Riding the Wave
The Winds of Hastinapur
HARPER COLLINS INDIA
Friday, November 8, 2013
Posted by The Bharatiya at 3:02 AM
I’M A NERVOUS WRECK BEFORE EACH OF MY SHOWS
In theatre, he’s the man with the Midas touch. With super-hit plays like Tumhari Amrita, Dinner With Friends and All The Best to his credit, Feroz Abbas Khan has consistently managed to hit the jackpot at the box office. The director of the critically acclaimed movie Gandhi, My Father, who opened this year’s Prithvi Theatre Festival with his favourite play, Salesman Ramlal, talks about his love and passion for the stage.
Your association with the Prithvi theatre dates back to more than two decades. How did it all begin? When I was in college, we had a wonderful tradition of participating in intercollegiate drama competitions. Though I had joined college to become a chartered accountant, I got attracted to theatre and started off as an actor. At that time, there were so many exciting personalities around like Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri, Nadira Babbar and Alok Nath. It was perhaps the golden period for theatre and the standards back then were really high. Soon we formed a theatre company of our own and that was also the time when Prithvi Theatre Festival started. Actors would sit at Prithvi for hours and would be provided with subsidised food. They were also allowed to watch other plays for free, so it was like an abode. During this time, I met Jennifer Kapoor and we struck a kind of interesting and warm relationship. She used to share her vision and aspirations for Prithvi and that’s how the festival came into being. But on the last day of the festival, we got to know that she was suffering from a terminal illness. That’s when the family asked me to step in along with Kunal (Kapoor) and maintain continuity. It was a very difficult time. I felt extremely responsible but for Kunal, it was worse, because it was he who had to carry the torch forward and everyone was looking up to him. There was a lot of criticism and scepticism and people felt the place was going to go down soon. But we pulled up our socks and did a good job. In fact that year, 1985, saw the finest festival the city has ever seen. That year was the most important time in my life.
Through the years, your plays have consistently been appreciated by the audiences. To what do you attribute the success? I haven’t been able to put my finger on the reason why my plays have been so successful. I have found a connection with the work that I do. I first connect with it on a personal level and then share it with a large number of people. But there is no formula. If there was, I would have kept churning out plays! One of my problems is that I take a lot of time to come up with new work. There should be something that will make me want to go out there and feel challenged all over again. Believe it or not, I am a nervous wreck before each of my shows and it’s very difficult for me to watch my own plays. If there is a wrong pause or wrong lighting, it affects me. Whenever I have felt that any play of mine is not going to realise its true potential, I close it down. I have shut down many popular plays even when the shows were going houseful. Because though the audience is very charitable and kind, I have certain standards and responsibilities towards myself.
Tumhari Amrita is going strong even after 21 years. What is it that makes it so popular across generations? It is something that still surprises me. I don’t know why it has worked. It’s one play which I am very worried about; every time we perform it, I wonder if it will work. That is why the play is successful, because it has the freshness and energy of the first performance. It’s almost like a legacy that people are passing down from generation to generation. It has made a deep connection with people’s lives. I would say the credit goes purely to the writing.
Some actors who began with theatre and moved on to TV and films, haven’t returned to their roots. Is it because cinema is more lucrative? Theatre needs a lot of dedication. Today, if you are a TV actor, you can pretty much have a career with five expressions and still be called a damn good actor. But that’s not the case in theatre. So naturally, if you can make so much money with five expressions, why would you want to do anything else? A lot of people believe that being an actor is only about making money. And once you are stuck in that rut, you can’t come back. If you want to come back to theatre, you have to go through the grind again and again and that is a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s a tough place. If a singer thinks he can be a singer without riyaz, he can be, but will he be a great singer? No. That’s the same thing with theatre. It’s a riyaz for actors.
Though your debut film Gandhi, My Father won national awards, you didn’t make any more films after it. Why? I don’t know. I just stumbled into filmmaking. I wasn’t dying to make a film. I am very comfortable with theatre. But when the opportunity came to make a film, I dived into it completely. After Gandhi… I wanted to do my next film, Dekh Tamasha Dekh, a social and political satire. But somehow the recession came and people weren’t ready to back the film. So it took its time. I waited to do the film. It was something that I needed to get out of my system. Now I am open to doing more work in cinema.
