Tag Archives: Deepika Padukone

Interview: “We should start a campaign in the UK, to make me the next Indian James Bond” – Shah Rukh Khan

srk-mahiraHe is known as the biggest movie star in the world, yet not everyone in the UK knows him. Meet Shah Rukh Khan; Bollywood superstar who has appeared in over 80 Bollywood films and won 14 Filmfare Awards, India’s equivalent of the Oscars.

The Bollywood star boasts of 23 million followers on Twitter and 22 million likes on Facebook. Even over a decade ago, his movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) was the highest-grossing film of the year, ahead of James Cameron’s Titanic at Cineworld Feltham, west-London, which testaments his popularity among south-Asians living here.

Besides owning a plush house on Park Lane in London, Khan has filmed numerous movies here. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Arts and Culture by the University of Bedfordshire in 2009. In 2015, he was conferred with a 2nd UK honorary doctorate degree by the University of Edinburgh, given in recognition of his success as an actor with a global reach and his outstanding record of philanthropy, altruism and humanitarianism.

However, Khan’s stardom often sees him involved in controversies. His latest release RAEES was dragged into the political tensions that erupted last year between India and Pakistan, as the leading actress of the film, Mahira Khan, is Pakistani. Political parties had threatened to attack cinemas that would screen the flick. The actor had to go and meet the head of the political party MNS in Mumbai to negotiate a safe and smooth release. Apparently, the politician demanded that the actress shall not promote the film in India in any which way and apparently, Khan agreed.

Speaking about the controversy to BollyNewsUK, he said, “There was a time controversies bothered and disturbed me. I just couldn’t understand why some of the things were happening. Then l realised, that is what I do for a living. I make and release films. A Shah Rukh Khan film is an occasion for many people. I have realised that it’s more important that families across the globe have the option to watch my movies. I now know that it’s my responsibility to make the experience of watching the film for the viewer as comfortable as possible.”

Even in 2015, his film Dilwale faced bans in India after Khan commented about “intolerance” in India and was branded “anti-National” by many. “I have realised with my film “Dilwale” (2015) that I am putting viewers at discomfort. They want to see the film but there are situations due to controversies, which make the experience awkward. In the past, I have not understood why, but people have attacked my stand on certain things. I am clear that my stand now is for the viewer to be able to go and watch my film without fear.”

“After working in the industry for twenty-five years, I think its now my job that a film reaches everyone. I’m okay with going to meet people to explain to them what the film is about and hear their opinion to make it a smooth release. I have realised that I need to do this and well in-time, not two days before the film is out. I have started the process much earlier. If people have issues, I will address them,” said Khan.

SRK, as he is often called by friends and fans, also worked with ex-porn star Sunny Leone for a special song in his new film. While Sunny has enjoyed stardom in India, this is the first time a mainstream superstar has worked with the porn star-turned-actress.

Talking about the special song, a recreated version of Bollywood hit ‘Laila Main Laila’, he said “We wanted to capture the time period, the costumes and the feel. That is why we did not go for a popular Hindi film actress. Sunny Leone is marvellous. We did not want to take a famous actress for it as it’s not meant to be an item number. In the film, the song is one of the most crucial moments.”

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Khan, who owns Red Chillies Entertainment with wife Gauri Khan, has is eyes set to get into international distribution as well, after producing movies and ads in India.  “I am very clear that at Red Chillies Entertainment we want to start slowly distributing films ourselves. We have done that in India. To begin with, we have to partner with studios and ZEE is a good partner for the UK and USA for Raees. It’s easier now to get into overseas distribution. We have regular distributors and the business model has become easier. Its not for any other reason. All other distributors like Yash Raj Films, Eros International and UTV etc. are fantastic. But the main concern is that filmmaking has become more expensive. We want to market them a certain way and control how they released. We are making more than one film a year now and we know them better than studios. Dear Zindagi was only released in multiplex cinemas. We felt that this model will work for the film. If we had a distribution partner, they may have assumed that it’s a Shah Rukh Khan film and needs that kind of a release. But Dear Zindagi was not a Shah Rukh Khan film of a commercial calibre. The overseas release is very important, more so for me. My films sometimes do better overseas than domestically. That keeps us going. The overseas markets are perhaps bigger for me than for any other actor, ” said the actor.

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SRK has often played negative characters throughout his career and those have often stayed the most memorable for his fans such as his portrayals in Baazigar, Darr and Don. Talking about revisiting a negative character he said, “I have a simple take on these negative characters; you can either like them or dislike them. As a character, I never try to justify them. If he is bad, he is bad. I don’t make any excuses for the character as an actor. Inherently, this character is a bit of a tragic hero. He makes some mistakes, which turn out more than what he had bargained for. He has a choice to get away with it and never be paying for his mistake, but he takes responsibility for his actions. This makes his somehow heroic, or the protagonist. I think, what people will take away from the film is that you need to take responsibility of your actions, whatever the outcome may be.”

Shah Rukh Khan was named the 2nd richest actor in the world but does not have his eyes set on Hollywood like other Bollywood exports Priyanka Chopra (Quantico, Baywatch) and Deepika Padukone (xXx – The Return of Xander Cage).

“Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone as well as others like Irrfan Khan, Om Puri and Anupam Kher have done a great job. They are opening doors for Indians in the western film industry. I am too old to take advantage of it. I’ll make films in India. But we should start a campaign in the UK to make me the next Indian James Bond. I’ll be a third generation Indian living in London, who joins the MI6,” says Khan laughing.

