Compiled by Poorva Rajaram
Evolution is kind
What is the Litmus test for real Hollywood credentials? And not dated, yesteryear credentials like attending Cannes Film Festival, posing with Tom Cruise, going onOprah Winfrey Show,getting an Oscar invite, etc. It would probably be your degrees of separation from pilot, actor, director, PhD student, author, artist, fashion photographer, soap-star James Franco. Freida Pinto plays his girlfriend in the upcoming prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And she has already memorised the party line. “He’s got his own unique and distinctive style of acting. It’s not conventional at all.” She might fit in very well.
Poo 2: To the rescue
We just don’t see a straightforward Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) sequel working. Ten years later, the industry has changed and we’d like to think the completely retrograde family drama has died. So, possible twists? A prequel? Hollywood seems to be doing it. Or combining the ill-fated Dostana 2 with K3G 2 (something new to give the patriarch a conniption). Perhaps, paying the stylish Abhinav Kashyap a ridiculous amount of money to direct it (he would need convincing). At least, it will be a slick parody then.
Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet will finally take off without Aamir Khan. Apparently, Kashyap has waited too long and the usual Bollywood issue of “date problems” is responsible. The film will improbably use Subaltern Studies historian Gyan Prakash’s nuggets about the history of Mumbai, especially in the 1960s — all available in his book Mumbai Fables. We expect a film that will out-Dhobi Ghat Dhobi Ghat by sensorially evoking Bombayness. But all of this doesn’t matter when we remember that we are getting what we want: to watch the film without waiting for five years.
Check your source
Predictably, considering our usual atavistic Bollywood kills- movies-from-the- South stance, we are mortified to learn about the Hindi remake of stunning Tamil hit Ko. We are even more mortified to learn that Akshay Kumar will play Ashwin — the protagonist photojournalist in this tale of journalistic intrigue and Naxalites (reason No. 10,343 we care so much). And even, even more mortified to learn Ranbir Kapoor or Shahid Kapur might be in the remake. Small consolation only because Harris Jayaraj’s music will be played everywhere.
‘I have six paranthas and two fried eggs every morning’
WHO Daughter of a policeman, Sonal hails from a Chauhan Rajput family of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh. In 2005, she became the first Indian to win the Miss World Tourism title. She appeared in Himesh Reshammiya’s album Aap Ka Suroor and was later seen opposite Emraan Hashmi in the film Jannat. Recently, she was seen in the film Bbuddah… Hoga Terra Baap that had Amitabh Bachchan in the leading role.
By Aastha Atray Banan
You hail from a traditional Rajput family. So was your family comfortable with your decision to become a model/actress?
Initially, they were apprehensive because we had no connection whatsoever with the film world and one hears many nasty things about it. But then I won a beauty pageant and they knew I wouldn’t have to go begging for work. In the end, they were fine.
Your father is a policeman. As a child, did you have any restless moments vis-a-vis the nature of his work?
I could have been scared, but now that I think about it, I wasn’t. My father was my hero and I never thought anything could go wrong with him. He was invincible — the one who solved all problems.
What did winning a beauty pageant mean to you?
I was a quiet child and not too popular. I did not even know I was pretty. The realisation came in only when I moved out of school and men started noticing me. But men are men — they would like anything as long as it’s a woman. So I didn’t take all that attention seriously. But when I finally won the beauty queen title, it was an ego boost.
Is Bollywood a scary place for a newcomer?
Right now, it is just the perfect time to be in Bollywood. There are so many new things that are happening — young directors, fresh scripts, etc. But, yes, it’s quite tough. I have realised that you cannot compete with anyone in the industry, because then you are most likely to go crazy. Just don’t compete at all, because someone else is bound to be better than you. I just go from shot to shot.
Like most models, are you too a fitness freak?
I don’t take the sex symbol tag in the wrong spirit because I know that there is more to me. Dieting is not my thing. I am not joking when I say I have six paranthas and two fried eggs every morning. I think curves are the real beauty of women. I personally don’t even know what men like in me, but I know I like myself.
Aastha Atray Banan is Senior Correspondent, Mumbai with Tehelka.