A Bal on Arjun and John, and more!

Check out SRK and Aamir’s dostana, the ever sizzling Shilpa Shetty and Bipasha Basu.

Shah Rukh Khan, minus his sling, tugs at Aamir Khan who is walking away from him at the Fair Rights for Friday Nights producers’ press conference.

SRK listens intently to what Aamir has to say and then he puts on his spectacles (we must mention he looks intellectual and hot in them) and makes some notes.

I’m Ready
A bespectacled SRK takes a look at his notes, has a sip of water and is all set to make his speech.

The Transformer
Bipasha Basu can carry off anything. She looked uber hot and fit in her LBD with a red belt. A few days earlier, the Bong beauty graced the ramp at the Kolkata Fashion Week in a traditional Bengali saree and looked equally scorching.

Rock-ing Hot
Bipasha looks smouldering on the Filmfare cover but the glittering rocks on her fingers take our attention away from the cover. The glittering ring on her engagement finger made us ask when will John and Bips tie the knot?

Arjun Rampal wore his modelling mentor Rohit Bal’s exquisite creation at the Mai Mumbai at the Lakme Fashion Week. Showstopper John Abraham wore the same velvet and floral creation at the Kolkata Fashion Week. Now that isn’t fashionable.

LBD Diva
Shilpa looks sultry and smokin hot as usual in this little black dress that is fitted at the waist. The baby pink camisole adds a subtle touch of colour. It is one of the better dresses Shilpa has worn lately and a welcome relief from her leopard print dresses.

Shilpa Shetty and beau Raj Kundra at a press conference for Rajasthan Royals held yesterday.
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Aamir Khan SPEAKS out!

The Hindi film industry has come to a grinding halt. The standoff between multiplexes and producers and directors is still on and there seems no end in sight. On the evening of April 7, filmmaker-actor Aamir Khan, actor Shah Rukh Khan and filmmakers Karan Johar, Yash Chopra, Ronnie Screwwala addressed the media about the ongoing strike. This is the text of Aamir Khan's speech.

Today is not a happy day for us. It is our responsibility, as the film industry, to entertain people. But there are certain issues in front of us that prevent us from doing that. We won't be able to run our films at multiplex chains across the nation. As entertainers, it is our responsibility to be honest to our audience. And that is why we are here. We all feel very bad but it's important for us to convey to our audience why we are doing what we are doing and why some of our audience won't be able to see films for a while.

The most important issue right now is that producers, distributors and all of us believe that this is one industry where everyone can earn and survive. That is our primary thought. Every sector of the industry has to earn what it deserves. Till that happens, I don't think the industry can be healthy and happy. All of us producers and distributors think that if any sector, including the exhibition sector is not happy and healthy, then the film industry as a whole will not be healthy and happy.

How it works
Traditionally, what has happened is that a producer makes a film; the distributor buys it from him and sells it to the single screen theatres where they run it for audiences to see. Our seniors like the late Raj Kapoor and the late BR Chopra and others started a system where the creative or production side kept a share of the profit and passed the film to the distributor. Traditionally, the distributor and exhibitor had an understanding of profit sharing at 80:20 where the distributor kept 80 per cent and the exhibitor kept 20 per cent. At some places the ratio was 70:30 or 65:35. That was the tradition. Our seniors must have found something viable in this ratio because the industry has followed this tradition for years. In my mind, the value and respect we have for creative minds is in favour of the greater good.

Required change
But now, things are changing. We have corporate companies among us, in the production and exhibition sector. We value and respect the change the multiplexes have brought in. They have built multiplexes with a lot of hard work and expertise and we value and respect that. I feel happy that my film is being screened in an environment where the sound is good, quality of screening is good and the food is good. So the traditional formula of 80:20 needs to be redefined. We need to understand and value what the new multiplexes are bringing in and share much more with them than we did traditionally because there is a lot of investment in the exhibition sector.

