Fenil's Bollywood Talk # 457


WILL THE FRIENDLY GHOST WORK ITS MAGIC?

Anushka Sharma always prefers to go low key with her film productions’ shoots. Hence, she and her team won’t share on the set images, videos etc that is common nowadays. She also doesn’t reveal much about the film beforehand and hence the first trailer always comes up as a surprise. It happened with NH10 and now the same trend was repeated with Phillauri. Everyone knew she was doing this film but nobody knew that she plays a ghost. And no, she won’t send a chill down your spine. This ghost is friendly and will tickle your funny bone and teach you a lesson or 2 about love.

Phillauri, besides Anushka stars Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma (of Life Of Pi fame) and debutant Mehreen Pirzada. From the trailer, it seems that two tracks, based in two different eras, run parallel with Anushka being common in both these tracks. The film also deals with the controversial ritual of manglik’s being compelled to marry a tree before their actual marriage. Songs are lovely especially Sahiba. The way Anushka as a ghost is visually presented is damn good and makers claim it’s a first for a film of this genre.

Phillauri unfortunately will appeal to a niche section of audience. However, it’s hatke and quite interesting from the promos and hence, it is expected to take an average-to-decent opening. With the last week’s releases (Aa Gaya Hero, Machine, Trapped) not really setting the cash registers ringing and the super-hit film Badrinath Ki Dulhania too having done its majority of business, Phillauri couldn’t have come at a better time. Co-incidentally, NH10 also released in March (2015) at a right time and the solo release and open weeks ahead ensured it turned out to be a commercial success. Whether the same happens for Phillauri remains to be seen!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE PHILLAURI AND WHY? DO LET ME KNOW!

Salman Khan to sell his paintings after years of ducking buyers; proceeds to go to his charity?


Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; March 23, 2017)

Over the last decade, Salman Khan, who loves to paint, has gifted a six-by-ten-feet handpainted wall portrait to sister Arpita Khan Sharma, a live-size portrait of two lovers to his Bajrangi Bhaijaan co-star Kareena Kapoor, a monochrome painting of a man to his Ready co-star Asin, among others, including one to close family friend Bina Kak and filmmaker friends, Kabir Khan and Mahesh Manjrekar.

Last year, a businessman-fan wanted to acquire Salman’s portrait of a mother and son locked in an embrace for Rs 20 lakh but the superstar thought it was too small a prize for a painting that was so dear to him. Later, when he was offered Rs 1 crore for the same painting, he sold it and invested the money in his Being Human foundation. Following several similar offers, the 51-year-old actor has agreed to sell some of his works, earnings from which will go to his charity.

A source close to him told Mirror, “Salman’s paintings are all about the emotions of life. They are focussed on love, family ties and the oneness of religion, which are all feelings that resonate with the actor. They are extremely personal and he does not paint for money or fame; he does it for the joy and peace it brings him. His family and friends are always gifting him canvases, paints and brushes, but Salman insists that his best works are on life-sized frames with hands. Those will be the paintings up for purchase too.”

Domestic violence scene, Santa Banta joke removed from Naam Shabana by the Censors?


Subhash K Jha (DNA; March 23, 2017)

Naam Shabana, which features Taapsee Pannu and Manoj Bajpai in espionage mode, has been cleared by the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) with three cuts for a U/A rating. In other words, kids can watch NS, if accompanied by their guardian.

However, no one gets to see a scene of domestic violence in the film. “Hitting a woman is not permissible under any circumstance. Today, if we had to certify films about domestic violence like Deepa Mehta’s Heaven On Earth or Jagmohan Mundra’s Provoked, it would be impossible,” says a source from the CBFC.

The CBFC has also ordered two rather strange cuts. “A shot showing a bottle of liquor had to go. And a Santa-Banta joke was asked to be deleted. Ridiculing any community, no matter how sporting the humour, it is not allowed,” says the CBFC source.

Bombay HC slaps fine of Rs 5 lakh on Bhojpuri producer for making false plagiarism claims against Phillauri

Bharati Dubey (MID-DAY; March 23, 2017)

With just three days left for its release, Anushka Sharma’s Phillauri found itself in legal wrangle as Bhojpuri actor-producer filed a copyright infringement case against the rom-com in the Bombay High Court. The court, however, did not entertain the complainant, Dashrath Rathod, and, in fact, slapped a penalty of Rs 5 lakh for the last-minute move.

