My Meetings with Film Actors

During my stint as a journalist, I had the pleasure to meet many bigwigs of Indian Film Industry. It was always fun to observe and analyze them in person. At that time, I had thought of putting all that in writing. Today, I have managed to write about some of those meetings. Read on!

Amitabh Bachchan ( Book Launch event) – He was charismatic, humble but closed. I saw Amitabh Bachchan, the hugely successful actor rather than Amitabh Bachchan, the person. It was difficult to see beyond his carefully polished demeanor – typical Libran trait! What was really nice about him was his gallant, charming manners. Considering his family background…it’s expected from him! But the most outstanding thing was the awe he inspired and the connect he had with crowd. Also, it appeared that he did not take success for granted. He seemed truly grateful for the overwhelming attention. Or was it all just an act?

Aamir Khan – He was the first celebrity we interviewed at our office. He had come to promote one of his films. And I was on cloud nine for the opportunity to interview him. Unlike Amitabh Bachchan, his personality was not amazing. He looked small and approachable. But what was really wonderful about him was intelligence. Nothing escaped his eyes as he scanned the studio and studied everything in detail. Some of our questions took him by surprise, but he maintained his composure. His focus was to promote his film and that was it. He smiled politely, talked gently and looked far younger than he was but…one got the feeling that he was a real tough guy. His brain was working overtime exploring opportunities while he exchanged pleasantries.

Kareena Kapoor – I met her during an event promoting a cosmetic brand. And what an event it was! She looked better in person than she looks onscreen. The first feeling I had on seeing her was that she really believed that she was a queen, destined to rule hearts. A wave here, a flutter there, reveling in adulation and admiration, but hungry for more. But one rude question from one of the journalists, rubbed her the wrong way. Her rouge stained red cheeks, colored even deeper, eyes flared and hair got tossed even more. She gave her piece of mind there and then. The best thing about her – She is always Kareena Kapoor no matter what! The event came to an end soon after as she left fuming.

Katrina Kaif – Well, when she entered the office for a film promotion, there was complete chaos. I saw gentlemen behaving like gully boys to catch a glimpse of the diva, who wore a business suit to perfection. She was beautiful undoubtedly and oh so, professional. The masque of professionalism never left her face. She hardly smiled and answered in a matter of fact way. Attention stayed on her looks and people had no interest in knowing the person.

Sanjay Dutt – What was striking about Sanjay Dutt was he had no pretenses about him. He was friendly and easy going. I really wondered why this non complicated looking person lived such a tumultuous life. Probably the upcoming biopic (Sanju, Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt) would unravel some of the mysterious about him.

Vidya Balan – I did not met her directly but transcribed her uncut interview. She appeared wise, witty and intelligent. In those days, she was dealing with criticism over her figure and dress sense. And she still had to prove her acumen as an actress. Now that I see her, I think she has finally accepted her body type and developed her own dress style.

Kangana Ranaut – Again I did not meet her in person. But her uncut interview did make me think about her being quite flighty. Her answers were immature and vague. But now when I see her on TV, it is a huge transformation. Somewhere along her career, she has found her confidence and the courage to speak her mind.

I also met a lot many actors but not as famous as the above mentioned. And then there were quirky, fascinating authors too. Someday, I’ll write about them. Meanwhile, if you enjoyed reading kindly share the post.

Images courtesy Google

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After Kangana’s Coffee with Karan….

Seething with anger, Mr Karan Johar sat in a luxurious room post his ‘Koffee with Karan’ episode with the arrogant actress Kangana Ranaut. He had been contradicted and slammed on his own famous chat show by a little actress, who was weaker than him in every way. She had no ‘godfather’ in the Hindi film industry, she was not the daughter of a renowned filmmaker or celebrity, she had far lesser contacts and connections than him, and less wealth in comparison to him.  Although, red faced after being called a ‘movie mafia’, Karan had tried to maintain his composure, making it all light and good humoured but the cracks had shown on the show…

Breaking his reverie, the phone buzzed! It was his favourite actress. “How could she, the shabby thing, speak to you like that Karan.You poor thing, I know you must be really mad….and did you hear her disgusting accent….what’s wrong with her….,” the actress purred. Karan spoke his heart out for the next ten moments. The staff in the next room could make out that the boss was indeed in a very bad humour.

“The down market thing, needs to be taught a lesson….,” another favourite whatsapped him. By this time, the media and twiterrati were having a gala time at the expense of poor Mr Johar. The man had been stumped at his own ‘masala’ show! The media sided with Kangana, who had chided Karan for his nepotism and tendency to act as the owner of Bollywood.


