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.
For the first time in her career Aishwarya Bachchan has gone completely make-up free for Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar 2 and the director says he had the time of his life shooting with her. “Very frankly, I was wondering what she had in store as I had never worked with her before. And considering the sequel to Sarkar is a dark, intense, raw and real film, I was apprehensive about how far Aishwarya would be able to shed her immense glamour,” Varma told IANS. But the Bachchan bahu took him by surprise. “She shocked me with her performance. Without too many rehearsals and certainly without attending any pre-shoot workshop Aishwarya has stood up to Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek in every scene. Audiences will be shocked with her performance,” Varma said. “I can’t see the film working without her. But to quote me as saying the film could have worked without Mr. Bachchan and Abhishek but not without Aishwarya is like saying the Godfather could do without Brando and Pacino,” he added.
A wax model of Aishwarya Bachchan will open to public view at the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Time Square, New York City, on August 15, when India celebrates its 60th year of independence. “The unveiling ceremony will feature a 15-minute performance by a Bollywood dance group from the city,” said Rosemary Preta, director of marketing of the museum.
The museum has scheduled the ceremony on India’s Independence Day, which was also demanded by her fans in the US, Preta said. Aishwarya’s model will be placed in the Opening Night Party section of the museum. The museum has borrowed the model for six weeks from the parent Madame Tussauds in London. The life-like sari-clad waxwork, unveiled in London in 2004, timed with the release of Aishwarya’s first international film, Bride and Prejudice, directed by London-based Gurinder Chadha.
Aishwarya was present at the London unveiling, but she will be unable to come to New York for this landmark event. Aishwarya has also had the most success from Indian actors making forays in Hollywood. Her big ticket Hollywood film is The Last Legion, in which she gets third billing after Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley. The epic look period film is releasing in the US on August 17. The only other Indian film personalities immortalised at Madame Tussauds in London are Ash’s father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, both from Bollywood, and Tamil superstar Rajnikant. Other Indian attractions at the museum are Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Now, Ash has beaten them all by becoming the first Indian to feature at the New York museum. The museum in Manhattan attracts a million visitors a year and has become a major tourist attraction in the city since its opening in 2000. Madame Tussauds commemorates the world’s most popular personalities by creating strikingly similar wax statues. Set up by Frenchwoman, Marie Tussauds, in London in 1835, the world famous museum now has branches in Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Shanghai, besides New York, with Washington DC to be added to the list in October this year.
John Abraham will soon be romancing Aishwarya Rai (on screen, of course). The actors have been roped in for a mushy, candy-floss romance, which will be produced by Rohan Sippy and directed by Sriram Raghavan. Considering that the Bachchans and John don’t really share any warm vibes, it’s surprising that Aishwarya has agreed to be a part of the film.
Sources attribute it to producer Rohan’s comradeship with Abhishek Bachchan that led Ash to say a “resounding yes” during the script-narration. Rohan, however, feigns ignorance about his leading lady. He says, “John has been signed. We are yet to take a call about the rest of the cast.”
However, Sriram Raghavan (best known for Ek Haseena Thi) comes clean and says, “We have approached Aishwarya and she has agreed. But we are yet to fulfil the formalities. We start filming this November.”
Talking about the Bachchan-and-John rivalry, rumours are rife about the cold vibes that they share. Gone are the days when Abhishek and John would vroom around the city on their favourite bikes. More recently, John was unceremoniously dropped from ‘The Unforgettable Tour’, which will be led by Amitabh Bachchan next April.
A source informs, “John and Abhishek’s friendship has turned sour because of the growing competition in their professional lives. They have been several occasions in the past where they have been in the run-in for the same films.”
Sources indicate that Ash’s move will lead John and Abhishek to renew their ties. Meanwhile, Rohan has been hunting for locations for this untitled film. Raghavan further adds, “It is a romance – meets-adventure film. It will be shot primarily in foreign locations, which we are in the process of finalising.”
They may have the most hectic schedules lined up, but where a social cause is concerned, Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan are all for it. And if the ‘good deed’ entails pairing up with their poet and painter cousin Namrita Bachchan, then there’s no stopping them! No wonder then, the Bachchans had a whale of a time as they painted a canvas as part of a charity initiative being organised by the NGO Khushii.
Abhishek, for one, was glad he could team up with Namrita. “Any amount of time you spend with Nam tu is always wonderful, not to mention an educational experience and this was no different.” Aishwarya concurs, “This was super fun. I was supposed to paint alongside another artist but since this is with one’s family, it’s truly a cherish able experience. It just feels so right to have done this together – all our hearts beating for one cause, the larger picture.”
Perfectionist Namrita admits that this being her first group effort, she had to mentally ready herself. “But I knew that this wouldn’t just be my painting alone; it would be ‘our’ painting,” notes Namrita, adding that she always wanted the two (Ash-Abhi) to be directly involved with the painting as opposed to a cosmetic collaboration. “In fact, I have named this painting after the song ‘One Love’ that Abhishek sang in the movie ‘Rakht’. Also, Aishwarya and Abhishek have put in their combined efforts for this painting and hence the name, ‘Two Hearts: One Love’,” she explains.
She is also quick to emphasize that it would be unfair to judge the superstars’ painting skills and decide who is better of the two. “Both are amateurs, but they have taken their time out for a noble cause. Their skills with the brush shouldn’t really come under scrutiny,” she signs off.