In a declaration suit, Rathod claimed Phillauri is a copy of his 2013 trilingual film, Mangal Phera, and also demanded a stay on its release. A source informed, “The court did not find any prima facie case and dismissed Rathod’s call for a stay. He has now filed an appeal against the order.”

Advocate Nagesh Mishra, who appeared for Rathod, said, “We feel it [the order] is not justified. Once we get a copy of the order in hand, we will appeal to the court for a hearing.”

Lawyers Bhavik Patel and Kiran Desai, who are representing the Phillauri makers, refused to comment on the case. The film is Anushka’s second production venture after NH10 (2015), and stars Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma and her in lead roles.

Nobody needs to help me financially-Anushka Sharma on doing things the right way


Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; March 23, 2017)

I walk into Anushka Sharma’s office and she Snapchats the moment and captions it: “He’s promised to finish the interview in three minutes.” She laughs at my shocked reaction. But then, we end up chatting for close to an hour. Eventually, her pet cats come knocking on the glass door to remind us that the clock is ticking. During that time, the actress talks about her upcoming film, her ideas behind production, her strategies as an actor and producer, and more. Read on...

Most ghost stories are scary. Phillauri isn’t.
We don’t know how ghosts behave, so we can take the leap of faith and decide that this one is a friendly ghost. Phillauri is definitely an interesting take on ghosts. It’s in a fun space. I did find that different and exciting.

Did you deliberately make a fun film because your first production (NH10) was hard-hitting and intense?
As producers, we just want to tell stories. Sometimes, it might be a thriller, or a film like Phillauri, which is a complete family entertainer and sometimes, it might just be a scary horror film. There are no pre-conceived ideas about what we want to do next. We just react to stories. That’s about it.

Do you like watching ghost films?
I do like watching them but I like thrillers more than ghost films. I don’t remember too many. The Conjuring was scary. The Exorcist was amazingly scary, too.

Do you get scared while watching a film?
Who doesn’t? If someone says they aren’t, they are lying. When you watch these films, you get scared, you close your eyes, watch it through the gaps of your fingers. And my brother Karnesh and I always used to watch the show called Woh like that. Do you remember? It was so good.

Reports suggest Phillauri is similar to The Corpse Bride...
Absolutely not! The only similarity is that there is a ghost and there’s a man and the marriage that happens between them. Our concept is about a man who gets married to a tree, which is an entirely Indian concept. Then, there is a love story of the ghost. In The Corpse Bride, the ghost forces the guy to get married to him because she wants marriage. This is completely the opposite. Here, the ghost is as scared as the guy.

The films you are producing might not be women-centric but they’re always from a female protagonist’s perspective. Does that play in your mind when you select scripts?
How you are as a person, what your sensibilities are — these things are parameters on the basis of which you will decide things in life. You will always get attracted to things that match your desires and sensibilities. So who I am as a person matters a lot when I say yes to a film. When I am narrated a story, I won’t relate to something which is regressive or isn’t the right portrayal of a character or a girl. That’s how I deal with my choices as an actor and a producer. In fact, even more so because my brother and I both strongly feel about this. It’s about our upbringing and the way we see the world that plays an integral role in the scripts we pick. And for me, I want my characters to have a voice. If I’m playing a character where I don’t have a perspective, a point of view or have anything to say, then I don’t understand what I’m doing in the film.

There’s a huge disparity in the wages of men and women in the industry. As a female producer, does the same disparity happen with investors and budgets?
I think you are addressing what Sonam said on the same issue. Honestly, I don’t know what the budget of her film is. So I won’t comment on it. But yes, I just know that with the success of NH10, it was a lot easier to get Phillauri greenlit. Also, I am in a different and I would say, in a better position in my career than what I was when I did NH10. So it depends from film to film. I don’t know what a male actors’ contract is with the studio when they make a film. But if there’s disparity in general, I’m sure it will be there in this equation. Exactly what it is, I don’t want to be careless and make a comment. But just knowing the way things are, it is possible. I also think that while we speak about all of this, which is correct and everyone should speak about, we should choose and do things that help change the system. And helps in making the stand of female actors stronger. Our choices should lend its way to doing all that and that will be the way forward. That is why I feel very empowered as an actress when I’m producing a film. It’s a bigger sense of responsilibility and ownership. The possibilities are so much more of what things can be and where you can take it to.

