Doppelgangers and impersonators. What would the world be without them? Or for that matter, what would be the world without people riding on the strength of famous last names. This week we have caught ourselves wishing that Caterina Lopez is actually pulling a delightfully long con on the ever-willing public. She was Jennifer Lopez’s sister trying to break into Bollywood, we heard. Then we heard that she is JLo’s cousin but (surely because of a deep need for privacy) does not like to talk about her relationship with her cousin. She would rather talk about the challenges of the item number.
Men and their magnificent machines
Shahid Kapoor has been a bit boring of late. So we understand his need to shake things up a bit. Wanting to fly the F-16 is a nice little idea. Kapoor as co-pilot to a suitably awed/annoyed pilot, planning his expressions for his next role in Mausam. Kapoor announcinghis directorial ambitions is a little more alarming. As one annoyed director recently told us, “Bollywood heroes are too insecure to leave anything to anyone else anymore. They want to play everything — from comedian to director to producer.” We’d call it the James Franco effect, except his image is managed better.
Filmmaker Chandrashekhar Dwivedi who adapted Amrita Pritam’s Pinjar for Bollywood has now adapted the very popular Hindi novel Kashi Ka Assi (by Kashinath Singh) for the screen. In Mohalla Assi, the adaptation, Sunny Deol plays a Benarasi priest, all dhoti and cunning or so the original character was. We are suckers for a Sunny Deol in his innocent-confrontedby- modernity template. We wonder whether the director will bravely make Deol be true to the book and play a ghat-side fraud.
A new bible
Believe that Indian cinema starts south of the Vindhyas? Then this might be the book for you. G Dhananjayan, former CEO, Film Business, Moser Baer, and now chief of UTV’s southern division, has just produced a two-volume 600-page book about trends and landmarks of Tamil cinema. The book ambitiously traverses from the mythological Kalidas (1931) to the critically acclaimed Nandhalala (2010). The Tamil edition will arrive a few months after the English one, in June 2011. Meanwhile, Rajinikanth, unhappy with the continent-sized spot he has claimed in Tamil history, is talking about a sequel to Endhiran.
‘One has to be a little vain in the film industry’
Stars opposite Abhishek Bachchan in her debut Bollywood film, Game. She won the Pantaloons Femina Miss India World title in 2007 and went on to host Channel [V]’s Get Gorgeous. First hit the big screen with the Tamil language romantic comedy, Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai.
By Aastha Atray Banan
You won a beauty pageant when you were 14. Did that ever make you vain? How did you keep yourself grounded?
I think, when you do lead a life like that, vanity sort of creeps up. You have to be a little vain in this industry as it’s a part of your profession. I mean if I look at myself 20 times in the mirror, I need to as I want to look perfect in every scene. But is that really vanity? I think real vanity is reflected in daddy’s little princesses who can’t see beyond their noses. My parents kept me and my sister pretty grounded. We were told never to let it go to our head.
How were you like in college? What was your main preoccupation at 18?
I was very studious. I wasn’t the one to go to college all dressed up. I crawled out of bed, put on a tee and jeans, went to lectures and came back home and studied by sociology. I was never the type who wanted to hang somewhere and check out boys. Maybe that’s because I was never starved of male attention or company. I was used to it and so didn’t crave it. I grew up with a gaggle of cousins who were boys.
You shifted from Muscat to Mumbai after school. What does the city mean to you? And how has it shaped you as a person?
Mumbai has made me a tough girl to say the least. If you don’t wise up, it will chew you up and spit you out. Muscat was a very quiet place, but Mumbai is so hectic, with so much happening all the time. It’s a rat race and you need a lot of time to adjust here. Through my experiences I have learnt never to trust someone easily, ever. Also, everyone should realise that everyone is here to do a job. So don’t ever throw tantrums.
What do you think of the whole size zero debate? Would you succumb to it, just because the competition is so cut-throat in the industry?
A few years ago I had a bad car accident, and I went from being a skinny girl to being almost 64 kgs, as my whole metabolism went for a toss. And then I came under pressure to lose it. The more I starved myself or worked out, the more weight I put on. I had a minor eating disorder and went through torture. Women are never happy with the way they look and I took advice from the wrong people. But now my body has healed itself and I am actually a size zero. Pure muscle and that’s the way I like being. But I would never say I starved to be size zero. I was always a skinny girl, so went back to that. I know how hard it is to live up to a stereotype and you should never do that. I meet girl who says proudly, “oh we just had three tomatoes yesterday” and I am like, what?
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life?
I took fat burner capsules, which artificially enhance your metabolism. That was horrible. As I said, I have been there, done that.
If you had to change one thing about India, what would it be?
I hate the fact that Indians are so blasé about littering. They are like “if that one is doing it, so can I”. That really pisses me off.