Category Archives: Interviews

Interviews with Celebrities,actors, directors, and producers.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra interview- BollySpice

Vidhu Vinod Chopra was born in Kashmir and studied film making in Pune at the Film and Television Institute. He won a National Award very early in his career, and is now known as the man behind films like 1942 – A Love Story, Mission Kashmir and Eklavya.

He is also the producer of cult movies like Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. and India’s top box-office performer film of all times, 3 Idiots. Vidhu Vinod Chopra was in London recently with his wife and well-known critic and journalist Anupama Chopra, where he spoke to our London reporter Sunny Malik about his upcoming movies and Ferrari Ki Sawaari, the first film to be shot at Lords Cricket ground. The climax scene was shot here over two days and the film, starring Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani, is not only about a Ferrari as the title suggests. Read on to find out more:

You are here to shoot your production Ferrari Ki Saawari in London. How has it been so far?

It’s been great. We are shooting at Lords over the weekend and this is the first movie that is actually being shot at Lord’s Cricket Ground. They first said no to us, then we sent them our storyboard and the script of our movie and they graciously permitted us to shoot here.

Why was it so necessary to shoot the film at Lord’s Cricket Ground?

This is actually the first time ever that a Vinod Chopra Films production has come out of India and I would not know this, but my executive producer sent me an e-mail saying that she has worked for VCF for twenty-five years and this is the first time we are going out of India and so she wanted to come along (laughs).

The story demands us to come here and shoot in London. I believe in scripts. I believe in cinema to be real. I don’t believe in cutting from Bandra to Switzerland for a song. The end of the movie is Lord’s Cricket Ground, that’s what the movie is about. It’s about a twelve-year old cricketer whose dream is to go to Lords. Because it is in the script, that’s why we came here. We could have shot anywhere and could have saved a lot of money by shooting in some stadium in India and pretending that its Lords.

What else is the film about besides Cricket?

It’s a film about three generations; the young kid, a twelve-year-old, his father Sharman Joshi, who has done an incredible job in the film and his father, played by Boman Irani. Boman is a dejected, disheartened and unhappy cricketer. The young kid wants to play cricket and the disheartened grandfather does not want to encourage him. It is really a film about these three people and also, it’s a film about Ferrari as the title suggests. It’s about a Ferrari being stolen to send this young boy to Lords and then that car gets stolen itself, so it is a fun movie, a lot of fun. But mainly it is about family.

The film was in the news for being offered to a few big actors. How did you decide on casting Sharman Joshi for the leading role?

Let me first explain why I produce films. I produce films because I can have Sharman in Ferrari Ki Sawaari. If I was not producing the film, somebody else would have been the star of this movie as there were big stars, who were interested in playing the role. The economics of putting a big star, a Khan in the movie and putting him (Sharman) in the movie is incredible. But Sharman did a screen test. I was in America (for Broken Horses) when the test came to me and I was very reluctant to see the test as I was at that time, working with some of the finest actors in the world. I was thinking not watch it and Sharman was to come to LA and I just had to see it. I could not believe it, when I finally saw the test.

I couldn’t believe that an Indian actor could do a test as good as what he had done. When he came, I just hugged him and told him the film is yours. I am so proud of that call because now the film is almost ready and I’ve seen it and its just incredible what he has done.

Which other actors will be seen in the film?

Sharman and Boman are the only known actors in the film. We looked at about three thousand children all over India before we found the young boy.

You are also trying to keep his look under the wraps.

Yes, because he is such a gifted child. He is just incredible. He was a long search and was found very dramatically. One of the assistants was in McDonalds, having a coffee when he saw the boy paying the bill. The kid was telling his mother to stay seated and that He will take care of everything. The assistant went up to the mother and told her that he would like to audition him for the part. They thought it’s a big joke. He told them it’s Vinod Chopra Films and invited them to our office and gave them our number.

The father called the next day, thinking it was a hoax but it was real number and they came to a real office. There they saw other kids rehearsing and so they knew that it was serious. That is how he rehearsed and we got this gifted child.

You wrote the story of the film. Where did you get the idea from?

My son, Agni Dev Chopra, plays cricket. He has been in the papers lately, he is doing really well and is very young. Sachin Tendulkar’s son plays cricket too, so Arjun and Agni play cricket together. They are lovely kids and seeing them everyday inspired me to make Ferrari Ki Sawaari.

You are only shooting film on real locations. Is that not more difficult with a live audience watching the filming when you are trying to keep everything under the wraps?

It’s such a real film that I don’t want to bring any falsehood to it. It’s taken me three and a half years to write this film. I believe the script of Ferrari Ki Sawaari is actually much better than the script of 3 Idiots. Also, I have to prove a point that, if let’s say in Ferrari Ki Sawaari we have Sharman, and let’s say in 3 Idiots we did not have a big star. Let’s say we had Ranbir Kapoor playing Aamir Khan’s character. I believe the film would still have been successful. I believe you would still see the film. I want to really tell the world its finally the filmmaker, the music, the script, the movie that makes the difference. I respect actors, I respect stars and I respect the fact that they can pull in an audience but finally it’s the movie.

You have again written the story for Broken Horses too. Where do you go for inspiration?

I write at home and get all my inspiration from there. That’s why I never go out of India to make movies (laughs).

What is the current status of the film?

It is currently on hold because of the casting.

Which other films will you be making in the near future?

We have, apart from Ferrari Ki Saawari, a film called Chitthiyan which will go into production soon. We also have a film by Rajkumar Hirani that will be started soon. We also have a thriller coming up so the next two years will probably be very busy for us (smiles).

Ferrari Ki Sawaari will release on the 27th of April 2012.

Picture credit: Nelson

Kareena suggested ‘Mauja Mauja’ look

Kareena Kapoor has revealed that she personally came up with the idea of styling her Madame Tussauds wax figure on the ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’ track from Jab We Met.

The inspiration for the Tussauds look was previously rumoured to be Kapoor’s character from 2004 release Chameli.

Unveiling the wax model in Blackpool, the star told Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik: “Madame Tussauds wanted the look from Jab We Met. The film is one of my most iconic films in my career.

“I told them to take it from one of the songs from the movie. They conducted a survey amongst themselves and they felt that the ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ look was western and they did not want a western look for me.

“I then suggested ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’ because it has a lot of ethnic work top and harem pants. It was also the most popular song in the film.”

Kapoor won a number of awards for her performance as Geet Dhillon in the Imtiaz Ali-directed production. ‘Mauja Hi Mauja’ popularised a trend for Bollywood dance tracks to feature in the closing credits of a film.

The 31-year-old star’s figure took four months to complete at a cost of £150,000.

A special Bollywood section has been created within Madame Tussauds Blackpool, which also showcases the figures of Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor shoot in London!

Bollywood perfectionist Aamir Khan and India’s top actress Kareena Kapoor are in London shooting for Reema Kagti’s untitled film, produced by Farhan Akhtar and Riteish Sidhwani. The film also stars Rani Mukherji in a significant role however she is not part of this special schedule.

Starting today and for the next four days, the pair will be shooting a complicated scene. Complicated because the scene that is being shot is an underwater action sequence. A source close to Kapoor told us that the 31-year-old actress had shot the scene in Mumbai for a day, but due to several reasons the producers decided that it will be better to shoot the scene in a fully equipped underwater studio abroad. While Bankgok and Malasiya were considered for options, London was finalised as the actress was here for Ra.One promotions and her wax statue unveiling.

Speaking to BollySpice reporter Sunny Malik at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, Kapoor said: “I can’t reveal anything about the film but I think, I am just very lucky to be working with Aamir Khan for the second time around. It is just a pleasure. We worked together in Three Idiots, and now in this film I have a very special and iconic role. The film will release on the 1st of June 2012. I am very excited about the release. The shoot is going to be underwater, but it’s a heated pool (laughs).”

Kareena Kapoor and Amir Khan will be shooting at an undisclosed studio in the UK for another four days.

RA.ONE London Red Carpet with the stars

Ra.One had a fabulous premiere in London on Tuesday night October 25th and of course, we were there! Not only did the stars walk the red carpet, but for the first time ever, the Cineworld cinema at The O2 hosted just one film on all of its eleven screens for the epic premiere of Ra.One. 
The UK Premiere was attended by thousands of fans who waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the leading actors Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal.The director Anubhav Sinha, actress Shahana Goswami, debutant Armaan Verma, Oscar award winning sound editor/mixer Resol Pookutty, art director Sabu Cyril, dialoge writer Kanikka Dhillon also walked down the red carpet posing for pictures, signing autographs and speaking to the press.

Check out our exclusive coverage of the red carpet with the cast and crew members below!

Armaan Verma:

Armaan Verma plays the character of Prateek Subramanium aka Lucifer. The young actor has acted in a few commercials but this is his first major film role.

Speaking about his experience of working with Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor the young actor said: “It was a great experience to shoot with Shah Rukh Khan. He is very kind and I could not have asked for anything else. Kareena is a very nice person and made me feel really comfortable on the sets.”

Armaan also filmed some scenes in London and he described his feelings of being here at the premiere: “I love the atmosphere over here in London. It’s awesome.”

He also did some action in the film he revealed: ”I did all the stunts myself. A body double was used only once for the car chasing sequence that we shot in London last year.”

So who’s his favourite superhero? “G.One, for now (laughs) but I prefer the villain, Ra.One!”

Sabu Cyril :

Sabu Cyril is very well-known and award winning art director in Hindi films. Cyril has previously worked in many Shah Rukh Khan films and his productions including Om Shanti Om and of course Ra.One. 
Talking about the film, he told us: “From the beginning till the end it was a big challenge. It’s not a usual film. We don’t go into social issues and everything had to be created for the film. I should not be explaining too much about the film but when you see it, you will know.”

Adding, “I think Ra.One is a landmark film for Hindi cinema because Shah Rukh has promoted the film a lot and I don’t think anyone else could have done this. I don’t think anyone can realise how much effort went into the action scenes that we shot for the film.”

Speaking about the effort that Khan has put into his most ambitious project he said: “Ra.One is Shah Rukh’s baby. He has put his heart and soul into the film and I am sure that will be seen on screen. I think Ra.One is a landmark film for Hindi cinema because Shah Rukh has promoted the film a lot and I don’t think anyone else could have done this.”

He also talked about the amazing action sequences “I don’t think anyone can realise how much effort went into the action scenes that we shot for the film. We had a fantastic experience working on the film and I hope the audience has an even better experience watching it.”

