The story titled ‘Who’s the bigger diva?’ seems to have found its answer in Ileana D’Cruz, as Priyanka Chopra vanishes from Barfee’s shooting schedule.
It all started when Ileana got cold feet after seeing how powerful Priyanka’s role is in Barfee. Ileana, apprehensive that her role might be reduced to something like Kangna Ranaut’s in Basu’s Kites demanded more footage as well as a few extra songs in the film.
After the delay, the shooting for Barfee is all set to resume this week, without Priyanka Chopra! The next schedule in Darjeeling only has Ranbir Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz. It is not very clear when Priyanka joins them.
A source told us, “Priyanka is currently shooting for Kunal Kohli’s film. She then leaves for IIFA awards. Then she comes back to finish Kunal’s film. There is no clear indication of when Priyanka joins the Barfee shooting. She has issues regarding her role that need to be sorted out first.”
When contacted, Barfee’s producer UTV’s Siddharth Roy Kapoor said, “The Barfee schedule starts on June 15 in Darjeeling. We’ll be shooting there for a couple of weeks. This will be followed by a short schedule in Mumbai. The current schedule is with Ranbir and Ileana. Priyanka joins us for the July schedule in Kolkata.” However, when asked about Priyanka’s dates for the Barfee shoot, her business manager replied, “I’ll check and revert.”
Not so long ago, the two of them were thick friends. Asin, in fact, took a few career calls for Neil in the past. When he was asked to star in Hriday Shetty’s film, the actress came forward and told the director that the script wasn’t good enough for Neil. Buzz is, Asin has gone into a different space after Ready hit the jackpot. A friend of Neil confirmed, “Yes. This is true. She has been avoiding him. Perhaps she got carried away by the success of Ready.”
Added the source, “But it’s okay. We all tend to go on some trip when we are on a high. Asin seems to be on a high horse right now. Neil and Asin’s common friends also feel the same.”
But like every dark cloud, this one too has a silver lining. Filmmakers like Hriday Shetty, who were finding it difficult to cast Asin and Neil together can now, heave a sigh of relief.
Asin and Neil however, remained unavailable for comments.
Though professionally, everything seems to be in sync, the actors are not even talking to each other on a personal level anymore. This attitude shift in Devgn apparently occurred after too many disturbing reports of his proclivities towards Ranaut started making their way to the media.
The rumour gained momentum when Devgn and his friend Rohit Shetty had a spat over casting Kangna as the female lead in Shetty’s film Singham. Though Shetty being the director wanted either Kareena or a fresh face for the role, Devgn wanted it to be Kangna. “After that, he took a decision to stay away from Ranaut. Why he chose to do that, is however not known,” revealed a source.
On her recent trip to London to finish the shoot of Tezz, Ranaut received a rather cold welcome from her once ‘close’ friend and co-star Devgn. Incidentally, Devgn’s wife Kajol was also around. A source from the sets informed, “Ajay was clearly avoiding Kangna while she shot for her concluding portions in Tez. It was clear that there is some problem between the two.”
The personal upheavals however did not have any adverse effect on the shoot. “Both are extremely passionate about their work and have a very professional attitude towards it,” explained the source.
Now, it remains to be seen whether Ajay and Kangna sign any other project together in the future. Kangna had already told Mumbai Mirror in an interview (February 2, 2011), “Ajay and I are thinking of not doing films together for two-three years. We are taking a break from each other professionally. That’s how Ajay also feels.”
While media reports suggested that it would be Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor or Deepika Padukone to pair up with Akki in this Milan Luthria directed film, looks like after the success of her debut, Shatrughan’s little daughter might be the one to romance the actor on screen.
A source told Mumbai Mirror, ” Ekta Kapoor and Milan Luthria are taking their time to choose the leading lady for Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2. They want the girl to be perfect. Initially, they wanted a leading lady to essay the role of Mandakini. But now, they are considering Sonakshi Sinha.”
The fact that Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi are already working for two films together seems to be working in favour of the young actress. “Akshay and Sonakshi are already doing Shirish Kunder’s Joker and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Rowdy Rathod to be directed by Prabhudeva together. Ekta and Milan will obviously keep that in mind while making their choice,” added the source.
The casting apart from Akshay, however is not final yet. “They are still looking for the parallel hero in the film. Once the second actor is finalised, Ekta and Milan will take a call on who will play the leading lady,” confirmed the source.
Now we have to wait and watch to find out if Sonakshi turns into Dawood’s love for Ekta.
Sheena Shahabadi started her career by playing a pregnant teenager in her debut Hindi film Teree Sang. Later on she acted in Fast Forward. Daughter of actor Sadhana Singh and her producer husband, acting is in her DNA. “I had decided to be an actress when I was just five years old and stopped taking interest in any thing apart from films. After the initial resistance, mom helped me realise my dreams. My father could accept my decision only when he first saw me on camera,” she says.
She seems annoyed with the conception that star kids are offered everything on a platter. “Star kids have their share of struggle too! Being a star kid is a burden. There is a need to perform well as people have a lot of expectations from them and living up to that expectation is stressful.” After a long hiatus Sheena’s got a fairly crowded platter with two movies, Raqut – Ek Rishta and an untitled movie. So what was the reason for such a long break (read two years). Pat comes the reply, “I was doing movies in the south and wanted to do good projects in Bollywood.”
With so many newcomers in the film industry, does she feel the pressure of competition? “There is a lot of competition in Bollywood but I find it challenging. Competition doesn’t bother me much as I compete with myself,” she says.
Like her debut movie, Sheena fell in love at very young age, quickly got married and got divorced even faster. She now finds it better to be on her own. “I was so young so I couldn’t differentiate right and wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. I made blunders and learnt my lessons. I think I can do without a man. Being single is really cool,” says Sheena.
However, our diva is game for working with her Bollywood co-stars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan.
Infact Mads has become a huge fan of Sallu especially after his recent movies like `Wanted’ and `Dabangg’.
She even has a special request for filmmakers. “It’ll be wonderful to work with Salman and Shah Rukh again…three of us together in one film. I hope some good script comes our way. It’ll be so much fun”, says Madhuri recalling the chemistry she created with the duo in `Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’.
Madhuri starred opposite SRK and Sallu in the romantic drama `Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’ in the late nineties. She’s also individually worked with SRK in Anjaam, `Dil toh Pagal Hai’, Koyla, Gaja Gamini and Devdas while she epitomized romance in `Sajaan’, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, opposite Salman.
“I am aware of the growing popularity of Salman these days. I have seen his recent films. My kids just love it. Salman deserves every bit of his super success today. I really want to work with him if there’s a script” she admits candidly.
The actress shares a lovely friendship with both these actors. Marvelling at how well the actors have maintained themselves and are matching steps with younger girls she says. “It’s awesome to see all my heroes’ getting younger by day and romancing the young girls. It’s incredible”, signs off Madhuri with a smile.
Flashback: Between 1969 and 1994, a producer who was always inevitably struggling launched 12 films, many of which didn’t exactly set the boxoffice on fire.
Fast forward to June 2011: The beleaguered producer’s son decides to buy the perpetual rights to 11 of those films for a few crore, more in a fit of nostalgia and less with commerce in mind. Such a transaction wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows in the big stakes environs of Bollywood. Except that in this case the son buying the perpetual rights is a certain Aamir Khan. The producer is the late Tahir Hussain who died last year at age 71. Ironically, the one film whose rights are in dispute and therefore not with Khan is one in which he stars, called ‘Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke’. “My father was not a top-notch producer like say Yash Chopra or Gulshan Rai. As kids, we have seen really close the lows of his films failing really close,” says a dewy-eyed Khan.
Memories of those times still make the emotions well up inside Khan. In the absence of corporate and institutional finance, almost all producers borrowed money from the market at ridiculously high interest rates. Business wasn’t Hussain’s forte; that apart, long delays in the completion of films and a string of turkeys at the box-office resulted in a Domino Effect on the Khan family. Khan recalls his and his brother’s name being up on the school notice board for as many as six months for non-payment of fees. His mother, he adds, would make their uniforms three sizes too large so that they would last longer. “The toughest times were during `Locket’ (starring Jeetendra and Rekha, 1986), which took eight years to complete, or even earlier — ‘Khoon Ki Pukar’ (1978) which took three years. Actors troubled him with dates and there would be at least 30 calls a day from creditors calling for their money,” recalls Khan. Calling up farflung theatres across the country for collections is a vivid, if painful, memory as the figures were invariably imminently forgettable. Hussain for his part did give breaks to a lot of young talent like Reena Roy, Rakesh Roshan, Raj Babbar and Bappi Lahiri, among others. The rough road his father traversed would explain why Khan avoided wearing the producer’s cap for years. “It’s a thankless job because after employing an entire unit you get all the brickbats for things going wrong; and when the film becomes a hit, the creative talent gets all the credit, never the producer,” says Khan. The reality, he adds, is that if it hadn’t been for the producer, the creative talent would not have got an opportunity.
To source the films, Khan says he sought the help of “the only man who could have helped me get back my all my father’s films which we had lost.” The man is Jayantilal Gada, a veteran with a quarter century in the Hindi film industry and founder chairman of Pen India, which holds one of the largest Hindi film libraries. For Gada, the emotional call from Khan was enough to set to work. He traced the negatives of the films to the Hinduja group. Hussain had mortgaged the negatives of all his films to them, says Gada.
A year ago when the library came into the market, Shemaroo Entertainment bought 11 of the 12 films. So the films rights were all with Shemaroo. “Hiren Gada of Shemaroo (no relation of Jayantilal) did not hesitate when I explained the emotional reason of why Khan wanted to own his father’s film library, to gift it to his mom; yet it was a nice gesture on Hiren’s part (to sell to Aamir),” adds Jayantilal Gada. The transactionwas worth a couple of crore. Yet, there was a small hitch. Shemaroo had already sold the television rights to UTV Movies for five years. Hiren Gada says he was upfront with Khan about it. For Khan, that was the least of the issues. In fact, he is looking at restoring the films before he thinks of anything further. Can Khan monetize these films? Gada of Pen says when old films have only two resources—satellite rights (TV) which is 90% of the value and another 10% maybe from the home video business. So, if Khan decides he can possibly recover what he bought but that’s not his focus right now.
For his production house however, which completes a decade this June 15, it adds value and numbers. “Yes, they 11 films get added to the Aamir Khan Productions library now,” says Khan finally smiling.
Says a source, “Lolo never really announced her retirement even after her marriage to industrialist Sanjay Kapur in 2003. Despite being busy with her domestic life and subsequent motherhood (daughter Samaira was born in 2005, son Kiaan Raj in 2010), Karisma has always had film offers. She has remained in circulation by signing many endorsements but has now finally given the nod to Vikram’s film. His last film Haunted 3-D did well at the box office. That was the clincher for her.”
Says Vikram, “When I first gave Karisma a narration, she loved the story and the script. It’s a woman-centric film and she plays the main character. Dangerous Ishq is a thriller based on past-life regression. We start shooting in September in Rajasthan.”
Karisma is looking forward to the film. “It’s a role I haven’t done before. The script is very interesting and working in the 3-D format will be a new experience for me,” she says.
Yet what does have to show for herself today? Says a trade source, “She has just one film, Housefull 2, in which she will share screen space with Jacqueline Fernandez and Zarine Khan.”
Apparently, her PR machinery did try spreading rumours of her doing Vishal Bharadwaj’s Two States with Shah Rukh Khan, but the fact is that as of today, even SRK is not keen on Two States. So, that project is definitely in limbo.
What’s ailing this 25-something actress? She’s a competent actress, pretty, has a good strike rate at the box office but seems to be going nowhere.
Trade sources in Chennai are livid with her because she shortchanged them when she felt Bollywood was opening its doors to her. So, except for a dud Dasavatharam with Kamal Haasan and a hit Kaavalan earlier this year with Vijay (that too an old commitment), she has no Kollywood offers. The newer kids on the block like Ileana D’Cruz, Deepika Padukone and Sonakshi Sinha are more sought after.
In Mumbai, she turned down films with several top-ranking filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowariker, because after the debacle of London Dreams, in which Vipul Shah gave her a short shrift, Asin was pretty shattered. She actually sat at home for a year in the prime of her youth doing precious nothing.
Now, Ready is creating records and though Asin (courtesy her friendship with Salman) is the leading lady, she still has no future projects with him. He is committed to doing Kick and Dabangg 2 with Sonakshi Sinha, Ek Tha Tiger with Katrina Kaif and nothing with Asin.
A leading Mumbai producer says that he is keen to cast Asin but the actress has three things going against her. One, she is demanding to be paid as much as Kareena Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, two, there is reportedly too much interference from her close ones and three, though she is dependable, she brings no novelty to a project.