Singing legend Lata Mangeshkar remembers late singer Mohammed Rafi on his 31st death anniversary and says there can never be a singer like him again. Both of them sang 414 duets together.
"Today's the 31st death anniversary of Rafi sahab. He was an honest and a lovely human being. My family and Rafi sahab shared a great relationship together. It's my honour that I got an opportunity to sing maximum number of songs with him, " Lata posted on her Twitter page.
"We have worked in almost 315 films and have sung 414 duets together. We can never have such a great singer again, " she added. They have given evergreen hit songs like "Bekhudi mein sanam", "Haye re haye", "Chhup gaye saare nazare" among others.
Rafi lent his voice for almost all the leading actors such as Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajendra Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna.
The singer died of a heart attack in Mumbai July 31, 1981, at the age of 56.
Bollywood can't get enough of its good old, 40-plus actors - Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn. They ruled the roost in the 1990s and after two decades, they are still calling the shots as they get the best films, meaty roles, highest remuneration and maximum media coverage.
Of course, there are Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan and younger heroes like Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan, Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi who are a rage, but old continues to be gold at the box office.
Amitabh Bachchan, who is way beyond the 40-mark, has spent over four decades in the Hindi film industry - but the 68-year-old is nowhere close to fading. He is still playing central characters. After the recent "Bbuddah...Hoga Tera Baap", he is set to treat fans with "Aarakshan", as well as the fifth season of the reality show "Kaun Banega Crorepati". And he isn't hanging up his boots as long as his body works.
Other than Big B, Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Salman, Shah Rukh, Aamir, Ajay, Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar top the filmmakers' wishlist, as long as the script and budget are in tune with the stars.
These actors have proved their charm over and over again.
Salman, 45, proved he is still saleable with "Dabangg", the biggest blockbuster of last year. He carried forward his victorious streak in 2011 with the masala film "Ready" and his debut co-production "Chillar Party", which garnered critical acclaim.
The star is facing a receding hair line, but it is not coming in the way of his success. He is now gearing up to entertain fans with "Bodyguard", which is also expected to mint gold at the box office.
B-town 'badshah' Shah Rukh's 2010 film "My Name Is Khan", a Love story set against the backdrop of racial discrimination post-9/11, grossed an estimated $18 million at the worldwide box office in its opening weekend.
Now the 45-year-old, who is coping with a back problem and even has a few wrinkles, is coming up with the two most awaited projects of the year - his mega-budget home production "Ra.One" and Farhan Akhtar's "Don 2: The Chase Continues".
At 46, Aamir is one of the most formidable stars. As an actor, director or producer, his films have set new standards in the Hindi film industry. Over the years, he has lost his cute college-boy looks but is still a craze.
Be it "3 Idiots" in 2009, the satirical "Peepli Live" in 2010 or the recently released, cult, madcap Comedy "Delhi Belly", Aamir's USP of moulding himself and his work to suit the audience's taste has made him the flavour of all seasons for Indian movie buffs.
From romancing to tickling the funny bone, these actors are doing all kinds of roles.
For instance, 42-year-old Ajay, who stands out for his intense acting, scored well at the box office with the underworld drama "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" and the comedy "Golmaal 3" last year. This year his latest, "Singham", a hardcore Action movie, is already roaring loud at the box office.
Saif, who hit the 40-mark last year, is set to get experimental now. The 'Chhote Nawab' will be seen in the serious role of a Dalit school teacher in "Aarakshan'. Later, he is expected to set the screen on fire with his home production "Agent Vinod", in which he is said to have performed some mindblowing stunts.
For the daredevil Akshay, the year 2010 was a bit of a damp squib with just one hit - Sajid Khan's "Housefull" - despite several other films like "Khatta Meetha", "Action Replayy" and "Tees Maar Khan".
The depression in his career graph continued this year with not-so-successful films like "Patiala House" and "Thank You", but that hasn't affected Akshay's stardom.
Hopefully, he will jump back into action with "Desi Boyz", "Joker" and "Housefull 2" in the near future. The 44-year-old also has the Indo-Canadian film "Breakaway" lined up for release.
There are also 51-year-olds Anil and Sanjay who manage to enthuse audiences, no matter what. Sanjay entertained with "Double Dhamaal" recently, while Anil is making headway to international shores with a prestigious project like "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol".
As far as Bollywood goes, these stars are ageless.
Controversial model Poonam Pandey, who promised to shed her clothes if India won the cricket World Cup but didn't do so, has reportedly been offered a whopping Rs. 2 crore for the next season of "Big Boss" as her presence is expected to add spice and boost TRPs.
"Poonam has been offered a signing amount of Rs. 2 crore for 'Big Boss' season five, but the model is considering whether to accept the offer or not, " a source closes to the model told IANS.
"Apart from this handsome amount, there is a contract mentioning that an ex-cricketer (one of the contestants) during the show will ask Poonam to fulfill the promise which she made during the World Cup. Because of this clause Poonam is still thinking about the offer, " the source added.
The 21-year-old caught the headlines after she said she would strip in the green room if India won the World Cup. India won, but for various reasons Poonam couldn't fulfil her promise.
The model has grabbed a few projects, includng Color's adventure show "Khatron Ke Khiladi 4", and her stay on the show had been non-controversial.
Director Zoya Akhtar's "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" has broken even, making Rs.28.60 crore in the opening weekend and Rs.31 crore through satellite and music rights for a total of over Rs.59 crore. The budget of the film, including prints and publicity was Rs.55 crore, trade sources said.
At the box office, the film, which was publicised extensively across the country, earned Rs.8.15 crore Friday, Rs.9.25 crore Saturday and Rs.11.20 crore Sunday, with occupancy being 100 percent. The film recovered Rs.24 crore through satellite rights and Rs.7 crore from its music rights.
Despite the bomb blasts in Mumbai two days before its Friday release, people queued up to watch the movie. The film opened with 90 to 100 percent occupancy.
"The response to the film is really good. We are running the film in almost all our properties with 100 percent business. Although Friday was low, but the film picked up with word-of-mouth publicity, " Amit Shah, chief manager (programming) of DLF DT cinemas told IANS. The film is about four best friends, who set out on a road trip that changes their lives. It celebrates the sheer beauty and physicality of location and their deep connection to the characters' state of mind. The star cast of the film includes Abhay Deol, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin.
"The movie is being liked by everyone. It's a family entertainer. It a movie with fresh feel and does not belong to any particular genre. You would find a little bit of everything in the movie. The film is likely to sustain for longer time, " said Munish Sharma, general manager (marketing) Satyam Cineplexes.
Hrithik-Katrina teamed up as a couple for the first time in the film and their on screen chemistry has been the talk of the town and Farhan's acting has been appreciated too. "Of all the three actors, Farhan stands out. It's a refreshing, plain and simple movie. The occupancy has been above 95 percent, " said Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (Cinemas) of Wave Cinemas.
Looking at the kind of response that the film got over the weekend, Farhan took to the internet to reveal his excitement and also praised his sister Zoya for making an entertaining film. "Wow! Cannot get over how much positive support and Love this film is being given.. Thank you all. Well done Zoya! You truly deserve it, " Farhan wrote on microblogging site Twitter.''
Hrithik also tweeted: "Wow!! Moshi moshi!! Going MANTAL with the response!!!!"
National award-winning director Prakash Jha isn't sure whether his film "Aarakhsan" about caste-based reservations in educational institutions would be able to throw up any permanent solution to the problem, but he is sure that it would have therapeutic value.
"If through a wider and keener understanding, some kind of solution comes out of it, then we will take the pride in that. We have tried to assimilate every kind of feeling. We have tried to understand the equation that works in a fast-paced society, " Jha told IANS in an interview. "We have tried to tell a story which is kind of therapeutic because it is intended to heal. If it can somehow give everybody his or her solution... but we have not tried to preach through the film, " said Jha.
"Aarakshan" is a high voltage socio-political drama featuring Saif Ali Khan, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai, Deepika Padukone, Pratieik Babbar and Tanvi Azmi, who play pivotal roles in the film. It is set to hit the theatres Aug 12. "I don't think the film supports, contradicts or supplements any ideology. So, probably it won't fall into the category of politics.
"As education has the same value for everyone, you can call it a social or an issue-based film. It's very contemporary as every family is concerned about the education and job their child will get, " said Jha. An inclusive society with equal economic affluence would be able to minimize or remove the need for reservations, Jha believes.
"It's difficult to eradicate it from our society - gender bias or caste are two paramount problems of our society and not easy to handle. What we can try to do is to make a more equitable society. To remove this bias, there has to be inclusive growth, " said the 59-year-old.
He is in awe at the way Saif Ali Khan played a Dalit in "Aarakshan" and believes that the industry has failed to exploit his potential as an actor. "Saif is a fantastic actor but underrated in the industry. You can't imagine what he can do. It was not easy to play a Dalit. He worked very hard on their language and mannerisms. I didn't add anything except a moustache in his look and that also he grew. He portrayed the role so convincingly, " said Jha.
Saif playing a Dalit agitated some groups of socially backward classes, but Jha mollified them. "I have politely given them my explanation. I hope I could satisfy them. I can't change the fact that Saif Ali Khan being a nawab has played the role of a Dalit. I have told them that the kind of discrimination you have suffered so long, the same discrimination you want to do with Saif, which is not right, " he said.
The filmmaker, who had unsuccessful stints in politics in the 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections, has mostly made issue-based films like "Damul" (1986), "Gangaajal" (2004), "Apaharan" (2006) and "Raajneeti" (2010).
"I always try to be careful of what I am doing in terms of product and acceptance. I always keep myself alert so that my narrative can communicate an engaging story with characters with whom audiences could relate to. This is the constant battle that I have and keep hoping that these stories will work. Fortunately they have worked, " said Jha.
Whether it is gigolos in the fashion industry, the illegal arms trade or the dark secrets of a film actress, Bollywood seems to be moving away from formula movies to explore relatively unknown and realistic aspects of society. Fashion choreographer-turned-filmmaker Kaushik Ghosh is set to spotlight how male models are sometimes exploited and forced to become gigolos in his new film tentatively titled "Confessions of a Model".
Producer-director Mahesh Bhatt is set to make a film on illegal arms trading in Delhi called "Informer", which stars Emraan Hashmi and Randeep Hooda. Director Vivek Agnihotri's "Buddha In Traffic Jam" starring Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill, is also based on sensitive but true incidents.
"People today want to see what is happening in and around the society they live in and the films reflect the time we live in. People want to know things that might inspire or get affected by, " director Rajkumar Gupta told IANS. Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar's ambitious project "Heroine", which has been postponed indefinitely after news of lead actress Aishwarya Rai being pregnant came out, is about the life and times of a superstar Bollywood actress.
The script is also said to be a daring, emotional, shocking, glamorous and scandalous behind-the-scenes account of showbiz. "'Heroine' is an extremely glamorous yet bold story of a film star. It is the story of one actress' journey into stardom, the people she meets, the experiences she gathers, " said Madhur.
Bollywood has been known for boy meets girl and good wins over evil themes, but the past decade has seen the emergence of fillmmakers like Anurag Kashayp, Onir and Madhur Bhandarkar who focus on issue-based movies. Film critic Omar Qureshi calls the wave of such cinema a "welcome sign". "It is a welcome sign that filmmakers are ready to experiment with such subjects. It shows that the film industry is evolving and society is growing. However, it is just the niche filmmakers that are trying to experiment with such subjects, big filmmakers still take a calculated risk as the audience for such films is limited, " he said.
Gupta admits it is difficult to make films on sensitive issues and they have to be dealt with in a responsible way. "It is difficult as one has to have a responsible and sensitive approach towards such subjects and one has to have the right perception, " said Gupta, who helmed "No One Killed Jessica", about slain model Jessica Lall, who was shot by the son of a politician in 1999.
Bhandarkar has been a pioneer of such films, whether it was the life of a bar dancer in "Chandni Bar", the glitzy and glamorous world of celebrity lifestyle in "Page 3" or the dark secrets of the fashion world in "Fashion". He won critical applause.
Filmmaker Prakash Jha's belief in 'cinema with power' compels him to bring political and socio-political issues to celluloid. With films like "Mrityudand", "Apaharan" and "Raajneeti", Jha also brought forth the relatively unknown aspects of society.
"The reality of issue-based films excites me. There is a huge story in this reality that deals with all of us. Well, so far reality has been working well from 'Mrityudand', 'Apaharan' to 'Raajneeti', I have had an audience and all these films have done well, " Jha told IANS. In the near future, Prakash Jha's "Aarakshan" will put the spotlight on caste-based reservationa in educational insitutions. Starring big names like Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan, the film is scheduled for release on independence day week - it will hit the theatres Aug 12.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who last worked with Sridevi in "Khuda Gawah" in 1993, says it is a "delight" to work with the actress after so many years in Gauri Shinde's "English Vinglish".
"Up by 6 am and off to the gym and off to Prateeksha and off to work and right next to Sridevi, after like many moons…such a delight to be working again in front of camera with her…still the same effervescent, spontaneous, delightful Sri..., " Amitabh, 68, posted on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.
Shinde is "Paa" director R. Balki's wife, and Amitabh readily agreed for a cameo in her film. Sharing his experience of the shoot, he added: "Inside a Boeing 747... film directed by R.Balki's wife Gauri titled 'English Vinglish'… a small one day cameo…women power at its peak."
The film is Sridevi's comeback project. Her last full-fledged role was in "Judaai" in 1997.
Filmmaker Prakash Jha is not ready to organise a special screening of "Aarakshan", his forthcoming film on caste-based reservations, for the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NSCS), which has demanded a preview prior to its release Aug 12.
"I am not required to respond to any board of people, who want to sit in judgement over my film. As a filmmaker, who has been making films for about 30 years, I am well aware of the procedure I have to follow to get the clearances for the release of the film. I will be following the due procedure, " Jha said in a statement.
The panel wants to make sure that the film has not misinterpreted the constitutional provision for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for the socially backward classes. Jha had earlier said he would sit down and dispel the panel's doubts regarding the film, but he has flatly refused the idea of a special screening of the film for the commission.
"The laws of the country do not require me to show my film to any board or body, apart from the censor board (Central Board of Film Certification), " he said. "The censor board has been constituted to review films - rate them according to viewing suitability and address any other concerns related to the release of the film. The censor board is the only body that needs to see the film, " he added.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Deepika Padukone, Pratieik Babbar and Tanvi Azmi play pivotal roles in the film. It is yet to receive a rating from the censor board.
Jha said he won't mind if the board included the panel in its preview committee. "Once the film is submitted for censorship, it is up to the censor board to incorporate anyone into the preview committee. It is the prerogative of the censor board if it wants to involve any other body, " said Jha's statement.
Explaining the intent behind the film, he added: "'Aarakshan' is a film about the ramifications of the reservation policy and the commercialisation of education as seen through the experiences of a particular group of people. It explores various sides of the issue, through various characters."
"My intention has been to provide a fair and balanced comment on the issue. The film is releasing on Aug 12, so we have enough time to go to the censor board for certificate, " said Jha.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is proud to see that there is no "Aarakshan" (reservation) in Indian film industry and he is certain that it sets the biggest example of national integration in the country.
"There is no 'aarakshan' in Hindi film industry. Rather I would say that Indian film industry is big example of national integration, " Amitabh told reporters at a radio station here Tuesday as he talked about "Aarakshan", Prakash Jha's forthcoming film dealing this very topic.
"When you stand in a line to buy a ticket you don't see whether you are standing in the queue with a Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. You neither check the caste or religion of the person sitting next to you in the hall. "Above all in the hall, you laugh together at the same comedy, you sing the same song, you cry at the same emotional scene. Across the world you won't get a bigger example of integration than this, " added the 68-year-old icon of the Indian film industry.
Produced and directed by Jha, "Aarakshan" is a high voltage socio-political drama based on the most controversial policies of caste-based reservations in government jobs and educational institutions. Apart from Amitabh, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Deepika Padukone, Pratieik Babbar and Tanvi Azmi play pivotal roles in the film. Living a sneak preview about his character, Amitabh said: "I am playing a principal of a private institute who is a man of principles. He believes that everyone should be equally treated.
"When it's not been practiced in his school, he runs a class in his home where there is no caste discrimination and he teaches those who are not treated equally so that they also get the merit and progress in life. He believes that if every student gets equal opportunities, then the students from deprived classes can also shine in life."
"Aarakshan" is set to hit theaters Aug 12.
"Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" team is on a six-city road trip in a black Range Rover, with Delhi as their final destination. Co-owner of Excel Entertainment that produced the film churned out the idea with his marketing team, to keep the promotion at par to the basic story of the film, revealed director Zoya Akhtar.
"It was Riteish's idea. The idea was to keep the promotion in synch with the story of the film, " Zoya said Thursday at Mehboob Studio, from where they set off for the trip. "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" is a film on road trip, which shows how lives of three men - Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan - change when they go for a holiday.
actress Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin played the female leads in the film. The team goes through five cities -- Surat, Baroda, Ahmadabad, Udaipur, Jaipur and Delhi. "We are very charged up. It's very exciting. We would get to see very good places. It's a great company so I am very excited, " said Farhan, who is the co-owner of Excel Entertainment.
Hrithik said: "For the first time I am going for such a long road trip in India. When we were Shooting in Spain, then only we thought that we should do something like this in India. That's what happening now. It's exciting."
Actor Abhay Deol had made a almost similar road trip in India while doing director Dev Benegal's film "Road, Movie". When asked how different it would be this time, he said, "In the 'Road Movie' I was driving a truck and here a Range Rover so it would be more luxurious trip I believe."