You’ve also done a play M a h a t m a V s Gandhi, based on Mahatma Gandhi. Why the obsession with the man? After making the film, Gandhi has become a companion. I think he is a yardstick for everything in life. He is someone holding your hand. So I access all works on Gandhi and read about him. What’s amazing is that when you think you know enough about the man, something new comes up. I am deeply affected by Gandhi.
TODAY AT PRITHVI FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY BOMBAY TIMES
PLAY: Moving Platform’s
Salesman Ramlal DIRECTED BY: Feroz Abbas Khan TIME: 6 pm and 9 pm LANGUAGE: Hindi
PLAY: Moving Platform’s
Salesman Ramlal DIRECTED BY: Feroz Abbas Khan TIME: 6 pm and 9 pm LANGUAGE: Hindi
Feroz Abbas Khan
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:57 AM
BOX OFFICE REPORT: HRITHIK OVERTAKES SALMAN AND SRK
In what is seen as the growing impact of Hindi cinema week after week, Rakesh Roshan’s super-hero thriller Krrish3 has shattered all box office records.
The film opened wide, with a count of 3,700 screens in Hindi, while 500 extra were allotted for Tamil and Telugu. This Bollywood offering started with an approximate 21.5 crore on Dhanteras. But distributors and exhibitors across the country said even 21.5 crore is fantastic, because no other film has dared to release pre-Diwali. From Monday, the screen count increased by 150 because several parts of Central India and even the North do not release films pre-Diwali.
While the first three days’ total added up to 65 crore, with an additional 5.25 crore coming from the regional languages, Krrish showed his magical powers to the fullest when he broke all previous one-day records by collecting 35.10 crore on Monday — November 4, a date that will be marked in Indian film history.
It was the original release date set for the film and the intention, even when it was first scheduled, was to break all previous records, which it did. Krrish3 has now broken the records of films like Ek Tha Tiger ( 30.72 crore) and Chennai Express ( 29.37 crore).
Krrish3 also collected 24 crore (GBOC) in its opening period from abroad, a fact corroborated by the Roshans.
The trade maintained that the film looked bombastic on Tuesday, which is an optional holiday, on account of Bhai Dooj or the Tikka ceremony. It now appears like 100 crore is a four-to-fiveday affair for superstars like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan. In fact, the producers have said that they had reached 108.61 crore in four days from 4450 screens.
KRRISH 3 (FIRST 4 DAYS) Total 105.35 cr
Posted by The Bharatiya at 12:55 AM
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Deepika finds Ranveer ‘refreshingly lovable’
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh
The sizzling chemistry between Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, the lead pair of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram-Leela, is hard to miss. In a candid chat, the actors talk about what makes them tick as co-stars and friends.
How do you find each other as co-stars and friends? Deepika: Be it as a friend or a co-star, Ranveer doesn’t hold back in terms of support and enthusiasm. It is nice to see someone who is unapologetic about the way he is. He is refreshingly lovable.
Ranveer: As a co-star, Deepika is very focused, professional and disciplined. As a friend, she is someone you’d love to hang out with. She likes to let her hair down and have fun.
Were you both comfortable shooting the intimate scenes? Deepika: As actors, we prepared and approached the intimate scenes like any other scene. There was no extra preparation or discussion.
Ranveer: I don’t have any inhibitions in life, either as a person or as a performer, which works to my advantage. When you are doing a passionate love story, what drives the narrative forward is the palpable chemistry between the two lead characters. You don’t have to gear yourself to make that happen… it’s either there or not there.
How would you rate each other as actors? Deepika: I’ll give him nine on 10, so that he works one per cent extra (laughs).
Who does Deepika look the best with on screen? Ranveer: Me!
And, who does Ranveer look good with? Deepika: Arjun Kapoor!
Ram-Leela, produced by Eros International and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, releases November 15.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 6:02 AM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
AN ITEM SINGER IS TREATED LIKE A ‘BAI’
Mamta Sharma on the tag associated with those singing racy dance tracks, faking a bitchy attitude and why she’ll be happy doing item numbers all over the worldTell us about yourself. I am from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. My mother completed her graduation in music and would take tuitions from a teacher who heard me mimic her. He told my mom to send me for jaagrans and orchestras. I began my career at age 11, modulating my voice and mimicking singers. I have had no official training. I listen to Lataji and Ashaji's songs and practise them. They are institutions in themselves. I consider Ashaji my guru. I came to Mumbai in 2000 and struggled for nine years before I landed up with Munni Badnaam Hui.
