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VOLUME ll, ISSUE 01, SUMMER 2013, R 100

B ol ly wood sta rs of our t im e


foreword An Enduring Love Affair

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t’s hard to say when you fell in love with something you’ve grown up with. That’s because it tends to seep into some deep inner consciousness of your mind and then it just stays there, forever. Movies – or more specifically, Hindi movies – were like that for me. From waiting eagerly for the weekly movie on Doordarshan a lifetime ago to racing to the nearest multiplex today, it’s a love affair that has never ended.

shah rukh on

Babli, No One

Killed Jessica

Black, Bunty Aur and Talaash

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As a student of Delhi’s St Columba ’s School, he won the Sword of Honour the award for the best outgoing student.

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In Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, his son Aryan played him as a child. ★ In the famous Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge scene where SRK makes off with beer from Amrish shop, the original Puri’s script had him taking away condoms. This was changed to make Raj acceptab le to Indian audience s.

GOWARIK

I loved Hindi movies when no one I knew did. It was very fashionable once to dismiss them – they were vulgar, escapist nonsense. But I could sit through anything (well, all right, maybe not anything; I’d draw the line at Clerk). Looking back, when I try and analyse what it was – what it is – that holds me in such complete thrall, I don’t really have an answer. Perhaps it’s the songs – it is impossible for me to imagine my life without Hindi film songs. Or perhaps it was the emotion – for me, even the silliest movies rang true when it came to tapping my emotional core. If I had a rupee for every time I cried while watching a movie, I’d be a zillionaire by now.

khan

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here is someth ing about Shah truly! No one, Rukh, film that he I repeat, no does. I have one can match up to felt it. In fact, this man. I believe that eyed 18-yea I firmly was this wideI have a private r-old when romance going on with SRK. I first met Shah Rukh on the When he is sets of Kuch with you, he you comple Kuch course I had is with tely. Shah Rukh seen him before, Hota Hai. Of Khan is truly badshah of obviously! on screen love and romanc the Dilwale Dulhan your mother e. He can make iya Le Jayeng Darr, Dil To , your daught e, Pagal Hai er and you is in love with I had seen feel he And sudden each one at them all. ly, here I was, the same time. affection and standing in of him and His heartfelt respec front being asked make him their t for women to romance less. That was Hero No. 1. him, no just the beginn He saw a song ing. Over the years of Raja Ki Aayegi I have realised and recomm makes him Baraat ended me what the biggest to Karan (Johar) From Kuch star of them energy, focus, Kuch Hota . all. His sincerity and Hai to Kabhi Naa Kehna, the ability to Alvida at himself, make our relation laugh years. ship goes back Shah Rukh And I will continu a tough act follow. He is 15 to extremely shy e to be with romance him but amazin him and endearing and as long as gly charming. He I can. films togethe warmth that oozes so much r, Chalte Chalte, Among our you are sure Kabhi Alvida… Paheli and to melt. Of course, remain my Shah Rukh’s favourites though he outdid himself mindblowing. romance is in Chak De! No other man, Devdas India and .To most, I can be as wonde no other hero am still known rful a friend, heroine, and as SRK’s or husband. boyfriend, lover I love it that He genuine way! ly loves a person as a friend, partner, co-star – RANI MUKER or whatever and that gets JI is an actress – reflected on known for Kuch Kuch Hota screen in every Hai, Chalte Chalte,

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glam divas VAGAL

good human if you are a of believed that say with a lot have always actor. I can being can be a great a great human being, you a Chopra is found her that Priyank confidence . I have always she a brilliant actress fully sure that and thereby I met but I was never fascinating the first time acting very film Barfi! And jeans and Jhilmil in my sat, in fitted could play to her, she would not she script the that her to read and I was sure words. glamorous, later, I ate my T-shirt, very Three days the role. into the get be able to play everything possible to children, met autistic Priyanka did to days. She three effort every those character in ops and made tion. did worksh is her dedica studied them, it right. Such a director’s ter and get , Priyanka is feel the charac d versatile actress and modifie A wonderfully be moulded actress, is ready to mainstream delight. She glamorous, opposite A hardcore, way in the completely. the all go king, to focused, multitas she is not scared names. gutsy, driven, her second ible are all direction. Brave, access a Priyank a and very talent, give hardworking secure of her Completely with it! see her run character and known for movies

like

PHOTO: JATIN

best film director BASU is a ANURAG in a... Metro Barfi! and Life

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Or perhaps it was the stars. The romance of sitting in a dark theatre and watching larger-than-life images of your favourite movie stars unfold on the screen – it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Which is why, when we decided to do a Bollywood Collector’s Edition, I was thrilled. But Bollywood is such an ocean, it was difficult to decide what to concentrate on. And it was an impossible task to encompass everything in one volume. We’d be working on Collector’s Editions all our life (actually that’s not a bad idea; anyone interested, please give me a call). So we decided to train the spotlight on the most visible, the most loved, the most charismatic part of Bollywood (or any other film industry for that matter) – the stars. Someone once said

priycahonpraka on ANURAG BASU

beauty at the global Miss Indian ‘double’ a Rai became of the second ★ She was part Sushmita Sen and Aishwary Priyanka Chopra Dutta and After pageants. in 1994, Lara Miss World Universe and ‘Piggy in 2000. credited as did the same ter. No. 9211 was ce in Taxi during Bluffmas Bachchan ★ Her guest appearan by Abhishek sign name given – one for each Chops’ - a played 12 roles roles played Raashee, she number of for the most ★ In What’s Your record – a world of the zodiac film. in a single by an actress

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foreword naseeruddin sh NEERAJ PAND EY on

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hat is obviou s is that Naseer actors who uddin Shah have had long knows his craft. And innings in the dedication like all and concen industry, he brings a lot tration and has immen to the role is extremely se as he should do, easy to work and more importaimmediately gets what with. He is required balance betwee ntly, what he of him – what shouldn’t. He n what the he director expect listener and can strike the so, he absorb s and his own right s and delivers vision. He And the best is a great . part about He is hungry Naseer saheb and would is that he is love to sink still very much got bored with his teeth into an actor. acting. He anythin can be as good loved him in g meaty. He most of his or great as hasn’t films, especia the materia he was brilliant l given to him. lly Sparsh, , and brough Ijaazat I t out the vulnera and Aakros was so well h. In Masoo prepared for bility of the m, his role in A character beautif cent of them) Wednesday were shot in ully. He that scenes 8/10 days. do, and it was with him (99 He knew what never tough per we wanted to get through , what he had to him. to NEERA

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deepapduikkoane HOMI ADAJANIA on

ka anush sharma A on PRASAD BIDAP

a we shared slid open and ing through he plane door before sky-div nervous laugh air onto its of Cape Town pants, 14,000 feet I soiled my e below. As looked gorgeous coastlin she was scared. She , a if I asked Deepik grin and winked mischievous it!” her do ’t with at me ise I wouldn I am, otherw this is how “Of course about the jump: a This not just life. She has ne takes on er she Deepika Paduko head-on in whatev fear sums up hunger to take this is what and for me, endeavours, is. with. She laughs the star she a joy to work about her Deepika is unapologetic she’s actors from her belly, most of our if they appetite, and age issues impressive no serious body-im would have a comes with the gym. Deepik is very saw her in at herself and g with her frills, can laugh nce workin tted My experie disciplined. is highly commi actress who revealed an her effort and relentless in us to look at, to her craft, gorgeo is driven. She beautiful ferociously least of her , probably the and that is perks of stardom Despite the the terrain attributes. of how fickle well aware loyalty, Deepika is values ne who truly poise, and is. She is someo hardships with balances the she is. be the star deserves to

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Padukone Alva,

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ALLIA ALRUFAI STYLING: ITI GUPTA;

her badgen, where in Copenha e was ★ She was bornn father Prakash Padukon minton champio that time. training at Kapoor, Deepika hip with Ranbir After they ★ After a relations of her neck. TMK. on the nape it look like tattooed RK it to make first redesigned by India’s broke up, she “Tattoo Queen” chosen was She on. was Tattoo Conventi l, her name comedy Houseful slapstick ★ In the Soundarya Bhagyalakshmi l– a mouthfu Rao. Baassappa s Venkateshwari actresse between merry-go-round ★ After a lot of Balan, Asin and Katrina Kaif), th in Vidya Rajinikan (including star opposite chosen to Deepika was . Kochadaiyan his movie,

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Nirupama (along with ar Shaw and Carmel e’s Mount Kiran Mazumd of Bangalor completed been students it is not clear if they College (though . their courses) debuted opposite Anushka also Rukh ★ Like Deepika, And in each film, Shah rs. (In Khan. characte Shah Rukh two very differenthe had a double appeared as Om, with Deepika, Di Jodi, he played Om Shanti Bana Ne in Rab getups.) role, whereas r in different the same characte wedding planner vivacious a of version a grown-up ★ Anushka’s role Chaar, Baaraat was r in Do Dooni in Band Baaja ’s characte Faisal. of the daughter Habib to the writer, according

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PHOTO: AVINASH

even at that a at 14, but first saw Anushk leggy beauty. She a tall, age she was ng, unlike most little groomi a carneeded very sent through have to be ent models who great deportm Creamy skin, to wash first. combined e of silky hair and a and a cascad nce innoce e create an awesom so luminous. was just Di Jodi, she beauty that Rab Ne Bana character, In her debut half-woman half-child, e of essayed a marriag a rs love after film Band Bajaa who discove But the 2010 convenience. status. Her d her to diva Baraat elevate te newcomer act opposi suicidal. But decision to was seen as Ranveer Singh count. paired with she made it a was again In 2012, Anushk Hai Jaan - in a role s. in Jab Tak Rukh Shah her acting prowes established up which firmly she burned Ka Mandola, Bijli al of Ki In Matru octane portray with her high Anushka is the screen d. In real life, firebran , and vi a Haryan an epic temper d. She has In a that firebran around with. messed be to s are is not one where heroine to fickle industry is determined le, Anushka interchangeab She is the hero! leave a mark.

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In the meantime, sink your teeth into this fabulous edition. Store it on your bookshelves and come back to it whenever you feel like. Enjoy!

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My colleagues Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi and Parul Khanna – both diehard Bollywood buffs – scoured the libraries of top Mumbai photographers to source some of the most beautiful pictures of movie stars, and made literally hundreds of phone calls to do the interviews for the stars featured in this volume. And you can’t miss our stunning collection of essays on different aspects of stars and stardom, written by some of the best names in the business. I know, we haven’t even touched upon film directors, music composers, singers, choreographers – but that calls for another (or many) more such editions. I live in hope.

He has played the father ‘illegitimate to many sons’ – Jugal Hansraj (Masoom), Ajay Devgn (Raajneeti Shah Rukh ), (Main Akhtar (Zindagi Hoon Na), Farhan Na Milegi Dobara ).

for the drama-t

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J PANDEY is a film director, Special 26 best known 122

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Naseeruddin Shah with ‘Still Photogra was credited phy’ for Khamosh Even in Jaane . Bhi Do Yaaron era he used , the camin the film was his own. ★ He is married to actress Pathak, with Ratna whom he also theatre group runs a called Motley.

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Once we decided we wanted to focus on stars and stardom and do a list of the Top 50 Stars, came the Next Big Question. How on earth were we going to decide who to include and who to discard? If we began from the beginning, that is, a hundred years ago, our list would run into hundreds of names. So we decided to focus only on contemporary stars, in order to give some coherence to our list. But even after narrowing down the scope, it was still an incredibly tough decision to choose who we wanted to include. We had numerous brainstorming sessions in the office, we spoke to everyone we thought loved Hindi movies, and after much discussion (and many heated arguments!), we finally came up with our list. All lists are arbitrary, so I’m sure there will be disagreement over our choices. But, well, that’s the price you pay for attempting to do a list at all!

class act

PHOTO: JATIN

that movie stars are the most powerful people in the world and that someone was so right. To put it baldly, we love our stars. We have our favourites, we have our not-so-favourites, but on the whole, they’re our drug of choice.

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Whether it’s Naseeruddin Shah, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, or older actors like Dev Anand or Dharmendra and Hema Malini, we can’t do without our beloved stars


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brunchletters@hindustantimes.com E twitter.com/HTBrunch facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch E hindustantimes.com/brunch EDITOR IN CHIEF: SANJOY

NARAYAN

EDITOR: POONAM SAXENA

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GROUP CREATIVE DIRECTOR , HT MEDIA

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If there’s one star who symbolises Hindi movies, it is Amitabh Bachchan. He has dominated Bollywood since the early Seventies; even today films and roles are written especially for him. He is one of Indian cinema’s true legends COVER PHOTO AVINASH GOWARIKER

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BRUNCH Printer and Publisher on behalf of HT Media Ltd: M Venkatesh. Editor: Poonam Saxena All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Printed and bound at HT Media Limited, B-2, Sector – 63, No ida, District Gautham Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, Plot Number 8, Udyog Vihar, Greater Noida, District Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pardesh. Published at HT Media Limited, Hindustan Times House, 18-20, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110001. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Delhi/New Delhi Only. RNI No: DELENG/2011/36571 DISCLAIMER: The information contained in the Brunch is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate & complete. However, since the information has be gathered from varied sources, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein and the same is submitted subject to errors, omissions, etc.

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contents 31 Icons,Iconicity and Amitabh by Shiv viSvanathan

The Amazing Trinity

by rajeev maSand

46 Why We Need Historicals

Shah ruKh Khan 38

by rachel dwyer

aiShwarya rai bachchan 48

52 The Good Indian Woman by niranjan iyengar

Kajol 54 rani muKerjee 56

62 The 200-Crore Club Is Here by Komal nahta

aKShay Kumar 64

70 No More Stereotypes Please by Sudhir miShra

priyanKa chopra 72

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Look Who’s Watching

A Brave New Bollywood

arjun rampal 80

vidya balan 86

by anna mm vetticad

by neeleSh miSra

irrfan 88

legend superstars classic beauties sweethearts big guns glam divas greek gods powerhouse

amitabh bachchan 33

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Salman Khan 42

aamir Khan 44

madhuri dixit nene 50

priety zinta 58 KariSma Kapoor 60

hrithiK roShan 66

Kareena Kapoor Khan 74

john abraham 82

ajay devgn 68

Katrina Kaif 75

Shahid Kapoor 83

anuShKa Sharma 76

deepiKa paduKone 77

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manoj bajpayee 90

nawazuddin Siddiqui 92


contents 94 The Born Ultimatum

by mushtaq shiekh

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Bollywood’s New ‘New Wave’

Age of the Iconoclast

The Road From Stage to Screen

The Allure of the Item Number

A Short History of Violence

The Thread That Binds

by mahesh bhatt

by diptakirti chaudhury

by piyush mishra

by beth watkins

ranveer singh 108

konkona sen sharma 116

naseeruddin shah 122

shilpa shetty 132

saif ali khan 98

sonam kapoor 109

emraan hashmi 117

shabana azmi 124

bipasha basu 134

sonakshi sinha 110

abhay deol 118

om puri 126

arshad warshi 119

pankaj kapur 128

The Power Of Bollywood

by sriram raghavan

by gautam chintamani

by udita jhunjhunwala

sanjay dutt 138

paresh rawal 144

Like A Diamond In The Sky

anil kapoor 140

rishi kapoor 146

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by rauf ahmed

versatile dudes young turks innovators class act body beautiful old spice role models

ranbir kapoor 96

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farhan akhtar 100

abhishek bachchan 102 imran khan 104

ayushmann khurrana 111

arjun kapoor 112

parineeti chopra 113

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Index 156 Last Page 160


writers When it came to assigning cinema writers for the essays in this HTBrunch Collector’s Edition, we got a mix of celebrated authors, talented filmmakers and writers, formidable sociologists, bright journalists and bloggers. There was one non-negotiable criterion though: all of them had to be Hindi film lovers!

UditA JhUnJhUnwAlA Udita Jhunjhunwala is a writer, critic and author. Her contributions appear in HT Brunch, Mint, Vogue India, Harper’s Bazaar, People, New Indian Express, among others. She’s a regular voice on BBC Network Asia, UK. When she’s not in a movie screening or interviewing a Bollywood star, Udita enjoys reading, music, dance and travelling, especially road trips. She tweets @UditaJ

ShiV ViSVAnAthAn A prolific, widely-read, provocative, and respected social scientist, Shiv Visvanathan is a columnist for several newspapers and magazines and the author of three books. He has been a professor at several academic institutions in the country. His interests are wide-ranging: urban cultures, the sociology of corruption, history of technology, social movements, and of course, popular cinema.

nirAnJAn iyengAr

KoMAl nAhtA

Niranjan Iyengar likes to describe himself as a writer... dreamer and inveterate learner! In a career spanning two decades, he has written the dialogue for more than 15 films including Kal Ho Naa Ho, Jism, Fashion and Student of the Year and lyrics for blockbusters like My Name Is Khan. Niranjan started his career as a journalist in 1991 and has dabbled in fashion designing, authored a book on the making of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, and been an avid student of Hindustani vocal music for the last ten years.

Komal Nahta is editor and publisher of trade journal Film Information. The Asian Development Bank has appointed him advisor for its film financing division. He has launched a tabloid called The Film Street Journal and was the Bollywood representative of the BBC for close to a decade. Komal anchors the trade show ETC Bollywood Business on TV channels ETC and Zee Cinema, where he crunches box office numbers and does movie reviews. Komal is credited with introducing the concept of the ‘100Crore Club’ in an article he did for Hindustan Times Brunch.

SUdhir MiShrA

AnnA MM VetticAd

Sudhir Mishra is a filmmaker and screenwriter best known for directing Dharavi, Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, Chameli, Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi and Inkaar. He started his career in 1983 as an assistant director and scriptwriter in Kundan Shah’s comedy classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. Before joining the movies, Mishra graduated from Delhi University in 1980. In 2010, the French government knighted him with the Order of Arts and Letters.

Anna MM Vetticad is the author of The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic, an overview of Bollywood presented through a year when she decided to watch every single Hindi film released in the National Capital Region. A journalist for almost 19 years, Anna is also a journalism teacher, social media consultant and prolific blogger. “World’s most committed feminist” is how she’s most likely to describe herself. On Twitter you will find her @ annavetticad.

rAJeeV MASAnd In a media career spanning close to two decades covering the Indian entertainment industry, Rajeev Masand started reporting at the age of 16. He is perhaps the first and only entertainment journalist in the country to have had eponymous film shows. What has characterised his career is his honesty and rigid standards of excellence.

rAchel dwyer Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London. Her main research interest is in Hindi cinema and she has written on love and eroticism (of the wet sari and of the kiss and saying ‘I love you’); visual culture (sets, locations and costumes) and religion. These days, she is completing her book Bollywood’s India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Modern India.

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writers Piyush mishRa The versatile Piyush Mishra started out being an actor, took a degree from the National School of Drama, and did theatre for many years before diversifying into music direction, script and song writing and singing. He has written dialogues for films such as The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Ghajini and Agneepath. He has composed songs for Gulal and Gangs Of Wasseypur and acted in Maqbool, Rockstar, Gangs of Wasseypur.

neelesh misRa

mushtaq shiekh

Beth Watkins

Neelesh Misra is an award-winning journalist, radio storyteller, Hindi film lyricist, scriptwriter (Ek Tha Tiger with Kabir Khan) and author of five books. He also runs Gaon Connection, India’s first professionally run rural newspaper. Neelesh narrates stories across 35 Indian cities to 32 million radio listeners every night and reaches an audience of 7 million people online in 20 countries every month. His first song as a lyricist was Jaadu hai nasha hai (Jism). He has just finished writing two film scripts and is working on the next.

Mushtaq Shiekh is a well-known film journalist, screenplay writer and Shah Rukh Khan’s biographer. One of the youngest editors of Star & Style, he blogs under the Twitter handle ‘Shiekhspear’. Mushtaq’s resume includes screenplay writing credits for Om Shanti Om and Billu Barber. He has written The Making of Asoka and The Making of Om Shanti Om, apart from authoring a popular biography of Shah Rukh Khan. In his avatar as a screenplay writer, Mushtaq’s scripts have been televised in many serials and telefilms.

Beth Watkins has been blogging about Hindi cinema since 2005 at bethlovesbollywood.blogspot.com. She has contributed pieces in international media such as BBC radio and CBC television, as well as in print in The Wall Street Journal. During business hours, she works in education and publications at the University of Illinois.

sRiRam RaGhavan A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Sriram Raghavan has directed the films Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Agent Vinod. Rajkumar Hirani, one of his FTII batchmates, edited his diploma film, The Eight Column Affair, which went on to win a National Award in 1987. In Johnny Gaddar, he paid a tribute to pulp favourite James Hadley Chase.

Gautam Chintamani

diPtakiRti ChaudhuRi Diptakirti Chaudhuri works for an Internet company by day and dreams of movies by night. He believes movie ratings should be on a circular scale instead of a linear one since there are many movies which are so bad that they’re good. This led him to write a book on Bollywood trivia. Chaudhuri also wrote all the trivia (titled Short Takes) in the Top 50 Stars section of this edition. He lives in Gurgaon with his wife, son and daughter.

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Gautam Chintamani is a voracious cinephile attuned to writing on Hindi cinema, Bollywood and everything in between. He wrote Siddhanth, India’s first Emmy Award nominated TV series and in 2009 his independent documentary became the recipient of the first Asia Pacific Rice Film Award constituted by the government of Malaysia.

mahesh Bhatt Known to have an eye for spotting new talent, Mahesh Bhatt is a producer, screenwriter and the director of critically acclaimed movies such as Arth, Saaransh, Janam, Daddy, Naam, Sadak and Zakhm. His father, Nanabhai Bhatt, was a director and producer of Hindi and Gujarati films. Among his siblings is film producer Mukesh Bhatt. Mahesh’s book, A Taste of Life: The Last Days of U G Krishnamurti was published in June 2009. He is also the co-owner of the film production house, Vishesh Films.

I Brunch collector’s edition I Summer 2013

Rauf ahmed Senior journalist and film critic Rauf Ahmed has edited leading film magazines such as Movie and Zee Premiere. He is the author of Mehboob Khan: The Romance of History. He also wrote about Dilip Kumar in a book on the 20 greatest superstars (brought out by Penguin India in 2012). He has completed a biography of Shammi Kapoor and is writing one on Rajesh Khanna.


photographers

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avinash gowariker G owariker considers himself lucky, because our cover image of Amitabh Bachchan has been taken by him, and so have the pictures of all the three reigning Khans (Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman). He began shooting film stars for a living way back in 1994 when his cousin, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, asked him to assist him in the making of Baazi with Aamir Khan. Since then, his career has been on an upward swing. Gowariker says he’s the only photographer in the industry to have clicked all the three ‘Khans’ and sometimes all three in just one week! And he has interesting insights into their diametrically different work styles: “Aamir is a perfectionist, SRK is spontaneous and Salman is casual (almost to the point of arrogance).” The best pictures, says Gowariker, are unplanned. Like the cover picture of Amitabh Bachchan taken during shooting the publicity stills of the movie Aladin. “As we were shooting, I requested Mr Bachchan to put his hat over his eyes. We covered half his face with the hat. The shot looks very unique. You can recognise him from any angle. And I only have two of these shots.” He has hundreds of such anecdotes (we can’t fit them all in our edition, alas!). And why did he decide to give us some of his best works for this Collector’s Edition? “When I spoke to you, I immediately understood what you were looking for – interesting, candid, never-seen-before shots that captured the mood of the stars. I was impressed with the concept and the team’s dedication and passion in putting together the product. I didn’t think twice,” he says.

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e was born amidst cameras and movie stars. The studio was his playground and the stars his playmates! So it wasn’t really a surprise when Rohan Shrestha, the talented son of ace celebrity photographer Rakesh Shrestha, decided to take up the same profession. “For me, the transition was very easy. One, I wasn’t an outsider and two, I wasn’t in awe of the stars,” he says. But he was adamant that he wouldn’t use his father’s contacts. “Sometimes I wish I had. I would have begun my career shooting with Shah Rukh Khan or perhaps Mr Bachchan,” he laughs. Shrestha started shooting professionally in 2009 and has shot stills for various publications, films and ads, including the covers and cover story images for three issues of BrunchQ. “It was only with BrunchQ that I got the chance to shoot with stars like Imran Khan, Vidya Balan,

Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor for the first time. BrunchQ showed amazing confidence in me when I was just starting out, so I wasn’t going to give them anything but my best for this special edition,” he says. Though Shrestha has shot with most stars, he feels his camaraderie with the newcomers is brilliant and they make for his best pictures. Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Abhay Deol, Shahid Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor are his favourites. “These guys are my friends, we have grown up together. So shooting with them is great fun,” he says.


photographers jatin kampani

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e studied law and got a degree to make his parents happy. But he couldn’t resist the lure of the camera. Fashion and celebrity photographer Jatin Kampani took to professional fashion photography almost as soon as he got his law degree. “Photography was always a hobby and I was assisting Atul Kasbekar while studying law. So taking it up professionally was a natural progression,” says Kampani. He learnt and

experimented on the job. Soon work started flowing and he was voted as the Photographer To Watch Out For in the 2008 year-end edition of HTBrunch. Having shot with most of the big stars in the industry, Kampani rates his shoots with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra as some of his best works and a must for this Collector’s Edition. “HTBrunch has always been very dear to me and in my head I am constantly trying to live up to their

prediction of me being a Photographer To Watch Out For. So, of course, I couldn’t give anything but my best for this edition,” he says. And sure enough, his images of Aishwarya Rai

Bachchan, who is undoubtedly a classic beauty and Priyanka, a glam diva, are stunning. “For Ash, I didn’t have to think much. The combination of Aishwarya in Sabyasachi clothes in Paris was a heady mix of beauty. I remember one shot when we were shooting on the street. All traffic stopped and people just looked in amazement at the ethereal woman in front of them. I was lucky to capture this. And for Priyanka, I wanted an image which didn’t just capture her glamorous appeal but which brought out her diva-like personality.”

natasha hemrajani

jitu savlani

rafique sayed

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era dil baag baag ho gaya,” says Natasha Hemrajani, when asked about her experience of shooting actors in the Class Act and Powerhouse sections of this Collectors’ Edition. “I have been shooting commercial Bollywood actors for years, but I never got a chance to shoot these off-beat actors,” she says. In the two-and-a-half weeks during which she shot Shabana Azmi, Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan, Rishi Kapoor and Pankaj Kapur, Natasha had a blast. “Commercial actors are conscious about their image. These guys were bindaas and ready to experiment,” she says. Natasha shot Nawaz at eight in the morning. The two went out looking for a place that had good sunlight and spotted a push cart. Nawaz gave the thelawallah R100 and lay down on the cart. The result: a quirky picture of Nawaz in a suit on a thela!

