Episode 6 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Sujoy and Amrita missing Asim, who is off doing other things just as we’re handed an opportunity to discuss Talaash (2012), starring Asim’s fave (or so he says) Aamir Khan. However, to make up for the disappointment, we’re joined by our special guest star Beth from BethLovesBollywood!
Although we’d all seen this film upon its release, this was our first rewatch and there were a lot of things here to surprise us. None of us remembered Rajkumar Rao also starred in this film, Amrita was taken aback by how beautiful Rani Mukherjee looks (watch out for Sujoy listing a looong list of movies in which Rani looked amazing), and Beth agreed that Shahrukh Khan (who was also approached for the role played by Aamir) wouldn’t have worked nearly so well for very particular reasons. We disagreed a bit on Kareena Kapoor’s performance, discussed the male-female dynamics, and loved hard on the soundtrack. We also took a quick minute to appreciate director Reema Kagti’s work – of which you can see more in the Akshay Kumar starrer, Gold, to be released this year.
2012 was a really great year for Hindi cinema but rather hit-and-miss for the Khans with Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Dabangg 2, and Ek Tha Tiger joining Talaash at the cinema. Sujoy, Beth and Amrita all agree that Talaash was the clear frontrunner in that pack, and a movie for everyone, irrespective of their fan loyalties.
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Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!
Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.
In one of the only emotional scenes of this movie, a very old Punjabi grandfather character (played wonderfully by the veteran Indian TV actor Arun Bali) speaks of the horrors of getting uprooted from what you once considered home, and being forced to leave everything behind. This scene is crucial in establishing why a certain Mr. Kohli (Kumud Mishra), a paper-pusher in the External Affairs Ministry Office, turns into one of the key figures in enabling the success of an impossible rescue mission. It is sad then, that Airlift, a movie based on true events of world’s largest civil evacuation could not evoke any further emotional hooks for me as a movie audience to remain invested or engaged. And yes, it even has a mini segment where we see the tricolour being hoisted and K.K. singing Vande Mataram. And even then, I did not participate in that moment of triumph. THAT is the biggest failure of the movie.
I am not for a single bit, attempting to undermine the real heroism of the true heroes who were involved in this rescue mission of 170,000+ Indians from war-torn Kuwait. I am in fact saying that a story as incredible as this deserves a much better movie than what it got in Airlift. It is a classic case of an ambitious director meeting an “out-of-their-league” story and getting overwhelmed by it. Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon along with his team of writers have put up a screenplay which can be the equivalent of a college play on opening rehearsal day, with a very rough first draft of a scribble on a tissue paper acting as a script.
The narrative tries to introduce several characters into the plot – from the ever so grouchy George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi – Madras Cafe, Talvar), the unnecessary Mr. Poonawala, and the somewhat simmering and confusing love story of Ibrahim (Purab Kohli – Rock On). But none of them ever have a sub plot as such. There is no distinct payback that we as audience get from these plot threads. The trunk of the story tree is the man who is front and centre in the poster – Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katiyal. He is the Ship Captain who is reluctantly put in charge of the fate of 170,000+ Indians. And Akshay handles it as best as he can. But the screenplay again fails him.
In one of the scenes, Akshay’s wife played by Nimrat Kaur convinces him to go to the docks – because he is a negotiator. And there is hardly anything following that scene which highlights this very characteristic of Mr. Katiyal. On the other hand, there is a scene where Akshay goes gung-ho and attacks a bunch of check-point gunned security guards, and even manages to threaten them. It seemed like Katiyal was playing Akshay for that moment, and not the other way around. We are told of Rajiv Katiyal being a businessman through and through. But in the face of such hardships, there is hardly any conversation in the movie that is scripted as one that demanded special skills. The Iraqi General played by Inaamulhaq (Filmistan), is layered in poor and generic Middle Eastern accent, and is a character written as a caricature. And hence, there is no sense of threat or perhaps, we have all seen this done way better in many other movies and TV shows.
The female lead in the movie, Nimrat Kaur seemed like one of the stereotypical naggy Indian housewife for most of the movie. She’s pretty glammed up for a woman stuck in war-torn Kuwait. But I assume, the writers felt compelled to give her something more than just that. And by virtue of that, she gets one scene which showcases glimpses of the actor we liked so much in The Lunch Box.
But my biggest complaint from this movie, is that being titled Airlift, the movie spends a total of only 2 minutes speedily narrating about the mega-operation taken up by Air India who managed to “airlift” the 170,000+ Indians from Jordan. Perhaps, that wasn’t as exciting on paper as Akshay punching dudes in sandy desert. And let’s not even get started on that cringe-worthy remix of Khaled’s Didi .
This one is not even for a lazy matinee.
Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon and stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur (Homeland, The Lunchbox).
The film releases internationally on on the 22nd of January in the UK.
Last week Fox arranged a video conference with Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor in London for the release of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Here are some excerpts of the Q&A session with the UK press.
Q/ WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PRDP?
Salman: I like the film’s nice, sweet, cute, ticklish moments. I like the film overall and how this really nice, happy, sweet film turns into this really emotional, beautiful, romantic love story which involves the family, brothers, sisters.
I think PRDP is Sooraj’s best work to date. What I see in the character of Prem is what every guy should be like with a girl, which is very difficult as you need to have a lot of patience to be “Prem” in real life. Prem is so endearing that every girl would want to marry someone like Prem. He’s somebody like … he’s actually Sooraj Barjatya! Trust me, Prem is Sooraj. In fact Sooraj likes to see that side in me but the problem is that I only don’t see that side in me in my real life. So Sooraj puts that on film.
Q/ YOU HAVE WORKED WITH SOORAJ B. THREE TIMES BEFORE – HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH HIM THIS TIME?
