No one in his right mind would release a film on the same day as Salman KhanSalman Khan’s Bodyguard is bound to leave actors with films due for release feeling a bit queasy, after it opened to a staggering Rs 21.5 cores. The film has maintained its stand at the box office since day one and has grossed Rs 85 crores on the fifth day. Judging from Bodyguard’s phenomenal impact on Bollywood, Avesta Choudhary asks Imran Khan, whose new film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is releasing this week, if he is braced for the Friday battle Delhi Belly and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan are very different films. Please share your thoughts.

I don’t believe in limiting myself to a particular style or genre. I don’t want to be a type actor. While I will do something very experimental and radical such as a Delhi Belly, I’ll also feel excited to work in a regular commercial film like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Also, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan occupies a space that I have honestly not ventured into completely. It is a story that is set in the Hindi heartland – clean and friendly. Ideally, when we make a film we want to reach out to as many different kinds of audiences as possible. In case of Delhi Belly, firstly by virtue of being an English film, and then for being an adult film, we knew that we were catering to a restricted audience.

Bodyguard is doing good business even on its 10th day. Do you see it as a competition?
Well, Rs 85 crores in a span of five days is quite a phenomenon. I have never heard of something like this before. But, I think by the time our film hits the theatres, the effects of Bodyguard would have died down. I don’t think it will be a competition because the craze for any film remains strong in the opening weekend. So by the time our film releases, Bodyguard would already finish a week in the cinema.

Was the release date of Bodyguard kept in mind while fixing the release date for your film?
Honestly, I was not involved in the decision. That is something that the production team handles. But I am sure they must have taken this into account that we should not release our film on the same day when Salman’s film hits the theatres. No one in his or her right mind would do that.

You are promoting your film through reality shows, live performances and music concerts everywhere. Is there any specific reason for such heavy promotion?
It is no less than what I have done for Delhi Belly or I Hate Luv Stories or even Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. For us these days, the opening weekend has become tremendously important. This film has a very wide audience space so we are trying to reach out to as many people as we possibly can which is why we are doing live shows and live appearances. We are going everywhere from a singing show to a dancing show to a comedy show because these are all elements of our film.

Do you think marketing has become an integral part of the film industry?
Marketing the film is every bit as important as making the film itself. Half the business of the film comes from promoting and marketing of the film and the other half comes from the movie. The way you market your film will ensure what audiences you get for the initial Friday, Saturday and Sunday. From Monday it depends on the quality of the film. If the film is good then it will continue to draw audiences through the rest of the week, and if it isn’t then the collection will drop from Monday onwards.

Aamir Khan usually promotes his films in a very creative way and it’s always something new and appealing. Have you learnt something from him that you implement in your own films?
He has never given me advice in specific but what I have learnt from working with him in the two films - Jaane Tu or Delhi Belly is that you have to be honest with your work. You have to figure out what you consider most appealing about your film and have to convey that very clearly to the audience. With Delhi Belly for example, we wanted to warn everyone about the adult content of the movie as we didn’t want people to be shocked by it. We wanted people to be aware of that they were coming to watch an adult film with unparliamentary language in it.

How was it collaborating with Pakistani actor Ali Zafar?
His role is crucial because first, the character is a very funny character. He is a guy who is witty, charming so he is got very funny lines and we needed an actor who could play this role well. I had not seen his previous film, and had watched only promos of his films and I could see that he was a talented actor.

This is your first film with Katrina Kaif and by now she has become one of the most sought after actresses. How was your experience of working with her?
Katrina has really impressed me with the style of her work. Never having worked with her before, it was a kind of revelation to me. She is someone who cares deeply about her work and about the film. Her only interest lies in making it better. To Katrina details matter a lot.

Do you think by now the audiences are ready to accept Katrina as an Indian dulhan?
Whoever does not feel that by now will definitely feel that after watching the movie. In my opinion, this is her best performance till date.

What if you had fallen in love with your brother’s dulhan in real life? Would you have walked the distance of stealing her from him?

