For Authentic Gossip
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Brand Salman Shows Why He Is A Trail-Blazer Even At OTTs

 It was a mixed reaction for Salman Khan-Disha Patani starrer Radhe released on Eid. A few film critics and some in social media platform were quite negative.  A video of youtuber sharing her expert opinion on the movie in a typical Bhojpuri flair just added to the suspense and curiosity.  If it was the plant of rival camps and certain multiplexes to ensure that the film is not a hit, it clearly didn’t succeed. “Radhe has experienced positive response from viewers, right from the first day of its release, wherein it clocked 4.2 million views across platforms. The film has also received encouraging box office collections in the overseas markets. The film has reinforced the fact that the viewers in India are ready for the Pay Per View model and ZEE has been at the forefront of this change,” said Shariq Patel, CEO of Zee Studios. Pay Per View is a very old model. DTH platforms have this. You could also compare it with VCR which one hired in the eighties to watch movies; it is just that the mode of delivery has become digital. Interestingly, the popular IMDb gave Radhe, a rating of 1.7 – the lowest this season. Yet the brand pull of Salman Khan saw the movie reportedly gross over Rs 250 crore. This figure more than covers its production cost and earns the producers tidy profit. Only digital approach may not work for big ticket films. But there is no denying the fact that hybrid model is here to stay. One must commend Salman’s production house for innovative marketing and distribution of Radhe. He has shown the industry a new path. And perhaps his confidence stems from the fact that 50 million plus fans on social media will not let him down. 

S Mukherji: The Man Who Gave Bollywood The Lost-And-Found Story Formula

After the death of Himanshu Roy in 1940, one of the pioneers of Indian cinema and husband of Devika Rani, the burden of running Bombay Talkies side fell on his partner Sashadhar Mukherji, who also became a legend in his own lifetime.  The new found responsibility saw Mukherji hiring directors to complete the film under his creative supervision. Last film he produced in Bombay Talkies was Kismat directed by Gyan Mukherjee starring Ashok Kumar, his brother-in-law and Mumtaz Shanti. It was in Kismat that he gave the ‘lost and found formula’ to Bollywood. Kismat’s release was at the backdrop of Quit India movement 1942. The film was ready for release when Mukherji got a novel idea to include a song that captures the country’s political sentiments. Lyricist Kavi Pradeep wrote the song Door Hato Aye Duniya Walo Hindustan Hamara Hai which became popular. At Mumbai’s Roxy Theatre, Opera House where the film was released, the audience gave a standing ovation to the song. People’s patriotism was aroused. The British authorities got jittery and police were asked to investigate everyone connected with the film. The song was so cleverly written that they couldn’t find anything objectionable. Kismat was his swan song at Bombay Talkies, post that Mukherji formed a cooperative and created Filmistan Studio with 11 partners — including Ashok Kumar, Kavi Pradeep, Madan Mohan’s father and othe
Shruti hassan_001


Can Shruti Haasan Make It Big Like Her Dad?

Thirty-five year old Shruti Haasan, Kamal Haasan’s elder daughter pirouetted into the arc lights with much promise…a child star, singer and multilingual artist, this apple has not fallen far from the tree…the legendary Kamal Haasan. Shruti inherited not just drop dead gorgeous looks from her actress mother Sarika, but also immense talent and electrifying screen presence from Kamal. But after 15 films, a few hits, some flops, she has yet to get that role of a lifetime and come anywhere near her father’s mesmerising performance in innumerable box office hits. What has held her back? Cinema trackers say that she has also inherited her dad’s famous talent for falling in and out of love with fleeting flings. At the start of her career, actor Siddharth was much touted as her arm candy. Seems her co-star and music partner Dhanush was also smitten by her. Then came Michael Corsale, Shruti’s London amour de cour. A South Indian firang wedding was almost on the drawing board. Shruti and Corsale broke up, and stories of her plunging into alcoholic nirvana were bandied around. Shruti herself admitted that she had to be hung out to dry. More than a year later, she emerged from the hibernation, radiant and ravishing. But a new beau is in the wings: Santanu Hazarika, tattoo and doodle artist from Assam. Shruti Haasan has Uber loads of talent. Will she get back on her promising film track?

Lessons Learnt: Rajini And Kamal To Focus On The Reel World

There is a silver lining to be sighted even in poll defeat. Cinema fans are thrilled that two big stars of the silver screen have been denied a place in Tamil Nadu’s star-studded politics. While Rajinikanth left even before a single vote was cast, the thespian Kamal Haasan faces the same fate as Sivaji Ganesan in failing badly at the polls. Both matinee stars can now concentrate their energies on acting in the autumn of their film careers. Kamal Haasan’s party, formed in 2018, is facing an existential crisis after being wiped out electorally — 2.5% vote share and 0 seats — in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls. Kamal, at a loose end after the poll crash, confided to friends that he is free to pursue all his film projects while he intends to keep one eye on his political presence with statements on issues. Rajini, advised by the Marans to resist pressure from Delhi to take on a political avatar, will be acting in more Sun Films ventures after Annatthe. Kamal has Project 232, Indian 2 and Thalaivan Irukkindran to finish as well think of unfinished projects like Madhuranagayam which caused such a stir that even the British Queen visited the set. The one certainty to emerge from 2021 TN polls is that the cinema stars are totally free to act full time.
scam 92

