Ladies in the limelight, SRK, late again! And more

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Priyanka Chopra

Ladies in the limelight

India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar was  recently conferred the first Yash Chopra Memorial Award, in a tribute to the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra on the eve of his first death anniversary. It is a fitting tribute to the melody queen who has been in the film industry since decades and has made an immeasurable contribution to its music industry. Lata, who started her singing career in 1942, has continued singing for over seven decades, recording songs for over a thousand Hindi movies besides singing in 36 Indian and foreign languages. She has been conferred several national and international honours, including Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, three national film awards and the One Time Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence.

And now Bollywood is buzzing as a few of its veteran actresses are also honoured for their ‘active roles’ in the film industry. Padmini Kolhapure, Zarina Wahab and Rati Agnihotri were honoured in Lucknow recently, in recognition for their role in highlighting the strengths of women. Other than the trio, among other actors felicitated were Nimmi, Anita Raj and Rameshwari. They were presented with an award at an event organised by Friends India, a social organisation. Looks like the ladies are getting a well-deserved spot in the limelight!

 

SRK, late again!

After annoying the crowd in Sydney by making a typically Bollywood late appearance, Shah Rukh Khan has taken his tardy behaviour back home, keeping his fans waiting for two and a half hours recently. When the superstar finally turned up at the celebration of LUX Chennai Express Contest event in Mumbai, he was profuse in his apologies saying, “I am extremely sorry for coming late. My apologies to the media people. I am not well… I have flu… I was bedridden. I have been travelling a lot… but thanks for all your patience”. He then went on to enact the train scene from his Chennai Express with Lux Chennai Express contest winner Zarina. The actor also did few dance moves with the contestants on stage.

SRK also talked about upcoming projects and a bit about his personal life. The actor, who is also shooting for the film Happy New Year, says the film is not a solo hero film. “Happy New Year is not a SRK starrer film. We have an ensemble cast and that is the speciality of the film. Its not a solo hero film,” he said.

Asked if he is playing a Gujarati don in Farhan Aktar’s next release, he said, “No I am not…I have read the script but nothing is finalised”.

However, the one thing that King Khan seemed sure and cheerful about was the newest addition to the family, his young son AbRam. “Everyday is special after AbRam has come home. His health is good now and I am really happy for him. Everyday is festivity at home because of AbRam,” SRK said enthusiastically. Bet he made it home on time!

 

Priyanka’s into modern mujra

Actress Priyanka Chopra is tremendously chuffed these days, having done an item song in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela, which she describes as a modern mujra which has Indian vibes with a western touch. But complicated, but there you are! “The song is very different and special because I am a huge fan of Mr Bhansali. It’s a modern mujra which you all have not seen for a long time. It’s a mujra, but modern. It’s got Indian music and vibes, but still western and contemporary,” said Priyanka, trying somewhat unsuccessfully to explain. “It has got a different look, different form of dancing and I didn’t have time to rehearse. I used to rehearse at night,” the actress added.

Priyanka’s now taking her singing skills to the next level, hinting that she would love to playback for other heroines. She feels it would be a fun experience. “I want to playback for some other heroine. I think it will be very interesting. If I like the song, I am okay with (doing) it, but I should like the song. I am ready to playback for any actress,” Priyanka said recently.

The actress, who will next be seen in Krrish 3, has been experimenting with different genres of films because she likes to take risks. “I want to do different things. I am a risk-taker I want to be a game changer in my personal career. I don’t want to follow anybody’s footsteps. I did music… I want to change the game. Maybe I will fail, but at least I want to try,” she said. So far, Priyanka has launched two international singles, In my city and Exotic. Well, let’s see how fans react to her modern mujra. Perhaps there’s more music in Priyanka…

 

Slain Shahid immortalised on screen

Khalid Azmi became emotional after watching a latest screening of Hindi film Shahid recently, based on the life of his brother, slain lawyer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi. “Our family has gone through a lot. It’s a very emotional moment for us. I have watched this film before, and on watching it again with my family, I got very emotional,” Khalid said. “The film (tells) a part of my life, so it is very realistic and everything comes alive before my eyes,” he added.

Shahid which stars Rajkumar Yadav in the lead, tells the story of Shahid Azmi, who was the defending lawyer of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks co-accused Faheem Ansari. Shahid was shot dead in his office in 2010. Khalid says almost 95 percent of the film is accurate. “I provided them with all the information. I also spent a lot of time with Rajkumar and told him how Shahid used to be. They shot a few portions in his office and his colony,” he said. Directed by Hansal Mehta, Shahid released recently. Sounds like a must-see movie.

 

For Sami, India is like home

Pakistani singer Adnan Sami, who was in news for allegedly ‘overstaying’ in the country, says India is like a home to him. Britain-born Sami was issued a notice by the Mumbai police recently, demanding an explanation for overstaying. But it was later revealed that the singer-composer had been granted a three-month visa extension the day his earlier document had expired. Sami can’t quite figure out what the fuss is all about. “I have been living here (in India) for the last 14 years. It has been my work place since then. I have not spent (as much) time anywhere else as much as I have spent here in India,” Adnan said in an interview. “So I am attached with this country. It is like a home to me,” he added. He seemed overjoyed by the visa extension, so it looks like Sami is here to stay!

 

Shilpa and Raj Kundra snippets

Businessman Raj Kundra says he is in talks with Hollywood companies to turn his debut book How Not To Make Money into a film. “I just love films. I write as if I am watching a film. Hence, in the head it feels like a film. It has the makings of a film and we are in talks with various Hollywood companies, but it’s too early to say anything,” Raj said at the launch of his book recently. “There has been a lot of interest (regarding the film based on the book) and the day it happens, we will let you know,” added Raj, who is married to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. Now why on earth didn’t he approach Bollywood to make such a movie?

Supporting her husband, Shilpa said, “I definitely see it becoming a film… a Hollywood film for sure. Raj likes to think big”. Certainly, if he couldn’t even consider the film industry at home instead of going overseas. “Let me tell you a secret. Raj is even more filmy than me. Raj is as filmy as you can get. He is the ideal Raj, like Raj from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. For me, it is not surprising that it (book) is a little cinematic because that is how Raj thinks,” Shilpa said. Tongue in cheek, don’t you think? The power couple will be producing Dishkiyaaoon soon, but Shilpa has no immediate plans of coming back to face the camera. She says she will start acting only once her son Viaan begins to understand her work. She said, “(I will take) At least another year-and-a-half… till Viaan is able to communicate with me and understands (my) work. Then may be I will think of doing a film”.

Until then, the 38-year-old said she happy working on the small screen and with endorsements. Shilpa says she has taken a sabbatical from the movie world as films are too time consuming. “Honestly, it is a self-imposed sabbatical. My priority definitely is Viaan at the moment. I haven’t thought about films really, it’s just too time consuming,” Shilpa said. The film stars Harman Baweja and Sunny Deol, and will introduce newcomer Ayesha Khanna. That’s all the news on the Kundra front, folks!

 

Nandita Das takes on Spanish project

Actress Nandita Das, who will be seen with husband Subodh Maskara in upcoming Spanish film Traces of Sandalwood, will start shooting in a month’s time. The film will be shot in India and in Barcelona.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Mumbai Film Mart (MFF), which endeavours to find completed and under-production Indian films potential international buyers, Nandita said, “I will be going to Barcelona in a month from now to start shooting for my film”.

“This film is called Traces of Sandalwood. It’s an all women crew and that’s going to have an interesting dynamics because it’s wonderful to see a women cinematographer and women art director behind the camera. It will be shot in Barcelona and Mumbai,” added Nandita, who has more than 30 films to her credit.

Nandita, who has directed critically-acclaimed Firaaq, believes film festivals create more space for independent films.

“I have done over 30 films and most of them have been in the independent space. I don’t have DVDs of most of the films because many of them couldn’t be released. Many of the independent films suffered the most because of not having the skills or platform to release their films,” added Nandita. “While I don’t understand the market world still because even I had to face similar challenges for my film Firaaq. It’s wonderful that film festivals are presenting an opportunity for several independent films. More the number of festivals, merrier it is for young filmmakers as well audiences,” she said. Nandita was invited as a special guest to support MFF, which concluded recently. Six Indian films namely Hunterrrrr, Haraamkhor, The Unseen Sequence, Placebo, Illai and Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyu Aata Hai are being exhibited through an initiative called India Project Room, a subsidiary of MFF. That’s certainly a positive heads up for Indian cinema. Good on you, Nandita!

 

Pragya has plans

Filmmaker Nandita Das‘s girlfriend Pragya, who is debuting in Bollywood with Hawaa Hawaai, says she liked the script and agreed to do it for emotional reasons. Directed by Amol Gupte, Hawaa Hawaai also features Nandita Das, Makrand Deshpande, Partho Gupte among others. “I just fell in love with the script and it was completely emotional decision to be part of the film,” said Pragya, who was brought up in Sweden and came to India to find her roots. “I am paired opposite Saqib in the film. It’s a small part but an interesting one. We have shot few portions, but the climax scene is left to shoot,” added the newcomer who is taking lessons from Mukesh Chhabra and Makrand. Originally a model, Pragya was lured to acting after Kai Po Che. She admits that the industry is a complete eye opener to her, but having Abhishek Kapoor as a fiancé is certainly helpful. And accordingly to Pragya, they are planning to tie the knot soon.

“Hopefully we will get married very soon. I can’t say when, but yes very soon,” Pragya stated. She has been dating Kapoor since he began work on Kai Po Che. Pragya is inspired by Kapoor but prefers to keep her professional and personal life separate. She said, “I don’t think he has any contribution in my career but yes, he supports me a lot. He is always there to guide me. He is very passionate about his work and he gives me a lot of inspiration. I am absolutely inspired by him, but we prefer to keep our personal and professional life separate”. When asked to describe her beau, she said:, “He is a great partner, he is superb. It is very difficult to describe him”. High praise indeed from pretty Pragya. Lucky Abhishek!