Chart your struggle in those nine years. I am an ordinary singer and would often feel that if talented singers find it difficult to get a break in Bollywood, how would I manage? It was difficult initially, as I didn’t have a godfather or other support. When you from a small city, you often brim with confidence. It’s only when you come across the real situation, you realise how difficult it is. I lived at the institution where I pursued music, then moved to a working woman’s hostel but had to leave it soon as I couldn’t adhere to
their timings. Finally, I shifted as a paying guest at a house owned by Ashraf Ali, who is now my husband. Moreover, I was of the opinion that stage shows would be a great way to reach out to the music directors, but was soon proved wrong. No music director takes the singers of stage shows seriously as there are other things distracting you all the time. It was in 2009 during a tour with Jatin-Lalit that Lalitji asked me to meet him. I thought he didn’t mean it seriously and said it in passing. However, a few days later, I called to congratulate him for his composition in a TV show and he reminded me of our pending meeting. We met the same day and Munni Badnaam Hui happened.
Tell us about your husband Ashraf. My husband is my biggest support, guiding force and my backbone. He is also the co-lyricist of Fevicol Se (with Sajid-Wajid) and Pinky (with Shabbir Ahmed). I’ve know him
since 2005 and we got married in 2011. He never forced
me to convert. I did it on my own. I haven’t changed my name and don’t even wish to as I want every bad and good to be credited to my real name.
Do people get shocked to see you in real life? People get shocked to see me in real life as they perceive me to be a total dehati because of my songs — Munni Badnam Hui and Fevicol Se. I was asked to sing Munni in a nasal tone with a little dehati touch. And my name only adds to the confusion. They think a woman named Mamta will be like those aunties who sing at jaagrans. They think of me as Mamta Maiya.
Why did it take you so long to break away from the item songs zone? Don’t you think I have achieved a lot already? It’s hardly been three years and I am getting a lot of offers. I don’t have any regrets or complaints... I can sing in 11-12 languages. I am proud of my songs and I feel I have achieved a lot in so little time. My songs are being played over and over again. I feel I should get all the item numbers across the world. I feel lucky as I am only three years old in the industry and I already have six to seven hit numbers to my credit. I would like to add that an item song is like the much-needed salt in food. That being said, who doesn’t dream of singing for a big banner?
Item songs are often looked down upon. Comment... One has to understand that when you are in a mood to dance, you perform to item numbers and not sad, slow numbers. Unfortunately, item singers are treated like ‘bais’ and mellow singers are like caretakers of the house. What people fail to realise is that it’s more difficult to attempt an item number as the whole attitude towards the song undergoes a transformation. You have to have a bitchy attitude and you have to fake it, which can be really difficult. You need the ‘desi-pan’ in your voice while attempting an item song. I think that’s what pulled people to Munni and Fevicol. You can’t use polished diction for such songs. The lyrics ought to be funny, but not vulgar or else it won’t be liked by the class. Also, you won’t be comfortable hearing it with family. I tried to be as clear as possible with the lyrics.
How did the title song of Krrish 3 happen? I received a call from Rajeshji (Roshan). I was shocked initially and asked him twice if he has heard my songs. He told me yes he had and sees a different potential in me. I’m honoured to be associated with his movie.
Who are the music composers you look up to? I like Sajid-Wajid as they make you feel very comfortable. They make you feel as if it’s your own song and you are the captain. They correct you very subtly. I love Pritam dada’s work too. I keep asking him to offer me a song. I also like Anu Malik. Believe it or not, he can compose four to five songs at the same time.
Your upcoming projects...
I’ve sung a Vishal-Shekhar song for Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, which has a Western touch to it and I have sung a few lines in English in it.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 4:29 AM
Sunday, October 13, 2013
SHARMAN JOSHI, ACTOR
“A man must invest in a good perfume”
Fashion to me is I Not trying too hard to look stylish. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be comfortable with what you’re wearing.
I would describe my personality as I Balanced with a bit of evil and a bit of good. It depends on who I am with.
My style mantra I Very casual. I don’t believe in following trends blindly.
Five essentials of a man’s wardrobe I A black shirt, a white shirt, a pair of jeans, a great pair of shoes and underwear if you care(winks).
Three things I never leave home without I Mobile, credit card and car keys.
A priceless possession I’d never want to give away I My classic Rolex watch. I wouldn’t part with it for anyone and anything in the world. I am very attached to it.
