Filmmaker Sriram Raghavan, who has made exciting thrillers like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddar, is upbeat about his next film, Happy Birthday starring John Abraham and Aishwarya Bachchan. With this interesting pair, Sriram has decided to shift his loyalties to love stories. We don’t know how easy this one’s going to be, but we do know that Raghavan had put on his thinking cap for quite a while before he came up with the title of the film. Ask him about his experience of working on a romantic film and he jokes, “As long as I’m saying ‘action’, I’m happy.” The trio – John, Aishwarya and Raghavan will work together for the first time in this film. Happy working, guys.
After six months of living in denial, Shilpa Shetty and UK-based NRI entrepreneur Raj Kundra have come out in the open with their relationship. “I’m not denying it’s him (Raj) but I hope when this comes out, it doesn’t frighten him off,” Shilpa said on the New Year’s eve. And, no, this isn’t her resolution to come clean on all controversies this year, but as Shilpa’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar said, “Things have changed. The relationship has blossomed and matured with time. They were friends before. Now they’re a couple.”
Raj is responsible for the launch of Shilpa’s perfume. He is also the force behind her musical stage shows. Raj, who finances and produces movies, had presented the Jimmy Sheirgill-Kay Kay Menon starrer Strangers which released a few weeks ago. But like Shilpa, when the news of their relationship broke six months ago, Raj had denied it, stating they were “just friends”.
Raj’s former wife Kavita had accused Shilpa of breaking her marriage by having an affair with Raj. But the other version is that Shilpa came to know Raj four months after his wife had parted with him. Now the couple is seriously dating and getting to know each other better. Shilpa brought in the New Year with her family and Raj in Las Vegas.
DIRECTOR: A R Murugadoss
CAST: Aamir Khan, Asin and Jiah Khan
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A business man (Aamir Khan) and his model-cum-activist girlfriend (Asin) who believe in doing whatever they can to support the marginalised. Asin exposes a flesh-trade racket and earns the wrath of a dreaded gang. Asin is gunned down and Sanjay suffers a short-term memory loss. Later, he goes behind the killers, takes pictures, tattoos their names, addresses, phone numbers on his own body to remember them. A Hindi remake of A R Murugadoss’s Tamil film, Ghajini, this action-thriller releases in second half of 2008. Aamir Khan will shave his head for this
DIRECTOR: Subhash Ghai
CAST: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani and Katrina Kaif
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Here’s another musical extravaganza from Subhash Ghai’s stable. The story is about three billionaire brothers who embark on a quest for happiness. Salman Khan, in his characteristic manner, woos Katrina Kaif, who plays an ace musician. The film is set to release during Diwali
DIRECTOR: Ashutosh Gowarikar
PRODUCER: Ashutosh Gowarikar CAST: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Sonu Sood
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Jodhaa Akbar is the untold love story of the greatest Mughal emperor who ruled Hindustan (now India), Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, and a fiery young Rajput princess, Jodhaa. Set in the sixteenth century, this epic romance begins as a marriage of alliance between two cultures and religions for political gain. The Hindu King Bharmal of Amer, gives his daughter’s hand to Emperor Akbar. When Akbar accepts the marriage proposal, not only does he strengthen his relations with the Rajputs but also embarks on a new journey of true love
DIRECTOR: Goldie Behl
CAST: Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Abhishek Bachchan plays a superhero in this closely-guarded film, which has been shot extensively in Prague and Rajasthan. Abhishek, sports long hair, has performed daring stunts in the film. The film also stars Priyanka Chopra who plays Abhishek’s bodyguard. She especially learnt a Sikh form of martial art, the Gatka, from four Sikh men for the role. Sources indicate that Amitabh is going all-out to ensure that his son beats out Hrithik Roshan as a superhero
U ME AUR HUM
DIRECTOR: Ajay Devgan
CAST: Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Divya Dutta, Isha Sharvani, Karan Khanna, Sumeet Raghvan
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A fun-filled romantic comedy that unfolds on a cruise liner. Ajay Devgan and Kajol team together after Raju Chacha which released in 2000
DIRECTOR: Ram Gopal Varma
CAST: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This sequel to Sarkar will see Abhishek Bachchan stepping into the shoes of his father Subhash Nagde, a modern-day Robin Hood. Likewise he starts operating a parallel government and his traditional wife (Aishwarya) is his biggest strength. Sarkar Raj will be Ash’s first film opposite Abhishek after their wedding
THE LAST LEAR
DIRECTOR: Rituparno Ghosh
CAST: Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Preity Zinta, Shefali Shah
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A 65-year-old reclusive Shakespearean stage actor, Harry’s (Amitabh) life changes when he meets new-age film director Siddharth (Arjun). Friendship blossoms between the two eccentric yet creative minds. Harry, who is a complete outsider to the world of commercial cinema, soon grabs a magnificent role in Siddharth’s next film. While filming he befriends his co-actor Shabnam (Preity), who is coping with her messy personal life. He teaches her more than merely the nuances of acting. As the film rolls, Harry gets into the skin of his character – the Joker. So much so that he loses his memory
DIRECTOR: Vivek Sharma
CAST: Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Bhootnath’s story is that of a young boy’s encounter with a ghost. Bachchan plays the friendly ghost, while SRK plays the boy’s father. Reportedly, the ongoing cold feud between Amitabh and Shah Rukh has hampered the progress of the film. Although Shah Rukh initially only had a special appearance, his role has been extended. This has supposedly irked Amitabh who wants his role re-worked
SINGH IS KINNG
DIRECTOR: Vipul Shah
CAST: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Sudhanshu Pandey, Sonu Sood and Neha Dhupia.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Shot in Gold Coast, Australia this comic caper traces the journey of a small town Sikh boy who goes on to become a menacing gangster. The film has been in the news for Akshay’s diamond-studded turban, which costs a whopping Rs 65 lakh
DIRECTOR: Prabhu Deva
CAST: Salman Khan, Ayesha Takia
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Inspired by Telugu super hit, Pokiri, the plot revolves around Radhe (Salman), who is an undercover cop operating as a henchman. He meets his ladylove (Ayesha Takia), but the day she decides to reciprocate her love for him, Radhe is attacked by a rival gang. However, Radhe escapes unhurt and manages to kill them. After learning about the slaughter, Ayesha starts distancing herself
DIRECTOR: Sujoy Ghosh
CAST: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Ritiesh Deshmukh and Miss Sri Lanka, Jacqueline Fernandez
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladdin, is a modern-day Bollywood version of The Arabian Nights. Ritiesh plays the title role; Sanjay is Ring Master while Amitabh plays a mischievous genie. The film boasts of high-end, visual effects
DIRECTOR: Rohit Shetty
CAST: Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade, Tusshar Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Amrita Arora, Celina Jaitley and Anjana Sukhani WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Golmaal Returns is the sequel to the rib-tickler Golmaal. The plot has been kept under wraps so far. The lowdown: Kareena plays a housewife, who is addicted to saas-bahu serials
DIRECTOR: Vijay Krishna Acharya CAST: Kareena Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Tashan is going to be one grand affair. Although Kareena has played a number of glamourous roles, she has never really bared on screen. But this time the buzz is Kareena will wear a bikini in the film. Tashan will also feature Saif Ali Khan’s eight-year-old son, Ebrahim, who plays his son in the film as well
DIRECTOR: Nagesh Kukunoor
CAST: John Abraham, Sonal Sehgal
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: John plays a habitual gambler in the film. As he wants to overcome the vice, a friend suggests that he go to the Velankani Church in Pondicherry for a rehabilitation course. The story charts John’s transformation as he encounters different people at the rehab centre
DIRECTOR: Vivek Sharma
CAST: Vivek Oberoi, Zayed Khan, Suniel Shetty and Tusshar Kapoor
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Vikas Sagar (Zayed Khan), an ambitious and popular journalist, who would go to any limits for a scoop, is asked by Owais Husain (Suniel Shetty), a senior producer at the controversial Istanbul-based news channel, Al Johara, to fly to Istanbul for a three-month long orientation programme. Their offer couldn’t have come at a better time for Vikas, who’s undergoing a painful divorce with wife Anjali. As part of his orientation, Vikas gets hands-on experience in Al Johara’s newsroom. He finds himself creating news as he steals the secrets locked away in Al Johara’s 13th floor. He is a man on the run, who is wanted by Turkish cops, terrorists, and the CIA. He joins a bloody mission against international terrorism
DIRECTOR: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
CAST: Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor
WHAT’S IT ABOUT:
The film is loosely-based on film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s childhood spent at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. It also takes a scathing look at the ‘Monkey Man’ hysteria that rocked Delhi in 2001
The latest is that Yash Raj Films, impressed by Shahid’s performance in Jab We Met, has recently signed Shahid for their next production. The film will be directed by Anurag Singh, a close associate of Aditya Chopra. The project will roll from March 2008.
This film will be a love story. A source tells us, “Shahid loved the script and gave the nod to YRF. He is meeting many filmmakers after Jab We Met. He is signing films after much deliberation. He wants to choose the right scripts. Filmmakers are queuing up to sign him these days.”
Here, Shahid seems to have broken his onefilm-at-a-time rule as this is not the only film he’s doing. He is also gearing up for Ken Ghosh’s film, where he sports long hair. After that, he will start shooting for his father’s (Pankaj Kapoor) directorial venture.
Our source adds, “Importantly, Shahid is not ruing the fact that he split with Kareena. Life has never been as good to Shahid as now.” We couldn’t agree more. Lately, Shahid has been seen in close proximity with tennis player Sania Mirza. Shahid remained unavailable for comment.
Mallika Sherawat, who was very excited about working in Kundan Shah’s film Masquerade, walked out of the film. Touted as one of the most challenging projects of her career, she quit because she had irrevocable creative differences with the director.
Post Mallika’s exit, the producers of the film, The Indian Film Company (TV 18) have also opted out.
Our source says, “Mallika was on a high ever since she heard the script of Kundan Shah’s film. It was indisputably the best role of her career where she was to play a prostitute-turned-politician. She had even agreed to use the typical UP language, laced with colourful epithets. However, in the course of her rehearsals she had serious problems with the director over creative issues.”
He adds, “Mallika was upset because Kundan Shah was adamant about not changing his technical crew. A lot of creative differences cropped up during the shooting of the film and Mallika, who is used to getting her own way, walked out of the film.”
When contacted, Kundan Shah confirmed that Mallika was no longer part of his film. However, he refused to give details as to why Mallika is no longer part of his film. He says “I do not wish to comment on this.”
When quizzed on the issue, an official spokesman of the production house, The Indian Film Company says, “Yes, it is true that Mallika is no longer doing the film. As for us, we have not yet decided whether we will go ahead with the project or not.”
Mallika Sherawat remained unavailable for comment.
Now this is the story of the day. Guess what? Shah Rukh Khan has gone where no Hindi film actors have gone before. The trade reports coming in from Kerala have it that SRK’s Om Shanti Om has been doing roaring business in Kerala. In fact, it has done better business than their local films released during the same time. King Khan is a big hit down south too. Mind it!
Although Katrina Kaif and Salman’s Khan’s relationship in is trouble, Katrina is doing her best to make the relationship work again. There were speculations in the media that Katrina didn’t want to go to Salman’s farmhouse at Panvel for Salman’s birthday on December 27 this year. However, Katrina changed her mind at the last minute and reached Salman’s farmhouse on December 26, just a few minutes before midnight.
In fact, Katrina cut shot her shoot for Vipul Shah’s Singh is Kinng so that she does not miss the party. As per schedule, Katrina was supposed to be in Punjab on December 27 shooting for Singh is Kinng, but she made sure that the shoot was postponed so that she could be with Sallu.
On Katrina’s request, Vipul stopped his schedule midway on December 26 and the entire unit returned to Mumbai.
Our source from Singh is Kinng’s unit says, “Katrina told Vipul and Anees that she wanted to spend time with her family and bring in the New Year at home. But the real reason was that she wanted to be with Salman for his birthday party.”
A top actor from the industry, who attended the party, confirmed that Katrina was very much a part of the celebration in Salman’s farmhouse.
Our source says, “Recently, Salman and Katrina’s relationship is in trouble. Things are definitely not the same. There was a time when the two had decided to call off the relationship but as they go back a long way, the two have had long conversations and tried to sort out their differences. And what better time than Salman’s birthday to try and let bygones be bygones?”
When quizzed about it, Vipul and Katrina gave contradictory statements. While Katrina maintained that that the schedule had actually got over on December 26, Vipul said that they changed their plans and that the original plan was to continue shooting in Punjab and not to return to Mumbai midway.
Katrina says, “I did not come to Mumbai especially for Salman’s birthday. Singh is Kinng’s schedule got over on December 26.”
However, Vipul says, “Before Punjab, we shot for about three-and-half months at Goldcoast in Australia. We then started shooting at Punjab and were supposed to be there till January 15. But everybody wanted to be in Mumbai for the New Year. We have taken a break for five days. We will resume shooting on January 3.”
Looks like Ranbir Kapoor’s kitty is filling up fast. The actor has been roped in for Ravi Chopra’s next film to be directed by Rahul Dholakia (of Parzania fame). Currently, he is shooting for an untitled Yash Raj film starring Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Minissha Lamba.
Ravi Chopra’s film is a story of two friends. The rest of the cast is yet to be finalised.
Meanwhile, Dholakia takes the safe route and wants the production house to do the talking. He says, “I am in advanced talks with B R Films. We are thinking of casting Ranbir. It would be better if you speak to B R Films about this matter.”
But a friend of Dholakia confirmed that Ranbir will star in a B R Films’ project. “B R Films is very impressed with Dholakia. Ranbir was their first choice. Ranbir too, loved the script,” the friend said.
Ravi Chopra remained unavailable for comment. We sent him a text message, but he did not reply.
The Kapoor scion is rocking not only in his professional life, but in the personal front as well. He is currently dating his Saawariya coactor, Sonam Kapoor.
Dholakia on the other hand, is busy gearing up for Bunty Walia’s film Lamha starring Sanjay Dutt.
Another actor-sportsman affair bites the dust. Neha Dhupia and squash player Ritwik Bhattacharya have apparently split. The break-up came to the fore during the Sunburn Festival that was held in Goa a few days back, where to everyone’s surprise, the duo completely ignored each other. Says an eyewitness, “We all were surprised to find Neha and Ritwik studiously avoiding each other at the event.”
A friend of Neha confirms that the two have indeed broken up. “The relationship didn’t work because Neha kept postponing the marriage on some pretext or the other.” The friend adds, “It’s true that Neha had agreed to marry Ritwik but she didn’t share his enthusiasm as far as marriage was concerned.”