Shahana Goswami:

Shahana Goswami arrived in London after attending the World Premiere of Ra.One in Dubai along the cast and spoke about her experience of being in London so far: “It has been a very long day indeed but the adrenaline is kicking in so it’s been good. It’s fabulous being here. We knew from day one how big this film is going to get. We are excited to be here and show the film to an audience who are not just from India and it is good to see how universal the film is which we believe it is.

“We actually did not watch the whole film at the World Premiere in Dubai. We only watched the first half as we did not have the time unfortunately. Today will be a big experience as we will be watching the film in 3D for the first time. Ra.One is the kind of film that really works in 3D because of the special effects it has and makes it a richer visual experience.”

The 25-year-old actress revealed details about her character in this sic-fi film and also told us about her experience of working with Khan: “I play Jenny Nair in Ra.One. She is the graphic designer, part of Shah Rukh’s team who make the game in the movie. Besides that, she is also very close to his son and to Kareena. It’s a nice character and the fact that I could be with Shah Rukh Khan in almost each and every frame was such a delightful thing.”

Speaking about co-star Shah Rukh Khan, Goswami added: “Shah Rukh is very hardworking and sensitive, very energetic and very full of life. He always says that if it’s not fun working on a film it’s not worth doing it. He really makes it fun for everybody around him and pushes everyone to their limits in a good way to get the best out of them and himself.”

When probed about Kareena Kapoor’s thesis on Indian swear words in the film the actress laughed and said: “It’s a nice little twist in her character. It’s something all the women in the world have wondered about. Why is it always about your mother or sister, never about the father or brother? It gives Kareena’s character a nice angle in the film.”

Anubhav Sinha:

The director of Ra.One, Anubhav Sinha took out some time on the red carpet out to speak to BollySpice again and talked about the controversy that made headlines around the world recently: “Whenever a big movie releases, such lawsuits take place. There has been one such lawsuit on this film and the court has asked us and Shah Rukh Khan to pay some money for security. Once the case is decided, the court will decide what to do with that money.”

The Dus director also spoke on the 3D effects and expectations of the film saying: “I am quite confident that people will like it in 3D. I have a feeling that a lot of people will watch it in 2D first and if they like it they will go to watch it in 3D. It is too early to claim that Ra.One will raise the bar for Hindi Cinema and change the perception.”

Arjun Rampal:

Rampal plays the bad guy in yet another Red Chillies production, the last one being Om Shanti Om. Speaking about the role, which because of its importance is also the title of the movie, he said: “I tried to bring as much fear I could to my role. I hope my fans tell me that it worked. Ra.One is a cool guy and I tried to bring coolness and a little bit of sexiness to the character.” (Laughs)

“I love action and it was fun doing action as it is really easy for me. Ra.One was a huge challenge and we are pushing the envelope. I think, to be a part of that is really special,” he added.

The 38-year-old actor remembered that Om Shanti Om also premiered in London: “The fans in London have always been very loving and outgoing. It’s wonderful to be here again.”

Kareena Kapoor:

Kareena Kapoor plays the character of Sonia Subramanium who is an over the top feminist. Kareena considers it an honour that she was chosen to star in Khan’s yet biggest venture: “Just the fact that it’s India’s biggest and most ambitious film and it had me in it, is an absolute honour. I have known Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri for years. They are very dear friends of mine. Just working with him is the most pleasurable experience.”

While Kareena has played a step-mother on screen for We are Family, it is the first time that she is actually playing the mother of a child in a movie. She laughs and says: “In my last film I play a college student (laughs). I love acting. I live through it, this way or that way, I like to play every role.”

London is a very special place to the Bodyguard actress and she expressed her feelings of meeting her fans here: “Being able to meet my fans here in London up close and personal and them just having a glimpse of me, just keeps me warm and connected.”

While we knew that Saif was busy shooting for Agent Vinod, we could not miss an opportunity to ask her about his missing presence to which she replied: “He will come for his own movie.” (Laughs)

Shah Rukh Khan:

Shah Rukh not only played two characters, Shekhar Subramanium and G.ONE,
 in Ra.One, but also oversaw the entire film as a producer at all times. Khan spoke about his most expensive film saying: “We started the film about five years ago and the guts to actually make it were the hardest thing. I am glad we started the film because we have been able to achieve something quite special, even though I am saying that myself.” (Laughs)

When asked about whether he thinks that his objectives of making the film have been achieved he said: “We have achieved what we wanted to do, I think considering the fact that we are here and everyone seems to like whatever we have done. The objective was really to bring new kind of technology, to create a new genre for other actors and directors to follow suit.

“I am also tired of hearing that Bollywood makes the same films and if I have been working here for over twenty years, it is my duty to try and change that perception. Inshallah, everyone especially the diaspora all over the world will be very proud of it.”

Produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and Eros International, a Winford Production, Ra.One, which is the first Bollywood film released in the UK in 3D, is now out on general release in the UK.

Stay tuned because we have many more pictures coming from the red carpet, we also have another exclusive story… but more on that later!

Photo credit: Eleanor Halsall

This article was first published on BollySpice:

Anubhav Sinha Interview on Ikonz

Anubhav Sinha made his mark in Bollywood ten years ago as a director with ‘Tum Bin’. After directing action films like ‘Dus’ and ‘Cash’, the 46-year-old filmmaker started to work on his most ambitious film ‘Ra.One’ with Shah Rukh Khan.
Sinha has also written the story of this Sci-Fi Indian film which will show Khan playing a superhero and Kareena Kapoor, the leading lady, a mother on screen for the first time. Set in London and Goa, ‘Ra.One’ is this year’s most anticipated film and Khan is leaving no stone unturned for promotions. Anubhav Sinha took out some time to speak about the film to Bollywood Reporter Sunny Malik for Ikonz .

What is the unique selling point of ‘Ra.One’?
The story is the unique selling point of my film. The story happens to be about a superhero, so it becomes more exciting and engaging. At the end of the day, the USP of any film should be the story.

Tell me a little bit about the story of ‘Ra.One’.
The film is about a father and his son and how the son finds his father, how he conceptually finds his father and his relationship with him. I can’t tell you more about the story right now.

You also wrote the story of ‘Ra.One’. How did that come about and where did you draw your inspiration from, or was it written from personal experiences?
I don’t instinctively remember the image. I don’t know if it was a movie commercial or print commercial, I don’t know what exactly it was, but it was an image of a child controlling a human being with a remote. I found that really interesting and I ended up writing a story around it and that became ‘Ra.One’.

How did Shah Rukh Khan come on board?
When I wrote the story, I realised that I need someone who would perhaps believe in a film like this, who would believe in the vision of a superhero film in India. I spoke to him about the film and we worked on it. A few years later we started making the movie.

The film was originally to be shot in Miami but was relocated to London. What happened and did you have to make many changes to the story?
Yes, we did a technical recce (location scouting) in Miami and suddenly the budget started to seem out of control. At that point, Shah Rukh decided to recalculate the budget and that would have meant postponing the shooting there which would have resulted in serious weather issues for the filming. The whole plan of shooting outdoors had to be changed and we needed to change the country and we decided on London.

While you were shooting in London, you laughed off reports of the film being sold for distribution at a certain price. Do you think these rumours helped the film in terms of promotion or created too many expectations?
There is no way we could have controlled the expectations of the film because Shah Rukh was going to release a film of his after a gap of eighteen months, then he is also playing a superhero and then the whole of myths that get associated with such films. We were also aware that the film will have massive expectations. I agree with you that these things should make you nervous because people go into the theatre with a lot of expectations. In terms of what you have to deliver, you must do your best to go beyond it. We have tried to do that.

You are not attending any promotional events at the moment. Are you still busy with post production of your film?
I am busy 24/7. There are three to four days more and then I am going to be jobless (laughs).

There were two units shooting in London for a few days. Karan Johar was overseeing the filming at Hardwick House in Ham and you were shooting action scenes in Temple (Central London). Why was that necessary?
The filming at Battersea Power Station was extended by a few days because of the rain and we ran into the schedule of the next planned location. The need for two units came up and fortunately Karan Johar was in town and I requested him to take charge of the second unit.

Which according to you is the most interesting character in ‘Ra.One’?
At the risk of sounding pompous, I am a righteous guy (laughs), so I like heroes more than villains.
Villains are very interesting but G.One is very intriguing to me.

How was your experience working with Shah Rukh Khan?
It was fantastic. I have worked with a very wide range of actors. I have worked with big stars, newcomers and now Shah Rukh Khan. It was one of the best experiences I had.

How was it working with Kareena Kapoor and why did you decide that she should be playing the leading female character?
Kareena is a brilliant actress. There is a very wide range of emotions that her character goes through. I am a big fan of Kareena Kapoor as an audience and I really like her and wanted her to be in my movie.

Recently filmed Bollywood productions attracted huge crowds in London. Did that happen to you when you were filming Ra.One last year here in the capital?
We feared that something like that would happen but fortunately most of the times we were shooting stunts, chasing sequences and indoors. We were mostly in secured zones and for safety reasons those roads were blocked off and nobody could get there.
But obviously, there used to be some fans around but really small in numbers. We had a very large security system making sure that G.One’s look does not get clicked.

Why did you decide to get Akon on your OST?
When we decided to approach Akon, it was the tune that made us chose him. When Vishal and Shekhar, my music composers, played me the tune we were thinking about who should sing it.
One of them said that this is so much of an Akon song and I told them that we should get him to sing it then. I asked Shah Rukh Khan and he said that he will try and he delivered. It was not intended that we are bringing Akon on board to add value. That just happened.

Which is your favourite song from the OST?
That is the toughest question you have asked so far. I think, Stand By Me (Dildaara) is my most favourite song.

What about your bet that the song ‘Criminal’ from your Soundtrack is going to be bigger than ‘Chammak Challo’?
Shah Rukh reminded me last night and asked me whether I have lost the bet yet or not. I told him no, let the film release. I love both songs but regarding the bet, I have to pay him less and he pays me much more (laughs).

You are holding a Premiere in London. How are you feeling about it?
I love London. I don’t know why, I am just trying to figure out the reasons why I love it, but I just do.
Being there for a Premiere of a film that I have made over six years is ideal. I will be there with my friends, my Indian team, my UK friends and crew members and I will have a lot of fun.

Ra.One, produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and distributed by Eros International Ltd will premiere in the UK at The O2 Cineworld in London on the 25th October 2011 followed by a nation-wide release on the following day.

