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.

Teri Meri Kahani

Kunal Kohli’s next, tentatively title Teri Meri Kahani has been shooting in England since last month. Leading actress Priyanka Chopra only arrived a day before the first day of the shoot, after wrapping up a cameo in Shah Rukh Khan’s RA.ONE.

Shahid Kapoor who plays the leading hero in the film was already in London for a shot vacation. The 30-year-old actor was often seen shopping around in the West End and indulging in pan-Asian noodles at restaurants.

The first UK schedule started in Stratford upon Avon on the 22nd July and was wrapped up in five days.Scenes for the movie were filmed outside town pubs, on the river, at the bandstand and outside Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Teri Neri Kahani is a story of a young couple, Krish (Shahid Kapoor) and Radha (Priyanka Chopra) who fall in love. According to Mr Bahri, the producer of the film, it was essential for them to shoot in Stratford, birth place of William Shakespeare, as references are made to him in the story.

“We came here to do a recce and as we walked into Henley Street we just knew we had to film here. Stratford as a location has never been seen before in Bollywood,” he told the Stratford upon Avon Harold, a local newspaper.

On last Saturday filming took place at the Old Thatch Tavern. The scene involved the Jab We Met actor getting ‘arrested’ and taken to a ‘police station’ (the tourist information office). Scenes were also shot at the bank of river Avon in a boat where the couple fell asleep together after an all-night party.

The Bandstand was used to film the all-night party on Monday evening and shooting continued until the early hours of Tuesday in Bards Walk. Kunal Kohli, the director of this love story also filmed some scenes outside the Birthplace of Shakespeare on Tuesday night.On Wednesday, the last day in Stratford, the crew filmed in the empty Royal Shakespeare Company’s Courtyard Theatre where both actors performed on stage portraying their roles respectively.

The cast and crew has since moved to Nottingham where they will continue their second UK schedule until the 13th of August. The actors started shooting at the prestigious University of Nottingham on Friday, the 29th July. They filmed in Nottingham and Long Eaton with Priyanka Chopra until the 8th of August. Shahid Kapoor and new actress Neha Sharma will continue filming until the 12th of August 2011, where one day of shoot will also take place in Leeds.

Most of the crew will be leaving the UK on the 13th of August 2011.

Bollywood stars hang out in London despite riots

Bollywood glitterati Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Ali Zafar, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma descended into London a few days ago. Unbeknownst to them, the city was in its most dangerous time in decades, when riots spread across the capital.

Shah Rukh, Ranbir and Anushka arrived on the 8th of  August 2011 to attend the logo and new identity  unveiling   of Hero Motocorp (formerly known as Hero Honda). The high-profile corporate event was also attended by Oscar award-winning music composer A.R Rahman, American singer Akon and former tennis player Boris Becker.

The event was held at The O2, London on Tuesday, the 9th of August 2011. All three actors rehearsed for their speeches and performances a day before on Monday. While Ranbir and Anushka took time out to do some shopping in the West End, Shah Rukh did not leave his residence except for his rehearsal.

Ranbir Kapoor posed with bikes, King Khan performed with Akon and gave a brilliant speech and Anushka performed with several dancers to entertain the audience at the event. After attending the event, Khan met up with good pal Priyanka Chopra, who was in the UK for a film shoot.

The 7 Khoon Maaf actress wrapped up her shoot for Teri Meri Kahani in Nottingham on the same day Khan, Kapoor and Sharma arrived in London. She immediately took off for London and was there for three days. A source close to the project has informed us that the remaining schedule of the film with Shahid Kapoor and upcoming actress Neha Sharma will be wrapped up on the 12th of August in the UK. The next schedule will be in Chandighar, India.

Another source has revealed that Priyanka and Shah Rukh had meetings with the owners of Cineyug, a concert and event management company while they were in London. They have apparently agreed to do a show here soon. It might be a promotional concert that Shah Rukh is planning for his upcoming sci-fi flick Ra.One, but details are being kept under the wrap at the moment. Priyanka has since left London and started the shooting of Burfee in India.

Actor and singer Ali Zafar, who made a sensational debut with Tere Bin Laden in Bollywood has been vacationing in London too for a couple of days.

I can assure you all, that all these actors are/were safe from the riots happening in the UK. I met Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra during their stay in London. Check out these pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BollySpice link: http://bollyspice.com/26330/bollywood-celebs-in-london-despite-riots

Emraan Hashmi is the original stud: claims Superstud Ashmit Patel

This week on UTV Bindass Superstud, the competition gets tougher for the studs and to give them a few tips Ashmit has invited the man who knows it all, the man known to charm the ladies and steal hearts, Emraan Hashmi. He visited the Stud farm and was delighted to meet his good friend aka Superstud, Ashmit Patel after a long time.

Soon after they met, Ashmit introduced Emraan to the contestants, who were equally excited to interact with him. While introducing him Ashmit proclaimed “Emraan is the original stud and the boys should look up to him and definitively note down the tips given by him”.

When asked about his views about this show and what he thinks of the opportunity given to the boys, Hashmi commented, “The concept of the show is very novel and it’s the first time in India that such a show has been showcased. I think the contestants should just learn and follow so that they go ahead and inspire more people.” Well, we hope the contestants get some amazing tips from the Superstud of Bollywood!!

Watch as Emraan Hashmi boosts the confidence and even puts to test the skills of the Superstuds contestants. Catch the battle on UTV Bindass Superstud on Sunday 14th August 2011, 7pm.

Bebo does a “Mandakani” for Bodyguard

The Bollywood industry had recently turned upside down with the whole dilemma of whether Kareena Kapoor has agreed to do the Mandakini act for a film or not.

Will the Kapoor girl do the bathing act that still remains fresh in audiences’ minds was a question that had kept many under deep curiosity.Well the actress has finally come out of secret doors and did the most famous ‘Mandakini’ act for ‘Bodyguard’ along with the hunk Salman Khan.The song is a love track between Kareena and Salman titled ‘Teri Meri Prem Kahaani’ , shot in Film City over three days – last Saturday Sunday and Monday.Sources from the set revealed that Kareena was seen donning a beautiful white saree for the first time specially this act, she gracefully danced under the rain water and was very comfortable performing the choreography of the song, which was done by Vaibhavi Merchant.

Not only that, Bebo had few changes in other sarees as well but she absolutely loved her white saree look. Sources from the set couldn’t stop talking about her look in the saree under the rain water and how she perfectly matched Mandakini.

Atul Agnihotri says, “we shot the love song ‘Teri Meri Prem Kahaani’ with Salman and Kareena recently. Kareena looked absolutely stunning in the saree. The audiences will surely enjoy the song and fall in love with her all over again.”

Bodyguard is touted as this season’s biggest film; after ‘Wanted’ (2009 Eid release) and ‘Dabangg’ (2010 Eid release) Salman’s ‘Bodyguard’ is all geared up to release this Eid on 31st August, 2011.

‘Bodyguard’ is a romantic action film starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Directed by Siddique, the film is a remake of the director’s 2010 Malayalam film of the same name.

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.

Interview: 
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

Preity Zinta at a Press Conference , University of East London.

Press Conference for Dr. Preity Zinta at the University of East London.

A short press conference with Preity Zinta followed by DRAMA !

How do you feel today, receiving the Honorary Doctor from the University of East London honored ?
In my career I have always won awards for films. I am humbled as this is the first time I am getting something  for my cultural contribution and for my humanitarian work. So this is also going to be extremely special to me and it is going to be the closest to my heart.

How does it feel to get the Honorary Doctor specifically from UEL ?
I went around the campus and the Vice Chancellor told me and found out today that there are a lot of Indians here. I believe 1/3 is White, 1/3 is Black African/ Carribean and  1/3 is Asian. So its very diverse. I also believe they are working towards women entrepreneurship and I think that is fantastic.  As soon as I came in I met this lady who was doing digital printing on clothes and fabric. So this is actually the first time Ive come here and seen all this and its fantastic. And I hope I can continue to be a part of this university in some way or the other

You turned down doctors in the past ? Why UEL ?
It was for other things besides films. I thought ok this makes sense as opposed to the other times. Of course it was an honor. It’s not like I have left my education halfway. I have studied and know the effort it takes to go and get something like this. You have to study for a couple of years. You have to go there you have to make that effort and then you can achieve it. So at that point of my life I thought just because Im doing a film or a performance I don’t think I deserved it.

As the press conference finished, Dr. Preity was scheduled to give individual time to the present press. After finishing short interviews with magazines, newspapers and online media, the actress went ahead to do some TV Interviews.However, after some journalists from India asked her some controversial questions regarding the ownership of her cricket team, she refused to answer and stormed out of the room.

Imran and Kunal Kohli in South London – Break Ke Baad

On Saturday night, Imran Khan and Kunal Kohli made an appearance at CHAK89 a restaurant in South London to   promote their upcoming film Break Ke Baad. For this special event tickets were sold for up to a £100, which included a private Meet and Greet time with actor Imran Khan as well as performances by an upcoming Asian British band called Deewan. A group of young dancers also paid tribute to Kunal Kohli and Imran Khan by performing on the songs of Hum Tum, Break Ke Baad and I Hate Luv Storys.

The event, which was being advertised by Atif Malik as a “Break Ke Baad Promotional Dinner Party” was earlier claimed to be fraudulent by the Times of India. The official spokesperson for Break Ke Baad had said, “We are going to the UK around the same time, but we are not aware of this.” A source close to the film had also said that the advert, which was going around on the Internet was unethical and no member of the cast and crew will make an appearance at CHAK89 on November 12.

However, those stories were false and the event did happen. During my interview with Imran earlier that day for another publication, he mentioned the meet and greet event that he was going to go to.  Atif Malik, who organised the promotional trip in the UK invited me to the event which turned out to be very special.

Imran Khan and Kunal Kohli, both looking very handsome arrived in a stretch limousine. Kunal Kohli introduced the film to guests by saying, “Break Ke Baad is about space and why people need space in their relationship. Another thing we will talk about in the film, which is also a layer of the film is when we decide to go ahead in our career path which clashes with what our parents had planned for us.”

He also went further to talk about his personal experience, “I remember when I became a filmmaker my parents asked me Why don’t I become a CA or a Doctor. Why do you want to be a filmmaker? Well if you do want to be one, then do a MBA as well.”

The crowd cheered when Imran Khan was introduced by Kohli and came on stage. Imran thanked the guests and organisers for being there with him and supporting his film. He was, of course, asked about his marriage and Imran confirmed that he is going to get married next year in court. His fiancé, Avantika, and he have been together for eight and a half years.

Talking about Break Ke Baad he said, that it’s a simple romantic comedy. At the end of the evening, Imran Khan and Kunal Kohli were mobbed by the many happy female and male fans, all which wanted a picture with them.

Therefore, Imran and Kunal were escorted out through the fire exit leaving many guests thinking that they will come back eventually. It was a wonderful event overall and a great, but expensive opportunity for fans to get up close with their favourite stars.

(This article first appeared on www.bollyspice.com. Pictures : Sunny Malik)

                               Kunal  looking bewildered at the sight of  10 photographers and 2 cameramen covering their appearance.

                             

Imran Khan enjoying a beverage at CHAK89.

                                                                                             

Dont forget to watch this exclusive video: (Courtesy of CHAK89)

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

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