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May 2008 | Vol 1, Issue 10


Amitabh Bachchan's evolution from the Angry Young Man to an Angry Senior Citizen


Like Babes in the (Bolly) Wood: Its not all fun and games for kids in the film industry


Our exclusive interview with Kal Penn PLUS everything you needed to know about the icon that is Indiana Jones


Queen Bee: Big Money on the Small Screen & more Music Legend: Bob Dylan The Big Gig: Atif Aslam The Great Game: FIFA Street 3

w h a t ’s i n s i d e

The Plot Vol. 1 No. 10 » MAY 2008

TELL US WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY Send an email to PUBLISHED BY Adlabs Films Limited Film City Complex, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400 065 (India) PRINTED AT Magna Graphics (India) Limited 101 C&D Govt. Industrial Estate Hindustan Naka Kandivli (W) Mumbai 400067 (India) Tel: +91 22 28683738, 28687475

THE BIG PICTURE Is Bachchan Se Bachke Rehna


Amitabh Bachchan may be at an age when most actors are relegated to inconsequential weepy grandfather roles. But he still has the power to make headlines on a daily basis. Why is it that India's biggest superstar never seems to fade away?


TRAILERS Your Ticket to Unlimited Entertainment » This month Hollywood takes centrestage with summer blockbusters rolling out fast and furious. There's Iron Man, 21, Speed Racer and the new Indiana Jones and The Chronicles of Narnia flicks. Also check out Bhoothnath, Woodstock Villa and Jannat...

EDITORIAL TEAM Chaitali Patel Anjali Malhotra DESIGN Liquid Designs India 103, 1st Floor, 50 Community Centre Naraina Industrial Area Phase I New Delhi 110 028 (India) Tel: +91 11 45082428, 45082429 DISCLAIMERS All information in this magazine is derived from sources considered reliable. However, the information passed on to our readers must be verified by them. The contents of this publication express views of the authors and are not necessarily of the publishers. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by any parties in abstracts and/or interviews are not necessarily shared/do not necessarily reflect any opinion of the publishers. No arguments shall be sustained regarding articles published in this magazine and neither the writers, editor, publisher nor printer shall be held in any way responsible for the same. The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning unsolicited material, nor is responsible for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the rights to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements, without explanation. COPYRIGHT All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Any material appearing in the publication cannot be reproduced in whole or in part, without prior written permission from the publisher.



BIG GIG Second Time Lucky The voice that charmed audiences with "Pehli Nazar" in Race is the same that had made the nation hit the dance floor with "Woh Lamhe". For Atif Aslam, it's all Jal under the bridge.


MILESTONES This Month, That Time

Celebrities get broke and an automatic flushable toilet is invented in 1792, but somehow never made it to the 21st century. That, and other strange happenings in our May calendar.


THE GREAT GAME Super Smash Bros. Brawl in our Gaming Zone

» FIFA Street 3: Football's virtual version of gulli cricket » All the cool gizmos and gadgets you gotta have



Queen Bee unveils her take on the idiot box » Queen Bee tells us a Raja and Rani story with a not-too-happy ending, reveals why Sallu joins the TV bandwagon, and of course, spills the nectar on what Ektaa's up to this month.


MUSIC LEGEND Forever Young At 65 Robert Allen Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan is the oldest living artist to score a #1 hit record. Here's one man who smartened up rock 'n' roll and used it to deliver a message.



» So Who the Hell is Indiana Jones? – A new generation is introduced to George Lucas' other huge phenomenon with the release of Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull this month » Calling Kal – How Kal Penn is making it in Hollywood even without a turban


BEHIND THE SCENES Like Babes in the (Bolly) Wood

» Kids have never had it easy in Bollywood. We delve into the big problems of little stars.



30 FREE Tickets Up For Grabs » Become the Badshah of Blurbs » Crack the Jackpot Question in the 90-Second Quiz » Recognise these sport-loving actors by their lips.


the big picture

BACHCHAN SE BACHKE REHNA From being Hindi cinema’s Angry Young Man through the seventies and eighties, Amitabh Bachchan has evolved into an Angry Senior Citizen. DEEPA GAHLOT finds out Bachchan ko gussa kyon aya.

2 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

the big picture

mitabh Bachchan spends as much time on screen as off it, defending himself against various charges thrown at him, from land buying scams to mistreating the media during his son Abhishek’s wedding to keeping dubious company. The latest fracas involved director Anurag Basu commenting that Bachchan is now boring and should retire - at which the media was divided down the middle, some agreeing, some defending the star. Bachchan now has an official blog, on which he takes on his detractor and clarifies his side of every story. As far as his films are concerned, Bachchan’s image took a battering when he played the creepy villain Babban in Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, reprising Amjad Khan’s immortal Gabbar Singh role from Sholay. Fans simply could not accept their idol doing such a horrid role. Earlier, he was criticised for playing an almost-paedophile in Nishabd - a man in his 60s falling for his daughter’s teenage friend. Ever since he did Boom, he has had to face these “how could you” howls of outrage.


Bachchan’s image took a battering when he played the creepy villain Babban in Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, reprising Amjad Khan’s immortal Gabbar Singh role from Sholay. Fans simply could not accept their idol doing such a horrid role.

After Aag, Eklayva, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Nishabd, fans, who had not so long ago voted him “Star of the Millennium”, were starting to express disappointment. Especially, since he is also popping up much too often on TV in commercials selling the strangest of products. Premium suitings and diamonds are fine, pricey pens are okay, but choorans, cement and hair oil? A bit much even for the most diehard fan to take. They did cheerfully tolerate the horny Sexy Sam of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and the pony-tailed Cheeni Kum chef, almost forgave Boom and Family Ties of Blood, but Aag was a shocker

But then, when a star has done Zanjeer, Namak Haram, Deewar, Trishul, Sholay, Amar Akbar Anthony in the early days of his career, what could he get that would do as a suitable encore? If he has to carry on, he has to look for a rare gem in a mine full of worthless coal. In an industry that doesn’t know quite how to handle his generation of stars except to stereotype them as parents of glamorous young folk who have all the fun. After Trishul (1978) there was Shakti (1982) which was the last great film he did till Black (2005) for which he won a National Award. We are not talking hits; the years in between are dotted with successful films, but films unworthy of the country’s top star and arguably one of its best actors. As Govind Nihalani said when he worked with Bachchan in Dev, “He is like a fine-tuned musical instrument... he can play any emotion at a perfect pitch.” But if he gets films like Jaadugar, Toofan and Lal Badshah, what is an actor to do? He can take a five year sabbatical, of course, and then break the nation’s collective heart by coming back with Mrityudaata! The hero quietly and without fuss moved

M AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 3

to playing the distinguished patriarch and for the first time in Bollywood history, filmmakers wrote lead parts for a 60plus star, who would otherwise have been pushed to dressing-gowned Daddy parts. Cop, villain, gangster, comedian, autumnal lover - no role was left to be explored. Even experimental directors like Govind Nihalani and Rituparno Ghosh (Last Lear) have had a crack at the superstar. Young filmmakers still dream of working with AB. And like he explains as often as he is asked, he has to pick the best from what he is offered. If filmmakers dare to offer him Kyun Ho Gaya Na, or soggy melodramas like Waqt or Baabul, what can he do, but accept and exalt rotten films with his talent and star power? And keep socking audiences between the brows like he did in 1975, even if the punches are no longer cracking bones, just bruising flesh. But endorsing chooran? Appearing on satellite channels endorsing his son? Justifying the treatment meted out the media at the Abhi-Ash wedding? Talking and talking and still talking till people start to yawn with boredom. There is something called dignified silence, after all. On screen, he can turn on the charm and the tear ducts in Baghban, he can play the unblinking don in Sarkar, the outraged old man in Viruddh, the lone ranger gunman in Ek Ajnabi, even the subservient palace guard in Eklavya, and regardless of the fate of the films at the boxoffice, his performances can rarely be faulted. He even made television history with Kaun Banega Crorepati a show that garnered one of the highest ratings seen on Indian television, as he played the avuncular, shudhh-Hindi speaking quiz show host. People still want to see him on screen, so his forthcoming films like Bhoothnath, Sarkar Raj, Shoebite, God Tussi Great Ho are awaited and written about, though his offscreen controversies (not necessarily his doing), far outweigh the media mileage given to his films. Maybe, for a change, he should calm down and let his films, not that overwrought blog or assorted sycophants, do the talking for him.

4 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

THE ABCs OF AB Born on October 11, 1942 in Allahabad

Was elected Member of Parliament from 1984-87

Was first named Inquilab which means revolution

His friendship with then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi dragged him into the Bofors scandal.

Son of poet Harivanshrai Bachchan. The family’s surname is Shrivastav. Bachchan was his father’s pen name.

Took a break from acting from 1992 to 1997

Has a double MA degree

Set up his company ABCL in 1996. It still exists but is now called AB Corp.

Worked at a shipping firm in Kolkata before deciding to be an actor

Zanjeer, which shot him to superstardom, had been turned down by Dev Anand and Raaj Kumar In 1979, sang for the first time, “Mere Saath Aao” for Mr Natwarlal In 1982, was badly injured during the shoot of Coolie

Became India’s biggest TV star with the quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati and turned around the fortunes of Star Plus Endorses one of the highest number of brands in India. The list includes Parker Pens, Dabur, Pepsi, Cadbury’s, Reid & Taylor, Nerolac Paints, ICICI, Reliance ADAG, Maruti Versa, Emami, Eveready, Sahara City Homes, Tide, D’damas, Mirinda, etc.



INDIANA JONES & THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL Director: Steven Spielberg Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent After almost two decades, Indiana Jones is back in a new globe-trotting adventure, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with Harrison Ford returning to his most iconic role. Co-written by George Lucas, the new Indiana Jones flick doesn’t try to modernise the series too much, which means that the classic elements beloved to Indy fans will remain. Set in 1957, an older and wiser Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is pitted against agents of the Soviet Union - led by Spalko (Cate Blanchett) - for the crystal skull. Indy is assisted by his sidekick Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) as well as former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and fellow archaeologist Mac (Ray Winstone). John Hurt and Jim Broadbent also play fellow academics.

BHOOTNATH Director: Vivek Sharma Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Aman Siddiqui, Juhi Chawla, Shah Rukh Khan

Bhoothnath is the story of a young boy and a ghost. Their friendship begins when Banku (Aman Siddiqui) and his parents, Shah Rukh Khan (in a special appearance) and Anjali (Juhi Chawla) move into a new house unaware that it is haunted. Bhoothnath (Amitabh Bachchan), the supernatural resident of the house is possessive about his property and sees the new tenants as intruders. He tries to scare them away but eventually ends up becoming friends with the kid. Banku takes it upon himself to uncover the reasons behind Bhoothnath’s wandering soul and helps him attain salvation.

SPEED RACER Director: Larry and Andy Wachowski Cast: Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, Roger Allam, Ji Hoon Jung From the creators of the groundbreaking Matrix trilogy and producer Joel Silver comes the liveaction, high-octane family adventure Speed Racer. Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a natural behind the wheel. He’s aggressive, instinctive and, most of all, fearless. His only real competition is the memory of the brother he idolized—the legendary Rex Racer, whose death in a race has left behind a legacy that Speed is driven to fulfill. Speed is loyal to the family racing business, led by his father, Pops Racer (John Goodman) and Mom Racer (Susan Sarandon), the designer of Speed’s thundering Mach 5. When Speed turns down a lucrative and tempting offer from Royalton Industries, he not only infuriates the company’s maniacal owner (Roger Allam) but uncovers a terrible secret - some of the biggest races are being fixed by a handful of ruthless moguls who manipulate the top drivers to boost profits. If Speed won’t drive for Royalton, Royalton will see to it that the Mach 5 never crosses another finish line. The only way for Speed to save his family’s business and the sport he loves is to beat Royalton at his own game. With the support of his family and his loyal girlfriend, Trixie (Christina Ricci), Speed teams with his one-time rival - the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) - to win the race that had taken his brother’s life: the death-defying, cross-country rally known as “The Crucible”.

WOODSTOCK VILLA Director: Hansal Mehta Cast: Sikander Kher, Neha Uberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan (in a cameo) After the beautiful wife (Neha Uberoi) of a successful businessman (Arbaaz Khan) disappears, hostile and taunting ransom demands follow. As the true nature of stakes for the captor and his captives unfold, Woodstock Villa becomes a thriller about swiftly changing moralities in today’s world. This is Sikander Kher’s debut film. Also watch out for Sanjay Dutt’s rock item number which is supposed to be an intrinsic part of the plot.

Movie schedules are subject to change. Please check for latest schedules.

M AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 5


IRON MAN Director: Jon Favreau Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Shaun Toub, Gwyneth Paltrow In this big screen adaptation of Marvel’s legendary super hero Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the story of a billionaire industrialist, genius inventor and consummate playboy who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armour and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armour and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

JANNAT Director: Kunal Deshmukh Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Samir Kochhar, Sonal Chauhan Arjun (Emraan Hashmi) is a reckless young man with an obsession for making money at card games. Zoya (Sonal Chauhan) comes into his life making him eager to dream bigger. He steps up from playing small-time card games to becoming a bookie, then a runner for the mafia and eventually, stepping into the world of match fixing. He is offered limitless wealth in exchange of his soul and is drawn into a don’s core entourage of money spinners. He now has to now choose between the love of his life and this newfound success and power. Meanwhile, his lifestyle has becomes bigger, better and faster, attracting the attention of the police. How long can Arjun tread the fine, fast-blurring line between right and wrong to find the heaven he’s been looking for?

21 Director: Robert Luketic Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey An adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s best-seller Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, 21 is a true-life tale. Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who, needing to pay school tuition, finds the answer in cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school’s most gifted students (including Kate Bosworth) that heads to Las Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn blackjack odds in their favour. With unorthodox mathematics professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) leading the way, they’ve succeeded in cracking the code. Laurence Fishburne stars as the Sin City security chief who catches on to the group and makes it his mission to expose their lucrative blackjack scam.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN Director: Andrew Adamson Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, Tilda Swanton One year after the incredible events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Kings and Queens of Narnia find themselves back in that faraway wondrous realm, only to discover that more than 1300 years have passed in Narnian time. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellito) who rules the land without mercy. The four children (William Mosely, Georgie Henley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes) will soon meet an intriguing new character: Narnia‘s rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne. With the help of the a courageous talking mouse named Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard), a Black Dwarf, Nikabrik (Warwick Davis) and several other intriguing characters, the Narnians, led by the mighty knights Peter and Caspian, embark on a remarkable journey to find Aslan (Liam Neeson), rescue Narnia from Miraz’s tyrannical hold, and restore magic and glory to the land.

6 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

the big gig


SECOND TIME LUCKY The voice that charmed audiences with “Pehli Nazar” in Race is the same that had made the nation hit the dance floor with “Woh Lamhe”. SAM LAL discovers that for Atif Aslam, it’s all Jal under the bridge. Probably one of the most accepted, unwritten tenets which surround the music industry dictate that after achieving global superstardom with a group of people, it is absolutely impossible to attain the same level of fame with either a different set of people or as individual performers. The careers of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page post Led Zeppelin would do much to bear this theory out, so would the professional graphs of various members of Guns N Roses. As mentioned earlier, rules exist only to be broken or to spawn the occasional exception. Musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Sting, Phil Collins and Lionel Richie, amongst others, have proved conclusively that a second life in show business is not an anomaly, it’s a way of life. Closer to home, the one man who is successfully aiming for supernova status in the second phase of his career is a singer whose voice has come soaring across the border and has lodged itself permanently in our consciousness. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Atif Aslam. In the last couple of months, Atif Aslam seemed to be everywhere. His song “Pehli Nazar” from the soundtrack of the movie Race was on all television channels, all radio stations and at most places where more than two people gather to celebrate. The smash hit status of the song capped off an incredible two year tryst with mega success that Atif Aslam has enjoyed after walking away from Jal, the Pakistani pop-rock outfit with which he first made his mark on the music scene. Indeed, it is a measure of Atif’s international stature as a solo artist that he has been booked to play in the historic Coliseum in Rome, a venue that has hosted gigs only by the likes of Sir Elton John, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. Atif Aslam’s musical career began innocuously enough when his friends egged him on to enter the singing competition

at PAF College Lahore where Atif was an engineering student. The year was 1998 and from that point onwards, the future singing sensation won so many trophies, that he officially put an end to competitive singing to make way for others. Yes, this does sound like typical PR generated hyperbole but it’s actually true. It was while he was in college that he met guitar player Goher Mumtaz and formed Jal. Armed with a clutch of covers of songs from older Pakistani acts, Jal started playing at campuses and earned themselves a huge fan following. “Aadat”, the first Jal single, created quite a sensation in Pakistan and with that success came the first wave of acrimony. Goher, apparently resentful of the fact that Atif’s brother Shahbaz was Jal’s manager, sought ways to change the equation. Atif responded by walking out of the band. Soon after, “Aadat” was included on the soundtrack of Kunal Khemu’s movie Kalyug and became a huge hit. “Woh Lamhe” from the Emraan Hashmi starrer Zeher followed and Atif Aslam became a superstar. It’s only fair to mention however, that in spite of his huge success, he is probably not the most consistently talented singer on the block. There are numerous instances when his vocals are not spot-on, “Hum Kis Gali Ja Rahe Hain” from his album Doorie a glaring case in point. But that occasional flaw is what adds to the man’s charisma. He is human after all and entitled to his lapses – particularly when those lapses are just minor blimps on a largely immaculate soundscape.

ATIF’S FILMI TOP FIVE 1. Pehli Nazar – Race 2. Woh Lamhe – Zeher 3. Aadat – Kalyug 4. Tere Bin – Bas Ek Pal 5. Ehsaas – Man Push Cart

(Hollywood movie) M AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 7

music legend


Forever Young By Sam Lal Last month, Robert Allen Zimmerman created history for rock and roll lyricism when he became the first musician from the genre to receive the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” Considering that most rock lyricism consists of rhymes that go, “You really gettin’ it / yes, Armageddon it,” this is high praise indeed. It is also a recognition that has been a long time coming because Robert Allen Zimmerman is none other than Bob Dylan, a man who gave contemporary music so much of an intellectual bent that he became a de facto spokesman for an entire generation. It is proof positive of Dylan’s undeniable power as a musician that even though most of his masterful works date back to the Sixties, the last twenty-four months have truly been the years of Bob Dylan. His 2006 album, Modern Times topped the American album charts making Dylan, at sixty-five, the oldest living artist to score a #1 hit record. Then there was I’m Not There, a mainstream motion picture, in which six actors including Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett, all portrayed Bob at various stages of his professional and personal life. Exactly forty-five years after he became an icon with “Blowin’ In The Wind”, Bob Dylan is as relevant a popular culture force as he ever was. Robert Zimmerman was born on the 24th of May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota and absorbed a great deal of blues and country music 8 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

through his childhood by constantly gluing himself to the radio. By the time rock and roll’s earliest foot steps came through the airwaves, the young Robert was forming bands like The Shadow Blasters and The Golden Chords, which were quite as abysmal as their names might suggest. Then Zimmerman heard an album by African American singer Odetta, universally considered the voice of the Civil Rights movement. “I heard a record of hers in a record store,” remembers Bob. “Right then and there, I went out and traded my electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustic guitar, a flat top Gibson.” Zimmerman decided to call himself Bob Dylan as a tribute to Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and moved to New York City. In his new avatar as an acoustic troubadour, he played the club circuit in New York and came to the attention of Columbia Records’ ace talent scout John Hammond when folk musician Carolyn Hester invited him to play harmonica on her third album. According to music industry folk lore, Hammond signed the young Dylan “on the spot” and thus began a saga that has given us “The Times They Are A–Changin’,” Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35” and a musical legacy that is alive, organic and seems poised for greater things to come. Like Van Morrison says, “There’s still some people I admire and listen to who can’t be ignored. I saw Bob recently and thought, well, here’s somebody who’s still doing it and he’s good.”

DID YOU KNOW That when he appeared with an electric guitar for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, audiences were so enraged with what they saw as a sellout to rock & roll, they booed Dylan off the stage.

That Dylan has rapped on a hiphop album titled Kingdom Blow where he goes, “I’ve indulged in higher knowledge through scan of encyclopedia / Keep in constant research of our report and news media / Kids starve in Ethiopia and we are getting greedier / The rich are getting richer and the needy’s getting needier.”


That on the 29th of July 1966, Bob met with a motorbike accident in Woodstock New York which put him out of circulation for eighteen months That the much contemplated and researched lyrics of “All Along The Watchtower” are Biblically inspired, specifically, from the Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty one

That Bob became a born-again Christian towards the end of the Seventies and for a while, refused to play any of his older songs in concert. He however, soon saw the error of his ways and re-introduced his classic catalogue during live performances.

