Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Don't be taken in by his quiet nature and congenial face. Akshaye Khanna likes being the bad-guy in movies. As the actor makes a comeback with the upcoming film Dishoom, we are told that he was instantly convinced by the role. A source says, “When Rohit went over to meet Akshaye, he assumed it would take him a lot of convincing. But the latter was lured by the basic concept of the story. Akshaye felt that the story of a star bats man getting kidnapped barely two days before an important match makes for a thrilling premise. He was excited to work with Varun and John. But mostly , he is the last person to have any qualms about a negative role. Because, every time he's played a negative role, he's killed it, as in Humraaz and Race.“ And now with the feedback he's getting for his character Wagah in the action adventure, he has one more reason to enjoy being bad.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:53 AM
Nishikant Kamat is a man of few words. In fact, he confesses this, a tad self-consciously , as we settle down for the interview. He says, “It's nicer to direct a film, however speaking about it is difficult.“ The director exudes a calm confidence as he looks forward to the release of Madaari rather than get nervous about its box-office verdict. In an exclusive interview he tells us about his wish to helm fewer movies every year, his love for cinema and working with first-time producer Irrfan.
Madaari is a real-life drama. So, what were the challenges that you faced while working on it?
It is inspired by a real-life incident (the collapse of an under-construction metro bridge in Andheri in 2012). We have explored human emotions and how the whole accident affected people.While portraying real-life incidents in movies, you can't take liberties.Sticking to the milieu is tough in a real-life drama as I can't incorporate a song with the lead actor breaking into a jig or have 100 dancers in the film. At the same time, I have to make it thrilling and engaging.That is the biggest challenge.
Social media is abuzz with rumours that Irrfan's character is based on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Is it true?
I don't understand where these rumours emerge from. I am tired of refuting these claims. His character is not based on Kejriwal.
The film also explores the father-son relationship. So, did you incorporate your personal experiences too?
I live with my father and share a normal relationship with him. I don't know if I have incorporated my personal experiences subconsciously .
The movie starts off as a thriller and gets emotional as it progresses. I don't want to reveal much but it was about time a father-son relationship was explored on screen. Having said that, everyone has questions about the way we live in the country and I'm fortunate to be working in a medium through which I can express myself. So, in this film, I have raised questions about our existence, accountability and several other issues.
You have worked with Irrfan, the actor, earlier. How different was it collaborating with him as a producer this time around?
We go back a long way . He was 27 and I was 24 when I first directed him for a TV show. Then we worked together in Mumbai Meri Jaan. Now, we are back after eight years. And the best part was that he got me onboard as the director. Once we started shooting, he was in his element as an actor. Irrfan is one of the finest actors of our country . He's not only immersed in his craft but is also demanding. He is so talented that I'm always on my toes around him.He asks the right questions, so I've to be ready with the answers.
Does that mean he made your job as a director easier?
Yes, Irrfan comes well-prepared on the sets. He is a no-nonsense actor and is serious about his work.This obviously made my job easier. He knew his costumes and dialogues and that eased my pressure to a great extent. I have not taken a single retake because he never forgot his lines.
Given a choice, would you have chosen him to play the protagonist?
Of course. We are both dedicated people when it comes to the craft. I remember there were two scenes which I had not written. Though the film was 80 per cent ready , we waited for five months to get them right. I tend to get stubborn with my scripts so Irrfan understood that.
You have made a few commercial movies but you have won more appreciation for your hard-hitting films. Do you get tempted to make commercial cinema as the box office believes in numbers?
I'm not the kind who gets carried away by formulaic cinema. I love filmmaking. If the story is good and requires a bigger star then I will need that much money to make it, and then come back to the producer with more money too. At times, I'm happy that I'm making a film on a small budget. I'm not worried about star value, the return on investment is more important. If the producer has invested in me, he must get his returns. The number game has never been important for me. A good story and correct budget makes it work. Also, if I have made a Mumbai Meri Jaan, I have also directed movies like Drishyam and Rocky Handsome.
You have also acted in a couple of films. Will you face the camera in the future too?