Interview: Deepika Padukone talks about xXx: Return of Xander Cage

 

In xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone stars as Serena Unger, deadly rival turned xXx partner-in-crime in Vin Diesel’s merry band of lethal misfits. Tasked by the NSA’s Jane Marke (Toni Colette) with retrieving ‘Pandora’s Box’ –  a nifty little gadget capable of hijacking and weaponizing satellites – the third installment in the franchise sees Padukone and Diesel (joined by Donnie Yen, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, and Rory McCann) in a race against time to save the day.  

Listed by Forbes as one of the highest paid actresses working today, 31-year-old Deepika Padukone is one of the movie’s most beloved stars in her native India. Her collaboration with co-star Vin Diesel and director DJ Caruso (I Am Number Four) in xXx marks her Hollywood debut.

What’s it like making your Hollywood debut
It’s been so exciting and so much fun. I think this was the most perfect launch of a new film that anyone could have asked for, period, especially considering what a big franchise movie it is and that Serena, my character, has such a strong part – so different from the way we’ve seen women in action films before. I think all of these things made this experience, for me, truly special.

Tell us about your character, Serena Unger, and how you approached her?
I think my approach was pretty organic. For me, Serena is someone who’s very today, very contemporary. And she’s also very relatable. I remember watching action films when I was a little girl and thinking ‘Why am I watching this movie?’ Because there was nothing to relate to. When I read the script of xXx and saw what an important role Serena plays in the story, first as an individual – strong, confident and intelligent – and then how she works with others to form a team and even lead the group when she needs to… Well, I was hooked. She has a lot of fun moments as well and a lot of romantic moments too… I think all of these things make it so, so relatable, especially for women. I think every woman has that strong, heroic voice inside them. I think Serena is the representation of that voice.

(L-R) Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger, and Toni Collette as Jane Marke in xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios
(L-R) Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger, and Toni Collette as Jane Marke in xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios

It seems like the part was written specifically for you.
In a way, yes… Vin and I had begun working together on another project that didn’t work for logistical reasons. But I had such a great experience when I met him and he remembered me from that when he decided to revive XxX.  And so I didn’t have to audition for the role. It just landed in my lap because I was right for the part. Everyone now, of course, is asking me “How does it feel to represent your country with this film?” I think all of those things are amazing, but as an actor the most important thing is just to fit the part… And so I think that it’s very, very flattering. Especially that when they decided to write the film, they thought of me first.

What kind of training did you do to prepare for it?
The physical part of it was what I needed to focus on most. The character herself was very relatable, as I said. It was something that was very organic. But the gun training, the weapons, the knives – those are the things that I needed to work on. I had done an action film in India before. But it didn’t involve any weapons. The minute you have weapons involved, the kind of focus and concentration that’s required is much more intense. And so to get there, we would rehearse every weekend. We’d film Monday to Friday, and then train over the weekend to make sure we’d get it right.

What was it like working with Vin?
I felt very comfortable. I think it helped that I’d met him before and that we had that connection. So when I walked onto the set, I felt like I already knew him. It was not a new relationship that I had to discover. But also there was DJ Caruso. You know, it’s so important to have a director who believes in you and who keeps feeding you that energy and making you believe that whatever you’re doing is beautiful and amazing. At least, I’m that kind of actor. I need my director to keep telling me that I’m doing well, because that gives me the confidence to do even more. So my sense of confidence and comfort came from Vin, but a lot of it came from DJ as well. It really came from both of them.

MUMBAI, INDIA – JANUARY 12: Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone attend the Mumbai Fan Event of the Paramount Pictures Title “xXx” on January 12, 2017 at PVR, Phoenix Lower Parel in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Ritam Banerjee /Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
MUMBAI, INDIA – JANUARY 12: Vin Diesel and Deepika Padukone attend the Mumbai Fan Event of the Paramount Pictures Title “xXx” on January 12, 2017 at PVR, Phoenix Lower Parel in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Ritam Banerjee /Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

What was the vibe on set like? From what I’ve heard, it sounds like the cast formed a special bond making the movie?
Absolutely, films will come and go but it’s the experience that stays with you forever. We became a real family making this film. And I think everyone really gave their best effort to make the best film possible.

What was it like to be finally filming the action sequences? Is there a particular scene that stands out for you?
There are a couple. First, there’s the one after the grenade sequence where I take down those Russian guys in hand-to-hand combat… I was in so much pain after that day! You know, almost a week after that I still couldn’t move (laughs)… The other fun sequence for me was the one with Ruby Rose, where we’re both firing weapons. We had to train constantly to get all the elements right for that, because we had to be perfectly in synch with each other. That was another really great one for me… In the film it takes place in slow motion. It’s an action sequence, but it almost looks like a beautifully choreographed dance scene.

