Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sunil back as Gutthi!

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Sunil Grover returned to Comedy Nights With Kapil as Bittoo’s (Kapil) father-in-law last week. But soon, he will back to playing Gutthi! “Gutthi and Palak (Kiku Sharda) will reunite and try to woo Akshay Kumar who will be appearing on the show to promote his film Entertainment,” says a source. When Sunil was tipped to return to the comedy show, the makers were clear that he will not be playing Gutthi because in his absence, Palak and Dadi (Ali Asgar) had taken over that space and become big! However, looks like Sunil cannot escape his popular Gutthi avatar! Says the source, “Gutthi had a good chemistry with Akshay when he had come on the show earlier. So the makers thought they can get a recall value by getting Gutthi back in the episode which has the Khiladi. Even Gutthi and Ranbir Kapoor made a good combination, so if and when he comes on the show again, she will be back. Otherwise Sunil will continue to play Manju’s (Sumona) father.” While the episode with Akshay was shot recently (it will be aired after three weeks), the makers are in two minds over Sunil playing Gutthi permanently!

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Kishore Joshi, 43, has stuck a magnifying glass over one eye, to enlarge the intricate machinery of the wristwatch he is repairing.

“It makes the glare of the sun much harsher, but this business feeds me, my mother, my wife and my schoolgoing son. Come rain or even hail, I can’t stop working,” he says.
His work is such a strain on his eyes, in fact, that he has to have them checked every three months, and always returns with a prescription for eye drops to help relax the muscles.
“Every three years or so, my number goes up by .25. I must be one of the most loyal and frequent clients of my ophthalmologist,” he says, chuckling.
Joshi lives in a rented two-room flat in Kandivli and starts his day at 8 am. After a quick shower, prayer and breakfast of bhakris and tea, he leaves for work at 9.30 am.
It takes two trains and a bus to get him to his 75-sq-ft shop space in Sion, where he begins work at 10.30 am. The shop is 40 years old, and was earlier run by his maternal uncle.
Also the son of a watch repairer, Joshi grew up in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, learnt the trade from his father as a teenager and, at age 17, came to Mumbai to work in this shop. He took over 23 years ago, after his uncle migrated to the US with his family.
“I still pay them Rs 8,000 in rent every month,” he says.
Once in the shop, Joshi takes stock of the number of watches to be repaired and the spare parts to be ordered from Dadar market and Bhendi Bazaar. Soon, clients start trickling in. Some come in to buy a new strap, other to replace a watch battery, still others to drop off a malfunctioning or stalled timepiece.
Business has dropped by 30% over the past three years, Joshi says, taking his monthly earnings to Rs 25,000. “A lot of people have stopped wearing watches and check the time on their cellphones instead, or they use cheap, China-made watches, which they don’t bother to repair.”
Thankfully, there are still some who treasure their timepieces. “These clients are so emotional about their watches that they are tough to deal with,” says Joshi.
But worst of all are the customers who bargain and haggle. “People now argue that the cost of repairing the watch is not worth it, given its original price,” says Joshi. “I tell such people that they then have the option of not fixing it at all, but that I cannot reduce my rates. My profit margins are quite low as it is and the work is extremely strenuous. After breaking my head working on a complicated machine, I have no patience with customers who don’t want to pay the right price.”
At 2 pm, Joshi takes a break for a lunch of roti, sabzi and dal packed for him by his wife, Rekha, a homemaker. “I relish this time off from the watches,” he says.
Back to work at 3.30, Joshi works until 8.30, with just a few chai breaks. The only break in this routine, he says, is when a new watch model comes his way.
“That is exciting... that and any challenging work that will take weeks to fix. That’s always fun too,” he says.
At 8.45, it’s shutters down and time to head home for a hot dinner of roti and
sabzi or bhakri and khichdi, by 10.30 pm. Joshi then meets friends from his building for a chat, or watches TV, before turning in at midnight.
On Mondays, his days off, Joshi spends time with family, friends and relatives. He takes a 10-day break once a year, to visit Bhavnagar. It’s the only vacation he can afford, he says.
“The dwindling business and rising rents worry me,” Joshi adds. “After all these years, I still don’t have my own house in the city. I worry about what I’ll do if I lose more clients.”