This interview first published on Ikonz;

I requested Karan Johar to take charge of a Ra.One unit – Anubhav Sinha

Anubhav Sinha, who has directed Shah Rukh Khan’s most ambitious project till date ‘Ra.One’ has been in the news about other directors taking over his place due to differences with the leading actor, who is also producing the film.

These rumors started when Karan Johar came to London and was overseeing the filming on scenes between Kareena Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan at Hardwick House, Ham (south-west London).

Reportedly, Khan rented the house for a few days from a family for a hefty sum and shot scenes there while they were away on Holiday.

In an interview with Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik, Anubhav Sinha spoke about having two units in London for a few days and how it all came about.

“The filming at Battersea Power Station was extended by a few days because of the rain and we ran into the schedule of the next planned location. The need for two units came up and fortunately Karan Johar was in town and I requested him to take charge of the second unit,” said Sinha.

Ra.One was initially set in Miami instead on London. The Cash director explained: “We did a technical recce (location scouting) in Miami and suddenly the budget started to seem out of control. At that point, Shah Rukh decided to recalculate the budget and that would have meant postponing the shooting there which would have resulted in serious weather issues for the filming. The whole plan of shooting outdoors had to be changed and we needed to change the country and we decided on London.”

Ra.One, produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and distributed by Eros Internationals Ltd. is out on general release on the 26th October 2011.

This article first appeared on Pinkvilla

Katrina Kaif interview in London (Etihad Airways 2011)

Katrina Kaif is one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood. When she first debuted, the former model could not speak any Hindi, but since then has gone on to star in over twenty films and has won numerous awards for her performances. In fact, she is often described as one of the most hardworking actors in Bollywood. The 26-year-old star was last seen in Tees Maar Khan, which was highlighted by her infamous item number ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’. She is also the first Bollywood actress to have a Barbie doll created to her likeness. The actress is often called ‘lucky’, as most of her films do very well at the Box Office. As Etihad Airways brand ambassador, Kaif has just launched “Next Stop Bollywood”, an online dance competition in London. I caught up with the star to speak about her endorsements and upcoming films:

What did you think about Etihad Airways choosing a Bollywood actress as their global brand ambassador?

I thought that it was a very unusual approach of them. It’s not often for an airline to choose an ambassador. I mean, it is quite common for Indian actors to endorse certain products. I think it’s a little more common than in here in the west. But still, an airline choosing an ambassador was something almost a first of its kind.

Why did you accept the offer?

I am very familiar with Etihad Airways because as actors we travel so often to the UAE. I spend a lot of time there, especially for films. So I was very familiar with the airline. We bonded over a lot of concerns of mine. I personally thought they were doing something interesting, just what they wanted to do with the general awareness because of me being the ambassador. I thought their ideas were great and we talked about what we wanted to do. It’s been a great association so far. I think it has worked really great for both of us we are both very happy.

What do you like about travelling with Etihad Airways?

The whole approach to the lounge as it has a more relaxed attitude to travel. They treat it a bit not so intimidating and being a woman and travelling alone, I think these things are important. We also talked a lot about that. I am an actress so I travel all the time. What they are trying to do and the whole approach they have got towards travel, especially being a single woman is something I really appreciated.

You endorse various products in India, but is being a global ambassador different and comes with more responsibilities?

I do feel a bit more responsibility. Etihad is very close to me. I take this quite seriously, not that I don’t do with my other brands. But like you said, we do have a bit more of global interaction in terms of media, press or attending the match on Sunday. There is a bit more associated with it. You do have slightly bigger responsibilities.

You are here to launch an online dance competition, “Next Stop Bollywood”. How did that come about? Was that something you wanted to do?

It was their idea to be honest. They are creating more of a welcoming, fun, easy and laid back to approach to travel, not so much of a daunting task of world travel. I think that is just going hand in hand with this dance competition, as well as obviously our ad revolves around a dance, which is on TV. And then of course, you know they are keeping in mind, especially in the last year most of my work in India has been a lot to do with songs and a lot to do with the music from my films which has been really popular. You know, it’s a clever integration because a brand has an association with an actor and you also have to incorporate what the actor is doing currently. You can’t just ignore that. You have to post an entry on the song which is in the ad and you might get to meet me.

As you will be selecting the winner, give our readers some tips for videos they can post on “Next Stop Bollywood”.

Obviously, the dance competition is about the dance. I will be looking at that first and foremost. But also, you know the main thing I also believe about dance is that you can have some brilliant dances, but somehow they are not so enjoyable to watch. They don’t grab your attention on screen. They just don’t have that screen presence. So it’s not just about whether you are a technically trained dancer or technically perfect dancer. I just think it’s more about having fun. Performing the dance and enjoying what the music is trying to say rather than just executing certain choreographed dance steps.

What’s next for you with Eithad?

Right now it’s the competition, so next it will be announcing the winners, the meet and greet with the winner and media interactions. That will be the immediate plan next. I think it’s very exciting. As they come up with new ideas. With Eithad, we have always managed to something a bit more fun and vibrant. Even in the advertising pictures and the video. It’s not something you instantly think of.

Katrina Kaif’s traveling tips:

Always dress for comfort. It really annoys me when I see people dressing really uncomfortably going on a plane (laughing). I’m just thinking why would you do that? That’s important.

Everyone knows the basics e.g. Drink lots of water. I also think planning your flight schedules is very important, of course cost is important. You do have to be cost effective but also go for sensible well planned routes, rather than out of the way, back and beyond and nowhere to get back.

Now let’s talk about your films. Mere Brother Ki Dulhan? Imran thought that the title gives away too much.

Well, it’s supposed to! We are not THAT incredibly foolish that, hmm we wonder what people are going to think when they read this title. And Imran and I disagree all the time. You see, that’s not the point of the story. The point of the story is not that it’s about a boy, who falls in love with his brothers to be fiancé.

How was it working with Imran Khan? You just said that you disagree all the time.

We disagree, but in fun ways. We actually have a very odd equation in the sense that we are unlikely people to get along, but somehow we found a space that is actually really nice. He is a wonderful person.

Reportedly you are going to sing for the Soundtrack of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan?

No, that is not me! We already have one singing, dancing and guitar playing actor in the film. That is enough (laughs).

Ali Zafar is relatively new in the Hindi Film Industry. How was your experience working with him in his second feature film?

The most important thing about him is that he is talented. It doesn’t really matter what else he has done, what he is doing or what he is aiming to do. That is all his career planning. But he is really talented and as an artist, you really respect that. Even during our lunch breaks, he would just start composing a song and play his guitar. It is nice to be around people who are creative.

There are many rumours that you are doing more films with the production house. Have you signed a film opposite Shah Rukh Khan, which will be directed by Yash Chopra?

I think I will just have to say, if you maybe just give it a week or ten days. That is the time it probably comes out and let’s just wait for that (smiling).

What about the speculation that you might star in Dhoom 3 opposite Aamir Khan?

I am doing one already which is Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Now, two Yash Raj Films you have already speculated on (laughs). Maybe, I am doing two out of three but not all three of them (laughs).

I believe that you are doing the sequel to Dostana, directed by Tarun Mansukhani. When will you start shooting your first Dharma Production?

Yes, we all agreed in principle and the whole cast was announced. It is still in that status, where we don’t really know what is happening and all of us are going ahead with other projects.

Do you think it was poorly planned as you did give your dates to the director for the film?

No, I don’t think so. There is not a textbook way of getting a film on the floor. I have seen some great work happen in the films and the director’s mind and I have seen scripts down to the last word, and it turned out disastrously. So I don’t think that there is anyone right or wrong about what happened. Some things take their own time. If Tarun Mansukhani gets it together and feels its right, then it’s fantastic.

You are a successful actor yet, you don’t have your own website. Are you planning to launch an official website anytime soon?

I have no idea. I don’t know if people still do that anymore? There are like Twitter and stuff like that right?

But you said earlier, that you don’t want to be on a social network for now?

Honestly, I thought about it. If someone walks into my life and says that I will design a website for you, everything is done and just say yes. I will probably say go ahead and do it, but only if they are going to do a good job. I don’t really have the mind to that myself.

This interview first published in Ishq Magazine and BollySpice:

Press Conference; Speedy Singhs in London

Last Friday, the 23rd Septmeber 2011 saw some of the most lauded and iconic stars from American, Canadian and Indian cinema and entertainment take to the stage in London to promote one of the most exciting Hollywood crossover films to emerge in recent times, Speedy Singhs, releasing in the UK on Friday 30th September 2011. International comedy sensation, Russell Peters, and rising star of cinema, Vinay Virmani, joined fellow cast and crew members including much adored comedian/actor Gurpreet “Ghuggi” Singh and co-producer Ajay Virmani as they addressed the audience and conducted a Q&A session with media in attendance at the posh Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel, Knightsbridge.

Mr Ajay Virmani spoke about their promotional trip, introduced the actors and briefly spoke about the film: “We were just India and stopped in London because I understand that London loves Russell. He sold out the O2 for two nights in a row. We could not fly over London and not stop here. It’s a very simple movie. There is nothing complicated about it and is made from the heart. It talks about relationships and has a backdrop of Ice Hockey. But that is only a backdrop. There is also a message for families who come from India (to Canada) and struggle. It’s a story about a young boy who is coming of age.”

“Gurpeet Ghuggi is best known for his comedy in India and when He goes to places like Southall (UK) or Brampton (Canada) the traffic comes to a halt. You will see him in a very different character in the movie. Vijay Virmani is playing the lead in the movie and is also the storywriter. Breakaway/Speedy Singhs is his film and a lot is based on his experiences when he was growing up in Canada. And Russel Peters is the funniest person I have met in my life,” said the co-producer.

Speaking about the movie and co stars Ghuggi Singh said: It’s a great blend of emotions. I haven’t seen such a good film in recent times. It’s a great combination of Hollywood, Bollywood and Pollywood. Pollywood because I am a Punjabi movies actor (laughs). Even though Vinay Virmani is a debutant in this film, he has done a great job. It was great to share screen space Russel Peter because I have always admired him as a great comedian. I am really excited.”

Debutant Vinay Virmani, the leading actor and son of the co-producer thanked the media personas for coming to the press meet. He also went on to talk about the film and believes that wherever people are; India, Punjab, London or Toronto, they will be able to relate to it. He also believes that it’s a family film which everyone can watch together and enjoy. Speaking about its UK appeal the actor said: “The UK appeal is very special. We have every UK artist on our Soundtrack, from Jassi Sidhu, Rishi Rich, Veronica to RDB. The music is very special in this film.”