How does your Hollywood experience compare with your Bollywood one? How are the two different and how are they similar? And how will it affect your career?
They’re exactly the same. The same energy, the same love, the same work, the same enthusiasm, the same ups and downs that any film would go through. I don’t know how my life is going to change after this movie releases. I honestly don’t know if any of that is going to be different. But the filming experience for me was exactly the same as it was back home.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: (L-R) Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen, Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone and Ruby Rose attend the European Premiere of Paramount Pictures' "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" on January 10, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures) *** Local Caption *** Tony Jaa; Nina Dobrev; Donnie Yen; Vin Diesel; Deepika Padukone; Ruby Rose
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 10: (L-R) Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen, Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone and Ruby Rose attend the European Premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” on January 10, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures) *** Local Caption *** Tony Jaa; Nina Dobrev; Donnie Yen; Vin Diesel; Deepika Padukone; Ruby Rose

We’ve talked about how the part was written with you in mind. Did you have any additional input as to her development before the cameras rolled?
I actually went in a couple of weeks before they needed me to start filming and I remember doing this brainstorming session with the writer and with my director. We sat locked up in my room for an entire day, just going through it, scene by scene. She was already a well written character. But there were certain things that I thought I could add, certain things I could remove, certain feelings or emotions to highlight, which only an actor can do when you step into it and you ask certain questions. So I went through that entire process with the writer and director and I think that for me was the most fruitful experience. Because once we had that out of the way, when I actually started filming, I had no questions. I had no doubts. I knew what I was doing with Serena. I knew where her journey started and where it was going to end.

What was it like watching the finished film for the first time?
My first reaction was that we made such a beautiful movie that’s also entertaining and fun. Obviously, it’s got the adrenaline. But there’s also a socially relevant message there. It’s very difficult, I think, to come across scripts that have both. Sometimes you have films that really have a very strong message, but they’re not very entertaining. And then you have the entertaining films that just leave you feeling nothing. For me, xXx is unique. It has all the action and adventure, and it’s fun. But at the same time, it makes you think. Best of all is how DJ Caruso has blended it all together so seamlessly.

Will there be more films in the franchise? And if so, will you be back for more? Will the franchise continue?
I don’t know. I think it’s too soon to tell. I think we first need to share this film with the world before we can think of anything else… Right now we’re just focusing on sharing this with the world.

XxX: Return of Xander Cage is now in cinemas.

 

 

Poster Unveiled: Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani #MastaniPoster

Eros International and Bhansali Productions unveiled the first grand poster of Mastani with the stunning Deepika Padukone today at Mehboob Studio.

Keeping in line with the grandeur and big scale of the magnum opus, Bajirao Mastani, Deepika Padukone unveiled the huge poster of Mastani. She spoke about her journey as Mastani and how Bajirao Mastani has been the toughest film of her career till now both physically and emotionally.

She further added that every woman will be able to relate to Mastani after watching Bajirao Mastani.

Watch the ‘Deewani Mastani’ song here:

Eros International will release the film in UK cinemas on 18th December 2015. 

See photos from the launch here:
Deepika Padukone Mastani Poster launch (1) Deepika Padukone Mastani Poster launch (2) Deepika Padukone Mastani Poster launch (3) Deepika Padukone Mastani Poster launch (4)

‘Bajirao Mastani’ Teaser released

Eros International has released the first look and a teaser of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much-awaited Bajirao Mastani, the epic love story of an unsung warrior king and a fearless protector of the Maratha kingdom.

Watch the spectacular teaser of Bajirao Mastani on ErosNow:

Produced by Kishore Lulla & Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bajirao Mastani stars Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone & Priyanka Chopra. The film is set to release in UK cinemas on 18th December 2015. 

Priyanka in Bajirao  Mastani UK Release

Deepika Padukone innn Bajirao Mastani

Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani

60 Days, 60 Shots – Deepika Padukone‏

The makers of Piku, starring Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan, have released a new promotional video.

Titled, “60 Days, 60 Shots – Deepika Padukone‏”, the clip features behind the scenes and candid moments of the 29-year-old actress with her director Shoojit Sircar and her co-stars.

Get ready for Indian’s cinema’s most delightful and quirky family comedy drama movie, when PIKU releases worldwide and in UK cinemas on 8th May 2015, produced by MSM Motion Pictures, Rising Sun Films and Saraswati Entertainment and distributed worldwide by Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd.

Deepika and Amitabh Bachchan in Piku

Katrina Kaif to launch her wax figure in London on Friday, 27th March

Bollywood superstar Katrina Kaif will descend into London this week to launch her wax figure at Madame Tussauds on Friday, 27th March 2015.

The Bang Bang actress won a public poll last year, beating Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, to become the next Bollywood star to have a wax figure made in her likeness for the world-famous tourist attraction. 

Fans can win a chance to attend the launch by entering a competition online: 

Katrina’s wax figure will be on public display at Madame Tussauds London from 28th March 2015. 

The cast of Piku fight it out !

Piku Teaser YRFDeepika Padukone who will next be seen in and as Piku ,directed by Shoojit Sircar is extremely excited with the family comedy drama, so much so, that the she is going all out to ensure that she gives the slice of life family entertainer her complete focus.

As the trailer of the film is set to come out in few days and will also hit theater screens along with YRF’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, the makers have today launched a unique, quirky teaser that sees the star cast in an amusing argument over the film’s trailer and promotions.

Sources reveal that in one of the creative meetings, Deepika Padukone happened to mention a fun way of introducing the trailer, with a teaser that sees Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan and herself in an argument, discussing whether the trailer is up to the mark or not, in their own character roles!

When contacted director Shoojit Sircar confirmed, “Yes, Deepika happened to bounce the idea off us and we loved it immediately because it was unlike other conventional teasers. The team further worked on the idea and we are very excited to see the way the audience reacts to it”.

PIKU releases in UK cinemas through YRF on 8th May 2015.

All Work, No Respite For Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone at the photo shoot for her upcoming release, PIKU.
Deepika Padukone at the photo shoot for her upcoming release, PIKU.

Whoever said being an actress is all about looking glamorous certainly doesn’t know the hard work that goes into being one.

Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone is one of the most successful actresses today and yet, basking in her success is the last thing on her mind and certainly nowhere in her schedule.

The actress has been putting over 18 hours of work for her upcoming film PIKU and yet her work commitments don’t cease at that. The gorgeous girl recently spent a whole day at a photo shoot and then without a break or any respite went straight into dubbing for her film. Her day ended in the wee hours of the morning, but work didn’t seem to stop there. The Cocktail actress went straight into the sets of BAJIRAO MASTANI later in the morning.

“It is amazing how she manages all her timings and gives each and every commitment of hers the due importance, she is one of the most professional girls today and seeing her work so hard, you know why she is at the very top today,” exclaimed a source close to the film PIKU. 

PIKU will release in UK cinemas on 8th May through Yash Raj Films. 

Interview: Varun Dhawan talks about ‘Badlapur’

Varun Dhawan - UK Interview - Badlapur (1) Bollywood’s chocolate hero Varun Dhawan made his Hindi film debut with Karan Johar’s last directorial Student Of The Year a few years ago in 2012. He has since starred in Main Tera Hero and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Many may not know that Varun in fact studied at Nottingham Trent University before he joined the glamorous world of movies and was a pretty normal young lad, and to some extent still is.  

The 27-year-old actor, son of prominent film-maker Dawid Dhawan (Raja  Babu, Biwi No.1, Mujhse Shaadi  Karoge), managed to charm audiences worldwide with his boyish smile and his energetic funky dance moves. Varun was also lauded for his acting skills and was the only actor from his debut film to receive a special Tweet from Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, who called his acting in the film ‘exceptional’.

It is no wonder then that the young actor is experimenting with his roles and not playing it safe by only acting in rom-coms in order to expand his fan base, which young actors tend to do.

Dhawan returns to UK cinema screens this month with the dark noir-drama Badlapur, releasing nationwide on 20th February 2015. Some may call it a risky film for the actor do to so early in his career.

Excited and nervous at the same time about his next project, the actor opened up to our Bollywood correspondent Sunny Malik and talked about the much-awaited film and much more…

How do you look back on last year?
It was amazing. I feel it has been a very long year too because it started with Main Tera Hero. It was my second film and I was really scared and nervous. Then going into a film like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania was different. I just feel a better connection with the audience now. I just don’t want to let them down.

Varun Dhawan - UK Interview - Badlapur (2)As you made your debut with Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt in 2012, there are always comparisons with the two regarding film choices, box office collections etc. How do you deal with that?
I just find it really silly that directors, producers and actors are compared. There is no reason to compare us because we all work in a very creative field. I don’t feel it is correct to compare us to others. I am not really bothered when I am compared with someone else. I don’t take it very seriously. What I take seriously is criticism towards my work. I hear that and it inspires me to do better.

Badlapur is a risky film for you…
Many people did say that. At the end of the day, I try to hear the audiences’ voice. I signed Badlapur after my debut film Student Of The Year. After my first film released, there was a certain section of audiences that were saying that it was a children’s film and that these actors have baby faces. I was told that I sound like a child. In a way, I took that criticism and heard what the audience wants. Badlapur is not your regular Hindi film. I can guarantee you that we have filmed things that you would not have seen in Hindi cinema before. We have been true to the film and the genre. Whether the film is good or bad, the audience has to decide that. We have not held up our punches back. We’ve gone for it.

 

There were reports that you were depressed while you were making the film…
Yes, I was to a certain degree. I was not clinically declared depressed but I was heading there. I was to a certain degree very sad. I don’t  want to use the term ‘depression’ loosely because it is a serious illness. It definitely did affect my mental health. I was prescribed and did see a doctor for it as well. It took a toll on me. Maybe because I am young and I saw things I haven’t seen before. Maybe that is why it hit me harder than it would someone of an older age.

Varun Dhawan - UK Interview - Badlapur (5)Deepika Padukone also recently opened up about her battling depression…
At the end of the day, it’s all about your emotions. Regular people go through something like this too. But they have a perception in their head that actors are super humans. It becomes very aspirational in our country. I don’t think it should happen. They should know that we get affected as well. We do bleed when we get cut. I always say that I want my fans to see me as their friend. I openly talk about these things because I want my audiences to connect with me.

Badlapur was earlier supposed to be produced by Saif Ali Khan’s production house, Illuminati Films…
It was completely irrelevant to me because when I signed on to do the film, I signed onto Sriram Raghavan.  Dinesh  Vijan is creatively a very intelligent producer. I have got to know him better during the making of the film. I was only concerned with the fact that I want to work with Sriram Raghavan, someone I respect. I didn’t care about the other aspects.

Varun Dhawan - UK Interview - Badlapur (4)

Kissing scenes get a good share of media and audience attention. Do you believe that is why producers or directors include them in their films even if they are not needed?
I guess so. I wouldn’t deny that this doesn’t happen. I don’t actually understand what the big deal is really. Film makers give the audience what they want. I feel that it is better if one doesn’t make much noise about it whether it’s the media, the actors or the film makers. Everyone is responsible. I am not going to point out one person. If you are in love, then kissing is a natural thing.