I act when I'm free but direction is my passion. I'm lucky that I've managed both mainstream and parallel cinema. I'm happy that now, people are enjoying films like Neerja and Airlift. If I had made Mumbai Meri Jaan today , it would have been a bigger hit. And this is a welcome change in our cinema.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:51 AM
Sobhita Dhulipala (Miss India Earth 2013) I'm not obsessed with the idea of being famous; I want to be known for memorable roles: Sobhita
|Sobhita Dhulipala (Miss India Earth 2013)|
Sobhita Dhulipala (Miss India Earth 2013) made an impressive debut in Bollywood with Anurag Kashyap's Raman Raghav 2.0, and praises have been pouring in from all quarters ever since. In a film that boasts of powerhouse performers like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal, she held her own with a striking performance.Critics have given her the thumbs up, and gone ahead to say that she is a perfect combination of great looks and talent. Not just in India, critics from across the globe have also praised her in the film. While critic Guy Lodge called her a `terrific cast standout' in his review in Variety , Huffington Post wrote, `The film accentuates her audacity and charm as an actor coming into her own'. Fourthree Film said, “Sobhita Dhulipala as Kaushal's girlfriend has an impressive debut.“
“This was the first film I auditioned for. I've emotionally invested in the project and getting all this praise meant a lot. To be working with people I have looked up to, in a movie that is so honest and unapologetic and also be appreciated for it, it's all surreal for me,“ an excited Sobhita tells BT, adding that she pinches herself every now and then to let reality sink in.
Talking about standing out in the psychological thriller with such brilliant actors, she says, “I wasn't trying to stand out in the first place. Like all the ingredients that come together in a dish, I believe that every actor brings something to the film. And by working with people like Anurag, Nawazuddin and Vicky , who are so dedicated and passionate, I also learnt to respect the craft.“
Sobhita, who is fluent in her mother tongue Telugu as well as in Hindi and English, adds, “I was aware that the movie was not made to please people. But India has such a diverse audience that there's space for every kind of film. I wasn't apprehensive about doing it because the script was the hero and I enjoyed the story and thought it was honest. I am not obsessed with the idea of being famous; I want to be known for memorable roles.“
Interestingly, her first ever nomination was at the Cannes Film Festival 2016. “When we returned from Cannes, Anurag sent me a link. When I opened it, I was stunned because I was nominated in the Best Performance category , and that too, for the critics' choice, a list that had some of the best actors across the world mentioned in it. It was very humbling,“ she says.
Sobhita has signed a three-film deal with Anurag's banner. “We are yet to discuss our next project. However, I'm on the verge of signing a film, which I'm excited about. It will give me scope to expand my horizon,“ she adds. Well, we are waiting to find out, too.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:28 AM
The baap of entertainment, Rajinikanth, is back with his latest film, Kabali. With bookings opening a week in advance, planned premiers across the globe and `grant a day's leave to watch the movie' hashtags going viral, this Pa Ranjith-directorial has created a lot of buzz. The makers give five reasons to not miss this gangster drama that releases in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Malay .
RAJINI ALL THE WAY
In his 164th outing, Rajinikanth plays a retired gangster whose past comes back to haunt him. Since the film is set in the 80s and the present day , the actor sports different looks.
As Kabali's wife Kumudavalli, Radhika Apte impressed the team with her performance. Taiwanese star Winston Chao and Malaysian actor Rosyam Nor play pivotal roles.
FULL ON ENTERTAINMENT
The film has romance, action and comedy in equal measure. If an action scene establishes Rajini's character as a don, the romantic sequence between him and Radhika will impress viewers.
There's probably no Thalaiva fan who hasn't dubsmashed to the chartbuster Neruppa Da. A mash-up video featuring characters of Ice Age: Collision Course and scenes from Kabali went viral.
While Rajini's murals on walls and buses have become a common sight, a re-branded airbus plastered with his pictures flew across destinations. Merchandises featuring the superstar, including laptop covers and mobile pouches, have also become a craze.
Kabali releases July 22.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:01 AM
Monday, July 18, 2016
Small and unconventional films are redefining Indian cinema. I am happy to be part of it. Hollywood is just a bonus
There is no better way to spend a lazy monsoon afternoon than lounging on a couch, sipping hot coffee an watching back-to-back m vies. B t how a ut some company? Let s say one of the finest actors of he country. Let’s say... irrfan Khan! It’s been 10 years since the actor who regularly blows our minds with his t lent made his international debut. So, one Sunday we i his decade-long journey in Hollywood through his films with him talking us through the experiences. “Things have changed a lot; and for the better,” says Irrfan as we settle down on the couch. “Asian actors are now doing mainstream non-Asian roles.”
