Tirchi Topiwala’ Aamir is the real Not-So-Mad-Hatter!

Okay, so Aamir Khan has been lauded for his innumerable toupees, right? Nah, we aren’t talking about the actor’s six stunning looks all in one frame (in the much talked about song from Ghajini). Nor are we referring to his past ‘looks’ in movies that generated much news. And nope, he’s not suddenly been bitten by the Subhash Ghai hat-bug and bought an entire wardrobe of fashionable headgear. The ‘top hat’ we’re referring to is the ‘thinking cap’ that the sensational star has been generously blessed with. Not only is Aamir brilliant in front of the camera, the man is a thoroughbred strategist. Not many — except the film industry and media — know that AK has an amazing knack for marketing his movies in a superlative fashion. Always creating world class cinema and hype that can carry it to the Oscar Red Carpet, if not the moon. Even before Ghajini (a remake of a Tamil blockbuster that was inspired by the Hollywood flick Memento) is set to hit the marquee, Aamir has a breathtakingly genius strategy in place, for audiences across the globe. Firstly, he’s muzzled his beautiful lead star, Asin, from the press — right until he says the word ‘Go’. This has generated much hype. Then he has an online campaign for the movie that would make US prez-elect Obama’s sweep seem like ‘Blogger’s Park’ — (not the movie by Subhash Ghai of the similar name). And of course, given the fact that Aditya Chopra’s SRK-starrer is also set to release around the same time, AK is all set to step on the gas. After all, everything’s fair in love and business, na? So when he’s not wearing the creative toupee, he dons the marketing one. Or sometimes a large-rimmed director’s toupee, too. Now you know why we call this lovable ‘Not-So-Mad-Hatter’ our favourite tirchi topiwala – this guy pehnaos topis to everyone else, hee hee!

Celebrating others’ failure

Some industry people don’t hesitate to uncork champagne bottles the minute a rival flounders

My heart reached my mouth when the terror attacks happened on Wednesday. Ironically Neeraj Pandey’s acclaimed terror film is called A Wednesday. Poor Subhash Ghai was under a different kind of attack. Now where did that come from? Parts of Bollywood began celebrating the failure of his latest film even before it was properly in the theatre. So what happens to all the hard work that Mr Ghai and his team put in? The care taken to mix just the right notes?Or the subtle changes in the topography where each change reflects a certain state of mind?

Nuances and subtleties have become passé now. It’s about the cinema of hanging out with the guys (two of the big hits Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na and Rock On were about that). Or it’s all about the cinema of letting it all hang out (Fashion, Dostana). We strive to swear by the cinema of subtleties. But what happened to Vinay Pathak’s Dasvidaniyan? We want super-heroes flying through the air, not a grown-up veteran actor being bullied and beaten up by his siblings. Anil Kapoor in Yuvvraaj looks so harassed and vulnerable you wonder if there’s a direct link between being a good guy and playing them.

It’s those little gestures that give your good breeding away. If you visit the Bachchans you’d know one or the other member of the family sees you out, and not just to the door. But to the front gate right to your car. Anil Kapoor comes to your car too. And if you are on out of towner he insists that his driver take you to wherever you go next. That Anil and Ghai have remained friends and creative associates for longer than any other actor-director team shows that once in a while the business of friendship does merge with the pleasure of professionalism in our industry.

Most ‘friendships’ in the entertainment business end once the tie-up gets unproductive Two years ago every actor wanted to work with JP Dutta. Today, they’re all gone. The worst hit was filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. What happened to him after the release of Saawariya could only be described as the before-andafter effect. I saw and heard colleagues bitching him out at the premiere of the movie. Then I saw some of them going up to Sanjay to congratulate him for what a film he had made.

But the damage is not irreversible. You really can’t keep a good man down. No wonder Karan Johar, Yash Chopra and now Sanjay Leela Bhansali have decided never to have a premiere.
They say Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool had flopped on the day of the first preview. Those close to Dutt came out shaking their heads and saying, It won’t work.