That the Joan Baez song, “Diamonds and Rust” is rumoured to be about her relationship with Bob Dylan That David Bowie wrote “Song For Bob Dylan” on his 1971 album, Hunky Dory. “Oh hear this Robert Zimmerman / I wrote a song for you,” intones the Thin White Duke That the Dylan classic, “Knockin On Heaven’s Door” is from the soundtrack of the movie, Billy The Kid

That Dylan starred in Richard Marquand’s 1987 movie, Hearts on Fire where he plays a faded rocker who becomes a chicken farmer

MAY 01

1927 - The first cooked meals on a scheduled flight are introduced on an Imperial Airways flight from London to Paris 1931 - Empire State Building in New York City is officially opened

1914 - US Congress establishes Mother’s Day 1998 Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for US$40 billion and forms DaimlerChrysler the largest industrial merger in history Birthday: Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941)

07 12

1792 A toilet that flushes itself at regular intervals is patented Birthdays: Katharine Hepburn (1907 – 2003); Daphne Du Maurier (1907 – 1989); Stephen Baldwin (b. 1966)

1980 - Brian May of rock group Queen collapses on stage with hepatitis 1988 - US Supreme Court rules trash may be searched without a warrant Birthdays: Janet Jackson (b. 1966); Gabriela Sabatini (b. 1970)


1908 - First horror movie Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde premieres in Chicago 1925 - Canadians are allowed to sell beer 1979 - Elton John becomes first western rocker to perform live in USSR 1994 - Miss India (Sushmita Sen) crowned Miss Universe Birthday: Harold Robbins (1916 - 1997)


1895 - Oscar Wilde sentenced to two years hard labour for being a sodomite 1977 - Star Wars is released, sparking a worldwide phenomenon 1992 - Jay Leno becomes permanent host of the Tonight Show Birthdays: Mike Myers (b. 1963); Anne Heche (b. 1969)

MAY LANDMARKS There must be something about the onset of summer and the start of the tourist season that explains why May has had two national tourist destinations (the Eiffel Tower & the Empire State Building) opening to the public. Or why superstars ran into all kinds of financial problems. But the most pertinent question is, over two centuries after its invention in 1792, whatever happened to that automatic flushable toilet?

Birthdays: Donatella Versace (b. 1955); Brian Lara (b. 1969); David Beckham (b. 1975)

1886 - Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that would later be named “Coca-Cola” 1952 - Mad magazine debuts Birthdays: Alex Van Halen (b. 1953); Darren Hayes, lead singer Savage Garden (b. 1972); Enrique Iglesias (b. 1975)



1959 - The first Grammy Awards are announced 1963 - Martin Luther King Jr delivers his “I have a dream” speech Birthday: Bing Crosby (1903 - 1977)

Birthdays: Glenda Jackson (b. 1936); Candice Bergen (b. 1946); Billy Joel (b. 1949)


Birthday: Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993)



1969 - Apollo 10 transmit first color pictures of Earth from space Birthday: Bono (b. 1960)

1889 - The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public Birthdays: Orson Welles (1915 – 1985); George Clooney (b. 1961)


1900 - Billboard magazine begins weekly publication Birthday: Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)


1927 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded 1994 - Grease opens at Eugene O’ Neill Theater NYC for the first of 1,503 performances 2000 - Last performance of the musical Cats at London’s West End Birthdays: Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989); Natasha Richardson (b. 1963); Pooja Bedi (b. 1970)



1958 - Velcro’s trademark is registered Birthday: Stevie Wonder (b. 1950)


1878 - Vaseline is first sold (registered trademark for petroleum jelly) 1908 - First passenger flight in an airplane Birthdays: George Lucas (b. 1944); Cate Blanchett (b. 1969)


1915 - AT&T becomes the first corporation to have 1 million stockholders 1928 - Mickey Mouse makes his first appearance Birthday: Madhuri Dixit (b. 1967)

13 1975 - NBC pays $5m for rights to show Gone with the Wind one time 1980 - Kumar Anandan balances on one foot for 33 hours Birthdays: Dennis Hopper (b. 1936); Christian Lacroix (b. 1950); Bill Paxton (b. 1955); Bob Saget (b. 1956)

1933 - Loch Ness Monster is first reportedly sighted 1986 - Cher calls David Letterman an a$$*@%* on Late Night on NBC Birthdays: Laurence Olivier (1907 - 1989); Naomi Campbell (b. 1970)



1780 - About midday, near-total darkness descends on much of New England; to this day its cause is unexplained 1982 - Sophia Loren is jailed in Naples for tax evasion Birthday: Peter Townshend (b. 1945)

1979 - Rocker Tom Petty files for bankruptcy Birthdays: Douglas Fairbanks (1883 - 1939); Drew Carey (b. 1958); Helena Bonham Carter (b. 1966)


23 1984: A frisbee is kept

26 aloft for 1,672 seconds in Philadelphia, USA Birthday: John Wayne (1907 – 1979); Ravi Shastri (b. 1962)

28 25

Birthday: Kylie Minogue (b. 1968)

1310 - Shoes were made for both right and left feet 1874 - Levi Strauss markets blue jeans with copper rivets, priced at $13.50 per dozen 1926 - Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talkies Birthdays: Jimmy Stewart (1908 - 1997); Cher (b. 1946)


1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade premieres. It would be exactly 19 years before the next Indiana Jones movie. 1993 - Kim Basinger files for bankruptcy to avoid paying over $8m settlement for reneging on her agreement to star in Boxing Helena Birthday: Bob Dylan (b. 1941)

Birthdays: Rupert Everett (b. 1959); Melissa Etheridge (b. 1961)

Birthday: Paresh Rawal (b. 1950)


24 1919 - First wedding is held in an aircraft (over Houston, Texas) Birthday: Brooke Shields (b. 1965)


30 M AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 9

global screen

Calling Kal Starring in the cult comedy film series Harold & Kumar while also making his name known on the film festival circuit for The Namesake, Kal Penn is no ABCD. This talented actor tells SONA CHARAIPOTRA that he’s ready to conquer Hollywood - and US Congress - even without a turban.

Like many of her fellow desis, director Mira Nair had never heard of Kal Penn. Luckily, her 16-year-old son Zohran did. So when Nair was casting her criticallylauded adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s bestseller The Namesake, he was Kal’s best agent. “Every night before bed Zohran would say to Mira, ‘Mom have you auditioned Kal Penn yet?’“ recalls Penn, 31, who had tried to no avail to score an audition for the critical role of Gogul Ganguli, the novel’s angst-ridden all-American son of Indian parents. Rumours were that Abhishek Bachchan had the part locked up. “The reason that I finally got the audition for The Namesake is because her son Zohran is a huge fan of Harold & Kumar go to White Castle.” And he’s not the only one. “I always get recognized as Kumar. The film has a bit of a cult following. But it’s a mix. Brown people, kids who saw the movie,” says Penn, “and cops! While we were shooting The Namesake in Yonkers, these two white police officers came up to me with a Harold & Kumar DVD and were like, ‘Hey man, can you sign this for us?’ It’s cool to see that it transcends type that way. I’ll be signing it when I’m 80.” The cult hit, which did respectably on DVD, quickly spawned a sequel, Harold & Kumar: 1 0 T H E P L O T M AY ‘ 0 8

Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which was released this month in the United States. “We still had no budget, so it’s really a project you do for the love of it,” says Penn. “But it’s so refreshing to see Asian characters as the heroes rather than the sidekicks.” Having worked his way up as “a live-action version of The Simpsons’ Apu” in films like