How OTT Superstars Are Changing The Rules Of The Game

Sacred Games apart, the actor who, arguably set the OTT platform on fire is Pratik Gandhi with his 10-part web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story. Its signature tune went viral. So much so that Abhishek Bachchan’s movie The Big Bull evoked very poor response. Other actors making waves in the OTT world are: Jaideep Ahlawat, Abhishek Banerjee, Divyendu Sharma, Shobhita Dhulipala, Arjun Mathur and Amit Sial. As for film stars’ OTT entry, Abhishek, Saif Ali Khan, Amit Sadh, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Manoj Bajpayee, among others, could not attain the success of Pratik Gandhi or Jaideep Alhawat (Paatal Lok). During the first lockdown, the big screen stars and filmmakers resisted OTT release. Looking at the performance of films like Laxxmi, Coolie and Gulabo Sitabo, the OTT was labelled a dumping ground for films that would have failed at the box office. But, realizing that OTT is here to stay, the film makers are now sending Press Releases that mentions TRP ratings besides box office figures. Effectively, this TRP will measure Akshay Kumar or Pratik Gandhi by the same yardstick – pointing to a new litmus test for the concept of Superstars. OTT is a medium dominated by actors and not superstars. With OTT gaining currency even big ticket stars like Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor are getting ready to make digital debut. Salman Khan is also releasing his movie Radhe on OTT platform. OTT is the new way of life.

What’s Keeping Aamir, Salman And SRK Busy?

The second lockdown has hit Bollywood real hard. With shoots cancelled everybody from producers to spot boys have been financially impacted. To avoid further cost over-runs and meet with new release dates many producers are shooting in states where there are no lockdowns. Producer-actor Aamir Khan is no different. He missed the release date of Laal Singh Chaddha last Christmas because of lockdown beginning in March 2020, followed by Kareena Kapoor’s pregnancy and finally he tested positive. To make up for the lost time Aamir and his team are furiously shooting the war and climax scenes at Ladakh. The new release date is this Christmas – considered to be his lucky day. Salman Khan is no different. He too has the tradition of releasing all his movies on Eid. But, the second wave has delayed the release of Radhe directed by Prabhu Deva. Being Salman he knows how to market himself. He has appealed to his fans to watch Radhe which will be released on multiple platforms. And his fans never disappoint him. In the case of Shah Rukh Khan, he has been maintaining a deliberate low profile barring his social chats with acid victims via his Meer Foundation. Shah Rukh was shooting for Pathan in full swing but the second lockdown stopped it. However sets at both YRF Studio and Film City have been kept standing. Meanwhile, he is taking no chances; all ad films are shot at Mannat. What also kept him busy was watching IPL Season-14 before it was suspended.

How IS Johar Created ‘Nastik’, Pained By Partition Genocide

Inderjeet Singh Johar, popularly known in Bollywood as IS Johar, was a versatile actor, writer, producer, and director. His talent took him to Hollywood where he acted in movies like Lawrence Of Arabia, Death On The Nile. But, for a man who made it big in Bollywood, he was deeply disturbed by the 1947 Partition as he was born in Talagang in Punjab in British India (which became a part of newly created Pakistan). The rape, murder of lakhs of Hindus shook him very badly. He felt such violence could be done by only those who have lost faith in God. So, he went to his mentor S Mukerji to make a film on a subject that could restore people’s faith in God. Mukerji read Johar’s script and told him, if you want to appeal to the masses then tweak the script; don’t take the problem head on but do it subtly. Heeding to his mentor’s advice, Johar rewrote the script and directed the film. Nastik, produced by S Mukerji (Filmistan) in 1954, is a film set against the backdrop of Partition with its ensuing riots and violence, and using actual footage of refugees. The movie was phenomenally successful at the box office and completed Golden Jubilee. Even today it is known for its “immortal” song Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwan, Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan. Married five times, Johar died in 1984 at the age of 64.

Chai With Dilip Kumar Over Pune’s Shrewsbury Biscuits

Generally speaking, no trip to Pune is complete without visiting one of the city’s oldest and best-known bakeries — Kayani Bakery — to buy Shrewsbury biscuits for families and friends. Set up in 1955 by two brothers Hormuzdiar and Khodayar Irani, the bakery has tickled the palate of millions of people from all walks of life. Not many know that one of the early fans and patrons of these unmistakable cookies was the tragedy king of Hindi screen, Dilip Kumar. He relished Shrewsbury biscuits. It was around 1970; Dilip Kumar was doing a BR Chopra movie Dastaan. Those days it was not easy for those passing out of the Film & Television Institute Of India (then Poona Film Institute) to get work in mainstream cinema. But sound recordist BK Chaturvedi was lucky to be picked by BR Films and given the assignment of Dastaan. During the course of shooting, when Dilip Kumar came to know that Chaturvedi had passed out of the FTII, he told him whenever you go to Pune get me Shrewsbury biscuits from Kayani Bakery. It was an honour for Chaturvedi that the legendary Dilip saab was making such a request. Since that day till the shooting of Dastaan was complete, Chaturvedi would religiously go to Pune to get biscuits for Dilip Kumar. On his part, the thespian actor would offer him tea in his lavish, impeccable style at his Pali Hill bungalow. So it was chai, biscuits and filmy charcha.
ranveer shankar

Why Is Shankar Keen On Ranveer For Bollywood Remake Of ‘Anniyan’?

Versatile star Ranveer Singh seems thrilled after signing the Hindi remake of the 2005 hit Tamil movie Anniyan (dubbed version Aparichit). It shows. Immediately on his Instagram handle he wrote: “Proudly announcing my collaboration with the pioneering visionary of Indian cinema, the maverick master craftsman SHANKAR, powered by veteran film producer Dr Jayantilal Gada.” But the movie is already shrouded under controversy with the south producer S Ravichandran claiming that he owns the right to the film and the director Shankar cannot really sell the story of the film to Bollywood. The two producers – Gada and Ravichandran – are locked in a legal battle over the film rights so the chances of the film release date getting postponed cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, various theories are floating around as to why Shankar and Ranveer came together for this remake. Some say Ranveer fell in love with script and was keen to make inroads in the south and this movie would be a perfect platform. Another theory doing the rounds is that Shankar was keen to sign Ranveer as he has not really worked with Bollywood’s leading stars save for Akshay Kumar and Anil Kapoor. But everybody agrees that Ranveer is the right man to play the lead role in the Bollywood remake  – just like actor Vikram who played the lead role in the original Tamil film.