On the table in front of us is a DVD stack of each international project he has been part of. And there are more than a dozen titles, including 10 Hollywood ones. That is a lot to watch in a day. But I can’t help but wonder: Is Irrfan really a crossover actor?
Perhaps I’m thinking out loud, because he turns to me and says: “I keep getting interesting offers. If I were younger, I might have thought of relocating to Hollywood. But I never really felt like leaving India. My people are here and so are my stories. Today, small and unconventional films are redefining cinema in India. And I am happy to be part of this brave, new world. Hollywood is just a bonus.”
Coffee arrives and I still don’t know which movie to start with. “Let’s start from where I started 10 years ago,” Irrfan suggests.
2005, Asif Kapadia “I treat the film as my second mother. It gave me my long-awaited birth in movies. I still have the black kurta I auditioned in!” says Irrfan laughing, as he pops the DVD into the player.
His face lights up as his name flashes on screen. “The way Asif introduces me in the movie…,” he says, watching intently as the music builds and the title, ‘Irrfan Khan in and as Warrior’, comes up, “It is so grand. It was like some Clint Eastwood movie,” says Irrfan, whose career till then was limited to television. “Koi director consider hi nahin karte thhey mujhe. Main sochta thha ki koi teen minute ka bhi role de de toh kar loon.”
The movie begins with a stunningly choreographed shot of Irrfan practising with his sword in front of a lone tree in the middle of a desert. “When I was doing the scene I didn’t understand why we need to shoot this guy doing kalaripayattu in the middle of nowhere, but when I watched the movie in its entirety, I realised the significance. That’s the thing with Asif. He packs so many layers in one single shot. His dialogues are also like that – deceivingly simple but pregnant with symbolism,” says the actor.
There is another important lesson Irrfan learned from this movie. “Asif ’s previous short film,
The Sheep Thief, had won big at Cannes,” he says. “People were thinking Irrfan ki toh lag gayi lottery. Then The Warrior got rejected at Cannes. This taught me not to build castles in the air. It was a crucial lesson to survive in this industry.”
2006, Mira Nair Back in 1988, Irrfan had done a bit role (his character didn’t even have a name) in Mira Nair’s Salaam
Bombay. “Right after I graduated from NSD. Tab lagta nahin thha ki Hollywood mein mera kuchh ho sakta hai,” he laughs.
Since then, Irrfan and Nair had often bumped into each other at film festivals. “She’d always say something like ‘Arrey tu toh star ho gaya hai,’ but she never offered me another role. I thought our ways had parted,” he says.
So he was surprised when the award-winning director called him one day and offered him the role of Ashoke Ganguli, Gogol’s father – just after he’d finished reading the book. “While reading, I never thought there was any scope for this particular character. It was Gogol’s story.” But the dialogues were irresistible. “I realised if I didn’t do this movie, I wouldn’t be able to say those lines ever,” he says. “The film is much more dramatic than the book.”
About 15 minutes into the film, Irrfan pauses it. The scene is the one in which Ashoke, realising he shouldn’t have screamed at his new bride Ashima, tries to pacify her.“I wanted to try out something different and started playing tabla on the bathroom door. It was something I would have done in real life. Sometimes we tend to take a very conventional approach to acting. We don’t relate it to our personal lives. If we do, the result is often surprising,” says Irrfan.
Although the film got him his first international award (Best Supporting Male at the Independent Spirit Awards), he was not aware that it was on the festival circuit. “So when I heard that a friend of mine had watched it at a New York theatre, I called him to ask how the international audiences were reacting to my performance.”
Not only had the audience and the critics applauded Irrfan as the quintessential bespectacled Bengali babu moshai, but there was also a director named Wes Anderson who noticed this Indian actor.
The Darjeeling Limited
2007, Wes Anderson Irrfan fast forwards this DVD to the point where he plays a village elder. “Wes wrote a small part for me and I was more than happy to just be part of his film,” he says. Even in this blink-and-miss-it role, Irrfan makes sure you never blink.
