Om Puri was very open about his life, says Manoj Bajpayee

Om Puri and Manoj Bajpayee

Om Puri and Manoj Bajpayee

At this point in time, awards don’t add or subtract anything from your career,” he announces, fanning our curiosity a tad bit. After all, the actor is fresh from two back-to-back Filmfare wins not just for his film, Aligarh, but also his short, Taandav. Manoj Bajpayee, posterboy of good cinema, lets us in on why award ceremonies are losing credibility, how he has never been to LA and the transitions he noticed in Bengali cinema. In town to promote Naam Shabana, he opens up on Om Puri’s final words to him. Excerpts:

You’ve lost quite a bit of weight. Is it for Naam Shabana?
I am trying to get into some kind of shape for a film that I’m doing next. I can’t talk about it right now; the makers are keeping it a secret…

It’s been debated if Naam Shabana is a prequel to Neeraj Pandey’s Baby…
It’s a spin-off. A prequel is about all the characters and what they had done earlier. Here, it’s about Shabana (Taapsee Pannu), who we see in a bit role in Baby. The film is about how she was spotted by the intelligence department and what they saw in her and her relationship with the department. It’s a very nice back story that writer-producer Neeraj Pandey discovered. It’s an extraordinary journey of an extraordinary girl.

So, you play the chief of the intelligence department. A lot has already been written about how it comes close to your character in Special 26. How similar/dissimilar are the two?
They are diametrically opposite to each other. The only similarity is the moustache and it stops right there. My character in Special 26, Wasim, a CBI officer, is a very conservative husband and a doting father; he is always full of himself, who thinks he is way ahead of others in terms of intelligence. Then, he is proven wrong. Wasim laughs at himself for being proven a fool. Here, the intelligence officer is a sharp guy, he thinks 10 steps ahead. His only interest is the national security. He is the one who spots Shabana. There’s not an iota of emotion in him. The challenge was that I had to deliver more than 150 lines without showing any emotion. I had to use my craft to a considerable extent.

Casey Affleck got the Best Actor award at the Oscars this year for his subdued performance in Manchester by the Sea. Are you hinting at his style of acting?
You can see so many things going on in Casey Affleck’s mind. His character is not unemotional; he comes across as
disturbed. The chaos that is there in his mind is visible. With Ranveer, my character, there’s no chaos but complete clarity. He has no personal agenda; it’s always the nation.

You must have liked Baby a lot…
I loved it; I missed being there. The reason for doing this film is also Neeraj Pandey, he is such a unique writer-filmmaker. He is one of the most successful directors of our country. Whatever he touches turns into gold. Here, he is the writer and also looked after the entire project. His mind intrigues me — how he can choose such unconventional ideas and turn them into mainstream subjects. It’s no small task and he always comes out with flying colours. Who wouldn’t want to work with him!

You also did a short film with him, Ouch, and a few more with a couple of other filmmakers. Do you see a short-film revolution taking shape
in Bollywood?

Last year, I did three short films — Taandav, Kriti and Ouch. It was my wife’s (Neha) idea that I do a short film. I still keep thanking her for that. She said if you do that, everyone will take this medium seriously. We were talking; we talk a lot on quite a few aspects. Today, everyone is making a short film. Every famous actor/director wants to delve into it. When I gave the idea to Shirish Kunder, he started thinking. He thought if Manoj is ready to do it, let’s go ahead and make a short film. He was surprised by his own ability. Debashish Makhija, who directed Taandav, is also a great talent; he will soon be directing me in a film. When I discovered his talent, I wanted to explore it. He is from Kolkata. Neeraj Pandey is also from Kolkata. Now see, I have a great Kolkata connect!
After a gap of a few years, when you won a Filmfare Award for Aligarh, the whole country was rooting for you…
It was humbling for an actor. Eventually, if you listen to the audience carefully, you will know that they want the award functions to be credible. I am happy that Filmfare took a step in that direction —by not just giving me the Best Actor award but also including the short film category, where too I got an award for Taandav. I hope others follow suit. At this point in time, no awards in this country add or subtract anything from your career. They don’t add value to it.
What about the National Film Awards?
They give you respect. National Film Awards are prestigious, as you are being honoured by the president himself. But even those awards have been questioned. The Indian awards need to meet the expectations of the public and they can do that only by being transparent and credible. You need to add great jury members. I am not saying that they favour anyone. The awards today have become events. Now one has to take the event bit out of the awards and make them more of an award function. Only then will the public start respecting the awards.

