We are just like normal people: Amitabh Bachchan

His love affair with television began in 2000 and it continues to this day. Amitabh Bachchan started off the trend of filmstars seeing TV as a viable medium. 

But the fact remains that no one has matched the sort of popularity he invokes. The man, however, credits the game show format for his success. Excerpts from the interview...

As you gear up for yet another season of Kaun Banega Crorepati on Sony TV, is there anxiety?
Each season has its apprehensions, its nervousness and butterflies and elephants roaming in the stomach! I believe that any kind of public exposure, does that to an individual... at least it does that to me. Others seem a lot braver. I am not. I just feel very self-conscious, but it's a job to be done and one wants to do the best. But yes, it's frightening to be in front of the camera, in front of so many people. What are we going to do with the contestants, how are we going to conduct the show... all these questions do come up.

You've been credited with changing the face of Indian television...
Gosh! That's an unfair assumption. The game itself is the game changer. The format of the game is something unique. Designed by a psychologist-cum-scientist, it has succeeded in more than 80 countries. And I haven't anchored the 80 shows, so it's really the game and not the anchor.

What was the draw for you in 2000 when you did this show? And what's it today?
I have always felt that if there are creative opportunities in different mediums — whether it is cinema, television, stage — one should attempt them, but I never new how to go about it. When this opportunity came, I looked at it carefully and just took a wild jump. Everyone guided me against it saying you are reducing yourself from 70 mm frame to 25 mm screen. It's a death knell for most actors. But, I liked what they showed me. I saw the original, I met Christ Tarrent, the first host of the game show. I asked them if they could produce it exactly that way and to their credit, they did and that's how we got started. Twelve years down the lane, it's still a moment of great excitement.

Television and social media, has brought you very close to your audiences. But earlier the general belief was that stars should be elusive... 
I agree the mediums of communication were very rare earlier... we just had the printing press and magazines. Stars were mostly confined to one destination and one barely got the opportunity to see them publicly. Now with the expanse of mediums, it's very difficult not to be known or not to be able to express yourself or want to keep anything mystical about you. Everything about you is recorded. It's not right to say that you are losing your mystique or aura because you are making yourself more public. As far as coming closer to the audiences is concerned, I have always felt that they are the people responsible for where we are. It is their love and affection that has brought us to this stage and any medium that connects me to them, I'm ready to join it.

Was there a conscious decision that you took in the last few years... to be more accessible? 
No. Actually, somebody from the technical side came and told me you need to have a website where your correct information should go out because there are many fake sites with a lot of incorrect material. That they said will take around seven months and I said isn't there something that can happen tomorrow and they said , "You could write a blog". That's how it started and it got bigger gradually.

But people still want to know... what the real Amitabh Bachchan is like. An introvert or somebody very open? 
Just the other day I was talking about this, about how this is the most repeated question I'm asked... I'm just another name. I don't see why there should be anything different. We are in a profession that has made us larger-than-life by the acts that we do. But we are just like normal people. We are all human beings with similar feelings, affections and emotions.

The Coolie incident completed 30 years earlier this month and there was buzz that you were planning to document the incident?
It was on my blog, my respondents who are now my extended family keep asking about it and I said yes, one day I'll tell you all the details about what happened that day. Most of it is unpleasant so I don't want to destroy their peace of mind.

They call you 30-year-old because August 2 is viewed as your second birthday...
It's because when I was in hospital in Bangalore and then because my situation was getting very grave I had to be shifted. Medical facilities in Bangalore were not that proficient at that time; of course now they are brilliant. I had to go through another immediate surgery and it was that surgery that I didn't come out of. I was in coma and clinically dead for a couple of minutes. When I came out of it, they felt it was a kind of rebirth and wanted to celebrate it as my second birthday.

You have done a variety of roles, but is there something you haven't done and really want to do?
I have not thought about it but I hope there are some directors who can think about it. If they feel this is something I should be doing, I go ahead and do it. I could never have thought of something like Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought for me in Black or R Balki did for Paa

For now, clearly it's KBC on your mind. Are there any changes this season? 
The basic format is the same; we can't change that because that's contracted by the company that owns it. We keep making small additions which you may have seen in the last season like providing video clips of contestants in the circumstances they are. It's a wonderful idea and continue to do that. Our emphasis this time is gyaan hi aapko apka haq dilata hai. You could be from humble circumstances but if you were to develop your knowledge and educate yourself you could one day perhaps exercise your right in society. I have particularly found that almost all the winners of large amounts have been individuals that have come from very humble backgrounds.

Source - Times of india

Aamir Khan graces cover of Time magazine

Aamir Khan becomes the third Bollywood star to grace the cover page of Time magazine afterAishwarya Rai Bachachn and Parveen Babi.

He is featured on the cover with the caption Khan's Quest. The blurb says - He's breaking the Bollywood mould by tackling India's social evils. Can one actor change a nation? Parveen Babi make the Time cover in July 1976 and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was featured in 2003.

Sachin Tendulkar was the last Indian to make the cover of famous Time Magazine. Other Indians featured on Times magazine include,Mahatma Gandhi who made the cover three times, Sania Mirza, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhiand Narendra Modi.

From garnering overwhelming TRPs to getting prominence on social networking websites, the impact of Aamir Khan's maiden TV show " Satyamev Jayate" has been colossal. The talk show, which started with the issue of female foeticide, traversed over various burning social issues informing, educating, sensitising and touching audiences' hearts.

In 13 weeks of the show , the star evoked a range of emotions as he dealt with the sensitive topics, and each episode witnessed moist eyes among those in the TV audiences and many more at homes and offices across the country as people tuned in to watch the programme.


Farah Khan: Shah Rukh and Shirish will never be best friends

Shah Rukh and Shirish will never be best friends but Farah Khan is confident that their new-found equation will continue as it is she that both men love.
What we see today is an extremely successful woman, but not many know that you had a very difficult childhood.
My father Kamran Khan was a successful producer, director and actor in B-grade films. When I was born, we had three flats and were well-to-do. I was a pampered brat who used to go in an Impala to Linking Road to pick up a new LP every day. Mine was literally a 'riches to rags' story.

Revealed: Aamir Khan’s new ‘Dhoom 3’ look

We have already informed you that Aamir Khan has rented an apartment in Chicago to be with his family for the three months shooting in Chicago. Much has been talked about his chic look in high flier action thriller ‘Dhoom 3 but updating on Aamir’s ‘Dhoom 3’ shooting and his look was two NRIs Bidisha Roy and Krishnendu Sengupta - a couple from Kolkata. Aamir rented an apartment near to them and the couple feel lucky to have Aamir Khan as their new neighbor.

Speaking about‘Dhoom 3’ shooting where a body double has been used to shoot the bike sequence, Bidisha, said, “We saw his stunt-double doing the action. He looked a little taller than Aamir and was dressed in black".

But the man himself - with a lean, mean look and a never-seen-before hairdo- arrived in a while. "It looked like he'd gone back to his ‘Ghajini’days. We had read reports of how Aamir wanted a new hairstyle for this film. During the day, he hardly took his hat off. But when he did, we could understand what might have prompted him to keep his look hidden - it's that different," said Bidisha.

While the crowd went berserk to catch a glimpse of the star, Aamir sat with a book, unperturbed by the hullabaloo. "When not shooting or talking to the director, he was reading a book on Mahatma Gandhi" she added. Bidisha later found out that Aamir had put up in the building next to theirs. "But he chooses to stay indoors. Only on Eid, there was a huge bash at his apartment," she said. The cast has now been joined by Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra. "My husband met them and they were extremely courteous. We are now looking forward to the arrival of Katrina Kaif”, she said.

‘Dhoom 3’stars Katrina Kaif in the lead role.



Yash Chopra resumes romance with Kashmir

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who plays an armyman in the Yashraj Films' next, is on his maiden shooting assignment in the Valley for the untitled project which marks producer-director Yash Chopra's return to Kashmir after a gap of three decades.

Chopra, who last captured the Valley on-screen in Amitabh-Rakhee starrer 'Kabhie Kabhie' in 1976, had replaced Kashmir with Swiss Alps for his later films as the region struggled with militancy.

Shah Rukh arrived at the Srinagar International Airport this morning and then flew to south Kashmir tourist resort of Pahalgam for the shoot after completing his schedule in Ladakh.

SRK will shoot "for eight to 10 days" in the Valley, a source close to Chopra said.

Chopra, his wife Pamela and their son Aditya, have already arrived in Kashmir and have been camping at Pahalgam for the last two days along with the 100-odd shooting crew, the source said. Chopra will also shoot in north Kashmir Gulmarg tourist resort and along the banks of Dal Lake in the city.

SRK plays an Army bomb disposal expert Samar in the film, also starring Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.

The untitled film marks Chopra's return to the direction after a gap of eight years and brings together the award winning pair of A R Rahman and Gulzar.

The film is scheduled for a Diwali release on November 13.

Sridevi's gift to her daughters

To make up for the time she was away from her daughters, Sridevi got them two cute puppies.
Sridevi who was busy shooting for English Vinglish directed by Gauri Shinde picked up two dog puppies on her way home as a small gift for both her daughters. This was because Sridevi had to stay away from her daughters for an elongated time.
For the very first time Sridevi's daughters couldn't accompany their mom. "It's known that Sridevi is extremely close to her daughters and she can't afford to leave them alone for one second. But due to her shooting schedule she couldn't take her daughters along with her. This guilt was taking her a little down and just to make for it, Sridevi got two dog puppies for both her daughters", confirms a source close to the film.
English Vinglish is an upcoming Indian drama film directed by debutant director Gauri Shinde and produced by R Balki. The film marks the comeback of Sridevi after a 14 year sabbatical. This film also marks the comeback of Sridevi to Tamil cinema after 26 years.
Sridevi plays the central role of a housewife, who enrolls for an English speaking course in order to please her husband and family. English Vinglish is all set to hit the screens on October 5, 2012.

Rajkumar Hirani loses his identity

Researching for his upcoming film P.K, the filmmaker was mistaken for Vidhu Vinod Chopra. That's how close they really are
Visiting astrologers and temples as a part of research for his upcoming film P.K., filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani realised just how close is his association with Vidhu Vinod Chopra is. An unsuspecting Raju, who was standing in a queue to enter a temple couldn't believe when a guy approached him and asked, "Hey, aren't you Vidhu Vinod Chopra?" His explanations fell on deaf ears. Recalling the incident, Raju told us, "I had cut my moustache since I didn't want to be recognised. A guy mistook me for Vidhu Vinod Chopra. I tried to tell him that I wasn't, but he just wouldn't listen. Bahut der ke baad he left and he still wasn't convinced about my identity."
"In fact, researching for the film had been a lot of fun," revealed the filmmaker. "P.K. is about God and godmen. It's a satire that is very close to me and Abhijat Joshi who writes with me. We have incorporated many incidents that we experienced in real life. The audience identifies with them," he added.
Interestingly, Raju is a self-proclaimed agnostic. "I do go to a temple or a church at times but that's just because I feel peaceful there," he explained and continued to talk about his next venture.
When we pointed out the vast age difference between his lead actors Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma (24), he simply said, "The concept of P.K. doesn't underline how old these two are in real life. Even the height is immaterial." But there's another role in the film that requires a younger hero. And though he is reportedly looking at Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh or Imran Khan to fit the bill, the slot is still empty.
"I'm in two minds whether to cast an established star or a newcomer. I want to finish a major chunk that doesn't require Aamir in October. This I shall shoot in Italy with Anushka. Aamir would join me in December," he told us.
About Aamir's son Junaid who will be working as an assistant to him, Raju said, "Aamir called me up and asked if Junaid could work with me on P.K. I was game. That boy has an eye for detail and very good research and organisational skills. Aamir said that he shouldn't be given any preferential treatment and I should treat him like any other AD. Junaid gets his share of scolding too."


It's Shahrukh Khan versus Ajay Devgn this Diwali

Superstar Shahrukh Khan and Ajay Devgan are all set to lock horns at the box-office this Diwali as their respective films will hit theatres on the same day.

SRK's untitled Yash Chopra directed film and Devgn's "Son Sardaar" is slated to release on November 13.

Besides the two stars, both the films boasts of a huge cast and their first look/trailor has also managed to generate buzz amongst the audience.

"Son of Sardaar" directed by Ashwini Dhir is an action-comic film and stars Sonakshi Sinha, Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles.

Besides SRK, the Yash Raj Films project has Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma playing leading ladies.

The SRK starrer also marks Chopra's return to the direction after a gap of eight years. His last film as a director was "Veer-Zaara" in 2004.

It also bings together the award-winning pair of A R Rahman and Gulzar.

Kareena’s birthday surprise for Madhur

Director Madhur Bhandarkar is known to be a very private person when it comes to his birthday. But this year actress Kareena Kapoor decided to celebrate his birthday in her style.
On Sunday, while dubbing for the upcoming film Heroine, Kareena surprised Madhur with a birthday cake and invited all the crew of the film to wish the director on his special day.

Madhur was pleasantly surprised! "I am either working or out on a family trip on my birthday. It was very sweet of Bebo to give me this birthday surprise," said Madhur.

What is interesting to note is that the first day of the shoot of the film Heroine began with actor Arjun Rampal's birthday, it was Madhur's birthday on Sunday and the film will release on Kareena's birthday.

Coincidence or a perfect match this team! UTV Motion Pictures and Bhandarkar Production's Heroine will release on 21st September.

Shakun Batra to direct a drama film for Karan Johar?

Shakun Batra, who made his debut as a director with Karan Johar's home production -- 'Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu' -- is all set to wield the megaphone again for a drama film.

Earlier, Shakun started worked as an assistant director in films like 'Rock On', 'Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na'. For his debut he brought together the unusual pair of Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan. The film produced by Dharma Productions was a hit.

"I have a three film contract with Dharma Productions. I would be making two-three films for them. I am toying with few ideas but nothing is concrete yet. I have two-three ideas that are something new and different," Shakun told PTI.

"It won't be like a romantic film. It won't be out-an-out romantic-comedy film. All the three ideas have one thing - drama, they deal with drama. They talk about day-to-day human things. All I can say is I am working towards the ideas that I have in my mind," he said.

However Shakun clarifies that he is not going to make a heavy dose film, with social issues. "Scripting takes 6-8 months, then finding actors. So my next film will happen only next year," he said. Presently, Shakun is busy working for a short film. "Currently I am working with Karan on a short film. I can't talk about it. Next few months I will be occupied with this," he said.


Sanjay Dutt is back in Zanjeer

Pran had immortalised the role of the crook with a golden heart, Sher Khan in Prakash Mehra's 1973 blockbuster Zanjeer. And though initially, Sanjay Dutt was reportedly set to reprise the role in its remake, it was Arjun Rampal who bagged it. And now, back from a miraculous physical makeover, Dutt is back in his pal Apoorva Lakhia's film.
We found out that on Saturday afternoon, Arjun opted out of the project. "Yes unfortunately I am opting out of Zanjeer. The dates were clashing with Nikhil Advani's film. It was getting too cut-to-cut for me. The only window I had this year for Zanjeer was in July. But that got pushed ahead. Now it would be unfair of me to ask them to wait until next year for my dates. Sher Khan is an iconic character. Any actor would be happy to play him," the actor told us.

'Bheja Fry' director-Vinay Pathak to team up again?

Director Sagar Ballary and actor Vinay Pathak, who have worked together in 'Kachha Limboo' and the hit 'Bheja Fry' series are likely to team up for the fourth time for a comedy film.

"I am almost done with my script. It is a comedy film. We have approached people...we are in the process of casting. Once the cast and other things are in place we will announce it in the coming 15-20 days," Sagar told PTI.

"We are working on two-three other scripts simultaneously. One is a comedy film and hopefully we would be going ahead with it first. It will go on floors this year," he said.

Out of the four films that Sagar has directed, three of them featured Vinay. "Hopefully yes, he (Vinay) will be part of the film, provided we get his dates. All I can is that the actors in this film are good..can't say if they are big or are newcomers. We are trying to get the dates of actors and then we will start shooting," he said refusing talk further about the 'comedy' film.

After making the audiences laugh out loud with 'Bheja Fry' in 2007, Sagar returned after four years to hit the chord with sequel 'Bheja Fry 2'. As 'Bheja Fry 2' was a moderate success at box office, Sagar is not in a hurry for the third installment.

"Recently Vinay and I met ...we were discussing about the third part, but we don't want to rush into things. We would like to take the franchise ahead. The third part has to be as good and interesting as the previous two films, only then we will go ahead," Sagar said.

"Its too early to talk about anything on this," he said. 'Bheja Fry' revolved around Bharat Bhushan played by Vinay Pathak, a tax inspector who is looking to fulfil his long cherished dream of becoming a singer. While, In 'Bheja Fry 2', the idiot's (Vinay) journey continues abroad which had a bigger star cast and higher budget. The film starred Vinay, Kay Kay Menon, Minissha Lamba, Suresh Menon and Amol Gupte.



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