Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nimrat Kaur

I’m known as a cinematic theatre actor”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the September 20, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

Nimrat Kaur is one of those few actresses who is changing the perception of a quintessential Hindi cinema debut. Her maiden project, ‘The Lunchbox’, which is a different kind of love story all-together, sees her as a simpleton, who is loveless and lonely, yet not docile. That’s Ila for you! But, with this interview, I bring to you, Nimrat. Over coffee, I try knowing this newbie, her thoughts, her dreams and what makes her the person she is!

Films like ‘The Lunchbox’ generally have a perception of being niche. What do you think of it?
I don’t consider it as a niche film, because it’s a film that is so easily relatable, it’s a story that’s about two people, who are very easily found anywhere. So, it’s not something that’s trying to be intelligent. It reminds you of the old-world films which were devoid of any cosmetic help in any way, whether it’s how your actors are looking, or it’s the surroundings.

I’m sure you must be tired of answering this question, but how did ‘The Lunchbox’ happen?
Trust me I can’t tire of saying this, because every time I talk about it, it’s music to my ears. Because I’ve been working for a while, in the sense that I’ve been associated with performing arts for about eight years now, I know what it takes a lot to be able to land a part in a film that starts somewhere and get here. So, it really is a blessing and I don’t take it for granted any day.

In Hindi cinema, there’s this perception about a quintessential debut. But with ‘The Lunchbox’ you’re completely changing that norm...
I have stopped thinking about this career as something that I need a break with. I gave up that idea which seems more notional. When you’re a complete outsider, there are these things you read about, and then you have preconceived notions about things because you see someone’s career and you hope that something of that sort happens to you too. So, I got a little bit more stable in my thinking. I didn’t want to pin my hopes on a break that may or may not happen, because a lot of variables have to be worked for anything to come your way. It’s about the journey, and genuinely about the process and you’re ready to take on something that comes your way. ‘The Lunchbox’ to me is an ideal film that I could have done at any given point in my life, and I think I’m more so blessed because it’s come to me as my first. The point is, whenever whatever has to happen, happens. You find yourself around people who are like-minded, whom you want to work with, and whom you want to attract in your life, with the kind of work aspire to do.

But wasn’t there any apprehension of being typecast?
It takes a long time to be typecast in something, and this is a first for me. I’m more than happy, with the whole transition from being a face that somebody may or may not recognise, to now being associated with a film of such great merit, to people knowing me by my first name. You know it’s such a beautiful transition, that I can’t, in my right mind, take this in any other way, but, be thankful for the blessing that it is.

So when did acting happen?
I have been associated with the stage since a very long time. I was always a ‘nautanki’. I was quite an extrovert, and you know that about yourself. I think it’s about that one seed and being awake to that seed. I’m from an army background, so that automatically gives you no comfort zone. You become a people’s person. You enjoy new places, new people, you enjoy the discomfort of new places. I finished my school, graduation from Delhi, then I threw the bomb on my mom once I had the courage to admit that myself. In 2004, I came to Mumbai. It took me just 2-3 years to understand the texture of this city. It sucks you in completely, and in a beautiful way. I couldn’t have had this life anywhere. There’s always that urge to keep moving, but I’m never leaving Mumbai.

Tell me about your transition from advertising to theatre to films. 
I’ve made a conscious choice to attach myself with the stage, so I’ve done about 6-7 productions over the last 6 years now. I started watching plays. Literally, I marked down people in my head that I wanted to work with. And the theatre community is a very small place. I’ve learnt a lot. The big transition for me was from advertising to theatre, because I didn’t how do you read a script. Acting is all up in the air. Acting can be very notional, but how do you go deeper, I needed to understand all these basic things. See I can articulate all this very well right now, because I see that difference from where I started to where I am now. But back then, there were a whole lot of doubts. Advertising was a great stability, a good grip, it didn’t quite transcend much beyond that. Films were only an extension of what I did. For me it was just a difference in the mediums. I keep saying this, or I read it somewhere. It’s like swimming you know. You’re swimming, you may be swimming in a sea or a swimming pool, you just have to change the technique a bit.

Because of theatre, you must be having a knack of being spontaneous and loud in terms of your body language... 
I actually find myself more spontaneous on camera. I feel like I have a bigger responsibility when I’m on stage as an actor, because what happens is, for many actors, stage is a medium they flourish in. But I don’t really call myself a spontaneous actor. I think I’m a little bit curbed when I’m on stage, because there’s more responsibility on me, because there’s no room for re-doing stuff. I really enjoy the fact that you can do very little on camera and get over it. I’m not really an over-the-top actor. I’m often ridiculed for underplaying it, among my theatre buddies (laughs). People who follow my work, tell me, I’m known as a cinematic theatre actor. I don’t know what works, but it’s not something you consciously do, it’s your personality.

So, as your film’s tagline goes, can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met? 
I’m open to it, only I might get a little scared, because it’s hard to find good people, like-minded people who enrich you, not just for a relationship, but as friends too. People are in for a ride, good times, people are really in for a part of your life, but I don’t know how many really are up for the entire journey you’re on. I’m emotional, I get attached easily. I end up getting hurt equally fast, but the recovery time is also equally long. But for the time it lasts, it does take its toll.

But you seem pretty strong emotionally... 
A lot of who I am comes out of a time period which was very difficult on me and my family. I was eleven, my younger sister was 7, and we lost my father in Kashmir to an extreme act of terrorism in 1994. So our world really turned upside down from that point. My parents had a blissful marriage that I’ve seen all that while growing up. Like any girl, I was extremely attached to my father. Suddenly, I had to grow up, be there for my younger sister, I needed to somewhere subconsciously be there for my mother, she had to be there for us, we had to shift to Delhi, which was different from the small towns I’d grown up, until then. That was the trickiest part of growing up. You’re also rebelling, finding yourself, but somewhere I feel I’m living all of my teenage years today. Since I’ve come to Mumbai, I’ve genuinely enjoyed and lived life more, than I could at that time. So my teenage years were somewhat subdued in that sense. There wasn’t much allowance for failure or for trying stuff or just being crazy. That was a tough phase, and that’s become my brain somewhere. No matter how adverse the circumstances are, you don’t let it discourage you. You manage to find some way or the other.

When you have a debut film like ‘The Lunchbox’, what is it that you look to do next?
It just has to be a right story one has to be a part of. Not necessarily a bigger film and an art film.