“I remember getting a phone call for National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and having my agent say to me, ‘The character’s name is Taj Mahal,’“ says Penn, “And I hung up the phone”. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Malibu’s Most Wanted and in a four-episode arc as the terrorist-next-door on 24, Penn appreciates the opportunity to play an Indian-American character who isn’t a stereotype. But it hasn’t been easy getting there. “Every single agent who I met with or auditioned for said you’ll never work because you’re not white or

black,” says Penn. “And I said really? So we’re not at the point in American society where we’re looking for content of people’s character or talent? We’re just looking at what they look like? And they said this is Hollywood.” He remembers one particularly demoralizing audition. “I went to read for this commercial. The assistant looked at me and said, really loud, really slow, ‘You need to sign in here.’ So I said, ‘Thanks, I get it.’ Then she said, ‘You speak really good English. Where are you from?’ ‘New Jersey.’ So she says, ‘I detect an accent!’ So I said, ‘It’s probably because I just moved here from Jersey.’” Wait, it gets better. “So I was already a bit irritated and amused, and when I walk into the audition room, this woman asks, ‘Where’s your turban?’” says Penn. “So I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And she says, ‘You’re Indian, aren’t you? Where’s your turban?’” recalls Penn. “So I explained to her that I’m not Sikh and not all Indians wear turbans, but she cuts me off and says, ‘I’m sorry, can you go home and put a bedsheet on your head or something because we really need you to look Indian.’” As an actor of colour in LA, Penn quickly learned that “you have to work a couple hun-

dred times harder just to get your foot in the door.” On the advice of a few producer and agent friends, he adopted his stage name, shortened from his given name, Kalpen Suresh Modi. “I never changed my name legally,” he notes. “Acting is a business as much as it is an art, so if coming up with a catchy name helps you get jobs, that’s just one part of working. It was never a sore point with my parents, who, like my closest friends, still call me by my real name.” Penn did several desi productions, including ABCD, Where’s The Party Yaar? and The Arrangement before landing his first big Hollywood role, playing a doltish immigrant college student in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. Taking the part was not an easy decision for him to make. “I remember getting a phone call for that movie and having my agent say to me, ‘The character’s name is Taj Mahal,’” says Penn. “And I hung up the phone. She called me back and said, ‘Look, I know you don’t want to do this and I know you’re going to be offended by the script but for somebody who is not white or black it is really hard to get you into auditions. If you’re good enough you’ll get the part.’ So I did it. And actually were it not for Van Wilder I would have not gotten to do Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. And had I not done that, I would have never gotten The Namesake.”

Once Nair finally decided to audition Penn for the part, she says that Kal just moved her. “He was so honest and able to capture Gogol’s angst, his awkwardness, and also his distinctive coming of age. It’s a role very close to Kal’s heart because he sees it as being about his family and where he comes from. There was a genuine sense right from the start that he owned the role.” Like The Namesake’s protagonist, Penn has struggled to find his place. “Gogol’s internal struggles to find his true identity spoke to me very deeply and very immediately,” says Penn. “Both of us are Americans who happen to be of South Asian descent, but that doesn’t define who we are inside. Gogol is more interesting than the colour of his skin, and I certainly hope the same is true of me.” Working with Nair was a dream come true for the New Jersey-raised son of an Indian engineer and his fragrance-tester wife. “My parents never watched Indian movies while I was growing up, so whenever I went to an Indian relative’s house, I’d watch them,” recalls Penn. “And I found them interesting. They’re completely different films; you can’t really compare them to Western films.” But it was Nair’s 1991 multi-ethnic romantic dramedy Mississippi Masala starring Denzel Washington and Sarita

KAL-IGRAPHY The role that got him noticed was the seemingly nonsensically named Taj Mahal Badalandabad with Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. However, a closer analysis of the surname and a knowledge of Hindi reveals a hidden meaning. People magazine named Penn one of the sexiest actors under the age of 30 in 2006. When he changed his name from Kalpen Modi to the more palatable Kal Penn, job offers escalated by 50%. He can’t stand watching TV. A graduate of UCLA in film and sociology, he is currently attending Stanford University studying International Relations. In spring 2008, Penn will serve as visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He will teach a course titled “Images of Asian Americans in the Media”. Penn “could turn out to be the desi Tom Hanks,” writes The Boston Globe. “Scratch that - he could be the next Tom Hanks, period.” He had a blink-and-miss role in 2006’s Superman Returns. Penn was featured, with his friend Brandon “Superman” Routh, in the infamously rejected MTV pilot, Awesometown, and has gueststarred on episodes of 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ER and NYPD Blue.

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global screen

“Mississippi Masala was the first time I saw people who looked like me who weren’t white folks in brown faces with bad accents.”

Choudary that provoked him to act. “It was the first time I saw people who looked like me who weren’t white folks in brown faces with bad accents,” says Penn. “I thought, maybe this means that I can do this, too.” He pursued acting in high school, doing plays like You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, but like many Indian parents, his were wary of his decision to get serious about the craft in college. “It wasn’t like progressive-land where they were like, ‘Okay, beta, go ahead.’ We had all the typical Indian dinner-table arguments,” says Penn, who studied sociology and film at UCLA in California. “I didn’t listen and my parents were like, ‘You’re not an


1 2 T H E P L O T M AY ‘ 0 8

idiot, so if you really want to do this, do it. Go ahead, fine.’ I’ve never asked them about this, but in the back of my head, I would imagine that they had a conversation one night that was like, ‘If we let him do it right now, then it’s a phase and he’ll get over it.’” Luckily, the acting thing seems to be working out. Penn just started a stint on the American TV drama House, and the Harold & Kumar sequel should cement his cult following. But if it ever gets old, Penn already has a back-up gig sorted out. “I’d like to run for Congress one day,” says the Obama supporter. “Growing up, my grandparents used to tell me stories about marching with Gandhi and stuff. And I didn’t realize until much later that this is like really historically important stuff. It’s not: ‘So one day I went to the market and blah…’ It’s like being thrown in prison for standing up to the British. So social activism and working toward social equality has always been a part of my family’s values. Now I get kids emailing me about how to get into it or about the problems they’re having getting their families’ support. I don’t know their parents, but maybe I can share my story and it’ll help.”

global screen

This month’s release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull begs the question: in a generation where superheroes are a dime a dozen and animation looks even more realistic than real life, can a film based on an ageing archaeologist excite Generation Next? So what if you weren’t born when the last Indiana Jones flick came to cinemas. Here’s everything you need to know about this beloved globe-trotting archaeologist.

Indiana Jones is portrayed as an adventurous throwback to the 1930s film serial treasure hunters and pulp action heroes, with an alter ego of Doctor Henry “Indiana“ Walton Jones, Jr., a respected archaeologist at a New England college.


The character was originally named Indiana Smith, after an Alaskan malamute Lucas owned in the 1970s (“Indiana“); however, Spielberg disliked the name “Smith”, and Lucas casually suggested “Jones“ as an alternative.


Originally, Spielberg suggested Harrison Ford; Lucas resisted the idea, since he had already cast the actor in three of his movies (American Graffiti, Star Wars, and its sequel The Empire Strikes Back), and did not want Ford to become known as his “Bobby De Niro” (in reference to the fact that fellow director Martin Scorsese regularly cast Robert De Niro in his films).