I remember you were quite shy when doing intimate scenes for Main Tera Hero because your father was directing the film…
Main Tera Hero was different ballgame because my Dad was directing it. It was also a comedy. Whereas Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania was a love story and it was different. When it comes to Badlapur, it’s been the most comfortable. There is a very huge emotional base between Yaami Gautam and my character because we play husband-wife on-screen. That is a very pure relationship. Yaami and I also struck a chord as actors. We both were very comfortable with each other. It was a lot of fun shooting with her. However, I don’t know why it’s a big deal that I kissed Divya Dutta in the film. We did the scene as actors and professionals. I hope the audiences don’t just take away that from the film. I am sure they will not. I am confident but in a nervous way (laughs).

Varun Dhawan - UK Interview - Badlapur (7)You launched the audio track of Jee Karda almost three months before the release of the film on Bigg Boss 8.  Was it important to create awareness in advance because Badlapur is a different film?
We had just launched the audio track of Jee Karda because everyone liked the beat in the trailer. It was mainly because of demand. I hardly even danced on Bigg Boss. We didn’t really promote it or publicised it much. We released the video much later.

 

Dinesh Vijan, the producer of the film, is very involved in the music of his movies. What is your take on the music?
When we started the film, I told Dinesh that I hope the music is good because he is known for selecting good tracks. Dinesh told me that he will make sure that the soundtrack of Badlapur will be considered my best soundtrack yet. Jee Karda has been received really well. Atif Aslam’s Jeena is a gem. There is also a track by Arijit Singh called Judaai, which I am excited about.  I am very happy.

 

There are rumours that you have sung an unplugged version of Jee Karda…
(Laughs) No, No. The pictures of me in the studio were posted online and everyone thought that I was singing.  I was actually just there to hum. I was required to do that. I do sing like every other normal person. When I sing, people laugh at me (laughs).

 

Badlapur UK (2)You also recently filmed in Las Vegas for ABCD2, which was your first outdoor shoot in the US. How was that experience for you?
We are working with an amazing crew along with many talented dancers from India who are in the film. We have become a group, a big family actually. Las Vegas as very good. My Mom joined me and we just had a really good time.

 

Recent rumours suggest that you are finally doing a movie with Parineeti Chopra…
That is, unfortunately, a rumour. I am currently only working on ABCD 2. Badlapur is up for release. I will also be starting my brother Rohit Dhawan’s next directorial. That’s about it at the moment. I also don’t want to do too many films. I don’t have dates to do more films at the moment. There were some news reports that I was doing about new eight or nine films. How is that even possible? I shoot one movie at a time. At least I try that. I am coming out with two movies a year and I believe that is pretty decent.

Badlapur is released in UK cinemas on 20th February 2015. 

( A version of this article was published in Asian Sunday Newspaper on 8th February 2015.)

Katrina Kaif crowned “Most Popular Actress 2014”

Katrina Kaif LUX LondonBollywood’s lucky mascot at the box office, Katrina Kaif, continues to rule the roost on the popularity charts as per the recent Ormax Cinematix 2014 report.

Katrina emerged the “Most Popular Actress” of last year , based on Ormax “Stars India Loves” report, conducted across 44 cities.

The Bang Bang actress elbowed out her contemporaries with a whopping 44% votes. The figure represents the popularity of each star i.e % of cine-goers who name the star as one of their two most favourite female stars.

What’s more is that the actress was recently crowned “The Hottest Woman in the World” as she bagged the Numero Uno spot on the Ultimate Guys Guide – Maxim India’s Hottest List for 2014, an annual poll with some of the most gorgeous women competing for the crown.

Katrina Kaif will return to UK cinemas in Disney’s Phantom and Jagga Jasoos this year. The actress will also unveil her wax figure at Madame Tussauds London this year.

Varun Dhawan opens up about depression


Varun DhawanBollywood actress Deepika Padukone has pledged to create awareness about depression, anxiety and mental health this year. The 29-year-old star decided to do so after experiencing the same last year and also recently spoke out in detail about battling depression and receiving treatment for it, which she says helped her get back on track.

Now young actor Varun Dhawan opened up to UK Bollywood journalist Sunny Malik about being depressed during the making of his forthcoming release, Badlapur.

When asked whether the Main Tera Hero actor was depressed while making the dark noir-drama, Dhawan said, ” I was depressed. I was not clinically declared depressed but I was heading there. I was very sad to a certain degree. I don’t want to use the term ‘depression’ loosely because it’s a serious illness. It definitely effected my mental health. I was prescribed and did see a Doctor for it as well.”

Speaking about what triggered feelings of depression in him, the actor said, “I don’t know. But maybe because I am young and I had not seen the things I got to see during the making of Badlapur. I think, that is why it hit me harder than it would affect a person older than me.”

Varun also said that people have a perception that these things don’t happen to stars. “They should know that we are also normal people.”

Varun Dhawan will next be seen in Badlapur, releasing worldwide and in UK cinemas on 20th February through Eros International.

Deepika Padukone dedicates her award to Kangana Ranaut !

Kangana Ranaut (2)As another year at the movies recently commenced, 2014 has arguably been a year of the ladies and leading the way was the industry’s dark horse, Kangana Ranaut!

National award winner and amongst IMDB’s highest scorers, Kangana Ranaut, one of Bollywood’s most versatile actresses of all time, who won accolades for her performances in Queen and Revolver Rani received praise unanimously from audiences, critics and the industry alike.

Her position as being the most versatile actress in the industry was cemented when one of Bollywood’s leading ladies Deepika Padukone decided her recent Life OK! Screen Award for Best Actor (Female) – Popular Choice to Kangana Ranaut.

This came as no surprise especially since Deepika has been all praise for Kangana and having watched Queen said, “I have seen Queen and I am jealous of Kangana’s performance, I think she was outstanding”.

Says a source,  “A few years ago Akshay Kumar dedicated his award to Aamir Khan and this time around Deepika Padukone dedicated her award to Kangana Ranaut – Ironically, both Aamir and Kangana have clearly taken a stand on award functions and have never endorsed the concept of it. Despite boycotting award functions, the industry is still dedicating awards to them.”

Not only is the actress the first mainstream cinema actor who is a critics ‘favorite but also someone they look up to and keenly take interest in. So far it was only art house cinema actors who were lauded for their performances and given their due respect, but Kangana truly acted as a game-changer.

The actress recently topped a rating poll conducted by Ormax Media to emerge the top female performer of the year for her performance in Vikas Bahl’s Queen, a film that truly acted as a turning point in Kangana Ranaut’s career, in a performance that is nothing short of the finest one has seen on celluloid in a very long time.The film directed by Vikas Bahl has got a rating of 9.1 out of 10 on popular international website IMDB, making it the first Indian film to get such a high rating.

Deepika & Irrfan’s on-screen chemistry…

Irrfan - Deepika 4Shoojit Sircar’s Piku has become the talk of the town and is already one of the most awaited releases of 2015. Though a lot of the film is kept under wraps, sources close to the film says that Deepika Padukone plays Irrfan’s love interest in the film.

Pictures of the cast and crew from the sets have been making rounds of internet every now and then. Going by the pictures and rumors, onlookers have revealed that Irrfan and Deepika’s onscreen chemistry is going to be loved and much talked about once the trailer is released.  

A source from the film adds, “Though Irrfan’s love interest is Deepika, the film is not a typical love story and Irrfan-Deepika’s love angle is just one track in the movie, and their onscreen chemistry has taken everyone by surprise.

The source further added, “Irrfan is not an usual lover boy which is what makes him essay this character with a lot of depth.”

Director Shoojit Sircar was also very impressed with the onscreen pairing of Irrfan and Deepika.  In his earlier films also, Irrfan shared great chemistry with his co-actors like Tabu and Konkana Sen.

Directed by Shoojit Sircar, “Piku” starring Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan and Deepika Padukone is all set to release in 2015

 

 Irrfan - Deepika 3
Irrfan - Deepika 2

Deepika learns Bengali for new film

Deepika First Look in PIKUDeepika Padukone is currently working on her next film Piku with Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan.

After learning Tamil for Chennai Express and a Maharashtrian accent for HNY, Deepika will  now learn Bengali for Piku. The actress did workshops with director Shoojit Sircar and also took help from Moushami Chatterjee.

Deepika said, “I’ve played a Tamilian in Chennai Express, a Gujrati in RamLeela, Maharashtrian in Happy New Year, a Goan in Finding Fanny…and now a Bengali in Piku. Bengali is a soft and lovely language. It’s always fun to learn a new language and a different learning experienence.”

PIKU – The casting coup of the year

Piku On The Set - Amitabh DeepikaOne of the biggest casting coups in recent times, Shootjit Sircar’s Piku—that brings together Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan together for the first time, has kicked off its second schedule in Kolkata in November 2014 having kicked off with a successful schedule in Mumbai in August-September 2014.

Produced by MSM Motion Pictures (a division of Sony Entertainment Network), in association with Saraswati Entertainment Creations Limited and Rising Sun Films, Piku is set to be one of the most awaited films of 2015 especially since Shoojit Sircar wields directorial baton post his two break away hits- Vicky Donor ( 2012) and Madras Café (2013)

A slice-of-life cinema, Piku is a quirky roller coaster ride of a crazy father-daughter relationship essayed by Amitabh and Deepika, along with Irrfan in a pivotal author backed role.

Piku also marks coming together of Shoojit Sircar and Ronnie Lahiri with Juhi Chaturvedi, who has scripted the film and earlier won accolades and awards for Vicky Donor.

Shoojit who is once again all set to create celluloid magic says, “Piku is a story that will warm your heart and make you smile! We have the best of the talent coming together for a refreshing tale of a father-daughter relationship. I am privileged to direct Mr. Bachchan along with Deepika and Irrfan.They are three powerhouse performers and it doesn’t get better than this for me. “

Amitabh Bachchan adds, “”What makes the process of filming Piku extremely enjoyable is that it is helmed by Shoojit Sircar and also stars the immensely talented Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan. The film has an interesting story and there is a lot of excitement on the sets.”

Irrfan says, “ There are several projects that I undertake in a year but there’s always that one film that you look forward to and to me Piku is that film. I am really excited and look forward to begin work on this one”

Deepika Padukone adds, “It’s a huge honor for me to be working with such stalwarts on Piku. I am extremely nervous but also very excited as Piku is the kind of cinema I believe in. Everyday I walk onto the set with butterflies in my stomach ! I hope I do justice to Piku and bring her alive onscreen in a way that audiences fall in love with her.”

Sneha Rajani, Dy. President and Head of MSM Motion Pictures, says, ” We at MSM believe in entertaining audiences with content that resonates with them by partnering with the best talent in the industry. We are really excited about Piku and am happy that that the film has commenced its first schedule and soon we will able to bring this heartwarming film to audiences across the world.

Piku is slated for release April 30th, 2015

Photos: Happy New Year-SLAM team wows the UK

Director Farah Khan; actress Deepika Padukone; actors Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Boman Irani and Vivaan Shah charmed the UK media at the Happy New Year-SLAM Press Conference at Montcalm Marble Arch recently.