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e started out by assisting photographer Dabboo Ratnani and finally, left his job in Goa and shifted to Mumbai to shoot Hindi film actors for a living. Over a period of 14/15 years, Savlani has worked with many stars. When we approached him to share a few pictures (Ajay Devgn, Arshad Warsi and Anil Kapoor) that he likes from his collection, he thought “it was an opportunity for my work to be showcased.” Savlani has been working with Ajay Devgn for many years now. Apart from shooting film stills, he also shoots for his personal collection: “I shoot with him every three months,” he says. He remembers how he shot the picture of Arshad that’s featured in this issue. “We were shooting in Thailand. I saw the pigeons and realised that as Arshad walked, they would fly off. I quickly shifted my camera position and when the birds flew, I got my shot.”

irst came fashion photography but Rafique Sayed soon tired of it. “I couldn’t do the beautiful, expressionless, babydoll images beyond a point.” He moved to shooting real portraits of real people. And that’s exactly how he decided to capture even glamorous movie stars. Farhan Akhtar, Bipasha Basu and Konkona Sen Sharma are just some of the actors Sayed has shot in his own style. “Every person makes for a great picture. It is up to the photographer to capture the essence of that person,” he says. This is what dictated Sayed’s choice of pictures for this special issue. “For both Konkona and Farhan, it has to be their multifaceted characters that had to take centrestage. And Bipasha, though glamorous, has a very different sensibility. The images may not be beautiful. But what they have is character.”


The Power Of Bollywood Hindi cinema has seen sweeping changes in its 100-year history. But what remains constant is the audience’s love and loyalty Udita JhUnJhUnwala

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stars with looks and a voice were sought after. In this decade, the Ashok Kumar starrer Kismet, with its progressive theme, became a landmark hit. The World War in the first half of the decade and Independence in 1947 saw the emergence of social films and relationship-centred stories. An independent India brought with it the first wave of migration into Bombay’s movie making world, marking the beginning of the pan-Indian film. The ’40s and ’50s were Indian cinema’s glory days – the decade of Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Madhubala, Geeta Bali and Meena Kumari. This was the time of Raj Kapoor’s Awaara and Mother India, for example, which saw unprecedented success at home and abroad. And the world’s fascination with Indian cinema has only grown since then, measure by measure, until today when our films and filmmakers are feted the world over. With the advent of colour in the 1960s came Technicolor escapism. Elegant and glamorous leading ladies were romanced by handsome dapper heroes along snow-clad mountainous backdrops or in the middle of a placid lake. The films were now set in utopia and picturised through filters of mist with lilting melodies by SD Burman, RD Burman setting the mood. With the new decade, came the cinema that defined Bollywood for years to come: the ‘masala’ movie, a formula that guaranteed entertainment and box office success. By the

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Guru Dutt made some of the most haunting films of that era

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

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ore than a hundred years ago (in 1896), the Lumiere Brothers brought the first moving picture from Paris to Indian shores. Seventeen years later, in 1913, India’s first full-length, silent feature film Raja Harishchandra was released. Famously, Dadasaheb Phalke funded the film by selling his wife’s jewellery. This was the first Indian film made by an entirely Indian crew and one of many mythologicals created by Phalke. But the history of movie making in India pre-dates Raja Harishchandra to 1899, when Save Dada, inspired by the Lumiere Bros’ screenings, made his short film The Wrestlers. From then, until now, Indian films and the industry itself have experienced seismic changes – from the birth of the ‘talkies’ in the 1930s, to the rise, fall and resurgence of cinema that celebrates life, to the changing fortunes of stars, the death of the golden and silver jubilee and the birth of the 100-crore club. In the early days, films explored mythologies, biographies and historical epics. Then Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara – India’s first talkie – was released in 1931 at the Majestic cinema in Mumbai. The film’s groundbreaking technology mesmerised audiences as they tried to understand how moving photos could speak. Alam Ara was a love story between a prince and gypsy girl and it featured Hindi cinema’s first song – De De Khuda Ke Naam Par Pyare. Since then, love and music are unique elements that give Indian films their character. Once sound technology found its roots in Bollywood, the industry began to flourish. Behind impenetrable studio gates like those of Wadia Movietone, Bombay Talkies and Prabhat Studios, filmmaking became a lucrative business. New


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Photo courtesy: Indian Cinema: A Visual Voyage

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Photo courtesy: Indian Cinema: A Visual Voyage

Photo courtesy: Indian Cinema: A Visual Voyage

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Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

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2. Zubeida in India’s first talkie Alam Ara (1931), a love story between a prince and a gypsy girl

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

1. Raja Harishchandra, made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913, was India’s first full-length silent feature film. (This image is from the 1917 remake by Phalke himself; since the negative of the 1913 film was extensively damaged)

3. Raj Kapoor in Shri 420 (1955) 4. Ashok Kumar in Kismet (1943) 5. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar in Amar (1954) 6. Balraj Sahani and Master Ratan in Do Bigha Zamin (1953) The ’40s and ’50s were the glory days of Hindi cinema

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1. Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). With the advent of colour in the ’60s came Technicolour escapism 2. Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby (1973). The teenage love story was one of the biggest hits of its time 3. Shabana Azmi and Anant Nag in Ankur (1974). Shyam Benegal’s first feature film ushered in the parallel cinema movement

Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit In Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (1994), the ultimate family saga

mid ’70s, India had fought three full-fledged wars and was suffering the imposition of Emergency. With these experiences, films from that time naturally highlighted the plight of the citizen fighting the system whether it was Gulzar’s Aandhi or Amrit Nahata’s political satire Kissa Kursi Ka, both of which faced bans by the government. At another level, audiences watched the meteoric rise of the Angry Young Man, Amitabh Bachchan, who, in many ways, represented their angst. Formula films by Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai enjoyed unprecedented success. During this period, a teenage love story like Bobby represented one end of the spectrum and Benegal’s Ankur the other. The 1970s will also be remembered for Ramesh Sippy’s record-setting Sholay. But soon the veneer wore off and the rot set in. The ’80s are unequivocally regarded as the decade of mediocrity, of star-driven formula films that blatantly disregarded script and technique, leaning heavily on star power alone. The decline in commercial cinema gave the parallel cinePhoto courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

ma movement a fillip. Sai Paranjpye, Mahesh Bhatt, Govind Nihalani and Shyam Benegal continued to build on a space created by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Bhattacharya and others before them. Films that commented on changing urban sensibilities and human emotions made with modest budgets and trained actors enjoyed a brief but significant sunshine period.

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he first hints of a counter-reaction were seen in the late ’80s, with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Maine Pyar Kiya, among others. By the ’90s, stories became a blend of candyfloss romances morphing into large family sagas, as evidenced by the remarkable success of Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! Madhuri Dixit, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan achieved god-like stardom. As the cash registers began to ring once more, the underworld flexed its muscles to claim a pound of flesh. A pall of gloom enveloped Bollywood anew. In the meanwhile, some pockets of the world were warming up to our colourful multi-starrers, and blockbusters like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were being appreciated overseas. The new generation of directors with their


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1. Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan in Sholay (1975). Is it possible to think of the ’70s and not remember Ramesh Sippy’s record-setting film? 2. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), a blockbuster that tapped the NRI audience 3. Aamir Khan and Preity Zinta in Dil Chahta Hai (2001), a film that defined the modern, new Bollywood

Bollywood gets international attention today. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on the Cannes red carpet with American actresses Andie MacDowell and Kerry Washington

designer sensibilities and understanding of packaging had brought a new grammar to Bollywood. Their films were now speaking the language of the universal Indian. Before the arrival of the new millennium, the film industry consciously changed gears. Held hostage long enough, government and filmmakers joined hands and the entertainment sector was awarded industry status. The 2000s saw a sea-change as movies became a serious business. There was technical progress as well as a structure and professionalism came into the process, defined by films like Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai.

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he multiplex revolution, which later created further segmentation in the movie making business, began in 1997. By 2009, there were over 250 multiplex sites around the country. The advent of the multiplex has in large measure contributed in facilitating a system that no longer has to bank on a few stars or a few directors. Segmentation, texturing, diversity of content and genres cater to different 26

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audiences and niche sensibilities. Adulation towards movie stars, coupled with the expertise and business acumen of corporate studios has shoved the Indian movie business towards a thriving industry. Producers are now exploring newer geographies and expanding Indian cinema’s fast-growing footprint. At the same time, commercially-driven blockbusters subsist alongside content-driven movies with manageable budgets. The potential of the Indian film industry has led to investment from corporates and a commitment by Hollywood studios like Fox and Viacom. Change is evident in movies too, particularly in the characters – no longer black or white but often depicted more realistically with shades of grey. And the battle is not always between good and evil or a struggle to be united in a fated love story. The themes explore modern relationship complexities as much as rural realities, small town idiosyncrasies and the changing face of oppression. From the first film in 1913, to the first talkie in 1931, to close to 240 Hindi movies released in 2009, some things remain comfortingly constant in Hindi movies: sentimentality, sweeping love stories, seduction, but most importantly – the happily ever after. h


Movie stars are the heartbeat of a film. Nothing quite measures up to the magnetism that a powerful actor exudes on screen. And nothing can match the insane love that stars command. Which is why when we decided to celebrate Bollywood, we had to raise a toast to its brightest stars. It was tough to come up with a list - but who said life was fair?


The Making of an Icon Opening Notes Shiv viSvanathan

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Daniel Bornstein, the American historian, once defined a celebrity as “someone famous for being famous”. The subtle tone of the definition emphasises something about the complexity of stars and fame. Why is it that some stars fade like fireflies and others move like comets? What accounts for survival? One asks these questions as one looks at iconicity in Bollywood.

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ilmdom is the home of myth and myth resists everydayness. If one summons everydayness, then it must be archetypal, evoking womanhood or loyalty in a legendary way. Hollywood has been the home of icons and what one senses about them is a mystique, a symbolism, a halo that goes beyond mere autobiography. Marlon Brando was thus a protean figure in On the Waterfront, yet transforming himself to play Godfather and dance The Last Tango in Paris. The star as a star has to be capable of continuous transformation and survival. He can fade away but gossip must capture the perpetual potential of the man, the incandescence of his youth, and the mystique of his attitude. One thinks of a James Dean who died young or an Elvis Presley creating an industry of mimicking fans. For every star who is unique, there must be a million anonymous imitators. The stories about him must be both endlessly new and endlessly repeatable. Rajnikanth had that quality. His performance touched the heavens but his persona was earthly. He was magical but he remained a miracle sensitive to the everydayness of his fans. They live and dream him in a way even the Gods feel left out. The icon as star has to be an article of faith, larger than life size and yet deeply, intensely human. His every breath must be seen as a blessing, his death, the end of a world, even the end of a cosmos. Iconicity demands polysemy. No one explanation or even a hundred discourses should explain away a star. Mystique is mystique because one cannot wish it away. It has aura, the sense of a sensorium which cannot be analysed. India’s most perennial icon is Amitabh Bachchan. Nothing in his personal biography or even in his cinematic beginnings explain his image. He was a collective Rorschach of the

violence and helplessness of a society facing rottenness and corruption, desperate in its understanding that ordinary goodness was no match for villainy and evil. Enter the hero. Amitabh becomes on behalf of all of us the angry man. It is liberation of the self and the body to indulge in the sheer catharsis of violence. It has a poetic power of cleansing. In many a film, he dies heroically so we can relive his heroism. The angry young man was singular as an invention yet collective as a need. He enacted out the collective will of our deepest desires. There was little about him that was middle class and banal. He became the cinematic future as the first urban hero. Between violence and his sense of the tragic, we created a new hero. To be that hero, he had to erase the earlier history of heroism. Suddenly Rajesh Khanna or Dharmendra seemed lesser creatures. An icon must be capable of transformations. Trickster-like, it must become something new, create new grammars. Amitabh becomes this in Kaun Banega Crorepati. He is a new mutation, mellow in the dignity of information now that violence is ineffectual. Violence cannot match the brutal power of information. The quiz is the new gladiatorial fight and all of India is caught in a new frenzy of quizzes and the information revolution. An icon must always create epidemics of frenzy, of hysteria. It demands the perpetual hyperbole. Often icons fade away in real life as they become entropic. A dead icon is like a black hole. Not even nostalgia can save it. An icon cannot age or dim in splendour because it smells of ordinary flesh. Stars like Rajkumar, Dharmendra became wax dolls while only Amitabh discovered the secret of perpetual youth by learning to age. He reveals iconicity by becoming the exemplar of ritual cycles blossoming from the angry young man to the mellow mentor to playing old age with a chutzpah not even Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood can match. As the perennial icon of Hindi film, he seduces old age, acting effortlessly with Hema Malini and Tabu, revealing that an icon transcends generations. To be an image, one must have the magic of the day. To be an icon, one must create a Kaleidoscope of miracles, be one and all to everyone. Amitabh woos every strata of society and each feels special in their own way. His advertisements revealed he could be a brand name for the state of Gujarat, cement, foot cream, hair oil, fountain pens and chocolates. He becomes a supermarket of images under one brand name – his own. Yet a botanical listing of all his roles and achievements defies classification. Surprise and transformation still wait around the corner. Amitabh’s life is a salute to iconicity and its polysemic and protean power. In this, he represents the world of images, where everything is restless and myths need to come alive every day. By being that polyphonic power, Amitabh becomes the icon par excellence.


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amitabh bachchan karan johar on

someone famous. Whenever he walks into a room, you automatically feel you should get up and clap. You have to admire his incredible consistency. Even when he was down, he never crumbled. He was silent. He never showed any sense of insecurity. He never made himself vulnerable. And he always rose like a Phoenix. He handled those periods with such grace. After his comeback with Kaun Banega Crorepati, he emerged as the patriarch of the nation. No one can host a show like he can. His fluency in Hindi is incredible. In a land where the national language is so abused, he makes it sound so exotic. When I had to first direct him in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, I fainted on the first day of shoot. I had a doctor on the set. I had wound myself up so much. When I recovered consciousness, he was sitting in front of me. And he said to me, “Don’t worry, I’ll dance well!” In terms of direction, you have to just explain a scene to him, that’s all. He’s beyond any instruction. Mr Bachchan’s stardom is blessed by the universe. There is a divinity about it. In our film industry, maintenance and survival is all. Today he’s an even bigger movie star than he ever was. A ten-year-old knows him. A 70-year-old knows him. He has stood the test of time. KArAN JoHAr is a film producer and filmmaker. He has directed blockbusters like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and My Name Is Khan

short takes h Bachchan was a pen name adopted by Harivanshrai while their original family name was Srivastav. In Benaam, AB’s character was called Amit Srivastav, which is his actual name.

PHoTo: AvinAsh GowAriker; CourTESY: sujoy Ghosh’s ‘AlAdin’

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grew up in Malabar Hill in Bombay and my father was a film producer. So I was used to seeing stars coming over. But Amitabh Bachchan’s magnetism was something else. You couldn’t help but stand up when he entered a room. Since the age of four, whenever I see him, I get up and touch his feet. Shweta and Abhishek [his children] keep teasing me about it. But I can’t help it. It’s like I’m on auto pilot. I could be anywhere in the world, Toronto, Cannes, anywhere. But I have to do it whenever I see him. That’s the kind of reverence and respect I have for him. You just have to bow down to a man of his achievements. He commands that. When he was shooting for my father’s film, Dostana, he would sit on this high chair, alone. He always seemed to me like an unattainable god. When he had that accident on the sets of Coolie and went to hospital, I – along with the entire country – wrote a letter to him. My father was always very close to him so he was in the hospital a lot. So I knew he (Amitabh Bachchan) would read my letter. He wrote back to me and that letter made me a star in school. I was the talk of the classroom. I was in class 7 and I had everyone coming to me to read that letter. Amitabh Bachchan’s basic persona, his height, his baritone voice, his complete command over two languages (Hindi and English), his humungous sense of culture and tradition, his sense of dignity – all this has made him the icon he is. He has that stature, both literally and otherwise. Even if he walks into a room in Czechoslavakia, everyone in that room will know he’s

h In a much-publicised poll conducted by BBC, Amitabh Bachchan was voted the Star of the Millennium beating Sir Lawrence Olivier and Sir Alec Guinness. In the same poll, Homer Simpson came 5th and Govinda came 10th. h Singapore Tourism Board has named an orchid after him – Dendrobium Amitabh Bachchan. h Ever since he started blogging and tweeting, he hasn’t missed a single day of doing either.

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The Amazing Trinity

How the Khan trio has been on top of the game for over two decades rajeev masand

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Just last year, Bollywood’s three most famous Khans had movies releasing a few weeks apart from each other. While Shah Rukh Khan romanced Katrina Kaif in Yash Chopra’s swan song Jab Tak Hai Jaan (November 13), Aamir Khan played a tormented cop in the bleak supernatural noir Talaash (November 30). Salman Khan’s was the no-brainer role – he slipped back into the skin of rakish cop Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg 2 (December 21).

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he Khans are on the wrong side of their 40s, yet their movie releases are marked as events on the Bollywood calendar. Turns out, all three films hit bull’s eye at the box office. No mean feat, considering that the trio has been consistently at it for more than 20 years now. It just goes to prove that old adage about the Khan trinity – there’s always place for three (not one) at the top in the Hindi film industry. 2012 was a big year for the three Khans for other reasons too. While Salman delivered a Hulk-like box office smash with Ek Tha Tiger, Aamir threw a surprise when he made his small screen debut, not as a game – or trashy reality-show host – but with the emotional, socially-charged Satyamev Jayate. Shah Rukh, meanwhile, did have a stormy public spat on the Wankhede cricket grounds, but there was redemption when he triumphantly lifted the IPL cup as owner of the champion team, Kolkata Knight Riders. If you look a little closer, you’ll see that each of these triumphs shows how the Khan triumvirate has reinvented itself in the past few years. Aamir is the thinking star with a social conscience. Shah Rukh, ever the entertainer, is taking his famous synergy forward into arenas like the IPL spectacle sports. And Salman? He’s fashioning himself on the lines of Rajinikant – a comical, action star juggernaut that tackles bad guys with a superhuman vigour. There are similarities between Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman, who made their film debuts just a year apart from each other. They are the same age, though Aamir turned 48 first this March. The lover boy image that they started out with has helped all three effortlessly romance heroines less than half their age, even today.

And in all these years, they’ve managed to keep the media, and fans, addicted to their every word. What has changed, are their personal equations. There was a time when Shah Rukh and Salman were thick friends (they even starred together in Karan Arjun and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai), but they haven’t been on speaking terms ever since a spat at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party in 2008. Aamir and Shah Rukh too verbally baited each other in 2008 when their films Ghajini and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi came nose to nose with their release dates. While they are civil to each other publicly now, it’s no secret among their industry friends that there’s no love lost between them. Meanwhile, Salman and Aamir, who share movie history in the hilarious classic Andaz Apna Apna, are buddies – they speak fondly of each other in public, turn up at each other’s events and are glad to pose for the shutterbugs arm in arm at parties. The biggest turnaround has been Salman’s. Once Bollywood’s best-known bad boy, there was a time when one only heard people talk of his private life or his reckless brushes with the law. Today he’s perceived as a large-hearted hero in real-life too, ever since his charity Being Human went public. In contrast, the last couple of years have seen Shah Rukh’s image as a family man take a beating, while Aamir has consciously avoided scrutiny on his private life. With the movie business changing – multiplexes, 100-crore clubs, gigantic opening day figures – the Khans have managed to retain their enviable fan base. Between the three, the equation changes between who is number 1, 2 or 3 every few years. But seldom has there been someone to seriously challenge their position. Hrithik Roshan came in as a phenomenon, but his uneven early career did hard damage. Today, he pours energy into fewer films and is bridging the gap steadily. Lately, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn have posed serious threats with their box office mojo. Ajay has proved he has the chops – he has two National awards to his credit – but these days, he’s chasing a different ambition. Both Ajay and Akshay lack the consistency and charisma that Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman enjoy in spades. That leaves Ranbir Kapoor, the big contender. He’s able to match Aamir with his acting prowess and appears to possess a star quality, not unlike Shah Rukh’s, yet he still has to establish an unconditional connect with his fans like Salman. Until he, or anyone else for that matter, can match both the boxoffice success and the fandom the Khan triumvirate have built over the years, the three kings look set to rule the roost till kingdom come. h


superstars


shah rukh khan RANI MUKERJI on

film that he does. I have felt it. In fact, I firmly believe that I have a private romance going on with SRK. When he is with you, he is with you completely. Shah Rukh Khan is truly the badshah of love and romance. He can make your mother, your daughter and you feel he is in love with each one at the same time. His affection and heartfelt respect for women make him their Hero No. 1. He saw a song of Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat and recommended me to Karan (Johar). From Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, our relationship goes back 15 years. And I will continue to be with him and romance him as long as I can. Among our films together, Chalte Chalte, Paheli and Kabhi Alvida… remain my favourites though he outdid himself in Chak De! India and Devdas.To most, I am still known as SRK’s heroine, and I love it that way!

RANI MUKERJI is an actress known for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Chalte Chalte, Black, Bunty Aur Babli, No One Killed Jessica and Talaash

SHORT TAKES + As a student of Delhi’s St Columba’s School, he won the Sword of Honour the award for the best outgoing student.

+ In Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, his son Aryan played him as a child. PHOTOS: AVINASH GOWARIKER

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here is something about Shah Rukh, truly! No one, I repeat, no one can match up to this man. I was this wideeyed 18-year-old when I first met Shah Rukh on the sets of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Of course I had seen him before, on screen obviously! Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Darr, Dil To Pagal Hai - I had seen them all. And suddenly, here I was, standing in front of him and being asked to romance him, no less. That was just the beginning. Over the years I have realised what makes him the biggest star of them all. His energy, focus, sincerity and the ability to laugh at himself, make Shah Rukh a tough act to follow. He is extremely shy but amazingly endearing and charming. He oozes so much warmth that you are sure to melt. Of course, Shah Rukh’s romance is mindblowing. No other man, no other hero can be as wonderful a friend, boyfriend, lover or husband. He genuinely loves a person – as a friend, partner, co-star or whatever – and that gets reflected on screen in every

+ In the famous Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge scene where SRK makes off with beer from Amrish Puri’s shop, the original script had him taking away condoms. This was changed to make Raj acceptable to Indian audiences.

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salman khan MADHURI DIXIT NENE on

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e’s a wholesome combination of a lot of attributes. Salman is very good looking, works very hard on his body and therefore, has that tough look. He’s also got this mischievous, endearing quality about him. Both off-screen and on it, Salman is very impish. Like a child, he will be laughing and joking, but the moment the shot starts, he transforms, and can deliver the most serious lines with ease. That’s how comfortable he is with acting. He can switch on or off in a heartbeat. While doing Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, he was fairly new, and though he always had the potential, he was not very sure about what exactly he was going to be, he hadn’t found his groove that he has found now. I saw him recently as Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg and Dabangg 2, and enjoyed his role. It’s tough to play a character with varying shades, but he does it beautifully, and in his own style. Chulbul Pandey is Salman Khan and Salman Khan is Chulbul Pandey. Also, he’s an interesting dancer, good at drama and action too, and that’s why his appeal cuts across age and class. He was as wonderful in Ready as he was in Wanted, Dabangg and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

One of the most popular actresses of Hindi cinema, MADHURI DIXIT NENE’S recent films are Dedh Ishqiya and Gulaab Gang

SHORT TAKES + Salman’s full name is Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan. + He wears a feroza (turquoise) stone bracelet on his right hand wrist. Reports say he has been wearing it for the last 15 years, about the same time he has been taking Revital capsules (as per the ads)!

+ In Sanam Bewafa, Salman Khan played a character called Salman Khan. + He was born in Indore (where his parents are from) and his maternal grandfather was a police officer Baldev Singh, who inspired the Thakur’s character in Sholay.

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PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: CINE BLITZ MAGAZINE; STYLING: PUNEET SINGH

SHORT TAKES + Aamir Khan’s films are known for their innovative marketing. He went on an incognito Bharat Darshan to promote 3 Idiots. All employees of a multiplex chain shaved off their heads just before the release of Ghajini.

+ Aamir was married even before Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT) released and established him as the teenage heartthrob. His then wife Reena can be seen fleetingly in the Papa kehte hain song.

+ Aamir has been a college student right from QSQT (“Aaj college ka aakhri din hai…”) to Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (where he went back to school) to Rang De Basanti (where he was a drifter around Delhi University) to 3 Idiots (where he played an engineering student at the age of 44). + In Raakh (which released just after QSQT), Aamir’s character was called Aamir Hussain – which is actually his real name and the only time Aamir has been called Aamir on screen.

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aamir khan JOHN MATHEW MATTHAN on

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veryone’s function in a film (writer, actor, music director etc) is to facilitate the director in making what he/she has set out to make. But one of the few people who goes by that and is totally supportive is Aamir Khan. That’s his biggest strength. I was making ad films before I started work on Sarfarosh, and there were some areas such as choreography and action that I wasn’t familiar with. I wanted the action to be very realistic, I had a certain kind of vision, but most action masters have a particular style. However, Aamir stood by me. Not too many stars do that. Most stars would grab certain dialogues from character actors in scenes, but not him. There’s a scene in Sarfarosh in which Aamir goes to the police station, and the thanedar has to push him out of the station. The actor, who was an artist from Delhi, was hesitant to do so. Aamir went up to him and told him, ‘Don’t worry about pushing me. You do what you have to, and I will take the fall’. He made the actor comfortable, and because he intervened, he helped the actor perform well to make the scene look real. He’s also the only star who plays characters. Most stars play themselves, but when Aamir plays Bhuvan in Lagaan, he’s Bhuvan, when he plays Ranchhoddas in 3 Idiots, he’s Rancho, and when he played ACP Rathod in Sarfarosh, he was him, and not Aamir, the star. This trait of his distinguishes him from the other stars (who give only one dimension to the characters), and puts him in the league of Hollywood star-actors like Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. JOHN MATHEW MATTHAN was an ad filmmaker before he turned to Hindi movies. He is best known for his films Sarfarosh and Shikhar

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Why We Need Historicals

The future of the Hindi film perhaps lies in India’s past Rachel DwyeR

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Some of Hindi cinema’s greatest films are historicals, Mughal-E-Azam being the best example, but when ‘Bollywood’ emerged in the 1990s, films seemed to look to the future, not to the past. However, the early 2000s saw several big-budget historical films in mainstream Hindi cinema, notably Aamir Khan’s Lagaan.