Facts about Shah Rukh Khan

SRK’S filmy 22

We dig out interesting facts about Shah Rukh Khan, who recently completed 22 years in Bollywood

Shah Rukh Khan’s debut film, Deewana (1992), hit the theatres 22 years ago. A nostalgic Shah Rukh tweeted, “All notions, creations and experiences of decades will end on the day of truth. I tirelessly work to ignore the inevitable. Thx for 22 yrs of O2 (sic).”
The 48-year-old actor also confessed that he never really watched his debut film. “I have, till date, not seen Deewana. I have a notion that I don’t want to see my first or last creation. They are bookends, the story is between (sic),” he posted.
We take a look at more such spellbinding facts about the superstar, who has been ruling the roost for two decades.


Shah Rukh is named Rahul in nine of his films, including Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Chennai Express (2013), among others. He has been named Raj in six films, including Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), among others. 2 NEGATIVE ROLES: He has played negative roles in six films, including Darr and Baazigar (1993) and Don (2006), among others.

3 (IM)MORTAL: It's interesting that Shah Rukh's character dies in 16 films, including Baazigar (1993), Darr (1993), Dil Se (1998), Devdas (2002) and Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), among others.

4 BEYOND ACTING: He has co-produced 14 films, including Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), Main Hoon Na (2004) and Chennai Express (2013), among others.

5 ONE-MAN SHOW: He has been nominated 226 times for various Bollywood awards and has won 207 of them. He has won 29 awards in the best actor category.

6 ON THE SMALL SCREEN: He has been part of seven TV shows, including his TV debut, Fauji (1988). He was later seen in Circus(1989), and has also hosted popular quiz shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati (2007), Kya Aap Panchvi Pass Se Tez hain? (2008) and Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout (2011).

7 A FRIEND INDEED: From Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), Heyy Babyy (2007) to Bhoothnath (2008), Shah Rukh has done 26 cameos.

8 DEBUT DILEMMA: His debut film was Dil Aashna Hai (1992), but due to the delay in the release of the film, Deewana is considered to be his debut film.

9 ANYTHING FOR ADI: He agreed to act in Aditya Chopra’s debut film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, without even looking at the script.

10 SOUTHERN SOJOURN: Not many of us would know that Shah Rukh has spent his childhood in Bengaluru, where his grandfather worked as a chief engineer.

11 PAIR PERFECT: Juhi Chawla is not only a partner in his production house, but also a co-star with whom he has acted in the maximum number of films. Some of them include Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Darr (1993), Yes Boss (1997), Duplicate (1998) and Bhoothnath (2008), among others.

12 HOME, SWEET HOME: One of the reasons why Shah Rukh bought Mannat — his palatial bungalow in Bandra, Mumbai, was that he wanted to have an exclusive prayer room. He’s been quoted as saying that if he was broke, he would sell everything, but Mannat.

13 MOVIES CALLING: Shah Rukh pursued mass communications (film-making) in Jamia Millia University because he loved watching television commercials.

14 LUCKY CHARM: The number plates of all his cars read 555. S Shah Rukh is superstitious ab about numbers and be believes that the right nu numbers bring him good luck.

15 LOVE FROM ALMA MATER: When his college, Hans Raj (Delhi), celebrated its golden jubilee in 1998, they gave away 17 shields to its alumni who had excelled in their lives, and Shah Rukh was one of them.

17 FILMY BRIBES: In his schooling days, Shah Rukh's Hindi was quite weak. So, his mother promised to take him for a movie if he passed his Hindi exams. Since he loved watching films, he began to score good marks in Hindi. 16 OLD HABITS DIE HARD: He has a phobia about riding horses and he never eats ice cream.

18 SRK'S FAN OF: Shah Rukh's favourite actor is Dilip Kumar, and favourite actresses are Mumtaz and Saira Banu.

19 CLOTHES DEAREST: He ensures that his sleeping pyjamas are freshly-ironed every night because he believes that “one never knows who one may meet in dreams”.

20 DHABA TIME: During his struggling days before he entered showbiz, Shah Rukh ran a restaurant in Dariya Ganj.

21 MONUMENTAL EARNING: His first salary was 50, which he earned by working as an usherer at a Pankaj Udhas concert in Delhi in the early '80s. He used the money to take the train to Agra and see the Taj Mahal.

