Filmi Fundas

Hot Pick: Aishwarya Rai BachchanAnything for Ash

Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Heroine’, which goes on floor on June 10, is no longer the film it was supposed to be when Kareena Kapoor was doing the project. The entire script has been re-written to suit Aishwarya Rai. Speaking from Cannes after the announcement of ‘Heroine’, Madhur said, “First of all it is not about Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor or any other Hollywood or Bollywood actress anymore. It is the story of one actress’ internalised journey into stardom, the people that she meets, the experiences that she gathers.”

He added, “It isn’t about the film industry. It’s about the experiences of one actress. We’ve completely re-written the role to suit Aishwarya.” ‘Heroine’ is about the life and times of a superstar Bollywood actress and the script is said to have daring, emotional, shocking, glamourous and scandalous behind the scenes account of showbiz. When asked if the love-making sequences have been deleted as per Aishwarya’s specifications, Bhandarkar got evasive. “There never were love scenes…not any that would need serious modification or anything. Too much has been said about the so-called love-making sequences. I never reacted because I wanted to get the script and project in place rather than killing the rumours and speculation.”

Bhandarkar has made quite a few women-centric films including ‘Chandni Bar’, ‘Page 3’, Satta, ‘Corporate’ and ‘Fashion’. Reacting to why he chose to announce ‘Heroine’ in Cannes, the director said, “Aishwarya was here in Cannes, so was my producer Ronnie Screwvala. We thought we would get a good global platform for the film. Besides I hadn’t taken a break for a long time. I needed to rejuvenate myself before starting ‘Heroine’. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Stunning: GiselleBeauty from Brazil

She was introduced to Bollywood by Imtiaz Ali and bagged her second film due to superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Brazilian beauty Giselle Monteiro is now dying to meet the actor to thank him.The model-turned-actress, who shot to fame playing a Punjabi girl in ‘Love Aaj Kal’, was spotted by Shah Rukh, who wanted her for his home production ‘Always Kabhi Kabhi’. The movie, based on high school life, is directed by Roshan Abbas. “I couldn’t get much opportunity to interact with him during the making of ‘Always Kabhi Kabhi’ since he himself was so caught up with ‘Ra.One’. I was told by Roshan that it was Shah Rukh who spotted me in ‘Love Aaj Kal’ and wanted me for the film. I am looking forward to meeting him and saying a big thank you,” said Giselle.

‘Always Kabhi Kabhi’ is the first teen comedy from Shah Rukh’s production house Red Chillies Entertainment and Giselle says the 45-year-old actor had valuable tips for the newbie actors starring in the film. “Right through the making of the film, he did have suggestions for all of us. However, he used to pass them on to Roshan who further helped us with our scenes,” said Giselle.

“I am told that Shah Rukh didn’t intend to impose himself on us or inhibit us with his presence. He wanted us to be plain natural and be on our own rather than worry about what he thought of our performance.” The film, to release on June 17, is a high school romance starring producer Karim Morani’s daughter Zoa, Satyajit Dubey, a theatre artist and Ali Fazal, who played Joy Lobo in ‘3 Idiots’. Giselle and debutante Zoa were asked to closely study the body language of students from different schools, who were brought in to fill in the backdrop.

 “Since we shot with real students, I was told that I could take a cue from them around how to walk, talk, behave or indulge in any other particular gestures associated with teenagers. I was supposed to learn from them how to act shy and all. But that didn’t quite help,” said Giselle. “The girls, who were 18-19 years old, seemed pretty much open in their outlook and were hardly coy. They behaved like much older people," she added.
In ‘Always Kabhi Kabhi’, Giselle plays a NRI from London who comes to India to pursue further studies. This is in contrast to her ‘Love Aaj Kal’ role where she played a desi sardarni.

After the Saif Ali Khan starrer, Giselle said she took some time before signing on another project. “There were opportunities but at that time, I didn’t feel too comfortable about picking up something immediately. I was still learning the language and wanted to be much better in my next outing. So I took a break, went home and then returned when ‘Always Kabhi Kabhi’ came calling.”

In a different light

Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley and noted film-maker Shyam Benegal recently announced Kashish 2011 — the second edition of India’s biggest queer film festival that focuses on films revolving around lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender films. Celina Jaitley is Kashish ambassador and Shyam Benegal is the festival patron. Film-maker Sai Paranjpye, actors Shernaz Patel and Samir Soni, film-maker and critic Khalid Mohamed were also present at the press conference.

The film festival will be held at two venues in Mumbai between May 25 to May 29, and will feature 124 films from 23 countries. The jury comprises film-maker Sai Paranjpye, actors Shernaz Patel and Samir Soni, film-maker and critic Khalid Mohamed and for the first time, an international festival director John Badalu from Indonesia.

Speaking on the occasion, Celina said, “I am very happy to be associated with Kashish for the second year as its ambassador. Kashish is a great platform to uphold human rights and dignity for all, which is what I strongly believe in too. Kashish is a celebration of the equality of all human emotions irrespective of sex, creed, race and culture.” Said Shyam Benegal, “All minorities in this country need representation and the same goes for sexual minorities.”

“Kashish is a move in the right direction to create awareness through the medium of films. It is a step forward in the gay movement,” he said.

When asked if an initiative like this is bringing down Indian culture, Sai Paranjpye said, “Not at all. Only hypocrites feel this way and I hope initiatives like Kashish will stop people from asking such questions.”

Samir Soni, who is a jury member, said, “I am surprised and appalled that even in 2011, people have such a negative attitude to alternate sexuality. I was very happy to see some good films at the jury screening, which are not just issue-based, but make for good cinema.

Khalid Mohamed said, “I am here because I want to watch good films.”

On the occasion, Sridhar Rangayan, festival director said, “The festival offers cinema as a means to understand what being queer means today, and how it impacts both the queer community and the society at large and fosters better understanding of queer thoughts, desires and expressions.”

Hunting for new face

Bollywood veteran Dev Anand is looking for a new face, who could match the talent of actress Zeenat Aman for the modern age adaptation of his 1971 cult hit Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Zeenat played a hippie in the movie, which became an overnight success.  Dev Anand is open to casting a girl from any part of India for the new film, which will be titled Hare Rama Hare Krishna — Aaj.

But his condition is that the girl should not look more than 18-19 years of age and should be able to essay the character close to what Zeenat played in the original movie. “My story will not be a remake but an adaptation of  Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Since it is set in 2011, I am looking for a girl who can look very modern and become a cult figure like Zeenat,” Dev Anand said in a press statement.  The original Hare Rama Hare Krishna took a bold look at the prevalent hippie culture and growing westernisation in those times, and also carried a subtle anti-drugs message.

Dev Anand has changed the storyline to fit it in today’s world, and the project is currently in its scripting stage.

The 87-year-old evergreen star is also gearing up for the release of his next directorial film ‘Chargesheet’.

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