You did a one-minute role in Drohkaal and later on, worked with Om Puri in a few other films like Chakravyuh and Ghaath. His untimely demise must have come as a huge shock…
It’s a huge loss not just for the film industry, but also his family and friends like me. It’s very rare that a great actor is a great human being and he was a combination of this rarity. He always sat with me. He was very open about his life and never shied away from telling us what he felt on a personal level. He gave us the liberty to ask him to lose weight or to give us more films like Ardh Satya and Aakrosh. He was trying hard to get hold of a DVD of Aligarh till the time he died. He told me he would buy one. He tried to watch the film while he was travelling, but could not, as he had a busy schedule. He would call me at midnight and say sorry that he couldn’t watch the film.

You said that should there be a film on him, you will be best-suited to play his character…
I said that in a very humorous way. The journalists were asking who I think would be best-suited to play the role
and I said no one can play it better than me. It was a joke. I didn’t mean it. I felt bad that the harmless statement made headlines everywhere. Right now,
we are finding it hard to cope with the loss. To talk about a film on him is talking too soon. But yes, his life deserves to be documented as it’s quite an inspiration. I am inspired by his life and films.

Om Puri made it to the West and others followed suit. Do you have any such ambition of acting in international projects?
This year, I did a film called Love Sonia, which was shot in India. A film on trafficking, it’s an American production. I play a negative role in the film. Beyond that, I have not made any effort to get into that industry. I have never been to LA… Tomorrow if any good role comes my way, I will definitely be part of it.

Who are the GenNext actors that you look forward to?
I am very fond of Kangana Ranaut’s acting. I have been following her graph since Gangster and she is only growing as an actor. Everyone knows Tabu is a great actor and I have been part of a film with her called Missing, produced by Neeraj. I am waiting for its release. These are the two actors that I am really fond of. Rajkummar Rao, who is a dear friend, has a great lineup this
year and Nawaz is balancing both the worlds very well. There are too many people to learn from and look up to. I have not seen The Waiting yet. It stars Naseeruddin Shah and I really look up to him.

You have been to Kolkata many times. Are you clued into the films churned out by the Bengali film industry?
Yes, as an actor and a film personality, I am always updated on regional cinema and look out for cutting-edge stuff. The Bengali film industry has gone through many transitions — from parallel and niche to completely commercial. Now again, some very serious minds are coming into Bengali cinema. The only way an industry can move forward is
by encouraging all kinds of films; let them co-exist. The commercial cinema brings in money and the experimental movies put sense into every department. The balance should be there. This is what the Indian film industry has achieved recently and it’s a boon for actors like me.

Talking about Shah Rukh Khan, you recently said some actors are born with stardom…
You can’t inculcate charisma; some are lucky to have it. When I was in Kolkata to promote Aks with Mr Bachchan, my mind was completely blown. I saw thousands of people lining up on both sides of the road, waving at him. I was in his car and such incidents only humble you. It makes you think others have qualities you don’t have…

While on stardom, one last question. When did you sign your first autograph?

I had done a play, Suno Re Kissa, for Barry John, which was televised. It came on Doordarshan. I was in Mumbai to conduct a workshop with children and was crossing a narrow lane. A few kids came running to me and asked if I was the same guy.

I said yes and two of them promptly asked for my autograph. It was some 23 years back…

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The audience and the industry have given me a place that’s beyond any number: Prosenjit

Prosenjit Chatterjee

Prosenjit Chatterjee

Tollywod badshah Prosenjit Chatterjee’s energy is contagious. And he proved that again during an exclusive photoshoot with us. The actor travelled the length of Kolkata, but his energy didn’t drop at any point during the sultry day. Ahead of the release of Birsa Dasgupta’s One, the actor spoke to us about playing an antagonist, how the Bengali film industry needs both parallel and mainstream cinema to survive and his undying hunger for good roles. Excerpts:

What prompted you to take up the role of Aditya Sen, the antagonist in One?