22 BEING SALESMAN: Shah Rukh sold tickets at the booking window of a Mumbai theatre on the opening day of his 1994 film, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. He was paid ` 25,000 for that film.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A TV actor who reports late on the set stands to lose money

A TV actor who reports late on the set stands to lose money

This is one of the clauses in the MoU signed between CINTAA and IFTPC that has upset telly actors and given more power to producers

    AMemorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between Cine and TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) and Indian Film and TV Producers Council (IFTPC) on May 1, has led to a rift between actors and producers. Actors are crying foul against certain clauses in the MoU. For example, it forbids lead actors from quitting a show for at least three years. There’s also a clause that makes it compulsory for actors to sign an attendance register. It empowers producers to impose penalties and deduct payments from actors who report late.
    Producers say they fail to understand the hue and cry around the MoU because there’s nothing new about these terms. Explains producer Yash Patnaik, “They have been a part of agreements between actors and production houses for long. The MoU has simply formalised it. Also, nothing is forced on anyone. Negotiations always happen between an actor and production house before an agreement is signed. But you can’t leave a show once it becomes popular.” The MoU will ensure discipline, believe the makers. Says a producer requesting anonymity, “A lot goes into making a show popular. Everyone’s hard work goes down the drain when the lead face, synonymous with the show, decides to exit. Many shows have even shut down abruptly. What about those associated with it, from lightmen to spot boys? Why should they suffer because one actor wants to grab a bigger opportunity? Is it not right to expect them to give back what they have got from the show? A talented actor will never face dearth of good work.”
    Producer Saurabh Tewari adds, “Agreed that good content will run irrespective of its lead face quitting or staying put. But several factors have led to this MoU. When shows wind up prematurely, the producer incurs huge losses and it filters down to the crew. A producer starts recovering his investment only after six months on an average. Is it wrong to expect the lead actor to cooperate? Also, many actors have signed exclusive contracts with channels and get paid handsomely for the days they don’t shoot. Then why do they quit once the show becomes a hit?” Producer JD Majethia says, “The MoU is basically to correct undisciplined actors. Sincere and disciplined actors need not worry.”


‘THREE YEARS IS A LONG TIME’ Alok Nath: I am completely against this MoU. How can CINTAA enforce such rules? It’s meaningless to sign a contract that will not allow them to leave a show for three years. I want CINTAA members to work in a daily soap before making such rules.

‘IT’S UNFAIR ON ACTORS’ Karan Sharma: This is encroachment of an actor’s freedom. I think it’s more in favour of the producers. When many shows don’t last even for three months, how can you bind an actor for three years? That too, when producers can give marching orders to actors with a week’s notice period?

‘IT SHOULD BE MUTUAL AND FLEXIBLE’ Rashami Desai: The three-year restriction is not viable unless both parties are happy with the show. Serving a notice period should be fine as it gives ample time to the production house to find a suitable replacement. What if the show goes off air in six months? There is no clause to cover the actor.

Shashank Vyas: Now, most daily soaps hardly last a year. We work in an insecure environment. We might have lot of offers today, but nothing tomorrow. There should be an understanding between an actor and producer. If an actor wants to take up another offer, he/she should be allowed to exit after serving a twomonth notice period. That time is sufficient for the producer to look for a replacement.

‘WE ARE NOT LABOURERS’ Tina Dutta: I think no actor will be keen to abide by such rules. We are here to perform and entertain people; we are not labourers. We slog day and night the way the producers want us to. So, there should some understanding between the two parties. Also, a daily soap is not just an actor’s responsibility; it’s team work.

‘WHAT ABOUT OUR PERSONAL LIVES?’ Sharad Kelkar: Actors also have the right to enjoy their personal life. We would also love to have weekends off, but we make a lot of adjustments. You can’t make a contract and apply it to all. So many parameters are involved in a daily TV soap. At the end of the day, the interests of both parties have to be taken into consideration.

Sunday, April 13, 2014



    The cat is out of the bag, finally. Speculations have been rife about the relationship status of actor Arhaan Behll and his coactor from Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya, Avantika Hundal. It was even heard that the two had split. Reason: He is said to be ‘very close’ to Mansi Shrivastav, who is paired opposite him in Do Dil Bandhey Ek Dori Se. 
    Interestingly, Arhaan and Mansi didn’t hit it off instantly. The two barely saw eye to eye during the initial days of the shoot. But cupid struck in due course and the two are inseparable now. 
Says a source close to the couple, “Everybody on the show is aware of their relationship. They spend quality time together during the shoot and after it wraps up.” 
    However, the actors refuted the rumour. Arhaan said, “While Avantika holds a special place in my life, Mansi is just a co-actor. There is nothing brewing here.” Mansi added, “I am not dating Arhaan. I am in a relationship and will reveal the guy’s name when the time is right.” Avantika did not respond to our calls.