A Mighty Heart
2007, Michael Winterbottom Irrfan plays a Pakistani intelligence officer in this Angelina Jolie-starrer based on the search for abducted Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. “A Mumbai news a er ran headlines: ‘An elina’s comin to India for Irrfan’. It was so embarrassin !” he sa s burstin into a lau hter.
The actor calls the shooting process an ‘immersing experience’. “Michael doesn’t bother about the script, or even the continuity, he shoots from every Journalists often ask about one skill I have picked up while shooting; I learnt how to roll a cigarette on the sets of In Treatment
From page 7 possible angle. He wouldn’t even say ‘cut’ once the scene was over! He would wait for actors to come up with something to add. By the time the scene was shot, you, as an actor, had rewritten the script.” THE GAME CHANGER
Blazer by Anuj Madaan; Floral shirt by Tommy Hilfiger; Bow tie, stylist’s own, by Zara Slumdog Millionaire
2008, Danny Boyle Next on my list is the winner of eight Oscars – Slumdog
Millionaire, but the actor insists we skip it. He does not want to talk much about his small but important role as the pragmatic police inspector. “I did the film because of Dann Bo le ” he sa s before addin that the movie was a ame chan er. “If toda Indian actors are bein cast in roles that are not uintessentiall Asian much of the credit should o to this film ” he sa s. CRITICS’ DARLING
2010, Rodrigo Garcia Irrfan’s next triumph and the project that really made the West take note of him, was a TV show. “After a few episodes, my posters were at Times Square; critics were writing love letters to me… I wish I had kept some of those,” the actor says with a sigh.
In the show, Irrfan plays a middle-aged Bengali man who had been mollycoddled his entire life. Now his wife is dead, and he is in New York with his son and daughter-in-law. “The character had so many layers of complexity that I didn’t know how to approach it. I didn’t have any similar experiences to refer to. I had to create my own hell to get into a similar mental space as the character. And the process took a toll on me. In fact one day I called my wife and she didn’t know how to handle me. I didn’t know what I was blurting,” says Irrfan preparing a cigarette.
As he skillfully aligns the tobacco, his face suddenly breaks into a nostalgic smile: “Journalists often ask about one skill I have picked up while shooting; I learnt how to roll a cigarette on the sets of this show!” SPIDEY, WHO?
The Amazing Spider-Man
2012, Marc Webb “I don’t want to watch this film, or talk about it!” says Irrfan the minute it’s the turn of The
Amazing Spider-Man, arguably his most glamorous release. The actor’s role as Dr Ranjit Ratha was snipped, giving screen time to a computer-generated lizard. Four years later, the wounds obviously haven’t healed. THE BESTSELLER
Life Of Pi
2012, Ang Lee In the multiple Oscar winner, Life
Of Pi, Irrfan plays the older version of Pi Patel, who is recounting the story to a writer. As he regrets not saying goodbye to his co-passenger, the tiger, a single tear settles in the corner of his eye. And I feel a tear land on my own cheek.
“After watching the shot, Ang Lee told me it was one of the best moments of his cinematic career. He thought what made the scene so impactful was the moment I chose to cry,” says Irrfan.
It was a tough scene. But after six months Irrfan got to know that they were replacing Tobey Maguire with Rafe Spall in it and it needed to be reshot. “Ang was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the performance. So he wanted to shoot only Rafe,” says Irrfan, reminiscing.
The actor wasn’t too confident either, but he refused to take the easy way out and reshot the entire scene. “I knew Pi’s version, and how convincingly he narrates it the story in this scene, was very crucial to this open-ended story.” IN DINO COUNTRY
2015, Colin Trevorrow The actor plays Simon Masrani, the owner of the park in one of last year’s top-grossing films.
A movie about dinosaurs is heavily dependent on special effects and although Irrfan was not new to shooting in front of a green screen, there was a problem. “Before the shoot started, the director had shown us one picture of how it might look, but the final look was kept under wraps. So we would shoot in an empty jungle with our collective imaginations running overtime!” says Irrfan. THE NEXT TAKE
2016, Ron Howard Based on Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, the Tom Hanksstarrer releases in October this year. Irrfan plays Harry Sims, head of the Consortium. Hope he invites Brunch for another movie date. What say, Irrfan?
Posted by The Bharatiya at 1:48 AM