Monday, July 30, 2007

Akshaye alludes to a new movie!

The shy Akshaye Khanna talks at length to BT about the challenging role in his latest film. Akshaye Khanna likes to keep to himself. “Ya, maybe I am a little shy. I am not an introvert or an extrovert. But yes, I like to keep to myself most of the time,” he admits. That’s probably why the reclusive Akshaye has managed to stay away from controversies and link-ups. But Akshaye it seems is in a mood to talk these days. One of the main reasons is the release of his movie Gandhi My Father that has been produced by actor and friend Anil Kapoor. The duo worked together for the first time in Subhash Ghai’s Taal, but it was during the making of this film, that they got to know each other better. Speaking about Anil, he says, “Anyone can produce a film. But this film wouldn’t be what it is if it was in some other person’s hand. Anil doesn’t have only 30 years of experience, but he also has the maturity and depth as a person. And he brings that into all parts of his life not just fimmaking. He’s very passionate about life.” Anil in a recent interview had said that Akshaye underrates himself as an actor, so what does Akshaye have to say? “I don’t rate myself. Ratings are upto the media. Over-rating or under-rating myself is not my job. It’s for others to do. My job is to act, you people can rate me. Yes, awards are important because they are like a pat on your back. It feels good to be appreciated by people of your own community!” he says. But at the moment Gandhi My Father is the only thing that Akshaye is thinking about. “My director (Feroz Abbas Khan) calls it a love story between a father and son. It’s about two people who adored each other. Two strong individuals who refused to compromise on their stand,” he reveals. Mak-ing a film on Mahatma Gandhi can be a tough job, considering the fact that people are emotionally attached to the father of the nation. “According to me this is the least controversial film in a long time. Of course, we live in a free country, tomorrow any idiot can say anything. But all his relatives have loved the film. But if anyone wants to say anything, they are welcome,” he says. “Besides, I feel who are we to pass a judgement on Mahatma Gandhi as a father.”And what did dad Vinod Khanna have to say about the film. “I wasn’t around when my father saw the film. But Anil told me that my father kept hugging him and wouldn’t let go. He was very emotional,” he smiles. Akshaye who’s played negative as well as positive characters in his earlier films, feels that playing a real life character is different from portraying a fictional one. “The responsibility is greater. It has been easier for me because people don’t know much about Harilal Gandhi,” he smiles. Akshaye it seems is not too fond of the term ‘commercial cinema.’ “Somehow the term commercial makes it sound very cheap. We can call it mainstream instead. One doesn’t want to make art films. Cinema should be such that it should appeal to a larger audience. I believe as long as films are based on emotions, people will relate to it. Emotions don’t get obsolete. It’s never like woh purana ho gaya,” he says. After Gandhi My Father , Akshaye will be seen in Race and with Madhuri Dixit in Aaja Nachle . Akshaye and Madhuri were seen together in Mohabbat in 1997. So how does it feel to work with her again after almost a decade? “I always say it’s like how you give a chocolate to a kid, you give Madhuri to an actor. It’s like a treat. She’s such a wonderful person, a great actor and she’s looking fantastic. What can one say about Madhuri?. So is he taking on any more projects? “I will be signing a film next month, but we’ll talk about it later,” he says. Well that obviously is a subtle hint to end the barrage of questions. “But I spoke quiet a lot today, didn’t I?” he laughs.

Exciting stuff! Hope it's a good project. I have started worry about his lack of movies except for Shortcut which is yet to go on floors.

More pics!

Dunno how I missed these but indiafm had more pcis of Gandhi--My Father, including the superb bridegroom photo I was waiting for! The last pic is pretty amazing too.

Naqaab team to repeat again?

We all know that the actress has a contract with the production house TIPS and Abbas Mustan. However what not many know is that the actress will soon work with Naqaab actors, Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna again. When we got in touch with her last, in conversation, she hinted that her next movie which will again be directed with Abbas Mustan,will star one of them. "I’m going to work with both Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna again. That’s all I can say right now,” she says. “It's such a privilege to get such opportunities at the beginning of one's career." About the film? "It'll be a typical Abbas Mustan thriller," says Urvashi. “We are a family unit now – Bobby, Aksahye and Abbas-Mustanji have been very supportive.”

Even though Naqaab flopped, I am all for Akshaye doing Abbas-Mustan's movies. He always looks good in them!


BTW, I just found out that Gandhi--My Father is definitely releasing where I live. Am I happy or what?!

Akshaye is giving only 10% of his potential"-- Anil Kapoor

A great pic and a great interview. From Indian Express:

Let’s start from the beginning. How did Gandhi, My Father get rolling?

Anil: Feroz (Abbas Khan) and me go back a decade. He’s my brainstorming partner and someone whose opinion I seek. In fact I did my readings for Nayak with Feroz. I’ve seen all his plays like Tumhari Amrita, Saalgirah, Salesman Ramlal and Mahatma Vs Gandhi. The most striking aspect about Feroz’s plays is that they are successful both critically as well as commercially. I was more than happy to produce Gandhi, My Father since Feroz knows all the basics of direction. He knows how to choreograph a scene, how to extract performances from his actors and how to direct actors.

Akshaye: The latter is the most crucial. Great directors know when to direct an actor and when to keep quiet. It’s a tough situation to be in. You’ve cast the actors according to the role and then you’ve got to trust them to handle the role with sensitivity, you’ve got to let them do their job. But at the same time it is your vision so you’ve got to ensure that the actor translates that so you have to intervene. It takes integrity, depth and maturity to handle the situation.

Anil, if it’s such a fantastic script then weren’t you tempted to act in it. It would have been easy since you’ve also produced the film?

Anil: Exactly the reason I didn’t act in it. When I decided to turn an independent producer, I was very clear that I’m going to be completely truthful to the film. I was never tempted to act in it. I needed the best and I was more than convinced that Akshaye is the best choice to play the role of Harilal.

Akshaye: I must say that Anil has been extremely passionate about the film for a long time. I remember he once told me that he has something special for me and will come to me when he’s ready. After six months he called me and said that he’s sending Feroz over to my place with the script. I must confess that I was completely shocked when I read the script. I had no idea that Mahatma Gandhi shared such a turbulent relationship with his son, Harilal. That itself adds some excitement since we’re telling a true story for the first time. Of course, the responsibility also increases since you can’t take any chances with a true story.

So how did you approach the role, Akshaye?

Akshaye: I went with whatever Feroz—who is an authority on the subject—told me. He gave me books to read on Gandhi and also some letters that Gandhi had written to Harilal. He wanted me to get an idea of the man’s mind. Actually, the film required much more commitment on the part of Darshan Jariwala, who plays the role of Mahatma Gandhi.

Anil: I’ll have to agree with Akshaye since casting Gandhi was the most difficult thing. We did a lot of research and went through a bank of actors in India as well as abroad. Ultimately we zeroed in on Darshan with whom Feroz shared a comfort level since they have worked together. But Darshan had to lose 30 kilos only then could he resemble Gandhi physically. We made a diet and exercise plan for him. We also sent him for a 15-day course of Vipassna. He was made to listen to Gandhiji’s tapes so that he could get his dialect. We were very aware that Gandhi’s role would be keenly scrutinised since Ben Kingsley has already won an Oscar for it so the expectations are bound to be high.

Anil, was it easy to switch gears from acting to production?

Anil: See, I belong to a family of producers. My father and brother have been doing this all their life. You can say that I’m the rebel in the family. Till the late ’80s, being a producer was a thankless job, it entailed organising funds or stars for a project. But now, the job of a producer has become cooler. The generation has changed and so has the thinking. There is a positive revolution taking place in the Indian film industry right now. There are so many screens now, which have increased the requirement of content. We need producers to create that content. I feel it’s a great time to be a producer. Also even when I was acting, I used to thrive on putting together my film projects. You can say that my mindset is like that of a producer but I kept this to my chest. When finally I got the chance all of this just burst forth.

Akshaye: Anil is the best producer I’ve worked with. Let people see the film and judge what Anil has achieved. Let me not dilute his achievement. In the film business everyone thinks they know what production is all about but Anil has been honest enough to say that everyday on this film has been like a learning experience. It’s a highly skilled job that everyone can’t attempt. Moreover in the case of Gandhi, My Father, you really needed someone with great integrity and ability to understand the importance of the film and to take it to another level, which Anil has done fabulously.

But does the dynamics change when an actor becomes a producer, Anil, did you ever think that if you were in Akshaye’s place you would have done the scene differently?

Anil: It never happened. I was thinking like a producer and not like an actor. My obsession with Akshaye was that he should not put on weight. I used to take his food plate and run away. Akshaye, did you ever feel that I was judging you as an actor?