During an intensive casting process, Lucas and Spielberg auditioned many actors, and finally cast then littleknown actor Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones. Shortly afterward, pre-production began in earnest on


Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, CBS refused to release Selleck from his contractual commitment to Magnum, P.I. (which was gradually gaining momentum in the ratings), forcing him to turn down the role. After Spielberg suggested Ford again, Lucas finally gave in, and he was cast in the role - less than three weeks before principal photography began. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , set in 1935, took the character into a more horror-oriented story, skipping his legitimate teaching job and globe trotting, and taking place almost entirely in India where he meets iconic bad guy Amrish Puri.


Screenwriters Jeb Stuart, Jeffrey Boam, M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Darabont and Jeff Nathanson wrote drafts, before David Koepp’s script satisfied everyone. Shooting finally commenced on June 18, 2007.


In order to keep aesthetic continuity with the previous films, the crew relied on traditional stunt work instead of computer-generated stunt doubles, and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski studied Douglas Slocombe’s style from the previous films.


To prepare for the role, the 64-yearold Ford spent three hours a day at a gym and relied on a high-protein diet of fish and vegetables. He kept fit during the film series’ hiatus anyway, as he was always hoping for another film.


Jones is notable for his trademark bullwhip, fedora, leather jacket, and fear of snakes.


The late River Phoenix (brother of Joaquim) played a young Indiana Jones in Last Crusade. Although Lucas intended at the time to do five films, this ended up being his “last crusade” for over 18 years.

When asked if Ford was too old, producer Frank Marshall quoted Raiders of the Lost Ark: “‘It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.’ What’ll be interesting is you’re seeing him in a different decade, so there’s all kinds of new, interesting things that he has to deal with. Indy seems to be a little smarter (as an older man) — wiser, let’s say.” He added that the age adds to “Indy (as) a fallible character. He makes mistakes and gets hurt. He has a few more aches and pains now. That’s the other thing people like: he’s a real character, not a character with superpowers.”



Crystal Skull has been in development hell since the 1989 release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, because Spielberg and Ford initially disagreed over Lucas’s choice of the skull as the plot device.

Ford performed many of his own stunts during the shoot. In fact, Spielberg stated he could not tell the difference between Ford during the shoots for Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.



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the great







All of us have passed through a phase in our lives when our minds were solely pre-occupied with thoughts of the final bell at school going off so that we could rush off to the neighbourhood bylane to indulge in the favourite pastime of our nation – cricket – till our moms used to come looking for us to box our ears. And in keeping with the universal sense of similarity which prevails amongst humans alike, it could be cricket, basketball, what-

ever - or football, a religion which probably has the largest number of followers. Welcome to the globally jazzedup version of our very own gali cricket, for FIFA Street 3 is probably best summed up as that except that it's on football, but with oodles of style and panache thrown in. Some of the world’s best-known players strike out against each other using physicsdefying antics against the back-

drop of some of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world to the accompaniment of a really snazzy soundtrack. FIFA Street 3 holds a fair bit of appeal for anyone who dreams of doing the unreal while playing football like back flips, over-theshoulder kicks, climbing walls. The controls are neat enough, although at times it does feel like they are a bit skewed towards attempting the unreal when the ball

Title: FIFA Street 3 Publisher: EA Sports Platforms: Xbox 360,

PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS Genre: Sport sim Estimated Price: INR 2200

doesn’t respond the way it should. Gameplay is fairly simple – you get to choose your teams and players, the game begins and you get on to your spree of striking the opposite goalposts, and not just striking it as many times as possible, but attempting each time to strike with more humiliation to the other side. With football season in full swing, it does seem to fulfill that always insatiable appetite.


Quake 3 on iPod Touch: Old timers still ‘quake’ at the mention of this game, so its high time young timers had those shivers going down to their knees. Quake 3 application is being released on iPod Touch at a price still undisclosed.

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Belkin Gaming Mouse: Keys everywhere to help you in your effort to go fast, dominate and destroy. Complete with a thumb pad, removable joystick and 15 keys which are fully programmable to suit your gaming style, this piece of hardware will equip you with what you need. Priced approximately at USD 70 (INR 2800).

Guitar Hero for DS: For those metal heads who had been sulking till now, good news comes in the form of release of Guitar Hero on Nintendo DS, which comes with a guitar grip containing fret buttons which can be fixed onto the DS. Approximate price: USD 60 (INR 2400)

Eternal Poppety Pop: Everyone knows the amazing de-stressing power the popping of a bubble wrap possesses. But what happens when the sheet is over? Don’t worry, for help is here in the form of a pocket sized game which allows you to keep on popping bubbles eternally. This obsessive compulsive disorder will cost you a mere GBP 4 (INR 350). Too bad you will have to get in touch with your long lost relatives in Tokyo for this at the moment.

Zalman FPS Mouse: To accentuate your overall feel while shooting down your nemesis on the screen, try out the Zalman FG1000 FPS Gun, which is a gaming mouse sure to make everyone see the living daylights. Priced approximately at USD 70 (INR 2800).

behind the scenes


(BOLLY) WOOD ntric s of many kid ce s e n d e rt a e th h The lig ind the difficulties beh e th s e li e b s film rs. ids and produce k th o b r fo – s scene tlight on LY puts the spo L A M R U C A IY L A eir travails. kid stars and th

It’s not news that the advertising industry bows down to the immense influence of pester power when it comes to influencing a purchase decision. But now Indian moviemakers are clueing in on this little psychological truth too, as they

pack their films with the faces of cute children in an attempt to draw audiences to theatres in 2008. Film lore says that working with children and animals is one of the toughest challenges of film making. But with young minds being appreM AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 1 5

ciated as a large market segment today as well as adults falling for their charms, the number of children working in the film, advertising and television industries is substantial. Kids have entire channels dedicated to themselves and now a gameshow on a popular general entertainment channel pitches kids against adults with a mega superstar as the host. The way things are, very soon there might be a children’s IPL league but, until then, let’s take a look at where things stand today for Generation Junior. After decades of avoiding children’s cinema, as is evident from the struggling condition of the Children’s Film Society of India, Hindi filmmakers have done a complete turnaround over the last year and rolled out for audiences half a dozen films about children and even one about a baby. “Grown-ups” in the film industry embraced the potential of children in movies and movies ranging from Taare Zameen Par, Heyy Babyy, Chain Kulli Ki Main Kulli, My Friend Ganesha and Nanhe Jaisalmer released with varying degrees of success. This month’s Bhoothnath starring Bachchan Sr. as a particularly unattractive ghost is giving it a shot too. Children are hardly considered marquee names that will bring audiences into the halls (not counting Shirley Temple in the US in the 1930s). They have a shorter shelf life, outgrowing their appeal and natural spontaneity as they enter adolescence. Hansika Motwani, Kunal Khemu, Aftab Shivdasani are all child actors who have yet to make their mark as adults. 1 6 T H E P L O T M AY ‘ 0 8