It did. Today, Kaagaz Ke Phool is recognised as an all-time classic. But its failure broke Guru Dutt’s morale. Ghai is shaken but not stirred. But the attitude of negativity can never go out of fashion. The industry loves to celebrate failure. There was a time when certain producers were known to uncork champagne bottles the minute a rival floundered. It looks like that golden era is back. Cheers to that.

My girlfriend is upset: Ashutosh

While on the reality show, the boys go all out proclaiming their affection, but once they come out, they change! Rahul Mahajan denied his feelings for Monica Bedi, now Ashutosh Kaushik too claims Diana Hayden was just a friend. He says the rumours of his so-called affair with Diana have upset his girlfriend. Ask him to explain this and Ashu bemoans, “I have just one girlfriend and that’s Sonal Singh. She had participated in a reality show earlier with me. After coming out of the house, I have been trying to contact her, but she is angry with me because of some misunderstanding. She has even changed her number and I am trying to contact her through various sources. But, when I have not done anything wrong, why should I worry?” So, there's no chance whatsoever of his friendship with Diana developing into a lifelong commitment? Ashu promptly says, “Not at all! Dianaji yeh sab sun ke mujhe ek din thappad maar dengi. It’s true that our thoughts and views are similar, even though we express them in different languages, but there's nothing more to that.

Choli ke peechhey kya hai rides again

A R Rahman has reworked the Khal Nayaksmash hit number for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

The controversial chartbuster ‘Choli ke peechhey kya hai’, which the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo composed for Subhash Ghai’s Khal Nayak, is now part of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Though Pyarelal, the surviving-half of the legendary duo, doesn’t know yet, Subhash Ghai does.
What made Rahman go for the number? Says Rahman, “The song fitted the mood of the film. It represents the frenetic pace, the colour and the swirl that represents the early ‘90s. I have re-recorded it in the same two voices - Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun - though in a totally re-worked form.”

The song will feature in the Slumdog… soundtrack when it releases in December. Why is the soundtrack being released after the release of the film? “As usual we took a little more time on it than we thought we needed to produce the album properly. The soundtrack is being released on December 12,” confesses Rahman, having to live down the reputation of being tardy in delivering the complete score. He’s very excited by the impact that his sounds in Slumdog Millionaire have made on Westerners. “They released it on a small scale and are gradually increasing the prints.”
A R Rahman is obviously very happy about the international success of the film. “The success means something positive for Indian tourism. It has brought India onto the cultural map again.”
Besides the background score Rahman has done four songs in the film. “I’ve also collaborated with the rap artiste Maya. We co-wrote a song called ‘Oh saya’. She wrote the English lyrics. There’s also a version of Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s ‘Aaj ki raat’ in the soundtrack.”
free download of Slumdog Millionaire.

It’s raining crores for Akki

Even after Akshay Kumar stalled the shoot of Tasveer due to differences with director Nagesh Kukunoor he was paid a hefty amount to resume shooting for the film.

Akshay Kumar is on a roll. If you wonder how much he is paid for a project, here is the stats. He was paid Rs 9 crore for dubbing Jumbo, produced by Percept Picture Company. Akshay will also be entitled to 50 per cent of the film’s profit.