I wanted to essay an out-and-out negative character — something I haven’t done in my career. In Baishey Srabon, I wasn’t an evil man (smiles). When Birsa narrated the script to me, I was kicked because the story wasn’t run-of-the-mill and the script was smart. Aditya Sen is unpredictable. He plays mind games and a does a lot of talking through his eyes and body language. He’s evil to the core, but wears the veil of a Padmashree Award-winning scientist. You know why the audience likes detective films? Because when they watch those films, they start participating in the mystery. One is such a movie and I hope the audiences will love it.

Tell us about the film.
The story revolves around a passionate police officer Ronojoy (Yash Dasgupta), who wants to destroy corrupt people. It’s a cat and mouse game between two very powerful people who are devoid of emotions. Aditya is an evil genius, who wants to reach the top of the food chain. Ronojoy, too, wants to be on top but he’s a better person. The film is about their tussle, mind games and a lot more.

One is the remake of Tamil thriller Thani Oruvan. Did you hesitate before taking up on a project that’s not original?
The way Birsa has treated the story — the script, direction and editing — it has the feel of a new story. He’s added a touch of Bangaliana to it. To be honest, I haven’t watched the original film because acting is something you don’t copy from others. Every movie is inspired from something and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in it.

Bikram Singha, your last commercial venture, didn’t fare well at the box office. Does that make you jittery about One?
Bikram Singha was a well-made film but sadly, didn’t do well at the box office. But I’m confident about One because it’s a performance-based film. Every actor has their space to perform. I enjoyed working with a young team. Today’s intelligent youngsters will love this film. It’s high time that we broke the myth that some films are made for the suburbs and some for urban audiences. That’s ridiculous! All films are commercial — whether or not they make money. I hope the film is enjoyed by all.
Rituparno Ghosh, one of the finest directors of all time and a dear friend, used to visit the sets of Swapan Saha and Haranath Chakraborty to meet me. He would tell me, ‘If these films don’t do well at the box office, we artsy directors won’t survive in the industry.’ Commercial films have to sustain to back parallel films. Sosurbari Zindabad, Amar Sangi, Beder Meye Josna are all blockbusters that ran for 50-60 weeks in Kolkata. What the industry needs is good content. Was Praktan an art film? But its content worked in its favour. Whenever a commercial movie fails, we look to blame its failure on someone. What we fail to understand is that cinema is for different target groups. Swapan Saha never cared about critical acclaim while Buddhadeb Dasgupta made films for a niche audience. Does that make either of them any less a director? We need to have both commercial and parallel films to run the industry.

What is the pressure like to be the number one actor in the Bengali film industry?
There’s a lot of pressure. But I know how to live with it — it’s part of my life. The pressure motivates me to do better. But now I feel I’ve crossed the stage of being numbered. The audience and the industry have given me a new place that’s beyond any number. It’s overwhelming.
The audience also expects a lot from you with every film. How difficult is it to live up to their expectations? Do you ever feel like quitting it all?
Never. The day I feel that way, I’ll opt out of the profession myself. I enjoy what I do and with each film that I sign, I feel like a debutant. I’m willing to learn from the newer generation to enrich my art.

Despite being the most sought-after actor, you’re one of the most reasonable actors when it comes to the paycheck. A few actors charge a bomb and won’t negotiate on money matters. What’s your take on it?
(Laughs) Perhaps they deserve that kind of money and I don’t? Jokes apart, even after acting in 340 films, I never think about anyone else’s remuneration because that’s unethical. I only charge the amount that I believe I deserve or I’m certain the producers can make from the film. If producers are safe, we are safe too. I know how to assess myself. I remember the time when my film Mayer Anchol was a blockbuster and so was Mithun Chakraborty’s Minister Fatakesto. So many producers came and asked why I was charging half the amount that Mithunda was asking for. I told them Mithun Chakraborty is an actor who’s nationally known and is doing only a handful of Bengali films that he chooses to. I belong to the
industry and hence charge reasonably. I’ve given so many hits over the years but not one producer can say I demand a hefty amount.