Akshaye: Never. And that’s because he never came on the sets.Anil: See I’m an actor myself, so I know that what actors go through. I didn’t want to stand on anybody’s head while they’re doing their job. I don’t like it if someone does that to me. I knew that my team is so responsible that they will give their best even if I’m not physically present on the sets.Akshaye: I think half his job was done by assembling such a great team. One thing about Anil I must tell you that he can see the big picture.

Are you glad about the timing of the film since it’s releasing after Lage Raho Munnabhai, which has made Gandhi more relevant and approachable for the younger generation?

Anil: Sure but otherwise also I think Gandhi has become more relevant because of all that is happening in the world especially in America. That said, I agree that the timing is just bang on for our film.

Akshaye: I agree that after Lage Raho Munnabhai the youth have rediscovered Gandhi but we can’t just give all the credit to the film. Personally, Gandhi, My Father, has brought me closer to Gandhi. I’ve read his Experiments with Truth. Also, I’ve got to know about Harilal, which has made my understanding of Gandhi even better. Did you know that Harilal spent nine years with Gandhi in South Africa where he went to jail 10 times? And that actually it was Harilal who introduced the concept of fasting in a South African jail because he felt the treatment of the authorities was biased towards non-Whites. Even Gandhi admitted that he was his right hand man in the movement against apartheid and he was called Chhota Gandhi.

Apparently shooting the film in Ahmedabad had lots of security concerns?

Akshaye: Yeah and that’s because the moment you tell the people of Gujarat that you’re making a film about Gandhi, their whole approach changes. The shooting has been very memorable.

Anil: It was tough to shoot in Ahmedabad but it was also the best schedule. We shot in some of the most sensitive areas in Ahmedabad where no film has been previously shot. We shot in 100-year-old structures, in real locations like Harilal’s house. The most difficult thing was to maintain silence since it’s a sync sound film. At any given point, there were 200 cops to maintain security.
Tell us something about each other that we don’t know?

Akshaye: Anil is probably the most patient person I’ve come across in my life. He has tremendous ability to wait watch even when he’s dying to say something. He is not impulsive at all and has great capacity to analyse and then react.

Anil: Akshaye is right because my family also tell me this. “Arrey kuch to react karo,” is their usual refrain. They says, I’m like an ostrich and at times they feel so frustrated that they want to shake me up. But I can’t help it. I like to think about things and act when the time is right.

Akshaye: I’m telling you Anil’s mind is like the digestive system. You know how the food first goes to the mouth, then the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and then the large intestine. Anil follows a similar process while thinking.

Anil (laughing): Enough about me, now it’s Akshaye’s turn. I think Akshaye is giving only 10 percent of his true potential both as an actor and as a looker. I feel completely frustrated with him and want to shake him up. He just wants to sleep and have food. He’s like a baby that way. He doesn’t realise how good he is. But I feel the time has come for Akshaye to take himself seriously and go all out.
Akshaye (nodding): I agree with you.Yeah well, maybe Gandhi, My Father, will do the trick.
"I think Akshaye is giving only 10 percent of his true potential both as an actor and as a looker. "
"He just wants to sleep and have food. He’s like a baby that way."
Well said, Anil! We think that he's been giving just 10% of his potential too.
I would love to have that job,to keep Akshaye from eating too much! Whew, what a great interview!

New Yorkers loves Gandhi--My Father

New Yorkers have enjoyed a Hindi film, Gandhi My Father, which was recently screened in New York.

The audience at the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) theatre on Friday hardly had any Indian Americans. But they were all glued to the highly emotional drama played out between Mahatma Gandhi and his wayward eldest son Harilal. There were plenty of cheers when the movie ended.

The two-hour film seems to have been made with an international audience in mind. It may not become a blockbuster like Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982), but Gandhi My Father may win awards on the international film circuit.

The difference is that Gandhi dealt with Mahatma the icon while Gandhi My Father brings out the human side of the most well known Indian in the world.

The film's director Feroz Abbas Khan, an acclaimed Indian theatre director whose credits include Mahatma vs Gandhi, has said: "For me to direct this film meant that I would not sacrifice the creative aspect for the commercial ones."

Indeed, despite the presence in the film's cast of two Bollywood stars - Akshaye Khanna as Harilal and Bhoomika Chawla as Harilal's wife Gulab - there are no masala elements.

Akshaye and Bhoomika as well as Darshan Jariwala as the Mahatma and Shefali Shah as Kasturba turn in fine, restrained performances. Photography, design and other production values are all excellent. Gandhi My Father marks Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor's foray into production.

Most importantly, the film is emotionally engaging, even relentless, while managing to be fair to both Gandhi and Harilal. The screenplay builds the film up as a classic clash between convictions, values and family aspirations.

It does say, however, that what Gandhi did for the country and humanity was of greater importance than his unwillingness to particularly forward his son's career because he saw all his associates as his sons.

The film is based on Harilal Gandhi: A Life by Gandhian scholar Chandulal Dalal and is historically factual. The film has Harilal openly rebelling against Gandhi's ideals, converting to Islam, reconverting to Hinduism and being publicly disowned by the Mahatma.

Gandhi My Father is set to be released in India Aug 3.

MoMI will also be screening the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Devdas on August 10 to celebrate the vitality of Indian cinema as part of its World Cinema Showcase series. (Times of India)

I am tired of people lumping Akshaye with Bhumika or putting Darshan before Akshaye. Still, the buzz is building up people! Friday can't come soon enough.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Watch Akshaye

To my commenter who posted the link to a video. The link wrked but the video wouldn't start for ages. So, here's the indiafm clip!

A fan's take on what makes Akshaye so special

This is too good to stay just in the comments:

I love the way that Akshaye Khanna flashes a mischievous grin and adds as an afterthought in the show with Karan Johar (Koffee With Karan...see my comment in the blog... With no unnecessary controversies or too much of link-ups dogging him, I consider him to be a very decent lad who does not believe too much in late nights, partying or pub hopping. Is he for real? Akshaye Khanna has it-star quality. When he walks in the energy in the room changes. Yet there's something really amazing about him, his generosity of spirit. I think that everyone who enters his orbit is treated with attentive, low-key courtesy. His piercing eyes constantly betray vestiges of melancholy. He's really an exceptional person and actor too. Bollywood and I are betting that audiences will keep watching him for years to come. Becoming a star is a time that's diffcult. But when I saw this Koffee With Karan episode, I feel that Akshaye gives you the feeling he's going to stay standing. He's going to keep renewing and growing. One feels he can transcend any generation he's in. He gives a sense of how rare such staying power is. And he's emerged as one of the few star offsprings to create an identity of his own, right from his debut film itself. He talks shyly but his body language bespeaks immense self-confidence and that is what draws hordes of women towards him. But he seems to pay little attention to the effect he has on them. He's really a rare bachelor. For an average guy off screen, he has such a powerful presence on screen and that's what is very alluring. Sure, he's beyond gorgeous, but looks alone couldn't cause this kind of frenzy. He's charming and has a brooding sensuality that makes him a very compelling guy. He may be a very instinctual actor and human being but he also has an exacting technique. He's also extremely attractive as an artiste. And he is a quite remarkable and unique performer. He is one of the best and most talented actors to hit Bollywood.

Thanks for posting it on my blog!

International Press praises Akshaye, Gandhi--My Father

Foreign press is already praising Akshaye's performance! The movie is also getting some good advance notices.


Mohandas Gandhi's son Harilal lies drunk and destitute on a dirty Mumbai street. A couple of passersby find him and cart him off to a nearby hospital. There a doctor prods him to name a family member they can contact. But Harilal can barely remember his own name. Eventually he whispers: "Gandhi." Impatiently, the doctor tells Harilal that Gandhi is father to the whole Indian nation. "What is your father's name?" he asks.

The poignant scene dramatizes the central tension in the new film "Gandhi, My Father," a gripping account of the stormy relationship between one of the world's greatest political icons and his rebellious eldest son. Based on the biography "Harilal: A Life," by the Gujarati scholar Chandulal Dalal, "Gandhi, My Father"—shot in Hindi and English—sheds light on the human side of the mahatma, whose nonviolent resistance to British rule helped win India its independence in 1947. First-time film director Feroze Abbas Khan and Bollywood star turned producer Anil Kapoor blend sweeping sets and colorful costumes to create an emotionally charged period piece that occasionally verges on melodrama but is also sprinkled with genuine moments of comedy. "This is a story about a clash of principles between father and son," says Khan, who first tackled the subject in his play "Mahatma vs. Gandhi." "Harilal carried his Gandhi identity like a curse around his neck. It was something that he just couldn't shake off."
The film recounts Harilal's lifelong struggle with his father's idealistic principles and refusal to favor his own children above anybody else's. Gandhi encourages his four sons, raised in South Africa, to explore a range of blue-collar careers, from farmer to weaver—only to be disappointed by Harilal's bourgeois desire to become a barrister like his father. The seeds of contention are further sown when Gandhi gives a distant nephew, rather than Harilal, a scholarship to study abroad. Determined to forge his own path, Harilal returns to India. But after he loses his wife and young son to cholera, his despair leads him to alcoholism, brothels and money laundering. In an act of rebellion against his Hindu father, Harilal converts to Islam, adopting the name Abdullah. Gandhi strikes back by publicly condemning and disowning his son. Later, Harilal converts back to Hinduism but continues to live the life of a derelict. He dies just five months after Gandhi is assassinated.