Arhaan Behll

Mansi Shrivastav

Avantika Hundal

I was more emotionally sound till she passed away, Arjun Kapoor

I was more emotionally sound till she passed away

Arjun Kapoor

Arjun Kapoor, 28, looks more like his mother Mona, but is a spendthrift and emotional like his father, Boney. His mother was a movie buff, who always wanted Arjun to do a Dharma romcom, as he loved Karan Johar’s brand of cinema. While her wish has come true and Arjun plays the lead in 2 States, she is not alive to see it. Arjun opens his heart. Excerpts: 

Talk about your father Boney Kapoor? I look like my mother, but behave like my father. My father is a genuinely nice guy and very generous to anybody and everybody. He likes to live life kingsize and he doesn’t know any other way and I love that about him. He is as emotional as I am, but his emotions are more visible than me. Learning from his mistakes, I am more guarded. The fact that he is emotion
al leads to more problems at times than solving problems. You can call him at 3 am and he will be there. He gets emotional about me also and what makes him most proud about me is the fact that I have made it on my own. I, too, am very proud to be his son and he knows that. Whatever I do, I am representing him in this profession. I always wanted to make my mark and make him proud. His BB status when Ishaqzaade released was ‘Father of Arjun Kapoor.’ It’s very easy to use what happened between my parents as a crutch to ruin my life. I could have been just sitting around, sulking and grumpily feeling how life had dealt me a pathetic game and I had to fold. But I have battled my way through reasonably well and he likes the fact that I am independent and yet go to him if I need advice and always keep his thought process in mind. 

Is it cathartic shooting Tevar with your father in Agra? This is the most amount of time I have spent with him at a stretch. I have never lived with him and so, this is extremely special for me that he is in the next room as mine. My equation with him has only grown stronger with this film. My most favourite time is when he is with me on set, seeing me take a shot. What I love about him is that he is a person who gives you a lot of privacy, be it before I became an actor and even now, when he can interfere far more. Since we did not live with him, he didn’t know that I carry my food from the hotel on shoot or whether I work out before or after or how I don’t get out of my room post shooting or how much masti I do on set. Work is our bonding factor. 

Let’s talk about your mom? My mother was the nicest person in the world. I still have people coming to me to say how she was so warm, generous and kind-hearted. She never washed her dirty linen in public. She always maintained her equations with people. She had an equation with all the family members. She made a selfless choice by not shifting out of my grandparents’ house, as she wanted us to live with our family and having a wholesome environment. And we got so much love and care, which is what will sustain us for the rest of our lives. She never lived with negativity. If she would have, then, it would have festered through me and I wouldn’t be sitting in Agra shooting Tevar for my father. I represent her at many levels. She was clear that whatever happened with her will not influence how we are with him. She wanted to be independent and put all her energy to becoming that. And that was commendable as she started only at 35. Till my parents were together, she was not working, but post their separation she had to fend for herself. She had learnt being around my father and post their separation, started a five-floor TV studio in Goregaon with my nani and mausie, which, after she died, they run. I also know for a fact that our father has always been there for whatever we needed as kids, even though he has been through his own ups and downs and made his choices. 

What did your mom want to correct about you? She saw my appetite for working hard when I had to and knew that laziness was not inherently part of my daily structure, but just something I went back to be in my comfort zone. She knew my sense of responsibility, but allowed me to be my own person. So today my success, my failure, my discovery of myself, my misgivings about me as a person, is because of what I have done in these 28 years. She liked that I was emotionally pretty sensible and dealt with it reasonably 
well, otherwise I could have made life hell for her and for my father. She always told me, ‘You have been good kids and the least of my problems.’ She said that she needed to be concerned about us, but never worry about us. Today, I am a very independent, emotional person. If anyone knew my emotions, it was only my mother. She understood even before I could speak. I grew up knowing that my mom anyway had to deal with a lot, so I never wanted my baggage to be anyone else’s and always handled my own shit. She was my friend and I miss her every moment, but more in good moments. Bad moments I know anyways I would have dealt with myself. When I went to Ishaqzaade in a normal hall and people came and took pictures of me, I wished she had been there to see that. I wanted my mother to see that she had brought me up well enough and that I could survive. She was discovered in the third stage of cancer and when I look back, I can only wonder what hell she must have gone through to put me through that ease of shooting in Lucknow. She was undergoing chemotherapy, losing her hair and taking care of herself. And she had survived all that and celebrated her birthday on February 3 and then suddenly, she collapsed in front of me in my arms on March 25. Her cancer had spread to the brain and even though doctors had told us that she had six months, she died all of a sudden. Four months into her illness, nobody knew that she had cancer till my grandfather passed away, as she didn’t want to tell anybody. Just my nani, mausie, Anshula and I knew. She didn’t want it to come out and it didn’t. She was a very strong person. 