The industry, it seems, is not at its best phase…

It’s a phase that’ll pass. In the past 33 years, I’ve heard this almost 8-10 times over. Filmmaking is an unpredictable profession and that’s the charm of it. I believe good content, new faces, small budgets and flexible actors and directors will help the industry grow by leaps and bounds. Indo-Bangladesh projects are encouraged these days. The condition of single screen theatres has to improve as well. Now, with web series and entertainment options right on our smartphones, actors and directors are fighting to bring the audiences to the theatres.

Who do you think will take your place as Tollywood’s badshah?
The young generation is doing good work and everyone possesses some unique creative strength. Yash, Ankush, all are doing good work. Abir (Chatterjee) has matured with age, but people have a pre-conceived notion that he’s apt for parallel films while Yash is for mainstream films. Why don’t we have a role reversal? Srijit Mukherji attempted to do this with Zulfiqar.

Was Yash intimidated by you during the course of the film?
You can ask him that! I try to maintain a friendly atmosphere on sets so that work gets done smoothly. On a film set, I’m not Bumbada but a co-actor to a junior artiste too. I take 10 minutes to do my makeup and get ready. I feel Yash will go a long way — he’s hardworking, dedicated, has a fresh onscreen presence and a good command over Bengali.

But people will compare him with you…
That’s unfair! Just like it wasn’t right when the audience compared me with Soumitra Chatterjee. Every actor grows with experience. Yash has just started his career and I’m sure he will excel with time.

After Ruby Roy, the widow of accident victim Sanjay Roy lodged an FIR against a private hospital, the government is taking stern actions against treatment issues in private hospitals. One, we hear, also deals with such issues?
The film does have a social message. However, it is not a political film. It touches upon illegal rackets in hospitals, bill discrepancies and how the poor fights for their rights. What the government is doing in the state is a great initiative. I hope more people are benefitted from it.

Last year you won many accolades for Gautam Ghose’s Shankachil. How much do awards matter to you?

Before signing any project, I ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this film? What will I add to it?’ If I get a positive answer, only then I give my nod. Praktan is a successful film and I’ve done a pretty good job in it. But when it comes to awards for a performance, Shankachil was more deserving. I’m happy when I get an award for a film that deserves it. But the audience’s appreciation means a lot to me — even more than awards.

Rituparno Ghosh, Goutam Ghose and Srijit Mukherjee are known to extract the best of your acting skills…

Rituparno was a master director and a very dear friend. I was his protege. Goutam Ghose, on the other hand, has always given me offbeat characters to play. Only he can get an urban hero, as good looking as me, to play Lalon Fakir in Moner Manush (laughs)! As for Srijit, he’s sure of what he wants from an actor. He’s like a smart professor — in his debut project, Autograph, he signed up the best student to play a challenging character! When the student delivered a stellar performance, the professor was brimming with pride. All three of these directors have different formulas for a hit movie.

And what about Birsa Dasgupta?

He knows me well. If we work together in few more films, we’ll understand each other’s creative strengths better.

Rumours are abuzz that you are doing a film that’s directed by Churni Ganguly…

(After a pause) Well, I might. It’s too early to talk about it. But yes, talks are on.

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Here’s How Geeta Phogat Reacted After Watching Her Character In Dangal

Babita Phogat, Aamir Khan and Geeta Phogat

Babita Phogat, Aamir Khan and Geeta Phogat

Aamir Khan‘s nail biting and anxiety paid off as Dangal opened to full theatres last week and is garnering appreciation from all quarters of the country. Apart from the talent treasure, Aamir, the film has been praised for its plot, and the phenomenal acting by the girls – Fatima Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra .

The film follows the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his journey of training two of India’s most acclaimed woman wrestlers, Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. What, then, was the reaction of the real life stars on watching themselves in reel life? Speaking to IndiaToday, Geeta Phogat (portrayed by Fatima Sheikh) revealed that she despised watching the scene when she wrestled against her own father, as it brought back bitter memories. She said:

I did not enjoy watching that scene a lot as I realised how I treated my father and that I started thinking that I am some pahalwan (heavyweight). I did not like that scene as I got emotional watching it. It is not that I wrestled only once with my father, he used to test us in the akhada often. But I loved watching the entire movie.”

That particular scene was definitely an emotional ride!