Veteran actor Darshan Jariwala gives a refreshing portrayal of a man whose cast-iron morality could transform a nation yet failed to save his own son. Shefali Shah ("Monsoon Wedding"), who plays Gandhi's wife, Kasturba, and Bhumika Chawla as Harilal's wife, Gulab, give powerful performances as women caught in the cross-fire between father and son. Bollywood star Akshaye Khanna, who lost 20 kilograms for the part, delivers a fine performance as the harrowed Harilal, stumbling from pillar to post, bottle to brothel, in search of his identity.
Not everyone is embracing Khan's debut as a filmmaker. Some Indians have called for a ban of the film—just weeks ahead of its scheduled premiere in Johannesburg on Aug. 3, which Nelson Mandela and South African President Thabo Mbeki are expected to attend. Protesters in the eastern state of Bihar have urged the Indian government to halt the film's release for fear of tarnishing their national hero's image. But Tushar Gandhi, the 47-year-old grandson of Manilal Gandhi, the second of Gandhi's four sons, says people should reserve judgment until they see it. "The film remains sincere to the subject," he says, admitting it made him shed a few tears. "It is as though somebody has understood the pain of what our family went through."

Khan is meticulous in his effort to deliver a balanced narrative, painting neither Gandhi nor Harilal as the villain. Previous films on the subject—like Richard Attenborough's Oscar-winning epic "Gandhi"—portray the great man as a political saint. "Gandhi, My Father" upends this notion, depicting the mahatma as a difficult patriarch whose ideals shaped a nation but hurt his family. As Khan points out: "He loved his son and family, but he loved the nation more." It's a distinction that makes for a compelling film.


Bollywood thesp Anil Kapoor is making his producing debut with "Gandhi My Father," one of the few Indian films to deal directly with the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
Pic, helmed by Feroz Abbas Khan, is based on Khan's earlier play "Mahatma vs. Gandhi" and tells the story of the tortured relationship between Gandhi and his eldest son Harilal, who would come to be disowned by his father, convert to Islam before returning to Hinduism, and eventually descend into alcoholism.
Pic, with a budget of roughly $5 million put up entirely by Kapoor, is purportedly only the second Indian feature to focus on the figure of Gandhi in a main role.
While numerous Indian pics have included the Mahatma in cameo roles, such as Ketan Mehta's "Sardar" and, more recently, Rajkumar Hirani's "Lage raho munnabhai" (best director at the Intl. Indian Film Academy awards in June), very few have dealt with the iconic leader head-on.
The most well-known cinematic portrayal remains Ben Kingsley's Oscar-winning turn in Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi," which also scooped the picture and director Academy Awards in 1983.
"This film has a totally different feel and look. It will provide the Indian point of view about Gandhi," says Kapoor. "I feel it will show the human side to him behind the iconic."
Eros Entertainment, the London-listed Bollywood distrib, is handling the pic's day-and-date global release Aug. 3. Both Kapoor and Khan were in London for a press confab July 25 to launch the pic's international preem.
Pic's bow is close to the 60th anniversary of Indian Independence on Aug. 15 and looks certain to raise the interest of Indian auds with its attempts to go beyond a hagiographical portrait of the figure.
"We're pretty sure it will provoke a lot of debate with Indians, not just about Gandhi, but also about themselves," Khan says. "Some people don't even know that Gandhi had so many children, much less that he had a son who went in the direction he did."
Darshan Jariwala plays Mahatma Gandhi, with Akshaye Khanna in the role of his troubled son.

Here's another detailed report in Belfast Telegraph. Hang on, there was a big notice in The Independent as well. Will post it as soon as I find it.

Gandhi--My Father releases globally on August 3rd

Gandhi My Father, considered a revolutionary film ever to emerge from India telling the untold story of the Father of the Nation's tragic relationship with his eldest son, will be globally released on August 3.
The film is a powerful study of the nature and sufferings of the patriarchal relationship between one of the world's most loved figures - Mahatma Gandhi - and his eldest son Harilal who was dogged by misfortune.
It (movie) delves into a territory that has never before been visited by film and will spark debate into certain unknown facet of the Mahatma, Feroz Khan, director of the film, said here last night.
Based on his thought-provoking play, Mahatma v/s Gandhi, Feroz Khan has combined his unparallelled talents as a writer and director with the production skills of fellow industry stalwart Anil Kapoor, to create the most affecting film of modern times.
According to critics, it is far from a biopic account or portrayal of Gandhi's struggle towards India's independence.
The film focuses on the doomed relationship between a father respected by an entire nation but rebuked by a son who was disowned, and whose bitter end was the result of years of abject alcoholism.
Darshan Jariwala plays the role of Mahatma Gandhi while Akshaye Khanna is in the cast of Harilal Gandhi.
Anil Kapoor forays into independent production with his banner, Anil Kapoor Films Company, joining hands with the London-based leading integrated media and entertainment company Eros International.
Kishore Lulla, Chairman and CEO of Eros International said "Gandhi My Father marks a milestone in the 30 years history of Eros International. This colossal piece of filmmaking, unparallelled by anything that has come before, makes its debut on the global platform of cinema, and we are exceedingly proud to take ownership of the distribution rights of a film that will make its own mark in history."

Hopefully, it will release where I live. I can't bear it if I can't watch an AKshaye movie, especially this movie, ina theatre!

Akshaye n Anil on Star Plus

I couldnt copy the pics from this site but there a couple of pics here.

As the final countdown to unveil the passion of the Nation and discover the AMUL STAR VOICE OF INDIA comes close quarters, zooming into the interesting phase of 'Bemisaal Barah' (or the final 12), the show this weekend along with its musical highs will have a visual treat on offer too, as it opens with Bollywood's celebrated double AK jodi - Anil Kapoor & Akshaye Khanna.
Seen together for the first time on STAR PLUS the effervescent ' E ji, O ji' Kapoor and the cool dude of Bollywood, Akshaye Khanna, will share their winning Taal-isman and many energetic & emotional moments with the bemisaal baraah. The Final 12 contestants of Amul STAR Voice of India.
The show begins with a sweeping performance by Ishmeet, who has the two celebrity guests floored with his impeccable voice on the ever green number 'E Ji O Ji' from Tezaab. An emotionally moved Anil finds himself reliving the moments of Tezaab with Ishmeet's performance and exclaims, "Puraani Yaadein Taaza Ho Gayi! " . Both the celebrity guests were all in praise for the young lad from Ludhiana for his graceful style. Tagging the evening as 'Anil Kapoor' special all the contestants from the bemisaal baraah of Amul STAR Voice of India will perform on various Anil Kapoor hits, as they exhibit their gratitude & appreciation towards the great entertainer.
Presenting the guests with the gift of their captivating voices will also be the talented duo of Aabhas & Abhilasha as they croon to Anil Kapoor's personal favorite 'Kuch Na Kaho' from the movie 1942- A love story. Pleased with the contestant's endeavor to sing such a difficult song, Anil congratulates them, to which Akshaye adds, "Dono bacche lagte hai, but awaaz main bahut dum hai…jaan hai…"
The show picks up an amazing memento as Toshi & Mirande coax Anil to join them on the stage while they sing the high-energy song Ramta Jogi …from Taal , to which this passionate music lover…jives unabashedly his well choreographed steps just as in the movie TAAL !
Completely overwhelmed with Prantik & Priyani's confidence and an awe-inspiring singing on the famous track Kate Nahi Katate from Mr. India, Anil candidly suggests that with the gifted asset of his great vocals, all that Prantik needs to do is, improve his diction!
In his complete bindaas element Kapoor will sure be a show stealer as he will keep jigging & jiving with all the other contestants: Sumitra, Aspreet, Irfan, Harshit & Prantika performing on his all time hit Bollywood tracks ranging from- Kay Sara Sara, Dhak Dhak Karne to the Ek Do Teen…. which will enthral and entertain one & all on the show. What comes as the most touching and emotional moment for Anil Kapoor is when one of the contestants honours him with a Rajasthani pagdi and beautifully renders the song 'morni baga ma…' from the popular movie ' Lamhe'.
So, stay tuned to catch this dramatic & entertaining episode of AMUL STAR VOICE OF INDIA, as the battle continues to discover the best of singing talent of the nation…Sat, July 28th, 10.00 pm only on STAR PLUS.