Who do you love the most in the world? My sister Anshula. I am such a closed person in terms of my emotions, but my way of showing my emotions is to be doing things for her, rather than saying it. She understands me more than anybody else. She almost puts herself second, seeing the struggle I have had to go through to reach wherever I am. For her, my work is more important, my feeling emotionally correct is more important, my not feeling troubled is more important. She thinks I don’t notice it, but I know that. She is a very sorted girl. I was always my mother’s strength and Anshula, her emotional weakness, as she never got our father at all. My mom knew that since I had faced the storm with her, I would be able to handle life better than Anshula. My father, too, was more protective about her and is more attached to her. I am sorted versus the practicality of life, but my emotional fulcrum is totally messed up, as I lost my backbone. I can’t discuss it with anybody, as no one can solve it. I can’t make peace with it. I just have to live with it for the rest of my life and find happiness in 
the daily aspects of my life, be it my work, taking holidays or my friendships. The reminder of her not being there is a constant. My room is next to hers. It’s something you can’t forget or let go. Her room is exactly the way it was when she was there. Every time I walk in, I see her room and for me, she is there at home. When I am away, it is easier for me to deal with it than when I am at home. That is also one of the reasons I have this burning desire to keep working. I don’t want to sit at home. She used to work and come back home. I was useless and jobless and would all the time be at home, hanging out in her room. There was a cupboard in her room, where she would stock all the goodies and knick-knacks, which you should otherwise not eat. She kept it there, as she knew that I would not barge into her room late night to eat. The goodies would be taken out when guests came and then put back. 

Have you come to terms with your father’s second family? I am resilient like my mother and have the ability to face any kind of storm. For my mother, being emotional was her strength, whereas in my father’s case, it is his weakness. He feels that the choice he made is his emotional choice and he has to carry it on his shoulder everyday. He has two more children and has another wife. I was a very happy fat kid. Eating was my way of release, so I would just go to McDonald’s and just sit and eat. Even in school, when I could not face the uncomfortable questions asked, I would hide and eat. Eating was my escape. Sanju chacha was most concerned about me as he saw me everyday just wasting my time eating, watching movies, not moving my ass. My mother lived in my grandparents’ house for our sake, but for my father’s family, it was not that my mother was the only one and they respected his second wife, too. So for me as a child, it was not all hunkydory accepting that my father’s family had accepted his choice. I have tried to put it behind me, but it takes you time to come to peace with yourself. Of course I am vulnerable, but it’s not something I flaunt. I was more emotionally sound till she passed away. I am an emotional mess now. Earlier I knew that whether I did something right or wrong, I could have gone back to her and asked. Now I can go back to nobody. My mother, without voicing it, had been furious that I had dropped out of Class XI. She wanted me to go abroad, to explore life, to become a more well-rounded person. I still plan to do something about it in the future as I can’t go at this stage in my life. The independence my mother wanted me to get then is what I have got now. It’s quite ironic that she had to go away for me to discover it.

Arjun Kapoor

Arjun Kapoor

Taapsee Pannu and Akshay Kumar play secret agents in Neeraj Pandey’s next

Taapsee Pannu and Akshay Kumar play secret agents in Neeraj Pandey’s next

    Neeraj Pandey’s last film Special 26 with Akshay Kumar was critically acclaimed, apart from it doing well at the box office. We were the first to tell you that Akshay had been finalised in Neeraj’s next film, that too is a thriller. We have now learnt that there are two actresses in the film, one of which will be the Chashme Baddoor actress Taapsee Pannu. Both Akshay and Taapsee will play undercover agents. The other role of Akshay’s wife is yet to be cast and Neeraj is considering several options for the same. The film is yet untitled, will go on the floors end of May and will be shot in Nepal and Istanbul to begin with. We will continue to remain undercover to report details of the film as we lay our hands on them.

Akshay Kumar

Taapsee Pannu