Salman: Yes, it is. I just wish I could do another 4 or 5 films with Sooraj! I’m here in this industry only because of Sooraj Barjatya. A 19 year-old boy took a stand when he was directing his first movie, at a point in time when Rajshri Productions weren’t doing that well, to take on an actor who had already done a film that’s releasing before his film.
Sooraj had seen Biwi Ho To Aisi, and we all knew that I sucked in the movie, but despite that he took me on because he thought I was good in the screen test for the film. He went by his instincts and the gut feel of his sister Chanda and cousin Charu.
Sonam: you see Salman was always gorgeous looking…it’s because they had a crush on him!
Salman: well, they thought they saw something in me to suggest I would make it. I still don’t see what, how… I don’t even question it…let it go!
Q/ THE MUSIC IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS FROM THE MOVIE?
Salman: Mine is the title track – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, and I like Jalte Diye, Jab Tum Chaho, Prem Leela and Aaj Unse Milna Hai
Sonam: Jalte Diye and Prem Leela are my favourite songs from the movie. I also like Aaj Unse Milna Hai as well – it’s a very beautiful, romantic song.
Q/ ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM THE FILMING?
Salman: We were working! It wasn’t supposed to be fun. You cannot make such a beautiful film whilst having fun; you need to be focused.
Sonam: It was a happy time – I think that’s the best way to describe it, we were very happy and content.
Q/ WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FILMING? WHAT’S THE BEST SCENE?
Salman: I think every single day was beautiful. Actually walking to the set was a really beautiful feeling. The set were so lovely that we didn’t mind shooting long hours. Sooraj actually is very particular about shooting long hours – he doesn’t like to shoot that many hours, even if the scene was not complete he used to say, let’s leave it now and we’ll continue tomorrow, even if we were like no let’s do it now. You see, it’s a very large-scale film; in every frame there were like hundreds of people, there was a regal theme, which also made it a very expensive film. Each day costs the production 45, 50 lakhs so when Sooraj said let’s pack up and continue the scene tomorrow, it seriously took a lot of courage.
Q/ YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD A VISION FOR THE TYPE OF ROLES YOU WANT TO PLAY. IS PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO THE BIGGEST PAYOFF OF THAT SORT OF CONVICTION?
Sonam: Yes, I think that’s what it is. I think you are absolutely right. After I did Mausam, I gave my heart and soul to that and after it didn’t do very well, I didn’t sign a movie for a year and a half. Then I decided to sign Raanjhanaa – everyone around me said I was stupid but I decided to stick to my conviction. But I stuck to my guns. You’re absolutely right that this is the payoff for being patient and handling my life with dignity.
Q/ WHAT YOU ARE DOING ON YOUR INSTAGRAM PAGE IS A GREAT WAY OF MARKETING PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO. WAS THAT YOUR IDEA OR WAS IT SOMETHING YOU DISCUSSED WITH THE MARKETING TEAM?
Sonam: Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret, when I spoke with the marketing team at Fox, they mentioned that people were finding the title Prem Ratan Dhan Payo a bit of a mouthful. They told me we needed to come up with a really fun and genius way to talk about the film a lot. So, there was this really cute guy who did this dubsmash on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and I thought let’s put this up on instagram and maybe people would be excited about doing dubsmash. I thought it would be cool so I put it up and people really liked it a lot. And then a friend from New York told me to call a competition and to get the 5 best dubsmashes on Instagram – I did just that. There were lots and lots of people who did the dubsmash. It was easy to do and people loved doing the dubsmash as it has a great rhythm. Salman did one too, but he didn’t do it for long.
My aunt Sridevi also did one with Shilpa Shetty. She loves me so much! I remember when I was just becoming an actress, she sat down with me and showed me how to do make-up really patiently for like hours and hours really patiently. I think she was extremely kind to have promoted me and the film. I’ve known Shilpa for a very long time and they had done the dubsmash at my home whilst I was away on promotions for the film. Once they did it they put it up on Instagram and I got a message from Shilpa saying to go on Instagram to see what we’ve done!
Q/ HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS PREM COMPARED TO ALL THE OTHER PREMs THAT YOU HAVE PLAYED?
Salman: Prem is my favorite character too. I think this Prem is lovelier; he’s a grown man but a very childlike. Sooraj has written this character. He has always been a mature man and romance has also grown in his life ten folds. He was always a mature filmmaker starting his career at the age of 19. He wrote Hum Apke Hain Kaun at the age of just 22 and made the film when he was 24, and there is no man as mature as Sooraj Bharjatya.
The way he has written this character, he basically wants men and boys to be like Prem; he wants to change the way they are and to change this for women in the world. He wants men to be funny and charming but to also be respectful to women.
Q.YOU HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF STYLE. HOW SIMILAR ARE YOU FROM YOUR CHARACTERS IN REAL LIFE.
Sonam: I don’t think I’m similar to any of the characters that I played, I mean I’m definitely not a princess.
Salman: Yes she is a princess because her father spoilt her.
Sonam: I’m not spoilt! (she laughs). No, answering your question…I don’t know, I hope I’m inspired to be someone with that much conviction and I try and do whenever I can to be like that. Perhaps there’s a little bit of me in every character.
Salman: I think she’s got it in Prem Ratan Dhan Paya … I remember when Sooraj was showing me pictures of a lot of leading actresses and each and every picture that Sooraj showed me of Sonam were absolutely stunning. He showed me all the picture when she was at her worst test, and she looked like the way she looks now, so that is one quality that he saw in her, and he said this is the lady for my film. This is something that I want.
Q/ SONAM, HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO WORK WITH SALMAN? WHAT IS IT YOU MOST LIKE ABOUT EACH OTHER PROFESSIONALLY AND EACH OTHER’S PERSONALITY?
Sonam: I was very nervous, like really nervous. It’s not easy working with someone who you’ve been a huge fan of. Also it’s not easy because before Salman, I had never worked with a big star like him before. It’s usually been contemporaries. I was nervous but he really made me feel comfortable.
The best thing about him professionally is that he is the most hardworking actor that I worked with, he pushes himself and he is extremely talented. He’s also very modest. Also, professionally it’s easier to work with someone who doesn’t judge you in anyway. I remember when I was messing up he’d come and tell me really nicely, he has a lot of patience.
Salman: That is true, when you need to get some good work out of a bad actor you need to be patient JJ
Q/ WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE PLAYING A DOUBLE ROLE IN THE FILM?
Salman: Yes I am playing the roles of Vijay Singh and Prem – but if I open up too much about the characters I will spoil the suspense. But what I can say is that both the characters are phenomenal.
PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO releases this Diwali on 12 November 2015
This movie is very close to my heart, it means a lot to me, especially because it is a movie about Martial Arts, which makes it even more important for me. The movie is releasing in August this year, which also co-incides with me completing 25 years in the film industry and it means so much to me that this happens to be a movie about Martial Arts commemorating the accomplishment of my 25 years, when it’s because of my martial arts background that got me into the film industry in the first place. We’re mliterally going full circles.
Could you please tell me more about the character you’re playing in “Brothers”?
My character is a school teacher who teaches Physics and Chemistry. He used to be Mixed Martial Artist who would fight on the streets for money. Mixed Martial Arts is a very dangerous profession and due to issues monetary issues, my character faces he has no choice but to go back to the streets to flight in a professional tournament.
How was your experience working with Karan Johar?
Karan is mainly in the production side for this movie so I don’t really get to work with him much. But he really knows how to make big and brilliant movies; he knows how to do it right and I’m just here to make him happy 🙂
Mixed Martial Arts sounds dangerous!
Yes, Mixed Martial Arts is a dangerous practice that could result in injuries and loss of life. Even during filming we would end up with abdominal injuries and smacks on our face but overall it was important for the role to look realistic and conditioning for us actors to make the movie as real as possible.
Desipte being a professional martial artists, I underwent vigorous training for six months to be fit for the role. But besides all the fighting, there’s also a poignant love story at the heart of the film which we find out later is the main reason why my character goes on to become a street MMA fighter.
What all was involved in the training for the role?
The main part of the training was a 6 month intense and gruelling work-out followed by practicing different fighting styles like Judo, Karate, Kyudo, Aikido and other Mixed Martial Arts.
What was the most challenging part of your role?
The most challenging part was fighting like a professional MMA fighter, learning from the best and then trying to catch up with their fighting techniques! But I thoroughly enjoyed it as my teachers are from everywhere around the world – from Brazil, LA, Bangkok and Japan – they are true MMA fighters. It was an honour to learn fromt the best.
As part of our training programme I had to lose upto 16 Kg’s and Sidharth Malhotra had to gain 13 Kg’s in weight!
Whilst fighting was a major physical challenge, we also had to face a lot of mental challenge. A very high level of mental attention is required to remember your punches and every move.
Wow that must have been a challenge! Do you ever take a break?
Hah, its been 25 years and I haven’t had a break J Jokes a part my international filming schedulre becomes a break for me. Its the best thing if your work is your passion in life. It makes me feel like I’m always on break.
How was it working with Sidharth Malhotra?
Sidharth is a very talented young man; he is very professional when it comes to work. Although he had no experience with MMA he did really well. He also went through 8 months of training.
Sidharth has a great future ahead of him. In Brothers he plays the character of a “man” unlike his ealier movies, where he’s mostly played young characters.
We had a great time on set. He’s a Punjabi, I am Punjabi and even our director Karan Malhotra is Punjabi! We spoke in Punjabi all the time to the degree the film should have been called Prah (Brothers in Punjabi). Haha.
Do you have some MMA tips or warnings for your fans out there?
Mixed Martial Arts is wonderful to watch, it is very parctical but dangerous at the same time. You have to be very careful when doing something like that. Watch and enjoy MMA, and if some people are thinking about doing it, they must be very careful and think about enrolling in training first, they must make a thoughtful decision before actually doing it.
There are lots of talks going on about the movie everywhere, you must’ve done an amazing job. Infact I was researching about the movie right before this interview and I found out that the movie is a remake of the movie “Warrior” by Gavin ‘O Connor and Cliff Dorfman, I believe you will put forward an amzaing performance, maybe better than the original?
Well that’s news to me but very humbling to hear. We have tried our level best to give the best performance we can. I wouldn’t really compare the two movies to be honest as we probably can’t make it better than the original but we gave it all we could. Let’s see what the audience says.
The movie has a wonderful cast, we also have an “item-number” performance by Kareena Kapoor. Sidarth Malhotra and Jackie Shroff also play lead roles.. Is there a love story somewhere in the story line?
Absolutely, there is a love story in the movie. I mean the movie is about street fighting, but there’s a reason to why the fighting happens in the first place which emenates from love. You will get to know that there’s a love story between Jacqueline Fernandez and I, there’s also a family related love story between Jackie Shroff and Sidharth and also between Shefali and I. The fighting comes later on in the movie, the film’s main emphasis is on it’s relationships.
Akshay, what’s your favourite genre of movies? I mean you’ve done many different types of roles in different movies, which one is your favourite? Is it comedy, drama or action?
I like comedy when its mixed with action, its just so much fun to do comedy with a bit of action, its fun to watch and also so much fun to do.
So the movie is releasing on the 14th of August this year, which is just one day prior to the Indian independence day, does the movie have a hidden message of patriotism or any message relating independence of India?
No, no, there’s no patriotic messages, the movie is not related to the independence day and it does not end with me waving a flag J
How has it been working with so many Karan’s in the movie? The director is Karan Malhotra and Karan Johar is producing the movie? Is there more Karan’s you’ll work with in the future?