The tradition of child artists in India is majorly mired with tales of exploitation and families who took advantage of their tiny breadwinners. Daisy Irani’s mother would pinch her to make her cry for a shot. A famous child star of the Fifties, she laments that she failed twice in the same class because she could not attend school having to report for shoot at all times, day and night. But she was amongst the many whose families, with little or no other recourse, used the money earned by their child to support themselves. More recently, the case of cross-dressing Ahsaas Channa, whose many acting credits include roles in Vaastu Shastra, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and My Friend Ganesha, posing as a boy for many years, was widely publicised when her father raised the claim that she was beginning to act like one in real life, and subsequently tried to legally restrain her mother from allowing the girl to work. Later on this year she makes her on-screen debut as a girl in Kunal Kohli’s Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic with Rani Mukerji. In subsequent press interviews Ahsaas stated that she comes first in class and also has time to learn kathak, negating her father’s accusations and all possible other criticism. For the number of families who flock to auditions, there are only a few who get selected. The decision to work as a child actor begins with a commitment towards appearance and performance. It is expensive and time consuming, because children change rapidly as they grow up. Parents who are looking to put their babies to work will need to update their photographs every other month, and for older kids professionally done headshots are a must and they must also be kept current and sent out to casting directors. Casting directors are the middlemen who negotiate with the families as to how much their child will be paid. A lead child model gets around Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000 a shoot depending on his or her “grade” and accessibil-

ity for advertisements, and the same goes for a feature film. Amol Gupte’s casting process however did not involve any of the above as he chose a more innovative route. Being an experienced child education practitioner, he says he “went from school to school looking for my Ishaan. I conducted free art-and-theatre workshops with the children and tried to look for my hero without announcing the search in the work-

shops. The idea was to give them some fun even as I looked for my protagonist. I searched elsewhere too. Shiamak’s Summer Funk, Smart Potato, Rael Padamsee’s, KEC, Summertime at Prithvi, MDA…” All said and done, a long exhaustive process that truly paid off, given the importance of Ishaan’s role. Similarly for his film The Blue Umbrella, Vishal Bharadwaj auditioned children in eight cities, before finding his Biniya for the lead role of his film. Mira Nair chose to use non-professional actors in her 1989 film Salaam Bombay. The young director – nicknamed “Danger Director” by the street kids she was working with - created a film that went on to win the Camera d’Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival. ‘’It was clearly such a difficult existence,’‘ she said, ‘’but they would always do something to get your attention. I always knew that the film would be made with them, not with kids posing as them.’‘ Another challenge is that working with children on the sets requires extra precautions. Less stringent norms exist in India, but in the US, children working in films are required to have their tutors on set keeping them up with school work and keep them rooted to their childhood. There must be adequate food and medical precautions taken

for them and towards their safety, should the work require any stunts or other difficult scenes. There also needs to be a fun and safe environment provided for them, where they can make themselves comfortable. Apart from their physical well-being, the psychology of a young person is vulnerable and needs to be protected and looked after. Especially in the case of children working in intense roles involving the supernatural (The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, our desi Gauri The Unborn), the child needs to be properly conditioned to come out of the word of the imaginary and shake off the mood once the director yells cut. It is hard enough for an adult. Former child actress Sarika now speaks out against child labour in films and is trying to introduce a code of conduct for child actors in Bollywood. “It is distressing to see children being pushed to enact mentally-traumatic scenes without counselling. In Hollywood, a psychotherapist is always present on the sets

to counsel the child before and after the child enacts a traumatic scene. In Bollywood, they are ‘persuaded’ with chocolates!” she says. Mahesh Manjrekar found his child actors for Vaah! Life Ho To Aisi with relative ease but managing them was an enterprise. The only way to extract performances from an attention-challenged bunch is to “think, talk and eat like them. Stop behaving like an adult. If they scream, scream a little louder.” Bhardwaj agrees: “Play carrom, ludo, whatever it takes to become their best pal. If you try and communicate through their parents, it won’t work.” For directors who have figured out how to handle children, working with them is especially rewarding. Consider the careers of Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan. Their seminal films all have child heroes whose vulnerability and subsequent bravery left indelible marks on our memory. E.T. would have been less fun if he ambled into

STARTING OFF EARLY Both Aamir Khan (Yaadon ki Baraat) and Hrithik Roshan (Aasha, Aap ke Deewane) performed for the camera when they were children. Darsheel Safary refused an award for Best Child Actor earlier this year saying that he should be nominated for Best Actor. Both Kamal Hassan and Rishi Kapoor won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist in their debut films. Haley Joel Osmont crashed his car in 2006 into someone’s house in a drunk-driving incident, It could have given his famous line, “I see dead people” a whole new meaning.

the bedrooms of a 20 year old. In The Sixth Sense, Cole Sear’s visions of dead people would not have made us so concerned if he was a regular adult like the rest of us. As summer sets in and it’s box office record time once again, it’s clear that kids will be the ones calling the shots at the box office. The Big B is counting on it.

LUCKY NO. 10 Tatum O’Neal remains the youngest performer to win the Academy Award in 1974 for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 10 for her role in the film Paper Moon. Anna Paquin is the second youngest winner, again for Best Supporting Actress, with The Piano in 1993 also at the age of 10. Abigail Breslin was also nominated at age 10 for her supporting role in Little Miss Sunshine but her co-star, Alan Arkin remarked that he did not want her to win the award, specifying that he thought that she has “had enough attention” and “needs to have a childhood”. Haley Joel Osmont was nominated for The Sixth Sense at age 10 but did not win.

M AY ‘ 0 8 T H E P L O T 1 7

small screen Sallu gets his cut of the moolah, a Raja and Rani story with a not-toohappy ending, Ektaa struggles to keep ekta among her favoured few and how the small screen makes a song and dance about recycling. Our resident Queen Bee dishes the nectar on the honies and idiots behind the idiot box… and it ain’t always sweet!

89 CRORES KA DUM You can’t blame me for chatting on about Bollywood greats. They are everywhere, all the time. Take the Khan family. Arbaaz and Malaika Khan got egg on their faces when they masqueraded as a warring couple on the front page of a tabloid. Salim Khan gets clicked whenever Sallu is in trouble. Now Sony is preparing to serve up beefcake Salman Khan into your living rooms through its latest gameshow Dus ka Dum, produced by Siddhartha Basu led Synergy Adlabs, the people behind KBC and Kya Aap Paanchvi …. (for God’s sake, can someone please think of a good acronym for this mouthful). Wonder if Sallu will be able to do the garrulous bit a la SRK on KBC. The moneybags sure are worth it. All of 89 crores or more. Ahem.



Yee haw! There’s a new show on TV and no, it’s not a soap, nor a reality talent hunt show, nor a game show but unlike anything that’s been seen on Indian television so far. Star Plus - yes you heard it right - is trying desperately to get its bearings right after its prized creative team walked out to competing networks. Aap Ki Kachehri will see the Magsaysay award winner Kiran Bedi deliver justice in a swift and decisive court of alternative dispute redress. Real people take their real cases to Kiran Bedi who, acting as an arbitrator, will try and bring them justice. Guess restless Bedi needed something to do after taking VRS.

Another Bollywood star makes her presence felt on the idiot box, although it’s behind the scenes this time. Rani Mukerji graced the launch party of her brother Raja (yes, that’s his name) Mukerji’s new soap Kisi Ki Nazar Na Lage to be telecast on DD1. Unfortunately, she hogged all the limelight and the stars of the show went completely unnoticed. The lovely lady refused to talk to media, but her poor brother couldn’t escape and was bombarded with questions on Rani’s impending marriage to the much-married Aditya Chopra. Poor Raja! Not only is he dealing with the not-so-successful run of his earlier soaps Kehkashan and Prattima, but he has to put up with hounding media folks, hungry for any news about his famous sister who’s the breadwinner of the family. Let’s hope Raja’s soap goes well and Rani’s successful film career ko Kisi Ki Nazar Na Lage.