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mong the successful historical films made in the last decade or so are costume dramas (about fictional characters but set in the past), including Barfi!, Black, Devdas, Lagaan, Parineeta; the Partition films, including Pinjar and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha; while the biopic (biographical film) has seen major developments. The form of the Hindi film makes it difficult to present national figures such as Asoka, Nehru or Gandhi, as they are clearly unsuited to the spectacle and song. These figures have featured in other forms of Hindi films, notably the more realist types such as those made by Shyam Benegal (The Making of the Mahatma, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero) or Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen. A tradition of not speaking critically of the dead means there has even been some reluctance to engage with other, less saintly, public figures, so the biopic genre, whose commercial popularity is matched by its high success rate at the Oscars, has meant that this genre has not been seen frequently in Hindi cinema. So why has the historical film seen this recent revival? India, which has seen some of the greatest social changes in its history during this period, is seeking to understand its present and its future by considering its past. Cinema is not interested in the official view of history but another kind of history, a popular view of the past, sometimes called ‘bazaar history’, whose stories and images derive from epics, poems, theatre, folktales and are closely linked to the urban theatre that emerged in the 19th century. This history is the way the public often knows most about the past, learning about history through the cinema’s use of images, words, music and imagination. Bollywood’s history of India, like that of other cinemas’

histories, often reveals as much about the time in which they were made as about history itself. For historical films are not only about the time in which they are set, but also about contemporary sensibilities and present understandings of the world, and so a link to the past. For example, Jodhaa Akbar shows how Hindu and Muslim traditions can co-exist in a form of composite culture and how adjustments can be made on both sides. The recent growth in the biopic film, augmented by reports of further films being developed, says much about changing India. The new heroes and heroines are a different kind of person, often the idols of India’s new middle classes rather than elite or royal characters. Guru, although it did not name the connection, is held to be the story of Dhirubhai Ambani, whose many business successes included the creation of a new share-holding public. Other films have shown figures from the entertainment industry such as Silk Smitha, seen in The Dirty Picture, or sportspeople (Paan Singh Tomar, Milkha Singh), or gangsters, in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai. It would not be surprising if we see many more of these biopics featuring other fascinating figures: my personal choices would include Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and Maqbool Fida Husain. Hindi cinema makes few period or heritage films that draw on literary fiction. This genre has been hugely popular in most other cinemas worldwide - British cinema has found global audiences with literary adaptations, whether classic novels by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare’s plays. Although filmmakers from other Indian traditions, notably Satyajit Ray, have mined this rich source, the potential of adaptation in mainstream cinema is immense and well worth the money the filmmakers pay for the rights. Films like Lagaan, Jodhaa Akbar, Devdas and Zubeida are some of the most acclaimed Hindi movies of recent years which raise the bar for making historical movies. There is every chance that historicals, whether epics, biopics or heritage films, may be made which are of the calibre of these films. Bollywood and realist Hindi cinema has made some successful period films and now even the more offbeat cinema is experimenting with different time periods, notably Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, which covers several decades of the 20th century. Historical films can draw on such a wealth of sources in India that the possibilities are infinite. It may be that the future of Hindi film lies in India’s past. h


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classic beauties aishwarya rai bachchan PRAHLAD KAKKAR on

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ong back, I told Aishwarya’s mother, ‘If she gets into the movies, she will become bigger than Madhubala’ and she has. Aishwarya is even more beautiful in real life than she looks on camera. The only person who has been able to do a bit of justice to her beauty is director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Her physical presence is so captivating that the moment she walks into a room, there is stunned silence. She is a classic beauty according to the three factors considered to pass someone off as one: she has a heartshaped face, the torso to legs ratio is perfect (only Katrina Kaif has a better ratio than her) and she has an aquiline nose. That’s why Aishwarya’s appeal is universal, it transcends decades (she would have been considered a beauty even in the 1940s), as well as geographical borders. She looked like a gorgeous Indian in Devdas, and she looked like a Greek goddess in Dhoom 2. Aishwarya’s greengrey eyes are so mesmerising, you stare at them for more than a minute and you’ll drown in them. And she is a director’s actress, she is as good or bad as her director. And again, it’s only Sanjay Leela Bhansali who has managed to extract good performances from her. I loved her in Devdas in which she danced like a dream and she looked stunning in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Aishwarya hails from a middle-class family, and she is not used to all the

adulation that is showered on her, so often she feels shy and starts to giggle (which is taken as her being a dimwit). But she’s extremely clever and hardworking, has no nakhras, and is highly secretive. She was always very serious about studies and was a good student in school and college. Aishwarya is only comfortable with certain people, and they can convince her to do anything. Her mother is her best friend and confidante. And I am the most consistent person in her life, who will always stand by her, even if she is wrong. The first time I saw Aishwarya was when she came to be cast in the Pepsi ad. She was a typical college kid – with her wild mane, scruffy clothes and chappals. I was initially apprehensive about her because in India people were superstitious about green eyes (green eyes represented cats and only vamps and dancers had green eyes in our movies). But I still tried her in a Prudent Mouthwash advertisement. When Aishwarya came out of the make-up room, she had transformed into a stunner; we collectively never recovered from that. And then we cast her in the Pepsi commercial. For a month, I kept getting calls from filmmakers, ad guys as well as Romeos, to ask who she was. And the rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

SHORT TAKES + Aishwarya Rai was a supermodel when she participated in the 1994 Miss India contest. In fact, she shot her first ad when she was in Class 10. It was for Camlin Pencils.

+ She won nationwide fame when she played ‘Sanju’ in a Pepsi ad with Aamir Khan. Because of the Mumbai riots of 199293, the ad was shot in one night. (The other girl in the ad was Mahima Chaudhry.)

+ Aishwarya had a dream debut as she acted in a Mani Ratnam film, Iruvar, and played a double role. + Aishwarya has played sister to two of Bollywood’s biggest stars. She was Shah Rukh’s twin sister in Josh, and the sister of her real-life father-in-law in Hum Kisise Kum Nahin.

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inema is a very visual medium, and Madhuri has a beautiful face. She possesses all the three qualities people look for in an actress: a lovely smile, face and a wonderful voice. To add to that, she is a very good performer. She is also a spectacular dancer. That’s everything in one package. And to top it all, Madhuri has been extremely lucky. Some people who have everything, end up with bad movies, and slowly start to lose confidence and eventually fail. Madhuri got just the right amount of failure. Her first few movies didn’t do well, until Tezaab catapulted her to instant fame. The initial struggle fires the drive in an actor, who says ‘I want to prove myself to the world’. And after she got the right film, the sky was the limit. A very big reason for her success has been her family. Her parents and siblings have been very supportive. She always had emotional security, care and love from her family. She is the youngest, and was loved and pampered by everyone. There was always goodness in her life, an essential ingredient for a

person to become successful. We have done many films together, including Tezaab, Parinda, Hifazat and Beta. I was convinced about her talent and beauty. I really liked her work in Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! Tezaab is still my favourite and Beta, too. I am waiting to see Madhuri in Dedh Ishqiya. Simply because good actors are very competitive. Give them a mediocre cast and they will be lazy. Pitch them opposite talent and they will compete to perform. She will give her best since Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi are there in the film. Apart from her movies, Madhuri is Madhuri because of the songs in her movies. Even if her work in a particular movie was nothing to talk about, her songs – Choli ke peechay, Humko aaj kal hai intezar or even Dola re dola – have an eternal quality to them. ANIL KAPOOR is an actor. Apart from Hindi films, he has worked in international projects like Slumdog Millionaire and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. He starred in the international TV show 24, which is being re-made in Hindi

SHORT TAKES + Madhuri Dixit debuted in a film called Abodh,

+ Artist MF Husain fell in love with her after

in which her hero was Bengali star Tapas Pal.

seeing her in Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (he saw it 73 times) and made Gaja Gamini as a tribute.

+ Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (starring Antara Mali) is probably the only Hindi movie which uses a star’s name in the title only as a tribute and not because the star is in it.

+ Madhuri’s film Gulab Gang is inspired by a real-life lady (Sampat Pal) who fought for the rights of women in Bundelkhand, Central India.

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PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; MAKEUP ARTIST: MICKEY CONTRACTOR

ANIL KAPOOR on


The Good Indian Woman

Under all that glamour, heroines in Hindi films need to have a desi dil NiraNjaN iyeNgar

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Cinema reflects society. Hence what doesn’t change in society doesn’t change in the movies. Just the way the platitudes about the liberation of the Indian woman don’t reflect in the ground reality of our society, what doesn’t seem to have changed on the Indian screen is the persona of a heroine.

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he lines were clearly drawn from the time storytelling was black and white (both metaphorically as well as literally)! The long-haired, sari-clad woman was the heroine you took home to mom while the short-haired, westernised femme fatale was a vamp whose curves you appreciated but morals you turned up your nose at! With time the texture of female characters evolved to give the leading lady her token sense of ‘freedom’! Even today, Deepika Padukone’s cool Veronica in Cocktail may have the makings of this so-called modern woman – independent, bohemian, sexually liberated, forthright and fascinatingly pretty – but just when you are about to appreciate her free spirit, she turns longingly to the hero’s mother for approval… Heartbroken, when her boyfriend chooses the more ‘Indian’ girl over her, she is even ready to forego her personality to attain love! That’s the kind of girl the Indian man loves! “I love Kareena, man... If only I get a girl like her!” In a country obsessed with its film stars more than its films, the above line (or versions of it), can be heard almost everywhere from a college canteen to a water cooler in a corporate office. Despite the increasing awareness among viewers that what’s onscreen is manipulated reality, a lot of them still confuse the roles played by the leading ladies for their real persona. One would think the onslaught of television interviews, newspapers articles and the paparazzi would help them distinguish the difference between the real life and reel life persona of a heroine. But the carefully strategised PR machinery that propagates cultivated images has to do with this subculture where the average man falls in love with the image of a leading lady based on the sum total of the roles she has portrayed on screen. And this is not new! The adorable Juhi Chawla realised early

on that her strength was the innocence she exuded on screen. From Qayamat se Qayamat Tak to Hum Hain Raahi Pyaar Ke to Yes Boss, every character she chose, underlined her inherently ‘good girl’ or the ‘vulnerable’ image. Madhuri Dixit may have ‘dhak dhak’ed her way into everyone’s hearts but she reached such dizzying heights that she became unattainable. She was forgiven for being raunchy and rubbing her sensuality in the audience’s faces because she was never an option to be taken home to mom… Preity Zinta may give scores of interviews about her designer outfits and bohemian viewpoints but the landmark films of her career project her as a cute and lovable, dimpled girl next door. She could very well be the Meg Ryan of Indian cinema. Whether a pregnant teenager in Kya Kehna or the cynical Naina waiting to be pulled out of her own shell in Kal Ho Naa Ho or a wife fighting for her marriage in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, at the core she was always a girl who valued family above all else. From Nargis in Raat Aur Din to Hema Malini in Seeta Aur Geeta to Karisma Kapoor in Hero No. 1 – they were all allowed their tomboyish moments dancing on the streets drunk but at crucial emotional junctures they had to turn into ‘Indian’ women who wore salwar suits and stood in unconditional support of their respective men. Even a defining film of the ’90s like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge has Kajol as the feisty Simran, getting drunk and causing a ruckus for Raj in Europe (note to self – good Indian girls go wild in Europe very often) but when it came to the brass tacks she was the traditional girl who begged her father for a month ‘to live her life’ and even agreed to an arranged marriage before letting her Raj come and rescue her from what could’ve been a life without love. Even Jab We Met, clearly the most impactful love story in recent times, had its leading lady Geet, happy to run away with her Anshuman, only after adequately stressing that they would have to come back and apologise to the elders of the family and take their ‘aashirwaad’. Katrina Kaif’s sexual energy may drive the entire nation crazy but she knows that if she needs to move upwards and reach the heart of the Indian male viewer she needs a sari-clad character in Rajneeti. After all Mummyji will never approve of a ‘firangan’… Will she? Moral of the story? For a woman to be truly liberated on the Indian screen, it’s the Mummyji who has to change… Till then a successful Hindi film heroine will always be a girl who needs to have a desi dil under her Dolce Gabbana top! h


sweethearts KUNAL KOHLI on

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ilmmakers are not really star struck. But I can officially confess that I am a fan of Kajol. So, obviously, I was on a high when she agreed to do Fanaa with me. When the film got over, I realised I had become an even bigger fan of hers. Working with her was no less than an experience. I remember how a number of times when she would be doing a scene, I would forget to say ‘Cut!,’ I was so mesmerised by the sheer power of her performance. Every era, I feel, has had some hallmark actresses. The ’60s belonged to Nutan and Nargis, the ’70s had Hema and Sharmila. The ’80s saw Sridevi and Madhuri rule and the ’90s got Kajol. I can say with confidence that no other actress of today has that perfect mix of old-world charm and contemporary talent. The hallmark of a great actor is not when you deliver your dialogues perfectly or give a sterling performance. You are a great actor if you can steal a scene without dialogues. Kajol does that. KUNAL KOHLI is a filmmaker. He has directed, among other films, Hum Tum, Fanaa and Thoda Pyaar, Thoda Magic

SHORT TAKES + Kajol is a fourth generation actress with

COURTESY: OLAY TOTAL EFFECTS BELIEVER

her mother Tanuja, grandmother Shobhana Samarth and great-grandmother Rattan Bai all having acted in films.

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+ On her father’s side, she is a third generation producer, as dad Shomu Mukherjee and grandfather Sasadhar Mukherjee were owners of Filmalaya studio.

+ Kajol is first cousin to actor Mohnish Behl (who is Nutan’s son, Nutan being Tanuja’s sister) from her mother’s side and to Rani Mukerji (who is Ram Mukherjee’s daughter, Ram being Shomu’s brother).

+ Kajol is great friends with Karan Johar. If she is not in the lead role of a KJo movie, she appears in fleeting appearances – as a lucky mascot.

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ranimukerji SHAAD ALI on

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he first time I met Rani to ask her to audition for Dil Se.., I lied to her. I told her I had seen her films. Actually I had seen none. And she caught me. That was the beginning of our friendship. Rani has always been a sweetheart, in reel and real life. She is a non-stop chatterbox and full-on entertainer. Whenever Rani calls, I take the call only when I know we have nothing less than an hour to chat! Dil Se.. didn’t happen and neither did another film that I intended to make with her. It was only when I got Saathiya that I got a chance to work with her. And then we made Bunty Aur Babli. You don’t get actresses of such calibre easily. I don’t think there is anyone who could have carried off the chutzpah of Babli and the trauma of Michelle (Rani’s character in Black) with the same élan. No one has such bandwidth. Rani’s sensitivity, conventional and middle class upbringing, all find a reflection on celluloid. She is real and believable. You want to smile and cry with her. And that is what makes her a class act. SHAAD ALI is a film director best known for Bunty Aur Babli and Saathiya

SHORT TAKES + For her role as a deaf-mute-blind girl in Black (loosely based on Helen Keller’s life and dedicated to her), Rani learnt sign language for seven months at Mumbai’s Helen Keller Institute.

+ In No One Killed Jessica, she played the role of Meera, a feisty journalist, said to be based on a prominent Delhi TV journalist.

+ To mark the 10th anniversary of her first hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, an animated version of the movie was made starring dogs in the three lead roles. It was called Koochie Koochie Hota Hai and Rani did the voice-over for her original character, Tina.

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reity lights up the screen. And that’s the quality she is known for. She’s very bubbly, effervescent and lively in real life too. And she’s great to work with. I have done many long projects with her after Salaam Namaste, and she has always been a happy person. She’s a girl with a strong character, and if she believes in something, she will stick to it and stand by it. This is the side of her that came out very strongly in the movie Sangharsh. Preity has a good fashion sense, she works hard on her looks, and likes experimenting with her clothes and hair. Sometimes, like in Armaan (she had fringes), it goes wrong, but sometimes, like in Dil Chahta Hai (long, wavy hair) it can become a trend. Even the journalist character that she played in Farhan Akhtar’s Lakshya was gutsy, though some liked it, and some didn’t. At least, she experiments! SURILY GOEL is a fashion designer, who also works on films

SHORT TAKES + Preity Zinta is a post-graduate in criminal psychology who strayed into modelling when she met an ad filmmaker at a friend’s birthday party.

+ Her first role was that of a Malayali

PHOTO: RAKESH SHRESTHA

girl in Delhi in Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se... She had raised quite a few eyebrows when she asked Shah Rukh Khan in the film, “Are you a virgin?”

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+ In her first two films (Dil Se.. and Soldier), her name was Preeti. For her third film (Sangharsh), she dropped the first and last letters to become Reet. She was a CBI officer in the film, loosely based on Silence Of The Lambs.

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arisma coming back into the industry was natural. She’s a Kapoor and then, during her first innings in the industry, she was loved by audiences as well as filmmakers. It was just a matter of time before she came back to films. I choreographed her for the first time in Dil To Pagal Hai. Till then, she had done a lot of film dances, and she was good at them. But my dance style was different. It was neither Bollywood, nor Hollywood, but very contemporary and it was tough. It was new for even Madhuri Dixit, but both picked it up very quickly. Karisma is a very strong person, and extremely graceful. She’s full of fire. She’s a spontaneous actress, works extremely hard and is very dedicated, yet she comes across as a natural. SHIAMAK DAVAR is a well-known choreographer 60

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SHORT TAKES + All members of the Kapoor family have a screen name or a silly nickname. Shamsher Raj is Shammi. Balbir Raj is Shashi. Randhir is Dabboo. Rishi is Chintoo. Kareena is Bebo. And Karisma is Lolo.

+ In the movie Khuddar, Karisma performed a song initially called Sexy sexy sexy mujhe log bole (in which she also asked a guy to ‘F.O.’). The Censor Board insisted that ‘Sexy’ be changed to ‘Baby’ (and the ‘F.O.’ to ‘N.O.’).

+ Karisma acted in a TV serial Karishma: A Miracle of Destiny where she played a double role of grandmother and granddaughter. The serial ran into trouble when author Barbara Taylor Bradford sued the makers, claiming it to be based on her novel (A Woman of Substance). Her petition was rejected by the Supreme Court.

PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: HI! BLITZ MAGAZINE

SHIAMAK DAVAR on


The 200-Crore Club Is Here

Business has gone up and films have got bigger. So this is hardly a surprise Komal Nahta

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In the good old days, the success of a film used to be gauged by the number of weeks it ran for at the box-office, but today, it is counted by the crores it manages to collect. Silver and golden jubilees are outdated concepts today because films don’t run for 25 or 50 weeks in cinemas any longer.

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lthough a film’s success depends on its profitability which, in turn, depends on its cost on the one hand and its revenues on the other, the media has often ignored the cost factor and concentrated only on revenues. Broadly, films which net `100 crore and more at the Indian box-office alone are termed hits by quick-fix mediapersons who, sometimes, may be unaware of the cost. On net revenues, the media would consider Barfi! with its `110 crore all-India collection, to be a smaller hit than Ra. One which netted `115 crore. But when you consider the fact that the Ranbir starrer was made at a third of the cost of the Shah Rukh starrer, you will understand the foolhardiness of giving all the importance to collections without considering cost. However, that is how it is and that is why the 100-crore club has become the most desirable club for every Bollywood hero today. But with everescalating film budgets and growing box-office returns, are we now heading towards the 200-crore club? Actually, the 200-crore club already exists but it has just one member: Aamir Khan. Aamir also launched the elite 100-crore club in 2008 when Ghajini became the first Bollywood film to net more than `100 crore. He founded the even more elitist 200-crore club the next year when his 3 Idiots netted `202 crore. Salman Khan almost made it to the 200-crore club last year when his Ek Tha Tiger fell short of the 200-crore mark by just a few lakh rupees! After 3 Idiots and Ek Tha Tiger, the next three highest-netting films are all Salman starrers – Dabangg 2 with an all-India total of `152 crore, Bodyguard (`147 crore) and Dabangg (`142 crore). Akshay Kumar (Rowdy Rathore – `132 crore; Housefull 2 – `115 crore) is still far away from the super-elitist club. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s Don 2, Ra. One and Jab Tak Hai Jaan managed net collections of less than `125 crore each. Ajay Devgn too, has three 100-crore films to his credit – Bol Bachchan, Singham and Golmaal 3 – but unlike the three Khans, his films don’t command bumper openings. Hrithik Roshan

made a grand entry into the 100-crore club with his Agneepath, netting `122 crore last year. The youngest and newest member, of course, is Ranbir Kapoor whose Barfi! gained him entry into the club. Only one of the three Khans could deliver a 200-crore film. Why? To begin with, they are the stars who’ve already delivered 100crore films. Secondly, these are the actors whose films open to bumper houses. A grand initial is very important for a film to reach the 100-crore or 200-crore mark because the entire business today is about the first weekend or at the most, the first two weeks. A star who cannot amass `100 crore in the first week seems an unlikely candidate to make it to the 200-crore club. That’s what we call charisma, that magnetic pull to attract the audience to the theatres and then hold their attention with engaging, entertaining and strong content – these are of utmost importance for an actor to gain entry into the `200-crore club. In the present scenario, Salman, Aamir, Shah Rukh and Hrithik seem to be the four stars who can give the industry its next 200-crore film. Aamir Khan has already done it in 3 Idiots. Since his only release this year would be Dhoom:3, the possibility that he repeats the feat seems likely. Aamir’s next release after Dhoom:3 will be Rajkumar Hirani’s Peekay in early 2014. When Hirani’s 3 Idiots could collect `202 crore way back in 2009, expecting Peekay to cross that figure would be only natural. Nowadays, Salman Khan spells magic at the box-office. To say that his Mental, which will perhaps come in October this year, could surpass his highest grosser so far would be a rational assumption rather than a ‘mental’ one. Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express would chug into the cinemas on 8th August as an Eid offering. What also makes Shah Rukh a hot favourite for the membership of the 200-crore club is the fact that Chennai Express is directed by Rohit Shetty, the only director with more than one 100-crore film to his credit. In fact, three of the fifteen 100-crore films are Shetty’s creations. The only other film which is likely to touch the 200-crore figure in 2013 is Hrithik Roshan’s Krrish 3. Reports suggest Rakesh Roshan has excelled himself in the sequel. Brand Krrish is itself huge and since the Roshan father-son duo is coming together (as directoractor) after seven years, the film is likely to shake the box-office. The film business is speculative. One of the several other big films being made could also end up collecting `200 crore or more. It could be Ranbir Kapoor’s Besharam. It could even be Akshay Kumar’s Boss. Or it could be… Let’s wait for the drama to unfold. Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost..! h


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PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: PEOPLE MAGAZINE


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hen I started working with Akshay on Tashan, he was a discovery. He got the soul of the film and the character. He’s truly a professional and a delight to work with. He’s ready to shoot with you when you want him to, looks fabulous and is super fit. A film writer can write anything but the actors have to make it possible. Akshay is able to grasp and then translate the complexity of roles with incredible ease. He understands and depicts the intellectual details of a character very well on celluloid. He’s a big star, but he doesn’t get noticed much for his acting. Of course, people come to theatres to watch him, that’s his star appeal, but when they watch the film, they watch, enjoy and appreciate Akshay’s character, not him as a star. That’s the appeal of staractors like Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan as well. He is an actor but he’ll go with what you (the director) have to offer. He needs good material. Akshay is very good with comedy, and I strongly agree he needs more recognition for his acting, and needs more varied roles. But I like him best when he’s doing drama, that’s what I would like to see him do more of. He’s very watchable, he innovates and brings the character alive. He’s like Salman (who’s the epitome of mass appeal) in his popularity among the masses.

The audiences love him because they feel they sort of know him, ‘apna banda hai’. He’s a star with whom the audiences have empathy. Otherwise, stars are unreal, and far removed from you. People worship them. But with him, it’s like, you watch him, you like him, he engages you and then you go along with him on the journey he wants to take you on. An actor is unveiled when you give him material that pushes him/her out of their comfort zone. Then you get something new. People also love Akshay because his honesty translates onto the screen. He’s been in the movies for 20 years now. He is smart, astute, sharp and movie-technique savvy. When you set the camera, he knows what it will do. He was a revelation in Hera Pheri. In Tashan, he worked very well as he got the character bang on: raw and ruffianly on the surface, but with a soft, child-like and vulnerable side. He brought out that contradiction without any complication and without intellectualising it. I liked him in OMG: Oh My God. He’s also very good with action. That way, he’s the classic Hindi film hero – good at comedy, action and drama. That’s rare. VIJAY KRISHNA ACHARYA is a dialogue, screenplay and story writer, lyricist and a film

big guns

akshay kumar VIJAY KRISHNA ACHARYA on

SHORT TAKES + Akshay Kumar has acted in as many as eight Khiladi franchise films – Khiladi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Mr & Mrs Khiladi, International Khiladi, Khiladi 420 and most recently Khiladi 786.

+ This series of films and his playboy image earned him the nickname of Khiladi Kumar. He also appeared as a star of a film called Return of Khiladi for his guest appearance in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om.

+ Akshay Kumar’s real name is Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia. He grew up in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk locality before moving to Bangkok as a waiter and chef (much like the character he played in Chandni Chowk To China).

director, known for Tashan. He’s the director of Dhoom 3 SUMMER 2013 I BRUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION I

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SHORT TAKES + Hrithik Roshan was an assistant director on his father’s films like Karobaar, King Uncle, Karan Arjun and Koyla. Shah Rukh Khan saw him on the sets of Koyla and advised him to act in films.

+ Before his launch in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Hrithik had already appeared in several films as a child actor - usually directed by his father or maternal grandfather (J Omprakash). + He met his wife Sussanne exactly like the scene from Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai, where they were both waiting at the traffic signal and turned to look at each other.

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hrithik roshan RISHI KAPOOR on

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PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: CINE BLITZ MAGAZINE; STYLING: PUNEET SINGH

uggu is like a son to me. But now he’s a star, so I call him Hrithik and not by his pet name. He happens to be the son of dear friends of mine, and Ranbir and Duggu have kind of grown up together. When I was shooting for Raju Chacha, his debut film, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, was declared a super-hit. I sent him flowers with a note: ‘Beta. apne khandaan ka naam ROSHAN karna’. And when I met him, I saw he had truly become a star. His body language had changed and his aura was very confident. Still, he was and is very humble, very loving, very level-headed and respectful: all the qualities that have been inculcated in him by his parents. After his debut, Hrithik had the usual ups and downs in his career. But my respect for him increased when I saw Koi … Mil Gaya. Such a young actor playing a disabled person with such dedication! He’s found his roots as an actor. In Krrish, he was good as a superhero, though he didn’t have much to do by way of histrionics. And I liked him in Agneepath, his performance was underplayed and restrained, and it’s a tough task matching up to Amitabh Bachchan's legacy. He was always very conscious of his body and looks, and he does look like a Greek god. He is committed to his work and doesn’t take too much on his plate. He can set a good example to the youngsters entering the industry. Actor RISHI KAPOOR was once the romance king of Hindi movies. He is now playing a range of characters in his second innings in the film industry

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ajay devgn ROHIT SHETTY on

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jay is extremely versatile. He can do a Golmaal, Singham, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and even a U Me Aur Hum. And he doesn’t make a hue and cry about it. It’s a given. He’s become such a dependable actor that everyone knows he can do all kinds of roles – intense, action-packed, comic or even romantic. People throng the theatres to watch him. They feel a sense of familiarity, not just because of the roles he plays (like a corruption-fighting cop in Gangaajal), but also because he has been around for 20 years. He’s extremely sincere and works hard on his roles. For Singham, where he bared his body for the first time, he worked very hard on himself for six months. But all said and done, he’s a great actor. He plays the roles just right - not overtly melodramatic, and not too subtle, just right to evoke the right emotions in the audience. I’ve liked his performances in all his movies. But I loved him in Zakhm, for which he also got a National Award. I am keen to see Ajay Devgn take on more and more interesting work. ROHIT SHETTY is a director. He’s made hit films like the Golmaal comedy series and action film Singham

SHORT TAKES + His real name is Vishal. His old friends still call him VD.

+ In Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, he played a conman who stole a credit card to cover his expenses. The name on the card was Kumar Mangat, his then-secretary and executive producer of his productions. + He appeared on screen in his debut film, Phool Aur Kaante, standing on two moving bikes.

+ Like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn also avoids film awards ceremonies and has never been seen at one.

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PHOTO: JITU SAVLANI; MAKEUP : HARISH WADHONE; HAIR : JAIPAL FOR HAKIM’S AALIM


No More Stereotypes Please

The right of women to be ‘wrong’ has to be asserted in storytelling Sudhir MiShra

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There is a change brewing in the Bollywood cauldron. Audiences are willing to accept a new portrayal of a woman’s character, that of a woman who asserts her sexuality.

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he first time I noticed it was in Vijay Anand’s Guide where Rosie, the character played by Waheeda Rehman, frankly asserts her sexuality and goes on to reject her lover and thus declares her individuality. In my own films, even before Inkaar, which dealt with sexual harassment at the workplace, the character of Geeta Rao in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi played by Chitrangada, loved one person, was friends with another, married another and drifted away to come back to her first love. In an earlier time, a portrayal like that would have been labelled as slutty. But that is how real women are. And the audience agreed with the portrayal. The Dirty Picture’s protagonist used her sexuality to rise in a world she was discriminated against. In the end her desire destroys her. This was a morality tale and the protagonist played by Vidya Balan ends up badly. For Geeta Rao in Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, this was not a problem. Earlier, to reinforce the patriarchal value system, women characters were simplistically slotted into two stereotypes. The so-called ‘vamp’, who smokes, drinks and follows her heart, ends up badly. This was opposed to the traditional pativrata kind who adhered to tradition and ended up with the leading man. The victory was ultimately hers. That kind of stereotypical portrayal is still not over. The track of ‘good’ girls gone ‘bad’ ultimately returning to being ‘good’ is still played out by some filmmakers. Men will not give up their power so easily. But the right of women to be ‘wrong’ has to be asserted strongly in society and in storytelling. The idea of a man taking care of a woman has to disappear. It is like the idea of a man’s broken heart which appears so often in bad poetry. The man falls in love with a woman who doesn’t reciprocate and moves away and the blame is on her for breaking his heart. As far as my films are concerned, I began noticing that audiences were accepting this change in Chameli. In a way, Chameli asserted the right of the prostitute to say no. Just because she is a sex worker, doesn’t mean she cannot say no. Filmmakers such as Vijay Anand dared to depict women who celebrated their individuality. The films of Shyam Benegal, whether it

was Mandi, a satire on politics and prostitution and before that Ankur and Nishant, were trailblazers of the trend. Some of my movies, such as Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi carried the sensibility forward and now filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap take it for granted in their films. Boys from the hinterland such as Anurag are gaining the confidence to tell their own stories. When you tell genuine stories, the genie is out of the bottle. Women everywhere today like to assert their individuality. When rebellion happens, suppression accompanies it. Men are losing their grip over women even in the hinterland and therefore, you might see a rise in violence against women. Women are revolting inside their homes and against their families. They don’t want to be cast into slots and therefore, are rejecting stereotypes. The women of 2013 won’t buy into these corny portrayals anymore. Therefore, a time will come when mainstream cinema will have to reflect this. Why do my films revolve around strong women characters? Well, they have been inspired by real life. Long ago, when my grandfather left my grandmother, she brought up her five sons on her own. My idea of strong women goes back to there. The women in my life, people like the late Renu Saluja, have always been totally independent and not in my control. With the arrival of women filmmakers on the scene, there is talk of the female gaze. I think that is nice as long as it doesn’t simply go into the exaggerated six-pack. I hope women don’t do to men what men did to them. I think a woman director’s gaze is likely to be different. Just look at Zoya Akhtar’s portrayal of Hrithik Roshan. I guess women directors are more interested in looking at their souls rather than their bodies. For a long time, there was an objectification of sorts indulged in by certain filmmakers. An audience going to watch a film where the camera lingers on a woman’s body is like people going to a bad mujra in earlier times. Generally, Bollywood reflected and corroborated the male patriarchal view that all women other than their mothers, sisters and wives were sluts. That the man had the right to stray and come back to a home: to be fed, nurtured as well as titillated. Talking about titillation, although my movies don’t have item numbers, certain ‘item numbers’ are actually good. For example Beedi jalai le celebrated the idea of a sensual, independent woman. What is more regressive is reinforcing the stereotype of women as homemakers, the ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ women and locking them up to keep them from going astray. Bollywood is finally dealing with real women as they are. As filmmakers, we are coming to grips with the fact that there are many more women out there who are as capable of betrayal as men are. h


priyanka chopra ANURAG BASU on


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have always believed that if you are a good human being, you can be a great actor. I can say with a lot of confidence that Priyanka Chopra is a great human being and thereby a brilliant actress. I have always found her acting very fascinating but I was never fully sure that she could play Jhilmil in my film Barfi! And the first time I met her to read the script to her, she sat, in fitted jeans and T-shirt, very glamorous, and I was sure that she would not be able to play the role. Three days later, I ate my words. Priyanka did everything possible to get into the character in those three days. She met autistic children, studied them, did workshops and made every effort to feel the character and get it right. Such is her dedication. A wonderfully versatile actress, Priyanka is a director’s delight. She is ready to be moulded and modified completely. A hardcore, glamorous, mainstream actress, she is not scared to go all the way in the opposite direction. Brave, gutsy, driven, focused, multitasking, hardworking and very accessible are all her second names. Completely secure of her talent, give Priyanka a character and see her run with it! ANURAG BASU is a film director best known for movies like Barfi! and Life in a... Metro

SHORT TAKES + She was part of the second Indian ‘double’ at the global beauty pageants. After Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai became Miss Universe and Miss World in 1994, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra did the same in 2000.

+ Her guest appearance in Taxi No. 9211 was credited as ‘Piggy Chops’ - a name given by Abhishek Bachchan during Bluffmaster. + In What’s Your Raashee, she played 12 roles – one for each sign of the zodiac – a world record for the most number of roles played by an actress in a single film.

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PHOTO: JATIN KAMPANI; COURTESY: HARPER’S BAZAAR; MAKE UP: SUBHASH VAGAL

glam divas


kareena kapoor khan MANISH MALHOTRA on

MANISH MALHOTRA is a fashion designer. He also does costume design for Hindi films

SHORT TAKES + Her name – Kareena – is derived from Anna Karenina, which her mother was reading while she was pregnant and was very impressed with the iconic heroine.

+ For her bikini appearance in Tashan she lost a lot of weight to become ‘size zero’. She later said, “I would rather be remembered for my body of work than my body”.

+ An unverified Internet forward claimed that she had attended the function for Saif Ali Khan’s first wedding to Amrita Singh as a 10-year old. When she had congratulated the groom, he had said, “Thank you, beta”.

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areena is naturally gifted, effortless and talented. She is a superb actress. I have known her since 1990, when she was all of nine years and I had just started my career as a costume designer with her sister Lolo (Karisma Kapoor). I have been her designer (I also did the entire wardrobe for her wedding), stylist and close friend. Kareena is like a top American actress – comfortable in her skin, yet so glamorous and so like a movie star. She is beautiful and spirited. A movie like Jab We Met captured this side of her beautifully, and she was appreciated by the audience as well. In films like Dev and Omkara, she was fantastic and subtle, showing a versatile side to herself. As a person, Kareena doesn’t take herself too seriously or pretend to be someone else. She is what she is. She has also been a trendsetter in health and fitness. From popularising her size-zero figure, to turning vegetarian and then propagating eating fish to be healthy, she has done it all. Kareena has carried off many of my creations on the red carpet beautifully. But she was born for the movies.


SHORT TAKES + She first used her mother’s surname: She was known as Katrina Turquotte. However, she switched to her father’s surname – Kaif – since it was Indian and easier to pronounce.

+ She performed a hit item number – Sheela ki jawaani – in Tees Maar Khan. Internet rumours suggested she was playing a Sindhi girl in the movie, Sheela Kijwani but this turned out to be false. (Her name in the movie was Anya Khan.)

KABIR KHAN on

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PHOTO: RAKESH SHRESTHA

had not seen much of her before we started working on New York. Adi (Aditya Chopra) introduced us. We both started on a note of apprehension. Katrina Kaif was already a star by then, a quintessential Bollywood heroine. And I was a filmmaker who was signing her for a film that was nothing like a Yash Raj production. It didn’t have sexy chiffons or ethereal romance. It had a strong heroine who was nothing like Katrina’s image. But a little thought and some convincing by Salman Khan and we had her on board. On my part, I was stumped by the way she took to the character. A strict, 100-day non-stop schedule isn’t easy, but she managed it with élan. Katrina is undoubtedly one of the top actresses of Hindi cinema. And not without reason. She is, in fact, the only actress who reads her scripts in Devnagari and not English. Not just her own, she also learns every one else’s dialogues, so as to not make any errors while filming. She looks great and is a wonderful actress. She is best when she isn’t playing the diva. Let her simply wash her face and turn to the camera and we’ll see lightning. KABIR KHAN is a filmmaker best known for directing Kabul Express, New York and Ek Tha Tiger SUMMER 2013 I BRUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION I

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anushka sharma PRASAD BIDAPA on

PRASAD BIDAPA is is a Bangalore-based fashion personality whose grooming programmes have created many stars

SHORT TAKES + Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone (along with other notables like Margaret Alva, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Nirupama Rao) have been students of Bangalore’s Mount Carmel College (though it is not clear if they completed their courses).

+ Like Deepika, Anushka also debuted opposite Shah Rukh Khan. And in each film, Shah Rukh appeared as two very different characters. (In Om Shanti Om, with Deepika, he had a double role, whereas in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, he played the same character in different getups.)

+ Anushka’s role of a vivacious wedding planner in Band Baaja Baaraat was a grown-up version of the daughter’s character in Do Dooni Chaar, according to the writer, Habib Faisal.

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first saw Anushka at 14, but even at that age she was a tall, leggy beauty. She needed very little grooming, unlike most models who have to be sent through a carwash first. Creamy skin, great deportment and a cascade of silky hair combined to create an awesome innocence and a beauty that was just so luminous. In her debut Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she essayed a half-child, half-woman character, who discovers love after a marriage of convenience. But the 2010 film Band Bajaa Baraat elevated her to diva status. Her decision to act opposite newcomer Ranveer Singh was seen as suicidal. But she made it count. In 2012, Anushka was again paired with Shah Rukh in Jab Tak Hai Jaan - in a role which firmly established her acting prowess. In Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, she burned up the screen with her high octane portrayal of a Haryanvi firebrand. In real life, Anushka is that firebrand. She has an epic temper, and is not one to be messed around with. In a fickle industry where heroines are interchangeable, Anushka is determined to leave a mark. She is the hero!


HOMI ADAJANIA on

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he plane door slid open and we shared a nervous laugh before sky-diving through 14,000 feet of Cape Town air onto its gorgeous coastline below. As I soiled my pants, I asked Deepika if she was scared. She looked at me with her mischievous grin and winked, “Of course I am, otherwise I wouldn’t do it!” This not just about the jump: this is how Deepika Padukone takes on life. She has a hunger to take fear head-on in whatever she endeavours, and for me, this is what sums up the star she is. Deepika is a joy to work with. She laughs from her belly, she’s unapologetic about her impressive appetite, and most of our actors would have serious body-image issues if they saw her in the gym. Deepika comes with no frills, can laugh at herself and is very disciplined. My experience working with her revealed an actress who is highly committed to her craft, relentless in her effort and ferociously driven. She is gorgeous to look at, and that is probably the least of her beautiful attributes. Despite the perks of stardom, Deepika is well aware of how fickle the terrain is. She is someone who values loyalty, balances the hardships with poise, and truly deserves to be the star she is.

PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; MAKEUP: MICKEY CONTRACTOR

HOMI ADAJANIA is a filmmaker best known for directing Cocktail and Being Cyrus

SHORT TAKES + She was born in Copenhagen, where her badminton champion father Prakash Padukone was training at that time.

+ After a relationship with Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika tattooed RK on the nape of her neck. After they broke up, she redesigned it to make it look like TMK. She was chosen “Tattoo Queen” by India’s first Tattoo Convention.

+ In the slapstick comedy Housefull, her name was a mouthful – Soundarya Bhagyalakshmi Venkateshwari Baassappa Rao. + After a lot of merry-go-round between actresses (including Vidya Balan, Asin and Katrina Kaif), Deepika was chosen to star opposite Rajinikanth in his movie, Kochadaiyan.

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Look Who’s Watching

Bollywood has finally discovered the female gaze. About time too! AnnA MM VetticAd

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A feminist’s grateful nod to John Abraham, Hrithik Roshan, Salman, Shah Rukh and the rest of their shirtless colleagues for acknowledging the female eye.

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t’s amazing how many sensible men are convinced that women don’t have hormones. Maybe this conviction arises from a fear of discovering that their mothers might sometimes be driven by unmentionable female body parts; and worse, that their mothers might, just might, have had sex to procreate. But the reason lies largely in another possibility: that few of these men source their information about women from women. What follows are blanket assumptions: that women are not sexual beings and therefore, that men could never be objects of heterosexual female longing. The truth is far from it, and for a change the Hindi film industry has made – and acknowledged – this discovery ahead of most of our society. Never before was Bollywood’s bow to the female gaze more evident than in Vicky Donor in 2012. Making a guest appearance in the song Rum Whiskey, actor-turned-producer John Abraham went beyond the by-nowcommon scenario of a leading male star going shirtless to reveal a fabulous body. There was John dancing when suddenly, for no apparent reason except that we were expecting him to oblige us, he stood still and two ladies stripped him topless. Other women hosed his bare torso, while he stretched out both arms as if to say: ladies, do as you please with me. Bless him! Up to the 1980s, female sexuality rarely found overt expression in mainstream Hindi cinema beyond the “cabaret girl”. Unlike the usually asexual or apologetically sexual heroine of those times, the cabaret girl wore skimpy clothes, danced raunchy dances and even had sex. The flipside was that she was always a supporting actress playing the male villain’s sidekick or making a one-dance appearance; and while she provided eye candy to male viewers, there was no male equivalent catering to a female audience. Though a sprinkling of heroes had taken off their shirts on screen in previous decades, Sanjay Dutt and Sunny Deol in the 1980s were among the earliest to be consistently body proud. It was their junior Salman Khan though who pioneered persistent shirtlessness. If the initial goal was admiration from male viewers, these heroes got an unexpected bonus as many Indian women – conditioned to be reticent about their appreciation of male good looks – began to air their hormones in public. The change was driven by economics. The number of women in the workforce had been rising; this meant more women

making their own film-viewing decisions instead of depending on fathers, boyfriends and husbands; it also meant more women confident enough to openly cheer at great-looking, bare-bodied heroes. And so by the turn of the century, when fitness-conscious leading ladies became the norm, leading men followed suit. Cabaret girls of the pre-1990s gave way to item girls and gradually, item boys. Though male viewers remain Bollywood’s priority, women are now less ignored. So why has the male gaze historically ruled global cinema? Simple. In a male-dominated society, it is assumed that a human being is a man unless specified otherwise. In a film world led by male producers and directors (all heterosexual or closet homosexual), it is similarly assumed that the audience is male and heterosexual unless specified otherwise. Films therefore have not presented men as objects of heterosexual female desire, the assumption being that women are not keen on such visuals since the creators of these films are not. Today’s Hindi film heroes seem to disagree. Cameras now embrace their every rippling muscle as lovingly as those lingering shots that were once devoted to the female body. The female gaze on heroes is even more pronounced in films by Bollywood’s handful of mainstream women directors. Remember, it took a Farah Khan to put the national spotlight on SRK’s abs in 2007’s Om Shanti Om. Sadly, the bodylicious hero’s success with women has not yet led Bollywood’s production majors to realise that there’s a vast female audience out there yearning for well-made womenthemed mass entertainers produced as lavishly as male-centric projects. For today though, let’s just see our glass as half full. For today, let’s bask in the pleasure that our modern-day male Helens give us. In fact, well-meaning activists unwittingly perpetuate a new double standard when they lobby the Central Board of Film Certification to clamp down on female-centric item numbers while ignoring the “item”-isation of heroes. Objectification – whether of men or women – should not be objectionable if the goal is to inoffensively please the gazer while celebrating the sexuality of the gazee. It’s only when the “object” is degraded and demeaned (as when Kareena Kapoor is equated with a “tandoori murgi” in Fevicol se), that it becomes our responsibility to disapprove. The equitable objectification of both genders today is that rare ray of hope for women actors and audiences in an otherwise malefocused industry. This egalitarianism is epitomised by 2008’s Dostana which featured a bikini-clad Shilpa Shetty while John Abraham posed in golden trunks and later absent-mindedly scratched his bottom as he wandered around in briefs. In 2012, Rani Mukerji spent the entire film Aiyyaa fantasising about the delectable Prithviraj. Women, you see, do have hormones after all. Just ask our boys in Bollywood. h


reek gods


arjun rampal

SHORT TAKES + Arjun Rampal came to Delhi University (Hindu College) for his graduation and caught designer Rohit Bal’s eye at a disco. With Bal’s support, Arjun went on to become a successful model.

+ He is married to ex-supermodel Mehr Jesia.

+ Arjun Rampal acted in the title role of Ra.One, one of the very few instances where a film is named after the villain.

+ Often criticised for his ‘wooden acting’ he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Rock On!!

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very hero, well, why just a hero, any man would want to have Arjun Rampal’s looks. He is definitely the most stunning-looking man in Hindi cinema today. Besides, of course, being a good actor. Arjun’s versatility in fact is not limited to just acting. He also has great business acumen. After all, working full time in films and managing a fantastic lounge club like Lap at Delhi’s Samrat Hotel isn’t easy. We have worked in three films together: Rajneeti, Chakravyuh, and the latest Satyagrah. The two of us have sat together many evenings drinking umpteen glasses of red wine and talking about everything in life. Arjun has the potential and the looks to do wonders. He just needs the right people to channel his talent. Watch him in Satyagrah. He has given a phenomenal performance. By far his best.

MANOJ BAJPAYEE is a theatre and film actor best known for Rajneeti, Pinjar, Shool, Satya and Gangs Of Wasseypur SUMMER 2013 I BRUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION I

PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: OK! INDIA MAGAZINE

MANOJ BAJPAYEE on

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AYUSHMANN KHURRANA on

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ven after spending quite a few years in the industry, John still has the innocence of an outsider who has made it on his own. He’s one of the few people who broke the ‘models can’t act’ notion. He’s extremely comfortable with his body, all 6 feet 2 inches of it. He’s the actual ‘Aryaputra’ donor. While travelling for the promotions for Vicky Donor, the constant joke between us was that he was the real producer and I, a re-producer (of sperms). He’s making a transition from actor to producer. And it takes b###s to produce a movie like Vicky Donor, which had no takers. He is smart, has a vision and he sticks by it. He’s the actor who sparked off the biking trend with Dhoom. As someone who takes care of his body, discipline plays an important part in his life. John is a director’s actor. I liked him in Zinda and he was brilliant in New York. During the Vicky Donor promotions, he would introduce me as the star of the film. Only someone very certain of himself can do that. AYUSHMANN KHURRANA was a TV anchor who has now joined films. His debut film Vicky Donor got him much acclaim

SHORT TAKES + Before becoming India’s highest paid male model, John was a media planner with an ad agency.

+ He studied in Bombay Scottish, where COURTESY: GRASIM

he was football captain. This came useful in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, where he played an English Premier League footballer.

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+ In Vicky Donor, when a couple at Annu Kapoor’s fertility clinic asks for “classy, refined, khandaani” sperm, they are offered John Abraham’s sperm!

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ll through his growing-up years, I didn’t have a clue that Shahid wanted to be an actor. I was under the impression that he was a geek, more into his tech stuff, till I saw him in a music video. Then he wanted me to accompany him to sign the contract for Ishq Vishq. I didn’t. I wanted him to make it on his own. He did. The film went on to become a big hit. And that was just the beginning. As an actor, I think, Shahid is one of the best amongst the younger stars today. He is good in speech and diction, in action scenes, in dance and in emoting. He understands the nuances of acting. If used properly, to his full potential, he is capable of stunning people with his performances. Very dedicated, Shahid likes to do an in-depth study of his character. He asks questions, understands reasons and brings out the best. Watch him in Kaminey, switching from one character to another, or in Mausam, going from 18 to 28 and you’ll know what I mean.

PANKAJ KAPUR is a National Award winning actor and filmmaker, seen in films like Maqbool and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. He has also directed Mausam

SHORT TAKES + In his debut film Ishq Vishk, Shahid’s real-life mother (Neelima Azim) played his screen mother. PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA

+ He was the ‘Complan Boy’ in the TV ad for the health drink. His child co-star was Ayesha Takia.

+ He starred in a music video (Aankhon mein tera hi chehra… by Aryans). + Shahid has been a backup dancer in films like Dil To Pagal Hai and Taal.

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A Brave New Bollywood

Finally, scriptwriters and storytellers are getting their due Neelesh Misra

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A film where the characters could not speak. An arthouse film, I thought. But even as the meeting progressed in Pritam’s studio and Anurag Basu gave me the brief for what became my song Kyon in Barfi! I realised the film was a straw in the wind for a larger change afoot in Hindi cinema.

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yon was one of the toughest songs of my decade-long career as a Hindi cinema lyricist, a song I just loved writing. But more than anything else, I was blown away by the un-Hindi cinema-like plot of the film, and the welcome audacity of Anurag, UTV’s Ronnie Screwvala and Ranbir Kapoor to put together a project as brave as this. Months later at an award function Anurag came onto the stage to receive his several awards and said thank you to the audiences. “This last year showed that the audiences will now let you make any film you want.” Well, more than the audiences, producers now seem willing to let several filmmakers do that. The script and the scriptwriter are getting a great deal more attention than ever before. We journalists are often quick to manufacture trends on the basis of a few films but there is something real happening here, something I sense at my own script meetings in Mumbai: Hindi cinema is becoming brave, and more ready to experiment within the commercial cinema genre. The grandness of the Hindi cinema narrative is getting new meanings. A “brilliant film” – earlier supposed to mean a non-commercial, art house film – is no longer a slur. People are getting to make brilliant films, and brilliant films are beginning to make money. You know, we the communicators – who create scripts or songs or direct or produce (or market) films – have for years given ourselves the arrogance to assume that we can keep on creating frivolous content because yahi chalta hai – this is all that works. But we were wrong. It is we, the communicators, who did not offer the audiences any better. We had failed, not the audiences. When I started telling stories on radio, my friends in other radio stations said I was being stupid, because audiences are frivolous. But 32 million people hear my storytelling show every single night now. I was wrong, we were all wrong in our notions about India’s audiences. Those very notions about audiences are being questioned by

the varying degrees of success for several films over the past year. Before I list them, I want to frame my one-line pitch for some of these films to imaginary producers if I was to have written them: “So I want to write a film about a sperm donor.” “… It’s about a woman who avenges her husband’s death by infiltrating India’s spy agency.” “It’s about a woman who doesn’t know English, and reclaims her life while learning it.” Five years ago, even three years ago, I would have been shown the door. But not now. Some of the milestones: Kahaani (directed by Sujoy Ghosh, written by Ritesh Shah, Sutapa Sikdar and Sujoy Ghosh); Paan Singh Tomar (directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, written by Sanjay Chauhan); Vicky Donor (directed by Shoojit Sircar, written by Juhi Chaturvedi); Gangs of Wasseypur (directed by Anurag Kashyap, written by Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia and Anurag Kashyap); and English Vinglish (directed and written by Gauri Shinde). There are many other examples – Kai Po Che, OMG (badly named but a very nice film in my view); Jolly LLB, Shanghai, Ishaqzaade, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, and several others. Of course, all this is not happening by sheer accident. It is also a subversive attempt to unshackle Hindi cinema from the star system that has become the biggest opportunity as well as the biggest roadblock for Hindi cinema. Count the superstars we have: five. Count the number of bankable stars we have who can get a Friday opening: not more than ten. The entire industry is running after them, and they don’t have dates for years. So there is only one way to make films happen: to have newer actors who might be known enough from TV or other smaller films, and marry them to good scripts with brilliant one-liners. All this also means that scriptwriters are being given far more bhaav than before. For years, Hindi cinema displayed great hypocrisy towards writers: it said there was a great shortage of writers, and yet it continued to shortchange them in the way they were paid and the way their payments were staggered. That, however, is showing signs of change. Payments for writers are getting better. But I would say the biggest milestone of the changing times in Hindi cinema is that hugely talented writers-directors like Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu Dhulia – who for years struggled to get their films made and were seen as “the other” in Hindi cinema – are very mainstream now. In fact, they and many others of their school of thought might be now starting to chisel away and redefine the mainstream. h


powerhouse vidya balan

MILAN LUTHRIA on

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he first time I saw Vidya was in a commercial where she played a South Indian girl. It wasn’t just her acting that caught my attention. It was the sheer Indian sexuality that she oozed which stunned me. There is something ethereal about Vidya Balan. I tried looking for her for the longest time after that but somehow, we never managed to work together. Then, of course, Parineeta happened, and I was struck by her yet again. I knew I wouldn’t rest in peace till I worked with her. Then came The Dirty Picture. Vidya is not your everyday normal heroine. In some ways she is divine. She doesn’t just attract you, she makes a connection that is so pure and genuine that it serenades your senses. There is a calm sensuality about her. She is a strange combination – of maternal grace and sexual appeal, that would make any man want to take her to bed. All other aspects – whether it is her powerhouse performances, command over the language, screen presence, talent, that mesmerising voice, or a very secure, non-calculating persona – just add to her glamour. Her beauty and talent are not skin deep. They touch your soul. Vidya Balan is an icon in the making! MILAN LUTHRIA is a filmmaker. He has directed, among other movies, Kachche Dhaage, Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai 1 and 2 and The Dirty Picture

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PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: MARIE CLAIRE MAGAZINE; STYLIST: SABYASACHI

SHORT TAKES + Before her film debut in Parineeta, Vidya Balan had acted in several ads directed by Pradeep Sarkar who promised to cast her when he made a feature film.

+ The first film of hers to release was a Bengali one called Bhalo Theko (as three films in Tamil and Malayalam that she was signed for, were either shelved or Vidya was dropped).

+ She has been selected by PETA as India’s Hottest Vegetarian (along with Amitabh Bachchan) in 2012 as well as in 2011.

+ To play an RJ in Lage Raho Munnabhai, Vidya Balan took tips from RJ Malishka and used the RJ’s trademark “Good moooooorning Mumbaaaai” in the film.

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all, lanky, bidi-smoking, with very intense eyes. That was my first impression of him. Irrfan was senior to me by two years in Delhi’s National School of Drama. When we got introduced during a ragging session, he came across as a nice guy, although a bit aloof. Then some time later, I heard television and theatre actress Mita Vashisht, who was then Irrfan’s batchmate, jokingly complain about how Irrfan was forever roaming around the girls’ hostel. That was when I realised he was my kind of man. Fully bindaas, a rebel and so totally fun. Our friendship grew over the years and so did our mutual respect for each other’s work. Still, he wasn’t my first choice when I made Haasil. I had offered the villain’s role to Manoj (Bajpayee) but Manoj refused and Irrfan stepped in. And that was when we started our professional journey. That he is a fantastic actor is stating the obvious. What is different about him is that he is skilled and knowledgeable. He knows the technique of acting. He can adapt himself to any genre. From the dialoguebaazi of the ’70s to the present-day slick style, Irrfan can master everything. But in spite of all his versatility, he isn’t an actor who shows off. He doesn’t shout “watch me” on screen but makes the impact with brilliant subtlety. Can anyone forget his portrayal of Ashok Ganguly in Mira Nair’s Namesake? A very real guy, he loves nature and … kite flying. Bring in the wind and see him fly. TIGMANSHU DHULIA is a filmmaker who has made films like Haasil, Paan Singh Tomar, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 1 and 2

SHORT TAKES + While Irrfan’s actual date of birth is January 7, 1967, most websites (like IMDb and Wikipedia) list it as November 30, 1962. Last year, he got a slew of requests for “50th Birthday Interviews” which is still five years away!