My ideal outfit for I A fun party: Jeans and shirt
A formal work setting: Trousers and a well-ironed shirt or maybe a tuxedo, depending on the ambience
A casual day out with friends: Track pants and a T-shirt with a cool print
A date: A pair of denims and a crisp white linen shirt.
My shopping strategy I I follow my instincts. If I like something, I pick it up.
One valuable grooming tip for men I To smell good is very important. Make sure you invest in good deodorants, perfumes and mouth fresheners. Also, avoid having facial or chest hair for a neat and tidy look.
A style trick that never fails I Sport a cap. It goes well with everything and adds a dash of style to your look. It works great on bad hair days.
A fashion trend I cannot stand I Ganjis. I am not comfortable in them.
Shoes every man must possess I A pair of sneakers, black party shoes and bright-coloured slip-ons.
My fashion icon I My father. He manages to look classy even when he is wearing something simple.
Perfumes I swear by I Azzaro, Hugo Boss, Polo Green and Issey Miyake.
Colours that dominate my wardrobe I Shades of white, black, blue and red. I am not much into monochromes.
My ultimate fashion destination I Paris and Italy. These are the only two places where men dress up as well as women.
Most stylish people in showbiz I Kabir Bedi, Amitabh Bachchan and my father-in-law, Prem Chopra.
If I had to spend my entire life wearing just one kind of outfit, it would be I Kurta pajamas. I look and feel great in them.
On fashion blunders I I don’t think I have committed any. To be honest, I always play safe and it has won me a lot of compliments.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 11:12 AM
“Six-pack abs do not always amount to fitness” Actor and martial artist Vidyut Jammwal shares his fitness fundas
“Six-pack abs do not always amount to fitness”
Actor and martial artist Vidyut Jammwal shares his fitness fundas
What does fitness mean to you? A lot of people have the wrong idea about fitness. They think people with great bodies are healthy and fit. The truth is you may not be fit in spite of having a six pack. Fitness is never about short-terms goals. It’s not a fad or a trend. It’s about making a lifelong commitment to the ideology of holistic health. Fitness, for me, is a way of life.
Were you always health-conscious? Yes. It hasn’t happened overnight. I have been training professionally in various forms of physical activities — martial arts, free running and strength building — since I was three years old. As a child, I was quite regular at whatever activities I took up. Gradually, I started enjoying them. Fitness is more about the mind than the body. You need to enjoy what you do to stay fit; else you won’t be able to sustain interest in the activity.
People often complain about the lack of facilities, like a gym around their locality. These are excuses. The truth is that you can sprint anywhere – be it on the streets or a treadmill. Most of the strength-building exercises like chinups, push-ups and sit-ups can be done anywhere, anytime.
What is your fitness regimen like? I train every single day. Five days of the week are dedicated to martial arts training and two days to weight training. My martial arts routine comprises gymnastics, acrobatics, street stunts and tricking (a mix of flips, kicks and twists). Weight training includes extensive lower body training, which includes squats, lunges, jumps and calf exercises, along with upper body workouts on Roman rings and parallel bars. And then there’s the push-up routine. I focus a lot on lower body workouts, especially legs and calves. People who weight train tend to focus more on the upper body than the lower, not realising that the lower body works as a pillar that supports the upper body. It needs to be worked on.
Do you follow any diet plan? I don’t have a written plan. I eat at regular intervals, as and when I feel hungry. I start my day with one litre of water, followed by breakfast that comprises white oats with muesli, fruits (especially kiwi), along with skimmed milk. Since I am a vegetarian, tofu serves as a source of protein. I make sure I consume the required amount of carbs, sugar and salt. It is important to listen to your body’s signals. Also, I make sure I keep myself hydrated at regular intervals.
What are the benefits of martial arts beyond fitness? Martial arts instill a lot of focus and discipline. And anything that helps you focus, gives you clarity of mind. That’s why martial arts bring about a lot of positive psychological changes in an individual. They give you a deeper understanding of yourself, your strengths, motivation and your boundaries. With time, they also help you break your limitations and move forward. They also teach you to work on your shortcomings.
How important is self-defence in today’s world? It’s a necessity. Basic knowledge of selfdefence tactics equips you with the right techniques that can be applied when you are in an emergency. Anticipating danger and having the presence of mind to deal with it is also a part of self-defence tactics. In fact, being able to outrun an unpleasant situation without having to indulge in violence is the best form of self-defence.
Posted by The Bharatiya at 11:05 AM