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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.”

Hindu On Net

The Little Guy From The Corner

12 Feb

The little guy from the corner


In a national singing contest, ethnicity is big. So is aspiration.


THE HOPEFULS: In line for the auditions.

BEING gifted with a ridiculously early deadline, I have no idea whether the Bengali lad from Assam finally won “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” or whether the Bengali girl from Kolkata made it to the next round of “Indian Idol 2”. But I do know that the Assamese have convinced themselves that if Debojit Saha does not make it, it will be because of a huge conspiracy against the Northeast in the rest of India.

In a complicated country, you cannot have an uncomplicated approach to a singing contest. Ethnicity is big in India, so is aspiration. Every time Indian show biz copies an international format, it ends up weighing it down with things extraneous. With “American Idol”, “Indian Idol” and “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” running concurrently, you discover how tiresome that can be. Indians are moving away with alacrity from watching bad soaps to watching bad singing, and as audiences they bring all sorts of baggage with them.

American wannabe singers are happy to go on stage and make a spectacle of themselves even when they know they will be insulted and laughed at. But that would not be so funny here. We don’t want a bald, basic contest, nor do we relish unadulterated rudeness. We prefer to politic instead of about the voting outcome. And we want the chamak-dhamak of Bollywood, the cloying clutter of costumes and extras, and the weighing down of each episode with product promotions which insult the intelligence. In America, the market has been the prime mover for so long that it does not need to be in your face.

Guest stars

Last week on “Indian Idol 2”, the professional patina of the contestants was intriguing because this is supposed to be an amateur contest. They were costumed and choreographed, and accompanied by extras. That is the way the Indian show is developing. The contestants were so good, and the judges so taken with their singing that there was little scope for criticism, only some intra judge bickering.

Then you had the dominating focus on the guest stars, who obediently maintained a focus on the product they were promoting to the extent of Kareena Kapoor wearing a coffee coloured costume to plug Pepsi’s caf
 chino. Sony has this irritating habit of selling its episodes to the highest bidder. When it wasn’t Kareena holding up a bottle of the coffee flavoured cola, it was host Aman Verma telling you which Nokia model you should dial your smses from. The relief came from an audience made up overwhelmingly of quintessentially middle class, middle aged men and women enjoying themselves hugely, some of the sitting arms akimbo.

On last week’s re-run of “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa”, the finalists were far more forgettable than the politics that accompanied the voting on them. It is not new on this show: contestants have walked out protesting about the voting outcomes, so have judges. Now you had the Bollywood guest, Tabu, suggesting that regional biases in the voting should be countered by giving the deciding vote to the zone, which did not have a finalist in the contest. Despite all that, the East zone finalist whose heavy regional backing has drawn protest, still made it to the final two.

Little to do with singing?

In the peculiarly Indian progression of reality shows, the “little guy from a corner of the country” theme is the flavour of the season. Curly locked Qazi Touqeer from Kashmir surged ahead on “Fame Gurukul” despite his forgettable singing because people, inexplicably, kept voting for him. He ended up winning.

Now on “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa”, it is the turn of Debojit Saha from Assam to ride on a backing which has little to do with his singing. The votes he got were in the region of Rs. 40 lakhs. (Multiply Rs. 6 per call to the show numbers into Rs. 40 lakhs, and you get Rs. 2.4 crores, which explains why Reliance Mobile in Guwahati has plastered the city with billboards urging people to vote for Debojit.) An Assamese journalist Nava Thakuria, has written about the hype around this contestant in Assam. Last week, youth took out a rally in the city urging a vote for him! Newspapers carry boxed front page appeals, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) has appealed to the local people to vote for him, but the United Liberation Front for Assam (ULFA) has said he is promoting the cause of Hindi music, not Assamese music and therefore should not be voted for. Imagine, says, Thakuria, people are ignoring an ULFA edict! Though he hails from Silchar in the Barak Valley, the divisions between the Assamese and the Bengali dominated Barak valley have been buried in the combined frenzy to make Debojit win “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa”. My goodness.

Hindu On Net

Kareena's Concerns

15 Dec

Kareena’s concerns

Kareena Kapoor.

THERE is a certain arrogance that cannot be denied, but whether it is cultivated or natural is difficult to tell. But to Kareena Kapoor this was hardly a matter to lose sleep over. The current favourite among the newer generation of stars, Kapoor with a toss of her well shaped head pooh-poohs any suggestions of being the “dumb blonde”.

She readily admits to taking extra care over her appearance saying, “I am what I am today because of my looks and my style.” She also considered herself as a style icon and rubbished all the tabloids for telling her to cover up. “I am not the only one wearing revealing clothes. Everybody is doing it,” said Kapoor claiming that if she dressed any differently her box office ratings would probably plummet. But apart from all this Kapoor is equally clear on the direction her career has to take. Justifying some of her not-so-great roles she said that she had to earn “a living” but at the same time saw herself as doing better roles once she is older.

Hindu On Net

Kareena Wooed By Pavan Kalyan

27 May

Kareena wooed by Pavan Kalyan

AS IF being sought out by Pepsi for a Venetian holiday were not enough, Kareena Kapoor is in demand from other quarters as well. Superstar Pavan Kalyan is trying to rope in the numero uno of Hindi films for his maiden directorial venture, “Johnny”. Kareena is said to have heard the story but is yet to confirm the bulk dates demanded by Kalyan. This marriage of Telugu’s reigning heart-throb with the reigning queen of Bollywood would be an awesome casting spectacle. With more than Rs.20 crores of outright business expected, Kalyan can easily afford to pay Kareena her price, but the only hitch could be her indecision about coming to the South. Will it be southward bound for Bollywood’s fair lass? ῵


Hindu On Net