Compiled by Poorva Rajaram
Quick fingers And glory
Katrina Kaif has won yet another of those slightly dubious honours — the kind she would ultimately owe to voyeuristic men. She is apparently the most searched person in the world on cell phone video, beating Britney Spears. These statistics were released by Vuclip, an independent mobile video service. However, it still is cause to stop and think about exactly what Indians are doing with their millions of phones. Keep in mind, though, this is not same as being the most Googled celebrity in the world; that would be real news printed somewhere other than this page.
The First Class Man is an upcoming movie directed by Roger Spottiswoode about Srinivasa Ramanujan (played by Siddharth) and his friendship with fellow mathematician GH Hardy. By our calculations, ceteris paribus, this movie could well be Oscar-bait worthy next year. It will channel The King’s Speech and has an inter-cultural bromance to add weight to the story line. However, the director has also made the laughably kitschy Bond movie Tommorow Never Dies, the kind of skeleton the Academy may not like too much.
For weeks now, we have been bumping into some very strategic stories about Vivek Oberoi’s upcoming villain role in Krrish 2, stories that basically hint that his performance will be akin to Heath Ledger’s in The Dark Knight. We can see how this story is supposed to illustrate dedication or brilliance or sheer talent or intensity, but we are unsure why any actor would want to tempt Ledger’s tragic off-screen life. Ranbir Kapoor recently said he now understands how a role can make an actor as depressed as Ledger after his role in Rockstar.
Those who spend hours poring over Bollywood dating gossip, hiring and upcoming releases gravely risk being desensitised to all of the above. However, there are some stories that are just ludicrous enough. Here is one: Nikhil Advani, director of Chandni Chowk To China, is going to make a movie starring (in no particular order) Madhuri Dixit, Dimple Kapadia, Shabana Azmi, Karisma Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Genelia D’Souza and Deepika Padukone. Back in 2004, rumours spread of Advani remaking Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Perhaps that idea has risen from the dead?
‘I’ve lost my money on fast women and slow horses’
WHO: After completing his MBA from Australia, Randeep Hooda made his Bollywood debut with Monsoon Wedding in 2001, in which he played an NRI. He worked in Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory, played Dawood Ibrahim in D and an honest cop in Risk. His last outing was Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, where he donned the role of a Mumbai Crime Branch officer. He recently played the lead opposite Mahie Gill in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster.
You play a small-town assassin in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster. How did you prepare for the role?
I drew a lot from the years in Rohtak. My character has a complex about not being cool. He tries to learn English and play the guitar. The idea is to get the audience’s sympathy.
As a small-town boy, did you have the same complexes?
I had many insecurities. In school, the first time I went to Nirula’s was the first time I saw a pizza. I wanted to fit in with all the so-called hip people around me.
How did you get through your rebel stage in school?
I drank and smoked in school for social acceptance. It was a defence mechanism, and I was called a goonda. In Bollywood too, I’m seen as the outsider who carries a chip on his shoulder.
You took a break to breed horses. Why?
I was disillusioned as my films were getting delayed. So I bought five horses and participated in equestrian events. I took part in dressage and show jumping. But, it taught me that if I’m not an actor I’m not happy.
Do you still take out time for equestrian events?
Of course, the horses are very dear to me. Instead of buying one horse, I blew up my money on five. But I don’t regret that. I’ve lived my life and lost my money on fast women and slow horses. Now I need to buy a house in Mumbai.
You have toyed with many other professions. Has that made you a better actor?
I have driven a taxi, worked in a restaurant, been a door-to-door salesman, trained horses and been a struggler in Bollywood. As an actor you draw inspiration from your observation. These experiences have enriched me as an actor.
What is the craziest thing you have done?
I bicycled off a cliff into the ocean in Australia. It was exhilarating, but scary.
Sunaina Kumar is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.com.