Compiled By Nisha Susan
When she was a little girl, did Bipasha Basu ever imagine that grown adults would threaten to attack her if she did not cut their birthday cake? Not hers but theirs. Having arrived in Delhi to promote a fitness DVD, Bipasha is now in the centre of an outsized tantrum. Ashok Mittal,chairman of the hotel, the venue for the launch is said to have pitched a fit, because the star did not want to be part of his birthday celebrations. Bouncers, allegations of drunkenness and greed are still flying like confetti.
It is customary for our people to get lost in the wierdest Hollywood projects. This new one thatMallika Sherawat is getting involved in seems, in comparison, rather interesting. Love, Barack is a romantic comedy set against the background of the 2008 American elections. Sherawat plays an idealistic young Barack Obama supporter who falls in love with a Republican campaigner, played by Laz Alonso, last seen in Avatar. What is more comforting, is that Rajan Zed, self-appointed guardian of Indian culture in the North American continent has given his stamp of approval for the project. Press releases have now, we notice, begun referring to him as Hindu statesman.
Only last month Sudhir Mishra had been shocked by someone leaking a rough cut of his film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny on YouTube. Mishra has filed a police complaint and is out for justice. But here is Chandan Arora, director of Striker (starring Siddharth) releasing his film online at the same time as its marquee release to prevent piracy. But look at the small print: you can’t watch it on YouTube if you are in India, and if you are abroad you will have to pay a rental fee.
Everyone can relax now. Adnan Sami says he had a secret nikah with girlfriend Roya Faryabi and, we quote, “We are loving it.” All of you concerned folks, worried that his wedding in Munich has been called off, take a deep breath. His new wife did not want the previous allegations of domestic violence — or the courts that did not allow him to leave India — to interfere with their plans. Even Pooja Bedi approves of this wife, unlike the last one.
‘I Hate The Caste System And All Its Prejudices!’
By Isha Manchanda
Girish Kasaravalli, Filmmaker
What is your earliest memory?
One incident that’s clearly etched in my mind is of this petty crime in the village for which one of our servants was accused. My father was a very influential man, he was a landlord and had the reputation of being a fair and generous man. Everyone looked up to him. In this particular case, the police came to our house and struck our servant a few times with a cane. It’s not the kind of brutality you see these days, but it affected me a lot as a child. Also, I saw my father in new light. His authoritative voice was gone.
Tell me something about your childhood.
I grew up in a small village in the interiors of Karnataka, very idyllic. You had to walk four kilometres if you wanted to see someone else. My father was a landlord and my mother was a homemaker. I had five brothers and four sisters. There were no schools nearby so my father started a small school. The kids in the school were mostly our workers’ children. My father was a Gandhian. He died very early and my mother brought us up all by herself. She was very educated and didn’t believe in traditions and rituals.
How has that affected your films?
All my films are about life in villages, I’ve hardly made films set in urban spaces. Even the way I compose my frames is influenced by the structural elements of my memory. I’ve lived in a traditional society and my films show my anger toward that, and at times my appreciation of that life as well.
What do you dislike most in other people?
Many times, people aren’t very straightforward and I dislike that a lot. I hate the caste system and all its prejudices. Another thing I can’t stand is people’s belief in karma — how people blame everything on fate.
What is the one thing you would never want your kids to do?
I would never want them to compromise on their beliefs or their principles. If there’s something you believe in, you have to stand up for it.
What inspires you personally?
When I’m affected by things that are happening around me, when things enrage me. I get inspired to work when I feel the need to say something urgently.
What do you think of parallel cinema today?
During the 1970s and 1980s, parallel cinema was a huge movement. But in the 1990s, there was no parallel cinema. Now there is a revival in regional offbeat films and that is a welcome change.