Russel Peters, who is worldwide famous for his stand-up comedy shared his experience of watching the film at The International Toronto Film Festival: “I was nervous before seeing the film. There were a couple of moments where I got teary eyed and that is not easy.”

Q&A with the Press:

As a comedian yourself, did you work together with the scriptwriters?

Russell: I took what they gave me and flipped it. Thank God they did not say that you have to say exactly this. I have been on sets where they say ‘Nah, that has been written and that’s what you have to say’. They allowed me to do what I needed to do.

How do you think will the background of Ice Hockey appeal to the rest of the Asian audience as it’s a big sport in Canada?

Vinay: Yes, it’s the national sport there. Hockey is Hockey. Hockey is the national sport in India and it’s in our blood. The only difference is that we play it on ice. I think there has not been a really good film in a while that showcased the sport. Hockey is also just a backdrop and a vehicle in the film.

Why did you change the name of the film for audiences outside of Canada?

Vinay: Breakaway is a very Canadian and Hockey term. It also means breaking away from traditions and cultures. We felt that Speedy Singhs is also a great title. It sums up the energy of this film.

Do you all know how to play Ice Hockey?

Russell: I have only played street hockey because I grew up in Toronto. Neither me nor my character in the film are Ice hockey fans.
Vinay: Shooting Ice Hockey is really tough. Fortunately, we don’t have much of it in the film.
Ghuggi: I actually tried twice to play but suddenly I thought I don’t have enough insurance (laughs).

What was it like to work with Akshay Kumar as a producer?

Ajay Virmani : It was wonderful. He is the co-producer of the film and brought the Bollywood element to the film. He also brought a lot of script sense to Ii as well as emotional elements that appeal to any sort of audiences but mostly to the Indian audience. He is very professional and always on or in time. He was also a great contributor the

Why do you not like to work in Bollywood movies?

Russell: I does not appeal to me. I have never watched a Bollywood film. I think most NRI kids watch Bollywood films because they see their parents watch them while they grow up and feel a sense of nostalgia.

Now that you have partied with Sonam and Akshay, Do you plan on watching their movies?

Russell: I always appreciate people as humans. Whatever you do for a living is irrelevant to me. Guys like Akshay and Anupam Kher are great people. I would love to find out if Sonam is a great person but the most we got to do was take a picture and she walked away and I was like ‘okay’ (laughs).

Speedy Singhs releases in cinemas across UK and worldwide on 30th September 2011.

Watch an exclusive video of Ghuggi Singh and Vinay Virmani dancing on “Ni Aja Ve” after a request from a journalist at the event:

First published on BollySpice:

Imran Khan Shares his experience about Dharma Production

Imran Khan is completely impressed with Karan Johar and Dharma productions. His upcoming movie with the production house, ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ featuring Kareena Kapoor has already created a buzz in the filmy duniya.

They just shot for a still photo shoot for the publicity of the movie. Without a doubt they looked fabulous together. He is all praises for his co-star for her extreme brilliance, on screen as well as off screen.

After ‘I Hate Luv Storys’, Imran is glad to be back with Dharma Productions. Karan’s support and belief in him at the lowest point of his career has been the limelight for him. He was offered ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ when he was facing a rough patch, the actor recollects. Post the shoot of the movie the bond between him Karan and Punit Malhotra (director of IHLS) has grown stronger.

Imran started shooting for the film after the release of ‘Break Ke Baad’ in 2010. Set in Las Vegas the film shows a span of five to six days in Imran’s life when Kareena Kapoor enters his life and everything changes. Speaking to me about this film and co-star Kapoor, Khan said: “I pushed for her to be in the film. Shakun Batra, the director, is a good friend of mine. He was a second assistant director on ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’. I always knew that He will make a good director and He was writing the script keeping me in mind. I think, he always had Kareena Kapoor in mind while writing the female character. The first time I heard it, I also told him that it has got to be Kareena.”

Dharma Productions plans on setting new records with the much anticipated and awaited movie of 2012. The film is set to release around Valentines Day 2012.

Tête-à-tête with Jiah Khan at the World Premier of Delhi Belly in London

Jiah Khan made a bold debut in Bollywood with Ram Gopal Varma’s Nishabd opposite Amitabh Bachchan. She was then chosen to play an important role in Ghajini, which went on to become the biggest blockbuster of all times. The young actress was last seen in Sajid Khan’s Housefull opposite Akshay Kumar.  Jiah, who has worked with Aamir Khan came out to support him at the World Premiere of his latest production Delhi Bellyin London.

When questioned what the 23-year-old star has been doing recently, she said: “Well, you should know as you follow me on Twitter. You know what I am doing constantly. (Smiles) I am working on a project, a feature film which is based on saving the tigers. It is a cause that is close to my heart, as I work with PETA quite a bit.”

Jiah has been working with PETA for some time and recently did a photo shoot for them posing as a tigress. Talking about her love for animals she said: “I have always loved animals. When I was in India, I used to pick up stray animals and bring them back home and my mother used to get so angry at me. But I just have this sort of compassion because they can’t really speak and there are a lot of issues. PETA approached me when they realised that I have passion for animals and I have been working with them since.”

Khan does not talk about the films that she is working on. The Housefull star explained: “I don’t talk about my films so much because I let my work speak for itself. The film I am currently working on will show me in a completely different avatar. That’s the Hollywood project everyone was talking about. I am still reading scripts of Bollywood films. I wouldn’t say I am picky but I just feel that the right film will come to me and that’s when I will do it.”

Talking about the different projects Aamir Khan is producing, she commented: “I think it’s amazing that Aamir Khan is producing films like Delhi Belly. He is definitely someone who drives our films forward with originality and I am excited to see the film and what he has done with that.”

A lot of people claim that one doesn’t get the same work in Bollywood if one doesn’t live in Mumbai.  Speaking about this issue Khan responded: “I do live in Mumbai and I spend my time between Mumbai and London. Depending on what I am working on at that moment, I spend most of my time at that place. Once you are known and you have done a couple of films, it doesn’t really matter where you are based.”

With many festivals screening Bollywood films in the UK she said: “I think it’s amazing as we have so many Indians in the UK. To have something like an Indian Film Festival, where they can see something that is not just a Bollywood film, but original is wonderful.”

The actress was being mobbed at the World Premiere of Delhi Belly but did not mind it. “I love meeting people. People have a different impression of me when they meet me”, the young actress said.

You can find out more about Jiah Khan by visiting her official website:


First published on BollySpice:

John Abraham interview about ‘FORCE’

Exclusive interview with John Abraham

Actor John Abraham talks about his new film ‘Force’ with Genelia D’Souza which is out on general release now in the UK.

1.       You’ve come a long way since your first movie in Jism (2003) to Force today (2011). Please describe your journey?

However clichéd this may sound, each day is really a new day with a range of experiences, ups and downs, high and lows – it’s life. But you just got to keep going and with the grace of God I’m still here and revving to go even further. I have given my level best to my profession and will keep doing so. My family and fans are my biggest inspiration and I will continue to aspire to meet their expectations. At the end of the day, I have grown as an actor, which is a big achievement for me.

2.       Your jaw dropping eight pack physique is the talk of the town. What tips can you offer (mainly our male readers) on how to achieve the perfect abs?

Well, a lot of hard work went into preparing for this role as my character required a very rough and tough look, I went through eight strenuous months of rigorous training to build the eight packs and look sturdy. But more than anything else I had to feel stronger and be prepared for some serious action. I am quite particular about my fitness regime which is quite simple – eat Healthy and exercise well!

3.       How does it feel to be approached by Hollywood’s ace stunt director JJ Perry, who trained Sylvester Stallone, to offer to train you?

It’s been an absolute honour to get such encouraging comments from a Global Stunt Icon himself! Mr Perry’s compliments have motivated me all the more.

4.       When shooting action movies there are always accidents or incidents on set. Were there any for you whilst filming for Force?

Force is a very high action packed film, hence required a lot of stunts. Although we took great precautions, some accidents did happen. I recall there was the stunt that required me to jump from one moving goods train locomotive to another. Instead of landing on my feet I lost my balance and fell on my back over a heap of stones. I remember I had 40 injury marks on my back! And then there are a few others – this has been a film where I’ve endured the most injuries but it was certainly worth it.

5.       You’ve been paired opposite Genelia D’Souza for the first time we believe. When you are working with an actor for the first time (especially if she is playing your love interest), how do you break the ice? What was your first interaction with Genelia like?

Genelia is so full of life – she brings so much energy on the sets, it’s amazing to work with someone like her. At the same time she is a thorough professional.  I had the most wonderful time working with her and look forward to the opportunity again. I think we make a great on screen couple.

6.       Would you class ‘Force’ among a contemporary genre of Indian films?

Force’ belongs to the classic action romance genre, but with some unique – state of the art action sequences, topped with some extremely exciting music the presentation has been modernized. It is also a very engaging narrative and plot line, with a strong romantic undertone set in today’s times. I am positive that audiences across the globe would enjoy and appreciate this movie as it has something for everyone – from hardcore action to high tension drama and a beautiful romance.

 7.       And finally, do you have a special message for your fans?

Thank you all so, so much for supporting me, encouraging me and wishing me well. Your love, affection and belief in me, is a big reason for where I am today, and continuing to take my career to the next level. Please go watch ‘Force’ – I am sure you will all enjoy it.

This interview first published on Ikonz:

Interview with Abhinay Deo at the UK Premiere of Delhi Belly

Exclusive Interview with Abhinay Deo.

Abhinay Deo is well known in the entertainment circuit as he has directed over 250 advertisements and made his debut in Hindi cinema with the Abhishek Bachchan starrer “Game”. Although his debut film released before Delhi Belly, the young filmmaker had completed shooting this film before he started his debut venture.
His second film as a director is produced by Aamir Khan and has opened The London Indian Film Festival 2011. Deo jetted into London to be there at the World Premiere of his second directorial and took some time out to chat to us.

Welcome to London

Thank you.

How are you feeling at the moment?

Anxious, excited… everything.

What was your first thought when you read the script of Delhi Belly ?

My thought was that this kind of a film needs to be made immediately. I wanted to jump on the film and make it immediately because I think, it was high time that a film like this got made in India for the Indian youth.