If sources are to be believed, Akshay struck the ‘jumbo’ deal of Rs 9 crore plus 50 per cent partnership in profits only after he agreed to complete their unfinished film Tasveer (earlier titled 8 X 10). The film had come to a halt last year after there were serious differences between Akshay and director Nagesh Kukunoor.
Percept Picture Company was only too happy to know that Akshay was ready to complete the film. Moreover, going by the back-to-back hits, which Akshay has had in the last one year, Percept felt that they should give him a good deal for Jumbo. Our source said, “They (Percept) feel that Akshay deserves a high amount. He is not only a good actor with a good voice but also a crowd puller.”
Interestingly, Akshay was paid approximately Rs 60 lakh per day for the extra days that he shot for Tasveer.
Navin Shah CEO, PPC said, “We are very happy with the outcome of Tasveer. Our relationship with Akhsay is not about money alone, it is a long term partnership.”
However, we hear that even though Akshay completed Tasveer he hasn’t yet patched up with Nagesh. It may be recalled that Akshay had earlier stalled the film and refused to shoot any further when he was made to wait endlessly during the first schedule of the film in Canada. Only after strong persuasion from Percept Picture Company had he agreed to face the camera for Tasveer again.
So what is Akshay’s problem with Nagesh this time? Our source said, “Akshay’s problem with Nagesh is still the same. Earlier too, the actor wasn’t too happy with the way Nagesh’s assistant Elahe was behaving on the sets of Tasveer. He felt that Elahe was too domineering. At one point of time, Akshay demanded to know whether it was Nagesh or Elahe who was directing Tasveer.” When contacted, Elahe told Mumbai Mirror, “I don’t know if Akshay had any problems with me. He didn’t tell me about it.”
Apparently, Nagesh and Elahe are more than just good friends. Onlookers say that they are more than just work partners and she’s the one who calls the shots on the sets. Last year on October 19, we were the first to tell you that there is more to the Nagesh-Elahe relationship than just a professional association. We had also reported about Elahe’s interference while they were shooting for Tasveer.
An insider from Percept Picture Company did not deny the story, but simply said, “Elahe’s contribution and involvement in the film can be read very subjectively. While Nagesh is the creative brain, Elahe is responsible for dealing with the actors. This often makes her the villain. But that’s okay. All’s well that ends well. Much to the relief of Percept, Tasveer is now complete.”

Monica is my wife: Salem

Life behind bars has not dimmed underworld don Abu Salem’s attraction towards actress and former lover Monica Bedi. He e again publicly said on Wednesday that she was his wife, a claim refuted by her on several occasions.

“Monica Bedi is my wife,’’ said the gangster, who has been in jail for three years. Just when Salem stepped out of the court media persons asked him questions about Bedi. The don, who usually deflects queries, obliged by reiterating that the two were husband and wife. Salem’s claim in public about the alleged relationship between the two comes in the backdrop of the actress’ earlier attempts to refute the don’s stand that the two were married.

The don was brought to the court by Mumbai police for a hearing in connection with an alleged extortion call made to a businessman six years ago. Earlier, Bedi in her interviews had said that although she knew Salem for several years they had never got married.

Salem and Bedi’s friendship has seen legal drama earlier. He served a legal notice on Bedi saying he was ‘deeply hurt’ by her denying their marriage.

Drop non-veg from menu, PeTA to Big B

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) has written to Amitabh Bachchan to ensure that no nonveg food is served at the forthcoming Live Earth event at Band r a - Ku rl a Complex, for the sake of our environment.
“While we congratulate A m i t ab h Bachchan for bringing Live Earth to India, serving non-veg dishes there would be akin to selling cigarettes at a Cancer Charity Fundraiser,’’ said Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary of PeTA in Mumbai.
While Big B’s feedback is awaited on PeTA’s registered letter to him, Sawhney is hopeful that Live Earth will be a strictly vegetarian affair, in order to stress on the dangers of climate change. PeTA further told him: “Studies have concluded that Mumbai alone could suffer up to US $48 billion in economic losses because of projected submergence caused by global warming. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tonnes of methane gas a year. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock worldwide releasing methane is enormous’’.
PeTA also wrote in the letter: “You might be aware that during a recent appearance in London, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change and co-winner of a Nobel Peace Prize along with Live Earth cofounder Al Gore, told The Observer, “I want to highlight the fact that, among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider”. He added, “If we’re honest, less meat is also good for the health, and would also at the same time reduce emissions of greenhouse gases”.

Aamir stole my ideas for Taare Zameen Par

Shakuntala Devi, the mathematical genius, on Thursday said that the producer of Taare Zameen Par, Aamir Khan, has stolen ideas from her book, “In the Wonderland of Numbers” without giving her the credit. She is now planning to produce her own movie based on the story in the book.

The 69-year old wizard and author of 22 books, who has been stunning audiences across the world since childhood when she first displayed her flair for numbers, is on a world tour to accomplish a dream project. She is in the process of setting up a global institution on mathematics that will train young minds and do research in Vedic Mathematics. “Some of the things shown in Taare Zameen Par have been taken straight from my book. People ask me why I don’t sue the producer of the movie,” she told TOI. “I expect him to write a letter explaining why he did this,” she said.

Shakuntala Devi revealed some amazing facts during the interview with TOI in Beijing. One of them is that no information technology company has ever tried to involve her in any mathematical project. This is interesting given her worldwide popularity and India’s strength in the IT industry.

“I have lots of readers from the IT industry. But no IT company has approached me so far,” she said. “I am a computer illiterate, you know”, she said. But the institution she is in the process of establishing in Bangalore will conduct research on mathematics related to computer, she said.
The wizard is worried that the advent of computers is harming the thinking ability of children, who are increasingly losing interest in mathematics. “Mathematics has already lost its popularity in the West. Now, I feel this is happening in India as well,” she said. This is the second time when a film producer has stolen her ideas, she said. A Rajesh Khanna starrer, Red Rose used ideas from her short story, The Whole World is Mad, which was published in Femina, she said.
She had talked to several producers, including Kamal Haasan, to turn her book, In the Wonderland of Numbers into a movie. The story is about a nine-year-old girl who goes through a transformation from being a hater of mathematics to a mathematical genius.

“One producer asked if he can show the heroine as an 18-year-old or a 19-year-old girl and introduce a disco number. I said it will destroy the whole purpose of the movie. My mission is to make people fall in love with mathematics and feel the joy of it,” she said.

“I am considering Rajnikant or some other producer for the movie. I wrote the book as a movie script,” she said.

Kamal Haasan told her the proposed movie can cause a worldwide sensation if she found an intelligent producer capable of utilizing the material in the book.

Saif & Kareena headed for splitsville

There are, now clashes are rising between the new hot couple and love birds Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Crack in Saif Ali Khan and Bebo’s relationship have come to surface, as amny predicted they would.

The two stars are having problems and buddies are worried. Aclose buddy of Kareena reveals, “Two volatile souls like Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan can never become together”.

According to sources, “Saif is constantly crowding her for attention. Nowadays,if you see him on his cell-phone, which is most of the time, he’s only talking to kareena. Saif has stopped communicating almost completely with all his family and friends. He never was someone not to call up his parents. Now even his mother does not hear from him for weeks. Soha Ali Khan, of course, never heard from him anyway. So that’s no different. In fact, when Soha heard that her brother was at the premiere of Sawaariya(with Kareena, of course) she said, “I wish, I knew, I could have met him”.

With Saif spending all his time with (and on) Kareena, Bebo has begun feeling the heat. According to sources, “Kareena likes her space. She’s very giving in love, but does not want her man to constantly question her. That’s what Saif is doing. She gets what-are-you doing? where are you? calls from Saif throughout the day. Initially, she enjoyed all the attention. Who would not? But now it is began to take it’s toll on her nerves. More than Bebo, it’s her mother Babita, who is angry and worried that Saif’s ceaseless trailing may effect her carrer”.

Bebo has felt the strain so much that she has told Saif to “back off”. But you know, Saif is Saif. When he is in love, he is nothing else. Ironically, he used to complain about Rozza’s constant attention. Today, he is behaving exactly the way that put him off for good. Hounding Bebo with his attention. She can not help remember Shahid Kapoor’s laid back easy does it gentle attention”.

When a close buddy was asked about the current state of the Kareena-Saif relationships, she responds, “Well, it is a little shaky. But nothing alarming yet. All Saif needs to do is give Kareena the space to find her pace. Otherwise, he would have to get another girlfriend with a name similar to bebo. So he can get the tatto re done without too much pain. Lets see what happen, is the Kareena-Saif love story destined to be doomed? or they will work things out and stay together for years to come.