The change that is required. Every sector, be it the multiplexes or the producers, everyone makes an investment. In the film industry, things are changing with the corporate companies coming in the creative and exhibition sector. Some people will make films while the others will show films. There is a huge investment and effort from the sections: the creative section and the exhibition section. My common sense says that it should be a partnership of equals even though creative people may think that they are crazier and greater than everyone else. As a creative person, I want that equality and I feel that two people need to shake hands: one person makes the film and the other exhibits it. A fifty percent partnership of equality is what I think is fair.

Partnership of equals
In the 50 per cent share, the multiplex has to figure out how to make the business affordable and profitable for them. The distribution and production side has also figure out how they will derive profit from their 50 per cent share. Even if I make a film at a budget of Rs 500 crore or Rs 1,000 crore, I cannot go the multiplex and ask for an 80:20 share. It is my problem to figure out the profit. This is a partnership of equals. As far as affordability is concerned, my investment is my problem as a producer, my investment is my problem as a distributor and my investment is my problem as an exhibitor. I have to make my business viable and reduce costs accordingly. The person who doesn't do that needs to bear the brunt of it.

Many times, I have heard that films haven't lived up to expectations because of poor content. No producer thinks or wants to make an exceptionally bad or flop film. We all persevere to make good, entertaining and successful films. When I was young, I would see my father making films. As I grew up, I wanted to become an actor. My family told me not to enter this line because it is a very volatile business; one day you are on top, the next you are not and one film may do well while the other won't. There is no stability or consistency. My parents asked me to join a steady profession like engineering or accountancy. That was the concern of my parents but I came here because I loved films and filmmaking. All of us here love films.

I think it is very important for the new entrants in this business like the national multiplex chains to understand the volatile nature of this business. No matter how hard you work, you will know the result only on a Friday. Even after a few weeks of its release, you will wonder that why your film didn't work in spite of it being a good film. Mera Naam Joker was a very good film, but it didn't work and there is no reason (why it did not work). The newcomers need to understand that there is no steadiness here and you can't exactly predict the fate of a movie. There is no steady flow of business. This business needs heart, emotion and we need to know that there is no specific or particular reason as to why films work or don't work.

Tough stand on multiplexes
A few days ago, we were calculating how multiplexes have contributed to our business and made films more successful. We realised that the gross and net figures are bigger but the distributors' share is the same before and after the entry of multiplexes. No matter how big or small the film, it has made no difference to the share of the distributor. So where has the business increased? It is not for the production or distributions sector. As an industry, we need to understand what the multiplex issues are that are bordering on illegal like the INR being charged at 1 per cent instead of 2 and the entertainment tax being levied where it isn't supposed to be. We have to deal with these practices very seriously.

My suggestion as a member of the industry is to find a solution. Attempts have been made through negotiations. I would recommend strongly that before we set up a committee for the producers' and distributors' side and from the multiplex's side, we need to set up a committee that does research on the problem and finds a solution. This solution should be presented to the two committees. At this time, we should not be fighting and we should unite to find a solution that is fair and contributes to every sector.

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SRK: We want fans to see our films!

Filmmaker-actor Shah Rukh Khan shares his views on the multiplex owners versus producers and distributors standoff. Speaking at a press conference, Khan said he agreed with Aamir Khan and why he felt equality is the best solution to the problem.

First of all, I would like to say that none of us, whether Aamir, Karan, Rakeshji (Rakesh Roshan), Ratanji (Ratan Jain), me or Yashji (Yash Chopra) or our seniors is the leader of this forum. We are here to share our collective thoughts for a clear perspective.

On calling for a gathering
We are not here to prevent our fans, supporters and well wishers from seeing films. We don’t want to do that at all. I speak very honestly for everyone here. We love films and making them. Our biggest wish is to die making films. The entire fraternity is here because we love to make films and show it to an audience. We are not here to stop showing the films to the audience. Filmmaking is what we do as we know how to do it. Films are being made as we speak.

The problem is, we know how to make films but we don’t know how to take it to the audience. That is why we have partners. There are distributors, theatres and the media for that. This partnership, bond, pipeline or marriage is now suffering. So we are here to repair the problem.

This is not a strike at all. It is a halt due to repairs that we are working towards and we apologise for this halt. This is not a strike and we need to repair the pipeline.

On why the profit sharing ratio must change
We are not doing for this greed or profits or for an extra one or two per cent. None of us are here for that. Some of us are very senior and legendary filmmakers. We are not here to loot anyone. The basic fight is for equality to create a platform for all sorts of films whether big or small, whether good or bad, whether made by an independent producer or by a studio. This fight is more for small films because somewhere along the line, they get left behind in negotiations. They don’t know anything about profit sharing so they just plead to the multiplexes to release the film. In the long run, the rightful path or our slogan, Fair Rights for Friday Nights, will benefit small films more than the big films.

On his take on the multiplexes
We are not here for a power show; (to show) that powerful people have come together on a platform. We will not use our ‘power’ to shake multiplexes. There is nothing like that at all. This is a marriage where we all are partners. The film federation has directors, producers, technicians, actors, studios, distributors, exhibitors and multiplexes as partners. We work together to show films to an audience. This is a show of coming together and of uniting.

A certain part of our family is not on the right path and we want to bring this issue to the forefront. We want a fair dialogue.

This is not a deadlock. We are not saying, “This is it. Take this or leave this. It is our way or the highway”. Not at all!

We have had discussions in good spirit with the multiplex owners for months, but we have not reached a final solution. That is why we have united to present our opinions and thoughts to them. We want to sit across with the multiplex and talk about getting fair rights for Friday nights for everyone.

I am saying this with a lot of humility. As Aamir rightly said, reasons such as bad films or bad content are cited for films not being played at multiplexes. I don’t think that is an issue multiplexes can discuss. No one tries to make a bad film. No matter how the film, it has the right to be seen by the audience that decides the verdict. By the second show on Friday, we know in very clear terms (whether) the film is good or not. I think all these little issues about creativity should be left to the creative people and the audience. The connecting pipeline should not have much say in it.

I would like to say that this issue is not confined to the studios, producers and distributors. It is going to impact everyone. For some time, we will see fewer films. Sadly, we are coming to a halt to repair the pipeline. The media and the audience need to unite.

On wanting fair rights for Friday nights
We are here to repair the problem. We stand by all films and we want equality for all films. We want Fair Rights for Friday Nights. This is not a deadlock; it is a panel that is available for discussion to the multiplex owners over coffee 24 x 7 throughout the year.

We don’t think the multiplex is the mafia. We aren’t badmouthing the multiplex owners at all. This is a temporary problem in our family and at the end of it, we will all be united. No one is a leader here and we are followers of what the audience wants and what they dictate.

We are living because the audience tells us what they want. Unfortunately, we are not listening or succumbing to the demands of the multiplexes. We are employees of the audience. We need to understand that this is a partnership and the issue needs to be sorted out quickly so we go back to making good or bad films that get released for audiences to see and judge.

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Doctor Kareena Kapoor hates men!

Kareena Kapoor hates men and gives advice to women on how to do the same! She loves to wear stylish international fashion and look as gorgeous as a supermodel. As she passes she definitely steals every man’s heart and thus even knows the way to cure his ailment, as she is a doctor too! Phew! Now if you think this is some trivia on Kareena Kapoor and her real life behaviour then just calm down. We only described Bebo’s Preity Zinta-esque role from her film Kambakht Ishq. Kareena who plays a supermodel in the film will also portray the role of a doctor! “Kareena has a dual career in the film. She is a supermodel and a doctor, who juggles both careers”, revealed a unit hand of the highly awaited film. Preity Zinta did the same in Salaam Namaste. Let’s see which Kareena wins our hearts – The Doctor or the supermodel!

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Kareena goes for the non-filmi look

Kareena Kapoor may love the song-and-dance routine that Bollywood films are known for, but for her next film she has opted for a non-filmi look.

Designer Aki Narula who has created the look for Kareena said, “Kareena will sport a mis-n-match kind of a look this time around, so that the character seems real.

The clothes won’t be over the top for sure. I am sure that the trend will catch on and look very real on screen.” Kareena adds, “Though it is a hardcore commercial film, I have consciously chosen non-filmi clothes.”

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Bipasha will dub at any cost!

Bipasha Basu’s first Bengali film Shob Charitro Kalponik where she plays the most ambitious and challenging role of her life, is almost ready.

But Bipasha isn’t looking forward to its release. Reason? The producers are not allowing her to dub her own lines in the film. And Bipasha who thinks this to be the most precious and challenging role of her career is at her wit’s end.

“When I first came to know I wouldn’t be dubbing my own voice I was furious. I’ve gone through this process of having my voice dubbed by someone else. No way will I allow this to happen to my first Bengali film. In fact one of the reasons why I waited so long to do a Bengali film was because I wanted to be sure I could carry off the lines.”

After much furious insistence the producers relented partially. Says Bipasha, “Now they want me to dub only for the print that would be submitted for the National Awards (films with the actors’ lines dubbed from the outside are not eligible). But I’m very clear on this issue. I’ll not let the film be released with someone else’s voice. I know what that does to a performance. And I won’t dub only for the National Award print. I won’t dub for only one print. I want every print to have my voice.”

Bipasha finds the whole insistence on a dubbing artiste when she’s both willing and capable highly absurd. “When my first Bengali film releases I want people to hear my voice.I don’t want some alien voice to speak for me. I don’t care if I get awards or not. Why should I dub only for the National award? But I want my voice to be heard by audiences who know me well enough by now not to be conned by another voice.”

Bipasha has heard the voice used to dub for her character in Sob Charitro Kalponik. “It’s terrible! When I signed the film it was made clear that it’ll be shot in Kolkata but dubbed in Mumbai. Rituparno is supposed to come and supervise my dubbing in Mumbai.”

Bipasha exonerates Ritu of all blame. “It’s not him. It’s the production guys. I’ve his email that he has sent to the producers. They’ve behaved very strangely. I’ve emailed to the producers and to my director Ritu saying I’m not going to dub only for the National award print. I’ll dub for the entire film, or not at all.I’ve been waiting to dub since February. I’m even willing to dub with Ritu’s assistant if he’s busy. But the producers are coming up with one excuse after another. I’ve poured my heart out into this film. They’re looking for excuses for me not to dub.”

Says Rituparno from Varanasi where he’s shooting, “If the artiste is willing and capable there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to dub her own lines.”

Mahesh Ramanathan, COO, Reliance Capital has another story to tell. “This is a very sensitive subject. And Rituparno Ghosh would be the best person to answer why Bipasha hasn’t dubbed her own lines. On our part, why would we (Reliance) not want Bipasha to dub? Her voice would only enhance the film’s equity.”
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Barbara,Hrithik on Kites duty!

Rumours of the Barbara Mori-Hrithik Roshan romance will continue till the release of Rakesh Roshan’s Kites later this year.

Despite vehement denials from the lead actor and interviews to the media from his wife of eight years — the usually reticent Sussanne Khan saying, “Hrithik, Barbara and I are friends’’ — the lead pair of Kites will continue to be discussed in bedrooms and make-up vans, and even provide material for a good publicity campaign for the desi version of Dirty Dancing.

But that’s all it will be. Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan are definitely not heading for a split. Reports have it that the light-eyed actor has even promised his wife that once Kites (their home production) is completed, he will disassociate himself from the Latino bombshell even professionally. So Kites may well be the first and last film in which these two actors will be seen together. Pssst: insiders say that Sussanne has reportedly issued an ultimatum to that effect.

Coming to the point of the story: film wives (like the proverb suggests) may be the last to know about the various romantic link-ups involving their husbands. Most rumours are even dismissed as a figment of the media’s fertile imagination. But don’t be fooled. These ladies know exactly who it is that they have to axe from their famous actor-husbands’ list of leading ladies.

Let’s take a walk through Bollywood history. Look at the example of the best screen pair ever — Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. There were hushed whispers about the superstar of the ’70s and ’80s and several of his heroines, but his wife Jaya Bachchan deleted just one heroine’s name from that long list. Film-makers have gone grey but haven’t succeeded in getting the magical Silsila pair back on the silver screen, much to the disappointment of their fans.

There are examples galore in every decade of film wives standing their ground and getting rid of that one heroine who has made her the most uncomfortable. That is why Ajay Devgan never worked again with Mahima Chaudhary, though they’re both fantastic actors; Akshay Kumar will not team up with Priyanka Chopra and Sunny Deol didn’t team up with Raveena Tandon after Ziddi and Salaankhein.

The common link here is that in all these cases, the wives or their long-standing girlfriends (almost as good as a wife) have said no to their men teaming up with these women, however hot the pair may be. Or, however delectable the BO earnings have proved to be.
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Rakhi Sawant's shocking wedding plans

She is known for her shock value and Rakhi Sawant is now planning her 'swayamvara' - picking a groom and tying the nuptial knot with the chosen one - on a reality TV show.

Rakhi will choose from among 15 grooms on NDTV Imagine's new show "Rakhi Ka Swayamvara" and and will take the help of viewers to decide on her perfect man. The timing of the show hasn't been announced yet.

The first of its kind show will trace Rakhi's journey from selecting a groom to the marriage ceremony.

Commenting on her decision to marry this way, Rakhi said: "I want to solemnise my marriage in the presence of all my fans who have been supportive of me throughout and what better way than getting married on national television?"

"I am looking for a companion who is warm, affectionate, someone who can dance a little bit, who respects women for who they are, and above all who is punctual. Even Sita had her Swayamvara so why not me?"

Rakhi says this is the right time for her to settle down.

"Every young woman dreams of a perfect marriage. There is a right time in your life to get married to become a wife and a mother. I'm a cultured Indian woman with good values and I have reached a stage where I need a companion with whom I can share my love, joys, sorrows and success. For me that time is now," she said.

Rakhi has mostly hit headlines for her outspoken ways. Though she has played bit roles in films like "Main Hoon Na" and done item songs in films like "Krazzy 4" and "1920", she is best remembered for the controversy involving Punjabi singer Mika when she accused him of kissing her forcibly after she had pecked on his cheeks on his birthday.

She was also seen on reality show "Bigg Boss" where, again, she was in the spotlight for all the wrong things. On the same show, she had declared she was dating dancer-actor Abhishek Awasthi. But they split towards the end of 2008.

Over the duration of the show, the prospective grooms will be brought together under one roof and put through a series of challenges that will test their personality, character, physical fitness, talent and also their compatibility with Rakhi.

All through the series, viewers can help Rakhi decide, by voting for or against the prospective grooms and the final week will present the wedding celebrations.

The show is being produced by SOL Productions Private Limited.

"We are very proud of Rakhi for taking such a bold decision and we hope that she will find happiness at the end of the show," said Fazila Allana of SOL Productions Pvt. Ltd.
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No movies with my dad, please

Those who want to see Sonam Kapoor and her dad Anil Kapoor together on screen will have to wait for a long time. The "Delhi 6" girl thinks Kapoor senior looks far younger than his age to play a conventional father in a Bollywood flick.

The buzz around tinsel town is that there's a pivotal role in Anil's home production - of Sonam's father - that he was supposed to play. But Anil is not doing the film titled "Ayesha".

"Do you really think he looks like my Dad? No! He doesn't. He looks far younger than his age. And that's why I wouldn't want him to play my father. The role in 'Ayesha' that you're mentioning didn't suit him. My dad can't play the conventional father," Sonam, who has acted in "Saawariya" and "Delhi 6", told IANS.

Earlier, Anil had been offered a role in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Delhi 6" with Sonam, but both father and daughter decided against it. In fact, Sonam was more against the idea of their coming together than Anil.

"And that's how it remains even now. I really feel we wouldn't look like father and daughter on screen. We'd rather wait for a while until I'm older because my father isn't going to oblige (by looking older)," said the 23-year-old actress.

When pointed out that some of Anil's leading ladies are about Sonam's age, she said: "That's right and my father looks very well-matched with all his co-stars. He's quite something. And now after 'Slumdog Millionaire' he has entered another innings in his career. His career keeps getting re-invented. I'm afraid he has set impossible standards for me."
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Bollywood producers warned

Hollywood counterparts threaten legal action

The Hollywood producers behind “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” are threatening legal action against Bollywood filmmakers over their plans to remake Brad Pitt's Oscar-winning movie.

Pitt starred alongside Australian actress Cate Blanchett in the 2008 film, about a man who ages backwards.

The Times of India reported last month that Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai were set to star in similar film called “Action Replay”.

Producers at Warner Brothers and Paramount placed advertisements in the paper and local trade publications on April 6, warning Bollywood film producers not to proceed with a planned Hindi remake.

A New Delhi law firm representing Warner Brothers will pursue legal action against any film made "either in English or Hindi or other language, having a similar script, screenplay or story line or character sketches or interplay of characters or sequence of events" to the original movie, reports Agence France-Presse.
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What Manish Malhotra did in Dubai…

Designer models his IPL-inspired clothes and goes shopping with Tusshar Kapoor

Manish Malhotra presented an IPL-inspired collection as a part of Studio 8’s show on Day 2 of the Dubai Fashion Week (DFW) on April 7.

The Bollywood designer tells masala.com about this sporty collection and his shopping spree in Dubai.

What made you come up with an IPL-inspired collection?

I was designing for Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders and that’s when the idea of marrying formal with sporty wear struck me.

A kalidar kurta with a hoodie in gold and black looks stunning. For the men a formal jacket with check pants looks great.

Shah Rukh walked the ramp in this collection at the recent Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. I made a blazer for him and teamed it with a shalwar. The gold and black sling that he wore was in theme with the IPL collection.

You walked the ramp for your own collection at DFW. Why did you do that?

I have walked the ramp a number of times before for other designers but this is the first time I walked in my own collection. Sarah Belhasa of Studio 8 felt it will be nice if I modelled my own collection in this show so I went ahead and did it.

What did you wear?

I wore track pants with keds and a V-neck T with the Knight Riders helmet logo on it.

Heard you went shopping with your show-stopper Tusshar Kapoor in Dubai…

Yes, I picked up a few nice things for him. I picked up a pair of really nice jeans for myself. I am overwhelmed to see that I am fitting into a 30 waist size again.

Lastly, what films are you working on at the moment?

I am working for 12 films including “My Name is Khan”, “Robot” and “Main Aur Mrs Khanna”.

I have to wake up really early to make use of the entire day if I have to juggle so many fashion weeks and films. But I love pushing myself all the time.

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Jiah dropped after three weeks of shoot

Which young actress replaces her?

Actors have often been dropped after signing a film. In Jiah’s case, things have really gone far. The actress has been dropped by Ken Ghosh from his film "Yahoo" after she shot for a whole three weeks.

She was signed before "Ghajini" because Ken thought Jiah would soar in the popularity charts after the film was released.

Despite Jiah’s repeated interviews about how Aamir praised her, all the limelight was snatched away by Asin. And when Ken saw the rushes of his film with Jiah, he just did not like her performance. So he promptly dropped her.

Now Genelia D’Souza is playing her role.

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