan as well as Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, and I met both the directors too. Have you received any offers from big banners? No, I haven’t received any offers from Dhrama or Yash Raj films, but I would love to. Since Salman Khan has started his own production house now, and you consider him a good friend, do we see you doing any projects under his banner? That I don’t know, I’ll ask him (laughs). Have you rejected any film offers? Yes, I have rejected some, but I don’t think it is right to talk about the films I’ve rejected. You have to give them respect and it doesn’t sound nice to talk about them. What’s your take on item songs? Do you feel they are done to death in films today? Where I come from, we see a lot of Hollywood films or European films. But I chose to come to Bollywood

Salman recommended my name for Bajrangi Bhaijaan as well as Prem Ratan Dhan Payo…” because I love its concept of song and dance. That is what really attracts us to Bollywood abroad. We feel it is so beautiful, so magical. So I don’t get bored. In fact, I love it when Bollywood comes out with more song and dance. The way they are done, sometimes looks cheap. What is your

opinion about that? Would you do one? If item songs are cut off, it will not be Bollywood anymore. You have to have some dance-song in a movie. I really wish something like that had been there in Mickey Virus. But if I ever do an item song, I would love it to be hardcore dance, and not just to show off my body parts.


The

SUPERMAN What happens in front of the camera is for all of us to see. But we managed to get a few inside tidbits from designer PRIA KATARIA PURI, from her celebrity chat show, Born Stylist. Read on for some most interesting anecdotes in her own words.

“W

hat surprised me was that interviews were only planned for an hour, but it went on for two hours! I realised that I have a gift of making people talk.


“When I was interviewing Akshay Kumar, the research team would give me their research on every star that came on, because other chat shows tend to miss out facts. The idea was to ask questions never asked before. “Akshay has been very serious and film-oriented in his other interviews, but here, he spoke very personally. I asked him how does it feel to be the ninth highest paid actor according to Forbes magazine, and he said that his monthly expenditure is not more than five to ten thousand Rupees. So I asked him, what does he spend money on then? Turns out, on his beautiful wife. She wants diamonds and bigger diamonds. I wondered whether she wanted them giant crystal sized? He said no, she wanted it paper-weight size. “He even shared that when he was dating Twinkle (Khanna), their second or third date fell on her birthday. He was on a shoot then and did not have the time to get her a gift. He spotted a paper-weight lying on the table, wrapped it up, took it for dinner and gave it to her. She opened it, said a thank you and kept it aside. Akshay said, ‘Pria, even today, that paper-weight is on my bed-side table to remind me every day, that that is the size of the diamond ring she wants.’ “He is a family man. I relate to him a lot. He was ambitious, but never thought of becoming a star even in his wildest dreams. He wanted to be a karate teacher, and had the family’s financial responsibility on him. He was getting clothes from Delhi and bringing it into Mumbai to sell. He has a mama (maternal uncle) in Lajpat Nagar who deals in jewellery. I was sharing that with Akshay and remembers it, each one of them. He says he is very close to his family, wherever they are. “I told Akshay he has the hottest body. He told me he wanted to be fit for the kids. ‘My kids friends’ parents are 30-years old. Imagine if I lose a race? I am Akshay Kumar, known for being fit, and wonder what will happen if I lose to someone else. My

level of fitness cannot be of their level, but I still will have to win the race for my kids.’ “When I asked him about his understanding of fashion, he agreed he doesn’t know anything about fashion. All he knows about are handbags. His wife absolutely loves and adores expensive bags. He said, ‘I realised when I buy handbags, it is not just a branded one, but a classic branded bag. And when you say classic, it means adding more zeroes to it. You women find weird words to trap your men!’ I then told him that buying chocolates is a cheaper way to make a girl happy. But he quipped that Twinkle will rather take all those chocolates and hurl them across the room at him (laughs). “All the guests came on time, but Akshay came in 15 minutes early.

He came straight to my green room and said, ‘C’mon let’s shoot!’ I was really impressed. He is all about discipline. He sleeps everyday at 9.30 pm sharp, and wakes up at 4.30 in the morning. I once read somewhere that if you want to be eternally energised and young, it is important to wake up 30 minutes before sunrise. Who does that? I have great respect for this guy, who works 12 hours a day, wakes up so early, and works out in the morning. His work-out is all natural. Also, he told me he uses egg-white as gel, and sesame oil to prevent greys. He said, ‘I believe in being a product of mother nature, rather than being a product of a product.’ He does not party, does not drink, isn’t hungover and loves spending time with his kids!” If that isn’t a perfect husband, who is!


Singers Today Themselves Say That They Can’t Create The Magic Like We Did.”


Bringing BACK THE 90s A quarter century in the industry, KUMAR SANU has been eating, breathing, and sleeping music. With the memory of an elephant, he remembers the minutest details of his experiences over the years. Taking his listeners down memory lane, he talks about the golden era of Indian cinema, and about the soulful melodies that have remained in our hearts for years. He talks to Stuti Srivastava about his discontent with the music composers today, and the various trends that we have yet to experience. At the end of 25 years in the industry, how would you classify your journey so far? My journey so far has been good. I belong to a family of musicians, so, since childhood, I knew I would pursue music. I started out as a tabla player when I was about eight, and did shows even then. As a tabla player and singer, I knew I was made for more. With the praise I received for my singing, I started looking at the bigger perspective of trying my luck in Bollywood. I moved to Mumbai, but Bollywood was still a far-fetched dream. I started singing at bars to make money to record my voice on cassettes, to send to music directors. One day, when I was recording a song, Jagjit Singhji happened to hear me and told me to meet him. The day I met him was the day I recorded my first song for Aandhiyan, but somehow, the film wasn’t released. Post Kishore Da’s death, they wanted

a heavy voice to sing for Amitabh Bachchanji in Jaadugar. They sent a recording to Amitabhji and instantly he said that I was to be on board. After that, I sang songs, but it was only after Aashiqui that people started listening to my previous songs too. Aashiqui was not supposed to be a film; it was Mahesh Bhattji’s idea to use my recorded songs for a film instead. So your journey was smoothsailing? At least, I never faced a money crunch during that period. The fact that I started my career in Mumbai as a bar singer never bothered me. I was also lucky to get songs which turned out to be super-hits. But to say that I didn’t face difficulties at all is wrong. Though not much professionally, personally, my parents death was a difficult phase for me.


You call yourself lucky to have been offered melodious songs. But what is more important, to get good songs, or to sing well and make any song sound good? I believe that one should be offered good songs. A singer might have the best voice, but the music might not be great. Then it is up to the singer to change and show versatility in their style of singing. And not only music, even the lyrics of a song should be good. Good music and good lyrics is why I am Kumar Sanu today. Do you think that the music industry today has been compromising on an

important aspect, considering the lyrics of a number of songs today? (Laughs) Nowadays, neither the lyrics nor the music is worked well on. The lack of effort put into the lyrics of any song today is quite evident. So we are lagging behind lyrically and musically. 60 per cent songs comprise of lyrics and music, and the remaining 40 per cent depends on the singer. So if we lack in the 60 per cent, how will the 40 per cent hold the song? A song should touch people’s hearts; if one doesn’t give their 100 per cent to a song, it is bound to be forgotten. I’m not saying that there are no good songs being composed, but the number of good

Anu Malik has composed good songs, Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy were also doing a good job, but today, somewhere, they are lagging behind.”


songs made is less. In the 90s, every song in a film used to be a hit, but today out of five-six songs, only one or two work. We assume that with time, the industry has evolved. But you say the music industry has deteriorated. Is no one working towards bringing in a change? No, there are a few good music composers who are trying to do well in the industry. Anu Malik has composed good songs, Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy were also doing a good job, but today, somewhere, even they are lagging behind. Ajay and Atul are good composers; I’ve heard their songs and find their music melodious. There are new entrants in the music industry who are doing well. But I don’t think a change will happen until the producers, directors, and actors stop interfering with regard to music. They are the people who can’t handle their work themselves and have seven-eight assistants around them, but they will still interfere in the music director’s job. Music directors should be given freedom to compose a song using their own ideas and skills, and not ideas from the filmmakers. It often happens that an already existing song is given to them for recreation, but then one often forgets that the music director’s creativity is put on the back-burner. This is not call creation, but adaptation. And adaptation has become so common today that there is nothing new to offer, and there is no originality in what is being composed. Today, the more vulgar the lyrics of a song, the better the song will do. What are the changes in music trends that you’ve seen in so many years? The changes are pretty evident. Music ka maan bahut neeche chala gaya hai. Cassettes and CDs are out. There was a time when people kept a collection of various music CDs. Our songs used to be bought collectively. Today, there are hardly any people who buy CDs of our songs. Has technology affected the music industry in a negative way? Since it is easy to download songs for free, does that put the music industry at loss? No, technology in fact, has proved to be a boon for the industry. We should just work on making good songs. People will download songs, keep them for some time, and then delete them. They will only keep a song if they like it. Composers are composing songs that one can’t listen to or watch with their families. The music industry has

Aashiqui was not supposed to be a film; it was Mahesh Bhattji’s idea to use my recorded songs for a film instead.”


I didn’t leave the industry, so why will I call Dum Laga Ke Haisha my comeback?” gone ahead in terms of technology, but there is a positive and a negative to it. And we focus on the negative aspects more than the positive. Using technology, composers have started making even the discordant sound melodious. You cannot just pick anyone and make them a singer. So, that still is a loss to the music industry. The music industry has been facing many losses. The CDs and cassettes that worked at one time have become useless for the audience now. Music stores have shut shop. But one cannot ignore or do away with technology. We will eventually have to grow. But there are a few in the industry who, for quick bucks, are compromising on the quality of their music. Are you talking about making discordant sound melodious, in the context of actors who have now also started singing? As a singer, when I can do a film, why can’t an actor be a singer? Leave technology aside, I don’t say that an actor should not try their hand at singing. Amitabhji has sung so many songs that have gone on to be hits. It is not for me to say who has a melodious voice and who doesn’t. The audiences know it well, they are the ones who decide what they want to listen to. If people like a song, there must be something in it that they like. But, only when an actor can render a classical or semiclassical song, will I say that they have something to offer in terms of singing. You are a sensation from the 90s; was the music industry difficult to enter then? Or is it today that new talents seldom get a big break? It is very difficult to answer this question. To enter the music industry, one should be monetarily strong, as well as have the talent. If you’re not monetarily strong but have the talent, it will still be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult, as they might not get a chance easily.

Are you saying that even the music industry today works on the power of money and not talent? Definitely, where is the doubt in that? People want money-making machines. Singers might be talented, but the interference of an actor or producer compels them to compose songs that sell. Singers today are talented; Arijit Singh, Benny Dayal, Mika Singh, and Honey Singh are good, to name a few. During my time, the music directors knew the potential of a singer and they would make their music accordingly. But that is not how the music directors think today; they create songs that could make money in the market. Singers should not limit themselves to a particular genre, only if they sing different songs will they be able to prove their versatility to the audience. I have proved myself by singing varied songs; singers today have the talent but are still unable to prove themselves. Songs today are made keeping in mind the business. Producers pay so much to promote a song and one song is played so often on television, that the songs get instilled in people’s mind. They call that song a hit, but that shouldn’t be considered a hit really. The songs we created for Dum Laga Ke Haisha weren’t promoted much, but they did well because the songs were good. The Bollywood industry has seen new trends and a new wave set in. Which time according to you was better, the one gone past, or today’s times? The time gone past was the golden period of Indian cinema. And it is not just I who say that; there are singers today who themselves say that they can’t create the magic that we did. Today, it’s not possible for any singer to live-record with an orchestra playing in the backdrop. They record songs in parts, and through technology, place the parts together. With Rap and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) becoming the new fad, do you think that youngsters today taking to such music, leave behind other genres of music?

Music Ka Maan Bahut Neeche Chala Gaya Hai.”


We can’t say that the youth like Rap and EDM only. Like I said, if you keep showing them the same song time and again, then the song, whether good or bad, will be instilled in their minds. In my shows, youngsters buy tickets for it, and they’re the ones who request me to sing old songs. The youngsters too are missing the old songs. Rap and EDM are not bad, but to say that the youngsters only like such kind of music is not true. Don’t think that the teenagers in our country have bad taste. Adaptation from the West is common today, do you think it’s justified? And have we lost originality? Songs from the West are brought here to be recreated. Singers are now dictated to, as to what and how they will sing a particular song. We’ve never asked people if they like songs from the West or not, we just get them here, adapt them, and sell them for profits. Where is the originality in songs today? How many people have a habit of listening to songs from the West? Eventually, people in the older bracket will only watch something that they can connect with, on a personal level. We as a country, have so much diversity, that in every state, you get to hear something different. When our country is so rich in music, what is the need for us to adapt? Do audiences appreciate such adaptations? When a listener realises that a song has been picked and remade, his respect for the music director decreases. The audiences are intelligent enough to recognise whether the music is adapted or original. Item numbers have been used in films for years. What is the difference between such numbers now and back then? In old films, if you see, there was only one item number and it looked relevant to the film. Today, all the songs in a film are item numbers. The meanings of item numbers have changed; the lyrics are vulgar, and the visuals explicit. I don’t know what the Censor Board is doing today. How can they let films show songs that have double meaning, how can the Censor Board let sex be shown in films? Youngsters today want to watch a film that is certified ‘A’ by the Censor Board.

I don’t think a change will happen until the producers, directors, and actors stop interfering with regard to music.” How did Dum Laga Ke Haisha happen? And did it revive your flagging music career? They approached me keeping in mind the period Dum Laga Ke Haisha was set in. They roped me in because I was a sensation in the 90s. I won’t say that the film revived my career because I’ve always been a part of the industry. I didn’t leave the industry, so why will I call Dum Laga Ke Haisha my comeback? You have received National recognition for your contribution to the music industry. But have you

been given your due from within the industry? I can’t say that I haven’t received my due from the industry, I have received a lot of love from people. Awards are of no value today. You’ve collaborated well with many of your contemporaries. Which of your collaborations has been your own favourite till date? My best collaboration till date has been with Lata Mangeshkarji. The video has been uploaded on various sites, and it is one of the most viewed. It has 79 million viewers, and the song was Honton Pe Bas Tera Naam Hain from Yeh Dillagi.


I Think I’ll Share Crackling Chemistry With Alia (Bhatt) On Screen.” He’s not new to showbiz; he’s born and bred within the film circles, being the Taurani scion. He is very well-versed with the business aspect of cinema, but gearing to leave a mark as a performer. With child-like enthusiasm and undying love for the art, GIRISH KUMAR talks to Pooja Sharma about dreams, and expectations, and reality... Loveshhuda is your second film. What are your expectations from the film? I loved being part of the process. I’m happiest when I am on sets. The pleasure and satisfaction of being in a creative field is a different kind of high. I just want and expect people to enjoy the film.

Your debut didn’t create that kind of buzz, were you more cautious with your second film? Ramaiya Vastavaiya made around ` 35 crores at the Box Office. It did good business. I guess because it was a Prabhudeva directorial, there were skyhigh expectations from the film. But it did good considering there was no big star in the film, as they tend to pull in audiences in numbers. However, people connected to the film. It was a sweet family film. Loveshhuda, on the other hand, is youth-centric. Being from a film family, do you get bogged down by the level of expectations? I have the best and worst of both worlds. I got the opportunity with my first film, but ultimately, it’s going to be my work that will determine my future as an actor. That being said, definitely there are expectations. I think somewhere, people expect a lot out of me, and within the industry too. There’s that thought that let’s see, he’s still a producer’s son. In fact, I’m the first one in my family who’s actually in front of the camera. My uncle and father are businessmen. They just visit the sets or get involved with music because it’s TIPS. Otherwise they’re not involved with the creative aspect. I’m the first in the family to step into the

creative aspect of filmmaking. So there are bound to be expectations. But you can’t expect everyone to have a similar journey. You take each step as it comes, and hopefully, that will pay off in the long run. Who do you find inspiring amongst actors today? I think Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan are doing very well for themselves. Their choice of films is commendable. They have given some fabulous performances. In fact, all new actors are doing amazing work at such an early phase in their lives. I admire that about them. It’s good that the youngsters keep pushing the envelope, so people will be more accepting of newcomers as time progresses. Will you experiment with offbeat films at this stage of your career, or would you prefer to play safe? From what I gauge, the audience wants to watch interesting content. Varun did a film like Badlapur. Had he done that five years ago, it would have been considered a niche film. But today, it did so well. The audience is appreciative of good cinema, regardless of its form or type. I am open to any kind of cinema as long as I am able to connect with the script as a viewer. If not an actor, what would you venture into? I always wanted to become an actor. I’ve been fortunate to be born in a welloff family and my father has taken very good care of me. If I had set out to do something different, my heart wouldn’t have been in it. The performance and the appreciation you get for your work is priceless. I wouldn’t like to change that for anything. Name one actress you’d like to romance on screen. Alia (Bhatt) and Deepika (Padukone). They are doing so well, it will be amazing to work with them. I think I’ll share crackling chemistry with Alia on screen. I think we will make a good pair for a nice romantic story. Who’s on your wish-list of filmmakers? I want to work with all of them. But Ayan Mukherji, Rajkumar Hirani and Zoya Akhtar are at the top of my list.


I Have A Long List Of Directors I Want To Work With, But Do Those Directors Want To Work With Me?” Filled with questions in her head, she stepped in the world of showbiz, expecting her fate to be like that of the many hundreds who come and go. But the universe had bigger plans for her. Her debut film, Pyaar Ka Punchnama became a cult and paved her way to stardom. The sequel to the same added sprinkle on the way. ISHITA RAJ SHARMA can’t stop thanking the Almighty and feels blessed that her recent release has fared so well at the Box Office, and hopes that appreciation keeps coming her way. Hard-working and strong-headed, she will give heart and soul to her roles, discovers Shravan Shah in a conversation with Ishita.

because they have gone through similar situations in their life. Being cranky, bringing up old fights, etc. are things every girl does, but that doesn’t mean every girl is a Kusum, Chiku or Supriya. These things happen every day. If Pyaar Ka Punchnama was ever made from a girl’s point of view, things would be different. Boys are flirtatious, careless, flamboyant, and boisterous. And if we make a film on this, then every girl will relate to it too.

When did the acting bug bite you? It happened to me when I was very young. Whenever I gave thought to what I wanted to be in life, whenever I was asked that, I would say mujhe heroine banna hai (I want to be an actress).

Now that PKP2 has been a success, what next? I haven’t signed anything yet. I am currently in talks. One film has been offered to me, but I haven’t signed it because I think that I have to wait a while for what I want to do. Something is in the pipeline, but till it gets finalised, I can’t talk about it.

When you chose Pyaar Ka Punchnama, did you expect it to be such a hit? How has that feeling been? The feeling is overwhelming. We had no star value when we signed Pyaar Ka Punchnama. I had a lot of inhibitions that it’s a new director, new producer, six new people; don’t know how the film would turn out. It may release but people won’t even notice it. But when the film released, it did so well that it gave us a huge boost. Even though people didn’t know us, the content turned out to be the real hero. That gave all of us confidence. Then, whilst shooting for part two, we feared that people might not end up liking the sequel because the story was similar to part one which was so good. We’ve been very fortunate and happy that part two did great at the Box Office. As an actor, I got more appreciation in part two. Which of the three girls are you really? In reality, I wouldn’t relate to

a particular character, but there are many instances in the film which you do relate to. Like, if while talking on the phone, someone hangs up, I’d kill the person (laughs), such things irritate me. There are many nuances which every girl will relate to. And throughout the film, every guy felt the same

Which is the director you want to work with? I have a long list of directors I want to work with, but the question is, do those directors want to work with me, because I am not a big star yet. I would love to work with Imtiaz Ali; I like his sense of cinema. I would also love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, for showing a simple story in a larger-than-life way. The list goes on. An old film you would like to be a part of? It would be Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. One Bollywood dialogue you swear by? Kuch kuch hota hai, tum nahin samjhoge.


rumours & Dear

NEHA You’ve always been upfront and honest while voicing your opinion concerning social issues. I read you intend to join politics? Is that really on the cards? Meenal Varma (Chandigarh) NEHA DHUPIA: I don’t know what the future has in store for me. If I ever get the opportunity to work hard, prove myself and be honest, whether y g else, I would I am an actor or anything de d nitelyy take it up.

Dear SANJAY

You played a Sindhi in Shaandar. Didn’t you receive any negative comments from the community, since they are shown as stingy, money-minded and tightfisted in the film? Sanjay Khilnani (Dehradun) SANJAY KAPOOR: I played a role. And the Sindhis understand. There are hundreds of Sardar and Sindhi jokes online, nobody takes them seriously. The role in the film had the character shown as larger than life. He wore a lot of gold, many colors were involved. They didn’t show any stingyness in the film, and even if it’s shown, it is hardly there in the film. I didn’t play a caricatured type of Sindhi, it was done in a fancy way. The whole film was a fantasy, where you saw palaces et al. and that’s the reason why the character didn’t jar in the film. Had it been a normal film, it would have looked like what the f*** was I doing there? But in a movie like Shaandar, it just gelled in.

Dear RANA

I had read somewhere that you were doing designer Vikram Phadnis’ directorial debut, Nia. Is it still happening? RANA DAGGUBATI: Nia was a beautiful story, and I had liked it very much. But the timeline Karan Johar had asked me was from January to March 2015. Baahubali was supposed to have been completed by that time. But we overshot it by 150 days. The look I had for Baahubali, which was big and bulky, didn’t really work for another film. I told Vikram that I was in the midst of Baahubali and that had to get done, and that I could only do Nia post the completion of the film. So Vikram asked me if I was okay with them moving ahead and finalising somebody else for my character, and I said please do. So that film I had to let go because of dates.


Dear

GRACY After having a successful career in films, why did you opt to play a Goddess on the silver screen? Manjeet Katariya (Pune) GRACY SINGH: It was something I was looking to do always. I am spiritually inclined and a part of an organisation as well. It has always been on my mind. The person who offered me the role, I had met him many times and told him that if ever he had an opportunity for a role of this caliber, to let me know. Earlier, I was not able to play such roles. The role has a positive message with which people can relate to, and I always wanted to be a part of something like this.

Dear KARTIK

Today, when small-budget lms hit the silver screen, there is not much buzz created around them. Do you think that is one of the reasons that these lms don’t do well? (Aman Bhatnagar, Patna)

KARTIK AARYAN: Promotions these days have become really important for a lm. I don’t know why, but it has become the case today. You need to instill in the minds of the audience the date of your lm, and it works for some people. For 70-80 per cent of lms, it is the promotion that makes them suddenly stand out, and it’s crazy. I really didn’t believe that rst, but now I do. They are really important. You need to have talent to survive in this industry. But apart from that, you need good lms, good banners and good promotion. Without a concept, I don’t think you get that value you do with a conceptual lm. It is really important to create buzz for small-budget lms, or else they lose charm. But you also need more money for promotions than for making a lm these days, that’s the crazy part. If I was a producer, I would think twice about putting that extra money into promotions, because it’s a matter of crores.

Dear PATRALEKHA I really liked your performance in Citylights. Even though it was your debut, you acted very well. And is it true that you’re also planning to act in regional films? Vedant Mhatre (Pune) PATRALEKHA: First of all, thank you for the compliment. I’ve just done a Bengali film. I’m open to every kind of cinema. I even want to go to Hollywood. So, I’m just looking for an opportunity.

Dear readers,

Stardust provides you a platform to ask any one question to your favourite celebrity. We will act as your messenger, and make sure that you get a response from your favourite star. Kindly post your questions at @StardustIndia on . You can also email us at stardusteditor@gmail.com


mail bag 2 VARUN DHAWAN Shining Star Kid! Although star-kids are judged for their choices, the success of their films to a large extent depends upon the luck factor. Many a time, apart from hard work and apt choices, it is essential to have blessings of Dame Luck. Also, for a star-kid there is no identified short-cut towards success and fame.

BE OF TST LET T HE MONER TH

SUPER HOT RANDEEP

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RANDEEP HOODA

“My Wildest Fantasy Would Be To Be In Other People’s...”

He has to toil, as any other new-comer, to solidify his foot in Bollywood and carve and create a place for him – There are no free lunches! Varun is a sweet-faced actor and is more suitable for romantic roles, like the yesteryear actors Dev Anand, Joy Mukherjee and Shammi Kapoor. Angry young-man roles may not be his cup of tea. Being the media’s most adorable and the audiences’ most loved, he should choose the right roles suiting his ability, style and demeanour. Varun’s confidence in facing the camera, is perhaps a gift from his dad, David. He sounds quite sensible and doesn’t seem very keen to don the hat of a hero. Instead, he attaches more importance to the impact his character will make in the film. His focus is right and will prove beneficial to him in the long run. Like a seasoned actor, he does not choose films according to

Stardust, I was awed by your cover simply because you closed the year with the hot Randeep on the cover. I had seen the cover online and rushed to grab a copy. I like such revelations by actors. There is something different about these stars, we feel that they live extraordinary lives. We often wonder about their lifestyles, and hear strange stories about them. I don’t know how true they are, but I really like when stars themselves put forth a few revelations about their lives. Not once in my reading, did I think that Randeep was being diplomatic or faking it. Some questions were really interesting. The quote on the cover was what prompted me to go get a copy. I also liked the inside pictures of Randeep. I think I have a new-found love for Randeep, and not only because he has such an amazing body. I have really liked his work in Highway, Main Aur Charles, and am eagerly waiting to see him as Sarabjit. I like his choice of films as they are not conventional, and they define his acting skills. Randeep indeed was a good choice for the cover.

SukriƟ Pathak (Delhi) screen-time, but on the basis of the contents thereof. As for the choice of his costars, believe me, any co-star from the present lot will like to work with this young actor. His praise and respect for his contemporaries shows how clean and clear his heart is. His communication skills will lead him to the peak of popularity, besides enabling him to garner many wellwishers and fans.

Prem K Menon (Mumbai)

SUPRIYA PATHAK 2 MEGHNA GULZAR

LADIES DAY OUT I missed the In Retrospect column in the month of November, and was eagerly waiting to read it in December. I liked the one with Supriya Pathak and Meghna Gulzar, both of them have been in the industry for long, and know how the industry works. Their conversation made for good copy more because they spoke frankly about the


industry. The conversation was engaging and personal. I liked how Supriya spoke about the need of the industry today. She is right when she says that today one doesn’t need to have acting skills to be an actor in the industry. Meghna Gulzar’s frank talk about how for seven years she failed to make a film was also heart-wrenching as she believed no one trusted her. They both had different point-of-views which gave us different perspectives on the same issues. After watching

to the magazine, on which he was questioned by the media. But after reading the interview, I felt that he didn’t mean to say anything negative. I guess this is something a star often faces. They are stars, and for half the world, it seems that their words are carved in stone. People of different mindsets will interpret their quotes differently. However, the interview was a good read and I really wish the star good luck for his future endeavors.

2 RANBIR KAPOOR Kapoors Rock! It would perhaps be a unique record in the film industry worldwide, that five generations of Kapoors have contributed by acting in films. With Raj Kapoor in central place, followed by two generations, son Rishi Kapoor and his son Ranbir Kapoor; not to forget Randhir Kapoor and his daughters Karisma

2 ANIL KAPOORS

Talvar, one certainly can’t say that Meghna Gulzar cannot be trusted as a director. In fact, I’m awaiting her next releases. Supriya has been my favourite since her Khichdi days. I love such conversations and would love it if you could bring more such people of similar nature to talk about the industry.

ParvaƟ Shukla (Varanasi) 2 VARUN DHAWAN Superstar Of Tomorrow Happy New Year, Team Stardust! Your December issue was quite good. It broke the monotony, with the bold cover. But I really loved Varun Dhawan’s interview. Right from Student Of The Year, he has appeared quite promising to me and still continues to. I was stunned by his performance in Dilwale. The reason I was waiting to read his interview in Stardust was because, I read online about a statement he made

Anabia Qureshi (Delhi)

LA NA: That’s crazy hot... Just fulfills all the fantasies.

DINESH RAHEJA: Finally a cover that caters to a woman’s fantasy smile emoticon

Kara D’cruz (Mumbai)

Close-Knit Kapoors Team Stardust, I wasn’t amazed that you’ll gave such an audacious cover which was just a perfect end to the year! We have seen a kind of revamp this year not only in Bollywood films, but also in your magazine, and the change was really dynamic. The last issue had quite interesting stories, but the amazing coup was an exclusive story of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshavardhan, just before Anil Kapoor’s interview. That was quite a gutsy move. I read the interview and really liked it. Sanjay Kapoor’s interview too was quite a good read. I really like Anil Kapoor for his television series 24, and I await the second season, which if I have to believe Stardust, is in the pipeline. I’ll be glad if Anil Kapoor and his ward have some more surprises to throw. Till then, you guys keep up the great job. Thank you!

G.L. TIBBS: Daaayummm! I mean, what nice looking young man.

and Kareena, and going backward, Prithviraj Kapoor and earlier in Aawara, his father appeared as a judge. The other Kapoor family siblings also have been illustrious in their own careers. Is it not a record of some sorts? Hats off to the Kapoors!

RAJESH KUMAR GUPTTA: Beautiful, I love his body

SNEHA SHARMA: I cant wait to get my copy of the magazine

S.S.GaƩani (AmravaƟ) 2 ANGRY INDIAN FANS Hey. Me, Olivia, and my buddies in Goa are super disappointed that you had nothing about Angry Indian Goddesses in your November 2015 issue? Why, you don’t like us girls? We loved their trailer! It looked so great! Also, we are fascinated with the film director who made Angry Indian Goddesses. There’s a lot of boring stuff on the net about it, but we would like to know what his new Bollywood film will be? Where does he come from? Give us an in-depth in the next issue!

Olivia Fulton D’Souza (Colva, Goa)

SALONI BASU: Hot and Happening!

SUPRIYA RAO: My fantasy comes true.... :p

SHARAD KULKARNI: Damn good cover

VED PATEL: Kya Baat Stardust! Nailed it!


ZEENAT AMAN

LOVING & LIVING

ON

JUNE 1988

The Woman Within The SexSymbol Speaks. With grit and elbow grease Zeenat Aman got the success she madly desired.

W

ith class and a studied candour, she threw it all away. Yesterday she was there, today she’s not, and no one knows if she’ll come tomorrow. An impulsive marriage and a bonny boy threw her into the sidelines. The image of the sex-symbol sunk into oblivion. Zeenat Aman, the enigma, grew… but the lady never surfaced. Until now! Everybody speculated on how a star who had bathed herself in the harsh glare of the public eye could settle for a mere shadow of things that used to be. The transition from curvaceous curves to wet diapers was an arduous one. An actress who had her days filled with penpushers and autograph-hunters, now only heard the warm gurgles of her darling child. The priorities have shifted. From claustrophobic make-up rooms to the cradle, Zeenat’s come a long way, with her baby. Her waking hours are spent with the child. Nothing matters more to her than the welfare of the infant. At a fly sitting on the baby bottle, she lets out an agonising scream. If the child burps with satisfaction, she screams in sheer maternal delight. There are no maids or governesses for this child. Zeenat’s playing all the roles this once. For the first time she’s shuffling the cards, and it thrills her like never before. The mother’s rocking the cradle to a finally satisfying tune. All through it, Zeenat lived cocooned from the flak. When asked to speak, she politely (and not so politely at times) declined. But after haunting, cajoling and pursuing her, the mother within the sex-bomb finally allowed a peek into her very private life. Seated in her cozy home, Zeenat Aman looked ravishing in a casual white shirt and acid washed skirt, completely at peace with herself. She spoke relentlessly, reflecting on her growing-up days, on what it meant to be a sex-symbol, on what it took to marry Mazhar Khan; she spoke

frankly on motherhood, her insecurities. What she expects out of the future, for Mazhar, for her child. For herself. Over to Zeenat Aman – glamour girl, glamour star, and above all, glamour mother… “My childhood was full of warm and happy memories. It was a very balanced one, in spite of the fact that my parents were separated when I was very young. I never lacked anybody’s love and attention, I always had a lot from both sets of parents. My father remarried and so did my mother, so there were more people to dote on me. In fact, there were more. I was also very, very secure. I never resented my parent’s separation because when one is that young, you don’t question, you just accept. I just missed being at both the weddings for which I felt very bad. My mother remarried in Germany and my dad remarried in Bombay. But I was in boarding school in Panchgani. I was put into a boarding school because my mother was travelling a great deal, and she felt that I needed the consistency of having a routine, balanced life. And I enjoyed it. JANUARY 2016 STARDUST 113


“Immediately after I left the sheltered world of a convent boarding school, I went into the climate of Southern California which was a total contrast. There were people walking around in bikinis and banking in shorts. The hippie and drug culture had also just started. But what really shocked me

was that fourteen-year-old girls were dropping out of school because they became pregnant. That was a very severe culture shock for me. It’s interesting that it happened in those formative years of my life. It just widened my perspective. I realised that both these lifestyles existed separately

My childhood was very balanced one, in spite of the fact that my parents were separated when I was very young. I never lacked anybody’s love and attention.” at the same point of time. That’s where the balance in my life started. “I realised my feminity towards the end of my stay in America. There you have what you call Prom night, and you have all these blondes and blue-eyed girls vying to be the Prom Queen. And they sent me in as well. I used to wear a saree to school and was dusky in comparison. I realised that they thought of me as a feminine persona and liked me. This was the beginning of being aware that I was a woman. Boys began approaching me for dates. And this awakened in me a certain something I carried over to India. “Back in Bombay, I found the environment in the colleges very stifling. I realised that I wanted to be a part of the mainstream of life, and therefore, moved on to the next easiest thing I could think of, modeling. And there, I grew more aware of being a woman, of being feminine. “Frankly I was never attracted to the industry. After I returned from Manila as Miss Asia, some offers were made to my mother to allow me to enter the movies. So I signed Mr. O.P. Ralhan’s film in which I had a five-day role. Then I was recommended by him for Hare Rama Hare Krishna. “At that time, my mother was leaving for Germany to join my step-father. All our stuff had been shipped out of the country, we were absolutely ready to go. I begged my mother to let me go to Nepal just for two months, after which I begged her to stay for the release, and then I never wanted to go to Germany at all. I told her that I had a career here and therefore, didn’t want to go. My mother was faced with a very difficult situation – to choose between her daughter and her husband. And she


made a phenomenal sacrifice – she stayed on with me. “The seeds of a ‘sex-symbol’ tag were sown by Hare Rama Hare Krishna itself. Then there was Heera Panna, where I did a song in a bikini, in a hammock. And this went on till I reached the peak in Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Qurbani. But I never really identified myself as a sex-symbol as a person, because I’ve always been a more cerebral person than a physical one. “Mind you, I’ve never been able to wear a swimming costume in public, because I know people are watching me. But between action and cut, I become a totally different person – I become the character I play. These bikini scenes were done only in the early days – and under the aesthetic expertise of veterans like Raj Kapoor and Feroz Khan. With youth, you have a certain innocence, freshness, and it looks very natural because you don’t question it yourself. But the moment you begin to question, you stop. “Values and principles are things that just happen. It’s one thing to be told

something theoretically, and another to live it on a day-to-day basis. I’ve believed in the right of people to live and let live, not consciously wanting to hurt any other human being. Today, I feel very far from the rat-race. I feel I’m looking at it from a great distance. “Art cinema is something I’d love to do now. I can never come back to the rat-race though. I’ve been a part of it for 15 years and just don’t want to go back for more. My priorities have changed today. Just the other day, I was offered three films in a row and I turned them all down. If I act now, it will only be in meaningful cinema. But I’ll never regret my years in the industry. Those were years when I blossomed from childhood to womanhood. Your perspectives change through time, that’s why 15 years later, you are totally different from what you’d started out as. “I feel the Gods have smiled upon me.

I’ve been through a gamut of life. For 15 years, I was a very successful star. Today, I am an equally successful wife and mother. And I’m glad all this happened to me early in life. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait till I am 50. “My relationship with my husband started in a very tumultuous way. But today, everything is sorted out. Neither Mazhar nor I contemplated or planned our marriage. It just happened. We weren’t talking to each other when we left for Singapore and 10 days down the road, we were married to each other. It was off the diving-board, into the deep end where we’d plunged, and then learnt to take it stroke by stroke. Marriage just happened to us, and not all of it was easy. I think walking away from a marriage is easy – staying and making it work is a tough task. We’ve done that. “There has to be fidelity in a successful marriage, but this does not rule out being

My relationship with my husband started in a very tumultuous way. Neither Mazhar nor I contemplated or planned our marriage. It just happened.”


I never really identified myself as a sex-symbol as a person, because I’ve always been a more cerebral person than a physical one.” attracted to another person. Mazhar is a human being and there is the possibility that he may find someone more attractive and appealing. There’s also the possibility that I may find someone more attractive, more stimulating. But this does not mean I’ll give that person preference over my marriage. For, if and when I do, the marriage would cease to be important to me, and I’d move away. I don’t think I’d be able to share Mazhar with anyone else, and I doubt he’d be able to do the same. “Episodes like that Poonam Gidwani one, don’t affect me. I have nothing to say about that tartlet. She tried so bloody hard to sink her claws into Mazhar. She’d do cheap things like bringing him home-made sweets which I’m sure were highly indigestive. She had the gall to say Mazhar wanted her for publicity. Tell me, why would he use her for publicity if that’s what he wanted, when he’s married to me? Frankly I don’t wish to waste my breath over such floozies. “I’m confident of the fact that Mazhar’s equally not fond of Rubaina. I can justify her nastiness towards me, as they say ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ I share no relationship with her at all. The only thing I feel that is not right is Azhaar being deprived of Mazhar’s attention. Mazhar is not being allowed to be with Azhaar as he should. He’s been completely shut out. And that’s not fair to the child. From my side, this house is

always open to Mazhar’s other child as well. I feel very bad for Mazhar and I can’t justify the stand of this woman because she is doing her son a disservice by depriving him of his natural father. “Motherhood means everything to me and I enjoy every moment of it. I feel like a complete woman after I had my son. It’s a myth that mothers can’t be glamorous. Motherhood only enhances the charm, beauty, and glamour of a woman. The only regret I have is that I waited so long to have Azaan. To create and nurture another human being is a

sheer miracle. Azaan knows he’s a very special baby. “Azaan’s too little yet to give me the kind of pain I probably gave my mother through the years. It must have been difficult for her, it’s not easy being a single parent to a successful actress. There are a lot of things I’ve done in my life that have given her a lot of pain, but I don’t think I would like to go back into the past. I value my mother immensely. There are three people very important in my life - my mother, Mazhar, and my son. Amidst all this, I am an identity on my own. I am first. I’ve had my own personality and individuality from childhood. I was never so-and-so’s daughter or wife. If I am anything else, it’s because of love. I love my husband enough to want to be his wife. I love my son enough to want to be acknowledged as his mother. It’s purely out of love, and not a lack or loss of individuality. It’s not as if I’ve not had the choice. I’ve always had it. “Looking into the future, I envisage a few more kids for myself, and great success for Mazhar in whatever he does. Maybe I’ll do a few challenging films myself. I know there’s some force watching and guiding, and he’ll lead us on. But it’s difficult to say what tomorrow holds…”

Kersi Vajifdar

FAST FORWARD Zeenat Aman ruled the silver screen as sex Goddess in the seventies and eighties, making news for her films and her personal life. This1970 Miss Asia Pacific had a convent school education and studied abroad, causing her to be cast mostly in roles of westernised heroines in Hindi films. She may not have had blazing talent, but her looks and her style carried her far in the industry. After her actor-husband Mazhar Khan died in 1998, her kids Azaan and Zahaan were brought up by her single-handedly. She never remarried. A debut in 1971 in OP Ralhan’s Hulchul was followed by successful films with many leading directors, making Zeenat the favourite cover girl of Stardust. She even took a shot at Hollywood with Shalimar, saw a 17-year run with her playing lead roles till 1989. With films such as Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Yaadon Ki Baraat, she impacted the characterisation of and fashioned the image of the youthful and westernised woman in Hindi cinema. She played unconventional, non-conformist and liberal thinking characters in nearly 80 films, and had very few appearances after a comeback. The 64-year-old Zeenat Aman lives with her now grown-up sons, and is social only to a very small degree, holding herself aloof from the industry and its activity, making rare appearances at fashion shows and film events. She still is the picture of grace and style. (Contributed by Suguna Sundaram)


Nari Hira, Anupam Kher, Suchitra Iyer and Rupali Suri

A WINNER ALL THE WAY Anupam Kher walked into the Magna Lounge donning a pinstripe blazer and brogues, to unveil the December 2015 cover of Society magazine along with Nari Hira, Chairman, Magna Publishing, and Suchitra Iyer, Editor, Society magazine. With Anupam at his wittiest best, the afternoon was filled with the actor’s amusing tongue-in-cheek responses to the media’s queries. Known not to shy away from controversial questions, Anupam’s frankness was peppered with the perfect amount of humour, making sure everyone’s faces had a constant bright smile. He was so pleased to be on the cover that he confessed he couldn’t take his eyes off it, no matter what eye-candy stood before him! With over three decades in the industry, Anupam sure had some interesting anecdotes that he was more than happy to share with the media present. Sharing experiences of some of his ‘not-sogood’ films, he said, “I’ve even enjoyed my horrible films!” Of course, he was questioned about intolerance and his bold Twitter statements, to which he graciously clarified his stand, adding that the focus must remain on the cover. He added that he wasn’t a crusader. Though he said, “I would like to believe that Aamir (Khan) and I are good friends and I’d like to work with him soon. It’s been a long time. I miss

Anupam Kher

Anupam and Anupam

Slaying The Media

him.” Further on, he made it clear how he had no plans of getting into politics in the near future and this was just like the interval of his journey as actor. “Besides,” he quipped, referring to his wife, “One politician in the family is enough.” While on Kirron, when asked about who was the more dominating of the two, he said, she says he was passive aggressive. “Kirron though is

Rupali Suri

the same with everyone—whether it’s her father, son or me—forthright and brutal.” He added with a wink how this cover was a bigger trophy for him than nominations in awards (hinting at the upcoming Stardust awards)! In all, the media was pealing with laughter and his amusing revelations made the afternoon unveiling quite a hit.


Nari Hira, Randeep Hooda and Srividya Menon

STARDUST DECEMBER ISSUE UNVEILING Randeep Hooda sizzles on the Stardust December Issue Cover. On a serene winter evening, the Magna Lounge was blazing hot, abuzz with shutterbugs and the media fraternity as they gathered to witness the unveiling of the Stardust December 2015 issue. Heating up the

atmosphere was Randeep Hooda who graced the cover of Stardust. Present on the dais were Mr. Nari Hira, Chairman Magna Publications, the heartthrob Hooda himself, along with editors Srividya Menon ( who also doubled up as emcee for the event) and Suguna Sundaram. The floor was set, the media arrived on time, and got rolling with their

set-up. The man of the evening reached bang on time to kick-start the event. The lights of the flash bulbs and calls for Randeep’s clicks resounded in the Magna Lounge. Srividya, without much ado, started the event. The Lounge rang with hoots and whistles as the cover was unveiled. Marveled by the spontaneous response, Randeep admitted to feeling honoured to be on the magazine cover, which he claimed was his first ever film-magazine cover. Sharing a few cover moments, he thanked Mr. Nari Hira and the editors for featuring him. Also photographer Munna S, who shot the cover so aesthetically, and for making him look irresistibly hot on it. With the floor

Nari Hira, Randeep Hooda, Srividya Menon and Suguna Sundaram


Nari Hira and Randeep: ‘Darn! He’s a looker!’

Randeep Hooda: I Love Stardust!

Randeep, Srividya and Suguna: Flooring the ladies

Randeep Hooda: Then and Now

open for questions from the media, Randeep was flooded with compliments from the fraternity. Alas, no one asked any leading or overt questions! Replying to a question on the weirdest comments he has received on his sex appeal, Randeep replied that the messages he receives are all explicit and to be certified as ‘A’, due to which he was reluctant to share them. Talking about his romantic side and whether he would do any mainstream film, he grinned saying that he romances the women on screen for ‘real’, and doesn’t work on conventional lines. He also discussed his upcoming film, Omung Kumar’s Sarabjit, where he plays the title character. The memorable event concluded with much applause and the shutterbugs going crazy again. Randeep happily obliged everyone who wanted pictures.


HONOURING JEWELS The Crème de la crème of the Jewellery industry descended at the Sahara Star, Mumbai, to honor the most prestigious edition of The Indian Bullion & Jewellery Association Awards 2015. PNG Jewellers set a new benchmark by receiving the ‘The Best Promising Gems & Jewellery Company Awards 2015’ from the Indian Bullion Jewelley Association by the hands of Anil Kapoor. Raveena Tandon was the showstopper for PNG Jewellers at the event.