Why I was Silent

Sorry guys, had no internet access for days, so I couldn't update this blog. Sorry!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Talker of the town

The otrherwise reticent Akshaye Khanna has suddenly become the talker of the town
YES, the reticent Akshaye Khanna turning talkative certainly makes news - specially when you're used to his monosyllabic answers.
But at a recent talk show, the actor was literally talking nineteen to the dozen.
When everyone began calling him and complimenting him about his new avatar, he merely grinned and said, "I only did it to win the prize for the best talker on the show."
So, now if you see him reverting to his 'man of few words' image , maybe you can get him to talk by offering him a prize. Cool with you, Akshaye?

He's always been talkative. He just clams up when he doesn't think much of you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Anil on Akshaye

Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna worked together for the first time in Taal and now, the two are working together again. But this time, Anil will be the producer’s seat with Akshaye portraying the role of Harilal Gandhi in the film Gandhi My Father. And by the way things are going, it seems that Anil is mighty impressed by Akshaye’s performance. “I feel this sholud be the turning point of his career, ” says Anil about Akshaye. “The problem with him is that he doesn’t know how good he is. If only he handles his career properly, he can really make a mark for himself internationally,” says the actor turned producer and adds with a laugh,” sometimes I just want to shake him up!”

Gandhi_My Father inspires India's premiere painter

Gandhi--My Father so moved satish gujral that he did a painting in the honour of the movie after seeing it!

The star cast of the to-be-released film Gandhi, My Father was in the Capital on Monday to unveil artist Satish Gujral's latest painting.

Satish Gujral was so moved after he saw the film that he was inspired to make a special painting on it.

"I react to paintings instinctly. But what I can say is that it’s a great honour for the film and our team that he spontaneously decided to do the painting,” said Anil Kapoor.

Actor Akshaye Khanna who plays the role of Gandhi's son in the film added, “It’s so beautiful, apt to the film and fantastic. I’ll be forever grateful to Gujral saheb.”

But the actors and the NGO team vouch that it’s a painting not done on just a whim for some fun and publicity. It's for a charity auction. And if you have missed the auction in Delhi, it will travel to Mumbai in the first week of August.

Naqaab candids

Enjoy watching Akshaye maing love and laughing with his heroine. It's more hot than the scene was in the movie!

Anil pulls Akshaye's leg

Not many people know that Akshaye Khanna had initially turned down the offer to act in Anil Kapoor’s film Gandhi My Father .

The two actors had already been friends since they worked together in Subhash Ghai’s movie Taal . So when Anil decided to approach Akshaye for his home production ‘Gandhi My Father’, he decided to pull a fast one on Akshaye.

He sent director Feroz Abbas Khan to Akshaye’s place with the film’s script. After Akshaye had gone through the script, Anil called Akshaye and told him that he wanted him to play Gandhi in the film.

Akshaye was shocked to hear what Anil said.

“I immediately walked to the mirror and checked my face, wondering what Anil saw in me to ask me to play Gandhi,” says Akshaye.

Thereafter, Akshaye decided to ignore Anil because he did not want to play the role of Gandhi. Anil called him repeatedly but Akshaye ignored his calls.

It was then Anil sent Akshaye a SMS that he wanted him to play Harilal Gandhi, the eldest son of Mahatma Gandhi.

Obviously interested in the role, Akshaye then set a meeting with Anil. When the two met, they had a hearty laugh together.

‘Gandhi My Father’ is based on the story of turbulent relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest son Harilal.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Advance review of Gandhi--My Father

Time does not dim creative talent. In 1979, I was spellbound by “Ekshuff”, a Hindi adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s psychological thriller, “Equus”, at Mumbai’s Prithvi theatre. A private screening of Anil Kapoor Film Company’s first production, “Gandhi My Father” some weeks ago had the same impact. The common factor was Feroz Abbas Khan, a budding actor in the first and a debut director in the second.

Feroz, one of Mumbai’s well known theatre directors, was venturing into the unknown territory of cinema but he was excited at filming an emotion-charged real story. Five months after Gandhiji’s assassination, his eldest son Harilal died destitute in a Bombay hospital. The searing tragedy revolved around a father who could decide what was good for his country but sadly failed to understand the aspirations of his eldest son.


Feroz’s play, “Mahatma vs Gandhi” had already been hailed with the New York Times calling it, “the finest English play to emerge from India for a very long time”. Despite numerous books and documentary films, details of Gandhi’s personal life, particularly his relations with his sons, remained unknown. His much-quoted autobiography hardly mentions Harilal. Except Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi”, other presentations dealt with the Gandhi myth presenting him as a god-like personality.

Feroz learnt of the father-son relationship after a conversation with Gopal Gandhi, one of the Mahatma’s grandsons, and stored it away for future use. While the idea of the Gandhi film was germinating, Hindi actor Anil Kapoor — who had been watching Feroz’s development and was branching into film production — invited him to direct the film. “Feroz submitted the script to me and it bowled me over,” explained Anil Kapoor. “My wife shed tears while reading it and insisted that I produce the film.” Financial details were worked out without delay. “I then asked the creative people to take over,” smiled Anil and admitted he had to do some tightrope walking because he too was a creative artist.

Darshan Jariwala as Gandhi.

Feroz explained that the film was not based on the play, “Gandhi vs Mahatma” but on Chandulal Dalal’s biography of Harilal. Initially, he was not sure if he could direct a film, but felt more confident after completing the screenplay and the “bits and pieces fell into their places”. His film would not sacrifice the creative side to the commercial one. He would try and condense 50 years of turbulent history into two hours and be fair to both Gandhi and Harilal.

With Anil Kapoor’s backing, Feroz hired some of the best technicians in business. Chennai-based editor Sreekar Prasad, winner of six national awards for films in six different languages, pointed out that with two creative persons as producer and director, he could endow the film with a lyrical quality, never reducing it to the level of melodrama. Brussels-based cinematographer David Macdonald, fascinated by the Gandhi story, agreed with Feroz on the choice of locales. Shooting from dawn to dusk for 100 days, Macdonald opted for muted colours rather than the bright ones favoured by commercial Hindi cinema.

The shooting

Since the film depicted an era of oil lamps, interiors were photographed with minimum feeble light with deep shadows left undefined. “Gandhi was pure cinema,” explained production designer, Nitin Chandrakant Desai. His research team carefully chose locales both in India and South Africa. The Phoenix Settlement came up in Mahabaleshwar and Desai recommended plain walls and narrow lanes (poles) of Ahmedabad for authentic effect. The dramatic railway station scene, featuring Gandhi, Kasturba and Harilal, was filmed at Rewadi railway yard near Delhi where four or five old steam engines were available.

Casting posed fewer problems. “This was not a film for star value and my lead actor had to be someone with the right body language,” said Feroz on his choice of Gujarati stage actor Darshan Jariwala as Gandhi.

Shefali Shah as Kasturba.

The film also brought to light the enormous, but underutilised, talent of Akshaye Khanna, a firm favourite with Anil Kapoor. Shefali Shah (Kasturba), also from the Gujarati stage, has won several awards for her roles in movies and TV serials while Bhumika Chawla (Harilal’s wife, Gulab) has been successful both as a model and an actor.

Feroz, claustrophobic inside studio sets, preferred outdoor shooting and the unit shot extensively in South Africa and locations in India. Shooting in the narrow lanes in the communally-sensitive Ahmedabad’s Khadia area posed no problems. The people were friendly and cooperated by switching off their telephones and washing machines so as not to disturb the soundtrack. On the first day in Ahmedabad, Feroz, on an impulse, went to the Sabarmati Ashram. “It was early morning, and Gandhiji’s room ‘Hriday Kunj’ was closed. But one of the attendants opened it for me and I asked for Bapu’s blessings. I think I received it because the shooting had no hassles.”

Director’s vision

“Gandhi, My Father” is essentially a director’s film. Feroz saw the story as a classic clash of convictions, values and family aspirations. Every traditional Indian family has witnessed such clashes. While today’s generation may not accept Gandhi’s refusal to let his son study law, he felt that a western education was not needed to prepare for the sacrifices needed in the freedom struggle. This feeling prompted Gandhi to separate Harilal from his wife and children for long periods. On a more personal level, while Gandhi did not find anything wrong in Harilal’s conversion to Islam and re-conversion to Hinduism, the move affected Kasturba who was hurt by her son parading his religious flip-flops in public.

How did Feroz view his film: as an epic, a melodrama or history? “Any presentation of Gandhi had to have an epic sweep,” observed the director. “I had to be careful that the human interest did not degenerate into melodrama.” He cited the emotionally-wrenching death scene of Kasturba. The silence was deliberate, broken only by Sanskrit slokas. We are moved but do not become emotionally exhausted.


Finally a suitable platform to showcase Akshaye's talent. Finally, the media is noticing it.

What asana is it anyway?

Yet another pic with the same posture! maybe it was all that yoga he did for Gandhi--My Father

Akshaye's new love

Akshaye Khanna talks about his new-found love for Delhi’s greenery and food, how he is more discreet now and his brother Rahul’s many passions.

Akshaye Khanna has discovered a new love – for apni Dilli.

He says, “I have really begun to like Delhi. In the beginning it used to be just another city. But I have been coming here quite often, and I have come to realise that it is a beautiful city. Mumbai is becoming more and more of a nightmare. I love coming to Delhi. Driving around in south Delhi is fun. And the food here is fab.”

After that tribute to Delhi, would he please give another one to his brother’s blog too?

“I still haven’t read Rahul’s blog, but I believe it is very interesting,” Akshaye informed us.

“He has always been good with words and he also sketches well. He is quite talented. He loves animals and loves nature. He was always the sober one and I was the naughty one.”

But Akshaye also says that he is a “very discreet” person now.

A change in status, Akshaye?

What turns on Akshaye?

Karan asked Akshaye what's the biggest turn on in a woman for him is! Akshaye answers in his own usual way.

Akshaye won the coffe hamper. His interview is getting some raves. Go read it on this blog.

I sniped some pics from the same blog and here they are.

Sitting like that for an interview. Can you believe him?

And I thought those red shoes were a designer's folly. Look like they are not. He is sitting like a punk in this one.

So, what do you call a cute punk?

BTW, When I first saw this clip I thought AK was being cutely inarticulate as only he knows to be. But Sheetal says, his hands gave it away. What is it that turns him on then? I'm dying to know

More pics:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Was he or wasn't he?

To be truthful, when the pics of Naqaab came in, Akshaye didn't look his best in them. I was surprised to hear a lot of people comment that he was looking quite handsome in the movie.

On Karan Johan show

Consistent, dependable and extremely sincere… he is all that and so much more. He has combated almost every career obstacle and always emerged victorious. He is a critic favorite and a box office man… This Sunday, on Koffee with Karan meet the mega star Anil Kapoor. Karan's second guest is one of the finest actors of the generation. His real and restrained performances have made him not only an audience favorite but also a fraternity favorite. He stands out in a crowd... He stands out in an ensemble and he stands out because of his sheer talent... none other than Akshaye Khanna.

Excerpts from the interview:

Karan: I want to tell everybody as I was saying before we started rolling that you actually are my first film industry friend. I used to go with my father to all those film parties, I was all of 16-17 and weighed around 150 kilos and the only person who was nice to me at those parties was you! So thank you for being nice to me twenty years ago.
Anil: Well, Karan, I had a great relationship with your dad and I always wanted to do a film with him.

Karan: And he did offer you one really obscure film. (laughs)
Anil: Prakashji had offered me that film. But he was a great guy and I have some great memories of him. I don't want to get too sentimental but whenever I see you, I meet you...I remember your dad. He loved me, I think!

Karan: Yeah! He was very fond of you! He was exceptionally fond of you and so am I. But that doesn't mean I'm going to be nice to you on the show. First let me just tell you, it's been a fantastic innings... you've been working in the movies for how many years now...
Anil: 1978-79 ... so almost 30 years

Karan: 30 years... so you've been through ups and downs and hits and flops and always maintained your stature...always maintained your dignity...and always maintained your stardom. It must have been a tough ride. How does it feel today?
Anil: I feel honestly... god has been very kind to me and the film industry has been wonderful, all my directors and co-stars have been wonderful. I have some great friends and my family has been wonderful. I don't know what I would have done if I was not in this film industry. I've had a great time… every moment I have spent over here has been wonderful.

Karan: So how old are you Anil?
Anil: I'm 30 years old. I was born in '78 when I first faced the camera.

Karan: Fine! Great! And I'm the Queen of England (Laughs), but we just have to move on. So we'll just stick to the fact that your 30. Today how does it feel? You have done such tremendous innings, you've done such great work, you're a lead actor and your daughter is making a debut with Sanjay Bhansali in Sanwariya. Does that scare you at all? The thought of it...?
Anil: Not at all. Because I have two more children so I'm hoping to be a leading man till they also come into entertainment, because they also have decided to come into entertainment. I don't know which line they are going to choose. Sonam of course is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's responsibility so that's taken care of. The focus is Harsh and Riya. Till they come and make a mark in the entertainment world, I have to be a leading man.

Karan: Are you at all in anyway sometimes an embarrassment to your children because sometimes... and I mean that in the most positive way that sometimes if you see your dad up there you know dancing ...
Anil: They are constantly embarrassed. They're embarrassed about me, about my films, they are embarrassed about everything i do.

Karan: When you wear leather pants and a snazzy red jacket and you spike your hair, do they tell you... dad what the hell are you doing? Because I was just thinking if I saw my dad do stuff like that, I would just collapse. Is it funny for them to watch you?
Anil: See earlier I would bum one or two cigarettes... I've never been a smoker.. But I've decided that I will not smoke at all till Sanwariya releases. I haven't touched a cigarette in quite some time. For my son... he drinks a lot of soft drinks... so now the bet is… he says you can never get abs ... he's got great abs... my son… so I am working towards that... if I get abs he is going to stop aerated drinks. So I am getting abs now for my son. So now everything revolves around my family. I do everything for my children. I do it for Sonam, or harsh and for Riya.

Karan: Sounds like a perfect family - perfect husband, perfect father and very, very few stories about your philandering... actually none at all.
Anil: I'm a good guy!!! I've decided to be completely honest on the show so I'm being totally honest.

Karan: And you're saying you've been completely faithful?
Anil: Faithful? I wouldn't say that.

Karan: Meaning? What do you mean?
Anil: You got me ya!

Karan: Is this confession time?
Anil: Yeah! Absolutely!

Karan: Is this a real fact that both of you'll are really close friends which doesn't really happen... two actors being real friends… That doesn't really happen in the industry though people pretend but this is a genuine friendship… So how did that happen? How did it all start?
Akshaye: From my side it was out of respect really.

Karan: You're just making him older now.
Akshaye: No, no... It's out of sheer respect. I think friendship at any level has to start from a certain amount of respect. and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I think 'Gandhi, My Father' has given us a chance to work in such close proximity so we spend a lot of time with each other, have a lot of conversation. When you spend so much time, it gives you an opportunity to strike a friendship, strike a connection.
Anil: At least for me, it started from Taal. Karan: You both did Taal and then Salaam-e-ishq also.
Anil: Yeah, that was more recent. But basically for me it started from Taal. I remember on the first day of shooting… I was waiting on the sets of Taal and looking at the watch and I was like, 'Subhaashji aapka hero Akshaye to aaya hi nahi abhi tak', and he said, 'woh aayega.. who aayega!' And he came after 12 o'clock and he came very casually on the set and he said, 'Subhaashji, sorry, I overslept'. (Laughs)

Karan: Well that's quite honest, instead of saying I was really sick last night and I was throwing up.
Anil: So I was completely taken aback by his honesty and he was not trying to…like hum log to kabhi kabhi jhoot bol dete the but he was one of those honest actors I had ever met. That's what I like.. What he feels... he says it. No double faced kind of personality. I'm sometimes very scared what he's going to talk. You think… pata nahi kya bol dega...

Karan: Is he scary like that? Is he going to attack me if I ask him something?
Akshaye: Especially after one or two vodka's. (Laughs)
Karan: Listen this is a family show ya... What are you doing to my show?
Karan: I was talking to Anil about his career graph. Yours has been through its own upswings and downswings. It's been a journey for you as well. You came in as one of the most hyped new comers and you saw some great times and you saw some bad times and then Dil Chahta Hain onwards there was this emergence of Akshaye Khanna, the actor. So how's it been… the entire journey?
Akshaye: I was listening to what Anil was saying also of how literally empty an actor would feel without the film industry... without the journey and this continuance of the journey you know... its such a great place to be. Up, down... whatever stage your at, its just such a great place to be... so much fun and you know... we wouldn't do anything else...

I have always wanted to know what began this remarkable friendship. Sad though I won't be able to watch it. Not unless it's posted on Youtube. The rediff version is a smaller snippet of the same thing above, so I am not posting it !