Is it hard to direct something like this, a dead pan comedy?
It is hard from the point of view that there is no precedence to it. Nobody has really done this and been able to pull this through. When there is precedence then you can always look back and say what has worked for somebody and what has not worked for somebody and use that for your advantage.
But here there was nothing of that sort in India. The bigger challenge was to get the actors tuned into deadpan stuff because they are not used to that. To make it even tougher, the basic language of the film was in English, so that made it even worse. I think from that point of view, we managed pretty well.

How would you describe the story of Delhi Belly?

Delhi Belly is about three guys and it’s kind of a span of four to five days in their life. By the end of the five days, because of the different things that have happened in their life they have come to age, almost.
It’s a story of that kind but there is no whatsoever message that we are trying to pass to the youth. It is an irreverent and fun film. It’s just a film about crazy shit that happens to them.

Imran Khan recently revealed that it took him about 5 screen tests before he was confirmed for the role. Why did it take so many screen tests for him, Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapoor ?

First of all, the problem is that auditions in advertising, where I come from and in Hollywood are not a big thing. It happens all the time. Auditioning is the way we cast for our films, so it is a little surprising for people in Bollywood. They almost get offended, though Imran was a great sport. He was fantastic as he did not flinch at all, because he was very clear that he wanted to do this film. But we did a whole lot of auditions because it was a challenge for me to get the right actors, as we were not casting out of the usual suspects, honestly speaking. So we wanted to get the right cast, the right person from the industry, maybe not from the industry, maybe someone completely fresh. They have to fit the bit and the role. The most important part was that they needed to be natural because that was my pre-requisite. That is the reason why we had multiple auditions for all these actors before we could finalise them.

It seems like Hindi cinema has grown to be more accepting of this film, more so maybe than it would have been in 2009. Would you say that to be true?

I really don’t know. I mean who is to say that? This is speculation. I really don’t know because everything has its own time and I believe in that. Whatever happens, happens at the right time and for the right reason. So, I don’t know. If two years ago Delhi Belly would have come out, who knows what would have happened.

Would you not have liked to have Delhi Belly as your debut film ?
I would like to have a Ferrari at this point of time. I would like to go to the moon (laughs).
The point is that, it is in our hands to make sure that we work hard and that we make a great film.
After that we just need to leave a few things to fat and then just trust it, believe in it and hope for the best after that.

Are you completely happy with the final product?

Absolutely, I am ecstatic.

Tell us about working with Imran, Kunal and Vir.

You know what happened in this film was very unique. Before the film started, I wanted to do a workshop. So for fifteen days, we actually put these three boys together.
In the film, these three boys are supposed to have stayed together for almost two years and they are buddies. I wanted to make sure that these three boys look like they are best friends and that they have stayed in that space for long enough. In the workshop, we went over the script, the lines, the scenes, the camaraderie and they actually ended up becoming friends over those fifteen days.
That I think is the unique factor and all of them are fantastic actors. I think Imran Khan has just outdone himself in this movie.

What do you think is the best thing about the film?

The irreverence of the film is the best thing about the film, I think. It is absolute irreverent and is not passing any kind of message.

This is also very unusual for Aamir Khan Productions to come out with a film like Delhi Belly. How much involvement did Aamir have in the production of this film?

Yes, it is very unusual for them produce a film like this. Aamir had no involvement in the pre-production and he was not there while we were shooting. He was shooting for one of his own films. After my ‘director’s cut’ was ready (about two years ago), he saw the film and then there were two other films that he was producing; Peepli Live and Dhobhi Ghat. We all decided together that we are going to give it a bit of a pause and keep this in the cold storage because Khan is a guy who likes to take one film at a time.
He took those other two films and released them well and then we got back to this project and fine tuned the director’s cut and here we are.

The music is fabulous.
Ram Sampat is just a genius.

Which one is your favourite song?

My favourite song, of course Bhag D.K Bose is everyone’s favourite but because I have lived with these songs for so long, I really love Tere Siwa.
It’s a love song and is not very popular and it’s just in the background in the film, like most of the songs. But Tera Siwa is just a fantastic song and is one of the best love songs I have heard in a very long time.
Switty Tera Pyaar is another favourite of mine and it is just absolutely hilarious.

What do you think about the music videos as they were shot just recently?
I love the video of Switty Tera Pyaar and Nakaddwalley Disco. It’s hilarious, I mean that Qawali is mind blowing.

What about Aamir Khan’s item song? How did that come about?

We really contemplated as to how we are going to do that item song. Finally, we managed to convince Aamir to take over the item girl’s part and become an item man and rise up to the occasion and just do it.
I think that he has just outdone any item girl that I have seen before (laughs).

What should the audience expect from the film?
They should expect a laugh.  Please do not expect a message because you will be really disappointed. I would just say to the audience to enjoy the film and that it is going to be crazy fun and look forward to Delhi Bellies in their life (smiling).

What went into the decision to premiere the film at the London India Film Festival?
There was so much speculation about this movie at that time and then Cary Rajinder Sawhney, the director of the festival saw the film and he believed that this is the right film that should open the festival.

What about the reports that the film was going to premiere at Cannes Film Festival?

We were planning at a point to premiere the film at Cannes Film Festival but we missed the deadline, as we were not ready with the print.

What is next for you?

I am waiting for a script to come my way which excites me as much as Delhi Belly did.

Ali Zafar Exlusive interview in London

Ali Zafar made an impressive debut in Bollywood last year with Tere Bin Laden.  After the success of his first film, the 31-year-old singer-turned-actor signed a movie with Katrina Kaif called Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, produced by India’s elite production house; Yash Raj Films. Ali Zafar was in London to film his third project which has been titled London, Paris New York and is produced by Fox Star India. Shooting for the project began in early August and the actor took out some time from his busy schedule to speak to me in London’s Covent Garden about his music, movies and his co-stars.

Welcome to London. What brings you here to this city?
I am shooting my next film here. It’s called London, Paris, New York.

Who is starring in the film besides yourself?
Aditi Rao is the heroine of the film. She was in Yeh Saali Zindagi and will be seen in Rockstar as well.

Did you actually plan to break it into the Indian market with debuting as an actor in the industry?
Yeah, kind of. I had it in my mind that I wanted to explore Bollywood, acting and films. I did music for five-six year and sometimes then, you want to experience something different. I wanted to experience cinema and I have acted before too.

You sang a few songs for Tere Bin Laden and one for your upcoming film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Is this something that you will do with every film, that you will be a part of?
Actually, for London, Paris, New York I am also composing the music, writing the songs and singing them.
You will see that in my future projects as well.

Well-known people from the industry liked your performance in your debut film. How did that feel as a newcomer?
It felt really good. If you get that kind of a reception right at the start of your career, you can’t ask for anything more. Also, Tere Bin Laden was not only a commercial success. It was also well respected and people loved the fact that this kind of a cinema was being practised. It would have been really typical, If I had come up with a rom-com or a musical.

That’s what you are doing now, as your second film.
Yeah, it was the second step. But for the first film to be like Tere Bin Laden was fantastic. All credit goes to Abhishek Sharma for having considered me for that role.

How did your next film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan come to you?
I was offered the film right after Tere Bin Laden. Ali Abbas Zafar, the director called me up and he thought that I would suit a role in MBDK after watching my debut film.

Do you like the title? Imran Khan does not like it and Katrina Kaif thinks its perfect.
It’s alright. I am not anybody to judge it. For me, the director and the producer are the best judge.
It’s their project. We as actors are tools to portray a story. It’s their creative decision. The film is a mass oriented film. It’s not a niche film.

You are playing the “brother” in the film. What should we expect from you in this film ?
There is a little bit of a surprise element in the film. I know that people are looking at it as a film about two guys who like one girl and fight over her. It’s not that predictable. It has a surprise element that is revealed in the latter half of the film. This guy wants to get married but does not know who the right girl is. He sends out his brother to look for her. He is a little confused on what he wants. It’s like a rom-com as a series of comical events happen.

Katrina told me that you are very talented. What do you have to say about her?
It’s sweet of her to say that. She was a very fun person and very convenient to work around.

She also told me that you would just break into a song at lunch break.
I don’t like to waste my time. I like to keep inventing and creating stuff. I carry my guitar on my sets and everywhere. I am musician at heart. So, I am like a musician on set acting. The time that I am by myself, I keep writing songs. Katrina is wonderful person to work with. Also, otherwise she is a wonderful person besides being an actress.

There has been a lot of speculation about your so called “cold-war” with Imran Khan, the other lead of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Was it weird for you to read all these stories about yourself?
I have been reading stories about myself for quite a long time. But since I have come into Bollywood, I have been reading more of them. I am kind of getting acclimatized to the media, press and how things go about. I am getting used to it but I don’t let it affect me at all.

Do you wonder who “leaks” these rumours?
I do wonder. But what can I do? After it was written, Imran was there at my birthday party too.

But do you not believe that there is no smoke without fire?
I don’t know. I like to think positively. Even if there is something, I would like to think that the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

How was it working with Imran Khan for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan ?
It was great. He is very comfortable to work with. He is just like a very regular, nice and sweet gentleman to work with. We would sometimes burst into laughter while we were shooting some funny scenes. While the lighting was being sorted out, we had to look at each other in the eyeS. I would say something and he would start laughing. Sometimes, our scenes had to be stopped because we went into fits of laughter.

Do you think it’s your luck or talent that your second film is with Yash Raj Films ?
Both. I have worked very hard in life. Some people are getting to know about me now. But I have worked really hard for the last ten years as an artist, not just as singer or actor. I started working very early in life. I stepped out of my house at the age of eighteen, started making portraits at a hotel lobby. I got 500 Rupees per portrait. I made money through that and bought my keyboard from my first savings.
From there things started going upwards. Fame is nothing new to me and it took me a while to actually learn how to enjoy it. I enjoy the process more than the result. You know, for me this is important when the film is being shot, that day, that very moment rather than what’s going to happen when it will release. Is it going to be success or not, who knows?

What is your favourite song from MBKD?
Dhunki is nice. The title song is nice too.

Do you not like your own song Madhubhala or are you trying to be modest?
(smiles)I like my own song too. Yeah, I thought I attempt to be modest. I like it because it has been composed and written nicely. In fact, there is a story to this. There was another song that was written and then one day, we decided that this song where everybody gets drunk and gets mad should be madder. The previous song was nice too and it has a nice melody by Sohail. But Madhubala, I thought if you want to go crazy then go all the way out like Khaike Paan Bana Raswala or Jai Jai Shiv Shankar and all those songs. When Irshaad Kamil wrote the lyrics, it was something I instantly liked it and I tried to sing it in a way that the listeners feel the joy.