Success changes people sometimes. Do you see yourself changing too?
The thing about this profession is that everything lasts for as long as it has to last for. If you don’t have work, it doesn’t mean you’re never going to have work. If you’re immensely popular, apple of everyone’s eyes, you’re not going to live that phase forever. That’s something I’ve learnt on my own. My mother keeps a great check that my feet are on my ground. I want to be a new person tomorrow. My struggle is also to find a bigger, better reason for being here at this point of time. It can’t just be acting, making a lot of money, buying cars. Your driving forces have to keep changing. It can’t be just one thing. I’m very greedy that way. I’m almost never satisfied, and that will either be the breaking of me, or making of me, I don’t know! But that’s something I want to constantly be able to feel, I just don’t want to settle down. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Priyanka Chopra

There’s a stereotype in the west about us, and I want to be able to change that”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the September 6, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

She personifies sexy. And no it’s not her well-toned body, or those drop-dead gorgeous looks that make me want to say that. It’s her attitude, her confidence, and that husky voice, which make her effortlessly sensuous. While many actresses would be happy playing the hero’s sidekick, and filling in for the glamour quotient in a film, here’s an actress, who not only makes men skip a heartbeat, but also goes beyond that, and does performance-oriented roles. While she plays seductress in films like ‘Aitraaz’, then, she makes you fall in love with her child-like innocence while portraying Jhilmil, in ‘Barfi!’, and that’s an almost seamless transition. While I meet the lady for a little chat, she’s busy promoting her film ‘Zanjeer’, despite keeping under the weather. She looked as stunning as ever, even in a simple ‘choti’, black t-shirt and floral pants. She almost lights up the atmosphere when she’s around, and no, the little fever didn’t dip her enthusiasm and willingness to talk. Needless to say, she’s a true rockstar in every sense! So, here we Priyanka Chopra, in an engrossing conversation talking about ‘Zanjeer’, her singing career, her approach as an actor and why she picks the kind of films she picks:

So, what is it that draws you towards doing a film? Let’s say, ‘Zanjeer’ for instance.
I do films because of strange reasons. I do films very instinctively. When Apoorva (director) came to narrate the film to me, the narration was for an hour and a half, but we sat for 7-8 hours discussing the film. I really liked Apoorva’s perspective of it. We were thinking as to how can we make Mala’s character different and when he left, I thought I’d really enjoy working with him, which is why I said yes to the film.

But comparisons with the original would be inevitable, isn’t it? Because I’ve done three remakes, I can say that out of experience, that these films which I’ve been a part of, they’ve all been almost tributes by the directors to the older films. Because, it’s Apoorva’s favourite film, the remake is his perspective. While comparisons are inevitable, people should try and look at it as an individual film. It’s an entertaining action thriller. Also, Mr Bachchan is my favourite actor, and I’m glad that I could be a part of his film’s remakes. The earlier remakes have done well, and I’m hoping ‘Zanjeer’ does well too.

While Ramcharan makes his debut in Hindi cinema, he’s a superstar down south. How was the experience of working with him?
I didn’t know he’s such a huge superstar down south, when I signed the film. When we were shooting in Hyderabad, thousands and thousands of people would come and see him, the roads had to be blocked. He’s very sweet; Chiranjeevi sir, Ram’s mother, his wife, they’re all so sweet, they spoilt us a lot, and every day the food would come from their house only. And everyone knows I’m such a big foodie! He was really helpful because, we were also doing the Telegu version, and Telegu was difficult for me but Ram would really help me with the words and pronunciation. 

Your song ‘Exotic’ is garnering some great response…that must feel good?
I think what I’m finding amazing is, to give everyone in the west, a taste of how we are. I was very excited when we went to this one club in LA, and people were telling me, to show them how to do the ‘thumka’. There’s a stereotype in the west about us, and I want to be able to change that.

Hindi films, few films down south and now with your album you’ve also gone international. Do you treat every medium differently, or it’s all the same for you?
In the last few months, I have done Bollywood, Tollywood, and got a little bit of an international feeling with my album too, but for me it’s all the same. I’m an actor, give me any film, I’ll do it if I like it, irrespective of the medium. My work conducts where I should go. No work is small for me, whether it’s two scenes, or the whole film. Work is work, and I worship it. I don’t have a perspective, that this is big or this is small. I don’t have any priorities. Nor am I looking to do some big crossover film, but I like expanding myself, and being a creative person and an artist, wherever I can show my creativity, in different ways, I’ve tried and done that. Though, as a musician, it’s just been a year, so mistakes may happen, but hopefully, with some more time, I’ll be the musician that I want to be. But I take all the work coming my way seriously. For me, work is ‘Lakshmi’, work is my worship, and I never take my work for granted.

But what took so much time to kick-start your singing career. You’ve had singing offers before as well…
Offers were always coming, but I was shy. I sang for my first film, which was a Tamil film and when I heard myself sing in that film, I decided I’d never sing again. My father used to always push me to sing, because he knew I sang well. Then for ‘Bluffmaster’, I sang for Vishal -Shekhar, but when it was about to release, I asked them not to release the song. They still have that song. Then, when I got this offer from Universal, my dad told me, it’s high time you do it. Actually, in the beginning of my career, I didn’t really know much of acting, I’ve learnt everything on the go, so at that point of time, it was important for me to pay attention to my acting career than singing. I had to learn and know what acting was, and how one goes about it. It took me a few years to actually get the hang of the whole process. You know when you’ve gone to film school, or been an industry kid, you are familiar to these things. But in my case, when I came into the industry, there was nobody to teach me or guide me, I had to learn everything on my own. Then I reached a point when this offer came in, and by then I was very comfortable in films, and Dad really wanted me to do it, so I said yes.

So, you’re still more of an actor than a singer?
I’m very new as a singer, but now acting seems like it’s in my blood, I’m doing it since I was seventeen. As a composer, I’m a year old, so I still need to grow on that front. So, as of now, yes, I’m more of an actor.