Presented by Yash Raj Films, Farhath Hussain and Think Events jointly, the Happy New Year-SLAM Press Conference was held in relation to this year’s biggest Bollywood film release and the most spectacular, Bollywood live event of the decade respectively, both featuring the industry’s most celebrated luminaries. The event was hosted by British Asian actor Ameet Chana.

On working with Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone said, “When you’ve worked with someone it makes the process so much easier. He tells me, if we are doing a particular scene together, he will tell me what to do and I will always trust him. I will never question it.”

Speaking about the experience Shah Rukh Khan said, “Everyone has to do a film like Happy New Year in their career, and I am blessed to do this. The worst thing about the end of this tour is that we are going to miss each other the most.”

Speaking about the film Abhishek Bachchan said, “I feel like every film has its own destiny. You choose a film because of the script, because the character inspires you, me more than others. I chose the film because it has my friends in it, we are in charge of making the process of the film a memorable one.”

Speaking about the film, Sonu Sood said, “It has been a life changing experience working with Farah. She is the most talented director and no other director is like her and the way she represents her actors. I’m blessed to be a part of Happy New Year and the amazing family that we have made.”

Speaking about being in London Boman Irani said, “Coming to London when I was 25 was a life changing experience. I love it here.”

Speaking about the experience Vivaan Shah said, “It has been a life changing experience. It was an electrifying tour and representing the country is a huge, huge honour.”

Navraj Panesar, GM, Yash Raj Films International Ltd said, “It is an honour to be working with Red Chillies on perhaps the biggest release of 2014. Until now, YRF have six of the top Bollywood 10 films in the UK Box Office including the number 1 film among our portfolio and we hope to make Happy New Year the seventh.”

Happy New Year is produced by Red Chillies Entertainments Pvt Ltd and distributed worldwide by Yash Raj Films, releasing on 23rd October. 

SLAM UK concert took place at 02 Arena London on Sunday 5th October. 

Check out photos by Hayat Khan here:

Deepika Padukone at Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Deepika Padukone at Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Shah Rukh Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (4)

 

Shah Rukh Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (3)

 

Shah Rukh Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Shah Rukh Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Sonu Sood at Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Sonu Sood at Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Boman and Abhishek at  Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Boman and Abhishek at  Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (5)

 

Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (4)

 

Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (3)

 

Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika and Farah Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (1)

 

Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika and Farah Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (2)

 

Boman Irani Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London

 

Shah Rukh Khan Happy New Year SLAM Press Conference in London (5)

 

Photos: Houston & New Jersey experience ‘Slam! The Tour’

The artists of the biggest Bollywood extravaganza SLAM! The Tour performed at Toyota Center in Houston, TX and Continental Arena in New Jersey on 19th Sep and 20th Sep respectively. Farah Khan, Deepika Padukone, Malaika Arora Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and singers Kanika Kapoor and Yo Yo Honey Singh set the stage on fire with their enthralling performances in front of the live audiences where both the concerts were houseful.

The opening act of the evening was Vivaan’s performance on the SLAM track by Ram Sampath followed by Deepika’s performances on Aahu Aahu and Titli. Shah Rukh Khan entered the show in his larger than life style on aerial cable and danced on his famous numbers Chammak Challo, Kaali Kaali Aankhe, Suraj Hua Maddham and Don. Abhishek entered from the crowd and asked the thrilled audience to stand up and he rapped the song Ek Main Aur Ek Tu Hai and then performed on Kajrare, Maa Da Ladla, Desi Girl and Nandu Bhede from Happy New Year.

Farah and Boman performed on a special medley on which they made every one laugh with their conversation about how Boman wanted to be a lead actor in Farah’s movie and it reminded the audience of their comic chemistry in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. Malaika performed on the song Devil from Kick and Sonu joined her on Munni Badnam Hui later.

Deepika also danced on her new song Lovely by Kanika Kapoor from Happy New Year, Angrezi Beat, Tu Hi Din Chadhe and Balam Pichkari. Shah Rukh and Deepika’s chemistry in the romantic number Satrangi Re was never seen before in front of the live audience.

Abhishek shot the biggest Selfie video in Houston and New Jersey which he took from the stage capturing the entire crowd from his phone and then he later on posted it on Instagram and Twitter which went viral immediately.

Yo Yo Honey Singh performed on Char Bottle Vodka, Blue Hai Paani, Tere Town Main and when he started singing Lungi Dance, Shah Rukh joined him and called Abhishek, Boman, Vivaan and Sonu also on stage. Baby Doll fame Kanika also performed on Jugni with English dance duo Suleman Mirza and Madhu Singh of Signature group.

The highlight of the most awaited show was when Shah Rukh invited a couple each from Houston and New Jersey from the crowd and asked them few questions which led to the winning couple getting a luxury bike. While the artists created frenzy, a lot of fans have come to watch SLAM The Tour from India, Australia, Brazil, Middle East and from different American states.

This exciting tour which began in Houston on Friday and then in New Jersey will be followed by performances in cities like Washington DC (September 21), Chicago (September 26), Vancouver in Canada (September 27) and San Jose (September 28). They will also travel to The O2 Arena in London in UK on October 5.

Photos: ‘SLAM! The Tour’ Press Conference in Houston

Shah Rukh Khan is ready to shake a leg with his fans in the US after a gap of 10 years. Along with Deepika Padukone, Farah Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Malaika Arora Khan, Vivaan Shah, Kanika Kapoor and Yo Yo Honey Singh, they thrilled the audience with SLAM! THE TOUR on 19th Sep at Houston.

On this occasion Deepika Padukone, Farah Khan, SRK, Abhishak Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah addressed the media on 18th Sep 2014 at the Royal Sonesta in Houston.

UK fans can witness SLAM+ The Tour in London on 5th October 2014. 

Interview: Deepika Padukone talks about ‘Finding Fanny’

Deepika-Padukone-Finding-Fanny first lookDeepika Padukone will be seen in UK cinemas again from 12th September 2014 in Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny.

Finding Fanny is the story of five dysfunctional characters from Goa on a road trip to search for the long-lost love of Ferdie played by Naseeruddin Shah.

In this interview, the Om Shanti Om star talks to Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik about the film and much more.

You agreed to do Finding Fanny while you were filming for Cocktail in London. Did you ever have second thoughts afterwards as it’s a different kind of film?
No, never. I was narrated the film during Cocktail and by the end of the film, I decided that I want to be a part of Finding Fanny. Forget all my films last year that have released, as Cocktail had not even released when I said yes to Finding Fanny. The experience that I had with Dinesh Vijan (producer) and Homi Adajania (director) on Cocktail was amazing, which is why I didn’t have to think twice before saying yes to Finding Fanny. I knew that during the making of the film we will have a great time. For me that is the most important thing while making a film. I want to work with people I have a great equation with and have a good time working with. Everything else is secondary e.g. what people are going to think or what the result at the box office will be. I didn’t think of these things at all.

What attracted you to the film when you were narrated the story?
It was the script. It was so refreshing and different from anything else I have done or was offered at that time and most importantly, it stayed with me. The characters and story just stayed with me after the narration. If I may say so, I was so impressed with the script at that time and now after watching the film, it has turned out to be even better. People have watched the film a couple of days ago and we are still getting messages of how they loved the film and how the characters have stayed with them. That exactly is what the film is about. It is not a massive commercial film or a film that will change society. It’s just a simple and feel-good movie which brings warmth and a smile to your face.


Your first look was rather shocking as you were holding a butcher’s knife covered in blood…
Well, that is just another day in the life of my character Angie.

As Homi, the director, and Dinesh, the producer, are very good friends of yours, does it ever get awkward when you have creative differences during the making of a film?
Not at all. I am very comfortable with them. All the movies I have done with the two whether it was Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail or now Finding Fanny, we have all come together in a productive manner. I think because we are friends, we are comfortable with each other and we discuss everything. If someone is unhappy or has something to say, we always discuss it. It’s not necessary that we act upon it but we definitely discuss it. I think, the three of us collaborate and come together really well.

 

How was your experience working with Dimple Kapadia this time again?
For me she become a personal favourite now, not just as a co-star but as a person. She is someone I have got along very, very well. She took me out shopping and treats me like a daughter. I was moving to my new house and was looking for things for the new place. I remember she had a day off and she told me that she was going to go and look for some things as I had told her how the place was going to look like. She picked up cushion covers, carpets, candles and photo frames for me. She told me that she will call me at ten o’clock in the morning and take me shopping when I have day off. She had the whole day planned out. And sure enough, she called me at ten o’clock in the morning when I had a free day and said that she is ready and we should go. I quickly got ready, we hopped into a car and went shopping. She didn’t even allow me to pay for anything. She took me out for lunch and told me how she was extremely fond of me. I remember we came back at six or seven in the evening. I will never forget that. Even today, people ask me about her because of this new film. In one of my interviews, I praised her and I meant it. She was so touched that she sent me a bag of goodies the next day. My equation with her really goes beyond films. She is someone I connect with at an emotional level.

The duration of the film is quite short for Indian movies. Do you feel that is a plus point?
I have always believed that you have to enjoy a movie for what it is. There are filmmakers that make movies which are three hours long and then there are filmmakers that make films which are one or two hours long. I don’t think the duration of a movie matters at all. It should have no bearing of what the audience feels eventually. As long as you feel that you have enjoyed the movie and connected with the characters, that is all that matters. Suddenly there is too much focus on numbers like box office or duration. These are all silly external factors. If we manage to bring out a smile to your face at the end of the movie, that is a sign of a good film for me.

Finding Fanny

The film is being released in UK cinemas by 20th Century Fox. Do you think this being an English language film, it can reach a wider audience?
Yes, most definitely and hopefully it will. It is nice to know that a big studio like Fox is a part of a film like Finding Fanny. I do hope that it reaches a lot more people. The idea of films in general is to make them available and accessible to as many people as possible. I don’t think language should ever be a barrier. I can say that the reach our films have had in the last couple of years is phenomenal. I was shooting in Corsica (island near France) and I had fans over there. They were not of Indian origin. They were people who were born and brought up there or in France. They have seen Om Shanti Om over and over again. I can’t tell you exactly what, but it was such an overwhelming feeling.

 

Finding Fanny stars Deepika Padukone. Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Pankaj Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah. The film is directed by Homi Adajania and releases on 12th September 2014 in UK cinemas through 20th Century Fox. 

SRK and Deepika romance in ‘Manwa Laage’

Red Chillies Entertainment has released Manwa Laage from Happy New Year featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. 

Directed by Farah Khan, the film also stars Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and introduces Vivaan Shah. 

Happy New Year releases in UK cinemas through Yash Raj Films this Diwali. Fans can also see the stars live at Slam+ The Tour in London on 5th October at The 02. 

Check out some images from the song here: