Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kareena knocks off 16 kilos in three months

Kareena Kapoor Khan is getting back in shape after her son Taimur's birth. Our source informs that she has lost nearly 16 kilos in the last three months. The actress hit the gym about 12 weeks post her delivery last December. Apart from following a strict diet, she has been a regular with her workout, pilates and yoga sessions as well. On Friday , at a gym close to her Bandra residence, Bebo was spotted working out with friend Amrita Arora Ladak, Shahid Kapoor and his wife Mira.
An evening before, she made an appearance at Tusshar's son Lakkshya's first birthday party in Juhu, where she looked every bit her svelte self. Kareena had apparently gained nearly 18 kilos during her pregnancy . We hear, her target is to knock off 19 kilos before she begins filming Veere Di Wedding. With 16 kilos gone, she is almost there.

I don't have roots, only wings. I live on a plane. But you know what, I am okay with that: PeeCee

In less than two years, Priyanka Chopra has man aged to storm her way into Hollywood. First, it was the TV show that made America sit up and take notice of her. Now, with the role of the antagonist, Victoria Leeds, in Baywatch, it looks like she has managed her big Hollywood debut on her own terms. But will her Hollywood sojourn be better than that of any of the Indian actors who have ven tured into the territory? Taking on questions like this and many more, the actress holds forth in a chat with BT. Excerpts...
The popular TV series, Baywatch, catered to the male gaze. Why did you choose the big-screen adaptation of the TV series as your Hollywood debut?

The film is about lifeguards and swimsuits and glamour, but Seth (Gordon, director) has maintained equality and you will see objectification of the boys, too. With Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson, Baywatch clearly caters to the female gaze as well. As for me choosing it as my Hollywood debut, I was clear that I didn't want to do anything that would get me stereotyped. I knew that whatever work I do -big or small -just like my career in India, I would choose something that broke the mould a little bit.

For example, what I did in Kaminey (2009). I just had eight scenes, but it broke the stereotype of the girl's role in a boy's film. In Baywatch, the role was written for a man and the film was supposed to feature a male villain. It's high time that in films, women play central and empowered parts. To me, that was the most exciting bit. I get to take on Dwayne `The Rock' Johnson, Zac Efron and all the lifeguards. It was an interesting way of introducing myself in mainstream American cinema.That was the idea behind choosing this film.

The TV series you headline propelled you into Hollywood royalty. How do you think Baywatch will help you leverage your position in the West?

I am realistic about these things.I am not someone who expects my first film in Hollywood to catapult me into becoming the biggest star in the country .Talking about leveraging my position, I experienced an incredible welcome even before Baywatch -whether it was presenting at the most prestigious award shows, gracing the covers of innumerable magazines or being on talk shows. All this happened because of Quantico.

While Dwayne and you lock horns on screen, clearly you shared a great camaraderie otherwise, considering the fact that he nicknamed you `sizzler'...

He comes up with various nicknames. In fact, when you watch the film, you will see that he has a different name for Zac in every other scene. In real life too, he had a name for me every time we met. Dwayne is one of the nicest guys I know. I have had the good fortune of working with many incredible and gigantic movie stars in India who have experienced the kind of fandom that Dwayne has. I have always maintained that the bigger the star, the more hum ble and nicer he or she is. He knew that I didn't know anyone there and every time he saw me doing a cover shoot or an interview, he was encouraging.

When you give your nod to a project in the West, do you also consider if it would appeal to your fans in India? Or do you feel that as an international star, your choices cannot be governed by what your Indian fans expect?

That's a very tricky thing. It's something that I have been dealing with in my own head. We live in 2017 and modern India has access to entertainment from all over the world. I don't discredit the Indian audience that watches Hindi films and expect them not to understand the fact that I am doing an English film. I am an actor and I work in various kinds of films. I am not worried about it when I am choosing roles. My choice of films has always been very personal. If a role resonates with me, I do it. That's why at times it works and at times, it doesn't.

While many Indian actors have tried to make a mark in Hollywood, you have done it in the true sense of the word. Would you agree?

South Asians are one-fifth of the world's population. So, we need to have representation in global entertainment. I am glad that I have been able to make a dent, it encourages people to not look at South Asians through a singular prism.Hopefully, people will not see us as exotic princesses now. Having said that, I am not someone who will harp on something that I have achieved because there is so much more to do. We have many other incredible actors from India who have worked in global entertainment and are doing exactly the same thing.