1 8 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

small screen

KYUNKI GAUTAMI BHI KABHI BAHU THI Ekta Kapoor sure has her actors wrapped around her finger, and why not. Gautami Kapoor the much-talked-about replacement of Smriti Irani as Tulsi on Kyunki was ousted to bring Smriti back on the show after a ten month long walkout. Gautami is putting up a brave face shouting from rooftops that no dahlings, she will miss the unit and Baa particularly, but she always knew that Smriti would come back someday. Okay we believe you if you say so. But Gautami does have something to look forward to with Ekta going on record to say that she will launch a new show with her in the lead. Wow, wish all bosses would start new ventures to pacify irate employees!

EKTA RAJ Speaking about Ekta, TV industry insiders rave and rant about how Madam has her way with everything and but now even the film industry is sharing the experience. Word has it that despite the fact that Balaji Motion Pictures is only the distributor of Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj, she is having her say with changing scenes to suit her preferences. Talk about sarkar raj! If she knows so much about films, how does she explain bro Tusshar’s non-existent career?

TV’S RECYCLING DRIVE With Balaji soaps going on for years, it’s not surprising that one lead actor gets replaced by another. So you have one well known face replaced by another well known face. Then, the same people come together in reality shows, mostly naach gaana ones. Barely a few months lapse after a show ends and another one goes on air with pretty much the same faces. Take the case of Rohit and Ronit Roy. Rohit was part of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’s first season as a contestant and he came back to anchor the second season of the show that had his elder brother Ronit as a contestant. What’s more the two are now competing against each other in Yeh Hai Jalwa. Can we please see actors do something new for a change!

M AY ’ 0 8 T H E P L O T 1 9

RATE YOURSELF: Superdude 7 – 8; Getting There 5 – 6; Eyes Wide Shut 3 – 4; Sleeping Beauty 0 – 2 90-Second Quiz: The Answers

brain tonic

1. “Chakke mein chakka, chakke pe gaadi” 2. Leukemia 3. Jugal Hansraj 4. Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke – he plays Aamir Khan’s nephew

5. 6. 7. 8.

Rucha Vaidya Aditya Narayan Aftab Shivdasani Darsheel Safary - At the age of nine, Safary became the youngest person to win Filmfare Awards, earning a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance.

Boley To… One Blurb, Loads of Prizes… Like The Deal?

Pair & Win! 1

? Are you a magician with words? Do you have a comedian’s pen? Write a mazedaar blurb for Aman Siddiqui’s character in this film still from Bhoothnath . If you manage to tickle our funny bone, you will be one of five winners to be crowned the Badshah of Blurbs, and will get vouchers for two free tickets each to any show at any Adlabs cinema across India on any day in June 2008.

SEND IN YOUR ANSWERS TO: or SMS* PLOT <SPACE> TEXT <SPACE> NAME For example, SMS PLOT Uncle my muscles are way bigger to 55454 Your e-mail entry will be valid only if: (1) You mention ‘Badshah of Blurbs’ as the subject of your mail, and (2) Include your name, postal address and mobile (or landline) number along with the answer. Adlabs employees and members of their families cannot participate in this contest. Last Date: May 31, 2008.

THE 90-SECOND QUIZ this line from the song “Chakke 1 Complete mein chakka, chakke pe… ”, from the film

Khara played Amitabh Bachchan’s 2 Swini nine year old neighbour Sexy in Cheeni Kum.


What terminal disease does she suffer from? (a) Cancer (b) Leukemia (c) AIDS (d) Hepatitis Matondkar played the role of Pinky 3 Urmila Malhotra in Masoom. The film also had another child actor making his debut. Name him. (a) Mayur Verma (b) Junior Mehmood (c) Jugal Hansraj (d) Master Raju which movie did Kunal Khemu make 4 With his film debut as a child actor? (a) Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (b) Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (c) Raja Hindustani (d) Zakhm the film Ek Ajnabi, Col. Suryaveer Singh 5 In(Amitabh Bachchan) is assigned to protect 2 0 T H E P L O T M AY ’ 0 8

This playback singer has acted as a child artist in films like Pardes, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, etc. Recently he also anchored a very successful music competition on television. Who is he? (a) Sonu Nigam (b) Aditya Narayan (c) Shaan (d) Abhaas Joshi

actor made his debut as a child artist 7 Which in the Anil Kapoor - Sridevi starrer Mr. India? (a) Akshaye Khanna (b) Abhishek Bachchan (c) Zayed Khan (d) Aftab Shivdasani




These heroes have done films whose themes have been linked to popular sports such as football, racing, cricket and hockey. Identify them from their lips. In your answer, mention the right image number against each name. Five early birds who get the pairs right will each get vouchers for two free tickets to any show at any Adlabs cinema across India on any day in June 2008. Shah Rukh Khan

Aamir Khan

John Abraham

Saif Ali Khan

Send in your pairs to: Your entry will be valid only if: (1) You write ‘Pair & Win’ as the subject of your mail, and (2) Include your name, postal address and mobile (or landline) number along with the answer. Adlabs employees and members of their families cannot participate in this contest. Last Date: May 31, 2008

Child actors in India today are increasingly making their presence felt in films. Test your knowledge of these early starters on the road to stardom. Questions courtesy VINOD MENON

young Anamika Rathore. Who plays Anamika Rathore in the film? (a) Rucha Vaidya (b) Sheena Bajaj (c) Hansika Motwani (d) Baby Shalini

Brahmachari picturised on Shammi Kapoor and a group of kids. (a) Gaadi (b) Anadi (c) Shaadi (d) Daadi


Who is the youngest actor to have ever won a Filmfare award? (a) Darsheel Safary (b) Ayesha Kapoor (c) Jugal Hansraj (d) Kunal Khemu

For the answers, please refer to the top of the page.

Jackpot Question


Answer this one and win free tickets to any Adlabs cinema across India – five couple tickets are up for grabs.

Kamal Hassan and Rishi Kapoor started their careers as child artistes and have a lot in common. Identify what is not common to the two. (a) At least one of their children have pursued acting as a career (b) Won the National Film Award for the Best Child Artist for their debut film (c) Their fathers were also actors (d) Have directed a film If you’re one of the five early birds to get the answer right, you will get vouchers for two free tickets each to a show at any Adlabs cinema across India on any day in June 2008. Send in your answers to: or SMS* PLOT <SPACE> OPTION <SPACE> NAME For example, SMS PLOT A RUPALI to 55454 Your e-mail entry will be valid only if: (1) You write ‘May Jackpot Question’ as the subject of your e-mail, and (2) Include your name, postal address and mobile (or landline) number along with the answer. Adlabs employees and members of their families cannot participate in this contest. Last Date: May 31, 2008 *Up to Rs 3/- per SMS. Please check with your mobile operator for exact SMS rates.

May 2008, Vol 1, Issue 10  
May 2008, Vol 1, Issue 10  

amitabh bachhan