+ Originally named Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan, he dropped Khan from his name because he didn’t want to be known by his religion, surname or title. He added an extra R because he liked how they rolled on his tongue.

+ One of the few Indian actors who have regularly appeared in big-ticket Hollywood productions, Irrfan made his film debut in an international production – Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay!

+ In the movie Chocolate, he played a character called Pipi. And in Life of Pi (2012), he played a character called Pi.

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manoj SANJAY GUPTA on

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PHOTO: NATASHA HEMRAJANI; MAKEUP : MILIND CHAUHAN; STYLING: HARI NAKKAI

try to have something for Manoj during the scripting of my films. That’s because he does justice to every character he plays. He has a tremendous hold over his craft. While any other actor would take 30/40 seconds to make a certain emotional impact, he can do it in five. The audience loves him because his sincerity comes across on screen. Recently, he told me that he realised he had made a bad decision signing a film. The director was a duffer and the script loose, but even then he had made the most of himself. He’s tremendously versatile, but that’s a given. You are a good actor only when you can do a variety of roles. Manoj Bajpayee is the Naseeruddin Shah of this generation. He will act and work till he is 70, and keep entertaining audiences. And like Naseer, he gives us (filmmakers) a lot of freedom. We don’t have to write only serious, comic or romantic roles for him. Manoj is like a chameleon. I loved him in Gangs Of Wasseypur and Rajneeti, and he has done a great job in my film Shootout At Wadala as well. Our children are the same age and his wife and my wife are friends. Not many know that he has a beautiful home and is fussy about speakers (each one runs into lakhs). He loves white wine and pasta. And on my sets, I make it a point to have both. Manoj’s only grouse with filmmakers: nobody takes him abroad for a shoot. Every filmmaker makes his character very Indian. SANJAY GUPTA is a filmmaker, best known for Kaante and Shootout at Lokhandwala

SHORT TAKES + Manoj studied in Delhi University. After being rejected by the National School of Drama four times, he joined Barry John’s group.

+ Manoj shot into the limelight as gangster Bhiku Mhatre in Satya. The name was taken from the boy who served coffee in Ram Gopal Varma’s office. Varma said, “Bhiku, teen coffee” and the name stuck in scriptwriter Anurag Kashyap’s mind.

+ He is married to former actress Neha, who acted in Kareeb with Bobby Deol and Fiza opposite Hrithik Roshan.

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SHORT TAKES + A struggler for a very long time, Nawazuddin’s first screen appearance was in Sarfarosh. He played a petty criminal being interrogated by Aamir Khan and Mukesh Rishi in a police lockup. PHOTO: NATASHA HEMRAJANI

+ He has acted in bit roles in major movies such as Munnabhai MBBS, Shool, Black Friday, Dev D, New York, Peepli Live and several others. + He played the role of a washerman in a Pepsi ad with Sachin Tendulkar. He hid himself behind the clothes whenever the camera turned to him since he didn’t want to be seen in the ad.

+ His romantic scene with Huma Qureshi in Gangs of Wasseypur II (“Permisan toh lena chahiye na…”) happened to Nawaz in real life.

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had seen him in New York, in the Munnabhai movies as well as Black Friday. So I knew that he was good. But when I met him for the first time at a coffee shop in Andheri, I realised Nawaz was nothing like the character of Inspector Khan that I was looking for. But something in his eyes told me to to watch out! His performance in Kahaani was just the first frame of the acting showcase called Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Underrated for the longest time, Nawaz is like a bomb that is ticking and waiting to explode. Saying that he is a great actor is like saying Lata Mangeshkar sings well! Nawaz does not just get into the skin of the character, he takes the character a notch higher. Sincere, hardworking, willing to listen and a man who gives his best to every shot, there is an inherent spark in this man. He is unconventionally cool and stylish. SUJOY GHOSH is a fimmaker best known for making Jhankar Beats, Aladin and Kahaani

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The Born Ultimatum

How tough is it to prove yourself when you come from a film family? Mushtaq shiekh

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Every Friday at the Bollywood box-office, a new dream sets out to find itself, either becoming a reality or biting the dust. And for every dream realised, a movie star is born. As a country we love our movie stars. We idolise them, celebrate their success and mourn their loss. They are, after all, stars who once started out as normal people like you and I.

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ne of the biggest names our industry has ever produced is Amitabh Bachchan. He singlehandedly changed the way our movies were perceived the world over, while constantly trying to push the envelope. So when his son Abhishek decided to enter the industry, naturally, the expectations shot through the roof. The constant comparisons with his father meant Abhishek had to keep fighting to keep his own identity intact. What was unfair to this man was that every failure was touted as the worst thing possible and every success was attributed to his genes. But it is very easy to forget that at the root of it all, Abhishek, like all of us, was simply trying to do something that he would be remembered by. With each movie one can see that Abhishek hasn’t just grown as an actor but is also a lot more comfortable in his own skin. For a person who has done films like Yuva, Guru, Sarkar and Dostana, the general perception was that he hadn’t achieved anything. However, if one were to remove the gene element, suddenly the list looked and felt impressive. Luckily, Abhishek fought his battle on his own terms and came out a winner. Not only did Bol Bachchan get him critical acclaim, it also took him into the 100-crore club. The cub has grown. Saif Ali Khan, son of the famous Nawab of Pataudi and successful yesteryear actress Sharmila Tagore, is one of the most successful stars in the industry today. The great grandson of Rabindranath Tagore recently turned producer and has created Illuminati, one of the biggest banners in the industry. Saif made his debut in Yash Chopra’s film Parampara, a film in which he acted alongside the stalwarts of the industry. What followed was an endless stream of mindless movies which did not do him any good. The fighter stayed put. The turning point in his life was Dil Chahta Hai, a film which was

directed by Farhan Akhtar and Saif was cast along with Aamir Khan and Akshaye Khanna. However, the character of Sameer, which he played with ease, connected with the audience instantly and he went on to become one of the most popular names in the industry. Success soon followed and Saif did Kal Ho Naa Ho, Hum Tum and Ek Haseena Thi. He was suddenly in the reckoning as one of the big names in the star system. But the cherry on the cake was his acceptance into the fraternity with his brilliant portrayal of Langda Tyagi in Omkara. A star and an actor were born, this time not in his own family but in the film family. An interesting journey in a very short span with almost everything he touched turning to gold has been that of Farhan Akhtar. Son of respected writers Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, Farhan has managed to create a name through the films he has written, directed and produced. Farhan’s debut film Dil Chahta Hai went on to achieve cult status, but his next Lakshya turned out to be a turkey at the box office. Not one to give up, Farhan rose like a Phoenix and gave Don, one of the most successful franchises of Hindi film industry. He debuted as an actor in Rock On!!, where not only did he wow the audience with his sheer presence but also won hearts by singing his own screen songs. One of the most respected names in the field of direction, Farhan’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is already one of the most anticipated films of 2013. He sings, acts, models, directs, writes, sings and plays the guitar with tremendous ease. The man with the Midas touch! The Kapoors are the first family of Bollywood. From the magician Raj Kapoor to the gorgeous Karisma Kapoor, the family has movies in its DNA. From Kareena Kapoor to the current heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor – the Kapoors have managed to hold on to their film heritage. Ranbir was born to the talented Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh and as the adage goes, the apple did not fall far from the tree and before we knew, the genes had taken over and Ranbir made his debut in Saawariya where he earned the respect of his peers. Even though the film tanked without a trace at the box office, Ranbir’s talent did not go unnoticed. To prove his detractors wrong, he delivered powerpacked performances in Rockstar, Rajneeti and Barfi!. Today he is not only considered a fine actor but also known to be on the path to superstardom. Star kids may be lucky to be born into a family which has been in the industry for years. But it’s not just about the golden spoon. Sometimes the “surname” can choke. Every star needs to shine. But the chances of appearing dull when compared to the North Star are high. But they manage to dazzle and carve their own niche. That takes loads of guts, gumption and hard work. h


ranbir kapoor SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR on

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SHORT TAKES + Ranbir shares his name with his grandfather, the legendary Raj Kapoor. The senior Kapoor’s full name was Ranbir Raj but he dropped the first part.

+ When Ranbir passed his Class X Boards (with 53% marks), Neetu Singh cried with joy as he was the first Kapoor to have passed school without failing a single year.

+ He appeared in a bit part in Luck By Chance. In a scene where he is approached for a film by a producer played by Rishi Kapoor, he solemnly says, “You are like a father to me”.

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he best part about Ranbir is that he doesn’t know that he is an incredible actor. His strength lies in the fact that he is striving to better each of his acts which are already so good that he ends up being brilliant in all his roles. Those who doubt this should watch him in Barfi!. He makes you laugh, cry, dance, sing, everything, without saying a word. Or, for that matter, in Wake Up Sid, where he made an entire generation relate to him. He played a brat but you came out of the theatre loving him. The fact that he comes from the illustrious Kapoor family keeps him constantly on his toes, I feel. After all, he has so much competition at home that anyone from outside just adds to it. But the star family background in no way comes in the way of the professional that he is. Ranbir is

punctual and very grounded. A director’s actor, he is also very generous with his co-stars. He respects all those he works with and is happy to learn from everyone around him. Ranbir is intelligent, sensitive, very secure and not self-conscious at all. I remember while shooting for Barfi!, how Priyanka (Chopra) and he just started dancing on top of a table at a bar in Kolkata without being conscious of their star status! While he has all the attributes of a great actor – talent, looks, ethics – he also has that certain appeal, the undefinable X factor. And that makes him the big movie star that he is. SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR is CEO, Disney UTV and producer of films such as Barfi!, Wake Up Sid, Paan Singh Tomar, The Dirty Picture, among many others


PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: MAN’S WORLD MAGAZINE

versatile dudes

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Cyrus, and of course, Parineeta. He’s got a certain arrogance that is lovable. The most wonderful thing about Saif is that although he plays the character he’s given, he also retains a sense of self. It is this ‘self’ for which filmmakers approach him. And that’s a difficult balance to attain. He manages to be Saif Ali Khan as well as the character. PRADEEP SARKAR is the National Award winning director of Parineeta. He is also a writer, art director and advertising guru

SHORT TAKES + In Agent Vinod, Saif played a RAW agent with multiple identities. He used names like Kapil Dev, Vinod Khanna, Freddie Khambatta and Mahendra Sandhu. The last one was the name of the actor who played Agent Vinod in the 1977 film.

+ In Omkara, Saif played the role of Langda Tyagi – based on the character of Iago in the original play, Othello. All the characters in the film had names with the same initials as in the play. For example, Othello became Omkara, Desdemona became Dolly, Cassius became Kesu etc. Saif’s character was actually called Ishwar and Langda was just a nickname.

PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: PROVOGUE

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heard Saif on the radio once. He was saying, ‘When people come out of their respective cars after an accident, they are always angry at each other. That’s exactly how a human being is – not bad or good, but in a different state of mind at different points in life’. And that’s when I said, ‘This is Shekhar [the lead character in Parineeta]. He’s not good or bad, but reacts to situations’. I took my audio board (a device for recording in different voices like a radio play to explain characters), played a few chapters to him, and he immediately got it. When we meet now, he tells me, Parineeta was his film. He shows it to everyone who comes from abroad. Saif, like his arrogant character Shekhar in Parineeta, never says ‘Fantastic!’ to anything. He too just says a non-committal ‘Not bad.’ But when you look at his eyes, you realise there’s a good human being there. Saif is very Nawab-like and the way he styled himself in Parineeta – the looks, the clothes and the way he talked - were based on his father. He hero-worshipped him. Saif thinks before he talks, listens to what you have to say and then answers, which is a good quality. He’s very witty and humourous. I loved him in Being

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n a h r a f rathka no IMZA ANABAHS

SEKAT TROHS fo owt fo nos eht s’eH + detnelat tsom s’doowylloB devaJ si rehtaf siH .sretirw eht fo flah eno ,rathkA .devaJ-milaS yradnegel ,inarI yenoH si mom siH dna ehmaL nettirw s’ohw ,iaH raayP ...aaN ohaK .srehto gnoma tnatsissa saw nahraF + ,artuP yalamiH no rotcerid eyahskA saw hcihw ebyaM .mlif tubed s’annahK liD fo aedi eht dehctip eh ?neht mih ot iaH athahC rof tpircs eht etorw eH + on htiw iaH athahC liD eH .rehtaf sih morf tupni nahK rimaA dehcaorppa siht dna ’llup‘ yna tuohtiw ecnednepedni fo wohs .tol a rats eht desserpmi DEYAS EUQIFAR :OTOHP

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,saw eH .tuopord egelloc a saw nahra RH ta scimonocE gniod ,esaelp uoy fi sih ton ylraelc saw hcihw ,egelloC sih ot feirg taerg gnisuac ,tfel eh dna gniht dna raey elohw a rof emoh deyats eH .rehtaf ni tis tub esle – gnihton yllaretil – gnihton did seivom hctaw dna VT eht fo tnorf .hctaw d’eh tahw aedi on evah I .yltnassecni esuoh eht fo tuo dekcik saw eh yad enO .siht ekil no yrrac tonnac uoY“ ,dlot saw dna retsis siH .”boj a flesruoy dnif ot evah uoY nioj ot mih tog dna eucser sih ot emac ayoZ eh taht ereht saw ti dna smliF ahcoP idA .noitamrofsnart etelpmoc a hguorht tnew tuoba dnA .noitcudorp htiw detrats eH I pihsnretni sih otni sraey owt-eno oD“ ,gniksa dna idA gniteem rebmemer ”?lla ta gnihtyna od lliw nahraF kniht uoy eh ,tca lliw eh ,tcerid lliw eh ,etirw lliw eH“ ta doog eb lliw eh dna ,ecudorp lliw I .deilper idA ”,seod eh taht gnihtyreve em ekam ot tsuj siht gniyas saw eh fi deksa tsuj si eH .sdrow ym kraM“ ,dias eH .yppah ”.yob detfig yllarutan a saw ereht ,lleW ?neht ti eveileb I diD doog eb ot dekil nahraF taht tbuod yna reven ti od dna ssehc yalp d’eh – did eh tahw ta eh ,llew ti yalp dna ratiug eht yalp d’eh ,llew a saw eh ees dluoc uoY .llew gnis dluow a dah eH .thgirb yrev ,laudividni detecafitlum elpoep peek dluoc dna ruomuh fo esnes yrev saw eh yaw taht ni – sruoh rof delager ,dnim desinagro yrev a was I .rehtaf sih ekil swonk doG .derettacs yrev demees eh tub .od ot gniog saw eh tahw rehtehw mih gniksa ecno rebmemer I ,haeY“ ,dias eH .gnitca ni detseretni saw eh detseretni eb t’nac uoY“ ,dias I .”fo tros – s koob ruof mih evag dna ’fo tros‘ rotcA nA s’iksvalsinatS nitnatsnoC daeR‘ dias dna – ekil eht dna seraperP I oS !dnik eht fo gnihton did eH ”.’meht ot gniog saw eH .doog on eb d’eh dediced ylneddus eh ,yad eno neht tuB .retfird a eb


farhan akhtar SHABANA AZMI on

came to his father with this script he’d written. And he’d already contacted Aamir Khan. He never asked Javed to put in a good word. We were so impressed. And once he got on track, there was no looking back. The year that he sat at home and watched films was his training ground. Farhan is a sensible boy who has made some brave choices. He has all the right values and I’m extremely proud of him. He’s also turned out to be an extremely dedicated actor. What he’s done with his body for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – putting on muscle and dropping it all within a year – is something that only the most dedicated and most sincere actor can do. He’s inhabited the world of Milkha Singh so completely. His persona underwent a big change. I remember telling him, “It’s going to be a long time before you’re able to shake off Milkha”. And he said “That’s perceptive of you because that is exactly how I feel.” As a professional, he will focus on his work, and nothing else matters. But when he takes a break, he’s totally into the family and having a ball. He’s a foodie like no other. He will cry, with tears, if he doesn’t get the food he wants. But when it came to his diet for Milkha he was so disciplined he took charge, organised his own cook and his own meals. At the same time, he can faff, be irreverent and indulge in inconsequential nonsense. He’s nuts! Unlike me – I’m only serious, nothing else. If there’s a dull programme on TV, Javed says, “Shabana ko bulao – boring programme going on, she’ll love it!” I’m so proud that Farhan can be serious and fun with equal intensity. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, SHABANA AZMI has appeared in more than 120 films in mainstream and independent cinema

SHORT TAKES + He’s the son of two of Bollywood’s most talented writers. His father is Javed Akhtar, one half of the legendary Salim-Javed. His mom is Honey Irani, who’s written Lamhe and Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, among others. + Farhan was assistant director on Himalay Putra, which was Akshaye Khanna’s debut film. Maybe he pitched the idea of Dil Chahta Hai to him then?

+ He wrote the script for Dil Chahta Hai with no input from his father. He approached Aamir Khan without any ‘pull’ and this show of independence impressed the star a lot.

+ He has written lyrics for Gurinder Chadha’s Bride And Prejudice. He (along with sister Zoya) had written the English lines used in the O rey chhori song in Lagaan but wasn’t credited for it.

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arhan was a college dropout. He was, if you please, doing Economics at HR College, which was clearly not his thing and he left, causing great grief to his father. He stayed home for a whole year and did nothing – literally nothing – else but sit in front of the TV and watch movies incessantly. I have no idea what he’d watch. One day he was kicked out of the house and was told, “You cannot carry on like this. You have to find yourself a job”. His sister Zoya came to his rescue and got him to join Adi Pocha Films and it was there that he went through a complete transformation. He started with production. And about one-two years into his internship I remember meeting Adi and asking, “Do you think Farhan will do anything at all?” “He will write, he will direct, he will act, he will produce, and he will be good at everything that he does,” Adi replied. I asked if he was saying this just to make me happy. He said, “Mark my words. He is just a naturally gifted boy.” Did I believe it then? Well, there was never any doubt that Farhan liked to be good at what he did – he’d play chess and do it well, he’d play the guitar and play it well, he would sing well. You could see he was a multifaceted individual, very bright. He had a sense of humour and could keep people regaled for hours – in that way he was very like his father. I saw a very organised mind, but he seemed very scattered. God knows what he was going to do. I remember once asking him whether he was interested in acting. He said, “Yeah, sort of”. I said, “You can’t be interested ‘sort of’ and gave him four books – Constantin Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares and the like – and said ‘Read them’.” He did nothing of the kind! So I decided he’d be no good. He was going to be a drifter. But then one day, he suddenly


ROHAN SIPPY on

abhishek bachchan

SHORT TAKES + His debut film was supposed to be a historical one called Aakhri Mughal, about Bahadur Shah Zafar’s relationship with his son. It was a subject that Kamal Amrohi considered making with Amitabh Bachchan.

+ Abhishek has played Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson (Delhi 6), son (Sarkar) and father (Paa).

+ He has been paired with Bengali characters in many films. In Yuva and the Dhoom series, he had Bengali wives. In Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, he was a Bengali revolutionary in love with a Bengali girl.

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ROHAN SIPPY is a filmmaker best known as the director of movies such as Bluffmaster, Kuch Naa Kaho, Dum Maaro Dum and Nautanki Saala!

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e belong to the same city and industry. Our fathers have worked together but Abhishek and I didn’t really grow up together. We met at our boarding school in Switzerland. What struck me about him then was his sense of security about himself. It was in the late ’90s, when Abhishek made his big screen debut, that we really connected. Yet again, I was struck by his maturity. He is sure, secure and a very sorted person. Abhishek is truly a man among boys. His real persona was one of the biggest reasons why I cast him in my first film Kuch Naa Kaho. As an actor, Abhishek has brilliance running in his genes. For him, it’s never just his character. He always looks at the bigger picture. And then puts his best into his character. And that sets him apart from the other guys. Never one to get insecure or to run the rat race, Abhishek understands nuances and has a great screen presence. His comic timing is another aspect that makes him so cool. Watch him in Bol Bachchan, Dum Maaro Dum and Guru and you will get to see the many dimensions this actor has!


imran SHAKUN BATRA on

khan

SHAKUN BATRA is a young filmmaker who directed Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu 104

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e met during the making of Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. From movies to politics, music and acting, we sat and chatted about everything. We knew that sometime in the future, we’ll work together and we wanted to do something different. With Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, we got that chance. It was an opportunity to do a love story that wasn’t usual. Imran and I are both part of the younger Bollywood. We needed to do something that resonated with our generation. Very hardworking and extremely disciplined, Imran can put anyone to shame with his sense of propriety. But being proper does not mean boring. He has a great sense of humour which is also very intelligent. As an actor, he is methodical but extremely natural. The good part is that Imran’s work is not limited to enacting a good scene. He is part of the entire process. He always performs with the entire film in mind. Though very urban in terms of his mindset and temperament, Imran is taking great risks. Characters such as Matru in the film Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola don’t come to him naturally. But look at his performance. It was almost flawless. Even Delhi Belly wasn’t really the slick flick that one would associate Imran with. But he got all the nuances of a young, street-smart, ‘jholajeans clad’ journalist right. A very stylish man, Imran is perhaps the only person in the industry who can pull off a tuxedo to perfection!

SHORT TAKES + In 2011, Imran Khan filed a PIL against a proposed law to raise the legal drinking age to 25.

+ After his parents’ divorce, his mother married popular character actor, Raj Zutshi (though they divorced in 2006).

+ His wife Avantika has been seen in very small parts in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, I Hate Luv Storys and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.


Bollywood’s New ‘New Wave’

Indie filmmakers may lack funds, but they’re not short on innovation Diptakirti ChauDhury

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In 1997, Ram Gopal Varma started work on a gangster movie and hired a 25-year-old novice to co-write the script with Saurabh Shukla. After shooting the first scene, RGV realised ‘this is not what my film is about’ and trashed the script. He cancelled the schedule and packed off his writers to do the script all over again.

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or all my attempts at suspense, all of you know the movie was Satya and the novice writer, Anurag Kashyap. And this partnership with Ram Gopal Varma probably sowed the seeds of the low-budget, different-with-a-vengeance, quasi-indie revolution we are seeing today. Ram Gopal Varma used the success of Rangeela and Satya to dictate terms to producers and green-lighted a slew of unusual scripts helmed by some very talented directors. He called his production company The Factory and his assembly line included Chandan Arora (Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon), Sriram Raghavan (Ek Hasina Thi) and Shimit Amin (Ab Tak Chhappan) among others. Some of these films suffered from the obvious haste in which they were made while some were ahead of their times. A decade later, Anurag Kashyap replicated the model. After the success of Dev D and Gangs of Wasseypur, he has backed directors like Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan and Lootera), Bejoy Nambiar (Shaitan), Raj Kumar Gupta (Aamir) and Sameer Sharma (Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana). Not all of his ventures have been successful (Aiyya, for example) but most of these directors have scaled greater heights. Both Raj Kumar Gupta and Bejoy Nambiar made much bigger second films (No One Killed Jessica and David, respectively) while the rest are looking good for more. Ramu’s dichotomy of creative energy and financial doldrums taught the next generation of filmmakers to be a lot savvier in their quest to make different films. By keeping production costs low, marketing films innovatively and co-opting the support of big production companies, financial success has become much more achievable. Adopting a guerilla way of shooting, charming themselves into locations instead of building expensive sets, and choosing talented actors instead of stars, these directors have taken cognizance of their still-limited audience and scaled down their budgets, not their ambition.

Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur was made for R18 crore, less than Salman Khan’s fees for one film. Sujoy Ghosh made Kahaani for about R8 crore while Tigmanshu Dhulia and Shoojit Sircar made their magnum opii for R5 crore or less. None of their bootstrapping was visible in the films, all of which made big money at the box office even by Bollywood’s ten-digit standards. What these makers lack in financial muscle, they more than make up for in innovation. The marketing of their films has gone off traditional media and used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube instead. @RamadhirSingh appeared on Twitter. Vidya Bagchi looked for her husband on Mumbai local trains. The Shanghai cast went to college campuses instead of malls. With ‘making of’ videos and by engaging in real-time conversations with fans, these filmmakers have fully understood the need for marketing their niche products and have done so with panache. To woo the musically inclined Indian audience, these films have gone beyond the item number. For Gangs Of Wasseypur, composer Sneha Khanwalkar took off on research trips to Bihar and Trinidad (!) which ended with her picking up novices who sang for the final soundtrack, which was authentic and eminently hummable. Amit Trivedi has become the acknowledged master of real sounds. His Kai Po Che score evoked Gujarati energy while Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana was as smooth as Punjabi butter. Whether it is the edgy Dev D or the dulcet Wake Up Sid, Trivedi’s music for these films has busted the charts and added one more reason to watch them. Not only music but in all departments – editing that paces the film right, totally real casting and gritty, pulse-pounding action – these films have managed to take elements of the masala blockbuster and imbue them with realism. Without sacrificing the entertainment. While these films have made their mark, their impact seems bigger on Twitter than in the real world. For all its cult status, Gangs Of Wasseypur collected in the region of R50 crore (both parts put together), still some distance away from Bollywood’s R100 crore Holy Grail. Another critics’ darling – Paan Singh Tomar – made just R20 crore. But as Vidya Balan proved with Kahaani’s blockbuster success, one major star in the mix multiplies the mass appeal. As these films slowly take root in a country obsessed with pretty things, we see a director like Anurag Kashyap become a star in the truest sense of the word. When he is not attending international film festivals, he appears in advertisements for Cadbury chocolates. What better sign do you need of these films becoming an idea whose time has come? h


young ranveer singh VIKRAMADITYA MOTWANE on

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is persona is that of a regular, happy-go-lucky guy next door but there is a lovely intensity about him. It is exactly this side of him that I wanted to explore. In Lootera, you see him going against his very grain. And that is when he excels. Ranveer is one of those actors who gets better not when he repeats himself but when he completely changes his personality on screen. I saw him for the first time in a trailer of Band Baaja Baraat and was struck by his eyes. They speak volumes. Ranveer is also the most unpredictable star today. Just five films old, he has played absolutely different characters in all five films. Ranveer can boast of a phenomenal range and great variation in terms of his acting talent. A great friend, a party animal and a people lover, Ranveer enjoys getting and giving attention. A music lover, he is also an encyclopaedia of pop culture. If he can prevent himself from getting stuck in the ‘formula’ genre, watch him make it super big. VIKRAMADITYA MOTWANE is a writer and filmmaker, best known for directing Udaan

SHORT TAKES + Ranveer Singh is actually Sindhi but doesn’t use his full name - Ranveer Singh Bhavnani.

+ Before he broke into films, Ranveer got a BA

PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA

degree from Indiana University, Bloomington and after returning to India, worked as a copywriter.