They are taking on roles which break the rules, including Anil Kapoor. We need people to come in and demand good roles. We will not get it all the time. I have faced it myself. So many times (in the West), I have been told that I am too Indian for a main stream part. I don't know what that means. That's what we need to change.

Will we see you taking up more films in Hollywood and Bollywood?

I don't know. My TV show has been picked for a shorter season because I really want to do both films and TV . Earlier, I wasn't able to do too many films. I shot for Bajirao Mastani and Baywatch while working on Quantico. Now, with a shorter season which will last only four or five months, I will be able to take on more films. I am in talks for film projects in America and India. I know I am coming back to India for my father's barsi.

I will be home for about a week.

I don't have roots, only wings. I live on a plane. But you know what, I am okay with that.

Pankhuri Gidwani scores 97.25% in ISC

Despite having very little time to study, Pankhuri Gidwani (fbb Femina Miss Grand India 2016) has passed her Class XII board examinations with flying colours. “I have scored 97.25% in my ISC Boards,“ says an excited Pankhuri, who appeared for her exams in her home town Lucknow . She adds, “I put in my best during these exams and had left everything -movies, TV and even mobile phone -for three months as I wanted to score really well in my boards. When the results were about to be announced, I was so tense that I went out for a drive with my friend. I was getting really anxious and so my friend and I went to Bandra Bandstand to get some fresh air. I messaged the ISC helpline number to find out how I had fared. I got an SMS and was thrilled when I found out that I'd scored mostly in 90s in all subjects. I was so happy and the feeling was awesome!“ While Pankhuri was in Mumbai when the results were announced, her family has been celebrating her achievement back home in Lucknow . “My mom, dad and my brother have been celebrating in Lucknow. They went out for dinner and have been busy shopping.My brother has been partying on my behalf. But I too partied really hard here with my friends,“ she says.
Pankhuri, who had dropped out from her Board exams in 2016 to participate in the Miss India pageant, is now filling forms and preparing for college entrance exams. “I have got through Christ University in Bengaluru, but I want to be in Mumbai,“ shares Pankhuri, adding, “I have filled forms for St Xavier's College, for which I had my entrance test last week. I am also trying my luck in Jai Hind College and Mithibai College. I plan to pursue Bachelors in Mass Me dia. I want to enjoy regular college life.I want to go to college, study and do what a normal collegegoer of my age would do. Of course, I will also be working, and will request college authorities to let me pursue a career in modelling and Bollywood. I am hopeful that they will support me.“

Sushant Singh Rajput


What's passion? Ask Sushant Singh Rajput.
The actor eats, drinks and breathes cinema. When he dropped out of engineering college many years ago to pursue acting, he made sure that he didn't have a back-up plan. “I didn't want to have an option that I could fall back on. Plan B was always to go back to Plan A,“ he tells us. Sushant has made the difficult transition from television to films, but he refuses to be swayed by the trappings of fame and success. In a candid chat, a few days before the release of his film Raabta, directed by Dinesh Vijan, he speaks to BT about passion, relationships and why he doesn't let anything, tangible or intangible, get too close to him.Excerpts:

When you came to Mumbai in 2006 to be an actor, did you ever imagine that you would come this far?

When I was pursuing engineering in Delhi, acting was on my mind. Right in the first semester, I started training in dance and theatre with Shiamak Davar and Barry John, respectively . I still remember what an amazing feel ing it was being on stage, probably because I didn't know that was what I had wanted all my life. As a child, I was an introvert and was very pampered at home, but I didn't know how to get the same kind of attention from people when I stepped out.

They wouldn't give me that kind of attention and I felt that it's better not to talk so that I don't get judged. Still, I wanted some sort of recognition and I thought excelling in studies would help me get it.

During my college days, when I was performing, either dancing or doing a play , I felt great. I could see hundreds of strangers look at me and get affected by what I was doing. That was so powerful, so magical; I felt, `Wow! I can make them laugh, I can make them cry . They are paying to listen to me'. That's when I knew that this is what I have to do for the rest of my life, no matter how much I get paid for it. But the fact was that I was in a prestigious college and I could have gone to a Bschool or Stanford. At that point, I said to myself, `One day , I'll own a big place in Bandra and have plenty of cars'. This was my way of convincing myself to drop out of college. It was third year and I could have stayed on for another year and got myself a degree, but I dropped out so that I didn't have a back-up plan if I failed as an actor. I didn't want to think that if I don't make it big here, I have something to fall back on. Plan B for me was to go back to Plan A.

What were your initial days of struggle like?

The moment I came to Mumbai, I was thrilled because I knew that I had the licence to pursue my dream. I enjoyed that entire phase; I remember I used to stay in Versova with six guys in one single room-kitchen. I was very, very happy . Today, even with the success of my films, insane amount of money and acknowledgement, I can only be at par with that happiness.

Your TV show Pavitra Rishta became a huge success and you enjoyed instant fame. Did that turn things around for you very quickly?

I have always lived a very subjective life and done things that I have wanted to. No logic, no reference! I do whatever suits me at that point in time. So, I started doing TV and the show became huge. That was an important juncture in my life because two things happened -I started making money and people had begun to recognise me. I come from a middle-class family and while it was not like we didn't have money , it was always a big differentiator. Since I was an introvert, when people started recognising me on the roads or at malls, it was trippy for two to three months, and then I got used to it. So, I felt that this is the lie that the society and our education system tells us -that one day , you will become rich and will be acknowledged and that is success; post that, everything will be sorted. That's not the case because in reality, it is actually the beginning. You will get used to it and you will come back to the same frame of mind as you were when you didn't have these things. And if you are doing something you don't like, but are doing it just for money and fame, then you are screwed all your life because you are not enjoying it and now you are used to all of that. I was saved because I would never think of how much I was getting paid; acting is something I would pay to do. What I have realised about money and fame is that when you don't have it, it is very important; but when you have it, after a point, it doesn't matter.

But a career like this brings along a lot of insecurities, too. For instance, the struggle to constantly stay relevant and be at the top your game...

If you are doing what you like doing, you are not thinking about anything else. You are not thinking about the future, so there is no insecurity . I went to IIT a few days ago and they actually understood what I was saying, even though it was completely contrary to what we are taught. I explained to them how when I was studying, I was given an-hour-and-a-half, between 4 and 5.30 pm, to play . I would wait for 4 pm and I felt within five minutes, it would be 5.30 pm. When you enjoy what you are doing, you have no idea how much time has passed. Hard work, talent, risk-taking ability , perseverance are just by-products. I told the students that since 2006, I have been living the 4 to 5.30 pm life; it doesn't feel like work, I would pay and do this, just like I would have paid then to play between 4 and UE 5.30 pm. So, the point is that there is no room to be obsessed about the future and hence, inse future and hence, inse curity never kicks in.

Do you feel accepted by the industry or are there still some people who look at you as the TV star-turned-film actor?

I have done five films and Raabta is the sixth one. I did each of these films after refusing an average of five to six films. The movies that I have done are the ones that I really wanted to do, not because I was short of options. I cannot complain.

What was the clincher when it came to Raabta?

Generally , I have a problem with scripts that I don't believe in. Reincarnation is something that I don't believe in, but this script was so well-written that I wanted to believe in it and tell the story. If you watch Interstellar, nobody has ever seen wormholes, but they are dealing with wormholes and you will accept it because the narrative is so good. In Jungle Book, animals talk to each other. It is not what we believe in, but it is how you tell a story . Secondly, it was the challenge of convincing the audience that I am two different characters, within a span of 120 minutes.

Do you think one of the high points of Raabta is your chemistry with Kriti Sanon?

It was there right from the first day . I remember before she came to shoot, I was discussing with Dinoo (Vijan) how these days actors don't listen while doing a scene.

They just know their lines, their cues.

They'll pretend, but they are not listening.

When Kriti came in, I did an improvisation which was not in the script and she reacted to it. And then, she came up with another and I looked at Dinoo and he smiled. Like I said, the chemistry between Kriti and me was always there.

There are rumours that Kriti and you are a couple. Is it the off screen chemistry that translates on to the screen?

I don't think anything that you are in normal life would translate in front of the camera if you are not a good actor. It's just prepara tion. People frequently get confused and say that some are method actors and some are spontaneous. It's bull shit! There is always a method to spon taneity .

So, are you saying that Kriti and you are no more than just good friends?

I'll tell you why she is important. I don't have many friends. Kriti and I have a lot of things in common. She did her engineering, too...

But she didn't drop out...

(Laughs) No. She completed her engineering and makes it a point to remind me that I didn't! Kriti and I are also both big foodies.She is completely transparent, never puts up a charade and is a keen listener. When you listen and somebody else listens to you as well, it is a very good relationship. She is like one of my five-six friends, so she is spe cial but that's about it.

You were very open about your rela tionship with Ankita Lokhande.

Have you now gone the other extreme in life where you'd pre fer being tight-lipped about your relationships?
I have nothing to prove to any one. It's not like I think I will be the No. 1 star tomorrow and then I'll reveal it all to the world. I don't think about the future. I don't have the time and the energy to wonder what people think about me, because thanks to my profession, I am doing something very interesting in life. If some one asks me a question, I will be honest because there is nothing to protect, there is no reputation to build.

In a break-up, often one per son gets affected more than the other. In such a case, do you think two people can really be friends?
I have seen people being friends, it's pos sible. But then, I have seen many people have many friends, too. I don't have many friends (laughs).

Are Ankita and you cordial? What about recent reports that the two of you went out for coffee?

These are completely fictional stories.They ask me for my quote, but I don't want to make a statement that involves somebody else without their permission.

Have you thought about marriage?
As I said, I just don't think about the future.It can happen anytime... or it might not happen also! Has the fact that you've been raised in a women-dominated home shaped your thought process to a large extent?

Yes, of course. I have four sisters, my mother passed away while I was still studying.My eldest sister is a topper; she is like my mother, almost 10 years older than me. I got drawn into science only because of her. My second sister would play cricket; she taught me how to ride bikes, cars and how to dress up. She was almost like an elder brother.My other two sisters and I are more like my friends. My mother never differentiated between any of us. She emphasised a lot on education and always said it largely shapes the way you think. I am very close to my sisters and my dad, but the kind of relationship I had with my mother was different. It just happened so suddenly , she was not there one day . I was in a state of shock, I didn't know how to deal with it. I was not crying; in fact, I didn't cry for the longest time. It was such a denial and deep down, I still haven't resolved it. I think somewhere because of that, I don't get very close to people emotionally .The understanding that there could be a time when someone very close to me will not be there scared me. So now, nothing is very important. I don't mean that in a negative sense, but yes, I don't let anything get too close to me, be it tangible or intangible.

Your tweets tend to reflect your philosophical side quite a bit.

It's not philosophy . I was always a science student and was never into anything that had nothing to do with certainty . Science is all about certainty , about laws and it doesn't deal with a subjective point of view. I was wired like that. Once I started reading different kinds of books, which were also to do with science, it changed the way I thought.There's this forum where the best guys from different disciplines -Astrophysics, Quantum Physics, Behavioural Economics, Cognitive Science come together and discuss ome together and discuss their experiences. If you read books on that, you realise that scientists are now saying that everything is just approximations, not certainties. So, what ever I write is not philosophy , it's sci ence because science tells you that there is nothing right, nothing wrong. It's just your opinion, my opinion. Or it's your way of looking at things or my way of looking at things.


The story of world's greatest nuclear espionage accomplished by India at -Pokhran -will soon be told on screen.
Titled Parmanu ­ The Story of Pokhran, the film, starring John Abraham and Diana Penty in the lead along with Boman Irani in a pivotal role, is being directed by Abhishek Sharma. The filmmaker has also written it along with the Saiwyn Quadros and Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh (the writers of Neerja). Zee Music has tied up for the movie that has Sachin-Jigar composing the soundtrack. The second venture between Zee Studios and KriArj Entertainment, the project went on floors on May 31.

John enthuses, “Our film will take the audience on a journey to showcase the greatest nuclear espi onage the world witnessed in 1998. A mission where the Indian Army, scientists, engineers and satellite experts came together to pull off the greatest covert operation of their times. It made the country proud and declare itself as a nuclear state.“

Arjun N. Kapoor of KriArj Entertainment (which he founded along with Prernaa Arora) says, “India has taken giant leaps in terms of scientific achievements since then.The Pokhran nuclear test takes the centre stage in our history . For us, this is not just a film; it's a dedication to all our soldiers and scientists.“

Ajay Kapoor (of Kyta Productions) adds, “We are sharing their story with the world and we are very proud of it. It's a film that every Indian will surely be proud of.“

Parmanu ­ The Story of Pokhran, produced by KriArj Entertainment , JA Entertainment , Kyta Productions and Zee Studios, releases on December 8, 2017 worldwide.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Kritika Kamra

I have learnt a lot from my past two relationships, but I'm not cynical about marriage: Kritika Kamra

Kritika Kamra, who has completed a decade in the TV industry, believes in calling a spade a spade. BT recently caught up with the actress for an exclusive chat on sets of her show, and as the conversation unfolded, Kritika got candid about her failed relationships, TV actors' gruelling work schedules and costume dramas on television. Excerpts...
While you are already playing Chandrakanta, Ekta Kapoor is coming up with a new show on the warrior princess on another channel. What do you feel about that?

We will continue to do our work for Prem Ya Paheli --Chandrakanta. People keep asking me why I did not work with Ekta Kapoor on her show, but this one was offered to me first. Obviously , nobody waits when a good offer comes along. Also, if one show works, that plot and subject set a trend for the rest of the shows. That's how TV works.

There are already many costume dramas on television...

Unlike India, in the West, costume dramas are shot in seasons.Unfortunately , we don't work like that.The TV industry is dictated by ratings and a show changes its course according to the weekly feedback that the makers receive. If the script is ready right from the beginning, we can shoot episodes in advance. Even the quality of computer graphics will be better then. But sadly, we shoot till the eleventh hour, which makes it difficult for everyone.

Your previous shows, Reporters and Kuch Toh log Kahenge, didn't work too well in terms of ratings...

Kuch Toh Log Kahenge was an adaptation of a Pakistani show. What do you expect when you stretch a 15-17 episode show into a 100-150 episode drama? Obviously , the quality will suffer. I gave my best to both the shows.

We have heard that unlike other actors, you take a weekly off. How did you manage that?

Last month, I shot for around 25 days.TV is a gruelling medium with long working hours. Even today , my shift timings are from 9 am to 9.30 pm and I reach home by 10.30 pm. I am a single woman living in Mumbai and I need time to do my banking, groceries and basically , manage the house. Even if I choose to delegate my household chores to a domestic help, she can't do everything. Forget chilling and leisure, I think it is a human need to have at least one weekly off in any profession. I am now 10 years old in the industry , so yes, I have worked out a weekly off with my producer. But newcomers don't have that luxury. What if one falls sick? I have also decided to take a break after every show. I need to live my life.

Personally, are you ready for marriage? While you spoke about Karan (Kundra) when you broke up a few years ago, you chose to keep quiet when your second relationship (with a corporate professional) didn't work out...

There is nothing wrong if two relationships in my life didn't work out. I learnt a lot, there is clarity of thought and I am not cynical about marriage.

I agree that it is a tough decision to make. There is so much stress in urban life that you are not able to juggle both -marriage and work life. I believe in marriage and when I get married, I will leave my work. It's impossible to be in a relationship otherwise. I was dating Karan when I was 18 and at that time, I didn't have any issues in admitting to my relationship. Even after we broke up, I found it cool to ride a bike with him and put it out on social media. But after that, I learnt my lesson. After Karan, I never admitted that I was in a relationship, so where is the question of having a break-up? It is better to keep it that way. I don't mind living in with a guy or getting married, but right now, there is no relationship to talk about.

Ishaan Khattar and Janvi Kapoor the remake of the Marathi film Sairat

They have been instructed to get comfortable with each other before the shoot of their debut film begins in December

Shahid Kapoor's brother Ishaan Khattar and Sridevi and Boney Kapoor's daughter Janvi Kapoor have been signed by Karan Johar for his production - the remake of the Marathi film Sairat. The film is being directed by Shashank Khaitan and shooting begins in December.

The young actors have been told to spend time with each other and get to know each other well as they have to play lovers in the film. The makers want the newbies to get comfortable with each other as they want that to translate on the screen. The source adds that Sridevi wanted her daughter to make her debut with an established actor and a successful director, but she is not protesting as they are keen that Janvi is launched by Dharma Productions. “It was Sridevi who called Karan last year and said she wanted him to give as big a launch to Janvi as he had given Alia Bhatt.” A Bollywood insider informs, “Janvi is reserved like her mom and has not opened up to Ishaan, who has a fun vibe. The duo have been told to go out in public together and gain visibility as a pair. On the few occasions that they went out, Janvi did not make an effort to interact with Ishaan. At the movie screening that they attended together - a special trial of Baywatch - friends of the two newbies say, Janvi didn't even say hello to Ishaan. One feels bad for Ishaan as he comes with his friends and she with hers and both stick to separate corners at the movie halls and parties. He has tried to break ice, but Janvi is taking time to open up.”