There is a lot of news about a Premiere in London besides one in the UAE. Is that true ?
Yes, that’s right. I think Abu Dhabi is the 7th September and London is the 8th.

A meesage for your fans:
Just a very warm Thank you to all these people who accepted me. I am thankful for their appreciation and I do it all for them. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Ali Zafar’s next Mere Brother Ki Dulhan will be released on the 9th September worldwide.

Interview with Kareena Kapoor in London

Kareena Kapoor is Bollywood’s most sought after actress. Whether its films or brand endorsements, the 30-year-old actress is in demand everywhere. She is also the only actress who can flaunt about having films with all the Khans, due to release over the next six months. She has been given titles for the “sexiest” and “number one” actress but takes them lightly as she prefers her work to speak for herself. I caught up with the actress in London to talk about her forthcoming release; Bodyguard, while she was here on a private holiday with beau Saif Ali Khan.

What is Bodyguard about?
Everyone knows that it’s this big Salman Khan movie and it has got action and comedy. But the best part of this movie is that it’s basically a love story. That is the emotional and strong part of the movie. That is where my character comes in.

What is Salman Khan’s character in the film?
He is the bodyguard to this girl, played by me who goes to college. She tricks him to fall in love with him to get rid of him, as he is constantly annoying her. Through that process, she actually falls in love with him. Then the saga starts and it’s very deadly and entertaining.

Why an emotional love story with Salman when the recent films you did together did not work at the Box Office?
Salman has not done a love story in a while. He has either been doing action or comedy.
This film has got everything in it to make it a success.

Why did you decide to be part of this film?
I think, because of the role. In a Salman Khan film, this is actually the only film where the girl is the backbone of the movie.

You have a British actor in Bodyguard, Hazel Keech who plays your friend. How was your experience working with her?
It was great working with Hazel. She is a lovely girl and I know that she is from London. She has a special role in the movie and I hope people like her as she has acted really well.

How was it working with Salman? He is said to be always late on the sets.
Well, actually I am quite a late person myself. I am not a very morning person. So it has actually worked out perfect for me because Salman is never on the set before eleven and I don’t wake up before ten. So, that’s great (laughs). It suited me fine because I hate early mornings.

You have a very nice desi look in the film. Did you decide on your look in the film or did you leave that to your designer?
I think, it was both Manish Malhotra and me. We sat down and decided on the look. Obviously, the desi look that you see in the film works for me very well. Everyone likes that look more. I think my fans like to see me in that sort of getup. The look has colour and is glamorous but is also traditional and nice.

Is Divya (Bodyguard) similar to Geet (Jab We Met)?
Not really. Of course there is Punjabi and stuff like that but there is nothing really similar. When you see it, you will know that she is fun and bubbly but that’s me. Geet was completely different. Geet was iconic in its own way and Divya is quite special in its own way.

What is your favourite song from the film
I love Teri Meri Prem Kahani. Everybody is listening to it and they love it too.
Have you seen the original Bodyguard?
I have seen the Mallayalam film.

Does the film have a surprise element or is it different from the original one?
It’s simple, nice and there is no gimmick to it. Apart from the action, it’s quite pure.

As Bodyguard is releasing worldwide on Eid, it stars you and Salman. Do you think there are higher expectations from the film?
Of course, there is this Salman and Eid connection and it’s his first release after Dabangg. But I am quite sure that people won’t be let down. It has got everything to make the movie a huge success.


Which director would you like to work with in a solo Heroine film?
I would love to work with Imtiaz Ali again and with Raj Kumar Hirani again.

If you could remake one Hindi film with Saif which one would it be?
With Saif? Oh God (laughs). Actually, I should be asking my fans this. They should give me ideas on which film they would like to see me with Saif in a remake.

Produced by Atul Agnihotri, Alvira Agnihotri and Reliance Entertainment, Bodyguard is releasing worldwide and in the UK on the 31st August 2011.

This interview was first published on IkonzWorld:

Other links;
Digital Spy    :

Interview: Akshay, Katrina & Farah talk about ‘TMK’


It was a cold and rainy Wednesday in London on the 15th of December 2010. As I made my way to a central London five-star hotel on the London Underground, I was writing up some questions that I could ask Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and director Farah Khan (Om Shanti Om).

I arrived at the Hotel and  found out that Katrina, who was in Dubai promoting Tees Maar Khan, will arrive later. I did not have to wait long and soon found myself in a room with the man himself; Akshay Kumar and the fabulous director Farah Khan.

I introduced myself to both and Farah asked me if I am “The Sunny” from Twitter. I quickly responded with a wide smile and a yes. The interview was arranged via Twitter as they initially had no time for all the interviews.

What is the USP of Tees Maar Khan?
Akshay: I have never done this kind of role.The title itself is a very unique title. Also, that I am working with Farah for the first time and on top we have Sheila is the USP of the film.

There are already talks about a sequel before the release. Is that confirmed?
Akshay: If we get the right story for a sequel which can continue with a part of whatever this story is about, but also at the same time it depends on how successful this film becomes and if they like the character. Only then, there is a point of making a part two.

Farah: I think it’s a great franchise. It’s a character based film, like you have genres like Pink Panther and Austin Powers. I think Tees Maar Khan can be the first Indian film with a character based caper comedy.

How was your experience working with Akshay Kumar?
Farah: He is absolutely fabulous to work with and he is sitting right next to me, so I won’t say anything else (laughs). As an actor, as a star there is no one better to have in your film.He is bang on time and if I need him at six in the morning, He will be there at 5:30. Other than that, He will do anything that you ask him to do, he gives 200% and he improvises and will give you two to three variations of every shot. In fact, we always did one shot my way and one his way.

Your film Main Hoon Na was a commercial entertainer, yet had a bit of a message woven in there with Project Milap and that at a time before Veer Zaara was a huge success. Is Tees Maar Khan just an entertainer or more than that in some way?

Farah: I don’t really think we have any social massages.“Do we have any ?” 

Akshay: No, I don’t think so. Do movies like Pink Panther and Austin Powers have social messages? No, so it’s the same kind of genre. It’s releasing during Christmas and we want people to come and enjoy themselves.

Farah: But it’s a cleverly written film.

Akshay: Let me tell you something about the film. This guy Tees Maar Khan has been given a job to remove 10 thousand kilos of antiques from a moving train and he has to do it alone. That is what the film is about and Shirish has cleverly written this film but in a funny way.

You have 
been collaborating with many International Artists like RDB, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris. But for TMK you didn’t. Is there any specific reason for this decision?
Farah: I am an International artist Sunny, I take offence at that (laughs).

Akshay: This film does not demand it and we don’t have to bring in someone just for the sake of it.

Farah: We have Katrina Kaif and she is an International artist, she is from London. (laughs)”

Tees Maar Khan came into trouble with the censor board because of some words, the name Sheila and a bare midriff. I thought the censor board had become more relaxed, what happened?
Farah: Yeah, what is that?  We were actually quite baffled by that too, because I swear, I thought this is a children’s movie. I did not even go for the censor screening because I thought that we are definitely going to get through.

Akshay: And you know in London we got PG and not even a single cut.

So we don’t have the cut here?
Akshay and Farah: No.

Akshay: No, No wait a minute, there is no cut in India. The only cut is “Beep ki Jawaani”.

Farah: No, Its “Beep Ki Lutti Izzat.”

Akshay: Yeah (repeats the line).

Farah: So you can put in anything you want instead of beep (laughs). Also, the new censor board is not relaxed. The earlier censor board was, but from the last two months…

Akshay interrupts: But when they saw “Sheila Ki Jawaani”they were relaxed (laughs).

Farah: (Laughs) No, when they saw Sheila they said you have to remove the name and then I was not relaxed at all. There were some unusual requests that her stomach can be seen etc.

Akshay: But then she explained that when we wear a Saree, then it’s obvious that you see the stomach.

Farah: and half the country wears Sarees, so yes it was quite unusual. The chairman of the censor board is very sensible and the revising committee was more than fair.”

This is the first time Akshay is playing a Muslim character.
Farah Khan: Yes.

Akshay Kumar:No it’s not the first time. But that film was not successful so you don’t know about it (laughs).

Farah Khan: Ok that means, that it’s the first time (laughs)

Akshay Kumar: Ok, I take my words back (laughs).”

How did Akshay’s character Tabrez Mirza Khan become Tees Maar Khan?
Farah: Both have the same acronyms;TMK. Tees Maar Khan is a title given to Tabrez by his fans and by his cronies. Tees Maar Khan actually means a smart aleck, somebody who is very smart and very good at what he does.For example; you think you are a Tees Maar Khan means like you think, you are over smart.”

I hope you don’t take offence at this but I have to ask you…
 Farah: What went wrong with Shah Rukh Khan and me and why is he not in my film? I am actually giving out crowns for this question (laughs).”

Akshay, were you affected by how the media has tried to make this all a feud between you and Shah Rukh with all the rumours that the film was rejected by him in the first place?
Farah:Let me just put this rumour to rest as the first person I called was Akshay.

Akshay: I will tell you why she called me by the way. She called me because I am the only person, who is awake in the morning at 6 o’clock and if anyone else would have been awake the role would have gone to him. (Laughs) I am just joking…

Farah: When my husband Shirish was directing it, the script went around to certain producers but when we decided that we will produce it and I will direct, Akshay Kumar was the only choice.

You have only given super hits so far and secondly this is the first film for your own production house so how did you deal with the pressure?
Farah: Actually Sunny, I didn’t have to deal with the production pressures. Shirish looked after the production. Akshay was a fabulous co-producer, the money was always on time and so was he. Sometimes the money would come before him (laughs).

There was also news about Katrina being constantly late on the sets.
Farah and Akshay: No, No..

Farah: Katrina is very hardworking. There were times when she was late and that was because the costume had not arrived on time or the costume designer was not there. Especially in Sheila Ki Jawaani, we stitched the clothes onto her so that nothing would give away while she was dancing. She is late today for your interview that I can’t handle (laughs). But she was bang on time for the shooting.

How did Salman Khan come into the film for Wallah Re?
Farah: It was the simplest thing on earth. I asked him that everyone is going on about, that you are doing a song in my movie so why not do it. And He said okay, when do you want me to come and do it? It was that simple.

