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‘Anurag had faith in me’

Making her debut in Bollywood with Barfi!, Telugu actress Ileana D’Cruz says she did not want a glamorous opening in her first film in tinsel town.

While Bollywood films are a glamorous mix of song and dance, Anurag Basu’s Barfi!
is different as it is the story of a deaf-mute boy and an autistic girl.

“In Bollywood masala films, there would be a little bit of acting to do, you have to look pretty throughout and dance with a handsome man. I did not want to get into such a film,” Ileana says.

Known down South as a glamorous beauty, Ileana doesn’t want that label to
continue in the Hindi film industry, but wants author-backed roles instead.

“I have been doing Southern films for six years. And there were a lot of offers from Bollywood earlier, which did not interest me much.

The storyline and my role in Barfi! is something I liked a lot. It is different from what I have done so far, hence I chose to do this film. It is all about right time,” she
explains.

Ileana had earlier turned down an offer to star opposite actor Salman Khan in ‘Wanted’, which is a remake of her own south film Pokhiri. She chose to wait for a more
challenging role instead.

 “When I was offered this role, I was flattered, as it required me to show my ability as an actor. Anurag told me the story and role. He said he has found his Shruti,” Ileana says.

“He was sure I was fit for the role. But I was completely taken off guard — I did not expect a launch with a film like this,” she explains, adding that since Barfi! is not a regular Bollywood film, she was worried about whether she would be able to do
justice with the role.

“Considering it’s a big film and different, I wondered whether I would be able to pull through. It required a lot of me. He (Anurag) had blind faith in me. He was encouraging. It was flattering,” she says.

Bollywood debut for Shaun?

After foreign models, it seems that now international cricketers are
opting for a second career in Bollywood.

Apparently, Australian cricketer Shaun Tait has been approached for a role in the film Kai Po Che.

Cricket is an integral part of the film, which is why the production house is looking for a prominent international cricketer to cast.

Indian bowler Ashish Nehra has already been roped in to coach actor Sushant Singh Rajput for his role of a cricket enthusiast in the film.

“Ashish suggested Shaun’s name when the makers were brainstorming on who to cast for the part. But unlike Ashish, Shaun will actually play a prominent role in the film.

Shaun has shown interest in the film,” says a source. Manish Hariprasad, the creative director of studios at Disney UTV, confirms the news saying, “Abhishek Kapoor (the director of the film) wanted a well-known international fast bowler for the climax.

And Abhishek’s friend Ashish put us in touch with Shaun. We’re in discussions with him, and hope to have him on board soon.”

However, Shaun will only do the film if his shooting schedule doesn’t clash with his commitments towards the Australian team.

“Cricket will always come first for him. He liked the script and wants to do the film, but he will only give them a go-ahead if his timings work out,” adds the source.

 The film is based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, ‘The 3 Mistakes of My Life’.

A switch for Sajid

The year 2012 is turning out to be a landmark year for producer Sajid Nadiadwala. Not only does he celebrate 25 years of being in the business of films, but his last release, Housefull 2, earned worldwide collections of Rs 200 crores.

Now, he’s capping the year by turning director.  At his best buddy Salman Khan’s insistence, Sajid has decided to take over the directorial responsibilities of his next production ‘Kick’, a remake of the Tamil hit Thillalangadi.

 Salman says, “Sajid’s narrations are better than those of most directors and I’ve been pushing him to make the switch for years. In fact, I wanted him to turn director ten years ago, when he came to me with a film called Kunwara. Today, I’m still kunwara — but he’s finally turned director!”

Sajid says this was a decision he took only after the super star insisted he couldn’t see the project being helmed by anyone else. “Our friendship goes back two decades.

Salman and I share a very special chemistry. We’ve given big hits like Jeet, Judwa, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi in the past.

So at this stage of his career, if he’s selected me as his director, I have to make sure I deliver to his expectations. Shirish Kunder is not helming the project anymore,” he says.

The best of friends!

Nana Patekar and Om Puri are one of tinsel town’s most famous duos, and will be coming together after 30 years in Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal, directed by Priyadarshan.

These two actors enjoy every moment of shooting together and it seems that their years in the industry have made them very good friends.

In fact, Om Puri gets very annoyed when somebody calls Nana Patekar buddha. He says, “How can you call him an oldie? He is my son from last birth!”

Nana, on the other hand, keeps teasing Om Puri for his continual sleeping habits and pokes fun at him, saying that Om can sleep even in the pauses between words.

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