Now who is to say… Sometimes love happens... kya karen…

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Amitabh Bachchan signs first Hollywood film with Leonardo DiCaprioAfter over four decades of contribution to Hindi cinema, Amitabh Bachchan is finally stepping out! At 68, he is ready to make his Hollywood debut with Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby", which has "Titanic" star Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead.

Amitabh, who is lovingly called Big B in the Indian film industry, is the latest to join the cast of the romantic drama, along with Scottish-Australian actress Isla Fisher. He will play the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, said an official statement from Warner Bros Pictures.

The $125 million project is a 3D adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the same name. The principal photography of the movie began this week in Sydney.

"Fitzgerald loved the movies and was a passionate believer in the power of cinema. 'The Great Gatsby' has been adapted for the screen no less than four times. Fitzgerald's story defies time and geography.

The vision and the goal of our remarkable cast and creatives is to do justice to the deftness of Fitzgerald's telling, and illuminate its big ideas and humanity. This is our challenge and our adventure," said Luhrmann, who made "Moulin Rouge", and used Hindi song "Chhamma chhamma" in it.

Other cast members for "The Great Gatsby" include Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan. The film also features newcomer Elizabeth Debicki. Luhrmann is happy to shoot in his native Australia.

"The opportunity to make the film in Australia with the Bazmark creative team is very important to us; the assistance from Screen Australia and the NSW Government has made that possible," he added.

The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D by Warner Bros Pictures and in certain territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

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Foreign Box Office Report: Record Summer Box Office Looms as 'The Smurfs' Takes No. 1 Spot AgainWhat looks certain to be a record box office summer on the foreign theatrical circuit for the big Hollywood studios ended over the Labor Day weekend with The Smurfs narrowly taking the No. 1 spot with $23.3 million drawn from 8,360 screens in 71 overseas markets.

Although final numbers won’t be in until later this week, extraordinarily strong offshore returns from May through Labor Day for several mega-hits indicate a new seasonal high for the big six majors. Fueling the action were several factors including a weak dollar (good for film exporters), continued foreign enthusiasm for 3D formats and for animation sequels.

“Without having the numbers in front of me, I feel that (a record summer) has got to be the case given the scale at which some of these (seasonal releases) have come in (at the box office),” said Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox Theatrical International.

Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 has drawn foreign box office of $937 million, two-and-half times its U.S. and Canada gross. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides registered $800.9 million, a full three-and-a-third times more than its domestic tally. Paramount’s foreign box office record holder, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, has delivered $762.2 million, more than double its domestic return.

(The biggest hit on the foreign circuit in summer 2010 was Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story 3, which grossed $606.1 million offshore during the season.) For its part, Sony Animation’s The Smurfs had collected a total gross of nearly $300 million ($295.8 million) offshore, nearly two-and-a-half times its domestic cume. Weekend action for the live action-computer generated animation title included No. 1 openings in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, Kuwait and Finland. The 3D animation finished No. 1 at the overseas box office for the fourth consecutive stanza.

Finishing No. 2 once again was 20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which grossed $19.35 million from 5,973 situations in 52 markets, and lifting its market cume to $186.5 million (versus $160 million in the U.S. and Canada). No. 1 debuts in five Latin American markets were led by Mexico ($5.2 million from 1,403 venues).

No. 3 was Warner Bros./New Line’s Final Destination 5, the latest in the 11-year old horror series, which tallied $18.7 million derived from some 4,300 screens in 35 territories, for an overseas gross total of $58.3 million. A No. 1 France premier delivered $4.7 million from 361 screens.

Fourth was Paramount’s Cowboys & Aliens, the sci-fi-western with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, which collected $9 million from 4,518 locations in 46 markets, lifting the total foreign gross to $50 million. A No. 1 Spain debut came up with $2.1 million from 376 sites. Fifth was Warner’s Horrible Bosses, which generated $8.1 million from more than 2,600 screens in 52 markets for an overseas cume of $68.7 million.

