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Between Love And Magic

27 Jun

Between love and magic


Kunal Kohli’s “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic” releases this Friday.

I like to make films on different people in different environments


LITTLE MAKES IT BIG Kunal Kohli says he has a way with kids.

“It’s not after Yashraj’s ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ and ‘Tashan’ but my film after ‘Hum Tum’ and ‘Fanaa’…” That is Kunal Kohli’s first reaction about “Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic”, his fourth film releasing this Friday – with which he has also turned a co-producer.

This time “the double responsibility” of being a producer and director besides handling four kids “had been quite a task”,” he admits. The film that talks of love, affection and relationships “among people with different outlook and attitude in life” has Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji in the lead.

Hot song

Saif plays Ranbeer Talwar, a man who becomes a tyrant because he always loses in love, while Rani is an angel sent to earth by God to help four orphaned kids (played by Akshat Chopra, Shriya Sharma, Rachit Sidana and Ayushi Berman). Amisha Patel as Saif’s love interest has a cameo “with a hot song underwater despite which we got a ‘U’ certificate,” laughs Kunal, adding quickly, “It’s sensuous, not vulgar, as the film would be seen by families with kids. I have taken care…”

The audiences know Kunal as a filmmaker whose films have a ‘feel good’ factor as they try to unravel the intricacies of relationships. “That’s right. I never feel like making a film in which a machine talks, limbs break and calamity occurs. There is so much of this in our daily news. I like to make films on different people in different environments,” shares Kunal.

And he assures us that “Thoda Pyaar …” has more magic than his earlier films because of the four child actors whom he finalised after auditioning 3000 kids in various cities. One of them, Shriya, is seen in several ads and “Paanchvi Pass”, the quiz programme on television.

On working with children, he says “Kids amaze you with their reactions. They think very differently from adults, and react differently to a scene. They are not method actors. They modulate their voices, add some ‘tashan’ and use the frame fully to their advantage. They are very smart and competitive in nature. I wanted kids with a Delhi accent in this film so I finalised three kids from Delhi.”

One wonders if the film has some story connection with the old Shammi Kapoor-starrer “Brahamchari” or “Mr. India” which also featured orphans.

“No, it hasn’t,” asserts Kunal, adding. “This film is actually an outcome of some desperate moments I had undergone in the early parts of my life. How much did I wish then that an angel would come and solve all my problems. The idea germinated from there.”

And as for handling kids, he knows it too well. “I never push kids too hard. They have a nice time on my sets. They had milkshakes, chocolates, and meals on time. Even the five-year-old in ‘Fanaa’ was happy with me. I become their friend and don’t try to unnecessarily discipline them.”

This former film critic is now just on the opposite side of the fence, where he is being written on and off by film writers. He had also directed music videos in 1990s as Bally Sagoo’s “Mera Laung Gawacha”, Bali Brahmabhatt’s “Tere Bin Jeena Nahin”, Shiamak Davar’s “Jaane Kisne’”, and Rajshri Music’s “Yeh Hai Prem”, a song for Alisha Chinoy with Milind Soman, and so on.

He recalls, “I have often been a target for many film writers. They had been unfair to me. I wouldn’t like to fathom the reason but it really hurt me those days. I don’t belong to a film family. My learning of the filmmaking has been through repeated watching of Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Manoj Kumar and Raj Khosla’s films. I started the trend of story telling Indian music videos which were a hit. So, film producers kept observing my work and it was Karan Johar who introduced me to Yash Chopra.”

Back to “Thoda Pyaar…” , shot mostly in Delhi’s farm houses for 75 days, the film, says Kunal, is being released in June for it’s holiday time for children.

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Remix Man

26 May

Remix man

Neeraj Shridhar on his new album

Photo: K. Ananthan

Face up Neeraj Shridhar

Remember Neeraj Shridhar, the singer of Bombay Vikings fame? The one who popularised ‘Hinglish’ lyrics in India and made youngsters dance to his numbers such as “Kya Soorat Hai”, “Hawa Main Udta Jaye” and more r
ecently “Woh Chali, Woh Chali”?

For Neeraj, it’s been quite a journey since he cut his first album “Kya Soorat Hai”. “To survive in this industry is an achievement in itself,” he says. He is now working on his new album. Three of its songs are ready.

A music composer and lyricist, he has travelled across the world and settled abroad but his heart is in India. “I guess people can never forget their roots,” he says. Shridhar has also lent his voice to an array of Bollywood films. He started with “Rules: Pyar Ka Super Hit Formula”, and sang the title track of Bhagam Bhag.

He has just recorded a song for a Salman Khan-starrer, Sajid Wajid’s film “God Tussi Great Ho” and Yash Raj’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Neeraj has performed across the globe and feels every place has its own charm
and culture. “In South Africa, the crowd is so wild that it just wants to rip apart your shirt,” he says, laughing, “especially the girls.” People in the West Indies just love his “angel eyes.”

He finds the Indian crowd quite classy. “This is the thing about the crowd phenomenon, it pushes you to come out with your best performance.” His advice to aspiring singers? “Try to understand the heart of music, feel and touch it, mere singing won’t do much. Learn an instrument or two, it always helps. Understanding the business aspects of this music industry is also important.”


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Around The Corner

9 Mar

Around the corner

Yash Raj Films kicks off the year with the Saif Ali Khan starrer Ta Ra Rum Pum

LONG LIST The line up of Yash Raj films opens with Saif and Rani

Yash Raj Films announced the line-up of films for the year. The first film from Yash Raj this year is “Ta Ra Rum Pum,” which is opening on April 27. The film, directed by Siddharth Anand (“Salaam Namaste”) stars Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji and tells the story of a race-car driver.

This film is followed by Shaad Ali’s third directorial venture “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” on June 15. With a cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Bobby Deol, Lara Dutta, and Amitabh Bachchan in a special appearance, the film looks set to repeat the success of “Bunty Aur Babli.”

Then there is “Chak De India,” slated to hit the screens on August 10. Directed by Shimit Amin, (“Ab Tak Chappan”), the film stars Shah Rukh Khan as a hockey coach. Then there is Pradeep Sarkar’s “Laaga Chunari Mein Daag” on October 12 for the festive season. The film features powerhouse performances from Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan.

And saving the best for the last is cinematographer Anil Mehta’s directorial debut “Aaja Nachle,” on November 30. The film is significant as it marks the return of the ultimate diva Madhuri Dixit.

The New Year would be kicked off in grand style with “Tashan”. Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya (the screenplay and dialogue writer of “Dhoom” and “Dhoom:2”), the film stars Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor.

Yash Chopra, Chairman, Yash Raj Films said: “At Yash Raj Films, we truly believe that there are only two kinds of cinema, good cinema and bad cinema. And we are committed to bringing the best cinema that there is for our audiences. We are extremely excited about our offerings for 2007, not because of the star casts, but because of the unique subject matter of each of the films, and the youthful talent at the helm of these films. And with our commitment to the studio style of functioning uniquely enables us to make each of these offerings a very special experience for the filmgoer – even though we are releasing six titles at close intervals.”

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