HALL OF FAME

Mr. Rana Kapoor, President, ASSOCHAM and MD & CEO, Yes Bank, along with Mr. Shah Rukh Khan and Mr Ven ugopal Dhoot, Past President, ASSOCHAM & CMD, Videocon Industrie s Ltd, launching the ASSOCHAM Coffee Table book on Digitization and Mobility of Media & Entertainment.

Sonam Kapoor and Vasan at the International t Bhandari of UB Group Jewelery show fin ale at Grand Hyatt PRIYANKA CHOPRA “If I Am Ever With Someone, I’ll Be With A Showman…”

JANUARY 2016 ` 75 www.stardust.co.in

FREE!

AKSHAY KUMAR STYLE SECRETS

SUBSCRIPTION RATES: For India ` 765/- (1 year/12 issues), Outside India ` 3000 (1 year/12 issues) Cheques to be drawn in favour of Magna Publishing Co.Ltd., Mumbai. SEND ALL Subscription inquiries/address changes to subscriptions@magnamags.com

“Akshay (Kumar) Is The Calmest Person I Have Ever Worked With.” SONAKSHI SINHA “I Don’t Like To Believe That I Am At The Top Of The Ladder” DEEPIKA PADUKONE

FOR SALE ONLY IN INDIA

Edited, published and printed by Srividya Menon for Magna Publishing Co. Ltd. Magna House, 100/E, Old Prabhadevi Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025, at Magna Graphics (India) Ltd., 101-C&D, Govt. Industrial Estate, Kandivli (West), Mumbai 400067. All objections, disputes, differences, claims and proceedings are subject to Mumbai jurisdiction.

SUNNY DEOL On Why He Could Not Become A Commodity

RANBIR KAPOOR

THE GRAND RESURRECTION

COVER CREDITS RANBIR KAPOOR PHOTOGRAPH: JOHN PLAYERS PRIYANKA CHOPRA PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY: GUESS


REGD. NO.: MCW/72/2015-2017, Posted At : Mumbai Patrika Channel Sorting OfďŹ ce Mumbai-400001. On 25th and 26th of the previous month. RNI. 19153/71 Date of Publication on the 25th of previous month


SENSATIONAL

Akshay Kumar

THE SUPERSTAR

‘HOT’COUTURE


CONTENTS

Editors SUGUNA SUNDARAM SRIVIDYA MENON Senior Features Writer POOJA SHARMA Correspondent SHRAVAN SHAH Junior Correspondent STUTI SRIVASTAVA NAWAZ KOCHRA Editorial Assistant K. KAMALNATHAN Asst. Art Directors SHEKHAR KARLEKAR GULZAR MALLAYANOR Advertising Director ASHOK DHAMANKAR Asst. General Manager PREETA NAIR Advertising Manager KESHAV NANDIKOL (MUMBAI) Regional Manager (North) KUMAR SHWETABH Associate Advertising Manager BINIT KAUR HURA (NEW DELHI) Computer Graphics GEORGE, SANJAY, JIJI, SANTOSH, DNYANESH, BHARAT

Cover Photograph: AVINASH GOWARIKER

FEATURES ACCESSORIES

Take a cue from the actor on how to jazz up your outfits. FITNESS

Get an insight into Akshay Kumar’s fitness regime. LOOK TEST

A recap of all his memorable on-screen get-ups. RED CARPET LOOKS

06 12 16 33

Here’s a look at the actor’s memorable off-screen wardrobe. BRAND SPEAK: RELAXO

38

Why Akshay Kumar epitomises brand Sparx DESIGNER SPEAK

Budding designer Usaamah Siddique decodes Akki’s style quotient. CASUAL LOOKS

Check out Akshay in some of his most-talked about avatars. QUOTES

Go down memory lane to unearth some of his coolest confessions. CARNAMA

A peep into the action star’s swanky garage.

42

46 50 54


INTRODUCTION WORDS SUGUNA SUNDARAM

T

he humble and simple boy Rajeev Bhatia, who set foot in Bollywood 29 years ago, dreamt of becoming an actor. But he probably never imagined how the benevolent hand of Lady Luck and his own hard work in combination, would send him soaring along such heights, that he would become Akshay Kumar, one of the Hindi film industry’s leading lights and soughtafter heroes. Akshay Kumar is currently one of the highest paid Bollywood actors, and has added to his repertoire the label of producer as well. It was in 1992 with the film Khiladi, the first of a series, that he gained fame and recognition and began being called the industry’s Khiladi Kumar. That was followed by Sabse Bada Khiladi , the second in the series, and many other films, and he started getting nominations for awards for the work he did. Post his slow initial ascent and after a brief run-in with success, Akshay’s still budding career went through a low. In the mid-nineties, a string of his releases bombed at the Box Office and he went through a lean period. The Suneel Darshan-directed Jaanwar in 1999 then was the fresh beginning of his star ascent. He starred in Priyadarshan’s comedy films, beginning with Hera Pheri , and also did romantic drama, negative roles, crime drama, action films - spanning the gamut, despite producers wanting to typecast him as an action hero. By 2004, he was really up there among the best for his actions skills. He also did big television reality shows, and National Geographic even aired his programme, Seven Deadly Arts with Akshay Kumar . Akshay’s transition was a slow and uphill task. But he persevered, and scaled the top all on his own steam, by the dint of his determination and hard toil. And so it happened that the awkward, small-town lad, who wanted to hitch his wagon to a star, became a star himself. His fan following grew in numbers. All Akshay had started with was his shy confidence and immense discipline, and a single-mindedness of pursuit. He kept himself fit mentally and physically, groomed himself with no Godfather or mentor, and polished his rough edges, notching himself up to the status of one of the smartest and nattiest actors over the years. He simultaneously stretched his acting skills and pushed himself to his limits and more, excelling in comedy, as well as drama. Action he was anyway king of. He married Twinkle Khanna, and started a family. He has a son, Aarav, and a daughter, Nitara today. Fatherhood softened him on the inside adding a distinct emotional quotient to his acting. In 2008, Akshay started his own company, Hari Om Entertainment Production, and hosted the first season of the reality game show Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi (followed up by further seasons in 2009 and 2011). 2009 brought Akshay the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards, for his contribution to the film industry. Following his early years’ passion and profession of cooking, in 2010, Akshay presented on television, India’s first season of Master Chef India . The next few years saw the birth of his second production company, Grazing Goat Pictures. His collaboration for the Indo-Canadian hockey-based film Breakaway was the highest grossing cross-cultural film at the Canadian Box Office. His films Housefull 2 , Rowdy Rathore and Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty became a hat trick, as they grossed the `100 crores mark. Akshay Kumar is one of Bollywood’s highest tax-payers since a few years now. Modest about his appearance, Akshay remains the fittest actor in the industry, giving guys half his age a run-for-their-money. He and Twinkle step out rarely for events and shows, but when they do, their appearance is something to look out for.


ACCESSORIES

FLAUNTING

FRILLS One’s fashion sense can speak volumes through the choice of addons to the attire. And in showbiz, any look without some adjuncts is considered dull. When it comes to the Khiladi AKSHAY KUMAR, he makes sure to stand out in the fashion test. With a shoe fetish, the actor never fails to make a style statement, Nawaz Kochra picks some of his notable looks where he has either nailed it or failed it!


PHOTOGRAPH: JAYESH SHETH


ACCESSORIES

PHOTOGRAPHS: YOGEN SHAH

Akshay keeps it simple with a sleeveless hoodie, pairing it with doubleshaded aviators, belt and sports shoes, which nicely complement the outfit.

Akshay pairs the casual get-up with striking brown shoes, along with a simple belt and jacket, which add the perfect amount of spice his looks need.


Akki tries to mellow down that starry image, just donning a black cap with simple sports shoes.

Keeping it unfussy, Akshay Kumar decks up the cargo style jeans and the simple T-shirt with brown casual shoes and a funky red cap.


ACCESSORIES

PHOTOGRAPHS: YOGEN SHAH

Akki goes hippy in ripped jeans and a double-neck T-shirt. The gray cap is a nice addition, but the scarf looks overdone. Good choice of shoes though.

Akshay jazzes up the printed black T-shirt with black aviator glares, sports shoes and the usual belt, looking smart though.


Akshay tries to enhance the casual look with those signature glares and cap, along with a sling bag.

For a change, Mr Kumar goes traditional, keeping it simple with a watch; the golden mojdis suit the attire very well.


PHOTOGRAPH: JAYESH SHETH


FITNESS

INVINCIBLY

FIT

It is one thing to look good, and another, to be fit. With a combination of good looks and a fit body, AKSHAY KUMAR has been ruling, unbeatable on the fitness chart. Close to three decades in the industry, Akshay is still spoken about for his disciplinary attitude towards his fitness regime. Even the younger lot in the industry can’t match his fitness quotient. This superstar opens the year 2016 with one of his most awaited films – Airlift. For he is here to stay, and his fitness to inspire, Stuti Srivastava takes notes on the fitness regime of this superstar.

