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‘Once an actor, always an actor’

Pooja BhattIt has been over a decade since Pooja Bhatt was last seen on the big screen. She says she is open to the idea of facing the camera again — as long as she gets to act her age.

Pooja first turned producer with Tamanna in 1998. Later, she took up film direction with Paap in 2003. “I would like to act my age. I am proud to be 40 because I have survived till 40 with my soul intact. I don’t think there are many people who have survived their business like that,” says Pooja. “So, I would like to play women of my age (on screen). If somebody can accommodate my girth and my mirth in a role, then I am your woman. I am not going to go historical, go under the knife and starve myself for three months because of a role — no chance,” she adds.

Pooja, who became a popular actress in the 1990s with movies like Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, ‘Sir’ and Zakhm, credits her film-maker father Mahesh Bhatt.

“Mahesh Bhatt was the man who had the eye to see what other people never saw. But with me, on day one, he said, ‘Pooja Bhatt, if you are not going to be good, I am going to throw you out. I am not going to lie to you and say that you can act, when the fact is you can’t act’. That was the greatest gift my father gave me and I was thrown into the deep end. That is when you learn to swim,” she recalls.

Pooja’s last hit film as an actress was Zakhm, which released in 1998. The actress moved away from the arc lights at a young age, and she says the reason was that she couldn’t focus on herself any more. “An actor is meant to be selfish. He is only meant to think about himself or herself because a film is a very unforgiving place, where nobody is there to help the actor. So, you have to focus on yourself. But I was coming to a phase where I couldn’t focus on myself any more. I wanted to focus outside myself — that was the growth in my head,” says Pooja, adding, “I never desired to be an actor, but when I decided to become one, I had two routes — one was to go the stardom way, but I wanted credibility as an artiste. I wanted people to say ‘she can act’. I didn’t want to be a star and then learn to act after five to six years.”

As a film producer, she has delivered projects like Dushman, Jism and Jism 2. She says she has learnt to run the set from her uncle, Mukesh Bhatt. “I am very privileged that I learnt how to run my set from Mukesh Bhatt. And I learnt not to fear and do what I feel from my father. Everybody feels a woman can do only one thing at a time,and when I became a director, people though I will not act anymore. But I feel once an
actor, always an actor,” sums up Pooja.

Rekha is back!

Rekha is all set to come back to the silver screen — this time, with Super Nani, a family entertainer.

She recently offered prayers for the film, dressed in an elegant off-white sari, along with other stars like Randhir Kapoor, Sharman Joshi and Shweta Kumar.

Indra Kumar, who wil be directing the film, says, “When I narrated the script to Rekhaji, she said — ‘Eureka!’ — and agreed. It was magical. She knew that the script was right and I think that was a positive moment for me as well.”

Ashok Thakeria, one of the producers of the film, adds, “Super Nani is a complete family entertainer, which will touch you, heal you and leave you feeling good. It is all about respect and power of women.”

Ready for television

English Vinglish is set for its television premiere on December 29 and its director, debutant Gauri Shinde, can’t contain her excitement. The movie narrates the story of a simple housewife and how she emerges from the shadow of her husband and family life to carve her own niche.

“With the television premiere of English Vinglish, so many women — who were not able to get out and watch the film — will be able to do that,” Gauri says. The movie received a thumbs-up from the audience. “Women have come up to me and said it’s their own story and some men have said that they have changed their behaviour towards their wives.

That’s the biggest and greatest feeling for me. I can’t wait for the nation to watch it,” she adds. English Vinglish marked actress Sridevi’s comeback to the industry after 15 years. With her flawless performance, Sridevi not only won the hearts of millions of middle-class Indian housewives, but also overshadowed the younger breed of actresses. The movie will premiere on Zee Cinema.

Sharing screen space again

After a gap of seven years, actor Sonu Sood is all set to star with Nagarjuna in another Telugu film — this time, titled Bhai. The duo, who were last seen in the hit Telugu blockbuster ‘Super’ in 2005, will be seen in this Veerabhadram-directed film, which will hit theatres by the end of next year.

“Will soon start shooting with Nagarjuna for Annapurna studios next Bhai. We shot together for ‘Super’ for his home banner 7 years ago. How time flys (sic),” Sonu tweets. The 39-year-old has got a flourishing career in the Southern film industries, apart from being a known name in Bollywood.

‘Varun is a good soul’

Actor Ranbir Kapoor, who did an item song in the children’s film Chillar Party, admits that he would love to something like that again — but this time, he wants newbie Varun Dhawan to shake a leg with him. Varun, who was seen in Karan Johar’s ‘Student of the Year’, is known to be quite a good dancer. “If it is for a good cause then of course, 100 per cent, I would like to dance again. This time, I would like to have Varun with me because he dances really well. He is a good soul and I think he will do it with all his heart,” the 30-year-old says. Asked about his plans for the new year, Ranbir — who is busy shooting for Besharam — says, “I am now shooting for the film.”

Directed by Abhinav Kashyap, Besharam also features Indo-Australian actress Pallavi Sharda in the female lead. Ranbir was last seen in Barfi! in the role of a deaf-mute boy.

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