While we don’t need any list to prove Aishwarya Rai is beautiful, the West certainly can’t seem to get enough of her. And marriage to Abhishek Bachchan certainly hasn’t seemed to have affected her appeal.
In a list on the 100 most beautiful women today published by the current Harpers and Queen Magazine, the former Miss World has been placed ninth. Interestingly, she bagged the same position in the publication’s list last year too.
Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie topped the list followed byy supermodel Christy Turlington, Queen Rania of Jordan, film director Sofia Coppola and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.
The compilation was made by 1000 experts from the all over the world from varied fields of fashion, arts and the media.
Ash, who is shooting in Karjat for Ashutosh Gowarikar’s ‘Jodha d Akbar’, was not available for comment, but hub by Abhishek is certainly one lucky man, wot say?
You took a major decision in your life some time back. Now tell us about your life, postmarriage.
Yes, I took a very important step in life and I’m very, very glad about it. I feel blessed, I think it’s wonderful to be married to your best friend. There is immense love and respect. I have the most wonderful father-in-law and mother-in-law, who treat me like their daughter.
And what kind of a husband is Abhishek?
Arre, if I start on that, we’ll have to get onto an autobiography… In short, I’m in a happy place.
Now, will you be doing more films with Abhishek?
It’s a good thing if we get to work together. Time is precious, and we, actors, always have hectic schedules. Abhishek and I have done many films together in the past, and he has been a wonderful co-star. As a colleague, it was always fun to work with him. It will be great to work with my husband, as we will get to spend more time with each other.
There were many controversies surrounding the Bachchans these days. Probably many people from the industry wanted to get invited to the wedding, but weren’t….
We regard our wedding as a very personal experience. The truth is that dadima (Teji Bachchan) is in the hospital. Given the circumstances, obviously, we didn’t want an ostentatious wedding. Amitji had very clearly said this, and we, as children, support and respect him for that. Even the relatives invited were limited. But, we know that we have the good wishes of the people and we are thankful for it. As far as misunderstandings are concerned, it is really unfortunate that too many assumptions were made, there were many false rumours and lose talk. Perhaps we will feel the need to clarify some things some time. For instance, I’m married to Abhishek, not to a tree.
Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar 2 will be the first film in which we’ll see you, Amitabh and Abhishek together for the first time. There is already a lot of curiosity surrounding the film.
As a viewer, I enjoyed Sarkar. Ramu’s films are real, there’s a lot of detailing in them. He always attempts, explores and experiments different things and is never worried whether it will work at the box-office or not. I’ve always wanted to work with him. Now I am getting this opportunity with Sarkar 2, and I’m really excited.
Is there any strategy that you will now follow?
Right now, I am going with the flow, so my strategy remains the same, there is no change postmarriage. In future, obviously, there will be children, and then, I will plan my time accordingly. I will continue working.
The new Mrs Bachchan’s honeymoon might have ended, but the schism that the Abhiash wedding has created in the film industry has left very few leading men ready to star with her. The newest member of the Bachchan khandaan seems to be bearing the brunt of their socalled ‘exclusive’ wedding guest list. Most leading men in the industry do not want to work with her any more. A-list heroes like Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir, Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi and Saif Ali Khan have already refused to work with her.
Apparently at the World Cup party hosted by SRK at his residence, Salman, Shah Rukh and the others decided to ban Aishwarya and refuse films she stars in. The immediate effect was that Saif opted out of Karan Johar’s Tarun Mansukhani-directed film, costarring Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai. And Shah Rukh Khan is so obviously miffed with the Bachchans that the cold war is now out in the open.
The infamous kiss between Hrithik and Ash in Dhoom 2 that is supposed to be the reason why Hrithik and the Roshan family were not invited to the wedding, has led to the former opting out of films starring Ash. And she already has had problems with Aamir Khan when she opted out of Mangal Pandey – The Rising at the last minute.
Also, Salman and Vivek will never work with Ash for obvious reasons. With Aishwarya Bachchan out of contention for six leading guys in the industry, she is only left with a few choices, apart from her husband Abhishek Bachchan. She is already working on two projects with him – Ramu’s Sarkar 2 and Karan’s next.
As trade expert Taran Adarsh says, “Everything depends on the result of her pairing with Abhishek in her upcoming films. If they do well, she’ll be safe. Else, she may be in trouble.”
With Farhan Akhtar’s Don being allegedly moved forward, the coast is clear for Yashraj Films’ Dhoom 2 to be this year’s big Diwali-Eid release. But here’s the catch… J.P. Dutta has decided to release his eagerly-awaited Umrao Jaan along with Dhoom 2. Interestingly, both the films star Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, though in totally different avatars.
JP Dutta says, “As far as I know, Dhoom 2 is a contemporary caper. Abhishek and Ash are poles apart in looks and character in that film. On the other hand, my film is a costume drama. I thought Eid-Diwali is the best time to release Umrao Jaan.”
The simultaneous release of these two films may make an interesting box-office clash. “I’m not looking at a collision at all. There’s absolutely no similarity between the two films,” asserts JP. I’ve been very careful with the marketing of Umrao Jaan,” he adds. “Anyway, there’s still a lot of work to be done since October 20 isn’t too far away. I’ve completed the dubbing for my film. Anu Malik has just completed the background score. The mixing will start now.”