Ha, no that’s just a co-incidence, it was not planned to be like that.
What are your next projects?
My focus is on the release of Brothers. After that I have Singh is Blinng coming out on the 2nd October and then Airlift in January 2016. In Singh is Blinng i play a larger than life character, something I haven’t done in a couple of years since Rowdy Rathore. My films have been pretty serious with Gabbar, Baby, Special 24. I’m really excited about Airlift as it is a story about Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait.
What is your hope for Brothers?
I hope it brings in the mullah and gets the box office ringing whilst also gaining critical acclaim.
Your final message to your fans please!
I would just like to tell my fans how much it means to me to make a movie that they like. I really hope all my fans like Brothers. I would also like to tell them that the movie took about one whole year to make, we literally put our blood, sweat and tears into the making. The climax of the movie took about 52 days to shoot, just to get it perfect for the audience. All the fans across the globe should watch this movie on the big screen, watch it with your family and loved ones, do not watch pirated versions of it, we poured out our sweat and blood into this movie.
Gary Fernandes (Jackie Shroff), a former alcoholic and street-fighter, returns home after serving a prison sentence of 10 long years to find that the wounds of the past still haunt his family. His two sons, David (Akshay Kumar) and Monty (Siddharth Malhotra), who had parted ways as kids, are grown men now, but are still bitterly estranged. Gary himself carries the burden of his guilt. His elder son, David is an ex-fighter turned school teacher. He and his wife Jenny work hard to make ends meet and to provide the best they can for their ailing daughter Poopoo.
Troubled financial circumstances drive a desperate David to return to the world of street fighting. While, Monty struggles with his lonely complex existence. An alcoholic, he is active in the world of street fighting, but lacks focus and determination. He strongly yearns for the acceptance, love and respect of his family. As the story unfolds, we see the journey of these three men, as they seek to find redemption and healing.
Meanwhile, the arrival of ‘Right to Fight’ is announced in India — the biggest international event in mixed martial arts history. Both brothers, at the crossroads of their lives, end up enlisting to fight in this ‘Winner-takes-all’ event. And it is here after an age of estrangement, unknown to the two siblings, they finally stand to face off with each other and against their personal demons, in the ultimate final battle.
It is said, that when a deep injury is done to us, we can never recover until we forgive. With twists and turns, pouring emotions and edge-of-the-seat action, will this final battle between the two brothers repair old wounds?
Brothers releases internationally on 14th August 2015 through Fox Star StudiosIndia.
I haven’t been bowled over by anything related to Gabbar yet (how terrible is that Chitriganda- Honey Singh Promotional song?) , apparently it is a remake of a South Indian movie (alarm bells ringing already) with the big difference that the movie now references the famous Sholay villain for reasons that elude me.
But it is always great to see Akshay do his thing on the big screen although I am not quite sure how the pairing with Shruti Hassan is landing on the Icky Meter. (He looks so good with Kareena, why not just cast her as the main lead?)
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet- here it is together with a Q&A they did with I assume the marketing team.
Q1 Tell us something about Gabbar is Back?
Gabbar Is Back is directed by Krish and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures. It’s the Hindi remake of Tamil film Ramana and based on the story of corruption. I am playing the character of ACP Gabbar, who turns leader for a vigilante group and is en-route to end corruption in the city. It’s releasing on 1st May 2015 and also stars Shruti Hassan and Prakash Jha.
Q2 Is it inspired by the character of Gabbar in the famous movie Sholay?
No. Gabbar is the hero in the film and a vigilante, who takes it in his own hands to put an end to crime and injustice. Both the characters are very different.
Q3 What motivates you to do a movie like Gabbar?
I did Gabbar is Back because of corruption. I am alarmed by the crime rates in India and even calculated the amount of money gathered due to scams, to add up to 12 trillion dollars. I compared the crime rates between India and other countries and the numbers in India are astonishing. Crime rates are low in countries such as the UAE due to strict law enforcement which isn’t the case in India. So you need a name like Gabbar, who may behave like a villain but his actions are of a hero.
Q4 You are famous as the King of Action in Bollywood. Are you going to take action sequences to the next level in this movie?
Gabbar is centered more around delivering a message, rather than action sequences. Most of the instances in the movie are inspired by real life events.
Q5 Are you doing any special song for Gabbar?
Yes, I am doing one special soulful song called “Teri Meri Kahani” with Kareena Kapoor Khan, which happens to be the first song to be launched for this film. The song will take viewers through the emotional journey of the couple making itself indispensable to the overall narrative of the film.
Q6 How’s your chemistry with Kareena Kapoor Khan?
Bebo has been an integral part of my career. We’ve done many movies together and one can only hope we have many more to come. She is everything one could ever ask in a Bollywood actress. She will always know how deeply I appreciate her effort and expertise. I’m sure viewers are going to love her in this song. She has brought a kindness to our film like no other. We love working with each other.We had a great time while shooting for the song.
Q7 How is your experience in working with co-star Shruti Hassan?
I am working with her for the first time. She is playing my love interest in this movie. She is a beautiful, professional and talented actress.
Q8 Baby was the highest box office grosser of 2015. Do you think “Gabbar is Back” will surpass the record?
I always give 100 percent to any film that I do, and pray that it will do well. God has been very kind to me, and I owe him everything and my loyal fans so much for their continuous support and love.
Q9 Tell us about your new film projects?
My upcoming films include Brothers, which sees me star alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez. It’s the official remake of 2011 Hollywood movie Warrior and based on the story of two estranged brothers, whose entrance into the mixed martial arts tournament forces them to come to terms with their past and each other.
After this, I will have Singh is Bliing, a fantastic action comedy directed by Prabhu Deva and produced under my production company Grazing Goat Pictures. I am joined on screen by the very talented actresses Lara Dutta and Amy Jackson. We will shoot in Patiala, Punjab for this movie.
In Jan 2016 I have Airlift releasing which is is based on the invasion of Kuwait. I am playing the role of Ranjit Katiyal, anIndian-Arab billionaire who plans an ambitious evacuation mission to rescue 170,000 Indians in Kuwait during the Iraq invasion.
Q10 What kind of movies do you like to do?
I like to do films that are different and challenging, but which don’t preach any social message as such. I like exploring various film subjects, for example: OMG: Oh My God is about religion, ‘Baby’ is on terrorism, and ‘Gabbar Is Back‘ is on corruption. My films have a message, but with a commercial angle to it. With Gabbar is Back I got the opportunity to talk about corruption in a commercial manner.
Q11 Action and comedy films have been your forte so far. Do you have any unusual projects coming up?
I do films that I want to do, because they appeal to me in some way. I wouldn’t say that I only do action and/or comedy films, and if I do make these type of films, it is because I want to. I have worked in other genres, and really enjoyed it. I like to surprise my audience, so that they can never guess what to expect! Ultimately, I just love making films with people I admire and respect. A good film is about characters and feelings.
Q12 Do self-made actors like yourself have more motivation?
Yes, I think so! But this isn’t the case for everyone, each case is different. It is only natural to protect and work hard for something when you have been through hell to get it in the first place. I myself had no Godfather in the industry; I worked hard and wanted to constantly improve myself. My goal was to strive to be better, and so it was this drive that got me to where I am today. The only reason I am still here in this industry today is because of God’s grace, my parents blessings and my fans’ love.
Q13 Who do you admire in the industry? And why?
I admire everyone because it is hard to make it in the acting industry. Whether you are self-made or a star kid, the journey is still tough and not glamorous as it looks. Everyone in this industry deserves my admiration and that of the fans too. We all have the same vision and goal: to take Indian cinema to the next level. It is not a competition, it is a challenge and we’re all fighting for the same thing— our film industry, because without it, we’d all be nothing.
Q14 How do you protect your privacy when you encounter negative publicity? Does your discipline in martial arts help?
Yes, Martial Arts is a great source of strength, discipline and relaxation for me, in fact exercise is a great way for me to unwind and forget about my troubles. But the thing that really keeps me grounded is my family. I won’t be famous forever; I won’t be successful at work every day; and I won’t have fans who love me forever, but the one thing that I will have is my family, who will love me always, unconditionally.
Gabbar Is Backis scheduled for release internationally on 1st May 2015.
Our good friend FilmiGirl was nice enough to join us this episode and we had a VERY long but long overdue chat about tons of topics any Bollywood afficionado would be interested in.
We start with a rundown of this year’s releases and we give Filmigirl a ton of homework to catch up on since she is back from hiatus. Then we look towards the rest of the 2014 release calendar and the movies that are looking interesting and 3 that we agree on look terrible (funily for different reasons)- Can you guess which ones they are?
We wrap things up with a main review of Salman Khan’s Eid release Kick which is probably going to be one of the biggest BO earners every *until that records get shattered as Asim‘s predicts maybe even this year.
As usual we go off on many a tangent, but I guess that’s the reason you guys listen to us!
Let us know what you thought of this Upodcast Episode by streaming/downloading it below.
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Akshay Kumar doesn’t make it easy to root for him as a fan, not only repeating the same genre repeatedly but now he seems to be revisiting characters too. Singh Is King was a massive success although I did not care for it much ( the non stop repeats on Asian channels do not help) and now Akshay follows it up with Singh is Bling which looks equally propesterous.
Working again with hit machine Prabhu Deva after Rowdy Rathore, Sing is Bling according to the press release is: “Going to be an outright entertainer and Akshay’s character in the film will leave an everlasting impression on the viewers. There couldn’t have been a better title for the film and we are extremely excited that Prabhudheva will be directing Grazing Goat Pictures’ next Hindi feature film.”
I think personally I disagree with at least 10 statements contained in the snippet above.
But I still like Akshay a lot and end up watching and getting annoyed by him in equal measures (see also our Holiday Trailer Breakdown)
Here are the posters:
‘Singh is Bling’ directed by actor, director and dance choreographer, Prabhudheva and produced under Akshay Kumar and his partner Ashvini Yardi’s production banner, Grazing Goat Pictures. The film is set to release on 31st July 2015.
There is always a slight reluctance on my part to post these PR- Media interviews with actors. On the one hand it keeps feeding the PR bullshit machinery which none of us really want, but having done enough interviews I also realize that most of the actors are so coached anyway that it’s hard to get any honest moments from them anyway.
So here is a media interview done with Khiladi Akshay Kumar for his forthcoming Boss, which I am honestly looking forward to.
(also I am loving the Party All Night Track)
Q: How would you define your character in BOSS? And what made you sign this movie?
A: ‘BOSS’ is a very colourful Haryanvi character and that’s exactly what appealed to me.
He is a larger-than-life figure from Haryana with his own distinct style and attitude.
That forms the Masti [fun] part in the film. But there are some things he will neither
forgive nor forget, highlighted in reference to a particular situation involving the most
dearest people in his life. You don’t mess with BOSS and that message is very clear.
When Ashwin (Varde) and Tony (D’Souza) came to me with the film’s concept, I loved
it. BOSS is about fun, high octane action sequences and stunts and a good sprinkling
of romance (not for me though!).
Q: How is BOSS different from other action movies?
A: It’s different in many ways. The main reason is that we are offering the audience a different type of action movie that has a unique panache and style. Every action sequence is designed differently. BOSS is an intense film with a strong action backdrop, needed to drive a powerful story forward.
Q: You shot some major parts for BOSS in Delhi and Bangkok. How was it returning to these places that played such an important role in your life’s journey?
