Tag Archives: kumar

How Dilip Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan’s camaraderie goes way beyond photo opportunities

Shah Rukh Khan’s recent visit to check on the health of the 94-year old Dilip Kumar, upon the latter’s return after spending a few days in the hospital for some kidney related problem, brought to mind the sweet bond that the two have shared over the years.

The thespian and his wife, Saira Banu, have publicly expressed their love for Shah Rukh Khan on numerous occasions and in fact, have even said that SRK is the child that they would have loved to have.

Besides having a few things in common with the younger Khan — including the same number of Filmfare awards for the Best Actor, eight to be exact, and both playing Devdas at some point in their careers — Dilip sahab’s fondness for Shah Rukh Khan also mirrors the manner in which he has interacted with some of the superstars who followed him.

Dilip Kumar’s influence on Indian cinema is peerless and this influence extends beyond acting prowess. It was Dilip Kumar’s persona that inspired more than a few generation of actors such as Manoj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan, and almost every single one of them famously modelled certain aspects of their craft on Dilip Kumar.

In Manoj Kumar’s case, he even took his screen name ‘Manoj’ after a character that Dilip Kumar portrayed in one of his films, Shabnam (1949). Dharmendra often mentions that even though he came to (then) Bombay to try his hand at acting, meeting Dilip Kumar was perhaps a bigger draw for him. During the shooting of one of his initial films in the late 1950s, Dharmendra met Dilip Kumar’s sister, and thanks to her ended up spending an evening at Dilip Kumar’s residence. Late in the night when Dharam ji was leaving, Dilip Kumar gave him a sweater as it had been raining, and to this day, the sweater is a prized possession for the former.

Later the emergence of Rajesh Khanna as the new superstar coincided with the period where Dilip Kumar had considerably reduced his output, but even then the public interaction between Dilip Kumar and other leading men, such as Khanna and later Amitabh Bachchan, was the same. It’s not just Hindi films where Dilip Kumar’s impact, both as an actor and an elder, was felt. His friendship with the iconic Sivaji Ganesan, and later his influence on a Kamal Haasan, is also well documented.

Akshay Kumar – ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a romantic comedy, not a documentary’

Akshay Kumar, is, by far the fittest man in Bollywood, and leads an extremely disciplined life by waking up at the crack of dawn and winding up his day by 6 pm. In fact, it has been a standing joke in the industry that when Akshay wraps up his work on the sets and gets ready to leave for home, certain actors turn up on the sets!

When we asked him how he has only two or three releases this year as opposed to his usual record of five to six films, he first corrects us by saying, “Two-and-a-half”,  referring to Baby‘s spin-off Naam Shabana, in which he had an extended cameo, and he further asks, “Are you trying to say that I am slowing down? Or are you trying to say that I’m lazy?” He explains, “I have completed Padman, 2.0 (the sequel to 2010 blockbuster Robot, with Rajinikanth), and half of Gold is completed. We have not been able to announce a release date for Padman yet. There is no date available, because we have so many releases,” says Akshay.

Akshay Kumar. Image from Facebook

However, the actor is happy about the fact that the clash between his upcoming film Toilet Ek Prem Katha and Shah Rukh Khan’s Jab Harry Met Sejal was averted, when the latter’s release was changed to one week before the previously chosen date. “Everybody is happy when films don’t clash, but unfortunately there are only 52 weeks and  180 releases, so some clashes are bound to happen. And then, we also have films from Hollywood and the South,” he says. This brings us to the humongous success of Baahubali 2: The Conclusionand the disappointing year that has been for Bollywood with just couple of super hit films like Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Hindi Medium so far. Akshay’s immediate query is, “How much was spent on Baahubali 2’s making? Over 400 crore? Toilet Ek Prem Katha has been made in Rs 18 crore. Obviously, the returns will be different.”

Referring to the poor rate of success of Bollywood movies, he further says, “Maybe it has got to do with our content which is not right. Also, they are very systematic in the South. They don’t spend more than Rs 2 crore on publicity. They don’t do reality shows or too many press meets. But like us, they too release big films during Diwali and Pongal. They do reserve those dates. It is not threatening for us, but we can see some new things in cinema. Even our films release in the South, and they have never said that it is a threat. It is just that good films work.”  So have the expectations from Shankar’s sci-fi action drama 2.0, in which Akshay plays an antagonist, gone up?  “Are you stating that I have started taking stress? Well, I can’t say anything more about the film, because I’m bound by my contract,” he says.

Akshay Kumar in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Image from Facebook

Akshay recently revealed that the script of Toilet Ek Prem Katha was doing the rounds for four years and was offered to several stars who rejected it before it landed on his plate. “I found it very intriguing. I liked the fact that it was a real story. I wondered how these women actually told their spouses that they wanted a divorce because there’s no toilet at home. It was a big step for these women from villages; even women from the city wouldn’t take this extreme step,” says the actor, adding, “I don’t know how many people will watch the film, but even if five per cent out of the 54 per cent [who don’t have toilets in their homes] are able to install toilets, I will feel my movie is successful. I am not bothered about the box office collections, I am more concerned about the eye-balls it will get. If my producer-distributor can reduce the ticket price, I will be very happy.”

The National Award-winning actor, popularly known as Bollywood’s khiladi, was the go-to actor for action films in the initial years of his career. Later, he was also applauded for his comedies, and off-late, he is being touted as the flag-bearer of patriotism and supporter of diverse social causes, through his movies and otherwise. In fact, he continues to take maximum risks when it comes to playing across genres. If with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which will be released on the Independence Day weekend, he takes on the sanitation crisis in India and the need for toilets within homes for women, director R Balki’s Padman is an attempt to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene in rural India. Up next is Gold, a sports drama on the historic first Olympic medal that India won as a free nation. In the last two years, Akshay has acted in Neeraj Pandey’s spy thriller Baby, vigilante action movie Gabbar Is Back, historical drama Airlift and crime thriller Rustom, the last of which won him the National Award for best actor for 2016.

Akshay Kumar in Rustom. image from Twitter

“I want to help people with the help of media and government. Even if you don’t want to write about the film, it is fine, but certainly write about the issue and what women have to go through. They have to walk three kilometres to relieve themselves. They wait for sunset and leave in a group, with the fear of rape. It is a huge issue and I am doing my bit with this film,” says Akshay.  However, the actor clarifies that Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a romantic comedy and not a documentary. “I am not giving any message, it is only towards the end that it gets a bit serious. It has got loads of masala and action besides four to five songs. Toilet humour is also shown in a different way and along with that there is a true story,” he says.

However, Akshay is clear that he doesn’t want to be typecast again. “I would love to do a khiladi. Just last year I did a complete MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) film, Brothers, then I did Housefull 3 as well. It’s not that I don’t want to do other films besides the realistic ones,” he says.

And one can’t help but ask him about the fate of the his Battle of Saragarhi which was announced with much fanfare; he plays the lead in this film.  There have been speculations that Salman Khan, who is supposed to be co-producing the film with Karan Johar, has opted out and that the film has been shelved.  Says Akshay, “The film is still happening; it is not shelved, but whether Salman is still producing it or not, we will know with time. Talks are on. It’s not yet decided.

Jolly LLB 2 trailer: Akshay Kumar plays a bumbling lawyer-turned-hero in Subhash Kapoor’s film

The Jolly LLB 2 trailer is out. And from what it offers for our consumption, it seems to have capitalised on all of its leading man Akshay Kumar’s strengths.

Akshay Kumar in Jolly LLB 2

Jolly LLB 2, the trailer, starts off as a comic caper. We see Akshay’s character, a lawyer named Jolly, on a losing streak in court. He is prone to asking his witnesses filmi questions, like when Salman Khan is likely to get married; cry like (in the words of Saurabh Shukla, who plays the judge) Nirupa Roy, and generally engage in a whole lot of theatrics that have little or no intended effect.

He also has the gift of spinning grand, catchy lines — although his bombast finds barely any appreciation in the courtroom, or at home, with his long-suffering wife Pushpa (Huma Qureshi).

Things — and the tone of the film — change suddenly when a man is killed, and his wife approaches Jolly for help seeking justice.

Jolly quickly realises that this is not just about one man’s life being brutally cut short, the victim was but one pawn in a larger nexus that involves several powerful people. When Jolly fights against them, he realises that he has the fight of his life ahead. His adversary in court is the evil advocate Annu Kapoor.

There is one dialogue that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser: Jolly says in court that whoever said ‘everything is fair in love and war’ was the biggest fool — because then it would mean that those who decapitate soldiers at the border in the name of war, or those who fling acid at women in the name of love, are justified in carrying out their heinous acts.

The Jolly LLB 2 trailer packages everything that the ‘Akshay Kumar brand’ is known for — comic timing, action, dialogue delivery, romance and pop patriotism — in its two-and-a-half minutes of run-time.

People talk about Aishwarya Rai’s beauty more': ‘Sarbjit’ director Omung Kumar

National award winning director and production designer Omung Kumar says he was questioned by many for his choice of casting  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur in his upcoming biopic Sarbjit.

However, Omung was happy, confident and convinced with his selection. “Everybody told me I was mad to cast Aishwarya. But then, they said similar things when I cast Priyanka Chopra for Mary Kom; that she won’t fit the role, she doesn’t look North Eastern, and so on.”

“But I’d decided that for Dalbir’s part, I wanted someone who’s mature enough, who could play a 22-year-old and 60-year-old as well, someone who commands and demands respect when she speaks. Aishwarya is a director’s actress, she is a fantastic. We can see her in any role possible, but yes, they talk about her beauty more,” says Omung.

Sibling

He continues, “Also, Aishwarya agreed to do the film immediately because she knew that this is a role of a lifetime. One cannot say no to this role because you owe it to society.”

Meanwhile, Randeep Hooda, stunned everyone with his physical transformation to play Sarabjit (the Indian national who was famously detained in Pakistan for 23 years) and went on a rigorous diet while losing a whopping 18 kgs in a period of just 28 days.

He says that he was initially worried about playing the part. “Omung has been saying that I said yes to the role in 15 minutes, but the fact is that I was scared. I was apprehensive. I had liked the script but it was hard to commit, and then, I take my commitment very seriously. Who in the right mind would go through all that?”

“Finally I decided to have a conversation with myself, not with the director, and agreed to step into the role,” says Randeep, who had transformed into the skeleton of a starving man.

Further, to get into the skin of the character, Randeep would carry his work home religiously. Says Omung, “At home he started living in a dark, dingy corner with absolutely no light, all through day and night. I had demarcated an area of 6 feet by 4 feet and he would live, walk only in that portion. He had also asked for chains which were tied around his hands and legs. More than losing weight, it was Sarabjit’s psyche he wanted to get into. He had to actually live that person for several months.”

Sarbjit releases on 20 May.

I’m an independent filmmaker; have freedom to do what I want: ‘Sarbjit’ director Omung Kumar

Mumbai: Filmmaker Omung Kumar believes he is an independent filmmaker and that if you are independent you get the freedom to do whatever you want to do.

What are his views on independent filmmakers?

Omung Kumar. Image from IBN

“I’m an independent filmmaker. If you are independent, you will get the freedom to do whatever you want. In independent films, you just come out with a good story. So obviously, the film will be made well.

“But we have to ensure that we take out the best acting out of people,” the Mary Kom director, who worked with filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on films like Black and Saawariya as an art director before helming his own movies, told IANS.

Omung’s comments came in the light of the “I am a Film maker, I am Independent” movement initiated by Gaurav Pandey. Omung added, “If there is something where all first-time directors come together and strive, and if it can be an inspiration for them, I would obviously like to join them.”

Akshay Kumar, Neeraj Pandey to work together again for ‘Rustom’

Mumbai: Superstar Akshay Kumar and filmmaker Neeraj Pandey, who have worked together in Special 26 and Baby, are coming together again for an upcoming movie Rustom.

While their last two outings had Pandey both as a producer and on the director’s chair, Rustom will have Pandey only producing it under his and Shital Bhatia’s banner Friday Filmworks.

File photo of Akshay Kumar. Reuters

Rustom will mark the directorial debut of Tinu Suresh Desai and will release on 12 August 2016.

Akshay, who turns 48 on Wednesday, said he was thrilled to star in the film.

“Having worked with Neeraj on two fabulous projects, I am excited to start work on our new film. I am happy that Zee’s Studios is putting its might behind this film along with KriArj Entertainment and Friday Filmworks.

“It gives me and the entire team confidence of this launched worldwide using the global might of Zee,” the actor said in a statement.

Written by Vipul Rawal, the film is inspired by real life incidents and is being co-produced by Zee Studios and Arjun N Kapoor’s KriArj Entertainment.

Pandey said Akshay was the perfect choice for the romantic-thriller.

“When Tinu narrated Rustom to us we immediately got hooked to the quality of the narrative and its potential and instantly decided that it was something that we would like to produce.

“We also really felt that given the nature of the story, Akshay would be the perfect fit and him agreeing to come on board will definitely give it the canvas it requires,” he said.

Pandey will be pen the dialogues of the film and also co-write the screenplay with Vipul Rawal.

Nittin Keni, CEO, Zee Studios said, “We are delighted to partner with Akshay Kumar, country’s leading icon, Neeraj Pandey and KriArj Entertainment on ‘Rustom’… With this film which will release on 12 August 2016 all over, we want to entertain our audiences.”

First schedule of Rustom will commence by mid-December this year. The film will also feature two actresses. Zee Music has bagged the music rights for the film.

Khiladi on fire: Watch Akshay Kumar nearly escape an accident on the sets of ‘Singh is Bling’

Akshay Kumar is known to pull off his own action stunts in films, no matter how dangerous they may be. On the sets of Singh is Bling recently, Kumar survived a fire accident just in time.

akshay

While shooting for the song ‘Tung Tung Baaje‘ from the film, Kumar had to jump through a ring of fire. In the film, he plays a Sardar who prides himself on being a daredevil.

In a video released by the film’s production house Grazing Goat films, Kumar is seen rehearsing with his stuntmen many times before jumping through the circle fire. In one such jump, he misses the mark and the flaming circle falls onto him.

Fortunately, with help on time, Kumar survived the accident unharmed.

He tweeted about the accident on Tuesday evening: