Not People Like Us

A Rare Kind of Confidence

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Realty Check | Bollywood’s Bro Code

Vidya Balan hasn’t had a hit since Kahaani in 2012, but unlike other actors who’d likely be sweating over the uncertainty of their careers, Vidya says she’s learnt to ‘disinvest’ from the outcome of her movies. Don’t get her wrong. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about how her films fare at the box-office. It’s just that she won’t make herself sick worrying about her next hit.

She wasn’t always this ‘evolved’ though. When Ghanchakkar (2013) bombed after a spate of hits, she took it badly. By the time Shaadi Ke Side Effects and Bobby Jasoos tanked, it had begun to sink in that she shouldn’t think of herself as infallible. But it was the failure of Hamari Adhuri Kahaani that was the turning point, she says. “The Sunday after the film opened, I was on the phone with (producers) Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt and they conveyed the bad news. When I put the phone down, I just broke down. Something inside me snapped.” After she’d had a good cry, Vidya says she felt “changed”. It had finally dawned on her that she couldn’t hold herself responsible for the failure of a film, not if she’d given everything she had to her performance.

When Teen failed, she was Zen-like. When Kahaani 2 also came a cropper, she wasn’t devastated like many thought she might be.“Of course I want all my films to work, I want them to recoup their investment and make money. But I won’t be paralysed by failure because I have no control on how a film is going to do.”

When Sujoy Ghosh, who directed her in Kahaani and Kahaani 2, messaged her recently pointing out that it was five years to the day since Kahaani released, she replied with unexpected humour: ‘And five years since my last hit.’

In a business obsessed with numbers and where one is only as relevant as one’s last hit, it takes a rare kind of security and confidence to be able to laugh at one’s own failures. Respect.

Realty Check

When Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh were looking for office space to house their Clean Slate Productions, the film producing company they jointly run, they were looking for ‘big, roomy, airy place’ and they found exactly that in former actress Amrita Singh’s Andheri Lokhandwala bungalow, the home she once shared with Saif Ali Khan and their kids. The Sharmas quickly snapped up the place (its rent is high, but they love the ‘vibe of the place’), and Amrita, who had moved into an apartment by then, said she was blessing them with all the luck on their production ventures. She has an adjoining bungalow to rent out too, and said she hoped they would enjoy great success and expand their business so they could hire the second property too.

Bollywood’s Bro Code

It’s no coincidence that we’re suddenly seeing so many pictures of a top male star and his ex-wife spending time together—going to the movies with their kids, or hanging out with common friends. According to the industry grapevine, the ex-wife is keen to get back with her husband, and it looks like things are moving towards a happy ending after all.

But it begs the question: what happened to the relationship that the male star was said to be in with a childhood friend of his, herself a mother of two? The tabloids had insisted there was a romance brewing there.

Inside sources close to the actor and the lady in question insist that those were nothing but rumours, or wishful thinking on the part of some. Turns out that a top producer— who is thick with both people in the equation—was trying to set up the recently single actor and the lady in question, but absolutely nothing happened because there’s an unwritten ‘bro code’ in Bollywood that says you don’t get into casual relationships with one of your best friend’s sisters. The actor, reportedly, had no intention of breaking that pledge.

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