Sheer Class

We've heard this music hudred times before but this version somehow is quite moving. Everything about this movie is turning out to be classy. There are some new snippets of Akshaye too in the new promo of Gandhi My Father. Must say on the whole, the promotion of this new movie has been magnificent.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


You have seen the pictures. Go watch the video of Akshaye reading from the book. Thanks for the tip to my anonymous commenter!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More pics!

Back to Sexy!

It was the book 'Harilal Gandhi: A Life' that inspired the motion picture, Gandhi My Father. The book reading took place at the Oxford Bookstore at Churchgate, Mumbai. The original book, written by Chandulal Bhagubhai Dalal in Gujarati, was translated into English by Tridip Suhrud who was present at the occassion. Also present at the classy event were actors Akshaye Khanna (who plays Harilal in the film, Gandhi My Father ) and Shefali Shah who plays Kasturba. Maker Feroz Abbas Khan and editor Tridip, along with the cast present participated in reading out passages from the hardbound book which is available at bookstores for Rs. 690/- Tusshar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who was also present at this function, added much authenticity and credibility to the entire effort.


Listening to the fans!Getting rid of that looooooong beard! Wearing a silver tie! Gorgeous!

The Son Rise

When most stars want to be in the limelight 24X7, Akshaye Khanna is one actor who evades media attention. “It makes me conscious. I am not an introvert but my social skills are weak. I also believe that an actor has to be himself. There is no p oint in aping others. Public relations can’t take you anywhere if your films are not doing well. Even a hundred interviews won’t help. I just want to be a working actor.”
His Naqaab has just opened in theatres and Akshaye calls it a plot-driven film. “Here all the three characters have a past. You won’t be able to predict what is going to happen next till the last sequence – typical ly Abbas-Mustan. And no, it is not a copy or sequel of Humraaz.” Akshaye says he doesn’t mind if the girl in his life has a past. “If a boy can have a past, why can’t a girl? It is time we steered clear of doubl e standards in real life.”
But it is Feroz Khan’s “Gandhi My Father” releasing next month that makes the reticent actor open up.
“It is one film that has stretched my acting abilities to the limit.” Akshaye plays Harilal Gandhi, the eldest son of Mahatma Gandhi. “There were not many reference points for the character, as history has almost forgotten the man. We see the great grandsons of the Mahatma around us but when somebody says he had four sons, we ask, really?” Akshaye admits he didn’t even know in his ‘conscious memory’ that somebody called Harilal Gandhi existed.
“Feroz had done so much research that I just needed to follow him. He gave me the biography of Harilal by Chandulal Dalal and showed two rare pictures of his.
Since nobody knows how he looked, I didn’t need to copy his persona. What I have tried is to absorb his spirit.” Akshaye feels the good thing about the film is it is not judgemental, though “it is very easy to take sides in such a film.”
Son of Vinod Khanna, Akshaye says he always wanted to be an actor. “I have grown up playing on the sets. My childhood dream has been going to a shoot with my father in a big car.
To me acting was the coolest profession.” So when are the Khannas doing an Apne? “It’s all about finding the right script. See it took Sunny 25 years to find a script. I am just 13 years old in the profession.̶ 1;
Going back in time, Akshaye says he was too young when his father left the film industry at the height of his career to discover spirituality. “What I know is all this talk of him being the greatest competition for Amitabh Bachchan started once he left the country.”
In the season of remakes Akshaye wants somebody to redo “Amar Akbar Anthony”, with Abhishek, Ranbir and him in the lead.
On being selective in his choice of roles, Akshaye says, “I am always like that but today it has become a trend. Be it Aamir or Salman, nobody does more than two films a year, even Akshay Kumar! Actors have realised quality can’t be maintained with quantity. I am in good books of most of the directors and I have overheard actors cribbing about the variety of roles I get.”
Later this year Akshaye will be seen with Madhuri Dixit in her comeback film Aaja Nachle.
“It’s a small role but working with Madhuri is a delight. She is like a chocolate, a treat which is given to a child to play with.”

(The Hindu)

Akshaye is a hit with women

Being single and an actor is a deadly combo, feels Akshaye Khanna. He says that girls are always hitting on him, and he has no choice but to return the compliment.
Akshaye Khanna is a confused man these days. He cannot understand why people want him to be more controversial than he is. "Somebody asked me a few days back why I am not involved in any controversy! Isn't that the strangest thing to ask?" he asks. Then he goes on to explain, "Call me boring, but I can't handle negative situations. Even in my personal life, I can't bear to have bad feelings. I get very uncomfortable with negativity or if anything is left unsaid. Everything should be clear and on the table." So, Akshaye likes a simple life? "That's it," he smiles, "My work is my hobby and, if I am not on the sets, I am at home or with a bunch of very close friends . Or, I am on the computer playing games, or watching TV, or reading. I don't go out a lot. I hate partying or going to crowded places. I am actually a shy guy, and take time to warm up to people." Maybe that's the reason why he is still single. "No, that's because I am happy being single. I am still young, and want to enjoy my life my way. I don't think being committed is the be-all and end-all of life. Why do you have to be in a relationship all the time? I am not looking for love - if it happens, fine." And then, he goes on to explain another side effect of not being in love. "Being single and an actor is a deadly combo. Obviously, girls hit on me all the time. Then I have to hit on them - what to do?" he laughs.

(Times of India)

Saying the obvious.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Opening good in Mumbai, not good in other cities

The film opened well in Mumbai(70%) but was not good elsewhere(30-40%). The reports are on the negative side and the film may struggle to find acceptance. Better chances in metroes.(

Hope word of mouth drives more people to theatres!

Akshaye talks to Taran Adarsh

Why is he so overwrought? Definitely the worst interview I saw him do!

It's too early to judge!

Looks like Naqaab is not getting the collections it needs. Go here.

I want to be in India this week

Becaue I found out that Naqaab didn't open where I live.

Deepa Gahlot doesn't like it either

Abbas-Mustan have found the easy way out… pick a not very well-known Hollywood film, get a writer to adapt it, sign up stars and shoot at foreign locations. Sometimes they hit the bull’s eye, sometimes not — as with their latest Naqaab, which is too twisty—turny for its own good.The other odd thing is that Dubai seems to have become a suburb of Mumbai. Anyone from a poor Goan girl escaping a stalker, to an our-of-work actor, to an aspiring filmmaker, probably could just catch a cab and go to Dubai, like they would from Andheri to Nariman Point. They don’t even encounter a stray Arab on the way!In this film lifted from Dot the I, a waitress called Sophie D’Costa (Urvashi Sharma) is engaged to rich guy Karan (Bobby Deol), when she goes to dine with her shrieky gal pals at a restaurant and is told there is a an Egyptian tradition which says that if a to-be-married girl dances with a stranger, it will bring luck. So she picks Vicky (Akshaye Khanna)—in the first of many script conveniences- and he turns up the next day claiming to have fallen in love with her. He even uses lines from the original (“Just once! Just one glass of water! In a brightly lit public place! We don’t even have to speak!”).A voice on the phone keeps telling him what to do, and there are flashes of him signing some papers, by which one gathers that he has an agenda in wooing Sophie. And she is attracted to his crazy casualness (drinking wine in coffee mugs!) as opposed to the stiff formality of her millionaire fiancĂ©. Sophie ditches Karan, quite literally at the altar and when she goes to Vicky, they have a shock in store. Till this point, it looked like the three were playing games with one another.Audience’s curiosity is sought to piqued by the device of video cameras—hidden and visible—shooting every character. Then the directors turn around and play games with the audience. Without revealing what happens, because there is a bit of suspense—it can be said that the plot gets so outrageous and absurd that film turns into an unintended comedy.No performance worth commenting on, but the newcomer Urvashi gets to preen over the entire opening credits in different costumes, as if it were her showreel. She’s a pretty Udita Goswami-Minissha Lamba look alike – but no sign of talent yet.