Why Kartik Aaryan and Karan Johar Fell Out?

Is it starry tantrums, strategy, or success that saw Kartik Aaryan playing hide-and-seek with shooting dates for Dharma Production’s Dostana2. Infuriated by his alleged ‘indiscipline’, producer Karan Johar decided to scrap the film even though Rs 20 crore has been spent on shooting nearly 50% of the movie. The reason for this stalemate, say insiders, could be because Kartik has become hypochondriac after he got infected with Covid-19. So, giving into his demand, the shooting of the film was shifted from London to Rajasthan; a good portion was already shot in Chandigarh. Besides that, trade circles believe Kartik apparently had issues with the second half of the script and wanted changes. This is what got Karan Johar’s goat; he couldn’t take orders from newcomer Kartik. Besides Dostana2, he has cancelled two other projects with Kartik and blacklisted him. If this episode had happened in the south, the producers would have boycotted the star. Not, here. Bollywood producers are making beeline to Kartik’s house. Not surprising, in a short span of time this ‘outsider’ has risen to become Top 10. Currently, he has three films contract worth Rs 75 crore. Brand pundits say this episode will not erode his brand value. On the contrary, a number of big brands have signed him on. There is no disputing the fact that he is one of the most popular faces today. For now, Kartik is maintaining a studied silence even though Karan is getting heavily trolled by Twitteratis and the loudest voice being none than Kangana Ranaut.

After Kolaveri Di, The New Rage Is ‘Kandaa Vara Sollunga’

The song, Why This Kolaveri Di sung by popular Tamil film hero Dhanush, rocked music lovers globally in 2011. Dhanush now has hit another big-time chart buster anthem that is sure to be a global foot tapper. Kandaa Vara Sollunga Karnana Kaiyoda Kuttivarunga belted out by an unknown folk singer, Kidakkuzhi Mariyammal, has already garnered five lakh hits in just under a month. Dhanush turns ballistic in this just released movie Karnan, a powerful story on caste oppression. Mariyammal’s powerful voice, the rustic flavour and her no pretensions attitude has cast a spell on the audience. It is as though the audience wants to see the movie just to savour the setting and touching folk poetry. The Dravidian Parai beat and the poignant lyrics have made this folk song haunting. Director Mari Selvaraj, composer Santosh Narayanan, and of course lead actor Dhanush are all basking in the popularity of the song and the singer. And another unplanned fallout, this song featured as a satirical election anthem for many campaigners who played it to taunt the opponent – “bring him if you see him”. Just shows that Indian polity and society has come off age. Oppression is showcased powerfully, with unforgettable narratives.

Why Did South’s Diva Nayanthara Say No To Rs 10-Cr OTT Offer?

South’s diva, Nayanthara, the acknowledged female super star is worth all that big moolah paid to her.  She has acted in over 75 films –in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam – and is the only south Indian female actor to have made it to the Forbes India Celebrity 100 2018 list. She is quite professional. She has not allowed her stormy love life to come in the way of hits like Naanum Rowdy Thaan, Aram, Ram Rajyam and Darbar. She has been in and out of love several times. Simbu and Prabhu Deva have gone through those revolving doors. Nayan turned wary and watchful after these breakups even as she held on to that top slot. And then came Director Vignesh Shivan. They have been in a relationship ever since they worked together in Naanum Rowdy Thaan. Nayan, it seems, is smitten by him. But the couple have still not announced wedding plans. Recently she was offered a whopping Rs 10 crore for an OTT movie. But when she heard the script and some over-the-top scenes in the movie, she coolly turned down the drool worthy offer. Has she finally found her anchor in Vignesh Shivan?

Insider, Talent Or Luck: What Works In Bollywood?

The untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput last June kicked off a national debate about nepotism and outsider vs insider in Bollywood. The uncharitable lines one heard was: “Oh! Karan Johar is the son of a successful producer Yash Johar; Aditya Chopra is the son of an eminent director Yash Chopra; Sonakshi is daughter of a super star Shatrugan Sinha; Ranbir comes from the most celebrated Kapoor family so on and so forth. And this is why they made it big!  Actually, all these so-called “insiders” had skills, which was a cut above the rest and proved their mettle to emerge successful in their own rights. Pedigree gave them entry, but it does not guarantee success. Or else how do you explain sons and daughters of successful stars not being able to make a mark. What about Feroz Khan’s son Fardeen; what about Abhishek Bachchan? What about BR Chopra’s son Ravi Chopra? What about the sons of Guru Dutt? What about the sons of Chetan Anand and Dev Anand? In the cricket world one can think of Sunil Gavaskar’s son Rohan and Kumar Mangalam Birla’s son Aryaman.  The list is endless. People forget that in any creative field or even in sports it is the performance that finally speaks. Of course, luck too plays a major role. Rajendra Kumar may not have been considered a great actor but he was popularly known as Jubilee Kumar as all his movies ran for 25 weeks in theatres.
kashmir ka kali_001

When OP Nayyar, Mohd Rafi Sang To Shammi’s Tune

The Shammi Kapoor-Sharmila Tagore starrer Kashmir Ki Kali directed by Shakti Samanta was not only a box office hit but also renowned for its popular songs composed by OP Nayyar and sung by Mohammed Rafi. Remember the famous number, Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra, shot on Dal Lake shikara which became an eternal boat ballet to remember with the song reaching a striking crescendo – Tareef Krun Kya Uski Jisne Tujhe Banaya What’s not known to many is an interesting story behind the song. At the recording studio, as is customary, the hero, Shammi Kapoor, was present. But he did not like the way music director OP Nayyar had composed the song – especially the end part of it. Being a popular star, Shammi Kapoor requested Nayyar if he could quicken the pace of the song at the end to a crescendo and sync the last line Tareef Karun Kya Uski with the music. Nayyar, it seems, turned down Shammi’s suggestion. Seeing a sulking Shammi, Rafi saab asked him what the matter was. Shammi told Rafi saab about his suggestion and how Nayyar saab refused to entertain him. Rafi was convinced; he told Nayyar saab, “Looks like Shammi has something in his mind as to how he will perform on this song. Why not listen to him and compose the ending as per his wish.”  With Rafi also making a request, Nayyar relented. The picturisation is dramatic as you see Shammi serenading Sharmila in the middle of the Dal Lake, as she’s rowing her shikara, full of flowers. The performance has become immortal. What would have happened had Nayyar saab not given in?

After Kaka, Big B, SRK, Hrithik Who Will Be Bollywood’s Next Superstar?

Once upon a time in Bollywood, there were only popular actors like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. Then, there was no concept of superstars till Rajesh Khanna burst onto the scene like a tsunami, giving seven hits in a row. He was a phenomenon, a rage who whipped up mass hysteria wherever he went. People emulated his hair style and mannerisms. Every girl wanted to marry him. Sadly, Kaka could not hold on to his title for long. Soon, he was dethroned by Amitabh Bachchan with his angry young man image. Big B, as he is popularly known, held the title for nearly three decades. Bachchan’s spell continued till the coming of the Khans – Shah Rukh (SRK), Salman and Aamir. During this time, Bollywood movies were going global, and this worked for SRK like magic. He became the heart throb for the younger generation world over. Everybody drooled over him. King Khan had arrived ruling the heart, mind and wallet space. Even as he continued to hold his sway, Hrithik Roshan entered the scene with Kaho Naa Pyar Hai. This movie made him an overnight sensation. Old cinema buffs say the frenzy around Hrithik is reminiscent of Rajesh Khanna’s days. Now, everybody is asking who will be the next superstar after Hrithik?  Today, there are exceptionally talented actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Tiger Shroff and Kartik Aaryan but they haven’t really made that super impact. According to industry observers, in this digital age with multiple platforms, stardom has got so fragmented that there may be no next superstar in the immediate future.

The Secret Behind Evergreen Hero’s Smile

Remember childlike, seductive and that infectious smile of Dev Anand with that small gap in his upper left denture that sent women swooning. What became a selling point was actually a bone of contention between Dev Saheb and his director. Well, it’s a ‘painful’ story. Dev Anand got the first break in the movie because of his smile. Baburao Pai, producer of Prabhat Films part of the Pune-based Prabhat Studio (founded by the likes of VG Damle and V Shantaram was), was mesmerized by Dev’s smile and signed him to play a hero’s role. But, when the shooting began director PL Santoshi (father of Rajkumar Santoshi) and the cameraman did not like the gap in Dev’s teeth. It ‘looked odd’, they both felt, in close-up shots. So, it was suggested Dev put cotton buds and fill the gap. After few days of shooting the gum got infected and Dev Saheb could not bear the pain and he complained. Giving to hero’s complaints, the cotton buds were removed and it was status quo ante. The smile took him more than a mile. No wonder he was called the Evergreen Hero till he passed away in 2011 at the age of 88 in London.

National Film Awards: When Manoj Kumar Felt Slighted

Bollywood camp seems to be divided over some of the winners of the 67th National Film Awards for 2019. Kangana Ranaut, who bagged the National Award for Best Actor for Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, and Panga, is being compared to Priyanka Chopra’s performance in The Sky Is Pink. Similarly, some veteran critics are comparing Sushant Singh Rajput starrer Chhichhore that won the coveted award with their own choices: Section 375, Art 15, Batla House and Uri: The Surgical Strike. The Jury could have selected from one of these four films, the seasoned critics hold, suspecting that the awards are being given to score political brownie points. All awards, be it national or independent ones, attract such endless criticism. This brings to mind the story told to the undersigned by the Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Manoj Kumar aka Mr Bharat. His movie Upkar (1967) was a runaway hit. Mr Bharat got a call from a babu in New Delhi to attend the National Films Awards function at Vigyan Bhavan as his film Upkar was the winner. When the announcement was made, he found much to his dismay that a south Indian film had bagged the award and his film got the Award for the Second-Best Feature Film. Seeing a visibly irritated Manoj Kumar, the babu, in question, quickly whispered into his ears: “Sir, please understand the politics of balancing!” After reluctantly collecting the medal, Manoj Kumar quietly walked out, went to the refugee camp in Delhi where he had grown up (after Partition 1947), and threw the medal into a nullah.

Do Film Stars Make For Good Politicians?

Film stars are in great demand during election time.  It is a star parade in West Bengal; some are fighting elections, some canvassing for the TMC or the BJP.  Ditto: Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Stars are magnets, drawing the huge crowds. But once elected, are they able to serve their constituencies?  A simple analysis shows that 90% of the reel stars fail to play the role of political leaders in the real world. Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, Rajesh Khanna and Dharmendra won elections with convincing margins but eventually retreated after failing to make an impact. However, there are a few who successfully occupied centre stage: MGR and Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu; and NTR in Andhra Pradesh had a splendid journey to the top. Vinod Khanna is remembered for being the only Bollywood star to win Lok Sabha polls four times – he won from Gurdaspur in Punjab on the BJP ticket; he also served as a minister. Among the living legends, Dream Girl Hema Malini who was first nominated to the Rajya Sabha won both 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. So did singer Babul Supriyo. Raj Babbar has been active since 1989, having changed three parties. He won the Lok Sabha seat thrice and was also once nominated for the Rajya Sabha. Backed by the Samajwadi Party, Jaya Bachchan is also making her presence felt at the Upper House. Bihari babu Shatrughan Sinha, who won two terms and became a minister, is acknowledged for his fiery debate. Jaya Prada, Khushbu, Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan continue to hog the limelight. In the south, Rajinikanth’s much anticipated political debut didn’t materialise – but Kamal Haasan has taken the plunge.
Ashok Kumar_001

How Ashok Kumar Came To Be Known As Dada Moni

Born into an aristocratic family, Himanshu Roy is one of the leading pioneers of the Indian cinema. Bombay Talkies studio, which produced a number of hits and launched several stars, was his brainchild. It was set up in 1934 along with his actress wife Devika Rani. The other partner was Shashdhar Mukherji who roped in his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar Ganguly as a technician. According to a knowledgeable source, Roy in a fit of rage threw the leading hero out of the movie as he suspected him of having an affair with his wife Devika. Now, the whole studio was in a fix as the movie was going on the floor. A desperate hunt began for a new hero and everybody’s eyes fell on Ashok Kumar and he was cast as a hero opposite Devika Rani. Now rose another tricky situation. Since Mukherji was controlling the whole project there was an issue as to how he would address Ashok Kumar who was his wife’s elder brother. His nickname was Moni so Mukherji like a good Bengali added the prefix Dada to Moni and started calling him “Dada Moni”. The rest is history.

Jackie Shroff with Subhash Ghai, the man who made him the Hero

Why Everybody Loves Jackie Shroff

Showman Subhash Ghai, who was the guest of honour at The Indian Idol Show, revealed an interesting story about Jackie Shroff. Ghai was looking for a fresh face for his movie Hero and Jackie Shroff came to meet him with his portfolio. Ghai asked him three questions: Can you sing? Can you dance? Can you act? And Jackie Shroff said NO to all the three questions. Then why have you come to meet me, asked Ghai. Jackie said his friends forced him! Impressed by his innocent honesty, Ghai said: “You are selected to play the hero’s role opposite Meenakshi Seshdari in the movie Hero. Jackie was stunned. After profusely thanking Ghai as he was walking out of the cabin retraced his step and said: “Sir I will tell you one thing truthfully. I have played a role in Dev Anand’s movie in which there is a goonda Shakti Kapoor who has an assistant goonda and I am assistant to assistant goonda. Now, you are casting me as a hero, Sir Aap Fas Jaogey.” Ghai was moved by the hero’s honesty. Even today after tasting phenomenal success Jackie is the most grounded star, says Ghai with a touch of pride. The 64-year old star who has become synonymous with the word Bhidu is also fondly called “Jaggu Dada”.
male actors_collage

How Much Do Top Bollywood Stars Make?

It is no more signing amount or territory sharing in Bollywood. According to the industry insiders, the top 13 actors today not only charge a fee but also get a share in profits of their films. Thus, by the new model, Aamir Khan earns around Rs 100-300 crore per film. It is also learnt that he takes profits only after the producer has earned his money from the film. Salman Khan earns about Rs 100-150 crore per film; he has been making double of what he earns from a film from the reality show Bigg Boss. Akshay Kumar either co-produces a film or takes an outright price of Rs 90-135 crore for a film. Interestingly, Shah Rukh Khan — the superstar who scored a record number of blockbusters in the 90s — charges Rs 75 crore plus profits per film. Hrithik Roshan charges in the range of Rs 75-100 crore per film plus profits. The actor was offered Rs 100 crore for the web series Night Manager which is yet to go on floors. Ranbir Kapoor earns about Rs 60-75 crore for a film. Ajay Devgn produces most of his films but if he is involved as an actor, he takes Rs 50 crore. In the past, Ajay, Salman, Big B, Jeetendra opted for certain territories. Amitabh took Bombay Circuit, Jeetendra CP Circuit. The newcomers are no different; they have swung into the game by charging fees plus profits. Thus, Ranveer Singh earns about Rs 20-30 crore which includes profits; Shahid Kapoor Rs 35-50 crore plus profits. Tiger Shroff earns Rs 18-20 crore per film. New sensation Kartik Aaryan’s seems to be moving in the big league amazingly fast, having already hit the Rs 15-20 crore mark.

Which Bollywood Actress Gets The Highest Billing?

Unlike yesteryear’s stars today’s stars are business-like. They put the money where their mouth is. Alia Bhatt who has turned producer for the movie Darlings will charge Rs 15 crore for her lead role. So, besides acting fees, she will make big numbers if the movie does well at the box-office. Ditto: Deepika Padukone who is a joint producer of 83, a sports drama film that focuses on India’s 1983 World Cup win by Kapil Dev. Directed by Kabir Khan, she plays the role of Kapil Dev’s wife Romi. Deepika, who has already signed on with a couple of big banners, is the highest paid star in the industry, commanding a price of Rs 21 crore, according to the industry insiders. Kangana Ranaut, who has four films in the pipeline, reportedly commands around Rs 11-12 crore per film. Besides, there are four stars who fall in the Rs 7-crore bracket. They are: Shraddha Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.  Shraddha Kapoor has Naagin and Luv Ranjan film. Katrina Kaif who has signed Phone Booth launched her own beauty line. Kareena and Anushka consciously signed less films as they were in the family way but managed to keep their cash registers ringing with series of brand endorsements. And the ‘desi girl’, Priyanka Chopra Jonas today commands around Rs 6 crore.

How Kamal Amrohi Cashed In On His ‘Looks’

As you drive from SEEPZ to L&T complex in Mumbai’s Andheri east, you cannot miss on your left a huge film studio complex – Kamalistan — named after Pakeezah fame writer-director-producer Kamaal Amrohi. He was also the husband of Meena Kumari, the tragedy queen of Bollywood. Hailing from eastern UP’s Amroha, he landed in Mumbai to seek his fortune as a writer. As is known nobody entertained him. One day he managed to enter the office of the great film maker of Minerva Movietone fame Sohrab Modi. As he broke into conversation, Modi who was busy reading a script, did not even look at him and said “I am busy, I cannot meet anybody.” Then as he lifted his head he saw this lean thin man in Achkan, a topi with a walking-stick. Seeing his physical appearance, Modi broke into a loud laugh. Quick-thinking Kamaal cashed in on the situation and said, “I am not a person to be seen; I am to be heard.” Modi sat down, heard what he had to narrate. His command over Urdu writing skills landed him a job with Modi and he quickly became a famous writer and director.

Is Rhea On A Come Back Trail?

Just when Rhea Chakraborty thought the nightmare was behind her and that she could focus on her acting career comes the news that her name figures in the Narcotics Control Bureau chargesheet linked to the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Trouble, they say, never comes alone. Earlier, she found to her dismay that her name was missing from the credit list of the mystery thriller Chehre directed by Rumi Jaffery. Yet, this 28-year-old starlet did not lose hope. She, according to sources, flew to Hyderabad to meet a producer and almost bagged the film.  One does not know if Jaffrey will ever revive the film he had planned with Rhea and Sushant. But some film makers have decided to give her a second chance. However, those who know her say that Rhea is treading cautiously; not signing films till there is clarity in her case. Nikhil Dwivedi has already announced that he is open to working with her. People from Bollywood are asking why she shouldn’t get a second chance when Sanjay Dutt has got more than three chances.  In fact, she recently met Salman Khan’s former talent manager Reshma Shetty who helped Salman resurrect his career after two big court cases. Looks like Rhea is working towards a gameplan!
sushant singh_001

Sushant Singh Rajput: Keeps Trending On Twitter

It appears that no death — be it that of Mahatma Gandhi, John F Kennedy, John Lennon or Lady Diana — has been as hysterically covered that too non-stop for over 100 days by the Indian media as that of Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput who died under mysterious circumstance on June 14, 2020. The CBI has been on the job but their findings are yet to be made public. The glimmer of hope came in December 2020 when the CBI, in response to a letter written by the BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Dr Subramanian Swamy to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The CBI is conducting investigation in a thorough and professional manner using latest scientific techniques. During investigation, all aspects are being looked at and no aspect has been ruled out as on date,” Dr Swamy was informed. Meanwhile, the diehard fans of Sushant are keeping the issue alive by posting relentlessly on Twitter: it was trending at #7 with 129,000 tweets on 3 March 2021.
tumsa nahi dekha_001

-- photo inset- Sashadhar Mukherjee

Sashadhar Mukherji: The Man Who Told Shammi Kapoor ‘Shave Off Your Moustache’

The doyen of the Indian film industry, Sashadhar Mukerji, who initially joined Bombay Talkies and went on to create Filmistan and Filmalaya Studios, was considered the man with the Midas touch. He not only launched several new faces who have become a runaway success stories but his entire family right from his sons (Joy, Deb, and Shomu), grandson (Ayan), grand-daughter (Kajol), relatives (Ashok, Kishore, and Anup Kumar) are part of the film fraternity. It is a huge extended family. Actually, he was the brain behind the concept of formula films. A legend in his own lifetime, Mukherji was approached by Shammi Kapoor constantly for a big break. “Sir, you have made so many stars, when are you going to do something for me?” This persistence by Shammi went on for some time till one day Mukherji said: “Shave off your moustache and see me tomorrow.” Without wasting time, Shammi landed at his office the next day sans moustache and producer Mukherji signed him for Tum Sa Nahi Dekha which was directed by Nasir Hussain. Interestingly, this film became a launch pad for heroine Ameeta, director Hussain and catapulted a struggling Shammi Kapoor into the big league. Shammi told the undersigned: “I had a Hillman car those days. Even before the release of the film, I sold it and went on a holiday to the Far East. I knew when I return, I shall be a star!”

How Kareena & Anushka Cashed On Baby Bumps

Unlike yesteryear’s stars who hid their married status and pregnancy, today’s stars are going to town on both the counts. Both Kareena Kapoor Khan and Anushka Sharma have smartly cashed on their pregnancy by endorsing advertisements showing their baby bumps. Result: both made money hands over fist. Kareena, according to industry sources, earned about Rs 12 crore from brand endorsements. Interestingly even brands are keen for such endorsements by celebrities. It was a hush-hush affair when Sridevi was pregnant with Janhvi while shooting for Judaai, produced by her husband Boney Kapoor. Though one did get a glimpse of it in one of the songs in the movie. Similarly, Aamir Khan’s marriage was kept a secret although the audience saw the glimpse of his wife Reena Dutta in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was probably the first Bollywood actress who had the courage to show her baby bumps. She was spotted at fashion shows when she was pregnant with Aaradhya. She walked the ramp and did invite snide remarks, but she was unfazed. Today, pregnancies have become just a minor bump in a female actor’s career. Rani Mukherjee made a successful comeback; so did Kareena after her first baby. Even Neha Dhupia is back in the business with her talk show besides making guest appearances on TV shows and Page 3 events. Come to think of it, today’s stars are having the best of both the worlds – motherhood and career.
dia mirza_001

Dia Mirza: The Actor-Activist’s Second Innings

This model turned actress-producer-social worker has never changed her narrative. She is one woman who stands up for women’s rights and children’s rights and has never cared about political correctness. Bhumi Pednekar may be called the climate warrior and Taapsee Pannu has begun speaking up on the subject now. But the original voice of dissent from Bollywood and the person who took on the mantle of activism in this generation is the 39-year old Dia Mirza.  Dia is unique in her own way – elegant, charming yet understated. She went through a painful divorce but nobody got a whiff of it. She compartmentalised her personal and professional life smartly.  There was no mudslinging and neither did she look up for any sympathy.  Even if we look at her PR, it is not about publicising her role in a movie but about the good work she does outside films. Her work on the Yamuna clean up and the Ganga documentary are well-known. That is why when she was appointed as an official Sustainable Development Goals’ advocate it made sense because we know this woman will do justice to her role. Everybody needs a second chance. Professionally, Dia is making a comeback on big screen and web series, and personally she got married for the second time. We wish her luck on both fronts.

Why BR Chopra Renamed Talaq As Nikaah

Remember Salma Agha the honey-eyed husky voiced lady who came here from Pakistan to make it big as a singer-actor-star in Bollywood — a la Noorjahan, Suraiyya! That was the time when the legendary film maker BR Chopra (who always made films on social issues – Ek Hi Raasta, Naya Daur, Mazoor) was planning to make a film on triple Talaq- based on a short story given to him by a Hindi freelance journalist Achala Nagar.  She had forgotten about it. Chopra not only read the story but also asked to search for the writer. He decide to make this film with an entirely fresh cast and crew. Salma got a break with this film along with Hasan Kamaal as its lyricist. The film was made under the title Talaq Talaq Talaq and that precisely attracted the ire of muslim groups. They said even if we mention the title of the film in front of our wives we would be pronouncing “Talaq!” One important muslim poet/journalist told Chopra “Muslims make 70% of cinema going audiences, if we issue a Fatwa to not to see the film, the film would flop.” Heeding his advice the title of the film Talaq Talaq Talaq was changed to Nikaah.  
akshay_big b_mani_sonu

Is Bollywood A Favourite Hunting Ground For Politicians?

When Bollywood stars tweeted against international pop star Rihanna they were targeted by the Maharashtra government. Now Big B and Akshay Kumar are being targeted by the Congress in Maharashtra for not tweeting against rising petrol prices. Guess one meeting or a phone call to Sharad Pawar might just solve Big B’s problem. Recently, Sonu Sood bought peace from Sena after talking to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Earlier Sunil Dutt sought blessings of Balasaheb Thackeray after Sanjay Dutt was arrested in the Mumbai bomb blast case. Also, Manisha Koirala went to complain about Shashilal Nair who had used her body double in a controversial scene without taking her consent. Karan Johar had to frequently meet politicians — once for My Name Is Khan, the second time for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil when the film got into trouble for featuring Fawad Khan, a Pakistani national. Even Dev Anand had to call on Balasaheb Thackeray as he had a Pakistani actor Anita Ayub in his film. Of course, one cannot forget that Mani Ratnam had to screen his film Bombay for Balasaheb Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. Looks like politicians have always been a different kind of censor board for films even after approval from the CBFC.

Can Priyanka Chopra’s Memoir Revive #MeToo Movement?

Looks like Priyanka Chopra Jonas has started her own #MeToo movement as a marketing tool for her memoir Unfinished. There has been some leaked content from the book since the day it was published. The content points fingers at Bollywood. The PR strategy seems to be highlighting all the sections which make headlines – basically being spicy. Every section is infused with some spicy scoop. It is more like the film Sanju, where a lot was spoken but nothing really confirmed. Sensationalism sells and Priyanka is doing just that by exposing filmmakers whom she met at the early stage of her career. The actress in her memoir has written that a director-producer made her twirl around and asked her to get a boob job, fix her jaw and cushion her buttocks. Those who have worked with her and the filmmaker know who she is talking about. But she has kept the media and others guessing as she continues to make headlines. There is one review that states that Priyanka has chosen to leave out far more than she chooses to record.  Priyanka is rather honest that she could not give time to her relationships. The actress has dated some of the top actors of Bollywood but she does not name them. However, she doesn’t mind mentioning a boyfriend named Bob who she hid in her closet and was caught by her aunt. Her strategy of not naming names seems to have unnerved a whole lot of people in Bollywood and many are hoping she does not come with a sequel titled Finished.
BR chopra_wife_001

Who’s The Woman Behind BR Chopra Banner?

It may sound clichéd but behind every successful man there is a woman. Baldev Raj Chopra after doing MA in Literature from the University of the Punjab, Lahore joined as a journalist with film magazine Cine Herald and eventually acquired it in 1947. With right contacts, he launched a movie the same year in Lahore but the Partition genocide saw him fleeing to India. Eventually, he moved to Mumbai and made a movie Karwat in 1948. It flopped. In 1951, he directed a movie starring Ashok Kumar and it was a hit. More hits followed. Soon he was flooded with offer by producers to direct their films. A well-known producer gave him Rs 5,000 (a big sum those days) to direct his movie. Chopra was elated and happily broke the news to his wife. But his wife’s response surprised him. She told him: “You should not direct for others, you should become your own producer and director.” Heeding his wife’s advice, Chopra returned the money and floated BR Films in 1955. His first movie Ek Hi Raasta was a runaway hit. After that there was no looking behind.

