Compiled by Poorva Rajaram
Unadulterated good Bollywood news is rare. Movies that rake in Rs 100 crore don’t really benefit us, star children making their debut is just a fact of life, and we all know Bollywood stars coming out of their shell to do film promotions is much more about them than us. So, we are happy to announce that Madhuri Dixit and her family are moving back to India from Denver. We just have to worry for her prospects and hope she can continue to have a full-fledged film career, without being turned into a robot that makes only ads for water filters and baby diapers.
We knew it was bound to happen, but it’s still a shock. Raghu Dixit, with all his indie, lungi-wearing credentials, has made a full-fledged Bollywood singing debut in the ominously titled Yashraj production Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge. Dixit has sung Dheaon Dheaon in somebody’s version of south-Indian accented English. Naturally, because of the title of the movie, there are lots of teenagers prancing around in a club setting. Those who don’t want to feel disappointed can be glad his voice will now be heard in the mall.
A quirky fact has come to our attention thanks to the ice hockey movie Speedy Singhs. Apparently India has an Ice Hockey Association of India. We now know this because Akshay Kumar will take it upon himself to donate Rs 2 crore to this organisation, in the hope that the sport of ice hockey will see the light of day. It must be an act of genuine philanthropy because his movie will be released on 23 September, well before a presumptive ice hockey mania can take hold of our warm, tropical country.
(Getting involved in intricate theological debates with right-wing twitter trolls)
Does anyone else get the feeling that Ra.One has something to hide? Perhaps, some failing in the content that they hope will be overshadowed by a tsunami of publicity? The latest twist in its pre-release promotions is a one-minute Rajinikanth cameo. Now, it couldn’t have been easy to get hold of a post-surgery Rajinikanth, and just pulling off that feat has ensured a fan-following Akon’s music could only dream of. The movie will also be released in Tamil and Telugu. For now, we wait, watching for glimmers of how much we could be shortchanged.
‘I choose to be ignorant when it comes to Indian politics’
WHO Neil Bhoopalam was born in Mumbai. At 19, he started working as an RJ. He later became a VJ for Channel V. He has acted in films like Shaitan, No One Killed Jessica and Offshore. His latest movie is Ram Gopal Varma’s Not a Love Story, loosely based on the Neeraj Grover murder case. Bhoopalam has also made a name for himself in the Mumbai theatre circuit, having acted in plays like Hamlet.
Were you popular in college?
I was popular because I would take part in a lot of college activities. I would also entertain my classmates if our professor was late for a lecture. I have an ability to laugh at myself. This helped me later as a VJ. I try not to take myself too seriously. The tricky part about being a VJ is that you have to act, and at the same time, be yourself. It is kind of like a cottonpolyester mix. However, after two years, it did not excite me anymore.
How has the Bollywood experience been?
The experience has been great. I learn more with every project. More than determination, I’d say it is patience that one needs to survive here. Although it is necessary to hope and dream, the real challenge is to not become over ambitious. The ability to be someone else for a short while is a complete turn on.
What’s a mistake you would never forgive in friends or lovers?
So far, no one has hurt me to such a great extent. It’s better to try and forgive than to carry that pain within you. If someone cheated on me, I wouldn’t know what to do. However, I believe that if two people truly love each other, no matter what ups and downs they go through, they can still choose to be together.
What fascinates you about watching people?
The one thing that fascinates me about human behaviour is that we are pretty basic, even though we like to think we are unique and complex. There are, however, two activities in this world that have absolutely no positive benefits: smoking and watching reality TV.
What irks you about Indian politics?
I choose to be ignorant when it comes to politics. However, as a citizen there is no escaping it. India is complex, and we don’t have an ideal system in place. But then, no country in the world has an ideal system.
Aastha Atray Banan is a Senior Correspondent, Mumbai with Tehelka.