Master takes

Photo: Dabboo Ratnani


Balaji Telefilms made something of a departure from its reputation with Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD. Rumour has it that Balaji’s new division ALT Entertainment which produced LSD retains its mothership’s infamous ability to drive associates bonkers. However, ALT is pursuing some interesting projects. The first that caught our attention is a biopic on the late and eternal Malayali item girl Silk Smitha. Baffling gossip says that Vidya Balan has been offered the role. Can we say that she needs to channel unprecedented raunchiness to pull this off? This ain’t Ishqiya. ALT is also, we hear, dithering about a Surinder Mohan Pathak adaptation.


A star is born
Vijender Singh shows some fancy footwork
Photo: AFP


Vijender Singh has finally been cast in a Bollywood film. He is playing a boxer in Patiala Express, a Percept production. Percept is making no bones about the fact that this is stunt casting. At the same time Percept’s Shailendra Singh is taking no guff from people who ask him whether Vijender can act. “I agree Vijender is not much of an actor yet. But he’s very good looking and he’s one helluva boxer. We’ve cast him inPatiala Express because we know he’ll look convincing.” Then he continues in a vein which makes us warm to Shailendra Singh. “We’ve seen Sohail Khan and Bobby Deol play boxers. What can I say?” Say no more, Shailendra.



If you are not over-exposed to him as the champion of television causes then you can be quite fond of  Mahesh Bhatt and his cinema. Coming next from his stable of ‘relevant’ yet unapologetic potboiler is a film on JNU student leader Chandrashekhar Prasad who was murdered in 1997 in Siwan, Bihar. While you wait to see what Bhatt makes of this tragedy, you could watch Ajay Bhardwaj’s documentary Ek Minute Ka Maun.




Ever dreamt of going to Hay-on-Wye, that little Welsh village with a 100 residents and 50 bookshops (or is it the other way round)? Every summer Hay is host to one of the world’s most celebrated literary festivals. The Hay brand already runs lit-fests in Colombia, Spain and Kenya. And now Hay-on-Wye is coming to Thiruvananthapuram this November with a three-day festival and 30 events. Apparently charm is a transferable quantity.


I’m Too Interesting To Have A Mentor’


A memory that left an indelible imprint?
When I was four, we went on a class trip to the Delhi Zoo, where a classmate and I got separated from the group. It was terrifying. We thought we would be trapped in the zoo forever. The incredible thing was that it happened again when I was 17!

What would you do if you caught your 15-yearold doing drugs?
Depends on what drugs he is doing. I don’t see the big deal in smoking some pot. I would tell him what he was getting into, though. Maybe buy him a book or something. I was always allowed to make my own choices, so I would do the same with my child.

Does it vex you that people always assume you’re the ‘funny guy’ of the group?
Fortunately, I don’t have any issues with being funny. I don’t see how anyone could! I love the sound of laughter and it makes me happy when I make people laugh. I love my job because I can be myself, even though I started early and didn’t know what exactly I was getting into. The people I’m around know when to take me seriously. I’m always trying to be funny. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I don’t take it too hard.

Who inspires you?
Different people on different days. Sometimes it’s a fruit-seller, sometimes a spot-boy. The most intelligent things come out of the strangest places. But there is no one I aspire to be like. I only aspire to be like myself. I have always found myself too interesting to have a mentor.

Is there something you hate about yourself?
Yes, there is one thing, but I have gotten rid of it now. I had a problem with saying no to people, because of which people used to get their way all the time. After some time, I wanted to do things that I wanted to do and decided to start saying no.



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