Is there always an aim of doing something different with every film and every character?I don’t know if I think like that, I just do what I feel. I’m a very different or weird kind of a person. I want to do things that are the most difficult. My mom also keeps telling me why do you work so hard, and do all the difficult things? But, what excites me is, to try and do things which people don’t expect people to do. It would be very easy for me to be in the safe box, and do things that a heroine is expected to do. But I think it’s more fun when you push the limits, and surprise people with your work. Which is why, on one hand where I’ve done commercial films like ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Don’, ‘Krrish’, ‘Agneepath’; on the other hand, I also pick up ‘Barfi!’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’, ‘What’s Your Rashee’, ‘Mary Kom’. I like keeping a balance between different kind of things. So, yes it comes naturally that I don’t want to ever repeat myself in any film, and that’s my biggest challenge, to myself, because I keep competing with my own self. Having said that, every script can’t be different. And every script doesn’t even give you the opportunity to do something different. But from my end, whatever I can, I do. I don’t make films for myself, or I don’t have a production house or some relative making a film for me. But I think I’m lucky that I have filmmakers coming to me, who’ve written roles keeping me in mind.

What sort of homework do you have to do to get into a character even now?
You have to prepare for everything, because I never go to any film being Priyanka. For me, every character is different. Like, the preparation for ‘Zanjeer’ was to keep a very bubbly personality, because she’s a Bollywood fan, and she thinks she knows everything about India, just because she’s seen Hindi films, which is so stupid, so I had to give that air-head type vibe to my character.

There are actors who’re always trying to make or break some image. Does this whole ‘image’ thing ever bother you?
There’s no image that I have, this is me. I never do any work for my fans, I do the kind of work I want to do, and if people like what I’m doing then they become my fans. I have never done any kind of work, for some image. My image is me. I’m very black and white. I believe in being honest, but I also think that it’s not necessary for the world to know everything about me. But then, I don’t even play hide and seek. I’m very private, which I think is my right. But I don’t believe in having any image.

You steer clear on commenting on any controversy…
I don’t feel the need to clarify a controversy. I’m very private as a person, and I really believe that by giving statements to controversies, I’m giving importance to them, because then people will write two more articles about that, and then someone else will react, so it’s pointless. If it’s something that I really feel the need to talk about, I will. Usually, these controversies are about very trivial things and I get very hurt by them, because I’m a very family girl, and it affects my family. Which is why, for me, I rather just keep quite. I just go into my shell.

I believe, you’re slightly emotional, that’s a Cancerian trait, so when you do grey characters in films like ‘Aitraaz’ or ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’, do they somewhere emotionally drain you, or stay with you?
Not slightly, I’m extremely emotional. But no, no character has really drained me emotionally, or stayed with me. The only time that happened to me was in ‘Aitraaz’. I was so new and involved in the character that I used to talk like that at home. I’ve realised over time, that I’ve tried to be a method actor but that hasn’t worked for me. I am just in my character between action and cut, because otherwise, I get bored. I can’t do it. Different actors work differently. I don’t know if my way is right or wrong, but this works for me. I do a lot of research. I do a lot of preparation, before the film begins. But then when I start a film, whatever comes naturally, I do that. 

There’s also ‘Krrish 3’. How has your role shaped up in the film?
I play a journalist in ‘Krrish 3’, and I have a new-found respect for journalists after doing the film. I had to do a scene without tele-prompters, and had two paragraphs of dialogues. I usually don’t forget my lines, but since it was more of a live-action, I forgot my lines. I wonder how these TV journalists do it. ‘Krrish 3’ is a film, where after a long time, I’m just going to look pretty, that’s it. When you have a superhero like Krrish, what’s the need to do stunts?

Tell us about ‘Mary Kom’.
‘Mary Kom’ definitely is going to be one of the hardest films I’ve done. When people usually do a biopic, the subject is either very senior, or has passed away. But here, Mary is 32 years old, she’s still a sportsperson and a national icon. So, it’s a very difficult film. People don’t really know her as a person, and I want people to see her personality in the film. You’ll never imagine that a tough boxer girl, discusses nail paints, saris, and all of that. So for me, to portray that whole personality is interesting. Also, to learn a whole new sport, and build my body like her, that’s a tough job. And I never liked sports even when in school, so yes, it’s one of my toughest roles.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vivek Oberoi

“Acting is just what I do, it’s not who I am”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the September 14, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

It’s always so delightful to meet a happy person; someone who’s genuinely happy, positive, and more often than not, that kind of positivity is infectious. Which is why, you can’t help but smile when you meet Vivek Oberoi, because it’s amazing how he manages to remain more positive than ever despite his share of criticism, tough phases, and failures. He gets funny while he speaks of ‘Grand Masti’, and then he suddenly turns intense while speaking about his baddie act in ‘Krrish 3’. It’s like he is seamlessly seeping into his characters, one after the other as he’s talking about them. But, the best part is to see him get into the role of a husband and father. Those twinkled eyes coupled with a huge smile while he speaks of his wife and son could make anyone go ‘awwww’. All this and more, in this candid conversation with Vivek:

So, may I rightly assume that this year is going great for you, in every way?
(Smiles) Yes, it’s been a fabulous year for me. It started with ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’, it was my Television debut and it became a huge success. I’m really excited that we’re doing season 2, and we’re going to announce it very soon. After that I got the world’s biggest gift, Vivaan Veer Oberoi, my son, I think it’s incredible, that you feel like he’s the centre of your whole universe. Now, it’s ‘Grand Masti’, and it’s exciting because the response right from the first promo has been phenomenal. And then of course, there’s ‘Krrish 3’ at the end of the year. That’s like the cherry on the top of everything, it’s the crown on top. It’s so nice to be a part of that film, and the way people are reacting to my work, to the film, the promo, all of it, it’s such a joy ride!

How was it like to re-create the whole ‘Masti’ camaraderie after so many years?
It was awesome because ever since ‘Masti’ released, Riteish, Aftab, Induji, me, all of us have been great friends, we’ve always been there for each other through life, and the friendship has only grown, so when we came back together professionally again, it was so much fun. It was like getting on a bicycle. You don’t ride it for years, but when you suddenly try riding it again after years, you get it right naturally. We all had our doubts if we’d be able to create the chemistry that we created in ‘Masti’, but on day 1 itself, the chemistry was beyond ‘Masti’. If you see the film, you’ll know the timing, the chemistry, and the fact that we were on the same wavelength on this film. This film has only got us closer, and made our friendships stronger.