Friday, July 13, 2007

"Good in parts " Joginder Tuteja

In recent past it has become fashionable for film makers to adjudge a non-living object as one of the film’s main characters. It could be a location or a train or a mobile - just about everything.
Well, Abbas Mustan have more than justified the existence of film’s central protagonist - a handycam - which is more than just a character!
This handycam not just captures the moments of other three protagonists of the film - Bobby Deol, Akshaye Khanna and newbie Urvashi Sharma - it also redefines these moments. Each of the three turn out to be beneficiary of technology; each of the three also suffer from the same. Filmy as it may sound, but then it is real as it gets. Well, to get into the what, when and how affair of things, one needs a definite dekko at NAQAAB, which is easily one of the best films to have come from Bollywood this year.
This is one of those rare suspense flicks when just as a revelation seems round the corner, as an audience you just want it to go on for some more time. First 10 minutes of the movie itself gives a good enough indication of something intriguing happening round the corner. One can sense something overtly suspicious coming over but then you love the feeling of being teased around by director duo Abbas Mustan.
This is the reason why you get a plateful of climax when there is not one, not two but as many as 5-6 twists in the tale. Just when you consider yourself to be smart enough for having grasped the climax, Abbas-Mustan deceive you by making you stare on to the bigger picture. While you are digesting this twist, the fast pace ensures that there is yet another angle introduced which makes you look at the screen open mouthed in amazement.
The trend continues till the fascinating turn of sequences leave you absolutely stunned and makes you truly appreciate the beauty of a tale which is an absolute original as far as screens in Indian cinema are concerned. Well, if there is a film this year that could qualify as one helluva roller coaster, then NAQAAB is the one.
Reasons are aplenty for this. There are two things that remain consistent during each and every frame of NAQAAB - Urvashi Sharma and the handycam. While Urvashi Sharma dominates the proceedings, especially the first half, with more than 90% of the scenes showcasing her talent and assets, the handycam is a constant companion. In fact except for probably a stray extra in the background, entire Dubai seems to be carrying a handycam in tow. Well, there are reasons for that, you know!
It is this very handycam that make sure that you differentiate between what is public and what is private. There are two of these which delve into the finer details of multi-millionaire Bobby’s and poor soul Akshaye Khanna’s lives, another one that doesn’t leave Burger-selling-Urvashi-who-would-soon-be-Mrs. Bobby alone and then there are more which are fitted in almost all of Dubai.
No, this is not some suspense that is being revealed here! In fact Abbas Mustan roll out the cards very early in the day and make you apply your brains to check out the reason behind such extensive coverage. Is it clear case of spying? Is it some revenge drama? Is it the case of everyone being gray out here? Or are they all black and evil? Is the one who is a hunter actually the one who has been hunted? Or is it the other way round?
One thing which becomes quite clear at the very beginning of the film is that this is no routine love triangle. It was not meant to be after all! Even though a couple of sequences give a MURDER deja vu, you know that there won’t be panting and groaning just for titillation purpose. As a viewer you don’t get a chance to feel so because the script it at a far higher level. And once the second half of the film begins, it only takes the film to greater heights with every 10 minutes.
Characters start becoming clearer, the plot thickens, blood spills and the film seems to be have come to an and. But then the classic scenario of ‘what you see is NOT what you get’ takes over. There is far more fun in store as the film only moves forward towards the last 20 minutes rather than ending at the point where most films normally would have.
The motive turns out to be the most unique for a Bollywood flick while the justification is just real! The pawns realize the game they had been the part of all this whereas the player truly turns out to be the King. Well, almost!
Urvashi Sharma is very good talent in the making and performs as a seasoned artist. She displays very good range in emoting and whether they are romantic rendezvous, dramatic moments, light hearted banters or tearjerker sequences, she catches the finer nuances well. She looks gorgeous throughout while her body language is consistently good. She is easily one of the best debutants to have arrived in a long time.
Akshaye Khanna is good in his part but unlike HUMRAAZ, this time around he is eaten up by Bobby Deol who has a superb second half written especially for him. Watch out for his sequences in the penultimate reels of the film and you would know why. After SHAKALAKA BOOM BOOM, JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM and APNE, this is yet another winning performance by Bobby this year.
Musically, Pritam’s ‘Ek Din’ and ‘Ae Dil’ haunt dominate the background score that is excellently crafted by Salim-Sulaiman and compliments the thriller flavor of NAQAAB. Flashes and glimpses from the past continue to make an appearance while editing pattern turns over a new leaf for the team. Drama is gripping while thrills are just tout. By the time the film reaches it’s crescendo, one knows that it is no ordinary thriller.
The suspense seems to be far more layered, the deceit seems to be far more engaging, the reasoning seems to be far more comprehendible while the motive is truly shocking. In nutshell, you get much more than what you would have bargained for.

This guy liked the movie very much and called it the best movie this year so far!

Show Stealing-- RadioSargam

Abbas Mustan, the makers of superhit thrillers like Khiladi, Soldier, Ajnabee, Humraaz are now unveiling the most shocking thriller of the year titled Naqaab. Made under the banners of Tips Music Films, Naqaab also brings back the team of 2002 superhit Humraaz, Bobby Deol, Akshaye Khanna and Abbas-Mustan together.
Naqaab’s plot and characters were kept secretive right from the very beginning and this has helped it in a way to create enough hype and curiousity amongst moviegoers.
Naqaab is a thriller which witnesses two men vying for attention from the same girl.
The plot of Naqaab revolves around Sophie (Urvashi Sharma). She happens to be from a middle class background. Sophie’s character is that of a sexy and confident young girl who is engaged to Karan Khanna (Bobby Deol), a stylish millionaire.
Things move on smoothly until one day, Sophie meets Vicky Malhotra (Akshaye Khanna). Vicky is a struggling actor. He is an ambitious man who can do anything in quest of becoming an actor. Sophie’s interest in Vicky gives rise to a lot of problems in her relationship with Karan.
The film also emphasizes on the pasts of the three characters, which add more spice to the already existing tadka.

Naqaab, as a thriller gives quite a handful of shocks to its viewers towards the climax. The suspense unfolds at a rapid pace and is quite surprising. The screenplay did not work for me in the second half and the film looses it points over there. Though, the climax is quite compelling and jerky.
Naqaab is not the run of the mill stock and it is a story to watch out for. The thrilling moments are certainly the reason to call it different. The storyline is unpredictable till the very end and chooses a narrow lane to unveil the secrets. At times though, the objective of one of the central characters is not believable.
The screenplay is let loose in the second half until the climax tightens it back again. Abbas Mustan are known for their different storylines and this time too they manage to pull off a well made Naqaab. The script is not the best one you will witness, but the polished blend of narration, screenplay and script works well.
Editor Hussain Burmawala has done a good job in putting together the best portions of the film. Pritam’s music helps in the narration of the plot. Salim Sulaiman’s background score is haunting. Choreography of ‘Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein’ is elegant.
Like in Humraaz, this time too Akshaye Khanna delivers a show stealing performance. Bobby Deol leaves his stylish mark in the second half. Urvashi’s character is well crafted and the fresh look on her face is quite appealing and dangerously seductive.Vikas Kalantri gives a satisfactory performance. And, so does Vishal Malhotra.
On the whole, get some time out of your busy schedule to catch up with a ‘surpriseful’ Naqaab. The opening is not up to the mark but should improve over the weekend.

"The film belongs to Akshaye Khanna all the way"--Bollyvista

They are called the "Masters of Suspense". With 'Naqaab', Abbas-Mustan, not only prove why they are called thus, but also lay claim to the title of "Grandmasters of Suspense"!
The story is set in Dubai, where Sophiya (Urvashi Sharma) lives with her millionaire fiancée, Karan (Bobby Deol). Out at a celebration party with her girlfriends, Sophiya meets Vicky (Akshaye Khanna). Both are instantly attracted to each other. Neither the fact that Vicky is unemployed nor that she is slated to marry Karan in a few days, can deter her from falling in love with the charming Vicky. Complications follow and soon even the complications get complicated! To reveal anything more will be totally unfair.
The promos of the film might give an impression that the plot is somewhat similar to the director duo's earlier films like 'Humraaz'. But this is nothing even remotely close! Also Johnny Lever, who is a regular fixture in all Abbas-Mustan films, is missing from this one!
This film is a roller coaster ride, with umpteen unexpected twists and turns till the very end!

Kudos to the directors Abbas-Mustan, for attempting such an unconventional subject. The screenplay by Shiraz Ahmed is taut and racy. The background score by Salim Suleimaan is appropriate. The cinematography by Ravi Yadav is functional. As always, veteran editor Hussain Burmawala, maintains a tight narrative structure. The first half is a little below an hour!
Of Pritam's music, 'Ek Din Teri Rahoon Mein' is the best of the lot.
The film belongs to Akshaye Khanna all the way. He is charming and his performance is restrained.
Bobby Deol does his bit. But he doesn't have much scope to work with, until the film embarks on the latter portion of the second half.
Debutant Urvashi Sharma makes a fantastic debut and performs with aplomb. Apart from giving a decent performance, she also looks stunning and vivacious. She is definitely here to stay for a long time.
Vikas Kalantri and Vishal Malhotra ham their way to glory. Raj Zutshi has just three scenes but he is good even in this miniscule role.
This one is surely worth a watch. It's an entertainer all the way!

"Delivers good performance ... Perfect:" Indicine

Director duo of Abbas and Mustan (Baazigar, Humraaz, Ajnabee) are back with their new thriller titled Naqaab. Their previous venture 36 China Town was a disappoinment. So, with the Humraaz combo of Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna in the lead, have the Masters of Thrillers succeeded in thrilling the audience?
Naqaab revolves around the central character of Sophie (Urvashi Sharma), a sweet and confident young girl from a middle class family. Sophie is engaged to a multi-millionaire Karan Khanna (Bobby Deol). One night she comes in contact with Vicky Malhotra (Akshaye Khanna), who is a struggling actor. She feels for him almost instantly. This change in affections cause a rift in the relationship between Sophie and Karan Khanna.
Who will Sophie decide to marry? Is Vicky actually as straight forward as he looks? Is there some mystery behind the multi-millionaire Karan Khanna? Or is there some different story altogether which Sophie isn’t aware of?
Director Duo of Abbas-Mustan succeed in surprising and shocking the viewers. The movie moves at such a fast pace in the second half, especially the last 30 mins, with all the twists and turns that it takes a bit of time for the viewers to grasp and come to terms with the ongoings. Although the first half has some light moments, it disappoints to a certain extent. The songs form a part of the movie and blend well with the narration. The song that stays with you after the movie is ‘Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein’. The cinematography is good, while the dialogues are brilliant.
Some scenes in the movie that make an impact
- Akshaye Khanna’s date with Urvashi at the restaurant.- The scene between Urvashi and Akshaye, at his house. Fantastic.- The last 20 mins, when the mystery is solved, is very well executed.
A few negatives
- The scene wherein Akshaye Khanna steals food from Hyaat, has been ripped off from Vikram Bhatt’s Life Mein Kabhie Khabie.- The background music gets irritating, especially when the hidden camera is capturing the action in the movie.
Akshaye Khanna delivers a good performance, although he is getting repetitive with his facial expressions. His dialogue delivery and comic timing is perfect. Bobby Deol is excellent in a few scenes while strictly average in others. Debutante Urvashi Sharma is confident in front of the camera. She has a good screen presence and looks extremely attractive. Her body language and style somewhat resembles Sushmita Sen. Vikas Kalantri (Nayee Padosan) is average. Vishal Malhotra (Ishq Vishq, Dor) is good.
Overall, with a run time of exactly 2 hours, Naqaab partially succeeds as a thriller. But unfortunately, the thriller is not as convincing as it should have ideally been. Not in the league of a Baazigar, Ajnabee or a Humraaz, but better than most recent thrillers that have been churned out by Bollywood

"Better than the script"--Khaid Mohammed

Note the point, she works in a burger joint, lives in a Dubai villa bigger than the Lal Quila and doesn’t know whether to love the poor man or the rich man. Meanwhile flash, cuts, zips, zaps, toinks and boinks hint at some eerie events from the past and future. Everyone is Dubai seems to be either unreal or surreal. Eesh.
In fact, throughout Abbas-Mustan’s Naqaab, you even keep wondering if you’ve turned into a Daliesque tangdi kabaab? With possibly the most insane whodunwhat made in world cinema, the duo even pay their belated homage to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. Being watched on DVD, the classic prompts someone to exclaim, “Arre wah, Ray saab made the real so very real.”
Really, this happens out here. Like it or not, Abbas-Mustan have lost the plot. Result: the right royal headache of the year!
Come on, the directors and their story-screenplay writer Shiraz Ahmed, have merely lifted a Hollywood turnip called Dot the I, which is about as adaptable to our milieu as an igloo is to the tropiocs.
Strange sights-`n’-sounds abound. Collapse! Everyone even trots off to the Cannes film festival to win the Palme D’Or (can’t reveal why but merde!), an Egyptian dancer organises mating sessions at a cabaret palace, and a beach dance jigaloo is performed by Akshaye Khanna as if were trying to outclass Himesh Reshammiya’s surroor. Mr Khanna is a competent actor but would he please stop going off his limborockers?
Of the performances, Khanna despite his odd wardrobe, has his better-than-the-script moments. Bobby Deol – except for a solitary solo piece of dialogue – is criminally wasted. And imagine, that too by Abbas-Mustan! As puzzling as Sudoku, he goes around video-graphing Urvashi Sharma (new mystery-history-geography girl, it seems) when she’s sipping champagne. Bubbly boo. He thinks she’s chilli capsicum, she thinks he’s a kobe sizzler. Trouble bubbles. Urvashiji is already engaged to the richest dude in the world, aka Bobby Deol, who sits with a gang of executives at a table discussing business over a bowl of apples and lemons. Going bananas or what?
Anyway Urvashi runs out of her church wedding to the Fruit Dude, scaring the daylights out of a couple of little girls who had just told the bride, “You look so beautiful.” Debatable. But hang on, there are miles to go before you sleep (at home that is).
Next: Akshaye, Bobby and Urvi talk as expertly as Ashok Mehta and Santosh Sivan about the rapid strides in video technology. So boring. Theatre actor Ganesh Yadav shows up as a cop to look menacingly at a couple of irritating nerds who hang all around the place like Chinese lanterns. Yet nothing is more comical than Akshaye Khanna (given yards and yards of footage) in the wardrobe of either a schoolboy’s or of Jeetendra’s.
To be sure, the editing chops by Hussain Burmawallah are snazzy but why an abruptly short first- half followed by lumbering post-intermission antics? Pritam’s music score is a snoozer.
Of the performances, Khanna despite his odd wardrobe, has his better-than-the-script moments. Bobby Deol – except for a solitary solo piece of dialogue – is criminally wasted. And imagine, that too by Abbas-Mustan! As for Urvashi Sharma, well, she is obviously dubbed. And despite the camera going ga-ga-ga over her, she doesn’t display any USP.

Hindustan Times

"Akshaye is good" --MTV India

Karan (Bobby Deol) is in love with Sophia (Urvashi Sharma - my new girlfriend). She works at Burger King but stays with Karan. They plan to get married soon. Enter Vicky (Akshaye Khanna) and our Burger King wali falls in love with him. Oh Oh. The thing is that Akshaye always has a handycam with him, so that looks a bit creepy. Apart from Raj Zutshi that is! What is he doing there? You'll have to watch the film for that. But then even if you don't, you're not missing anything.REVIEW: Watch it for Urvashi Sharma - they show her in a bikini. Wow! I'm liking already. As for the thriller part, there's not much interesting there. The first half of the movie plays like a typical love triangle and things start unfolding in the second half albeit in an unintentinonally comical manner. Out of the cast, Akshaye is good while Bobby gets lost in the same rich-boy-long-hair role. Reality cinema.. ooops!!!BOTTOMLINE: Thrilling? Ummm.. not really!

Midday Review (Spoilers)

What’s it about: It’s not one thing. It’s many. Anyway, here’s a start: Karan’s rich, Sophie’s poor. He tells her he loves her, wants to marry her. She agrees. At an engagement party for her friends, she senses a kindred spirit in Vicky, a wannabe actor. The two revel in each other’s company even as Karan’s still besotted with Sophie. It turns out Vicky was employed to bait Sophie into falling for him by a shadowy voice named Rohit Shroff. Things get ugly as Sophie leaves Karan high and dry at the altar and runs straight into Vicky’s arms and his bed. The next morning, Sophie goes to meet Karan to say she’s sorry. He tells her to get out. Minutes (or is it hours, in screen time) later, Karan blows his brains out. End of story? What’s that!What’s hot: It’s an Abbas-Mustan film. Which probably is the film’s USP as well as its undoing. You expect to be entertained. You expect the twists and turns. The cloak-and-dagger stuff that’s now stuff of legend. You expect too much. The film delivers, to a point. And then they go and throw elements of a black comedy at you. Hmmm....What’s not: It’s all about the digicam. As in most of Abbas-Mustan’s work, there’s always a Holy Grail and this digicam is no less. The soundtrack by Pritam doesn’t really set the pace. The track that plays during the opening credits goes on and on, I’m assuming to tell the world that Urvashi is eye candy. Not that they needed to try so hard. The loud and irritating extras get too much screen time. Vikaas Kalantri’s extended performance speaks volumes on why he’s getting so few film roles. Oddly enough, Raj Zutshi is only left holding a digicam for all the time that he’s up on the screen. Naqaab only picks up in the second half, which is when all the mysteries unravel. In a move probably inspired by most Hollywood blockbusters this year, the flick has a faux climax, immediately followed by the actual climax followed by an epilogue of sorts. What’s that? Karan’s described as a billionaire, millionaire, and a multi- millionaire by different faces throughout the film. Can’t they make up their minds? Or is his financial status as rocky as the share market tends to be? A million here, a billion there... the film’s writers really don’t seem to care.What to do: You have to watch this film to figure out why I haven’t stopped laughing since.