But had NH10 not worked, do you think situations would have been different now?
It’s a hypothetical question and I really don’t know. I am a very instinctive person and I react to everything. So I don’t know how I would have reacted had it not worked. I was quite confident of the film honestly and how the film would go on to do. I knew we had a great film in hand which will be respected. The fact that it made money as well is a big thing. So I didn’t think about the flip side of it. There’s no point also. I mean why? How would it help? I don’t think about a film’s failure that I have signed up for. It’s stupid. The time that you took to make a decision of whether to do it or not — that’s the time when all these questions should be answered within you. That itself is going to be the deciding factor. If you have chosen the film for wrong reasons, without enough understanding the potential of the film, then you can be worried about it. But when you choose a film with conviction, you go on the sets, do your best and then uske baad worry karna is mindless. As a producer, I am doubly sure before I do a film. With Phillauri, we have been involved with it since the inception, we know what we have in hand. But then again, it might not work because nobody really knows the hit formula for any film. But content driven films with unique subjects always do well and we have seen that in the past as well.

Your films PK and Sultan both did 300 crore business. Does it put more pressure on you to deliver with your other films?
I won’t say there’s pressure but obviously, you want to deliver at the box office with all your films. It is not a burden. I don’t take it as one because as a person, I don’t take myself too seriously. I am very practical about things. If I have taken a decision to produce, I have to be very confident about the content I have. Uske baad, how much the film does, no one can profess. But me being a bankable actress today or with the success of the films that you’ve mentioned, helps and allows me to get film greenlit if I’m in it. So it’s easy for me to make those films. The responsibility then is to make profits from it because there’s a studio involved in it. It is a business at the end of the day which you are working towards. But I don’t take baggage of some other film for this film. That’s why we call it Clean Slate Films. There’s no prejudice or baggage. We treat each film differently. This film has its own journey, life and its own audience. It’s a different space altogether. You don’t know what will happen because such a film has not been attempted before. Even I’m excited to find that out. The idea is to make your films financially viable and according to me, you do that by offering strong content, something new and extraordinary to people. See, Khan films are huge films because they are huge stars and they have been that over generations. That guarantees them a certain audience. Today, when you have access to so much with Netflix and all on your laptop, if you ask audiences to come and watch a film, you really have to offer them something very extraordinary or unique for them to increase footfalls at the theatre. We are creating that to intrigue people. That’s what I am doing. I won’t compare the success of some other film which is in a completely different space with this one.

When you are producing a film on a limited budget and getting big returns, is it more satisfying then doing a big with big budget and big numbers?
People don’t really understand the term ‘return on investment’ well. People only relate to a film doing so much money whether it’s 100 crore or whatever. Of course, Sultan and PK made a lot of money for the producers too. But I’m just talking in general. When people talk about films ki yeh film ne 100 crore kama liya, nobody is actually talking about how much the film is made for. It’s very fashionable to say it’s 100 crore film but what’s more important is the return on investment. That’s what we are interested in. NH10 returned on investment. How much it was made for and how much it made — that’s what is important and that’s our way of working. Sultan, PK, Dangal they obviously had made that much money and also in terms of ratios, they had higher returns. But then, there are also films where that is not the case. Only perception is created that these films are actually huge. I guess, with medium budget films, if they are made right, as we have seen in the past, the ratio of return on investment is much more.

In an interview, Kangana Ranaut said actresses who work with Khans don’t have longevity. You have worked with all of them. Your comment?
I cannot comment on what Kangana said because I don’t know what the context was and what she actually said. But I also have the same belief that I won’t just be a showpiece in a film. Just like Kangana thinks, rightfully so. I wouldn’t have done the film if I was just another showpiece. The fact that I’ve done the film is because I had a role to play and a contribution to make to the film which was recognised and stood out. So I won’t completely agree with that.

You have decided not to talk about your personal life...
I am not comfortable talking about my personal life and that’s completely my decision. It is not about actor or actresses. I might be an actor, but I am also a person with life principles and according to me, being open about my relationship is not something I feel I need to do. I’m guarded as a person and I have always been like this.

There was a time when people wrote about Virat backing your banner financially. Do you think people today don’t like watching a strong independent woman?
I think it comes from there — a very, very deep rooted misogyny. Where people feel that if a girl is doing something great on her own, obviously she has got some help. People who speak this way have no spine. All working women know this by now that we will experience such things because whenever there’s a change or you do something different from what people are used to, they will react this way. They are not used to a girl doing something on her own because they might not have ever done something like that. And then, suddenly they see a girl who is independently getting into something, obviously it is going to disturb them. When people are used to something and that is challenged or changed, it disturbs them. I think all of us should accept that this will happen. I felt sad, angry but I’m not going to let them get in the way. I believe that whenever you will do something good, there will always be someone to pull you down or make you feel like s**t. You just have to ignore it. Don’t give a damn and keep walking. And as you go further and further on the road, the noises become quieter and quieter.