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Before season 10 begins, take a look at the TRP chart of Bigg Boss over the years

Bigg Boss

Bigg Boss

Bigg Boss, India’s biggest reality show, has managed to keep its audience hooked to their television screens throughout its nine seasons through its ugly fights, manipulative games, back-bitching and voyeurism. This year, as we all know, is going to be extra special with celebs and ordinary citizens sharing the same house. Last year’s TRPs were not that great and that is why it is very important for the show makers that this season works. And now that there are just few hours left for the premiere episode of Bigg Boss 10 to begin, let us take you through a memory ride of how the show has fared on the TRP charts previously.

Bigg Boss season 1

Hosted by the Bollywood Actor Arshad Warsi, Bigg Boss in 2006 was the first season of the reality TV show. Rakhi Sawant’s over the top drama combined with the the love angle between Anupama Verma and Aryan Vaid helped the show get an average of 2.72 TRP.

Bigg Boss season 2

Shilpa Shetty replaced Arshad Warsi as the host in the second season. Rahul Mahajan’s voyeuristic ways, Payal Rohatgi’s sensuous image and Sambhavna Seth’s controversial fights remained the highlight of the season. The show topped the rating charts with 3.02 TRP in its last week due to a voluntary exit by Rahul Mahajan.

Bigg Boss season 3

Hosted by Amitabh Bachchan, the third season of Bigg Boss gave birth to a phenomenon called Kamal Rashid Khan! KRK, Claudia Ciesla, Sherlyn Chopra, Raju Srivastav,Vindu Dara Singh remained the most talked about celebs of the house.  Kamal’s re-entry in the house gave the show a great boost, fetching it 3.06 TRP in the finale week.

Bigg Boss season 4

Hosted by Salman Khan, this season is till date the highest TRP grosser in the history of Bigg Boss. The fact that this season was longer than its predecessors and lasted for 14 weeks (96 days) explains it further. Bunty’s controversial ejection, Ssara Khan and Ali Merchant’s marriage, Dolly Bindra’s abuses, Shweta Tiwari’s maturity and most of all Salman Khan’s entry as the host worked wonders for this season. The show shut on a TRP of 6.70!

Bigg Boss season 5

Sunny Leone’s entry into the Bigg Boss house surely gave an amazing opening to the season with 4.30 TRP but Sanjay Dutt’s hosting among other factors like absence of any volatile personalities stopped it from becoming as big a hit as its predecessor.

Bigg Boss season 6

Salman Khan, who was the host of fourth season, returned as the host for the show. The sixth season was launched as a Parivarik season with a Gujarati tagline- Alag che! The love triangle between Sana Khan-Rajeev Paul-Delnaaz Irani and ugly fights between Imam Siddique and Sapna Bhavnani fetched the show an average of 3.81 TRP. The sixth season fared better than its predecessors as it shut down on a whopping 4.40 TRP, which was the highest in the non-fiction category in the finale week.

Bigg Boss season 7

Hosted by Salman Khan, seventh season is touted to be the most controversial season in the history of Bigg Boss. Guuhar Khan and Kushal Tandon’s love story, Ajaz Khan’s changing loyalties, Tanisha Mukherjee and Armaan Kohli’s coochi-cooing, Pratyusha Banerjee and Kamya Panjabi’s bonding and to top it all Elli Avram’s sweetness lent the show an average of 4.32 TRP, slightly less than the fourth season which has been the highest TRP grosser till date.

Bigg Boss season 8

Post Salman Khan’s sudden exit from Bigg Boss 8, filmmaker Farah Khan was roped in to host the Bigg Boss Halla Bol series.  Karishma Tanna and Upen Patel’s love story, Gautam Gulati’s sympathy game and Puneet Issar’s anger management journey fetched the show an average TRP of 3.28. The show suffered hugely from Salman’s exit.

Bigg Boss season 9

Bigg Boss 9, also known as Bigg Boss: Double Trouble, is remembered as the worst seasons in the history of Bigg Boss. Neither Kishwerr Merchant and Suyyash Rai’s love story nor Rochelle Rao and Mandana Karimi’s hotness could save the show from tanking. However Shah Rukh Khan’s episode (for the promotions of Dilwale) got a TRP rating of 2.9 for the show, which was one of the highest that the ninth season saw.