Regulating OTT: Is The Govt Planning A JPC

After the Tandav controversy, the Indian government is seriously looking at tightening the noose around the OTT channels. The plan is to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to bring in a regulation to control the content that is streamed on the OTT channels. Feelers are being sent to various film personalities to become a part of the JPC and create some kind of guidelines based on the lines of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) for feature films. Those close to the film industry have hinted that the Standing Committee on the Information & Technology Ministry are examining the functioning of the CBFC. In order to have a holistic examination of the subject, the committee has decided to seek views of individuals associated with the media and entertainment industry. While their plan is being worked out, the makers of edgy content have begun self-regulation to avoid any kind of issues with the government. Most industry people said there has to be censorship, but there are quite a few who feel that self-regulation is the best option. The government, it seems, is keen to avoid another Tandav kind of situation. So, for now it is wait-and-watch game.
kartik aryan_001

Kartik Aaryan: The Next-Gen Bankable Star

With four films in his kitty, Kartik Aaryan is one of the busiest stars from the younger generation of Bollywood actors. The actor has finished shooting for Ronnie Screwala’s film in record time and, believe it or not, has received a fee of about Rs 20 crore. The film was first slated to have a theatrical release, but the makers decided to go for a digital release with the actor being paid a premium price for it. Kartik is one of the most sought-after stars and those in the film trade feel that the actor is justified in being paid that amount. They believe that he is going the Akshay Kumar way by slowly becoming the Gen-Next bankable star.  He is also following Akshay Kumar’s footsteps and becoming a socially responsible star. The actor’s monologue ‘Corona Stop Karo Naa’ became a huge hit. He is also one of the few to donate about Rs 1 crore for the welfare of Covid Warriors followed by an awareness chat show on Covid-19 titled ‘Kookie Poochega’.  Kartik who started his journey in Bollywood with multi-starrers is now shouldering a film as a solo hero. It is his track record with Lukka Chhupi and Pati Patni Aur Woh that probably got producer Karan Johar to sign him for Dostana sequel. Kartik’s other films in the pipeline are Anees Bazmee’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Rohit Dhawan’s next film, which is a remake of a South film.

Govinda On The Comeback Trail

There is one thing that the remake of Coolie No 1 managed to achieve in December 2020 – it made the film industry miss the original bearer of that title, Govinda. Film buffs felt that Govinda’s Coolie No 1 was like Mughal-e-Azam in front of the new-age version starring Varun Dhawan. The senior actor, however, does not have anything to say on the remake as he is getting ready to make his debut on the OTT platform. He wants to explore the medium as he has been getting offers for it. He feels that  the pandemic has exposed people to the world of cinema and content that has universal appeal. The actor, who has often mentioned a conspiracy against him and his films, feels that the OTT is a boon for somebody like him who has been struggling to find a platform. Much before Govinda became largely synonymous with breezy entertainers and musicals, he had showcased his versatility in intense films like Hatya, Swarg, Awaargi and Marte Dum Tak among other films. The actor is now hoping to make 2021 his year and is seriously working towards making a comeback in a big way. The actor has been listening to scripts and will soon be making an announcement. He also has plans to give opportunities to those looking for a break in the film industry.
ram prasad_001

Seema Pahwa Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai

Seema Pahwa of the Humlog fame is breathing fire at Bollywood’s trade magazines which dubbed her maiden directorial venture Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi as a commercial disaster. Digital entertainment portal said: “Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi was an ensemble affair that hit the screens on 1st January and the numbers are practically nothing to talk about. The collections were never meant to be encouraging and this is what actually transpired too with just about 20 lakhs coming in.” According to Seema Pahwa’s interview in Mid-Day: “For a film to release in current times and survive is challenge in itself. How can box-office be the yardstick of a film’s success when the theatres are functioning at half the capacity?” Many are questioning the current yardstick of measuring the success or failure of a movie based on footfalls during Covid times. Interestingly, the Twitteratis were all praise for the director and producer. But, it is about time trade magazines revisited their traditional approach – and usual parameters — to gauge the popularity of a movie.
bolly collage_001

Bollywood Biggies Invest Big In Real Estate

From pauper to prince everybody was badly impacted by the Lockdown. But, not a section of Bollywood; they were flush with funds and therefore they lost no opportunity to invest in real estate as prices were attractive. Nine top Bollywood producers, directors and actors forked out around Rs 400 cr to buy luxurious apartments, penthouses in Mumbai, Chandigarh and Goa in 2020. Of this, nearly Rs 387 cr was spent on buying apartments between Bandra and Juhu by paying anywhere between Rs 50,000  and 150,000 per sq ft.  Leading the pack was Bhushan Kumar of T Series fame. He paid a whopping Rs 167.5 cr for 6,700 sq ft villa in Vasanta Theosophical CHS in Juhu. Following him was Hrithik Roshan. He bought three floors —14th, 15th & 16th — admeasuring 38,000 sq ft for Rs 97.50 cr on Juhu-Versova link road. New comer Janhvi Kapoor paid Rs 39 cr for a flat in Juhu, Alia Bhatt Rs 32 cr for a flat in Bandra’s Pali Hill while R Balki, bought two flats worth Rs 24 cr in Bandra. Of course, some made killing too. Parineeti Chopra sold her two flats in Quantum Building in Bandra reportedly for Rs 13.50 cr. So did Karisma Kapoor by selling her Khar flat for Rs 10.11 cr. While Ranbir Kapoor rented his 6th floor flat in Bandra apartment for Rs 7.94 lakh per month.
Sonu sood_001

Sonu Sood: Real Life Hero Dubbed Villain?

Reel life villain but real life hero Sonu Sood is widely hailed for helping thousands of migrants stranded at different parts of the country to reach their home safely during Corona lockdown. Now, his new image as the migrants’ messiah seems to have unnerved some politicians in Maharashtra, and set tongues wagging. “He is just the face, the producer-director is BJP,” suspects a section of non-believers. Mahatma Sood is what Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut called him. Be that as it may be but this can’t be denied that thousands of migrant labourers have benefited from his social mobilization and community initiatives. Now, he is embroiled in a court battle with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly converting a residential building in Juhu into a hotel. Both the civil court and High Court has not given him any relief and Sood has moved the Supreme Court for a relief. But, the moot point is why is BMC trying to make an example of a good Samaritan like him when there are thousands of illegal structures in the Maximum City.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.