Because of these rumours, would you never ask Virat for help, even if it’s not financial? Maybe just to avoid such stories?
Nobody needs to help me financially. I am very, very independent financially and I’ll be that for the rest of my life. I will never change the way I am because of what people expect or think of me because if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have come so far in my life. I don’t need any financial help from anybody and I don’t say that with arrogance, I say that with pride. It’s just that I have reached so far, on my own accord and nobody can take away my credit away from me.

Raveena Tandon won’t promote Maatr ­The Mother on TVF until Arunabh Kumar is cleared of charges


Upala KBR (DNA; March 22, 2017)

Raveena Tandon Thadani has cancelled plans to promote her upcoming movie Maatr — The Mother on The Viral Fever (TVF), following the sexual harassment allegations against Arunabh Kumar, Founder and CEO, TVF, an online entertainment platform that satirises Indian politics, movies, lifestyle, and the social system.

Says a source, “Raveena was to promote the movie on TVF’s platform but canned the idea after the controversy. She doesn’t want to be associated with the brand until they are cleared of the charges. She is waiting for all the facts to come out before she decides to promote her film with them. She is a strong advocate of women’s empowerment and will not associate with any person or company that undermines women.”

Reasons for opting out
Maatr co-producer Anjum Rizvi confirms, “Raveena’s character is a working woman. Our film has been inspired by incidents which are happening in India today. Right now, we felt we should not get into it, so we have opted out of the TVF show. It’s a sensitive issue and we have to handle everything with care and not use whatever tools and means possible. We need to be careful of how we promote the film.”

Rizvi adds, “Raveena is a vocal personality and doesn’t mince her words so we have a spokesperson anyway who will do all the talking! She is also involved in every aspect of the film as the subject is very close to her heart. She is excited about the film as it is relevant to what is happening. As filmmakers, we can raise issues, though we can’t come up with solutions. We are just highlighting the issue. It’s not a true story, but talks about whether women should or should not take law into their hands and how long they should wait for justice to be meted out.”

Giving it a miss
Confirms the actress, “I was not aware of the controversy as I was in New York and in the middle of a snow storm. Our film deals with a very strong message about zero tolerance to any form of violence or abuse against women — the film’s producers and actors feel that until allegations against the producer and the channel are proved wrong, we will refrain from promoting the film or any of the actors appearing on the said show.”

Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico goes anti-Donald Trump

MID-DAY (March 23, 2017)

Josh Safran, the showrunner of Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico, has teased that the upcoming episodes will deal with President Donald Trump and his policies. Quantico debuted its latest series reboot on Monday in the US, effectively swapping in Trump for terrorism and kicking off the plot for the remaining nine episodes in the ABC drama’s second season.

Since Trump’s election, Quantico, like many shows currently airing on broadcast and cable, has shifted its lens from fantasy in a bid to reflect more of real-life political climate and cultural landscape. “We are in sort of a paradigm shift for the show,” Safran told The Hollywood Reporter.

“We are now looking at the ways in which people profit off of terror and it allows us to build a plot around something that is real and possible.” Asked if there are too many shows tackling Trump on TV, Safran said, “That’s the role of art in any time, to reflect the time that it’s in. When there’s political upheaval or unrest in the country, artistes tend to skew towards politics and how they relate to people. That’s why you are seeing so many shows turning in that direction.”

Women should stop expecting a knight in shining armour to come to their rescue-Taapsee Pannu


Lasyapriya Sundaram (BOMBAY TIMES; March 23, 2017)

Taapsee Pannu's big Bollywood debut in 2013 failed to leave a mark. It wasn't until a cameo in the 2015 thriller Baby and an authorbacked role in last year's social drama, Pink, that she tasted success and critical acclaim. This year, she is all set to come into her own with a lead role in the Baby spin-off, Naam Shabana. In a no-holdsbarred chat with BT, Taapsee holds forth on why she doesn't fit into the mould of the quintessential Hindi film heroine, her action avatar, empowerment of women and nepotism in Bollywood. Excerpts...