P

ictures of actors posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, invariably show off their hot bodies. Almost all actors have slogged in the gym to make their bodies look desirable. But there is an exception too. While a lot of stars share their gym pictures, Akshay Kumar is always ready to share his fitness mantras with anyone who expresses a desire to follow his path. The only thing he stresses is that it calls for sustained and continually applied discipline.Who wouldn’t want to know about the Khiladi Kumar’s health secrets? After all, we have always seen him look fit and fab! It’s

unimaginable, the amount of hard work and dedication he puts himself through, to maintain his body, which he believes is truly a temple to be worshipped and celebrated. He is not known as the fittest man in the industry for nothing. His fitness plan is a difficult one to follow. From the very beginning of his career till date, in almost all his films, Akshay is seen doing difficult stunts which he pulls off with ease. Ever wondered what made this man look so steamily hot? Believe us, the credit for his fitness does not go to any swank gym. Today, it has become a trend and everybody is hitting the

gym for solving their fitness problems. But Akshay is not so mainstream and chooses the hard way to fitness. The true blue khiladi prefers performing all the stunts in his films by himself, and he keeps himself prepared for it. Whether it is jumping off a tall building or going underwater, he does it all. The best display of his fitness was in Chandni Chowk to China, where he not only flaunted his super fit body, but also the hard work that went into making one. He has been the torch bearer of the word ‘fit’ in the industry ever since he was seen performing stunts in his initial Khiladi series. He did get clichéd, but this Punjabi boy carried with poise all the roles that he played. EXERCISE REGIME: Not following the norm, Akshay chooses jogging over gymming. He jogs his way to fitness. Over all these years, he has tried his hand at many other forms of fitness training, including yoga and martial arts. He prepares his best for the roles he portrays. You may never have seen him with abs, but justifying that, Akshay stated that he prefers the natural way of staying fit. He also made a statement that his body does not survive on steroids and health powders


(a short-cut to beefing up, that many tinsel-towners are guilty of). Akshay admits that going natural has helped him live a healthy lifestyle. He goes for a jog every morning and mixes up his fitness routine so as to not to make it monotonous. He practices mixedmartial-arts and kick-boxing. He also follows various other exercise forms (like Tai-chi, etal. adopted from eastern techniques, since Akshay has spent his early years before he came into films, in the Far East) to keep his body fit. More than gaining abs or body-building, Akshay’s goal is only to maintain a fit body. His workout is mainly to maintain, not to build. We see him doing a lot of stunts which require a lot of strength training and endurance. He also does yoga and meditation to keep himself calm and composed. At the end of the day, Akshay is very rigidly disciplined about following his programmes, never wavering from them, even when he is on holiday. DIET PLAN: Point to be noted- Akshay Kumar doesn’t take any shakes, powders or enhancers to make his body look good. For Punjabis, hospitality about feeding, as well as an inborn love for food is one of their strongest traits. But Akshay makes resisting seem like a piece of cake. He is very strict with what he eats. He makes sure that he doesn’t eat unhealthy, and is a stickler for timing and following the most healthy and organic processes with meals. He is done with his dinner before sunset generally. He prefers protein and avoids carbs. He eats simple homemade food which comprises roti, sabzi and dal. He sticks to his diet even while shooting outdoors. He is a teetotaler and does not smoke either. Akshay never takes his body for granted and treats it in the best ways possible. He keeps his

food simple and makes sure that he does at least one activity in a day to stay fit. In fact, he has invested so much time and sacrifice and discipline in his physique, that he has attained the perfect attitude to something that has reaped him rich rewards (he never complains about the pain ever) – he so enjoys his exercise regime, that he looks forward to it. It might not be easy to do what he does, but the stunts he performs are not to be tried at home ever.


LOOK TEST

THE FANCY

DRESS He’s played a cop, a con and a common man, but every time he plays these characters, he makes sure he engraves them with his own print and does it with panache. From colorful turbans to Mongolian collars, AKSHAY KUMAR has donned them all. Shravan Shah brings you a gist of Akshay Kumar’s reel life looks.

SPECIAL 26 Set in the 70s, Akshay’s look was medieval and subtle. With this film, Akshay came home to his favourite genre of witty plot and exemplary acting. He kept his look subtle and gave a more intense feel to his character, quite understandable, since it’s a con film. Not only is his Bengali impressive, but his look also comes close to Kolkata’s street style. A job well done.


LOOK TEST

BOSS Fighting for people’s rights in Boss, Akshay Kumar sported knee-length Kurtas, and teamed them up with a pair of jeans. To add to the look, he wore coloured blazers. His entire attire was a perfect blend of ethnic and western mix. Dressed like a cowboy in shades of white and grey for Har Kisiko Nahin Milta, it added a different shade to his character in the film.


BABY Akshay played an Indian security agent, and flaunted the tough look throughout the film by wearing a baseball cap and aviators with a moustache. To add to the rough and tough persona, he choose to wear polo T-shirts clubbed with coloured trousers. In another look, Akshay wore sweat-shirt and paired them with track pants to flaunt his sporty and rugged look in the film. For certain scenes, he also wore dark cotton shirts that carried his look of an agent really well.


LOOK TEST

CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA Akshay played a cook in this film and a reincarnation of an ancient warrior, and was seen flaunting a moustache throughout the film, and short hair. His attire mainly consisted of cotton checkered shirts teamed with white pajamas. Also, in some scenes, Akshay was seen wearing the typical satin embroidered Chinese attire which was apt for character he portrayed. For the title track of the film, he was dressed like a Chinese warrior and that definitely was an eyeturner. He also dressed in retro-formal attire for one of the songs.


ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI DOBAARA! This hairdo might look bizarre to many now, but years ago, the same style was a rage! Akshay Kumar chewed up the scenery with his dangerous frown, flaring nostrils, dark glasses, flicked cigarettes and thunderous dialogue. He was on a full-throttle masala infusion in the film. He swayed across the screen with ĂŠlan and such grace. The pant spread and unbuttoned sleek suits worked for his character in the film. PS. Yes, Akshay Kumar never had any qualms in putting hairy chest on display in the days past.


LOOK TEST

ROWDY RATHORE Akshay Kumar played a double-role in this film, ooff an honest police officer and a con man. And was seen wearing a moustachee in the entire film. His attire mainly consisted off jeans, paired with bright T-shirts and an open shirt which acted like a jacket.


OMG – OH MY GOD! Even though many feel Akshay would have looked just fine had he not worn those shades while jiving to Tu Cheez, those glasses looked perfectly fine in this! He played the role of a ‘God’ similar to our vision of the Almighty while we read Panchatantra. Playing a jolly chap named Krishna Vasudev Yadav, a modern-day incarnation of Lord Krishna himself, who arrives from the skies on a swanky motorbike, Akshay made sure he owned the fictitious look. He also dressed swanky in parts, tanked with tie, bandhgala coat, suits and bottoms. Also, we loved the peacock feather teamed with those sunglasses.


LOOK TEST

HOLIDAY: A SOLDIER IS NEVER OFF DUTY Holiday gave Akshay Kumar a chance to return to full combat mode and so our khiladi gets back to the zone he is most comfortable in. His look in Holiday had him wearing formals and a hairdo which came straight out of a military salon. With a twist here and there, his do changed as the situation demanded. We have to mention that it did go a bit haywire in the song where he tries to lure the lady wearing colourful tees, capris and sports shoes, which stand out starkly and did not gel well with his character.


SINGH IS KING Far away, in a small village in Punjab, there exists someone very notorious — Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar). He does what he does the best — madcap comedy. With his colourful Singh turbans embodied with brooches, Akshay truly looked like one from the clan. He played the innocent Sikh who falls in love with the stylish and poised heroine of the film. Right from his rustic language to his tongue-in-cheek dialogues, Akshay Kumar made sure he left everyone in splits. Though, he later landed himself and the film under controversy with the Sikh community, for sporting a stylish goatee in the film, unlike the traditional beard.

ACTION REPLAY Akshay Kumar played the character of a dopey dad who was once dapper in his past. Have to give it to Akki as we struggle to think of many actors who would have been comfortable wearing such garish retro wear with such ease. Those tight, flashy pants and the horrid printed shirts were ugly, to put it mildly. A bit of work might have made more sense. After all, retro also meant leather jackets and all things blue. Thankfully, Akshay Kumar never sported the same look again!


LOOK TEST

TASHAN Akshay’s look this YRF film was most talked about. He had a short crop and his unshaven face complimented the character of Bachchan Pandey really well. He wore bright coloured shirts, paired with light coloured Nehru jackets. The Aviators Akshay wore in the entire film added to the rugged persona of the gangster. He also flaunted a blonde wig and an animal printed jacked in one of the songs. To add a little spice to his outfit, he wore a fat leather belt. In another song, Akshay was seen in ethnic wear, which broke the monotony of the loud clothes he wore through the film.


RED CARPET LOOKS

DEBONAIR

DUDE He rarely goes wrong with fashion. Trust the actor to pull off any look with panache. Be it western formals or traditional ensembles, the actor knows how to maintain a balance. Srividya Menon takes a look at the super-stylish AKSHAY KUMAR’s most-

PHOTOGRAPHS: YOGEN SHAH

talked about wardrobe.


RED CARPET LOOKS

PHOTOGRAPHS: YOGEN SHAH

A bandhgala shirt and glossy pants wouldn’t have been our pick. But Akshay just manages to make the look passable.

Dapper and in good shape, Akshay goes monochrome with brown jacket and pants. Again, with minimal accessories, he lets his body do the talking.


Going black and grey, Akshay looks slick and smart. With his hair mildly puffed, and a glint in his eyes, he carries it off well.

A standard suit with a waistcoat was uplifted a notch higher with those plum shoes. A neat hair-do completed the look. We do have a minor gripe with the overall fit of the suit though.


RED CARPET LOOKS

PHOTOGRAPHS: YOGEN SHAH

A white shirt is always a winner and Akshay knows that well. Pairing it with dark denims, he manages to carry off the look classily.

The moustache really helps with the overall look, and Akshay’s frame looks tailormade for the bandhgala jacket and jodhpurs. Breaking the jarring blue are his red mojris which go well with this royal look.


An ill-fitted jacket can really kill a look and this is a perfect example of the same. His hair, jacket and pants fail to impress.

Looking better in a blue outfit, Akshay subtly tells us how it is done. Welltailored and straight-cut, this one is a winner.


DESIGNER SPEAK

FIT & FLAMBOYANT! Of his generation, he is inarguably, not only the fittest, but also the most stylish. Ever since he started off, his sartorial choices have only gotten better with every season. He may not adhere to fashion diktats or trends, but believes in setting them. Known for his unique style, AKSHAY KUMAR is a man of all seasons. Budding designer Usaamah Siddique deciphers the actor’s style quotient to Pooja Sharma.


DESIGNER SPEAK


How would you define Akshay Kumar’s personal style? I’d say sporty. I absolutely love the way he dresses. Be it a casual or formal ensemble, he carries himself with great panache. He’s effortlessly stylish. And he doesn’t believe in simply aping trends and has his own take to fashion, which is great. What are the changes you’ve observed in his fashion sensibilities over the years? There have been numerous changes in his way of dressing over the years, but his confident style has been an impressive constant. He makes fantastic fashion statements both, on, and off screen. What I find cool is the fact that he is willing to experiment with his hair too. We’ve seen him sport different hairdos for his characters on screen, which has also worked in most cases. Do you think he experiments with his wardrobe? Definitely. But I’d love to see him experiment more. Which colors, cuts & fabrics suit him best? He looks really dapper in a complete suit, as well as in jogging pants and a casual tee. Which of his on-screen characters have you liked the most in terms of his look? Why, and what was different about it? I really liked his character/ look in Desi Boyz. He carried every outfit very suavely. Also, I feel he pulled off the soft muted colours very well, in the song Shayarana from Holiday. Do you remember a particular look from any of his films which has set a trend? Yes. He made a style statement in Namastey London with flap-pocket pathani kurtas.

If you had to design a red-carpet outfit for Akshay, what would it be? A sleek shawl lapel tuxedo with a bow-tie. And in casuals, what works best for him? The classic blue denims/ white shirt and sneakers. Do you think the actor has been an inspiration to youngsters; in what way?

Of course, he has been a style icon. Everything from his superhuman fitness to his self-made success has been a complete source of inspiration for today’s youth. All his movies convey beautiful messages, and he’s been supremely versatile with his looks. He has always managed to look super sharp. One trend the actor has managed to popularize. His kurtas/ Indian wear in Namastey London. They’re a major hit.


CASUAL LOOKS

SIMPLE &

SUAVE!

AKSHAY KUMAR is known to turn heads even in the simplest of outfits and subdued style. And even on occasions when he dons the outlandish avatar, he grabs headlines. The actor, who has a fetish for extravagant shoes, enjoys his casual side as much. Pooja Sharma sifts through some of his recall-worthy off-screen appearances.


CASUAL LOOKS The actor ďƒ&#x;aunts his sporty-grungy side in a black tee and zipper pants. We like the stubble.

Akshay infuses coolness to this most tried-and- tested combo. Khiladi Kumar throws in an inkblue denim shirt over a pair of ochre yellow trousers. However, his violet aviators steal the show.

Akshay picks a striped shirt and a pair of cool linen pants. He sports printed loafers to break the monotony. We like the slouchy summer look.


In a black shirt and loose-�ed jeans, teamed with a cap and running shoes, the actor keeps it sporty-casual.

Trust Akshay Kumar to pull off a quirky look with such poise. The actor throws a colourful printed stole over casuals. Those studded loafers are certainly the highlight of the look.

Akki keeps it simple in a slogan tee and a pair of jeans, and sports quirky sneakers.


QUOTE ROOM

BAS BOL DIYA...

I’m like a slumdog millionaire – small people love me, but a few big people resent me for stepping into their territory.

You can never believe anything anyone says in an industry such as this, or you’ll cut your own career short for sure.

He always speaks his mind, not giving a damn about what might follow. He is gutsy, straightforward and courageous. His filmography has crowned him with the title of Khiladi and till date, Mr. Kumar has rightfully stayed true to the label, adding to it a slight touch of humour. He has been in the industry for over two decades now but with every film, AKSHAY KUMAR proves that age is just a number. Shravan Shah brings you some noteworthy quotes of Mr. Kumar from the archives. Read on...


“Why should the script of Oh My God 2 be toned down? We are here to show facts. Why should we be shy about it?” “You know how eight and 10-pack abs are made today, right? It just happens at the snap of a finger. But those are all scientifically wrong methods, I am not against bodybuilding. I am just saying do it the natural way and don’t go for shortcuts.”

While we were making Oh My God, people asked us why we were making it. But through OMG, we just wanted people to know that there’s no reason for them to go to temples and spend the kind of money and time they spend. We didn’t try or wish to challenge the existence of God.


QUOTE ROOM

Salman is the commercial stud, Hrithik is the superhero, Aamir is the perfectionist, Shah Rukh is the romantic, Saif is the handsome Prince and I am the stunt-master with a funny bone.

“I love to work with filmmakers whose ideologies match with mine and who are on the same page as I am, as far as content is concerned.”

“Doing films like Holiday or Baby is emotionally taxing and that’s why I joke around and play pranks... You don’t need to be serious all the time while playing serious characters.”

“It’s very easy to shoot four films a year. Normally, one film doesn’t take more than 60 working days. Doing four films a year means working for 240 days. Uske baad toh holiday hi holiday hai.”


“Yes, there is a deliberate attempt to do more films like Special 26 and Baby because I have started enjoying being part of these kinds of films. But I also enjoy doing films like Housefull or Welcome, as it is a good stop-gap arrangement.”

Today, it’s not easy to become a hero. Earlier, it wasn’t that difficult. Now, you’ve to be good at everything and only then, the audience accepts you. It’s a very tough job.

“Neeraj (Pandey) is one of the few people who always offers me something different and gets the best out of the actor in me.”

“The media keeps asking me which camp I belong to. I don’t like camps. I like living in my bungalow.”


FANCY WHEELS

THE ROYAL

CARRIAGE

The Khiladi Kumar is known for his hardcore action and when it comes to cars, AKSHAY KUMAR makes sure he owns the best of the lot. From a tough Range Rover to the svelte Bentley, he enjoys them all. Shravan Shah drives you through g the royal garage of A Akshay Kumar.

PORSCHE CAYENNE: GREY EDITION The Porsche Cayenne seems to be the favourite wheel of B-towners. Costing a whopping ` 2.30 crore, Akki’s car is a perfect mix of power, efciency y and sportiness. It is lled with luxury features providing idi g an eight-speed g automatics drive. auto at cs aand d aall-wheel ee d e. Thee ssleek of tthee Porsche T ee look oo o o sc e Cayenne perfectly C y y matches Akshay’s A y persona.


RANGE ROVER SPORT The Range Rover Sport is the agship of the Land Rover lineup. Wearing a decade-old nameplate, Range Rover is associated with exquisite luxury, British style and eyebrow-raising off-road capacity. Boasting of a ne pedigree, tank like building quality and ne interiors, it has the ability to go just anywhere and conquer hearts, like Akshay himself.

BMW 7 SERIES The BMW 7 series in its latest generation is more matured, powerful and comfortable, with luxury features like never before. The makers have worked on making its luxury yacht more efcient, powerful and comfortable. The new gearbox in the 7 series is a huge improvement, taking the car to really high speed at really low rpms, automatically improving cruising ability and efciency. The interior provides right style and complement the outside body, perfectly suiting the actor’s demands.


FANCY WHEELS HONDA CRV The Honda CRV, which costs around ` 21 lakhs, comes with features that accompany the impressive ride quality. The contemporary styling and neat arches are head turners and add to the overall bold look. The car is sportier and the tweaks done to the grill and headlight cluster, contribute to the aggressive and sporty stance. The ride quality acts as the litmus test to show the car-like dynamics it displays. It does not have a rugged appeal though, and from inside, is very silent, just like the actor.

BENTLEY CONTINENTAL Priced at ` 2 crore, the Bentley Continental is a supercar on the track and effortlessly makes us believe its 188mph top speed claim. It turns smoothly into corners, even on a greasy or damp, wintry surface. Available in coupe or convertible, Bentley Continental comes with an all-wheel drive. With an eight-speed automatic, 21-inch wheels, a specially tuned chassis, exterior reďƒžnements, and a lavish interior, the Continental is exactly what it promises to be.


Stardust january 2016  
Stardust january 2016