So what do you think ? Will the tenth season be able to surpass the TRPs of its previous seasons ? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below. And yes don’t forget to come to BollywoodLife for more updates on Bigg Boss 10!


I would love to go NUDE onscreen, says Harshvardhan Kapoor

Harshvardhan Kapoor

Harshvardhan Kapoor

The first thing that strikes me about Harshvardhan Kapoor is how open he is about his life, choices, and thoughts. He speaks his mind, much like his elder sister, Sonam. It could also be because he’s a debutant (his first film is the upcoming Mirzya, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra), untouched by the cynicism that comes with being a B-Town veteran. Over the course of our chat, one thing is clear, this newbie wants to do cinema that matches his sensibilities and doesn’t compromise on his beliefs. Here are a few excerpts…

How is a Mirzya different from the debut films of a Ranbir Kapoor or a Varun Dhawan’s?

When Mehra narrated Gulzar’s script to me, I realised that I was getting a chance to be a part of something so poetic, and beautiful, which also suits my personality. Also, I felt Mehra was correct when he said that I was right for the cinematic world that he built up in terms of my facial and physical characteristics. I feel that when you tell a story with honesty in your heart and mind, you work hard and your intentions are good, that will somewhere connect with the audience.

Your father’s and your own sensibility towards films are very different. How do you guys converse about films?

I think my dad’s sensibilities keep changing over time. So does everybody else’s. We both look for certain things. I think he looks more for things that constantly keep you engaged. I look for moments that linger, that grow and that seep into you and make you think about the film three or four days after. I particularly enjoy the kind of film which leave you a little bewildered and later you are like, ‘Oh, that was interesting!’

Is there any film that has left a solid impression on you?

There is a film called Badlands starring Martin Sheen, directed by Terrence Malick. I love Malick’s films because he tells stories visually. Dialogue is only used when it has to be. Otherwise, a lot of films tend to get very talky. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; it’s a great thing for films that require that.

But I am saying it’s an audio-visual medium. Today, when you have Netflix, and torrents, you have to entice the audience to go and watch the film on the big screen and have an audio-visual experience. I feel, Malick does that. A lot of people might not like it, but I do. For me, beautiful imagery and music and those things keep me involved and I can feel an emotional story through that. Mirzya’s way of telling a story is very similar, very visual and musical.

How much will you rely on your dad’s advice when it comes to picking films?

As an actor, everybody has a different heart and mind. For example, you might read a scene and I might read a scene and my instincts will be different in terms of how I would like to play the scene. And your first instinct when you read something, only happens once. Immediately after that, it gets contributions from a lot of thoughts, by a lot of insecurities, preconceived notions and so, when it comes to creativity, I never listen to anybody. First, I’d like to read something and react to it my way and after I’ve done it, show it to people I trust. But that first instinct is normally the right one. I can’t tell you how many times in Bhavesh Joshi or Mirzya, I have done something for the first time, tried around four takes and gone back to the first take. I think it’s a common thing with a lot of actors because then, you start thinking. Then, that’s not necessarily always a good thing.

Your reaction when someone says, ‘How can Anil’s son and Boney’s nephew not make his debut in a masala film?’

I think it’s fantastic. It’s one thing to sit here and say you know I want to do this kind of film, but to actually go out there and do it and put your neck on the line, to do those characters that we all aspire to do… to actually get down to doing it, it takes your life. Mirzya and Bhavesh Joshi are both those kinds of films. When you see Mirzya, it’ll all be worth it. I think it’s a great place to be. It’s scary. Because I can’t promise anybody only commercials.

How are you handling the pre-release jitters?

In terms of creative expectations, I am not stressed because I have immense confidence in what we have achieved. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, time and patience and rejection. But when I watch myself in the film, I am happy and if my director is happy as well, that’s a good sign.

Name a contemporary actor whose work you’ve admired over the last few years.

Ranbir Kapoor. Also, if you ask me to name an actor whose filmography I would like to have, there is nobody. But I would like a couple of films from actors’ filmographies. Like Barfi! from Ranbir, Delhi Belly from Imran, I see myself there. Ditto with Ranveer Singh in Lootera, Abhay Deol in Dev.D and Abhishek Bachchan in Delhi-6.

Any films this year you wish you had done?

I would have liked to play Shahid Kapoor’s character in Udta Punjab. Or Fawad Khan’s character in Kapoor & Sons. I think Shahid was outstanding in Udta Punjab, please tell him that!

Has anybody told you that you resemble Dev Patel from The Lion?

I get Andrew Garfield a lot.

Your dad has worked with Tom Cruise and Danny Boyle, do you see yourself working in a Hollywood project ?

I would like to have some success locally first. But my whole trip in life is to tell Indian stories because there are so many and they all deserve to be told. And I don’t think I see myself spending too much time there to be completely honest with you, although I love it. I feel very good and comfortable to be home, I love the people here.

What advice has your cousin Arjun given you on Mirzya?

He has only seen the trailers so far. His advice was that we should have put out more of the story. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. We have a certain way of marketing the film. Whether it pays off or not, I don’t know. But I think he likes the trailers, he just wants to know more.

What is your strategy about handling the attention that is going to come your way in terms of your personal life, who you are dating, seen with, etc.?

I don’t think anyone is interested in my personal life. I don’t have a girlfriend. I have not had a serious girlfriend for a very long time. I have been making Mirzya for three years. I didn’t have the time.

Going with the ‘I am focusing on my work right now’ cliche?

No. If I meet a girl and fall in love, my priorities might change. I am very open to it and anything in life, really. But I like the single thing. It’s fun. I get to do my films properly. If I meet a girl where I feel like okay it can’t really get better than this, let’s go with it, I might do fewer films, might buy a small house somewhere in Goa.

Would you ever date an actress?

Hundred per cent! Why not? They are beautiful, they are talented, you share common interests. Why would I not date one? They do the same thing as you, so they understand why you may not be able to reply to their messages and take their calls immediately. So…

But over dinner, won’t you both be discussing work?

Not necessarily. Once you have confidence in each other and you are into each other, the conversations open up.

Who have you had a crush on over the years?

I have had my share of poster girls. Priyanka Chopra, for sure. We have a personal friendship and all. So PC is my number one locally and then abroad, would be there are so many incredible women. There is a model called Kelly Gale. I think she has a boyfriend. She is Swedish-Australian and half-Indian, too! I think she is, right now, one of the most beautiful women in the world. And Saiyami Kher is the most beautiful actress in Bollywood right now.

Are you consciously staying away from hardcore commercial films?

Mirzya is completely ready for release. Bhavesh Joshi is half-ready. I am doing a third film, which I cannot talk about it. I have indulged myself to a certain extent with my first three choices. After that, I will see where I am in terms of my career, because I am an honest and practical person. If I feel I need to do a film where I need to reach a slightly wide audience, if my first three films fail to do so and if I can’t make it, maybe they will. Or maybe I won’t need to, maybe I’ll do one Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani or even an Aashiqui 2. That is as far as I want to go. I can see myself in a Yeh Jawaani…

What is your take on screen nudity?

I am dying to do nudity. I would love to do it. How can we have censorship over it? We are artists and we need to tell our stories in the best way possible. If I am playing a guy who is being tortured, I am not being naked to show off my body, I am being naked because people are tortured in that state. If you cut that scene, how will we make the film?

A four-star review, box-office figures, your dad’s compliment or Mehra’s pat on the back. On release day, what would make you the happiest?

The four-star review. I’ll tell you why, because Mehra and I have had many of those pat-on-the-back moments already. I am sure once the film releases, we’ll have more. Dad has seen the film, so I have had that. Also, the box-office figures are beyond our control. It comes down to so many things. I am an actor and am not in control of those things.

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Slays Cannes Red Carpet in Traffic-Stopping Dress


Despite her professed sartorial unpreparedness, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan picked the perfect dress for her first red carpet appearance at Cannes this year on Friday. The 42-year-old star shimmied down the Croisette in a metallic sheath overlaid by a sparkly floor-length cape.

It was a brave choice for Aishwarya, who rarely experiments with her look ? not least because the dress was created by Kuwaiti designer Ali Younes, not Elie Saab, Roberto Cavalli, Armani or any of the other couturiers Ash has worn with great success in the past.

She stopped Cannes in its tracks. Aishwarya was attending the screening of the film Ma Loute.

Massively busy with her new film Sarbjit, Aishwarya has had little time to prepare for what is a Cannes milestone for her – this is the 15th year she will be at the film festival.

Aishwarya and her four-year-old daughter Aaradhya arrived in Cannes on Friday afternoon, just hours before walking the red carpet.

Before leaving Mumbai, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan told the press that she hadn’t decided on a dress yet and wasn’t losing sleep over it. “Troll me as much as you like,” she said.

Aishwarya’s delayed departure has been due to Sarbjit, which she has been busy promoting. She’s also going to have to skip the amfAR Gala which she attends annually – Sarbjit releases on May 20 and the Gala is to be held on May 19. Aishwarya’s vacant spot will be filled by her colleague Sonam Kapoor.

Sarbjit, which is directed by Omung Kumar, is an important film for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It is her second film after last year’s poorly-received Jazbaa – which was the movie that marked her return after a five-year break – and the trailer of the film has generated very good press for the actress’ performance.

She stars as Dalbir Kaur, the sister of Indian farmer Sarabjit Singh who died in a Pakistani prison. Randeep Hooda plays the titular character and Richa Chadha appears as his wife.

The Cannes Film Festival, which began on May 11, has already seen major stars such as George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart attend, as well as L’Oreal ambassadors Julianne Moore, Eva Longoria and Naomi Watts. Sonam, who walks the red carpet on May 14 and 16, is in London en route Cannes.

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What is Katrina Kaif’s Fitoor? Here’s the Answer



Katrina Kaif is leaving no stone unturned in promoting her upcoming Fitoor. From TV appearances, interviews, photo ops and promotional activities, Katrina has been holding fort quite well.

So, from an impromptu shopping gig at Delhi’s bustling Janpath, Katrina and her Fitoor co-star Aditya Roy Kapur, walked the ramp for designer Tarun Tahiliani’s Spring Summer 2016 collection. Looking stunning in a white chiffon drape, which flattered her slim silhouette, Katrina admitted that her ‘Fitoor‘ was her gym and she loved working out.

Though a self-confessed foodie, Katrina said: “I feast when I am happy and lose my appetite when I am stressed.”

The actress, who has been inundated with questions pertaining to her personal life, said: “I don’t let my personal life affect my professional life and vice versa. It’s important to strike a balance.” Something, which she is very good at.

Though, her co-star Aditya admitted that very often one wondered what Katrina was thinking.

Katrina, laughing, said, “Come on. If you see me in that zone, you have to realize that there is some tragic or dramatic film unfolding in my head. I get lost in my thoughts and people think its arrogance.”

After Delhi, team Fitoor will head to Jaipur, where Aditya plans to woo Katrina in true Aashiqui style with a truck full of roses.


These Beautiful Photos Of Deepika Padukone & Ranbir Kapoor Are Killing Us Softly!


As if their trek to Shimla and the destination wedding in Udaipur in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaniwasn’t enough to make us crave a lifelong holiday – Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are giving us #travelgoals yet again! The duo has been shooting across various gorgeous locations in Corsica, France and some parts of India for Imtiaz Ali‘s Tamasha. And gosh, their photos are giving us a serious case of wanderlust! Recently, two more stills from the sets have started doing the rounds online. Check out these beautiful clicks.



I ’m sure the two had the time of their lives while shooting in these picturesque destinations. <3 #Jealous.

After seeing these photos, all I want to do is pack my bag and travel. For life. If only.

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Whoaaa! Gauri Khan Is Taking Her Design Label To Paris



The first lady of Bollywood, Gauri Khan is all set to take Paris by storm. Her luxury home-wear line will be displayed at Maison & Objet, an event for design professionals. They display everything from art to textiles, accessories, and fragrances. The line she is showing has been exclusively crafted by CraftreD Designs Pvt. Ltd for her label.


Régis Mathieu, owner of the Mathieu Lustrerie brand’s iconic chandeliers, and Jean-François Lesage, the son of the founder of the prestigious House of Lesage will be collaborating with Gauri Khan.

The fair attracts visitors and exhibitors from around the world and Gauri feels honored to be a part of the show. Here’s what she had to say.

“I created this line as I wanted to design a collection that would ”

Maison & Objet are just as excited to have her. Isn’t this great news?

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