Is it easy for you to now slip into a character which is so not you? For instance your character in ‘Grand Masti’… It’s definitely not easy, but that’s the challenge that you look for as an actor, that’s what excites you. There is this excitement of playing Meet Mehta who’s this husband with a very dominating, over-ambitious wife, and he’s actually thinking of doing some ‘Grand Masti’ with his buddies, and that’s so not me. Playing that character on one hand, and then playing this intense, very powerful, aristocratic villain, this prince of darkness in ‘Krrish 3’ is so nice. He’s the master of his own universe. For me, to play these characters completely opposite of each other was such an incredible challenge, but so exciting. It was a totally different rhythm. What I love about it is that they were shot over different periods of time, but they’re releasing two months apart from each other. So you’ll see one kind of me in one film, and another kind of me in another film. And there could be nothing better than that for an actor, that people see your ability to do this and do that and see it back-to-back being put into perspective. What I’ve been banking on always is to put my talent out there as an actor, the rest is in the divine hands.

But when you play someone as intense and dark as Kaal, doesn’t it also affect you, mentally, emotionally?
Yes, you’re absolutely right. There are some absolutely emotionally draining characters, and ‘Grand Masti’ obviously wasn’t one of them (laughs). All of us were just doing time pass through the day, cracking up all the time, I was the master of all the pranks, and these two were helping me play pranks on all the lovely ladies. But, when you look at something like Kaal, this character was very physically and emotionally draining. The genesis of Kaal is hate, he hates human kind for what has been done to him, his vengeance is a very powerful emotion, his revenge is a very powerful emotion, and that motivates Kaal.

And just as you speak of Kaal, your face and voice have suddenly gone intense….
(Laughs) That’s because, as an actor you tend to get into that space so I think it comes subconsciously. When I was playing Kaal, it was an extremely intense experience, because I had to go into a space which I’m not in real life. I’m a very chilled-out guy, I don’t believe in hatred, I don’t believe in vengeance and all these things. I’m a happy-go-lucky person. For me to go into that space was difficult, I had to isolate myself at times, I had to dress up, get into that outfit, sit down on that chair, get into that zone, so when they say lights, camera, action, it’s Kaal out there, suddenly there’s this intensity. That was draining. I remember going back home exhausted and tired. Acting is sometimes mentally exhausting, because you’re constantly trying to emotionally be something that you’re not. Playing Kaal was difficult. I tried very hard to make sure that anywhere it doesn’t look like he’s trying to be a villain, because he believes he’s the hero and his way is the right way.

So what is your criterion while choosing a script?
I’ll give you an example. For ‘Krrish 3’, I got a call from Duggu saying Dad wants to meet you, so I didn’t know what was happening. I went to meet Guddu uncle, and he put the script of ‘Krrish 3’ in front of me, and told me that I’d like you to do the part of Kaal. So I was stumped to be offered to do that role. I was so excited to read the script. They actually opened a room for me, I read the whole script there, I came back with my jaw hanging, wondering if this is what he’s going to make, and how he’s going to make it. I thought this is the character of a lifetime. I told Guddu uncle, I’m honoured that you chose me to play it, and I’m going to do it. He said, ‘I thought of you while writing this character.’ That’s the greatest compliment. Once I said yes to the film, I started forming this whole autobiography of the character that would give me the sense of where I am, how to be like Kaal, think like Kaal, and behave like Kaal. So now what I’m specifically looking at, is roles that would be an absolute challenge. Whether it’s an eleven-hero film, whether it’s a solo, or a multi-starrer, whether it’s a negative character, it doesn’t matter. I want to do anything that is a powerful character, anything where I can perform, something that excites me as an actor. I’m looking for those kind of roles.

How is it that there’s no sense of insecurity in you, especially when you say you have no qualms about doing multi-starrers? 
As long as the role is nice, I’ll do it. And I have always been very secure. I’m not one of those insecure guys. It’s so funny, when we were doing ‘Grand Masti’, the three of us, the relationship that we share, it was so cool that we would sit down, discuss and advice each other. We would actually contribute to each other’s performances. We would tell each other, ‘oh you take that punch-line.’ There was no insecurity, we’re friends, and we know that if the film succeeds, everyone will benefit from that. To be secure and do the role that’s designed for you, that’s most important.

Having done some very successful films, and then a few not-so-successful films, how do you look back? How has your learning curve been?
My secret is I don’t look back. Because I believe life is an experience and you should enjoy it. You can’t sit back and analyse everything. You analyse life so much, that you make it clinical and stop living it. It all becomes so thought out and so charted. And I’m not that guy. I’m a wandering gypsy. I’m a free spirit. I’m not a meticulous planner. I’ve always said ever since I’ve come into the industry, that I don’t really plan anything, I do whatever excites me in that moment, sometimes it falls flat and sometimes it becomes a big success. And I take both with a smile. Because I know that eventually, none of this matters. If you’ve done something great in the past, it doesn’t matter because that’s not what you’re doing now. And even if you did something horrible in the past, it doesn’t matter because that’s not what you’re doing now.

And now, you’re in a very happy space…
For me, funnily, I think the last 3 years have just been phenomenal, I think ever since Priyanka came into my life. Two things happened after she came into my life – It gave me this incredible sense of stability that she’s my rock. My family has always been there for me, but she’s taken it a level higher. And secondly I’ve realised that acting is just what I do, it’s not who I am. What I am is so much more. It’s my family, my relationships with people, my friends, my hobbies, my charitable initiatives, my interests, my ideas, my thoughts that make my life. Acting is just a small part of it. Ever since I started looking at it just as a job, I don’t take myself so seriously, I don’t take everything so seriously. I don’t think too much about what’s going to happen on a Friday. I take success with a smile, I take failure with a smile, and I always believe that ‘bure waqt mein ghabrana nahi, acche waqt mein paglana nahi.’

There’s ‘Grand Masti’, then ‘Krrish 3’. What next?
Like I said, I never plan my life, but I never say never. If something nice comes up, I’ll do it. I’m very happy with my life right now. I’m very excited to do ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’ season 2, and post ‘Krrish 3’ I’m going to sit and wait for the right roles to come, because I think ‘Krrish 3’ will give me that incredible platform which I haven’t had in a while, to be able to be in that process of picking the right films. I’m hoping the right roles come my way.