How did you land the role in Naam Shabana?
I didn't zero in on the role, it zeroed in on me. After seeing the response to Shabana (her character in Baby), the makers decided to do come up with a full-fledged film on her. This film is the perfect example of what audiences can do. Naam Shabana was not thought of by the filmmakers, the audiences made them think about it. That's why I always say, 'jiska koi nahi hota, uska audience hota hai.' I don't have a Godfather in Bollywood. My audience is my Godfather.

This being an action film, were you worried about getting injured on the set?
Neeraj (Pandey, writer-producer) sir would immediately stop the shoot if he felt that a stunt was tricky or had the potential to go awry. Cyril, the French stuntman who trained me, ensured that all precautionary measures were in place. The kind of trouble they take to ensure safety can drive you nuts. I have never gotten injured while shooting for the film. Also, I had trained hard to get into the skin of my character. However, basic bruises and clotting were common.

Were you intimidated by the fact that you were sharing screen space with accomplished actors like Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpayee?
It was intimidating, as I was surrounded by accomplished actors. I don't get intimidated by the biggest of stars, but when I know that I am sharing my workspace with brilliant actors, it's tough not to be in awe. Neeraj doesn't scream or shout, but his sarcastic one-liners can be potent. It was one of the most serious sets I have ever been a part of. Even the jokes were delivered with a poker straight face. On the other hand, I am somebody who talks a lot and laughs out loud. I think I was the most I dramatic person on the film's set.

Naam Shabana is a female protagonist-driven film and the responsibility of its box-office performance rests on your shoulders. Are you nervous?
The stress and pressure of the film's box-office performance is being taken care of by two pairs of strong shoulders - Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey. I know that the film is in safe hands.

Why did you choose a film that showcases you in an action avatar?
Frankly, I didn't get roles in commercial films after my debut, as there were already many beautiful girls who were doing well in that space. So, I have made the most of the opportunities that I got. I believe there are two ways of going about it. You either accept roles that present you as the most glamourous or desirable person or you do the hard-hitting ones because then, people have no other option but to notice you. I have taken the latter route.

How do you manage to seamlessly traverse diametrically opposite worlds created by directors like David Dhawan and Neeraj Pandey?
I have no qualms in admitting that I am a director's actor. If that gets interpreted as 'She doesn't know her job and that's why she relies on the director', so be it. I use my faculties to choose the right director and script. After that, I surrender myself to a David Dhawan or a Neeraj Pandey because they are the masters of their respective genres. As far as improvisation is concerned, I do it when I relate to a character on a personal level. On Neeraj sir's sets, it was pretty much by the book as I didn't relate to Shabana on a personal level.

The number of female-centric films that will hit screens this year is staggering. What do you think has changed over the years for this trend to have set in?
Our audiences have changed; they have started watching Hollywood films. There, the number of female protagonist-driven films are high. Writing a film with a woman at the centre of the narrative is a complex process as women have many layers to their personality. If executed well, it makes for good content.

Talking of women, does empowerment mean that they have to protect themselves and not rely on men to come to their aid?
Women have to be their own heroes. They should stop expecting a knight in shining armour to come to their rescue. That's not going to happen. We need to take charge of our own safety and lives. Women should stop seeking permission to live their lives the way they want. We can't keep waiting for approval when it comes to making choices, be it in terms of careers or, for that matter, even something as simple as going on a holiday. We can't keep waiting for approval from husbands and in laws because that's bizarre. Also, women have to stop becoming villains in each other's lives. Women empowerment in the real sense can be achieved only if one woman aims to empower another.

Kangana Ranaut recently spoke out against Bollywood being nepotistic. What's your take?
I am a proud outsider, nobody forced me to come into the industry. I was aware of the nepotism that exists in the industry and even then, I decided to be a part of it. I don't like playing the victim card. There are filmmakers who happily work with outsiders like Shoojit Sircar and Neeraj Pandey. You might lose out on some projects because of nepotism, but some thing else will come your way. You can't keep blaming nepotism for not getting work. I wasn't even passionate about acting and probably, that favour worked in my because I didn't see films as the be all and end all of my life. You will get your fair share of work despite having no connections in the industry and I am the living example of that. It is a game and nepotism is part of it. Play your outsider card if you have to.


Khalid Mohamed to make a play inspired by Rishi Kapoor's love story from pre-Bobby days


The first love story from the actor’s pre-Bobby days, which didn’t culminate in a happy ending, is being adapted by Khalid Mohamed as a musical stage production
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; March 23, 2017)

Khalid Mohamed’s Faction, a compilation of 22 by-invitation short stories by Bollywood’s big names, ranging from filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Sai Paranjpye, Ashutosh Gowariker, Karan Johar and Basu Chatterjee to A-list actors like Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Om Puri, Sonam Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor, released in 2014. The one by Rishi about an unrequited romance struck a chord and both the actor and the filmmaker-author-playwright-critic agreed that Love In The Time Of Telegrams would make for a dramatic stage production.

“I started developing the story into a script and narrated it to Rishi. He kept adding his inputs and soon we had Rishi, a play in two acts, adapted by me from a love story by Rishi Kapoor,” informs Khalid, who still has to finesse the finale with the actor. “I went on the Kapoor & Sons location in Coonoor but the prosthetic make-up was too intricate for him to concentrate on anything else.”

That Rishi is still keen on the play is evident from the fact that in response to Khalid’s congratulations on his autobiography, Khullam Khulla, he tweeted back, “Our stage production of 'Rishi' based on an incident of mine, next stop Khalid.”

The reason the romantic musical, which includes a medley of Rishi-Neetu Singh’s chartbusters and an Elvis Presley song from an evening party, hasn’t happened yet is because the budget offered by NCPA which wanted to produce it, was an insufficient Rs 15 lakh, according to its director. “I don’t want to disappoint Rishi. I’d rather not make it than do something tacky. We need at least double the budget,” asserts Khalid who’s encouraged by the fact that a quite few backers have come forward to revive the project and even his team of actors (Amol Parashar as the young Rishi, Amit Phalke as his older avatar, Nishi Doshi as Neetu Singh, Danesh as Rishi’s secretary Ghanshyam) are still as enthusiastic.

For those who haven’t read the story, it is rooted in the ’70s, before Bobby made Rishi an overnight star. The cherubic boy from a film family in suburban Chembur fell in love with a Parsi girl from SoBo. “Her aristocratic family was not exactly pleased but the girl helped groom him for his screen debut, placing him on a diet and designing trendy costumes for him, including the iconic purple scarf,” says Khalid.

The love story blossomed despite her family’s objections. Then, a film magazine reported that Rishi was seeing his Bobby co-star Dimple Kapadia. That upset his beloved but before he could appease her, the actor had to leave town for an outdoor shoot of Zehreela Insaan. “Those were the days of trunk calls that took hours to get through. So, he started writing her lengthy telegrams professing his love which his secretary, Ghanshyam, would send from the nearest post office. She never replied even after he roped in Neetu Singh to play Cupid. On his return to Mumbai, Rishi ran into her at the newly-launched rooftop restaurant of the Taj Mahal Hotel where she was with another guy. That drove Rishi crazy. He got tipsy beyond control and got into a brawl with the ‘other’ man even as Ghanshyam threatened to buy the Taj right there and then,” narrates Khalid.

That was their last meeting. Rishi fell in love with Neetu and eventually married her. The Parsi girl settled down in London where she died years later of cancer. After she was gone, her mother met Rishi and confessed that she had not given any of the impassioned telegrams to her daughter, not wanting to encourage the romance. The girl died without knowing how much he loved her.

“As long as the girl’s name is not mentioned and there is no direct reference to her family, no one has any objections to the love story being played out on another platform,” says Khalid.

Could the 100-odd-minute play turn into a film with Rishi playing himself in a cameo? “Well, movies have come out of stage productions, so we can’t say how Rishi will play out. But there’s no possibility of Rishi Kapoor playing a role except of course as the writer of the original story,” Khalid signs off.

Shankar apologises to scribes following scuffle over 2.0 shoot in Chennai


MUMBAI MIRROR (March 23, 2017)

Shooting of Rajinikanth’s mega budget film 2.0 in Chennai was disrupted on Wednesday when two photo journalists were allegedly assaulted by the crew for questioning the blocking of a road.

Though the agitated scribes initially lodged a police complaint against the concerned crew members, they withdrew it following the film’s director Shankar issued an apology. “This incident happened without my knowledge, I feel very sorry for that, I will see that it won’t happen again,” he said.

The journalists, Raghunathan and Sri Barath, alleged they were beaten up when they questioned the blocking of a key intersection in downtown Triplicane by several vehicles of the film crew.

“When we asked if it was proper to inconvenience public by blocking roads especially during (morning) peak hour, two crew members used foul language against us and we were beaten up,” Raghunathan, photographer of an English daily, was quoted as saying.

He added that though permission was given for shooting for the film during the evening hours, the crew violated it to suit their convenience.