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+ Ranveer got embroiled in a controversy during the release of Ek Tha Tiger, when ‘he’ criticised the film quite harshly (“While i was passing through a multiplex people after seeing EK THA TIGER was asking for TIGER BAAM.”). It was discovered that the tweet was posted by an impostor and that Ranveer is a big fan of ‘bhai’ (Salman Khan). But then, who isn’t?

I BRUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION I SUMMER 2013


turks sonam kapoor RAJSHREE OJHA on

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he was born into stardom and the glamour of the film industry but Sonam is nothing like a ‘star’. Warm, welcoming and extremely endearing, she is a delight to know and work with. I met her for the first time when I went to read the script of Aisha to her. I had seen only her pictures till then. But there was something about her that was different. Sonam is the perfect mix of tradition and modernity. Her outlook and thought process are very modern, yet she has a very conservative, traditional side to her upbringing. She has acting in her genes and is growing with every film. She works hard to understand the demands of a character. She knows the technicalities as she has worked as an assistant to Sanjay Leela Bhansali but she’s open to suggestions, whether from her director or make-up artist. A child-woman at heart and in her personality, Sonam is happy in her world of books, movies and music. RAJSHREE OJHA is the director of Aisha

SHORT TAKES + Sonam is the daughter of Anil Kapoor but unlike most star children, she is yet to act in a film with her father. (They have only appeared in an advertisement for Mont Blanc pens.)

+ Sonam was very overweight when she was PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA

working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who asked her to try acting. To look good enough to get into films, she lost 35 kilos.

+ Sonam and Ranveer Singh are cousins (from their mother’s side). In Sonam’s second film (Delhi 6) and Ranveer’s first (Band Baaja Baaraat), they played characters with the same name – Bittoo Sharma.

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sonakshi sinha ABHINAV KASHYAP on

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er confidence, honesty and graceful demeanour set her apart from the rest of her contemporaries. She’s extremely grounded. Sonakshi has the most expressive eyes (the mark of a good actor), and emotes through them. Her eyes impress and captivate the audience. Sonakshi is a director’s delight. In a short career, she has already impressed audiences, as they are getting over their fascination with bikiniclad, glamorous girls. Now that they are not repressed anymore, they are looking for girls who offer more than just a skin-show. That’s where Sonakshi comes in. She’s a good mix of many things. She can emote, look good, dance and hopefully, do action sequences. She is dignified and extremely cultured, both on and off screen. I don’t think she would set herself to do the kind of work that is expected of a usual Bollywood actress. I’m sure she will carve out a unique path for herself.

ABHINAV KASHYAP is a film director. He made Dabangg, one of the biggest hits in recent years

SHORT TAKES + Sonakshi’s father is the youngest of four brothers – Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan. And in a next-gen extension, she has two brothers – Luv and Kush. By the way, their house in Mumbai is called Ramayana.

+ Like Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi too lost a lot of weight to get into films. (Sonakshi’s weight loss is a little less apparent, though.)

PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA

+ “Sonakshi’s forehead” turned out to be a hugely popular topic for jokes on Twitter and it even trended for a day. Sonakshi turned out to be a good sport and tweeted “Sonakshi Sinha’s forehead is mighty pleased ;) gnite funny people!”

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ayushmann khurrana SHOOJIT SIRCAR on

SHORT TAKES + Ayushmann’s first brush with fame happened when he won the reality show MTV Roadies (Season 2).

+ His first job was a radio jockey in Delhi, where he hosted a show called Maan Na Maan, Main Tera Ayushmann.

+ The song from Vicky Donor - Paani da rang which made him doubly famous was something he composed in college along with a friend, Rochak Kohli.

SHOOJIT SIRCAR is a filmmaker, who directed Vicky Donor and Yahaan SUMMER 2013 I BRUNCH COLLECTOR’S EDITION I

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hen we were casting for Vicky Donor, we were looking for someone who would look good, yet like a boy-next-door, appear clean and hygienic. We needed a face that wouldn’t look repulsive donating sperm or holding a bottle of sperms in his hand. Ayushmann fit the bill. He was then sent for workshops to Act One, my theatre group in Delhi. Ayushmann could immediately catch, get and internalise what we were talking about. The audience felt an immediate connect with him. Despite being only one film old, he’s enjoying great adulation because people can relate to him. Ayushmann is endearing, charming and natural onscreen. He should stay that way. The best actors (as all theatre actors would unanimously say) are the ones who don’t try too hard!


arjun kapoor HABIB FAISAL on

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rjun was among 200 boys who auditioned for Ishaqzaade. I think it was his smile that got him the role. Arjun has a smile that has so many shades and layers that he really doesn’t need to voice his emotions. There is a mystery in his smile. It’s naughty, mischievous, corny, happy and sad. It is bindaas but not insensitive. And that is what I needed in my Parma, Arjun’s character in Ishaqzaade. I don’t think Arjun cares too much about becoming a star. He does not carry the baggage of being from a film family. He is open to learning. So much so that I could create a very rustic, small town, North-India based Parma out of a suave, sophisticated boy born and brought up in Mumbai’s Juhu-Bandra neighbourhood. Whether it is speech, style, walk or looks, he wants to get everything perfect. And that is his strength. HABIB FAISAL is a script writer and filmmaker, best known for directing Do Dooni Chaar and Ishaqzaade

SHORT TAKES + Arjun’s mother – Mona Kapoor – divorced his father Boney Kapoor when he fell in love with Sridevi. Quite tragically, she passed away a month before Ishaqzaade released.

+ Like his cousin Sonam (who lost weight for a

PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA

Salman Khan film), Arjun was also inspired by the superstar to lose weight (from his original weight, an astonishing 140 kilos) and act in films. Salman seems to have been the pro-bono fitness consultant for the entire Kapoor family.

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MANEESH SHARMA on

parineeti chopra I

I had met Parineeti Chopra when we were deciding on the marketing strategy for my film Band Baaja Baraat. Two months later, when I was reading the script of Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, I immediately knew that she was going to be my Dimple (Parineeti’s character in the film). A very effortless actress, Parineeti’s biggest strength lies is the fact that she does not carry the headache of wanting to be an actress. Her attitude, performance or her views are not those of a regular star. She has a certain easy flow of energy that makes her a natural performer. She is intelligent, confident and naturally talented. In many ways, Parineeti is a star without making a conscious effort to be one. She outshines many others on this count alone. Very professional, she is a delight to work with. MANEESH SHARMA is a filmmaker and director of films such as Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

SHORT TAKES + Parineeti’s parents named her after seeing a Prakash Jha film called Parinati (starring Nandita Das, among others).

+ Parineeti is Priyanka Chopra’s cousin and calls her Mimi Didi while Priyanka calls Parineeti by her pet-name Tishu.

+ After graduating from Manchester

+ Maneesh Sharma, director of Band Baaja Baaraat, recommended her to Aditya Chopra. When Aditya refused, Maneesh got Parineeti to record a few lines from Jab We Met on camera and on the basis of that shoot, she was offered a three-film contract with YRF.

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PHOTO: GAURAV BHATT

Business School, Parineeti moved from London to Mumbai and worked as a midlevel PR executive in Yash Raj Films’ marketing department.


Age of the Iconoclast

Gutsy stars who swim against the current will emerge winners Mahesh Bhatt

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It never felt so good to concede publicly that one had been so wrong. I was at the success celebration of Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, where I was asked to hand over the winning trophies to the cast and crew of this unusual film which was structured on the lives of the legendary dons who had once ruled over Mumbai – Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim.

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t was just before the name of Emraan Hashmi was called that my heart urged me to make a confession. ‘The world belongs to the iconoclasts’ I said. It is those who break stereotypes and swim against the current who finally get enshrined in collective memory. Those who dare to destroy their models and go against their teachers make the teachers proud. Emraan has done just that. I always thought that I was an iconoclast. But Emraan has made me now realise that my universe was also my cage. I did not want him to play the role of Dawood Ibrahim in this film. I advised him against it. How glad I am today that he did not listen to me, and dared to stand right at the edge of the cliff! The world, me included, thought he would sink like a stone, because surely there was no way, we thought, that the nation would embrace an actor who essays the role of the most hated person of modern India. But that did not happen. Young India has moved away from its cobwebbed stereotypical views and is hungry to revere the oddball and the antiestablishment player. Had it not been so, would Abhay Deol, (the lesser known Deol, who was once eclipsed by the inheritors of the Dharmendra legacy, Sunny and Bobby Deol), have soared into the limelight purely on the back of public taste? It was Imtiaz Ali’s first film, ironically titled Socha Na Tha, in which this unlikely hero first compelled people to take note of him. And then it was in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D, in

which he interpreted the 21st century version of Devdas, full of desi angst so totally unlike the earlier versions, that this actor really found his groove. What was unique about Abhay was that intuitively he understood that it takes a lot of effort to be someone else, but no effort to be yourself. And it was the perfume of this effortlessness which made him stand out so distinctly amid the stench of assembly line products. Mother Nature doesn’t use any of its creations to replicate itself. No two leaves are similar, no two snowflakes are the same. But our success-worshipping trade, out of its insecurity, since the dawn of cinema, uses successful actors as models, and forces newcomers to cut and prune themselves into a similar shape. Konkona Sen, the unusual beauty from Bengal, is one such gift of nature to our industry. She mesmerised and enchanted the nation and outdistanced all those dancing Barbie doll prototypes to cut a figure so individual, that it can only scream ‘I dare to be me!’ The wise say that the only thing new in this world is the history that you have not read. These three actors that I have named are just some of the few priceless gems in this tapestry. It was Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Manoj Bajpayee, Paresh Rawal, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Pankaj Kapur and so many more who first paved the way for the iconoclasts of today and the future and created this space. And they in turn drew inspiration from the yesteryear iconoclasts-turnedthespians, names like Dilip Kumar, Motilal, Nutan, Raj Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and those hundreds who created the golden era of Indian cinema post-independence. What’s happening in cinema today is what has been happening in Mumbai for centuries! Every year we take our favourite God Ganeshjee home, to love him and feed him and sing songs to him. But our prayer is not complete until we dance with all our hearts and take him to the sea, where we immerse him into the water with great reverence, and bid him farewell. We carry back with us only a bit of the clay from which he was fashioned, and we use that next year to fashion him once again, afresh. I think in its 100th year of Indian cinema, Bollywood could learn a thing or two from this great tradition. That in order to keep your Gods alive, you have to first let them go! h


konkona sen sharma IRRFAN on

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saw Konkona for the first time in Mr and Mrs Iyer and I couldn’t believe for the longest time that she was not a South Indian. This girl is a genius. She is a born actress. I don’t believe that she was born to do anything else. Not too many of us can boast such talent. But I don’t know if the Hindi film industry has it in itself to use her to perfection. And somewhere I hope that Konkona does not lose herself to the silly “glamorous” demands of this industry. I was lucky to work with her. We did Life In A... Metro and Dil Kabaddi together and I was fascinated by her. I think it’s her truthfulness as an actress that makes such a strong impact. She is a livewire. When you are in front of the camera with her, you don’t need to bother about the script or chalk out your moves. Nothing is practiced or rehearsed. You just go with the flow. The other actress who works like this is Angelina Jolie. You can trust Konkona to take you along with her flow. You simply let go of yourself and perform.

PHOTO: RAFIQUE SAYED; MAKEUP ARTIST: NAMRATA SONI

IRRFAN is an actor who has straddled both Hollywood and Bollywood with films such as The Namesake, Life of Pi and Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster. He was given the National Award for Paan Singh Tomar in 2013

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SHORT TAKES + Konkona’s mother is legendary Bengali actress Aparna Sen and her grandfather is noted film critic and director, Chidananda Dasgupta.

+ Konkona’s father, Mukul Sharma, is a science writer and author (who used to write a popular puzzle column called MindSport). He acted as the male lead of Parama, directed by her mother Aparna Sen.

+ Konkona and Ranvir Shorey have a son, whom they have named Haroon after Salman Rushdie’s Haroun And The Sea Of Stories.

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innovators emraan hashmi RAJ KUMAR GUPTA on

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e is one of the most intelligent, humblest actors I have worked with. Besides, of course, being a powerful performer. Emraan also has an inherent cockiness that makes him great fun. And that is a tough combination to find. Non-fussy, professional and very focused - if Emraan carries on the way he has, it is only a matter of time before he reaches the peak. With films like Shanghai and Ghanchakkar, he is going out of his comfort zone. Emraan proved his versatility as an actor in films like Kalyug, The Dirty Picture, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Shanghai. The fact that he constantly challenges himself as an actor and is not scared to take risks sets him apart. He knows that the landscape of Hindi cinema is changing fast and he is not losing any time in flowing with the times. With great potential and very high levels of dedication, Emraan Hashmi is definitely an actor to watch out for!

SHORT TAKES + Emraan is the son of Mahesh Bhatt’s sister and was launched by his uncle in their home production, Footpath. + In his first hit Murder, the heroine (Mallika Sherawat) came with a reputation of having done 17 kisses in her previous film, Khwahish. With her for company, Emraan pretty much sealed the ‘serial kisser’ tag in his favour. + In two different films (Kalyug and Shanghai), Emraan has played characters living on the edges of the porn industry. In The Dirty Picture, he played an idealistic film director who did not want pornographic scenes in his films.

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PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA; COURTESY: MAN’S WORLD

RAJ KUMAR GUPTA is a filmmaker, best known for directing Aamir, No One Killed Jessica and Ghanchakkar


NAVDEEP SINGH on

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bhay brings a certain credibility to films. If he’s in a movie, it signals to the audience that it’s of a certain kind. He’s a barometer of off-beat, interesting cinema. That’s because he’s very choosy about the films he wants to do. He has good taste in scripts. But when I was casting for Manorama Six Feet Under, Abhay wasn’t my first choice, it was Irrfan. I wanted someone older, someone who was married, had children, for the role, but Abhay Deol surprised me, and pleasantly so. Abhay doesn’t go out there to be a ‘hero’. In some films, it works if the actor is a star, say, in a film like Dabangg. You need something more in Chulbul Pandey to play Chulbul Pandey. But in other kinds of films, if someone is out to be a star, that detracts from the film. Abhay takes on the body language, the little nuances of the person he is representing in the film. He is one of the few actors today who will sacrifice his part for the larger betterment of the script. That’s a rare, tremendous quality.

SHORT TAKES + His first 5 films – Socha Na Tha, Ahista Ahista, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Ek Chalis Ka Last Local, Manorama Six Feet Under – were the directors’ first films. + Abhay Deol was credited with the ‘concept’ for the film Dev D which was an edgy and different retelling of the classic written by Saratchandra Chatterjee. + Dev D had references to real-life incidents – the MMS scandal in a Delhi school (which happened to Kalki in the film) and the BMW hit-andrun case (which happened to Abhay).

+ Even before Dev D, Abhay helped Anurag Kashyap during the making of Black Friday. Being an able cartoonist, he created storyboards for the Mumbai blast sequences and that helped Anurag plan the shoot much better.

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PHOTO: ROHAN SHRESTHA; COURTESY: THE MAN MAGAZINE

NAVDEEP SINGH has directed a number of award-winning ads. He debuted as director with Manorama Six Feet Under and is now working on a few new projects


ABHISHEK CHAUBEY on

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rshad is a natural. He’s one of those gifted actors who seem very casual and chilled out, but he takes in everything about the craft very intently. He has great flair for comedy (and is very funny even in real life), but he can pull off any kind of role with ease. He’s very quick to understand what a movie wants out of him – the tone and understated tension. In the first meeting I had with him, he was able to grasp the mood of Ishqiya. He has done such versatile roles – Zilla Ghaziabad and Sehar are very different from Munnabhai or even Ishqiya. Though acting is all about lying, Arshad has the ability to convince the audience of the lies that actors portray onscreen. ABHISHEK CHAUBEY is the director of Ishqiya and Dedh Ishqiya

SHORT TAKES

PHOTO: JITU SAVLANI

+ Arshad Warsi’s son is called Zeke Zidane. He appeared in a cameo in Salaam Namaste along with his mother, Maria Goretti.

+ If you thought his son’s name wasn’t weird enough, Arshad named his daughter Zene Zoe.

+ He was selected by ABCL through a nationwide talent hunt to be launched in their production, Tere Mere Sapne.

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The Road From Stage to Screen

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Theatre can educate you in technique but it can’t add rasa to your acting Piyush Mishra

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Years of doing theatre or getting a degree from an acting school can’t transform a nonactor into an actor. Acting can neither be taught nor learnt. Till now, I haven’t seen a single example of a non-actor who has learnt to act, despite being in theatre for years.

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es, theatre can be educational. It can teach you camaraderie and brotherhood, it can educate you on lights, the method of make-up and the technicalities, but it cannot teach you histrionics. It cannot add ‘rasa’ to your acting. Great actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Annu Kapoor are naturally gifted. All of them have graduated from Delhi’s National School Of Drama (NSD), and have done a lot of theatre, but so did many others who were non-actors. That’s why the latter haven’t been able to make an impression. During our NSD days, director Ranjit Kapoor would keep invoking the legacy of Pankaj Kapur. Throughout his life, Pankaj Kapur has done very few roles and in a way, kept himself restrained. He was spectacularly understated in Maqbool and Ek Doctor Ki Maut. He is a fantastic actor, but he’s a lot like Naseeruddin Shah, whose brand of acting is very measured, almost geometrical. Naseer saheb has impeccable command over his speech and gestures. In films like Masoom and Mandi, he literally lived the characters and his performances impacted us immensely. Recently, he again bowled us over in A Wednesday. When he is performing on stage, Naseer doesn’t let himself get over-sentimental. I guess he wants to get the audience to an emotional point and then pull back. Irrfan was a year junior to me at NSD. His performance in Haasil and Paan Singh Tomar blew me away. Manoj Bajpayee is the best actor of his generation. His style is very free-flowing and he has grasped the nuances of cinema very quickly. One of the most effortless character actors in Bollywood, who has also earned his spurs at NSD, is Annu Kapoor. His performance is free-flowing and there isn’t any pre-meditated technique or method involved. Of course, Annu knows his craft, but to the audience, it all looks so natural and convincing. Apart from the leading male actors, Bollywood is fortunate to be blessed with a battery of powerful women performers who haven’t necessarily honed their craft in theatre. When Shabana Azmi wept and laughed in Khandhar and Arth, we all experienced the same

emotions with her. Another brilliant performer is Dimple Kapadia and I bet she doesn’t even know it. In Aitbaar, the remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder, Dimple was far ahead of Grace Kelly in the original and mind-blowingly beautiful. Similarly, in Bheja Fry, Sarika had a small role, but she said everything simply with just a tilt of her head. She is a good actor and has a wonderful figure too. Among the younger lot of actresses who have done theatre and are impressive are Richa Chadda, who delivered a striking performance in Gangs Of Wasseypur and Swara Bhaskar, who left an impression in Tanu Weds Manu. Another formidable theatre-trained actor in Bollywood, although not from the NSD stable, is Paresh Rawal. Like many practitioners of Gujarati theatre, he is superb with improvisation. You can make out that Paresh has improvised impromptu on many a dialogue, on the spot. On the other side of the spectrum are great actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, who haven’t spent donkey’s years doing theatre (of course, Amitabh did some theatre in Delhi University) or, among the younger lot, Ranbir Kapoor. Amitabh Bachchan’s command over English and Hindi is unparalleled. This 6 ft 3 inches tall man was the rebel everyone wanted to be, the angry young man who was doing what everyone wanted to do. Even now, in Kaun Banega Crorepati, he is so humble and believable. If he’s faking, there’s no bigger actor than him, and if he’s not, even then there’s no bigger actor than him. It is his best performance. Like Amitji, Ranbir Kapoor has unconventional looks and is also very charming. Once, after watching him dance, I asked him if he had taken training for it. But no, he moves like Mr Bachchan, he sways beautifully and has everything it takes to be a star, and yet he doesn’t have to try too hard. What Ranbir has and does no theatre can teach. A musician, before learning music, needs to grasp the notes of the sargam, the sa re ga ma pa. A painter needs to understand form, shape and colours. Since acting is ambiguous, an acting college helps people discover their own individual way into acting. It will help you know if you are a method actor (one who practices playing blind if he is playing a blind character), or a non-realist actor who improvises and plays the character, or any other kind of actor. Actors may be able to pick up the technique through theatre and acting schools, but they need to unlearn it too. Look at Om Puri in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron or Chachi 420. He is so convincing as an actor, yet his performance is very innocent, without the shackles of the craft. Another actor to watch out for is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Now that Nawaz is finally getting his due, he will do very well. Where the craft ends, art starts. h


class act naseeruddin NEERAJ PANDEY on

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hat is obvious is that Naseeruddin Shah knows his craft. And like all actors who have had long innings in the industry, he has immense dedication and concentration and is extremely easy to work with. He brings a lot to the role as he immediately gets what is required of him – what he should do, and more importantly, what he shouldn’t. He can strike the right balance between what the director expects and his own vision. He is a great listener and so, he absorbs and delivers. And the best part about Naseer saheb is that he is still very much an actor. He is hungry and would love to sink his teeth into anything meaty. He hasn’t got bored with acting. He can be as good or great as the material given to him. I loved him in most of his films, especially Sparsh, Ijaazat and Aakrosh. In Masoom, he was brilliant, and brought out the vulnerability of the character beautifully. He was so well prepared for his role in A Wednesday that scenes with him (99 per cent of them) were shot in 8/10 days. He knew what we wanted, what he had to do, and it was never tough to get through to him. NEERAJ PANDEY is a film director, best known for the drama-thrillers A Wednesday and Special 26 122

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shah SHORT TAKES + Naseeruddin Shah was credited with ‘Still Photography’ for Khamosh. Even in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, the camera he used in the film was his own.

+ He is married to actress Ratna Pathak, with whom he also runs a theatre group called Motley.

+ He has played the father to many ‘illegitimate sons’ – Jugal Hansraj (Masoom), Ajay Devgn (Raajneeti), Shah Rukh (Main Hoon Na), Farhan Akhtar (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara).


PHOTO: AVINASH GOWARIKER; COURTESY: CINE BLITZ MAGAZINE


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had always believed that actors contribute least to the process of filmmaking. After all, they just perform to a given script. But all my notions changed the first time I saw Shabana perform. I’ve known Shabana from our days at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. But I first saw her perform on the sets of Parinay, which was getting made around the same time as her debut film, Shyam Benegal’s Ankur. I was stunned to say the least. Shabana is an intelligent actor all right, but her performance is never derived from any other performance, by any other actress of yore, even if they are similar characters. It is based purely on her interpretation of her character. And she goes all out to get to the deepest nuances of her character. With her acting, not only does Shabana bring a character on paper alive, she also fills in all the blanks that make the emotions so real. When I made Godmother, I made it only and only for her. I wrote the character of Rambhi keeping Shabana in mind. And of course she took Godmother to a different level with her performance. A stickler for details, Shabana makes notes of even the most minute facets of her character and is never satisfied with just the basics. She studies everything, from mannerisms to costumes, actions to reactions and from expressions to emotions. Watch her in Goutam Ghose’s Paar. Or, perhaps, Mrinal Sen’s Khandhar. Shabana’s silence in the movie was so eloquent that tragedy rose to a poetic level. See her in Masoom and you will feel the pathos of a woman angry at being cheated but also guilty of being unfair to a child. The kiss between her and Nandita Das in Deepa Mehta’s Fire is still etched in my mind as one of the most sensual moments of love. VINAY SHUKLA is a script writer and filmmaker. He directed Shabana Azmi in the National Award-winning film Godmother

SHORT TAKES + Shabana Azmi has the highest number of National Awards for Best Actress – five – including a hat-trick for Arth, Khandhar and Paar (1982-84).

+ In the remake of Umrao Jaan, she played Khannum Jaan, a role played by her mother Shaukat Azmi in the original film.

+ She puts her all in the characters she portrays like putting on a lot of weight for her role in Shyam Benegal’s Mandi and shaving off her hair to play a widow in Deepa Mehta’s Water. (For all her trouble, the latter never got made!)

+ She has used her celeb status to promote causes of social activism, denouncing communalism and supporting AIDS victims. This has been the subject of some jokes as well, especially when one of her birthday cakes was designed like a slum.

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PHOTO: NATASHA HEMRAJANI; LOCATION: HOTEL SEA PRINCESS, JUHU, MUMBAI; MAKEUP : SANDEEP DESAI; HAIR: SHEFALI, B:BLUNT


SHORT TAKES + His full name Om Prakash Puri wasn’t considered ‘smart’ enough for the movies. So he tried names like Vilom Puri and Azdak Puri before falling back on Om!

+ Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah go back a long way as they were batchmates in the National School of Drama (Class of 1973). They acted in several award winning films together.

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was working on a black-and-white documentary and was looking for some fresh talent when actor/ playwright/director Girish Karnad, who was then the director of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, recommended Om Puri. A few years later, when I was making my first film, Aakrosh, Om’s face kept coming back to me. I knew he was my Bhiku. Om has a face that reflects anger, angst and inner torture to perfection. His intensity makes you shudder. In Aakrosh he does not have any dialogues. He just emotes through his face and eyes. And yes, screams in a couple of scenes. And that won him the National Award.

Om does not play characters. He feels each of them. He could be Anant Velankar of Ardh Satya or Kharak Singh in Hera Pheri. From the most serious to the funniest characters, Om becomes them without batting an eyelid. Whether it is Tamas, Drohkaal, Dev or any other film, when you watch him play a character on screen, you relate to him as that man. Such is the power of a talent called Om Puri. GOVIND NIHALANI is a National Award winning director, cinematographer, writer and producer. He has made films such as Aakrosh, Ardh Satya, Drohkaal, and the TV series Tamas among others

PHOTO: SURESH NATRAJAN

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KABEER KAUSHIK on

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he way Pankajji leverages his craft to interpret his character is his biggest strength. His intrinsic understanding of the sub-textual information that is there in any script is a very appealing quality for any filmmaker. There’s so much discipline involved in each nuance. And yet he makes it look so organic and easy. In Sehar, I had the pleasure of interfacing with two very different schools of acting – Pankajji was method personified whereas Arshad saheb was all intuition. And yet both synergised and complemented each other beautifully. I loved his performances in Ek Doctor Ki Maut

and Maqbool. On the sets, he is totally prepared and rehearsed to the hilt. He’s comfortable working for a shift and likes to work in one chunk. Like in Sehar, since we had him only for 20 days, I landed up shooting my train climax in the first schedule itself. The way he has marshalled his brand equity is very intelligent, If there is Pankaj Kapur in a film,then the audience instantly knows that there is something special about the narrative. He brings exclusivity to a film. What more can a filmmaker ask for? Filmmaker KABEER KAUSHIK has written and directed Sehar and Maximum and directed Hum Tum Aur Ghost

SHORT TAKES + Pankaj Kapur and Naseeruddin

+ He c-ostarred with Aamir Khan and wife Supriya Pathak in Raakh, a dark thriller. While the film did not do well commercially, Pankaj Kapur won a National Award for Best Supporting Actor. + He played played the title role in the detective series Karamchand on television.

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PHOTO: NATASHA HEMRAJANI

Shah are brothers-in-law as they are married to sisters, Supriya and Ratna Pathak respectively. He co-starred with Naseer in Jalwa, where his name was Albert Pinto (from one of Naseer’s films.)