Let’s talk about Fatherhood.
It’s the best part of my life. Every time, I’m leaving from my house, I like to spend that extra half an hour with him, I don’t want to leave, and which is why I get late. Otherwise I’ve always been on time, and I want to leave from home on time, but I’ve been late for the last few weeks, because I want to spend that more time with him, and then I want to rush back at home in the evenings because that’s when he’s readying to play. I’m loving fatherhood! Right from changing his diapers to giving him his feeds, giving him a bath! I love giving him a bath, that’s my favourite part, that’s my ritual bonding with my son. I sing all these nonsense songs I make up, with no tune but he seems to enjoy it, he looks at me and smiles, and that for me is the essence of my whole universe. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Parineeti Chopra

“I don’t know what works. The moment I give an unsuccessful film, people may not like me”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the August 31, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

Here’s a disclaimer: Don’t ever call Parineeti Chopra ‘bubbly’. Okay? Or else, she may want to kill you. Well, jokes apart, she totally hates that word. Thank God I didn’t use that adjective for her. But, Parineeti’s positivity, her enthusiasm, and energy is contagious, and that’s probably what translates on-screen too. It amazes you how she manages to be such a live wire despite a gruelling day. She’s someone, who is uninhibited, and has no layer of pretence, and that just comes across. In just a little span, she’s managed to win hearts, make men go weak-kneed with her charm, and proved her mettle a performer. One also can’t help but notice her unconventional choice of films and characters. Looking as pretty as always, the young lady makes time for a little chat at the YRF office. So, here we have, the effervescent actress, in a tête-à-tête! 

Photo credit : Rohan Shrestha 

How has the journey on ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ been?
Amazing! I was one of the first people to be cast, because obviously Adi (Aditya Chopra) and Maneesh (director) knew me well and they thought I could suit the character of Gayatri. And then, right from workshops to readings, I have spent so much time with Jaideep (writer) and Maneesh that now when it’s close to release, I actually feel like it’s my baby. I’m very excited, and very nervous also this time.

But, are you generally nervous before a film’s release?
This is very different from what I’ve done. I’m known for only for enthusiastic roles, very bubbly characters, and I so hate that word! Till now, in the promos you’ll see I’m very happy and all, but in the film I’m very different. And I hope people accept me like that also. I was so clueless during ‘Ladies vs Ricky Bahl’ and ‘Ishaqzaade’, so I was only excited that the films are releasing because I never wanted to be an actress, and they did well also, but this industry is very volatile you know, careers are very volatile. Every Friday something new happens. Films can go any way. So, it’s very scary.

How easily do you slip into a character?
I pretty easily, switch on, switch off. My debut, I was myself in the film, so there was no switch on-switch off. ‘Ishaqzaade’ was a very aggressive role for me to do, it wasn’t close to me at all. It took a lot out of me, physically. And ‘Shuddh Desi...’ right now for me is completely different. For that I have to go on set and switch on. I was not that person at all. I was completely in the hands of Maneesh. He used to take care of how I’m behaving, how I’m talking, how I’m sitting, standing on set. So, there was no challenge like that. Fortunately, out of three films so far, Maneesh has been the director for two, and Habib sir for one. So, I believe I shouldn’t even use my brains right now, because they’ve been here for years. I just let myself to them, trust my instinct and try to be spontaneous.

How do you choose your films?
Firstly, what counts is the story, film itself, because the script is the king, and then secondly, what matters is the director. If there’s an average script, and a great director, the film will be great. But even if the script is great, and the director is average, the film will not be good. So, the director is everything. The director is like the chef, who cooks the dish. The best ingredients he uses in the best way possible. If you give it in my hands, I will screw the dish. So, definitely I choose a film based on the script and director, and then I see what my role is in the film. Even if my role is not the title role or the lead role, it doesn’t matter. It just has to be a great role in a great film.

Do you still feel like a newcomer, or have you settled in?
It’s like coming back after a vacation, you don’t really settle in, also because, I took a long break post ‘Ishaqzaade’, and I didn’t sign anything at that time. Now I feel like, I know this is what I want to do in life, so it makes me very happy, but you can never get too used to it, because it’s not in your hand. See if it was in my hand, I would make every film of mine a big success, and just leave it to that. As an actor, you’re constantly on the edge, thinking if the audience will like you with each new film.

 But have you adapted to the various changes?
Adapting is not a problem. But what are the things that I’m asked to adapt to? These are things like dressing better, getting used to your personal life being public; you constantly have to worry about how you’re looking, your weight and all of that. These are the things that were never a part of my life, but I knew I was getting into them. As of now though, I’m still not a star, so this hasn’t really started to happen to me yet, but after a few years when I’m successful, they may happen. So, yes, there are many things to adapt to, and those will be life-changing, but I’m trying my best, slowly and steadily. I’m literally taking each day as it comes, and I can’t be bothered to think about the future because it’s not in my hands.

So, you don’t think you’re a star still?
People love me, and that’s amazing but I think stardom is something that comes after years. I call Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan a star, so we’re nowhere close to them.

You’re on your third film, do you see any change in you? As an actor, and as a person.
Not as a person for sure. I think I’m too thick to let things change me as a person. But as an actor, you become more aware of technicalities, the set, right from focus marks to lighting to being aware of the camera, you’re definitely, technologically more sound and knowledgeable, and if that affects your performance, then that’s great. For me, it helps me, it really helps me to know all these things, and then I give a particular shot in a particular way. I think you learn with time, and that really makes you grow as an actor, for sure.

What’s the best part of your job?
For me, it’s that one moment when action is called and you have to be someone else. You may have heard this from a lot of actors that they love being someone else, but that’s the truth. Just for those five seconds or five minutes, you have to be someone, who is not you. That feeling is unimaginable. When you’re making someone believe that you’re some other person, and make them emote with you, when you’re crying, they’re crying, when you’re laughing, they’re laughing. That feeling is not something you can compare to anything.

Would you also sing someday, professionally, considering you do like singing? 
I would love to! I hope I get a great offer like my sister Priyanka. The way she’s doing it, it’s so amazing, so if I get a chance like that, I would never let it go.

People think you’re different, in terms of how you look, and your choices of roles. Do you think that’s what works for you?
I hope so, because my mantra is, I want to be myself all the time, I don’t want to follow someone. I think when any actor comes into the industry, he/she is told a set of rules – that you must lose weight, this is how you’re supposed to look, this how you’re supposed to sit and talk, these are the people you should be meeting; there are these set rules. I was told those rules too, but I was also told to be myself. So, you have to choose one thing you know. And I chose to be myself. A lot of people also told me, ‘Oh you should be thinner. You should be doing these kind of films.’ But I’m taking decisions and I do things that totally come to my heart at that time, so, I don’t know if that’s what is working for me. I don’t know what works. The moment I give an unsuccessful film, people may not like me, so I’m anyway going to be myself. I’m never going to change myself as a person. I won’ allow it for myself. But if that’s what people like, they’re always going to get that. I want to use the cliché that I’m an open book. I really am. What’s really inside is outside. It’s there for everyone to see. Everybody knows me very well.

You come across as someone who’s very vibrant, full-of-life. Are you the same even while you’re going through a not-so-good phase?
I actually am very bad at dealing with it. I’m very emotional, very sensitive, and I cry a lot, I get very stressed, I lose my appetite, and losing my appetite is like a big sacrifice. I don’t want to give you a boring or a very beautifully sounding answer like, ‘Oh I’m very tough and I come out of it.’ No! I’m terrible. I’m terrible at dealing with stress; I’m terrible with dealing with failure. I get depressed at times like these, and I don’t even like speaking to people that time. I just want that phase to pass quickly.

While you're working on back-to-back films, how do you de-stress? 
I de-stress by sleeping. The moment I get time, I sleep, or I hear a lot of music. Music is like my life. And if I get more than 2-3 days, then I travel a lot, I go on holidays by myself.

There is an interesting line-up of films from you... 
Now, there’s ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ which will release on September 6, then my next release will be ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ with Siddharth Malhotra, then I start Habib Faisal’s film with Aditya Roy Kapoor, which starts now, after ‘Shuddh Desi...’ releases, and then I have ‘Kill Dill’ with Ranveer Singh, Ali Zafar and Govinda, that’s Shaad Ali’s film, and I’m very excited for that one.

Lastly, while on reel, you’re up to some ‘Shudd Desi Romance’, what’s on that front for real?

Romance is non-existent in my life and I don’t know why. I’m completely single, and I’m looking for a boy, but don’t seem to be coming across someone right. I’m romantic but I’m not like the cliché romantic. If someone comes to me with flowers, I’ll really hit him (Laughs). I just want someone who’s all cool. If he would just sit at home with me, eat food, watch TV, that’ll be all cool with me! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Imran Khan

 “I’m not good at competing with other people”

By Ankita R Kanabar

I waited for him patiently, as he continued to get into the shoes of his character Aslam, every now and then, while he spoke to several news channels about his latest film. He stood there, with no sign of fatigue, or boredom, as he continued to field all the questions, even few awkwardly funny questions, with a smile; clad in a crisp white shirt, and blue pants. I realised then, as to why girls seem upset about him being married. Just as I finally began my interview with him, as we travelled to his film’s screening in his car, I told him, he was kind of intimidating. He shockingly responded, “I beg your pardon?” Obviously, nobody must have told him that earlier, but what I meant was, it’s his intellectual side which is slightly intimidating. Enroute, we get chatting, we speak about films and films. And then, we speak about other things that come along with films. Here we have, Imran Khan, in a freewheeling chat!

 How has the journey on ‘Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ been? 
It’s been very fulfilling specifically as a professional because see on a personal level, sometimes you enjoy working on a film, sometimes you don’t, but, it’s not as common to really enjoy the work, to do something that excites you, which makes you feel like you want to do more, and you want to do better.

This year you had a film like ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, and now ‘OUATIMD’. Has it been a conscious decision to move away from what you’ve done?
More than me wanting to do something, funny enough is it’s because of other people, because nobody offered me anything like this before. I’ve spent my career so far basically working with first time directors. Of all the films that I’ve done, majority of them are with guys who’re making their first film, they were smaller, simpler stories, more personal and urban stories, so that’s what I was offered, that’s what I chose, and that’s what I did. I think a part of it is, Vishal offering me ‘Matru...’ opened up avenues for me, people started offering me films that I wasn’t offered before. So, it’s less about my taste or my intension, it’s more about what I have been offered.

But what’s your taste and what are your intentions?
I never intended to do anything. I never intended to be an actor. I wanted to become a director. I went to film school, I trained as a writer, I trained as a director, as a cinematographer, never did a day of acting. I literally stumbled into it. I went to meet Abbas Tyrewala as an AD, that’s what I was doing at that time, I was looking for work as an assistant director, and then he said you should act in my film.

So when was it that you finally thought you wanted to be an actor?
When I agreed to do ‘Jaane Tu…’ I was quite thinking of it as a one-off. I thought I’ll just do one film, and then get back to doing what I actually want to do. Somewhere in the middle of it, I started to enjoy it, I started to get other offers, and then it became about a challenge, about let’s see what I can do. I’ve always been a kind of person who, likes to challenge himself. I want to see how well I can push my capabilities. I never played any of the normal sports in school, never played cricket, or football, I used to play pool, I would skate, I would scuba-dive and all. So, basically I played solo -sports. I just get caught up in my own game, and I’m not good at competing with other people. For me, it’s like, this is what I’m capable of, so how can I do more? This is how fast I can run, how can I run faster? So, it became about that for me.

How easy or difficult it is for you to escape a character and move to the next? Do they sometimes overlap?
Sometimes traits of one character do tend to leak a little bit into another character, it has happened. I can speak for myself, that the way that you create a character, it’s like little elements, you put on pieces of armour, clothing, whatever constitutes a character. There are all these pieces that you put on. You finish a film and you take them off, but you never quite discard them. So, you’re always roaming around with a backpack which has pieces of these characters in them. If at any point, you need any of those pieces you can put them back on, but sometimes, you forget to remove some piece of that character, and then you realise that and rectify it. This is the best way I can describe it to you. But, ultimately all your characters are floating around somewhere with you.

Does it take time for you to get into the skin of a character?
I’m not spontaneous. I need to plan, I need to rehearse, I need to know what I’m doing, why I’m doing it. I’m not a spontaneous person in my life, nothing at all. So, for me it is vital to have everything before-hand. I will read the script a dozen of times, I will find the things that I can use, but from action to cut, weirdly I’m spontaneous. There are many actors who time their breaths, and their pauses. It’s not at all important to be spontaneous, it’s important to appear spontaneous. There’s a Japanese saying for this, “You do a 100 rehearsals and a 100 takes, but what the audience will see is that one take, and that’s the important one.” So, for me to get to that point where I can do something spontaneous, I have to prepare. If you’re working with a good actor, it gets easier. So much of my performance is dependent on my co-star. I feed of what they’re doing.

Your journey so far has seen quite a few ups and downs…how do you look at it?
I tend not to take success or failure seriously. It really is a part of life, and so much of it is out of your hands, so it’s just about accepting it and moving forward. You need to learn from your mistakes. Particularly as an actor, I don’t think there’s much in my hands. The film is made by someone else, it’s promoted by another guy, released by a third guy. All that I have in my hands, is the work between action and cut, that I can control, that part I take seriously, that I look at, analyse where have I gone wrong, and I try and turn my weaknesses into strengths. When a film doesn’t do well, it makes you upset but you have to be able to distinguish and say that it’s not entirely my failure; if people haven’t liked my work, that’s my failure. This is the way I look at it.

 So, how do you react to failures?
I have a very philosophical outlook on these things. Good times come and go, bad times come and go, and it’s all transitional. So, you have to kind of pull what happiness, joy and satisfaction you can, out of it, whatever that may be. We get caught up, we have blinders and look at a very small picture. Then you look up and say, I’m a guy who was never supposed to be an actor, suddenly I’m here working with people I respect and like, I have a life of plenty of happiness with family, my wife, my friends. I’m a person who’s got more than I ever hoped for, and more than most people will ever get in their life, so how can I complain?

What is it that you look for when you’re offered a script?
For me, it’s really as simple as whether I would want to watch the film myself. Obviously, when you read something you’re having a vision of it in your head. I ask myself, would I watch this film? In our business, you never know what’s going to work. Obviously, nobody sets out to make a flop. Everyone wants to make blockbuster films, but why do we fall short sometimes, is because you can’t really predict what the audience would be interested in. All you can go by is, your taste and your heart.

When did stardom sink in for you? And do you believe that stardom has its own price to pay?
It’s an ongoing process, if I’m completely honest. There are still moments where I feel maybe I’ll go somewhere and I won’t get recognised. So, it’s still ongoing. The issue that concerns me is that somewhere with celebrity culture, you tend to lose human rights. For instance, if a man tried to get a picture up a girl’s skirt, to try and get a picture of her underwear, he’d be beaten on the street and sent to jail, unless, that girl happened to be an actress. Then the public apparently has a right to know about her underwear. So, the same newspaper who’ll show how this dirty molester was caught trying to grope a girl on the front page, will post a photograph of a heroine’s underwear when she was sitting at an event, and they managed to get a shot of her skirt. So, now because she’s an actress, is it that she’s no longer a woman, and we should no longer respect her and protect her the way we protect anyone else? That part I don’t understand.

While you’re a part of the industry, you still kind of stay aloof from certain things, don’t you?
I don’t want people to know everything about me. I don’t feel that they need to. The more people know about me, it becomes a hindrance, the more baggage they’re carrying into a theatre about me, the more it’s affecting their judgement of my work. I speak in public for two reasons : one is that I have to, to promote my films, and secondly, sometimes there are some things that I feel very strongly about, and I’m in a position to influence certain decisions, debates, so I feel I would want to lend my voice to certain discussions. Apart from that, I never speak on what I consider to be trivial matters. There are always talks about who went on a holiday and what they did. There are always photographs of certain actors exiting restaurants? So, how does the media know that an actor is visiting a restaurant? Do they stand outside a restaurant, hoping some actor will turn up? No, they’re told to go there right? Somehow, nobody turns up outside the restaurants I go to.

Would it be right to say that you’re reserved?
Yes, very much. I’m very reserved. I’m not easy to get to make friends with or to like or get along with, it takes work. It takes work to get to know me, to like me, and to breakthrough all of that, and frankly I’m quite happy about that.

Do we see you direct someday?
Of course I’d like to direct a film someday. That’s why I got into the business, that’s what I’ve trained for. For now, I’m genuinely enjoying acting. I never thought I’d do it, but I find myself at a place where I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. I’m having new experiences, the kind of things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. All of these things go towards your growth as a person and as a creative person. I’m getting to work with so many directors and you get to learn something from each one of them, so I always think about what I can imbibe from them.

You were appreciated with your debut film itself…since then has it been a struggle to keep performing better?
That’s inherent to any creative person. You always want more, you always want to do better, and move forward. And that desire, it never goes away, ideally. For some people, it goes away and it shows with their work. The reality of our business is that it’s always going to be self-driven and self-motivated, because, people are always willing to embrace and celebrate mediocrity. Because someone is famous, we’ll say very good and well done, even when someone is not doing good work. So, unless you choose to grow, you choose to move forward, you won’t grow.

Do you take criticism seriously?
I treat any kind criticism in the same way. Just because one person’s opinion can be printed on paper, doesn’t mean that opinion is more valuable than any other person’s opinion. We tend to forget that part. Whatever any critic has to say, or whatever a fan has to say, I weigh that opinion equally. You say I’m good, I’ll say okay, you say I’m bad, I’ll say okay, and then I take the average. I see what is of value and move forward from there.

Lastly, what next do we have from you post ‘OUATIMD’?
As of now, there’s just Punit Malhotra’s ‘Gori Tere Pyaar Mein’. A few other projects are being worked out, but nothing concrete for now. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The young brigade on a roll!

Small-budget, young films have left the audience charmed in the first half of 2013

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This feature was published in the July 6, 2013 issue of Super Cinema) 

If you thought that 2012 was a fun year at the movies, with small-budget, niche films coming to the forefront and taking all the accolades, along with a number of other films making it to the 100-crore mark then, hold that thought. Because, 2013 has sprung up quite a few surprises as well. And of course, none of us are complaining! Some quintessential entertainers have managed to do well, yet again, and then there were some mega-budget films that didn’t manage to hit the jackpot. Yes, indeed the box office is soaring high, but what’s really nice is how some small films, with a relatively fresh cast, and novel concepts have managed to woo the audience and command attention. This is just another testament to the fact that Hindi cinema is changing and we’re becoming more concept-driven than star-driven. And, what’s even more amusing is that because of this whole change in the scenario, even the stars who were extremely happy in their trademark style, and genre, are now willing to experiment, and be a part of various subjects. For instance, we saw how Akshay Kumar moved away from the larger-than-life action and comedy, to do something as unique as a ‘Special 26’. But, here’s the thing. While the audience loves to see their favourite stars in their patent form, and the big stars are happy in their own comfort zone, we have the younger lot, who is being a part of the change. The younger lot, on the other hand, with their energy, dynamism and freshness, is willing to experiment, try something new, or probably just do what’s being done, differently. Which is why, filmmakers are also willing to work with newer talents. The reason for this could also be the fact that in India, the majority of the movie-goers comprise of the youth. The younger lot is like a wave of fresh air, amidst the staple Hindi cinema fare, which we equally enjoy, by the way! So, hey, while the Bachchans, the Khans, the Devgn, and Khiladi Kumar still continue to reign, the youth is slowly making its presence felt on the 70mm and charming us by displaying some great prowess.

This year as well, just like last year, a number of moderately-budgeted films have shown immense potential and excelled at the box office. While ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ has proven to be the biggest blockbuster of the year so far; as far as the cost-profit ratio is concerned, the biggest hit has been ‘Aashiqui 2’. Producer Mahesh Bhatt thinks it’s the soul of the film which created that kind of impact. He opines, “It is certainly nice that a film made under a budget of 9 crores, goes on to make around 80 crores, nationally. All of us had deep conviction in Shagufta Rafique’s story. The director, Mohit Suri gave a new soul to the film. I think what worked for ‘Aashiqui 2’ was that after a long time came a film that made people cry. In today’s day and age, we hardly see heroines on-screen who are like ‘Seeta’, or who’re so traditional. And it was a welcome change to see this kind of love, and these kind of characters which is why it became a hit. Also, the music added to its popularity. Lately, given to the public pressure, we see only happy endings in films, but if you see epic love stories like ‘Mughal-e-azam’, they didn’t have a happy ending. We’re now moving into a global culture, the consumer is getting more evolved, yet somewhere the audience likes the traditional values in our films.” Apart from ‘Aashiqui 2’, the Boman Irani-Arshad Warsi starrer ‘Jolly LLB’ has also proven to be a dark horse. The film did exceptionally well at the box office, with some great reviews by the critics.

Another film which managed to find a connect with the audience was ‘Kai Po Che’. Starring newcomers, the film dealt with several things at one go, and yet managed to be engrossing and heart-warming. Of course, all the credit goes to director Abhishek Kapoor, but the three young actors of the film totally shined through, and definitely, the film proved to be a new, sweet beginning for them. In fact, newbie Sushant Singh Rajput already bagged quite a few other films before ‘Kai Po Che’ even released. “You know, people might have thought earlier that ‘Kai Po Che’ is not a typical launch because it’s not a single hero film. But I feel extremely fortunate to have ‘Kai Po Che’ has my debut, since it was a character-driven film. Cinema is changing as we know, and the variety of films we’ve had last year, prove that. ‘Kai Po Che’ again was yet another film that was different,” says Sushant. 

Actor Amit Sadh, who played Omi in the film admits that this film has been life-changing for him. Amit expresses, “I would say that after this film, I feel like a new born. It has been a life-changing experience for me, especially working with people like these. I used to say, this film has no actual stars, everyone in the film apart from actors, are stars. We had a national-award winning producer, director, sound-recordist! I’m still amazed at my luck to get a character like this so early in my career. I still don’t know how I did it! I’m still soaking it all in.”

What we also saw this year, was India’s first dance film in 3D. Directed by Remo, ‘ABCD’ did manage to allure the dance enthusiasts and many others. Later, Vidyut Jammwal starrer ‘Commando’, redefined the action genre, and was a complete departure from the larger-than-life action films that are a trend in Hindi cinema, in recent times. Vidyut who was considered more as a baddie, post his stint in ‘Force’, established himself as the solo lead, and the new action hero, with ‘Commando’. Time and again, it’s being proven that it’s all about re-inventing oneself, and a veteran director like David Dhawan just did that this year with ‘Chashme Buddoor’. He moved away from his style of comedy, cast relatively new actors, and the film went on to do great.

South actress Taapsee Pannu, who made her Hindi film debut with ‘Chashme Buddoor’, completely credits the veteran director for how the film turned out to be. She says, “Probably, three years from now, Hindi cinema was not as open to newcomers as it is right now. But today, it’s different. During ‘Chashme Buddoor’, it was so surprising that a director like David Dhawan, who is such a veteran, could re-invent himself and work with a newcomer like me and youngsters like the other actors in the film. He recreated the feel of the youth. He’s actually the youngest by heart. It’s his youth that has reflected in the movie.” And the man himself, David Dhawan is extremely overwhelmed by the response to the film.
His voice is brimming with happiness, while he says, “The fact that ‘Chashme Buddoor’ did well despite having newcomers is a big thing for me. It’s my unsaid answer to a lot of people. I feel really great that people appreciated the film. Times have changed, and now smaller films can also do very well. ‘Chashme Buddoor’, ‘Jolly LLB’, ‘Aashiqui 2’ and many more are examples of that!”

Y Films’ ‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’ is another film to have made a good mark, despite the film being made at a very small budget, and not going overboard with the promotional activities. Obviously, it opened newer avenues for actor Saqib Saleem. “I cannot really figure out how much should the box office collection of a film be. So, I didn’t expect this kind of response to ‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’, but obviously, I’m not complaining. I’m very happy that people suddenly want to work with me, and I’m being offered a variety of parts in different films. You know, I have that certain kind of look, though I’m 25, I look 22-23 on-screen so I thought I would get the similar kind of young roles only, but now people are giving me some serious roles which I’ve always wanted to do, so this is an interesting phase. But when it comes to ‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’, I have to give credit to one person and that’s my director Ashima Chibber because it was her first film and she had to be convinced that I was her character,” explains Saqib.

And then, who would have thought that we’d see a film which will be touted as India’s first zombie film. We aren’t a zombie crazy country, yet ‘Go Goa Gone’ with its unique concept, and elements of horror and comedy combined, was successful in entertaining the audience. While it did have Saif Ali Khan donning the hat of a producer, and in an extended cameo, the film majorly worked only because of its content.
The recently released ‘Fukrey’ was a complete entertainer as well, and people still are raving about the film. ‘Raanjhanaa’ also has proven to be extremely appealing to the audience, and Dhanush who’s made his debut with this one, has bowled over everyone with his performance. But, while the first half of 2013 was dominated by the young brigade and smaller films, the next half of the year shall be filled with big releases and mega stars. There’s ‘Chennai Express’, ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobara’, ‘Krissh 3’, ‘Boss’ and ‘Dhoom 3’ to name a few.

Now, this is what is interesting! We have big films, with big stars being awaited and welcomed with open arms, and then even the newer lot is getting a good reception from the audience. Now, if this is where we’re going with Hindi cinema, it’s truly awesome! The audience certainly has a buffet of options being offered to them, and a huge variety of films to choose from. This variety in films, is most definitely, adding a lot of spice to our otherwise monotonous life. At least, for a big Hindi cinema fanatic like me, this is a treat! The year so far must have been creatively satisfying for a lot of people. Evidently, we’ve had a lot of fun at the movies, and hopefully it will continue to remain so even in the second half of the year!