Khan asked me whether I want to take a picture with her and then tweet it. She also said that she would have taken it on her phone but doesn’t know where it is, probably dead of battery lying around.After this very fun and friendly interview, I waited  in the Hotel lobby for Katrina Kaif to arrive from the airport, so that I can get an Interview with her too. Just after half an hour, I saw Katrina Kaif in a beautiful white dress, walking towards the press room. She was more beautiful and taller than I imagined her to be. And the wait continued

Katrina Kaif

When you were shooting Sheila Ki Jawaani, did you realize that it is going to be so big?
I don’t have any thoughts in my mind to fight anyone or compare it with any other song. It’s about doing the best that I can do. In my opinion, Sheila Ki Jawaani is very very different to Munni Badnaam which it is being compared to,which coincidentally Farah Khan has choreographed anyway.

Do you think there is too much emphasis placed on sexuality rather than beauty nowadays in films?
I would still like to think that it’s about beauty and not sexuality. That’s what I have in my mind. I am the one performing on the song. Farah has conceptualised it. The words she has described to me are loving and enjoying the dance, energy and confidence.

What is the most challenging part of your role?
The song (laughs). All her (Farah Khan) movies have that one special song with the girl. I was not going to let her down but I was really nervous about it. I put in a lot of hours to make sure, I look and dance well.

What was the first thing that attracted you to do TMK ? 
It was Farah Khan. It was like Farah Khan is directing her next film and I would like to work with her. Then, luckily for me there were a lot of things that I found challenging and then in terms of the character, I thought it is a very funny look.

Playing a wannabe actress in the film, did you draw any inspirations from any real life actresses for your role?
I hope not (laughs). My character’s problem is that she is obsessed with cinema and acting, for all the wrong reasons. She is obsessed with the glamour, make up, costumes, people looking at her and not in the acting or scenes.

So it’s a fun look at it. But I will ask Farah: Were you inspired by anyone?

Farah: I don’t think I am going to answer that question.

This interview was first published in Ishq Magazine.

On Location with Zayed Khan in London

Welcome to London
Thank you.

How has the schedule and trip been so far?
The trip has been really hectic. I have been in and out of shooting two movies. I also have been shooting for my own movie (besides Tezz), which is Love, Breakup Zindagi. We shot a portion of this film (Tezz) in November last year in Birmingham and now we have come back to finish the rest. It has been hectic, but I can’t complain as London is a nice part of the world. It is a bit distracting but nice.

What is Tezz about? It is said to be a remake of Hollywood blockbuster Speed.
There is this terrible rumour going around which is completely untrue. It has got nothing to do with Speed, nothing at all. It is basically a high paced action drama film. It deals with the antagonist and protagonist.

You are playing the good guy, I believe?
You know, I usually play the good guy. You would believe that, if I was playing the bad guy (laughs).
But I don’t know as in today’s world, what is good and what is bad as far as you choose a character in it’s totally. You see the redemption and the justification of every character. I think I will let you be the judges when you go and see the film, of whether I am good or bad.

I sense some similarities with your Bollywood film Speed in terms of genre.
Not at all, they are very different films. Priyadarshan, the director, is doing an action drama after really long time. For him to  come back into this genre and making the high-octane film that he is making was very attractive to me in the first place. And of course, I love doing action films. 
Priyadarshan is really stepping out of his shoes and has got this new baby energy towards doing this kick-ass action film. I think it was well worth it, as he is quite a challenging director to work with because he wants you to come up with the goods every day. In that sense, it has been quite nice.

Tezz has a big cast. Who do you bond with the most on the sets?
I think, with Ajay Devgn. Ajay and me go back a long way. We were neighbours when we were kids. He is a bit older than me, but we know each other since before we were actors.  Ajay is pretty much the person I would like to hang around with.

Your recent films Blue and Yuvraaj had big casts, just like Tezz. Is that a conscious decision to act in films with an ensemble cast?
I don’t know. I don’t know whether they have been good decisions or bad decisions. I just had this attitude of working in films that were larger than life. I wanted to work with very good directors in that sense, because I thought it would be great to have an experience of the sum of all the experiences they had. It would be great to be directed by stalwarts like them.  I guess, that was the conscious decision that I made. However, my fans aren’t too happy about that. They constantly coax me into doing a romantic comedy or coming in solo movies, which I am now making.  It has been quite a merry-go-round, but I don’t know if it was conscious or unconscious really.

It was reported that you and Ajay met with an accident while shooting in Birmingham for Tezz last year. What happened?
It wasn’t an accident actually. We were shooting in the canal and of course, it was freezing cold. I was sitting on this Jet Ski and there was this stunt guy, who I think misjudged an upcoming boat, which was not locked off. I don’t know whether he panicked or whether he thought that I was behind him and he had to do something to divert himself from an accident. Ultimately, we just all fell into that water. It was not only dirty and filthy, it was freezing cold. I am a really good swimmer, but I remember coming out and feeling like seventeen thousand daggers were going into my heart. I couldn’t move (laughs). Ajay was standing on the side, laughing at me and joking that it serves me right for doing my own stunts (laughs).

Are these action scenes in Tezz a bit of challenge for you?
There is a lot of satisfaction in doing action sequences yourself especially if you can really nail it.
 Of course, while shooting in London there are so many hazards and so many insurance things and everybody wants to be your mother and doctor (laughs). They just don’t allow you to do this stuff that you want to do. And considering that the film is at stake, if anything happens to you, the entire film suffers. There were certain stunts that I wanted to do and I was not allowed to do them. 
I like doing my own stunts and I have been doing so for a very long time and it gives me a high, you know (smiling).

You just turned producer with Born Free Entertainment. How did that come about?
Quite honestly, every time I wanted to do a romantic comedy, something or the other happened and it didn’t take off. I was very stubborn about the kind of romantic comedy I wanted to do and I was not willing to do a slap-stick romantic comedy or something that has been done before. I wanted to do something that is very new age, something that was a slice of life, something that takes entertainment and filmmaking sensibilities and combines them together and comes out with something new and interesting.  One day, I was sitting with Dia (Mirza) and she thought why don’t we start something as every time we want to do something, there is always such a big difference between what we think we are getting into and what it ultimately turns out to be. We are bound to make a few mistakes but you never know if you don’t venture out there. It’s like nothing ventured, nothing gained.
That’s how Love, Breakup, Zindagi came up. Dia came up with the germ of the idea, Sahil started writing it and I was involved in the editing. We have a lovely partner in Sahara Motion pictures and they have been extremely supportive.

As a producer, what is filmmaking for you about?
Any film you make has to have universal appeal and be entertaining. It has to have social relevance and most importantly it has to be economically feasible. Film making is really not a business. It’s so much to do with passion. It is also a business considering that you have to break even and make some money on top to be considered having a blockbuster film and get people’s attention too.
But I think, the fun element about being associated with something that you will be remembered for and something that is going to immortalise you, was more for the taking for us.

I have got a few questions from your Twitter fans.

Naina: When will Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene come in cinemas?
That’s a really good question actually. We have almost done the film and we have got five to ten days left. It is a really interesting film and it’s just about honest guy in a dishonest world. He has taken for this roller-coaster ride which he really does not want to be on. The producers of this film they tend to be the kind of people who look at market forces before they release a film. They have very different sensibilities about what this film should be and how it should be marketed. I don’t know, if I am the best person to answer this question.

Asim: Which of your own movies would you remake if you could?

I think Shabd was a movie very ahead of its time. This is a film; I think we could do again with this whole beautiful idea behind it. There is another one, Mission Istanbul. If we had an opportunity to revisit that and restructure it, it could have been really big. I think that is something, Apoorva (Lakhia, the director) and me ponder on, a lot. I don’t know if the editing was handled very well.

Zuha: Out of all the characters you’ve played, which one resembles you most in real life?
That is pretty difficult because I am constantly evolving as a person. I guess, during Main Hoon Na, that character represented me best at that time. If you see Love, Breakup, Zindagi ,which is coming up now, it would best resemble me right now. You are never ever really the same person.

So finally, when are you planning to join Twitter?
(Laughs) You know, I am a very private person actually. I don’t subscribe to the idea that I should have a view on somebody else’s thought or I should be telling everybody that I am out of bed and looking at the sunshine and I am really pondering over what I am going to do next in my shot to come. I find that very self-indulgent and very invasive. But my sister, Farah Ali Khan makes up for the fact that I am not on Twitter.

I was in Birmingham and this girl was shouting ‘Zayed, Zayed…’ and I was like ‘yeah’. She asked me “Are you Farah Khan’s brother?” Something just hit me and I was like ‘yaah’.
She was this blonde girl with blue eyes and I could not make the connection really. I was thinking that she wanted an autograph. But she said, “Tell her, I am a big fan” that was very sweet and I did tell her (laughs). My sister is still coaxing me to join Twitter and who knows, I might surprise everybody.

Tezz, directed by Priyadarshan stars Ajay Devgn, Zayed Khan, Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani, Sameera Reddy, Kangana Ranaut and is produced by Ratan Jain.


Imran Khan on Break Ke Baad

Actor Imran Khan jetted into London in November 2010 to promote his then upcoming film; Break Ke Baad with producer Kunal Kohli.
The duo spent two days promoting the film, giving interviews, going to radio stations and attending promotional events.

I had the opportunity to speak to Imran Khan for Ishq Magazine, Germany which turned out to be a long casual chat which could have gone on for hours.

Congratulations on the success of I Hate Luv Storys.
Thank You

What have you been doing post the release of IHLS?
I had a little bit of shooting left for Break Ke Baad. Right after that, I started shooting for film with Katrina Kaif by Yash Raj Films called Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.

What is your upcoming film Break Ke Baad about?
It’s about a couple who have been together for a long time and they break up and after that, you see what happens. You will see how their lives are progressing independent of each other. It’s all about how they grow up and how they figure out who they want to be and what they want to do in life.

What really excited you about the film?
It’s a love Story. Ultimately, you will walk out of the cinema feeling that it is good to be in love and in a relationship. The film celebrates love and romance.

In “I Hate Luv Storys” you had very conventional female and male characters, a bit
clichéd with the woman being of course the die-hard romantic. In Break Ke Baad this is notably different as here it’s the guy doing the sacrificing while the girl gets to follow her ambition. How well do you and the people around you fit into this guy-girl cliché?
Well, yeah I guess you can call it a cliché. But in this case it is not as cut and dry as you are making it out to be. The guy is a diehard romantic and believes in Love. He will do anything to be with the girl that he loves. For me, that is a classic romantic hero. I found this really endearing and interesting in the character.It attracted me to the script. I think it is what people will take away from the film.