The Allure of the Item Number

In which filmmakers push creative and societal boundaries Beth Watkins

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Helen, eyes half-closed, covered in red spangles, seemingly unable to stand on her own, until an off-screen male voice beckons her, sending her writhing and panting across the stage, brass instruments blaring, into a cage, down a slide to the camera, where she rises with a shimmy and launches into a song (Piya tu ab to aaja from Caravan, 1971).

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hat’s it about this combination of music, dance, and fantasy that makes the item number endure long past the era when only vamps could put on a skin show? On the surface, it’s glamour first and foremost, a posh way of saying “titillation.” The item number is hetereosexual male wish fulfillment of the highest order: a scantily-clad woman who dances more than she speaks and is gone as soon as she has finished being pleasurable. That these songs only exist within a fundamental framework of the male gaze is inescapable, but many of them try to offer more kinds of stimulation. Over the decades, these songs have been elaborate canvases for some of Bollywood’s favourite paints, the broad strokes of barely-restrained innuendo and “more is more.” Some picturisations are almost mini-films in themselves: tightly scripted, focused on a determined set of goals, and brief. A complete aesthetic statement, if you will. This aside can provide a break in action, a transition between themes, or even just a chance to have characters and audiences alike escape to a different environment. One of the most popular item numbers of the last two decades, Chaiyya chaiyya (Dil Se, 1998), provides the basic allure of Malaika Arora Khan’s sinuous midriff but also imagines Shah Rukh Khan in a setting that shows a gleeful side that his character doesn’t often get to indulge. It’s rare in mainstream Hindi films that a woman commands the whole room, but in item numbers, the item girl is in charge. Watch her turn the villain to putty or toy with the hero’s composure. Just as many cultures have festivals that celebrate inversion and disorder – like the unfettered revelry of Mardi Gras before the sobriety of Lent – so too do these songs ever so briefly put control in the hands of young women who flaunt social norms. Item numbers reinforce the notion of character and moral order. It is clear in the way the rest of the cast reacts. The good girls

look on uncomfortably, like Asha Parekh in the face of the relentless Bindu in Mera naam hai shabnam (Kati Patang, 1970). The heroes consider the comforts of the item girl they are with when they’re mournfully drinking, a sign of how far they’ve (temporarily) sunk. The villains employ their own dancers. Turning from storytelling to pocket-filling, filmmakers can use an item number to boost the appeal of the film (Malaika Arora Khan in Dabangg, Mumaith Khan in Munnabhai MBBS). Surely it’s also just plain fun to get stars to do their own item numbers, like Katrina Kaif in Tees Maar Khan and Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, where Dard-e-disco parodies the masala love of an exploding sex bomb. Recently, there has been both hand-wringing and appetitewhetting as major heroines have shouldered item duty, sometimes in their own films (like Katrina Kaif in Sheila ki jawani from Tees Maar Khan) and sometimes making very special appearances (Kareena Kapoor in Fevicol se from Dabangg 2). It isn’t exactly a new phenomenon for heroines to be given cranked-up sex appeal in a song; think of Madhuri Dixit in the famous Choli ke peeche (Khalnayak, 1993) and Parveen Babi’s nightclub singer in Jawaani jaan-e-mann in Namak Halaal over a decade earlier. No matter when they did it, though, heroines taking on some of the responsibilities of performers like Helen and Bindu is an interesting assignment of “bad girl” traits on to the type of character the hero brings home to his mother. Big heroes have gotten in on the act too, most notably Shah Rukh Khan, who has made song-based cameos in several films like Heyy Baby and Krazzy 4 (which also included Hrithik Roshan). Even Aamir Khan has done it, though winkingly so, as the fictional retro movie star “Disco Fighter” beloved by the 20-something heroes of Delhi Belly (2011). These numbers suggest that sometimes heroes can have an ironic stance within their item numbers, knowing that their appearance may be exciting for entirely different reasons than that of Kareena or Katrina, a Priyanka Chopra (in Shootout at Wadala) or Shilpa Shetty (Shut up and bounce in Dostana, 2008). For every assertion that an item song must detour from the plot or feature a performer not otherwise in the movie, there is a counter example. The career of item queen Helen offers absolute classics like Yeh mera dil (Don, 1978), which illuminates the title character, and movies like Caravan, in which she has a spectacular song and a significant character. Perhaps what the item number offers cinema’s next century is a contained arena in which to push creative and societal boundaries within mainstream films. The question is whether filmmakers will choose to use that space for anything that endures beyond temporary titillation. h


body beautiful

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choreographed Shilpa in Chura ke dil mera goriya chali from Main Khiladi Tu Anari, and that was the song that catapulted her into the big league. With her marvellous body, long legs and sensuous aura, Shilpa looked fabulous and began to be counted among the hottest heroines in the industry. Every heroine has that one song that does the trick for them, for Shilpa, it was this one. Her biggest strength is her figure. She always had a good body, but it just got better as she started working on it and began doing films with Akshay Kumar. I have choreographed many of Shilpa’s songs, and she is a very good student. She doesn’t tell me: ‘I won’t do this step or that step’ or argue needlessly, but does what she is told to do. She’s a fantastic dancer, and moves her body gracefully. As an actress too, she has done well for herself. I loved her performance in Life In A... Metro the most. She was subtle and evocative. She’s a good artist, and I think her strength lies in serious roles.

SAROJ KHAN is a well-known choreographer. Her iconic song-and-dance sequences have won her a number of popular awards

SHORT TAKES + Shilpa Shetty started her modelling career at the age of 16 with an advertising campaign for Limca.

+ At an AIDS awareness event (targeted at truck drivers) in 2007, Richard Gere literally swept Shilpa off her feet and kissed her (on the cheek) leading to an avalanche of protests across the country.

+ Towards the end of her acting career, she became a houseguest in the UK TV show Celebrity Big Brother and was at the receiving end of racist abuse. A housemate (Jade Goody) called her ‘Shilpa Poppadum’ among other things. Her stoic response led to her winning the contest – leading to renewed stardom.

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t was quite an exciting proposition to work with Bipasha. After all, actors like me don’t get to play the lead opposite a sexy, glamorous actress too often. That apart, I had my doubts. I wasn’t sure if the glam diva, known for her great body and sultry moves, would be able to pull off the performanceoriented role in Aatma. But she managed it. And how! Having worked with Bipasha in horror, one of the toughest genres of Hindi cinema, I was pleasantly surprised with her acting capabilities. A very hardworking person, Bipasha is a director’s actor. She surrenders herself to the director and his vision. It is up to him to get the best out of her. Unfortunately, filmmakers in India love to stick to a routine and set image. Bipasha definitely is one of the most underrated actresses in the industry. The fact that she has a great body just adds to the entire package. NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI is an actor best known for Gangs of Wasseypur and Kahaani. He worked with Bipasha in Aatma

SHORT TAKES + Like many Bengalis, she has a silly nickname – Bonny.

+ Her debut was as a negative character in Ajnabee. She is believed to have had a tiff with Kareena Kapoor, the other heroine.

+ In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, she danced to Billo Rani while in Omkara, her name was Billo Chamanbahar. + She featured in an ad for an underwear brand with then-boyfriend Dino Morea. It caused a furore and the ads were never run extensively.

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A Short History of Violence The many shades of action in Bollywood’s movies Sriram raghavan

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“Kyun thanedaar sahab, bahaduri aazmaani hai?” Sanjeev Kumar turns… A burst of RD Burman music as we cut to the shot that I am convinced, sowed the seed and inspired me to become a filmmaker. A pair of handcuffs in foreground as Sanjeev Kumar aims his gun and fires at the camera.

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he Apollo Cinema in Rasta Peth, Poona, screened Sholay for six years… I happened to live very close to the cinema hall. You can imagine the happy damage this can do to a kid of 12. I love action films... though it’s damn tough to make a good one. But more on that later. As a kid, my main criterion for liking a film was whether it had enough action. I was a huge fan of the daku films... Khote Sikkey, Heera, Patthar Aur Payal, Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye, Mujhe Jeene Do and Raj Khosla’s Dharmendra-Vinod Khanna starrer, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, which was an edgy precursor to Sholay. Another favourite was the Eurospy thriller. Post the Bond phenomenon, every cinema in the world made their own gadget, guns and babes versions of the spy thriller. The original Agent Vinod was one. Others were Joy Mukherji’s Humsaya, Sridhar’s Shatranj, Ravee Nagaich’s Farz and notably, Ramanand Sagar’s Aankhen that showed Lalita Pawar in a Mao jacket playing a Chinese spy. And then swashbucklers like the Dara Singh movies and Dharam Veer, capers such as Jewel Thief and Victoria No. 203, thrillers such as Teesri Manzil and Majboor, double role dramas like Sachaa Jhutha, were extremely satisfying experiences. I could sit through the soppiest family dramas because I knew that finally Shammi Kapoor will fight Roopesh Kumar as the lovable kid is hanging on a cliffside… The dishoom dishoom punches and tacky moves seem ludicrous today but were perfectly acceptable then, until one day, Amitabh Bachchan kicked the chair under Pran in Zanjeer. His body language and sheer intensity connected big time. We got a taste of real action. Over the years, action in our films has alternated between fantastic and realistic, comic book and gory. If there is the hyper masala of the volcanic saga Tridev, there is also the unflinching realism of a Bandit Queen. A Gangs of Wasseypur for every Rowdy Rathore. Filmmakers like Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Rahul Rawail, J P Dutta, Raj Kumar Santoshi and Ram Gopal Varma were exceptional storytellers who also knew how to stage action inventively.

My favourite setpieces include the killing of Sunil Dutt as he’s hunted by a pack of killer dogs in Shaan; the godown fight in Deewaar; driving an ambulance into a den of goons in Trishul; the chase through a sea of black umbrellas in Arjun, the short burst violence of Satya and the ‘alive and dirty’ shootouts in Bandit Queen. The important thing to notice is that they are action sequences, but they are character-driven sequences. There is a story being told. The action is a bonus. The reason the train sequence of Sholay still works is because it’s a great combination of the screen writer, the director, the actors and the action director. Over the years, action in our films has acquired a superb technical finesse. But have we got better in terms of inventive ideas? Often, it appears, in today’s action films, a certain kind of laziness seems to have crept in. Should one let the action director handle the sequence? I went through these traumas whilst making Agent Vinod. My ambition perhaps exceeded my talent. We shot a lot of action in the film and I am proud of many sequences for sure. But there are a couple where I felt that I needed a stronger story thrust. We have seen so many great car chases, so how do I make my chase different and interesting? How do I make a sniper sequence work as well as the one I saw in The Day of the Jackal? We don’t have the Hollywood budgets but that is a given and hence no excuse. Our action ideas have to be indigenous and specific to our realities. And, most important, be a vital part of the narrative. I loved the action in Kahaani. I loved the foot chase in Black Friday… and pardon the humility, the train action sequence in Johnny Gaddar. Whenever I have done an action sequence that involves my story moving forward, I am full of ideas which are enhanced by a good action director. There is of course, the ‘item’ fight sequence. Madcap over-thetop action inspired by The Matrix and Jackie Chan… Shankar’s Robot is a superb example of over-the-top action but it connects because it is idea-based action. It’s finally about ideas, pushing the envelope and doing something that will make the recliner seat viewer sit up suddenly, spill his popcorn and drop the cellphone. As a famous filmmaker said, don’t write action sequences. Write suspense sequences that require action to resolve. The first action icon in Hindi films was Mary Evans, an Australian-born circus performer, known to us as Fearless Nadia. The ball-busting action heroine grappled with tigers, fought atop trains, beat baddies to pulp and cracked a whip a la Indiana Jones. If there were time machines, I’d have loved to visit a cinema in the ’40s showing Hunterwali or Diamond Queen. We don’t yet have time machines, but thank God for YouTube. h


old spice KARAN MALHOTRA on

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KARAN MALHOTRA is a film director best known for making Agneepath (2012)

SHORT TAKES + His first movie appearance was in Reshma Aur Shera as a child actor. He played a young qawwali singer.

+ In the movie Rascals, his name was Chetan Chauhan while his co-star Ajay Devgn’s name was Bhagat Bhosle. Together, they were Chetan Bhagat!

+ In Shabd, he played an author. His first book was called Mindscape, and won a Booker Prize while his second book, And Time Stood Still, was panned by critics.

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ll that Sanjay Dutt has to do is just walk onto the screen and the rest sorts itself out. His impact is mindblowing. Not really a conventional actor, Sanjay Dutt does not have a parallel in the industry. From a bad guy to a rogue and from a terrorist to a lover boy, his range and calibre is phenomenal. But what sets him apart is the fact that unlike his physical appearance, he is sensitive and emotional to a fault. He’s like Santa Claus. On the sets of Agneepath, he would bring pizzas for the ADs in his private jet when he would fly from Mumbai to the location (which was quite remote)! Sanjay is a man among the boys. He is bigger than any character he has played. He’s a good man!


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have grown up watching Anil Kapoor’s films, and what makes him still so popular is his versatility. You put him in a comic role, action sequence or a romantic scene, and he’s brilliant in all. For filmmakers, he brings a range of skills to the table. In Janbaaz and Benaam Badshah, the young and fiery Anil appealed to the masses. And as a more mature Virendra Pratap Singh in Lamhe, he bowled the classes over. In No Entry, he was extremely comic, and in Tashan, he played a villain with panache. He can do a ‘tapori’ as well as he can do ‘suave’. Even after being in the industry for 35 years, he’s as hardworking and dedicated as someone who is starting out. On my sets (the Indian remake of the international TV show, 24), he puts in more work than any other actor. We are shooting 8/9 minutes of screen time every day, and for each episode, there is a script that is 840 pages. So, you can imagine the amount of work that is going in. Anil Kapoor puts in 8 to 9 hours every day, and this includes the physical workout. The role too is complex, it’s subtle, and the character is very internal. Even if you don’t see all of it on-screen, there is a lot of background that Anil has to internalise. His endurance – both physical and mental – makes him a successful actor with one of the longest innings in Bollywood. ABHINAY DEO is a filmmaker best known for directing Delhi Belly and Game. He’s the director of the Indian version of the international TV crime drama, 24

+ He graciously admitted he became famous by playing roles written with Amitabh Bachchan in mind. He found global stardom by playing a quiz show host in Slumdog Millionaire, a role made famous in India by the Big B. + Coming from a family of producers, Anil Kapoor has often done odd jobs in home productions. He was the casting director and outdoor in-charge for the movie, Hum Paanch.

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PHOTO: JITU SAVLANI

SHORT TAKES


The Thread That Binds

Character artists lend depth and plausibility to escapist Bollywood Gautam Chintamani

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Many would consider the uniquely Hindi cinema element such as the song-and-dance routine to be the one element without which our films would be incomplete. But ingrained as it may be, gaana-shaana is still largely limited to the hero.

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hink of some of your favourite Hindi films across the decades and imagine them without the likes of Balraj Sahni, Johnny Walker, Mehmood, Pran, Nirupa Roy, Manorama, Tun Tun, Kader Khan, Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Amrish Puri. Or Pankaj Kapur. And what do you get? Something synthetic. Something bland. Hindi cinema wouldn’t be half as magical if the character actors were missing. In a cinema founded on the premise of escapism that more often than not refuses to look beyond the hero in the most conventional sense, it’s the character acts that bring in some semblance of plausibility. Bollywood operates on its own terms where logic or plausibility is happily bartered for entertainment. Unlike the hero and the heroine, usually the smiling conspirators of all things fantastic, the character artists are free from such shackles. The ‘market pressures’ that shape the protagonists don’t burden them and it’s because of this that they are able to bring some kind of credibility in the proceedings. Even in films like Shree 420 and Pyasaa, that aren’t as unreal as a majority of commercial Hindi films, the hero comes across as hyperbole when seen in isolation. Had it not been for Maya (Nadira) in Shree 420 or the maalishwala Abdul Sattar (Johnny Walker) or the moneybags Ghosh (Rehman) in Pyaasa, the heroes Raj from Shree 420 and Vijay from Pyasaa wouldn’t look as regular as the man on the street. What makes the character actors’ roles more challenging is that they are rarely dwelt upon as much as the hero. But while the leads still end up looking inorganic, the character artists often go beyond being cardboard cutouts. The audiences might have showered the Dilip Kumars, the Amitabh Bachchans and the Shah Rukh Khans with more love than anyone else but when it came to acting they never shied away from loving the Motilals, the Sanjeev Kumars, the Prans and the Amrish Puris as much. The decade and the half between the mid-1960s and the late 1970s was the golden period of character artists where the films often blurred the lines between characterisations. Om Prakash in Dus

Lakh, Prem Chopra in Upkar, Raaj Kumar and Balraj Sahni in Waqt, Pran in Be-Imaan took the tradition of the character actor established by a Motilal in Devdas or Johnny Walker in Madhumati to the next level. The sparring between the character artist and the hero led to some really interesting films like Aadmi Aur Insaan, Namak Haraam, Haath Ki Safai and Blackmail. By the time the 1980s arrived the character artists appeared lost and the hero singlehandedly devoured most of them. One of the biggest factors that led to a steady decline of the character artist during this period was the one-man-industry trend started by Amitabh Bachchan. At the height of his popularity in the early ’80s, Bachchan’s films saw the character artists often relegated to parallel tracks. And with the advent of Jeetendra’s south film remakes, the parallel track became a sub-genre and actors like Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Asrani, Jagdeep, Aruna Irani, Amjad Khan, Deven Verma got sucked into a vortex of no return. Shunted between the caricatured villains (Karz, Mr India, Karma) on one end and loud comedy (Mawaali, Tohfa) on the other, many character artists found themselves jobless. Only a handful like Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal managed to remain afloat. While Kher largely limited himself to playing the villain or the elder patriarch as far as commercial films went, Rawal’s mainstay was villainy (Dacait, Kabzaa, Ram Lakhan, Hathyaar) with a Krantiveer or Andaaz Apna Apna breaking the monotony and a Sardar (1993) garnering respect. It was Amrish Puri’s performance in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) that rekindled the interest in well-etched character roles. Puri’s portrayal of an immigrant in London yearning to come back saw him enter a magical phase in his career where he enjoyed getting meaningful roles. The tide started turning a few years later with Satya and its entire cast modelled on characters rather than heroes and villains. While Satya sowed the seeds of looking at character artists beyond the standard definition, Bachchan’s supporting act in Mohabattein made it possible for the character actor to be viewed as a lead. Bachchan also ushered in a mindset that didn’t limit looking at the leading man as an uncle or father once he aged. If a decade ago, he almost spoilt the party for character artists, he not only made up but also got filmmakers to create authorbacked characters that weren’t necessarily heroes. It’s because of this that a Rishi Kapoor finds it possible to look at an equally memorable second innings as the leading man with characters like Do Dooni Chaar’s hapless Math teacher Santosh Duggal. The success of films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, A Wednesday, Paan Singh Tomar, Vicky Donor, OMG - Oh My God! is testimony that the days of the character artist being thought of as secondary citizens are perhaps done with. h


role models paresh rawal KETAN MEHTA on

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have known Paresh since his theatre days and I’ve seen him evolve into a cinema performer. From playing Babu Rao Aapte in Hera Pheri to Sardar Patel in Sardar, Tikku, the eunuch in Tamanna and Kanjibhai in OMG - Oh My God!, Paresh is capable of playing diverse characters with conviction. His spontaneity, instinctive acting and the gravitas that he brings to a character make him such a delight to watch and work with. Even after so many years in the industry, Paresh’s commitment or discipline has not dampened the least bit. He would get his make-up done for four hours every day for Sardar and it would take two hours to remove after the shooting was over. But he never cribbed for even a moment. Finally, I love his ability to laugh at everything and everybody, including himself! KETAN MEHTA is a filmmaker, best known for directing, among other movies, Mirch Masala, Maya Memsaab, Mangal Pandey - The Rising and Sardar

SHORT TAKES + Paresh Rawal is married to Swaroop Sampat, TV star (of the hit comedy series Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi) and Miss India 1979. er and India’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabbhai Patel in the biopic directed by Ketan Mehta.

+ One of his earliest roles was in Holi. In this film, many future stars contributed, including one Aamir Hussain who we know now as Aamir Khan.

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+ He played freedom fight-


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script, and he loved it and agreed to do it. On the first day of the shoot itself, Rishi started to play the Karz tune – it was so nostalgic. Rishi is getting to experiment, something he couldn’t do when younger. He is one our finest actors and he is picking films backed by good scripts, like Do Dooni Chaar and Agneepath. A well-known filmmaker, SUBHASH GHAI is also the founder of the Whistling Woods International Institute For Films, Media, Animation and Media Arts in Mumbai

SHORT TAKES + Rishi Kapoor was first seen on screen in his father’s iconic film, Shree 420. In the famous Pyar hua song, Rishi, Randhir and their sister Reema Kapoor walked past when the lead pair sang Main na rahoonngi, tum na rahoge, phir bhi rahengi yeh nishaaniya…

+ In Bobby, the scene where he first meets Dimple, is taken from real life. When Raj Kapoor met Nargis for the first time, she too smeared besan on her forehead.

PHOTO: NATASHA HEMRAJANI

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e’s a great actor. He can play anything convincingly – a business tycoon, a cool dude, a middle-aged man looking for love or a villain. Even when he plays a character with a negative shade, Rishi manages to make it look lovable. I am casting him as a villain who loves music in my film Kaanchi. Though we have always been in touch, as I believe in fostering my relationships, we are working together again after 32 years (after Karz). The role is quite complex. I sent Rishi the


Like A Diamond In The Sky A nostalgic, affectionate look at stardom over the decades, from singing star KL Saigal to superstars like Shah Rukh Khan Rauf ahmed

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stars, had leapt to stardom straight from a queue of ‘extras’ (now referred to as ‘junior artistes’). When the actor originally assigned to play the lead in the silent film Cinema Girl (1930) didn’t show up for the shoot on time, an affronted director, DP Mishra, asked the heroine of the film Ermaline (who was called India’s Clara Bow) to choose anyone from the queue of ‘extras’ lined up for work in the compound of Ardeshir Irani’s Imperial Studio. Her discerning eyes fell on a tall well-built young man with Greek God looks! And Prithviraj Kapoor became an overnight hero! In time, Kapoor went on to become an institution. As a matter of principle, he did not launch any of his relatives in films, not even his sons Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor! At best he showed them the way. It was good enough to produce one of the greatest actor-directors Hindi cinema has known in his son Raj Kapoor! Shammi Kapoor rose from the debris of 19 consecutive flops to become a real game-changer, turning the profile of the Hindi film hero on its head in the ’60s. He made him sing and dance and express his machismo overtly to give him a virile identity. The story of KL Saigal was more dramatic. He was a typewriter salesman who hopped from office to office selling Remington typewriters. Nobody imagined that he would one day drive the whole nation crazy with his singing! A Punjabi from Jullundur, Kundan Lal Saigal was an ordinary looking man. He lacked the macho demeanour which was so essential for a Hindi film hero of the time. Yet, it took him just three soulful bhajans to hit the marquee!

Amitabh Bachchan in a guest appearance in Piya Ka Ghar (1972). No one gave Bachchan a chance when he first came on the scene. They felt his tall, gawky bearing and awkward body language didn’t match a hero’s macho image. It took the unlikely role of a police officer in Zanjeer (1973) to make people sit up and take note of him

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

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t was the advent of the close-up which, I remember reading, first offered cinema the opportunity to individualise its anonymous players. Looks and presence might have had an enduring influence on the making of a star in the silent era, when physical attributes were of greater importance, but the question of what goes into the making of a star has forever eluded analyses. It certainly isn’t ‘talent’. There have been instances of ‘non-actors’ with no claims to histrionic potential making it to the marquee while brilliant actors have lived on the periphery struggling for an identity. Bluntly put, it’s about box office, the collections an actor can command blindly. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Only the public can make a star.” Nobody gave Amitabh Bachchan a chance when he first came on the scene. They felt his tall, gawky bearing and awkward body language didn’t match the macho image of the archetypal Hindi film hero. It took an unlikely role of a police officer to make people sit up and take note of him. Until about the turn of the ’70s, a police officer was never considered hero material in a commercial film, which explained why Inspector Vijay of Zanjeer had no takers for a long time. Those who rejected the role included such big names as Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Dharmendra and Raaj Kumar. When writers Salim-Javed had approached the late Dev Anand for the film, he was said to have wondered how a man in uniform could be a Hindi film hero. “Won’t people laugh if he sings and woos his girl in a park?” He had a point. But then, the guys who invented the character – Salim and Javed – had the last laugh. The concept of a star has always been an afterthought. Prithviraj Kapoor, one of the earliest


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6 1. Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-E-Azam (1960). The handsome actor was picked from a queue of ‘extras’ to play the hero in silent film Cinema Girl 2. Ashok Kumar with Leela Chitnis in Kangan (1939). Once rejected for his “awkward jaw-line,” Kumar went on to become a big star 3. Shammi Kapoor with Rajshree in Brahmachari (1968). He’s the actor who turned the hero’s image on its head 4. Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana (1969). That’s the film that catapulted Khanna to superstardom 5. Raj Kapoor in Sangam (1964). He was one of the greatest actor-directors Hindi cinema has ever known

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6. K L Saigal in Bhakta Surdas (1944). This golden-voiced singer-actor began his working life as a typewriter salesman!

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5 1. Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988). This love story was Khan’s debut, but he went on to do risky projects like Lagaan

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3. Raj Kumar and Nargis in Mother India (1957). Nargis rose to her full stature as an actress in this iconic film 4. Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in Karan Arjun (1995), one of the few films starring both actors 5. Hrithik Roshan in Koi... Mil Gaya (2003). It was a difficult role, playing a mentally challenged boy 6. Nutan in Kanhaiya (1959). This fine actress won numerous awards 7. Dilip Kumar in Azaad (1955). The Pathan from Peshawar became a legend

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Photo courtesy: Express Photo Archive

2. Ajay Devgn in Suhaag (1994). The actor proved his acting chops in subsequent films


Rajesh Khanna was said to have driven into the studio in his MG sports car on day one of his career, but KL Saigal’s lifestyle didn’t brook such luxury

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

A BA in English Literature, Dharam Dev Pishorimal Anand’s first job was at the military censor’s office at Churchgate in Bombay. He was never a great actor but his style fascinated the audience

New Theatres’ Puran Bhagat directed by Debaki Bose broke records as audiences across the nation kept coming back to theatres again and again to sing with Saigal. With a string of hits, Saigal went on to become India’s first superstar though nobody had heard of the term at the time. Rajesh Khanna was said to have driven into the studio in his MG Sports car on day one, but KL Saigal’s lifestyle didn’t brook such luxury. Considered ‘one of the highest paid stars of the time’, he drew a salary of `200 a month plus a daily allowance of `1. As his popularity kept zooming, he found it difficult to move around in public transport. When friends suggested he buy a car for himself, he found the idea ‘too expensive’. After a lot of thought, he chose to buy a mobike. One day he lost control and the bike toppled causing a traffic jam. That day on, people often watched the amusing spectacle of India’s biggest star being ‘chauffeured’ around on a mobike until he was forced to buy a car of his own. The next big star, Ashok Kumar had stardom thrust on him under bizarre circumstances. After his B.Sc., Ashok Kumar Ganguly had been dragged to Bombay Talkies by his brother-in-law (wife’s brother) S Mukherji, who was a part of Bombay Talkies, to work free in the studio lab to gain some experience. Ashok was spotted (carrying a bucket of water) by Himanshu Rai, the owner of Bombay Talkies, as a potential hero. Rai was desperately on the lookout for a young hero to complete Jeevan Naiyya which had been left incomplete after a major controversy. A shy Ashok Kumar was not keen on a career in acting. The most forbidding thought for him was romancing a woman in front of a camera and then being seen by the whole world. But Rai forced a screen test on him. Ashok saw an escape route when Bombay Talkies’ highly respected director, a German by the name of Franz Osten, rejected him because of his “awkward jaw-line”. Rai, however, overruled Osten and cast the young man opposite his wife Devika Rani in Jeevan Naiyya. The film was a hit, so was the next one, Achhut Kanya. And soon the Devika Rani-Ashok Kumar team became a rage. Jeevan Naiyya had remained incomplete because the original hero, a handsome young actor by the name of Najmal Hussain, had committed

the worst ‘crime’ any newcomer could have thought of. He had eloped with the heroine Devika Rani (who happened to be Himanshu Rai’s business partner besides being his wife), causing a major uproar. The two had fallen madly in love during the filming of the first few reels of the film. They were caught and Devika was forgiven and brought back to continue with Jeevan Naiyya opposite the new hero Ashok Kumar. Little was heard of Hussain after that.

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tars of the golden era might have been more discreet but they were adventurous when it came to affairs of the heart. A mention of Dilip Kumar brings back images of a beautiful Madhubala sending a red rose to him through her hairdresser with a fragrant hand-written note in Urdu asking him not to accept the rose if he didn’t love her. The two were to meet on the set of their first film together, Tarana. Though a bit taken aback, Dilip Kumar accepted the rose gracefully. Dilip was smarting under the painful breakup with ‘the only woman he had really loved’, Uma Kashyap, a beauty pageant winner from Mussoorie. She had been discovered by Chetan Anand and launched in his film Neecha Nagar, the first ever Indian film to win an international award at Cannes. Dilip had first met her on the sets of Nadiya Ke Paar and the two had hit it off like a house on fire. They acted together in three more films and all four were hits. Unlike most youngsters of his generation, Dilip Kumar had no interest in acting. He had barely seen a dozen films till he was into his twenties. One day he was in Nainital to buy fruits for his father’s business when he ran into Devika Rani. Dilip didn’t know who she was, but she saw a potential actor in the bright-eyed young man. She asked him if he would like to act in films. He said yes, looking at it as a job opportunity and agreed to meet her in Bombay. When she offered him a role in Jwar Bhata, he had merely looked at it as a job. The money would be handy since the family was going through a financial crisis at the time. But there was a major hurdle. How would he break the news to the family? His father was averse to children from respectable families acting in films. He would constantly ridicule his friend from Peshawar, Basheshwarnath Kapoor, whose son Prithviraj Kapoor had taken to acting. He called him a kanjar’s father (kanjar meant a pimp). Dilip’s only resort was to consult his elder brother Ayub Khan, whom he idolised. Ayub told the family that Yusuf (Dilip) had taken up a good job in the Glaxo company! summEr 2013 | Brunch collector’s edition |

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try his hand at national politics, filmmakers were left scurrying for an alternative formula to fill the huge vacuum. In hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise. It paved the way for a brave new breed of filmmakers charged with a desire to turn conventions on their heads. The transformation had a decisive impact not only on the kind of films made, but on the actors’ professional predilections as well. The new breed of actors led by Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan and others were not hung up on the so-called ‘positive’ roles. They were looking at characters with shades, with a human face. Very early in his career, Shah Rukh ventured to play ‘negative’ roles in Baazigar and Darr and then switched to a rollicking romantic musical like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

Hindi cinema has tended to undervalue woman power. But classics such as Guide wouldn’t have been what they are without their heroines

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akesh Roshan cast his son Hritik Roshan in a challenging but unconventional role in Koi... Mil Gaya. Aamir Khan risked making a Lagaan. Vivek Oberoi made his debut as a gangster in Company! The trend lured more and more talented actors, like Irrfan for instance, who pushed the envelope further. Even a young aspirant like Abhay Deol, bred in the cliché-ridden Bollywood milieu, dared to shun the stereotypical ‘khoon peejaonga’ syndrome to do a brilliant Dev D. Bollywood was coming of age. The paradigm shift influenced the actresses as well. A young Kareena Kapoor showed the gumption to play a prostitute in Chameli. Tabu played a bar dancer in Chandni Bar and Karisma Kapoor played a jealous mistress with shades of grey in Zubeida. Hindi cinema has always tended to undervalue woman power in star stakes. Nevertheless, classics like Mother India, Mughal-e-Azam, Guide, Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam and Bandini wouldn’t have been what they are without the presence of actors like Nargis, Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman, Meena Kumari and Nutan whose contribution in terms of depth and substance has been superlative. Nutan, who holds the record for winning the highest number of awards for acting among actresses, was credited with raising many a ‘smaller’ film to the next level with her sheer presence. Bimal Roy coaxed her to come out of her sabbatical after marriage to play the complex role of the protagonist in his Bandini. She justified his faith in her with a virtuoso-like performance. Around the same time she played an out-and-out whacky role opposite Dev Anand in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne.

Waheeda Rehman wasn’t the first choice to play the role of Rosie in Guide. (Vyjantimala was.) But Waheeda immortalised that role

Photos courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

Dharam Dev Pishorimal Anand was more focused on what he wanted in life. Armed with a BA in English Literature, he had landed in Bombay to seek his future. His first job was at the military censor’s office at Churchgate in Bombay on a salary of `150 a month. His job was to scrutinise letters written by Army personnel. He was blown away by the crazy rhapsodising letters Army guys wrote to their favourite stars. He wanted to receive such letters one day. Dev Anand got an insight into Bollywood through his older brother Chetan Anand who was associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (Ipta) those days. One day, he just gatecrashed into the office of Baburao Pai of Prabhat Studio and walked out with a role in the studio’s about-to-be-launched film Hum Ek Hain. Dev was never a great actor (though his filmography includes some great films) but his style fascinated the audience! With the sheer magnetism of his personality he outlived not only his contemporaries but generations that followed. Even as late as the ’70s, he came up with a blockbuster Johny Mera Naam, which completely eclipsed Raj Kapoor’s magnum opus Mera Naam Joker released on the same day! I remember an incident in the early ’70s when ‘superstar’ Rajesh Khanna was reigning supreme. While driving past a busy street, Dev’s Man Friday pointed to a hoarding of a Rajesh Khanna film and said, “He is the new superstar, the whole nation is crazy about him.” Dev merely nodded with his charming smile. Even as the glint lingered in his eyes, he added nonchalantly with his characteristic drawl, “Let’s talk about him after 20 years…haha…” Rajesh Khanna’s reign might have been a brief one, but nothing had shaken Bollywood as those cataclysmic four years did. It was like a tsunami. The ‘phenomenon’ was just inexplicable. Khanna might have acquired the sobriquet (of ‘superstar’) through a well orchestrated publicity blitz, but he sustained it convincingly by singing and cooing straight into the hearts of the audience in a series of films which exploited his irresistible guy-next door looks and charm. With his enormous power, Rajesh systematically demeaned the role of the director. In the long run the arrogance of power dragged him down into the dumps. After a tentative beginning, Amitabh Bachchan took over the legacy of superstardom in the mid-70s with a series of blockbusters starting with Zanjeer. During his extraordinary reign, the entire process of making films in Bollywood became subservient to his persona which had been once dismissed as unsuitable for stardom. When Bachchan moved out in the mid ’80s to


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1. Kareena Kapoor in Chameli (2003). She showed gumption when she played a prostitute early in her career 2. Jaya Bhaduri in Jawani Diwani (1972). She broke the mould of the coy heroine with her girl-next-door profile 3. Dev Anand with Waheeda Rehman in Guide (1965), one of the most significant films in the careers of both stars 4. Madhuri Dixit in Tezaab (1988). She carried Sridevi’s legacy to another level 5. Meena Kumari in Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). This beautiful actress came to a heart-rending end in real life too, just as she did in this film

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1. Madhubala in Kal Hamara Hai (1959). She was the stunning beauty women fans rooted for and men drooled over

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2. Zeenat Aman in Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980). She brought in the concept of a new Westernised heroine

Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

3. Dharmendra and Hema Malini in Aas Paas (1981). Hema ruled Bollywood for more than 12 years, until she married Dharmendra in the early ’80s and decided to go slow 4. Vyjayanthimala was the highest paid female star of the ’50s and the early ’60s. She was the only South Indian heroine to speak impeccable Hindi before Rekha 5. Dimple Kapadia with Rishi Kapoor in Bobby (1973). She could have cashed in on the phenomenal success of the film, but she got married to Rajesh Khanna

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Her link-up with Raj Kapoor in Sangam marked the end of the Vyjayantimala’s pairing with Dilip Kumar

Interestingly, Waheeda Rehman wasn’t the first choice to play the role of Rosie in Guide, immortalised by her. Vyjayantimala was. She had been picked for her impeccable credentials as a classical dancer. But one look at her and the director of the English version of the film, Tad Danielewski, said, ‘No’ in horror. “She is too fat”, he said, “the international market will not accept her.” That’s when Dev Anand asked Waheeda to step in – to play perhaps the best role of her distinguished career which included such films as Pyaasa, Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam, Chaudhvin Ka Chand and others.

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Sridevi in Jaag Utha Insaan (1984). A brilliant actress, she was among the first female stars to redefine the profile of the Hindi film heroine by gradually blurring the dividing line between the virtuous heroine and the vamp

yjayantimala was the highest paid female star of the ’50s and the early ’60s. Those were the days when only girls with ‘wholesome’ looks (whatever that meant) and dancing skills could make it to the top slot in Bollywood. She was the only South Indian heroine to speak impeccable Hindi before Rekha. Her coming together with Dilip Kumar in Devdas (1955) seemed to impact her acting acumen positively. She was outstanding in all the six films she did with Dilip, like Madhumati, Naya Daur and Ganga Jamuna. She was nominated for the best supporting actress in Devdas, which she declined saying she was the heroine of the film! Her link-up with Raj Kapoor in Sangam marked the end of the Vyjayantimala-Dilip Kumar pairing. The producers of their last film together, Sunghursh, had a tough time completing it as the two were not on talking terms. A Vyjayantimala look-alike, Hema Malini, who made her way to Bollywood in the mid-60s, stepped into the top slot by the early ’70s. She ruled there for more than 12 years, until she married Dharmendra in the early ’80s and decided to go slow. She was perhaps the most influential of the Numero Unos among actresses, the only heroine that slipping heroes reached out to, to steady their careers (Rajesh Khanna in Prem Nagar and Dev Anand in Warrant). The Hema Malini-Dharmendra pair negated the assumption that off-screen lovers make flop romantic teams on screen by notching up over 20 hits! The Rekhas, the Zeenats and the Parveens kept looking for chinks in her armour but Hema was steadfast in her mission! If anyone, Dimple Kapadia looked like breaking through in the wake of the phenomenal success of Bobby. But Rajesh Khanna dragged her to the altar. Any take on stardom in Hindi cinema cannot possibly forget a ‘tomboy’ who charmed the style icon of the ’60s, Shammi Kapoor, and married him after making him propose a hundred times! Geeta Bali was a unique blend of all the Photo courtesy: Kamat Foto Flash

Bollywood icons of the time and an outstanding comedienne. She came up with some sparkling performances in a wide range of films. As the legendary painter MF Husain, who used to be an avid filmgoer, once remarked, ‘Generations of actresses have been borrowing from Geeta Bali’s histrionic repertoire without ever acknowledging it!’ Meena Kumari led her audiences through pangs of pain once too often before meeting with a heart-rending end herself, as she did in her magnum opus Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam. You just can’t imagine another actress in the role she immortalised. Just as you can’t live down a magnificent memory like Madhubala’s. She was the woman fans rooted for and heroes drooled over. In the early ’50s, an American magazine, Theatre Arts, had described Madhubala as ‘the Biggest Star in the World’ who didn’t live in Beverly Hills. Nargis’ commitment to Raj Kapoor and his RK banner might have limited her growth as an actress, notwithstanding her impressive showing in an Awara and a Shree 420, but she didn’t bow out without rising to her full stature as an actress in her mentor Mehboob Khan’s iconic magnum opus, Mother India. In the ’70s, Jaya Bhaduri broke the mould of the coy heroine, who sashayed around in a bouffant, to assert her girl-next-door profile. Hers was a rare case of an actress creating a box office niche for herself on the strength of her performances. Around the same time, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi, followed by Tina Munim, gave the mainstream heroine a cosmetic makeover. They looked trendy and ‘with-it’ without violating the ‘moral code’. There was also Rekha, the eternal style icon, who looked beautiful no matter what role she played. Shabana Azmi and later Smita Patil did represent realism in a series of unconventional films. But the mainstream actors were apprehensive. Waheeda Rehman turned down Shyam Benegal’s Ankur because “Indian audiences don’t watch art films.” Ironically, Waheeda was the first mainstream heroine to play a ‘negative’ role in Guide. Sridevi, a brilliant actress who was often handicapped by her Hindi diction, was the first among female stars to redefine the profile of the Hindi film heroine by gradually blurring the dividing line between the virtuous heroine and the vamp. Madhuri Dixit carried forward her legacy and raised it to the next level. A single article is not enough to do justice to the stars who have lit up our cinema screens for so many decades. Our lives would be very dreary without the roles they performed, and without the riveting stories of their lives. h

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star index RANI MUKERJI AAMIR KHAN Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: JOHN MATHEW MATTHAN

AMITABH BACHCHAN

First noticed in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Aamir is known for films that shake public consciousness without compromising on commercial appeal. His Ghajini was the first film to make R100 crore at the box office.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: SHAAD ALI Making her debut in 1997 with Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat, Rani won critical acclaim in Black and commercial success in many blockbusters such as Yuva, Hum Tum, Veer Zara, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Talaash.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: KARAN JOHAR

AKSHAY KUMAR Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: VIJAY KRISHNA ACHARYA The action star studied martial arts and waited tables in Bangkok before turning to modelling and the movies. Best known for the the Khiladi franchise movies, Akshay has also displayed his comic timing in Tashan, Hera Pheri, Bhagam Bhaag, Welcome and Housefull.

Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood’s most iconic film star. He made his debut in 1969 with Saat Hindustani and has straddled the Hindi film industry like a colossus for four decades. He was the top star of the ’70s and the ’80s with films like Zanjeer and Sholay. After a professional dip in the ’90s, he resurrected himself with the hit TV show, Kaun Banega Crorepati.

AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN

HRITHIK ROSHAN

Photo: JATIN KAMPANI Text: PRAHLAD KAKKAR

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: RISHI KAPOOR

Winner of the Miss India and Miss World pageants in 1994, Aishwarya evolved into a formidable actress with films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Jodhaa Akbar. She has featured in international productions too.

Making his debut in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai in 2000, Hrithik is best remembered for Krrish, Lakshya and Jodhaa Akbar. His recent successes include Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the Agneepath remake.

PREITY ZINTA Photo: RAKESH SHRESTHA Text: SURILY GOEL

SHAH RUKH KHAN Photos: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: RANI MUKERJI Popularly known as Bollywood’s King Khan, the Los Angeles Times called Shah Rukh the world's biggest star. Global icon Shah Rukh is also the co-founder of production and animation companies and co-owns an IPL cricket team.

MADHURI DIXIT NENE

The model-turned-actor made her debut in 1998 with Dil Se. Best remembered for playing effervescent characters in Dil Chahta Hai and Salaam Namaste, Preity has also tasted significant box office success with Kal Ho Na Ho and Veer Zara.

AJAY DEVGN

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: ANIL KAPOOR

Photo: JITU SAVLANI Text: ROHIT SHETTY

A brilliant dancer, Madhuri was one of the biggest stars in the 1990s with hits like Tezaab, Saajan, Beta, Khalnayak, Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! and Dil To Pagal Hai. She has now made a comeback, in films and on TV.

Equally adept at intense roles as well as comic ones, the actor is best remembered for Gangaajal, Raajneeti, Omkaara and Zakhm, which won him the National Film Award for best actor in 1998.

SALMAN KHAN Photos: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: MADHURI DIXIT Bollywood’s original ‘bad boy with a heart of gold’, Salman debuted with Maine Pyar Kiya in the 1980s. After a few hits like Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!, Karan Arjun, Biwi Number 1 and Tere Naam, he saw a lull before resurrecting himself as one of the biggest stars today. Recent films like Wanted, Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger and Dabangg 2 have made Salman a box office phenomenon.

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KAJOL

KARISMA KAPOOR

PRIYANKA CHOPRA

Photo: COURTESY OLAY TOTAL EFFECTS BELIEVER Text: KUNAL KOHLI

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: SHIAMAK DAVAR

Photo: JATIN KAMPANI Text: ANURAG BASU

The daughter of actors Randhir Kapoor and Babita, Karisma’s hits include Dil To Pagal Hai, which won her the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1997. She made a comeback to films with Dangerous Ishhq (2012).

Priyanka won the Miss World title in 2000 and made her Bollywood debut in 2003. Her biggest hits include Dostana, Don 2 and Barfi!. She won a National Award for her portrayal of a troubled model in Fashion.

Her mother, maternal aunt, maternal grandma and maternal great grandmother were all stars. Considered one of Bollywood’s finest actresses, she is married to actor Ajay Devgn.

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NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: SUJOY GHOSH

DEEPIKA PADUKONE Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: HOMI ADAJANIA

KAREENA KAPOOR KHAN

This brilliant actor, an NSD alumnus, impressed critics by playing the foul-mouthed Intelligence officer in Kahaani, the don Faisal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur II and a petty criminal in Talaash.

After Deepika’s first film Om Shanti Om (2007), she has played a blind skater in Lafangey Parindey, a freedom fighter in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se and a bohemian in Cocktail.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: MANISH MALHOTRA

VIDYA BALAN

She belongs to the first family of Bollywood. Kareena first won acclaim in Chameli, where she played a sex worker. However, it was in 2007, when she appeared as the talkative Geet in Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met, that her popularity zoomed. Since then, she has scored hits with 3 Idiots, Bodyguard, Ra. One and Talaash.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: MILAN LUTHRIA

ARJUN RAMPAL

She made her debut in Parineeta (2005). Her portrayal of Silk Smitha in The Dirty Picture won her the National Award. Kahaani, featuring Vidya, was one of the biggest hits of 2012. She married UTV Motion Pictures CEO Siddharth Roy Kapur in December 2012.

RANBIR KAPOOR Photos: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: MANOJ BAJPAYEE

Debuting with Saawariya (2007), the versatile son of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh has played diverse characters, from a feisty salesman in Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, to an anguished rocker in Rockstar and a deafmute man in Barfi! (2012) .

Former model Arjun Rampal’s breakthrough performances came with films like Don - The Chase Begins Again and Rajneeti. He won a National Award for Best Supporting Actor in Rock On!!.

KATRINA KAIF Photo: RAKESH SHRESTHA Text: KABIR KHAN Katrina Kaif is one of the biggest female stars today, delivering hits such as Raajneeti, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Agneepath and Ek Tha Tiger. Also, her ‘item numbers’ Sheila ki jawaani and Chikni Chameli rocked the box office.

IRRFAN JOHN ABRAHAM Photo: COURTESY GRASIM Text: AYUSHMANN KHURRANA Model-turned-actor John Abraham debuted with Bipasha Basu in Jism (2003). But it was after his negative role in Dhoom (2004) that he really tasted success. He produced Vicky Donor, one of the biggest hits of 2012.

ANUSHKA SHARMA

SHAHID KAPOOR

Photo: JATIN KAMPANI Text: PRASAD BIDAPA

Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: PANKAJ KAPUR

She debuted with Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). However, Band Baaja Baraat (2010) was where Anushka left a big impression. She played a documentary filmmaker in Yash Chopra’s swan song Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012).

Known for his dancing, Shahid first appeared in music videos in the 1990s. Starting as a background dancer in Taal (1999), he made his acting debut with Ishq Vishk (2003). His roles in Jab We Met (2007) and Kaminey (2009) brought him much critical acclaim.

Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: TIGMANSHU DHULIA

SAIF ALI KHAN

Irrfan’s CV includes internationally acclaimed films such as The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi. In Bollywood he has made a mark in movies such as Life...in a Metro, Haasil and the National Award winning Paan Singh Tomar.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: PRADEEP SARKAR One of the top actors of the industry for over two decades, Saif’s big successes include Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Tum, Parineeta, Being Cyrus, Omkara and Love Aaj Kal. He is married to actor Kareena Kapoor.

MANOJ BAJPAYEE

FARHAN AKHTAR

Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: SANJAY GUPTA

Photo: RAFIQUE SAYED Text: SHABANA AZMI

Playing gangster Bhiku Mhatre in Satya won him the National Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998. Manoj also won the critics over with his role of Sardar Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur.

After directing hits like Dil Chahta Hai and Don, Farhan Akhtar went on to become an actor, singer and songwriter with Rock On!! (2008). He acts, sings, writes lyrics and directs with equal panache.

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star index PARINEETI CHOPRA Photo: GAURAV BHATT Text: MANISH SHARMA Priyanka Chopra’s younger cousin is a business management graduate from Manchester Business School. Her debut as a Delhi brat in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl (2011) and her role in Ishaqzaade (2012) won her many fans.

ABHISHEK BACHCHAN Photo: RAKESH SHRESTHA Text: ROHAN SIPPY Born to actor parents Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek made his debut in Refugee (2000). His big hits include Dhoom, Yuva and Guru (2007).

SONAKSHI SINHA Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: ABHINAV KASHYAP The daughter of actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, Sonakshi debuted in the blockbuster Dabangg (2010), opposite Salman Khan. Defying the anorexic look, Sonakshi made curvy look sexy again. Her luck at the boxoffice has continued with Rowdy Rathore, Son of Sardaar and Dabangg 2.

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: SHAKUN BATRA

KONKONA SEN SHARMA

AYUSHMANN KHURRANA

NASEERUDDIN SHAH

Photo: VINEET MODI Text: SHOOJIT SIRCAR

Photos: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: NEERAJ PANDEY

After hosting a few television shows, Ayushmann made his debut with Shoojit Sircar's Vicky Donor in 2012. It won him awards for best male debut as well as for best playback male singer for Pani da rang. He has also done Nautanki Saala!.

Regarded as one of the best actors of India, Naseeruddin Shah began his career in 1975 with Nishant. He has been honoured with the Padmashree, besides winning three National Awards.

EMRAAN HASHMI Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: RAJ KUMAR GUPTA Shedding the initial tag of a ‘serial kisser’, this actor with unconventional looks has built a reputation on the basis of solid performances in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, Shanghai and The Dirty Picture.

In 2010, Ranveer auditioned for the lead role of Band Baaja Baraat and got selected. He played a con artist in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl and he’s also done the period film, Lootera.

SHABANA AZMI

ARJUN KAPOOR SONAM KAPOOR Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: RAJSHREE OJHA Known for her sense of style, Sonam is the daughter of actor Anil Kapoor. Although Saawariya (2007), her debut vehicle, failed to make an impact, she won praise for Delhi 6.

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One of the most brilliant but underrated character actors in Bollywood, Arshad Warsi is best remembered for the Munnabhai MBBS series, Ishqiya and Jolly LLB.

One of the leading actresses of contemporary off-beat cinema, Konkona is best known for Mr and Mrs Iyer, directed by her mother Aparna Sen and Omkara, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

Imran debuted as a college-going romantic in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008). After a few flops, he has tasted commercial and critical success with Delhi Belly (2011) and Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola (2013).

Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: VIKRAMADITYA MOTWANE

Photo: JITU SAVLANI Text: ABHISHEK CHAUBEY

Photo: JATIN KAMPANI Text: IRRFAN

IMRAN KHAN

RANVEER SINGH

ARSHAD WARSI

Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: HABIB FAISAL Beginning as an assistant producer (No Entry) and assistant director (Kal Ho Naa Ho, Salaame-Ishq), Arjun finally made it as the male lead in Ishaqzaade (2012.) The son of producer Boney Kapoor won hearts with his impish smile and unkempt look in the movie. In Aurangzeb, he essays a double role.

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Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: VINAY SHUKLA

ABHAY DEOL Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA Text: NAVDEEP SINGH Actor Dharmendra’s nephew created his own fan base with off-beat roles in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Dev D and Shanghai. He was also part of Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

Considered one of the finest actresses of Hindi cinema, Shabana Azmi made her debut in 1974 with Ankur for which she won the National Award for Best Actress. She went on to give memorable performances in movies like Nishant, Sparsh and Mandi. She also tasted commercial success in Amar Akbar Anthony, Masoom and Arth.


OM PURI

SHILPA SHETTY KUNDRA

SANJAY DUTT

PARESH RAWAL

Photo: SURESH NATARAJAN Text: GOVIND NIHALANI

Photo: RAKESH SHRESTHA Text: SAROJ KHAN

Photo: AVINASH GOWARIKER Text: KARAN MALHOTRA

Photo: SANJAY GOHIL Text: KETAN MEHTA

A seasoned actor familiar to Indian and global audiences, the NSD alumnus starred in the ground-breaking cop film Ardh Satya. He has also featured in City of Joy and East is East,

She made her debut with Baazigar (1993). A good dancer, Shilpa has acted in many hits. Her flagging career got a boost when she won the British reality show Big Brother 5 in 2007.

The son of actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, Sanjay Dutt has been dogged by controversy. He is best remembered for Naam, Sadak, Saajan, Khalnayak, and the Munnabhai series.

After a career doing negative roles, Paresh Rawal has become the ‘go-to’ actor for comedy films. He has also won National Awards for the movies Sardar and Sir.

PANKAJ KAPUR

BIPASHA BASU

ANIL KAPOOR

RISHI KAPOOR

Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: KABEER KAUSHIK

Photo: RAFIQUE SAYED Text: NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI

Photo: JITU SAVLANI Text: ABHINAY DEO

Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Text: SUBHASH GHAI

One of the most versatile actors of the industry, he won a National Award for Best Supporting Actor in Maqbool. He also acted in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Maachis, The Blue Umbrella and Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola.

She made a smooth transition from model to actress. Bipasha’s strong performances first got noticed in Jism, No Entry, Dhoom and Corporate. Now, it's her work in the thriller and horror genre that’s become a talking point.

Anil Kapoor dominated Bollywod in the 1980s with hits such as Woh Saat Din, Mashaal, Mr India and Tezaab. Internationally, he has featured in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Bollywood’s eternal loverboy, who first made an impression in Bobby (1973), Rishi Kapoor has resurrected his career in the last few years with Do Dooni Chaar, Hum Tum, Love Aaj Kal and Agneepath.


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This is what stardom is all about! Shah Rukh Khan shakes hands with fans after winning the Maha Style Icon Award at the MTV Style Awards in Mumbai, 2007

PHOTO: SATISH BATE

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Brunch Collectors Edition Summer 2013  

Celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema with the 50 Top Bollywood Stars of our time.

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