Monday, June 30, 2008
According to industry insiders, Aishwarya Rai is being toplined to play the role of former Pakistani prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She is also set to share screen space with Meryl Streep on Hollywood project 'Chaos' and with Brendan Fraser in Roland Joffe’s 'Singularity'. UTV Motion Pictures is planning the project on Benazir Bhutto. “We are in talks and it’s too early to comment on the project,” said UTV CEO Siddharth Roy Kapoor. According to a source at the production house, “Aishwarya is the first preference for the role. We are looking for a woman of substance." "The actress who does the role should be admired the world over, especially on both sides of the border." Besides the Benazir project, Ash has also committed to Shankar’s 'Robot', Mani Ratnam’s next with Abhishek and Shriram Raghavan’s project opposite John Abraham.
Now, the pair will be seen again on screen, in Mani Ratnam's next. The film will also star Abhishek Bachchan .
Incidentally, Sanjay was not the director's first choice. He had first chosen Tamil actor, Vikram. But he roped in Sanjay because he wanted a more popular face.
Apparently, Sanjay accepted the film immediately when Mani asked him. He even juggled his dates, and walked out of a T-series's film to make way for Mani's film.
The T-series film, a romantic comedy, was to star Sanjay opposite Kangana Ranaut . It is directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, who directed the Salman Khan-starrer Lucky.
Here's something for the trivia lovers: There were rumours that Sanjay would star in Mani's Aandavan with Ash and Tabu in 1997. The film was later directed by Rajeev Menon as Kandukondain Kandukondain, and Sanjay was replaced by Mammootty.
"I love the fact that if things go a bit here and there, it makes us so real and human," said the former Miss World.
The Bachchan family is planning a world tour titled The Unforgettable from July that will go on till next year.
"It's incredible, the connection with fans, because they never allow you to see them let you down or you letting them down. It is great when it is real and human. That's the difference between in-person interaction through our stage shows as opposed to that on celluloid and an audience sitting in a theatre and watching," she said.
The tour will have Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek, Riteish Deshmukh and Preity Zinta. While Akshay Kumar will join them for the inaugural evening in Toronto July 18, Madhuri Dixit will perform in the US and Shilpa Shetty in Britain. "We are excited about the guest stars as it makes it novel. In my experience it has never happened before. We are getting guest acts and it is going to be fun for the audiences as well."
She also said that they are trying to live up to the expectations of fans.
"The tour is something extensive and we have been working on it for a while. Through the fan mails and interactions with well-wishers, we get to know what people are looking forward to, apart from the most endearing part of our cinema - song and dance."
She also added that audience is the true star. "Their energy throughout the evening is unbelievable. We don't perform continuously as different artistes are performing and we have our acts, but the audiences are up on their feet throughout and that's what keeps the energy of the whole show."
On the fans who have been following her everywhere, she said: "Our people are very, very loving as you have seen over here. At a stage show it is an entire venue and at a film shoot it is smaller. But our people give us an audience at all the different locations. There is a statistics - one in six is Indian. We are everywhere."
She feels The Unforgettable tour will continue the momentum that Indian cinema has gained in recent times.
"It is going to continue the ongoing momentum and going to keep it as strong as it already is. Like always, I keep reiterating that media plays an important role in our lives and in our attempt to reach the people. We are thankful to the media for giving us that kind of reach."
"They ran the concept with Meryl and Ash and they were game. They need to Americanise the theme because Chaos was a very French movie. But, yes, in principle Ash is on for this film," said a source.
Ash is slated to play a sex worker in the film.
Another international project Aishwarya has agreed to is Roland Joffe's Singularity with Brendan Fraser.
Ash says she has asked for the final draft of the script. "Now the time factor has to be worked out. The time they want is devoted to Mani Sir's project. New dates have to be worked out. There're so many projects that I want to do but because of the dates or a delay I can't. There're only that number of assignments I can take on. I've never done more work than I can do. I never can," said the star.
In the meanwhile, Aishwarya gets ready to shoot for Shankar's Robot and Mani Ratnam's film with Abhishek. "There has been a little delay in Shankar's Robot because of his writer Sujata 's death. That has delayed Robot a bit. All kinds of rumours have been floated about the project. The dates situation does get tighter for me because I was supposed to shoot Robot now and Mani Sir's film a little later during the year. We just have to work under a tighter schedule now," said Ash.
Thanks to this, despite the Big 3, and an established director like Ram Gopal Varma, the film has done well only in big Indian cities, notes K.N. Vijiyan in the New Straits Times.
'This is because this is not the normal sort of movie from Bollywood, that is, full of songs, dances and comedy scenes.
'This is a more 'talkative' kind of movie, with plenty of dialogue and political undertones,' says the critic.
Varma gives this movie a television-like treatment, with plenty of close-ups.
He seems to shun violence, despite the subject matter. When a bomb explodes, you don't see the explosion, only the effects. You don't see people being shot (except in one scene). He prefers to show the dead person instead, the critic wrote.
To make up for the absence of songs and the slow pace, there is a good background score. The unexpected ending is superb, Vijiyan says.
There are many Ram Gopal Varma fans out there and they seek more than the usual fare from Bollywood. This is for them. It's almost an intelligent film,' he says.
Hindi films are popular in Malaysia, besides the Tamil cinema fare that is the staple entertainment for the Tamil-majority ethnic Indian population.
Veteran actress Jaya Bachchan has liked the "Sarkar Raj" saga so much that she has urged director Ram Gopal Varma to make another sequel.
"Sarkar Raj" starring Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek and his wife Aishwarya Rai, got a mixed response, but Jaya loved it."Varma was asked this question at a press conference in Bangkok and he said he has not thought about it. But Jaya in a rare reaction has urged him that he must do a part three, as did a few others. I personally feel he should not. Better for people to say 'why not' than 'why did you'," Amitabh told IANS.Incidentally, she is the most outspoken Bachchan of the family who didn't think Varma's remaking "Sholay" was a good idea and who was vocal of her opposition to tampering with an invincible classic.And now Jaya is excited by the idea of a trilogy in the "Sarkar" series. The latest political thriller ends with the death of Abhishek's character.The third part would probably show the senior Bachchan taking charge of the family empire again, with his elder son's child manoeuvring the Nagre empire by his grandpa's side. Kay Kay Menon played the elder son in the first part.Incidentally, the director had thought about another sequel even while "Sarkar Raj" was in post-production.