According to reports, you are also playing a diehard Shah Rukh Khan fan in the film?
Well, no. There is only a line but it is not like the character is a diehard Shah Rukh Khan fan.

In Break Ke Baad though, as far as I understand, the hero is Hindu while the heroine’s character is a
Muslim, yet that doesn’t seem to be an issue in the film at all.
Yes, but we don’t really develop on that and it is not an issue.

Does this mirror a change in Indian society or is this limited to Bollywood ?
I don’t think so. I think it is something we have talked about quite a bit in Hindi films. It has always been an issue in India, not necessarily in India but in Indian culture. There have always been issues and there have always been problems. But we have tried to talk about it in films a lot. In this film it is not an issue though. We don’t talk about it and we don’t give it any importance.

How was your experience shooting for Break Ke Baad? It is a very young crew and I have heard you had a lot of fun in Mauritius.

Let me tell you something. I have never been with a crew, that parties so much. Every single day after pack up there would be a party. Danish hired one of those mini buses which we called the party bus. So the location was an hour away from the hotel and we would party along the Break Ke Baad songs in the party bus.

Vishal and Shekhar have done something really different this time with the music. Which is your favourite track?
It’s an English song called “Don’t worry about me”. It’s very different and not your average Hindi film album. It has a very progressive sound and it’s great that Danish had the guts to do something different. I really hope that it does well.

The director never wanted any promotional club song or an upbeat song. How did it eventually come about though?
The “Adhoore Remix”, I don’t really care for, so the less said the better. Talking about” Doorian Bhi Hain Zaroori”, I have always been in favour
of the idea to do a lip-sync song. I am a little bit more traditionalistic in terms of films. I like the “Bollywood Masala” and some of the clichés. I think lip-sync songs do well. People like them and like the hero and heroine dancing and singing. I have always believed in it and I pushed for it. Initially, Danish did not want it but then it came up as a very serious discussion. Danish only agreed if we find a good song and Deepika and everyone else agreed as well. Danish had to find a song, which took him forever because he only wanted a really good song and was not willing to put anything else on the album.

In the interview we took from you right before your first film (Ishq Magazine), you said:
“We are in a position to change society and that’s what we should do.As actors we have that power”.
Until now, you have not shown any indication of being drawn to films with a social message though.
Has nothing suitable been offered to you? Or do you think it’s too early in your career and you first need to establish yourself?
On one hand, I have not been offered anything. On the other hand I don’t feel it’s necessary to do so only through films. Films are made for the primary reason of entertainment. As a secondary thing, if you can get across a message it is a good thing, but it’s certainly not necessary. It is something, I have tried to do in my personal life. Something I do, is encourage young people to vote. Every year, I have done campaigns to encourage people in Mumbai to vote. Animal Welfare and being economical responsible are the kind of things that I feel very strongly about and I give time and money to these causes. I don’t feel it’s necessary and don’t know whether it will work really through films.

Your upcoming film “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” (My brother’s wife). Do you not think the title gives away too much?
Yes, I do. I was never in favour of the title but my objection was overruled.

Karan Johar signed you for another Dharma Production film called “ Short term Shaadi” (working title).
Yes, I will start shooting for the film on the 28th of this month.

The film is with Kareena Kapoor?
Yes, I pushed for her to be in the film. The guy who will be directing the film is a good friend of mine. He was a second assistant director on “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”. I always knew He will make a good director and He was writing the script keeping me in mind. I think, he always had Kareena Kapoor in mind while writing the female character. The first time I heard it I also told him that it has got to be Kareena.

What was your reaction when you heard the script of  “Break Ke Baad” for the first time ?
I said No to it.

You also said no to “I Hate Luv Storys” the first time you heard it. Does this mean you are very choosy about your scripts?
I don’t get involved in redrafting or making changes to a script. To me it either works or it doesn’t. I don’t like sitting with someone and changing the script to something else because then, It might not be what they want. I liked the first part of Break Ke Baad but not the second half. So, I told the director that I don’t feel it’s working and good luck with it, I can’t do this.

How did you come back to “Break Ke Baad” ? Were you presented a new script?
I bumped into Danish at a friend’s place. We spent the whole evening chatting and I felt that I really connected with this guy. The next morning He called me and told me that he has reworked the script. I read the script again that very day and I loved it.

Was Deepika Padukone already signed for the project when you accepted your role?
No, she wasn’t. There is a very short list of female actors in my age group. I was already shooting a film with Sonam Kapoor (I hate LUV Storys). We were looking at different female actors and this was shortly after the release of “Love Aaj Kal” which Deepika was really good in and everyone liked her. This made us really think about her and then we watched a song from “Love Aaj Kal” on Youtube called “ Choor Bazaari”. Whatever she was doing in that song was what our character, Aaliyah Khan was. ‘It’s her’ we said to each other.

The film has been promoted on Facebook and Twitter. Did you not feel that you should have stayed on Twitter for the sake of promoting “Break Ke Baad”?
I feel that is the wrong reason to be on Twitter. I think, if you are on there just to promote your film it is very cynical and people can see through that. There have been people in the past, who signed up a month before the release of their film. If I can see through that, I am pretty sure that everyone else can as well and I don’t want to be that guy.

In an Interview you said that Ranbir Kapoor called you up and said that “Luck was horrible”. You must be very close friends then ,I presume?
Yes, we are friendly and there isn’t that barrier of propriety between us. I will use that as an example, as “Luck” was generally not liked and it wasn’t successful. So there is that level of honesty between us that he could tell me that “Dude, I saw your film and I didn’t like it.” A lot of people will do the opposite and will tell you that you are doing fine and that is not helpful. So, I am using that to illustrate that there is that level of honesty between us. On a personal level, he is someone I like and on a professional level he is a hell of an actor.

What happened on Koffee with Karan Season 3 with  the lip lock between you and Ranbir Kapoor?
(Laughing) We are professional actors and we know how to fake it. It is going to be a hilarious episode. I was shattered with a lot of travelling and night shootings when I shot that episode. We actually hijacked the show from Karan Johar. It was Koffee with Ranbir and Imran and Karan was our guest (laughing).

According to reports you and Ranbir said on the episode that you want to be in Dostana 3. Was that a joke or would you want to do that?
It was a joke that had come up during Filmfare, when I and Ranbir were shooting for the first time. It was kind of nice that we referred to that joke and just carried it on.

What is happening with Delhi Belly, which is your upcoming project?
We have completed the shooting and it is in the process of editing. It has been slated for an end of April release.

It’s an Aamir Khan production and the last we have seen from the production has been something with a social message. What kind of film is Delhi Belly?

Delhi Belly isn’t that kind of a film. It is a very off beat kind of a film. It’s like a caper comedy. It’s an entertaining and fun film but with no social message.

Khan remembered me from his recent visit to London to promote IHLS. Imran signed an audio CD of “Break Ke Baad” and posed for a few pictures.
The actor then attended an expensive “Meet and Greet Dinner Party” in London on the same day.

This interview was first published in Ishq Magazine

Kunal Kohli on Break Ke Baad and more..

(This Interview first published in Ishq Magazine)

Kunal Kohli arrived in London on the 11th of Novemeber 2010 to promote his first non Yash Raj Films production “Break Ke Baad”. He spent the whole next day with the Brit-Asian media, promoting the Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer. I had the opportunity to get the last interview, just before he was leaving for something.

  • Why did you decide to promote the film in the UK and US at last minute?
    I had always planned to come to the UK and US. They are important and growing markets. Imran is a relatively new actor. He has been around for 2 to 3 years. I think he needs all the push that he can get and should get in the UK. Karan Johar (Producer of Imran Khan starrer I Hate LUV Storys) did a wonderful job of promoting him here. I am trying to take that here on further.
  • You have co produced TPTM with YRF before. This is your first production independently. How was your experience?
    I think it was very nice and a learning experience. I am very happy to be a producer. It gives me joy to see into every minute detail and make sure that everyone else is happy.
  •  How much involvement did you have on the sets of Break Ke Baad ?
    I was on the sets a lot but I was never on sets to check up what was happening and not to interfere. I just made sure that everything is going good. I just went on the sets because I love being on the sets and it was a lovely and friendly set with a lot of nice people. So I actually just went on set to meet the lovely people.
  • Did you ever have the urge to get involved with anything on the set like a director does?
    No, I was very clear from the start that Danish Aslam is directing it and he will do a good job of it. So I had no urges to say anything except: “Can I have some tea please?” (laughing)
  • Danish has assisted you on your previous projects. How did he come up with Break Ke Baad?
    I knew that Danish Aslam will make a good director one day. After Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic I thought that he is ready to be a director and asked him whether he has a script.
    He gave me a 20 page concept of Break Ke Baad and 47 drafts later we had a script (laughing).
  • How much involvement did you have in the script writing ?
    I did contribute a bit to the script but not enough to be called a writer. That is why the story credit is Danish and Renukha. They consulted me all through the process and we worked together on the script.
  • The music of Break Ke Baad is very different. Danish Aslam did not want any promotional songs or remixes initially but  did end up with both . How did that happen ?
    This was just one of the jokes, that you say in-house with your crew. He thought he did not need one, but after we talked about it he agreed that it won’t harm anyone.  
  • Imran-Deepika, was that always your first choice ?
    Yes, they were. Imran was in and out of the film. He first agreed, but then left because of script issues, however came back after we made changes to the script. It was in and out for Imran so he came into the film “ Break Ke Baad” (after a break). But once Deepika Padukone was confirmed she remained on the project.
  • Will we see you back as a director soon ? Will you produce your upcoming projects yourself?
    Of course, I am primarily a filmmaker and will always be one. I am starting a film with Saif Ali Khan very soon. Yes, I will produce it and I have always been involved with the production of my films in some way or the other.

After the interview, I found out that Kunal was suffering from food poisoning and was heading out to buy medicine when I arrived. He did make an appearance at CHAK89 in London to promote the film with Imran Khan. He aborted his promotional trip to the States and went back to Mumbai instead.

Also, He recently confirmed that Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor will be in his next directorial venture. Nobody really knows why Saif Ali Khan was ousted from the film.

(This Interview first published in Ishq Magazine) Photos: Sunny Malik

Promoting Break Ke Baad