 The Hindi film industry is indeed brimming with actors and actresses with less talent and more contacts. All the top notch actors are sons and daughters of celebrities – Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Shraddha Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff….to name just a few. Ms Ranaut had won this round of applause.

Mr Johar reacted subtly in his next episode of ‘Koffee with Karan’ with Kapil Sharma. “What would you do if you wake up as Kangana Ranaut?,” he asked the comedian. “I would delete my emails,” Kapil Sharma replied sheepishly. And then both laughed nonsensically, insinuating at Kangana and Hrithik’s affair! But the humour fell flat. 

By this time, more than half of the industry sided with Karan Johar, they needed to be in his good books. Ms Ranaut was always an outsider, a nobody, despite having talent. She had also dared to pick up fights with other prominent goliaths like Roshans and was said to be arrogant and rude. 

Karan struck again! While speaking on the sidelines of an event at the London School of Economics, he hinted that Kangana may not have understood the meaning of the word nepotism, that he was fed up of seeing her play the ‘woman card’ and ‘victim card’ and that if the actress had such a problem with the way  industry worked, she was welcome to leave.


That day, watching Karan’s vengeful speeches, Kangana smiled inwardly! She knew most of the industry people would refuse to work with her now. She had irrepairably damaged her career by being loud and clear but…what made her smile was…atleast she had managed to hit back in some way. She knew that she could be called names and dirty allegations might be made against her but she was here to stay! It was time for her to react again! She straightened her back and strided confidently albeit towards an uncertain future.

(Disclaimer – This is a dramatised version of the ongoing battle between Karan Johar and Kangana Ranaut. It is partly factual and partly fictitious. Images courtesy Google.)

From Mad Man to Mountain Man

Dashrath Manjhi sat viewing the mighty mountains surrounding him. They were the barriers, the hurdles, who had played with the lives of so many of his loved ones.

The mountains arrogantly stood between his village, Gehlaur and the nearest town blocking medical and other facilities. And not long back, the love of his life had slipped from one of these rocky terrains, leaving him alone.

He wanted revenge now! It was his will against the daunting mountains. Angrily, he took out his hammer and chisel and began to hurt the mountains. 

The villagers called him mad. But he just stopped listening. For twenty two years, he single handedly struggled against the mountains. 

Finally, he succeeded in carving a path 9.1 metres (30 ft) wide and 110 metres (360 ft) long through a hill 7.6 metres (25 ft). The distance between his village and the town got reduced from 55km to 15km.

Today, the world knows him as the noble Mountain Man!

(The picture reminded me of the poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from India, who spent his entire life doing a noble task. His life has inspired many documentaries and films as well as stories.  In August 2015, a Hindi movie Manjhi – The Mountain Man, based on his life got released and was well received.)


(This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more. Thank you Grant for the image!)

The Pink Panther


Sheila waited nervously in the lobby. Soon, she was to be called in for the interview. Looking down at her plain clothes and worn out sandals, she thought, “Will they even consider me?” The other candidates looked so stylish!

But she was not the only one, who was out of the place at the huge Film Design studio. 

Placed in the middle of life-like paintings of Cherubs, Nymphs and landscapes, was a huge photograph of a pink diamond against a black background. It just did not fit!

Her turn came and the overbearing boss threw a question without even looking up, “I saw you checking out the diamond picture in the lobby. If you were me, what would you name it? 

“The Pink Panther,” Sheila answered.

“Why,” he asked with interest.

“First, because the diamond in the picture is flawed just like it was in the film ‘The Pink Panther’.” 

“And second,” she paused looking around at the posters of Aishwarya. “Your favourite star was in that film.”

Sheila nailed the job!

(This image reminded me of the series of films -‘The Pink Panther’. In the film, a flawed pink diamond is used as major plot device. Famous Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan acted in the movie. Find her picture below from the film ‘The Pink Panther’. She will soon be seen in a new film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’)

(Image courtesy Google)

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more. Thank you Jade M Wong for the image!

And I met Shah Rukh Khan…

Great News, my confidantes! A while back I had jealously shared a post about my friend Pratibha’s meeting with the superstar of Indian Film Industry, Shah Rukh Khan and had expressed a desire to meet him myself. Well, perhaps, someone up there heard me and arranged my virtual encounter with him. 

The proof of our meeting is in the video lest anybody should doubt me. I admit I was a little disappointed to see him as a cartoon but it was a great fun experience.  Do have a look:

Let me confide friends! The virtual encounter has been made possible due to the wonderful app called Evertoon, and the voiceover of Shah Rukh Khan is done by my four year old, Adiraj. The other voice is mine, it may sound a little strange to you… I find it weird too!

I and my son enjoyed making and sharing this video. Hope you will like it too. And it was great to meet dear old, Shah Rukh Khan, albeit, virtually. Hope to see him in flesh and blood sometime in the future.

Meanwhile, enjoy my encounter with the dear superstar!

Lost in ‘Lost’

  
We have had the strangest New Year celebration this year. Since morning till late night, I and my husband, sat devouring the mystery TV series ‘Lost’ with relish. We texted ‘Happy New Year’ to most of our loved ones, called up a few, finished house work at a super fast pace… just to get ‘Lost’. 

A friend of mine had told us that ‘Lost’ was one of the most popular mystery series of all times back in 2000s and we went for it right after Christmas. Since then, we have been watching, eating, drinking and sleeping ‘Lost’.

The little ones are getting freaked out by our weird newfound love for TV but we can’t help it. Every episode leaves us wanting for more. The great thing is the series got over in 2010 and it is all available on Netflix. So, we just need to keep watching non-stop till we reach season 6. And then we will know the secrets of the island where Flight 817 crashed and the fate of survivors. From what I have heard, the serial had lasted for 10 long years, that means… a lot of watching!
Initially, the series reminded me of the popular Manoj Kumar film ‘Gumnaam’ but by the time we reached Season 3, I knew it was different from any other film or serial.

The ensemble cast, the dialogues and the great twists and turns are superb. Hats off to the writer!

The characters I am most impressed with are the dimpled rogue, Sawyer, Hurley Burly and Jack, the doctor dude.

And here are some of the memorable drawls by Sawyer  if you want to recall those ‘Lost’ days:

  
Sawyer to Kate: “Baby, I am tied to a tree in the jungle of mystery. I just got tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a genuine Iraqi. Of course I’m serious.”
Sawyer to Jack: “A doctor playing golf. Woo, boy howdy! Now I’ve heard everything. What’s next? A cop eating a doughnut?

Sawyer, after squashing a tree frog in his hand: “Add a little ranch and it’ll taste just like chicken.”

Sawyer to Sun: You gonna lecture us about lying, Betty? From the look on his face even your old man here didn’t know you speak English!”

Well, well, well….I hope you know we just need to reach season 6 to get our curiousity quenched. Till then… I  don’t mind ‘getting lost’. 🙂

And she finally met Shah Rukh Khan…

 Pratibha and I have been friends since college days. Right through those wonder years to our present day, we have been avid fans of Shah Rukh Khan. No criticism, no controversy, no debate has lessened our affections for him!

There is something about SRK…something unexplainable…perhaps that x-factor which makes him a roaring success in Indian film industry. He is a study in contrast in some of his superhits  – easy going as well as passionate ( Raj in DDLJ), submissive as well as persevering ( Suri in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi) and funny as well as heroic ( Rahul in Chennai Express). But romantic roles best suit him…little wonder then that ladies – fifteen to sixty – all swoon over him.

Well, Pratibha and I had always nurtured a dream to meet him. During my years as a journalist, I met a lot of actors but the dream man remained elusive. However, to my immense jealousy, she got to meet him in Dubai recently.


Understandably, she is over the moon! Well, here is what she has to say about her romantic rendezvous with the superstar.

“So finally I met SRK.. The man who has epitomised the word Romance in the history of Indian cinema. A person who with sheer hard work, luck and belief in himself, achieved the stature of being the King of Bollywood .Ya, I met this dream man in person today. I wanted to tell him so many things… but I was tongue-tied. Already, I was getting more than I had asked for. I felt my heart beating fast before meeting him and the moment I saw him.. I was like O MY GOD… This couldn’t be real!! And then the organizers of the event asked us to get a picture clicked and leave the room.

But how could I leave without even shaking hands with him? I said No and refused to leave without meeting him in person. And then the gentleman himself stood up and invited us to come. Wow…this was getting larger than life! I grabbed this once in a life time opportunity and gave him a tight hug. I also added what I had been wanting to tell him since long long time – I Love You. He said, “O My God, that’s sweet”!!! So here I am …all smiles with a singing heart 😍😍💃💃. Hoping to stay like this until I meet him again!”

Her dream has been realised…mera number kab aayega???

( This post is co-authored by Shivangi Singh and Pratibha Sharma)

Images courtesy Google