A: I grew up in Delhi and worked as a chef and learnt Martial Arts in Bangkok, so both places mean a lot to me. It was emotional returning to Chandni Chowk in Delhi especially though as we were barely 200 meters away from my old house. Due to the excitement around the film I was unable to go and visit my old house during the day, but managed to drive past in the early morning recollecting my happy childhood memories.
When I was shooting in Thailand, where I studied Martial Arts on the streets of Bangkok, I was also accompanied by my family. I took my son (Aarav) and niece to the kitchen I used to work, eat, sleep and train at in Bangkok when I was 17. Just seeing the small room where I used to rest my head after a tiring day of street fighting for extra money brought back so many memories. I had to fight back the tears in front of my son when I stood in the doorway of the kitchen I once worked so hard in, wondering how different my life is now. One day I was frying noodles, the next I was frying my brains over learning lines for my first film. Never say it isn’t possible. I’m proof that there is nothing more powerful than fate itself, even when the world thinks you’re just a plain boy wiping tables and cleaning dishes.
Q: It took a little while before the industry and the audiences started taking you seriously as a star. How would you describe your journey?
A: My journey has been both difficult and fantastic at the same time but I guess that’s part of life. It may have taken time for people to accept that I was more than just a struggling actor. I was also very determined to succeed and you can never achieve success without working towards it and adopting a diligent, positive and honest approach to this. I was Akshay Kumar, born with nothing but good parents and God’s hand on my shoulder!
Q: You worked with Ronit Roy way back in Sainik. How was your experience and how far has he changed now in BOSS?
A: When Ronit and I worked in Sainik, we were both very young. There was a lot of affection and respect for each other even then. Working with him again in BOSS after so many years was a wonderful experience. He is a fantastic actor and BOSS will showcase him in a different way. He has worked very hard on his role in BOSS and the audience will be nicely surprised by his performance.
Q: You are perhaps the first actor to ever play a Haryanvi character. What are your thoughts on this, was it a fun role to play?
A: Every character comes with its own identity. I was excited about playing a Haryanvi character in BOSS because that’s something I haven’t done before. And I always like to re-invent myself and present to fans a side of my persona they may not have experienced before. The character fitted so well with the story. It was a great experience.
Q: How was the experience of doing action scenes at 47° Celsius? Is BOSS your best action film according to you?
A: I would say it was my toughest shooting experience when we shot in 47 degrees. But full marks to the entire unit for bearing it and giving the best results. I would like to believe that in every film, I try to give my best shot. As far as action is concerned, I like to set new records every time. BOSS features a variety of high octane action sequences – the best part is that some of the scenes were very new to me and I haven’t performed these in any other films before.
Q:Which is your favourite song from BOSS?
A: Please don’t ask me to pick out just one favourite track because I simply love them all. I genuinely believe that the BOSS soundtrack is a complete package. Each song has been shot in a unique way. But yes, the Pitaah song is somehow closer to my heart because it’s about a father-son relationship. Har Kisi Ko’ is another classic treat for everyone who grew up in the eighties.
Vidyut Jamwal is an awesome dude, we had a great time chatting with him when Force was released last year and even then it was clear that this was going to be his break out role and not John Abraham’s flex fest (and I think the trailer has a shot that winks to him doing just that). The dude has been training in ancient Indian Martial Arts since he was a child and we bonded quite a bit when we spoke to him (Personally it’s one of my favorite interviews so do check it out by clicking here) geeking out about work outs and nunchuks.
It has been a long wait since then till Commando -The War Within and after seeing the first trailer it seems Vipul Shah has hedged his bets by making this a low budget, low risk proposal where Vidyut’s action takes central stage and the supporting cast and even the heroine don’t really stand out. I guess Vipul is a bigger risk taker when he wants Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan to play Wembley rockstars?
The 2nd schmuck move by the producers is to give the title two side titles as they can’t seem to choose which one will suck more. Is it a War Within or is he A One Man Army? One makes it sounds like a viral infection and he other is just a contradiction and stupid.
I hate you Vipul Shah!
The main thing that really sets Commando apart from any other actioner is this:
He is LITERALLY going Commando on these stunts!
Apart from that those crazy jumping jack push ups he’s doing that I honestly have never seen anyone do! It almost remind me of Akshay Kumar’s training sequence in his debut Saugandh amped and jacked up to a 1000.
It does seem to be a trend that heroes are fighting bigger and bigger armies of goons and unlike the HimmatWala trailer with Ajay Devgan (who also has some martial arts chops as you may have forgotten Jigar and it’s Drunken Master rip off training sequences) Vidyut actually knows these things.
The minor niggle I have is that the trailer containts all of the same stunts that he performs during his showreel stage shows as well as some he already did in Force, and the heroine Pooja Chopra a forer Miss India (really??) just seems completely bland to me.
This is going to be the Jamwal show all the way!
COMMANDO- THE WAR WITHIN is slated for a March 2013 release.
Akshay Kumar has officially jumped ships from Slap Stick Akshay to Action Akshay and donned his Khiladi tag again after 12 years (the horrible Khiladi 420).
Partnering up with Himesh Reshammiya we get the first teaser trailer for Khiladi 786 and it proves that Rohit Shetty must be an auteur as director Ashish R. Mohan (who was 2nd unit director for Rohit on many of his big hits) seems to have straight up lifted his visual esthetic of bright colors and wire fu.
This trailer does nothing for me and leaves me completely cold as the Son of Sardar trailer did previously even though it hits all the neo masala sweet spots of thundering hero entry, non-sensical one liners, punchy dialogues followed by a pause so the junta wolf whistles and packs tons of inconsequential action.
Quite a few people feel that the danger to currently reigning box office king Salman Khan is that he starts repeating himself, I feel this much more true for Akshay who even in this trailer seems like he’s having no fun at all and is just going through the motions. He just doesn’t look as fresh and good anymore even if we do see his trademark grin. Akshay has always been a tool more than a driver of his movies and he seems to just do what’s necessary but the passion seems gone.
The trailer is solely built on revisiting Rowdy Rathode’s success and doesn’t add much more (With RR which wasn’t that great of a movie in the first place). We don’t get to see Himesh Reshammiya or Asin yet, but obviously with this being just a teaser we will at certain point as well as the soundtrack which I am not really looking forward to, even if Himesh has done some good work in the past, it’s never been great has it?
The biggest problem with wire based action is if not used sparingly, is it looses all impact in a fight sequence, this was one of my major issues with Singham and I feel it’s an art that Bollywood hasn’t mastered as well as their Southern Indian brethren.The only segment of the action that does truly work is the spinning punch Akshay delivers that finishes in a martial arts stance. (As any kid coming back from Friday prayers know, a Shalwar Kameez is totally bad ass to train kung fu in)
Directed by enfant terrible of Hindi Film cinema Shirish Kunder, starring Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha, Shreyas Talpade and Alex O’Nell, follows up his 2006 gem Jaan E Mann with a Sci-fi village hoax movie Joker.
Unfortunately already one of the lowest openers of the Indian Box Office of 2012 and pretty much a disappointment all round for those looking forward to what this witty director with a keen visual sense would come up with after a gap of 6 years.
Our guest GetFilmy joins us to discuss the debacle leading up to the release, what went wrong and we speculate on what the next steps could be for Shirish Kunder as a film maker.
We try to talk as positively about the movie as we usually do on the show and theorize what went on behind the scenes.
Was it bad marketing?
The effects of slapgate?
Why did Akshay not promote the movie?
Is it a completely bad movie?
We finish up the show with the forthcoming releases of the year and what else we can look forward to.
Apologies for our listeners that joined us on Ustream ,that was an experiment that didn’t go well…Maybe next time.
This was the first Upodcast to be streamed live on Ustream (bookmark this link to catch the next show!), follow our twitter feed or facebook page so you can join the next time we go live with our insanity!
As we mention in the intro, we have quite an amazing competition running for the month of June sponsored by Hi-Fi Tower so click here to check out the rules and how you can win Home Projector to transform your living rooms into a theater experience!
Let us know what you though of the show in the comment section below!
One movie that we have totally been looking forward to is Rowdy Rathore and since the release is just around the corner, there is quite a bit of promotion going on especially in India where the stars and director Prabu Deva are on a city wide tour. Together with the full Chinta Ta Ta Chita Chita – Rowdy Rathore Official Full Song Video, we received a spoilerific plot summary, read if you can’t wait to know the what the movie will be about!
Bollywood’s original hero Akshay Kumar makes his long-awaited return after seven years to the action movie arena with this summer’s big release Rowdy Rathore releasing on the 1st of June 2012.
Rowdy Rathore is a modern re-working of the Telugu film Vikramarkudu, and features an all-star Bollywood cast comprising of Akshay Kumar and Bollywood starlett Sonakshi Sinha who returns to screens after Dabangg. The film is directed by renowned Tamil choreographer and actor Prabhu Deva (Wanted, Shakti – The Power) and also features the considerable talents of producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, famed for his directing credits on cutting-edge films Black, Devdas and Saawariya. The film marks Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first foray into the action genre.
Akshay Kumar returns to dazzling form in this all-action blockbuster, as he expertly plays two very different and intriguing characters. The film is enhanced by lighthearted moments of comedy, thrilling action sequences and a little sprinkling of romance to set things off. Rowdy Rathore showcases Akshay Kumar’s acting talents and versatility as an actor, and guarantees an exciting summer film for the whole family.
In a gripping tale of mystery, deception and revenge, the thrilling story is told through the eyes of lead character Shiva (Akshay Kumar), who is a small-time thief addicted to acts of daredevilry. Shiva’s life is turned upside down when one day a young girl turns up and claims to be his daughter. Stunned by the revelation, he soon uncovers a dark and disturbing story behind her claim. It turns out that the girl is the daughter of IPS Police Officer Vikram Singh Rathore, who happens to be Shiva’s twin brother. When the two meet, and Vikram is murdered in front of Shiva, the latter must assume his identity and work undercover to bring his killers to justice.
Here is another look at the trailer that we can’t get enough of!
This week we bring together the biggest and snarkiest voices on the Bollywood Blogosphere to review the year past. We are joined by FilmiGirl, Rum from RotiKapadaAurRum and the infamous CurryBear!
We start of with our thoughts about the year that was and which trends stood out. Does Akshay Kumar need to re-invent himself for a comeback? Was this the year of Salman Khan? And can we count out ShahRukh Khan?
We then go in to our top 5 movies of the year, how we made our lists and why we chose a top 5 instead of a top 10 (coz we’re rebels of the underground!) And there are quite a few surprising choices!
We finish up with some of our biggest disappointments and films we hated and what we’re looking forward to in 2012.
This is a no holds barred episode so only suitable for mature audiences J
You can find CurryBear, FilmiGirl and Rum’s blogs in the links below!
Now Upodcast is not well versed in music ( unlike or friends The CurrySmugglers who are back with an amazing season!) but we had a chance to ask some interesting questions about the state of bhangra, the new found international audience and some behind the scenes gossip on how the industry works.
Above all Kuly was a very nice guy to speak with and although he was in the backseat of a car, he really took the time to answer all of our questions.
It’s a fun listen, check it out below and don’t forget to leave us a comment!
Here are some of the tracks RDB is famous for
You can find more info on their website and also their forthcoming album WorldWide.
NEW SEASON! And we are back from our short break, with an amazing Bollywoodepisode. This week Beth, FilmiGirl and I discuss the critics/fan reactions to the release of Farah Khan‘s Tees Maar Khan. We delve into many controversial topics and many feathers will get ruffled, so listen to the complete episode after the jump! Read More
Farah Khan’s comic caper has a lot riding on it. It’s Farah breaking out on her own, free from collaborations that were safe bets from within a comfort zone. In some way it’s a comeback for Akshay Kumar whose had a horrible year of releases. And it’s also Katrina Kaif strongest claim for the top Bollywood heroine slot. (if she doesnâ€™t already own it?)
A lot of question surround this movie but you forget about all of that within minutes when Tees Maar Khan theme song kicks in.
I’ll try my best not to spoil too much of the movie as I was fortunate enough to catch an early preview in London; but honestly speaking I could only spoil some of the comedic beats,not much of the plot.
It’s a pretty straight forward masala caper and most of the set up is in the trailers.
Tees Maar Khan urf Tabrez Mirza Khan ,the biggest con artist in the world, is hired to rob a train carrying an immense treasure for a set of conjoint twin â€œvillainsâ€. He also is a shameless plugger of his own name. There was maybe one too many reference to the title of the movie to my taste but all that is not important for what we get is easily one of the funniest and most entertaining entertainers of the year.
It’s what Housefulll wishes it was, what Action Replayy could never accomplish and what Golmaal lies in bed at night crying it could be one day.
First, I would suggest that if you have a chance, go and watch this movie on the big screen. Partly because it’s the kind of movie that is elevated with a participating audience and partly because it needs the big canvas so you can soak up all the gorgeousness in every shot.
I have a pretty good media set up at home but in no way could I understand the awesomeness of Sheila Ki Jawaani until I saw it today.
There were many discussions the previous weeks about which was the best item number of the year: Munni Badnaam Hui from Dabangg or Sheila Ki Jawaani.I am still not sure I have an answer for that question but what I can tell you is that there were moments in Sheila ki Jawaani that Katrina Kaif took the entire audience’s breath away.
It is EPIC and if I could, I would rewind it and watch it again. You might not be able to do that in a cinema (unless you’re Raja Babu) but what you do get in the theatre experience is the full force of Vishal- Shekar‘s â€œsaaandâ€ blaring through the speakers and every minute detail of Katrina’ s performance elevating the song to a whole new level.
In my opinion Katrina delivers the strongest female comedic performance since Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met. She is hilarious in every scene as Anya Khan the wannabe Starlet/Item girl and I really hope people stop asking her to prove herself over and over again. I think she has been doing that in her recent roles and this is probably one of her bests.
When reviewing our best Bollywood soundtracks of 2010 (click here) we thought that the Tees Maar Khan OST was maybe not the greatest (I am still not convinced of the Sonu Nigam’s Chipmunk voices) but it could only be fully judged when seeing it picturized. And lo and behold I was humming the songs exiting the theatre and want to get my hands on the soundtrack as soon as I can.
Although Salman Khan’s cameo in Wallah Re Wallah is featured in the promos, it still manages to send a bolt of excitement through your spine.
The first half of the movie just breezes by and the second half has a bit of a slower start but manages to put in a lot more heart in the movie.
So now on to the Khiladi. See I’ve always been fond of Akshay Kumar (especially his work ethic and just plain sincerity) but somewhere his lovable loud mouthed buffoon shtick and those indistinguishable Priyadarshan comedies just turned me away from him.
A movie that I unashamedly loved back in the day was â€œMr. and Mrs. Khiladiâ€ ,probably not the most discerning of choices, I admit but Akshay was amazing in it. That’s the kind of Akshay we get here. he is again ahead of the world, a real hero character kids would want to emulate (those fluorescent Jersey Shore Shirts can be omitted) . Someone who is witty, funny and confident. I donâ€™t know if he ad-libs some of his lines in that throw away manner but it makes me crack up everytime and actually believe in Akshay as a leading man again.
Unfortunately for my non-hindi speakers the subtitles were not able to catch every joke thrown in but there are so many if you miss one you’ll surely catch the next one.
There are even â€œInception- likeâ€ levels of joke-within-a-joke which film geeks can play filmi-bingo with. I would suggest inventing a drinking game around it, someone catches a reference and everyone drinks. Even I jumped with joy seeing Anil Kapoor’s most iconic dance and the whole Master India sequence. (Boney for reals, can we get that Mr.India sequel already??)
But you can also just enjoy the movie just as a fun masala caper with great dances and and performances from the lead as well as the supporting cast (woohoo Avtaar Gill!!) and we even get the final sequence where the whole team apears.
Akshay Khanna is hilarious as the oscar obsessed Bollywood superstar, some will claim it’s inspired by Amir or Shahrukh but I donâ€™t see it really or at least nothing to create news stories about but I’m sure that won’ stop people.
All in all I think this movie is a great move for Farah, Shrish Kunder and her production company in developing her Manmohan desai style even further. I am truly looking forward to her next paisa vasool flick but until then: go watch Tees Maar Khan on the big screen NOW!
Farah Khan’s Akshay Kumar– Katrina Kaif starrer, Tees Maar Khan is closing in for a Christmas release and has quickly become the talk of the town altough maybe not for all the right reasons. To counter or fuel the PR machine the third promo featuring Salman Khan, basking in his post Dabanng glory, has just released. Check it out this mast qawalli number and our thoughts on some of the controversies surrounding Tees Maar Khan’s release after the jump! Read More
It’s time for a run-down of some of the hottest trailers coming from the outsourcing capital of the world! We all need a bit of spice in our lives (unlessÂ you suffer from IBS then you should clearly avoid anything relating to Bollywood or Mexican). And I look forward to the new batch of emotional overdoses coming our way.
Keep reading for some of the most exciting Bollywood trailers and our thoughts on them! Read More