Maintaining No. 1 status in the U.K. is Entertainment Films’ teen comedy The Inbetweeners Movie, which generated an estimated $6.5 million in its third round at some 490 locations for a market cume of $56 million. Also coming in at $6.5 million on the weekend was Pixar/Disney’s Cars 2, which played in 53 territories, and pushed its foreign cume to $351.7 million (versus $188.6 million domestic).

Warner’s Green Lantern has generated nearly $100 million in overseas box office ($98.2 million) after a $5.7 million weekend at some 3,000 situations in 40 markets. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 bagged another $5.5 million derived from 4,100 screens.

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Is Vidya still haunting Shahid?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 |

Is Vidya still haunting Shahid?Filmmaker Ekta Kapoor's production company has scuttled efforts of actor Shahid Kapoor's forthcoming film to be featured in their serial Bade Achhe Lagte Hain. Buzz has it that the presence of actor Vidya Balan, who stars in Ekta's film, may have spurred the move. For those in the dark, Shahid and Vidya, who reportedly dated each other briefly, are still not on talking terms.

"The producers of Shahid's film got in touch with Balaji to promote the film in Ekta's television serial which is enjoying high TRPs right now. After the initial agreement, it has been decided that the Shahid-Sonam film won't be promoted by any serial from Ekta's production house that is in demand," says a source.

Promoting films through TV soaps is an ongoing marketing strategy to promote upcoming films, where film stars make an appearance in an episode of a popular serial. Incidentally, actor Kareena Kapoor is making her TV appearance debut with a serial for the promotion of her and Salman Khan's forthcoming Eid release. Head of Ekta's production house, Tanuj Garg admitted that only the Vidya Balan starrer will be promoted by their flagship shows.

"We will be promoting Dirty Pictures in our flagship television serials; I am not aware of any other film being promoted right now. One is a keenly awaited film and the other is a flagship serial, so the integration is for mutual benefit. Regarding the Shahid Kapoor film, I will have to get back to you," said Tanuj Garg, CEO of Ekta's production house.

Though there is no specific lead that Vidya had a problem with her rumoured former boyfriend's film being promoted by her producer, the directive has emerged from Ekta's office, confirmed sources. The chief of Ekta's production house didn't deny or confirm about declining Shahid's film. But a friend close to Vidya confirmed that the actor would have had a problem if Shahid's movie was promoted by Ekta. She has become particularly close to the filmmaker these days during the shooting of the film. It is learned that Ekta promptly said 'No' when she heard about Shahid's film promotion.

"Ekta and Vidya have become close friends recently. She definitely does not want to upset Vidya. Besides, Ekta's reason is that when she has her own film to promote, why will she promote somebody else's film?" asks the source.

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Karisma Kapoor to play supermodel in Dangerous Ishq

Thursday, August 25, 2011 |

Karisma Kapoor to play supermodel in Dangerous IshqNational Award winning actress Karisma Kapoor, who will be facing the camera after five years, will be essaying the role of a glamorous supermodel in Vikram Bhatt's Dangerous Ishq. The film will be shot in 3D. Karisma who charmed the hearts of her audience with films like Dil To Pagal Hai, Raja Hindustani, Hero No.1 and Biwi No. 1 is all charged up for her second innings in Bollywood.

Director Vikram Bhatt revealed Karisma's role on Twitter, "As promised Karisma's character in 'Dangerous Ishq' - a super model who gives up her career to marry the man she loves, before the marriage,...her fiance is kidnapped by an enemy who has been chasing her through many lifetimes to find out who she must find out about her lives."

In fact, in real life too, Karisma said goodbye to her filmy career to tie the knot with Delhi-based businessman Sanjay Kapur in 2003. She is now a mother of two cute kids, Samaira born in 2005, and son Kiaan Raj Kapoor born in 2010. Karisma never stayed away from the glitz and glamour of the B-town, she is a regular face in parties and events, but she was waiting for a right project.

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