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A Serious Shot at Acting

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Queuing Up for Hrithik | Desperately Seeking a Hero

Remember Ameesha Patel? The Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai and Gadar star who invariably made headlines for her controversial private life over her movies? Yes, the same young lady who had a very public falling out with her parents when she moved in with then-boyfriend, filmmaker Vikram Bhatt? The same one who subsequently sued her parents for ‘stealing’ her earnings? Well, turns out that she wants to give acting another serious shot.

Despite having starred opposite major A-listers like Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, Ameesha’s career didn’t quite explode in the way that well- wishers had predicted. You could blame it on the fact that her stormy personal life and decisions always seemed to overshadow her work, but the point is she could never crack the top echelons of the star system in spite of some incredible opportunities. She turned producer some years ago, but that move didn’t reap any substantial rewards either.

Lately, she’s been sending word to top filmmakers that she’s sorted out her mess and is raring to start afresh. According to the industry grapevine, Ameesha has put her manager on the job to reach out to every significant producer and director currently in the process of putting together a new project, and conveying that she’s open to all kind of roles, “including the kind Aishwarya played in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. At least one director reportedly fell off his chair laughing at her pitch.

Queuing Up for Hrithik

Turns out Hrithik Roshan was offered the Rambo remake before Tiger Shroff jumped onto the project. It’s unclear yet whether Hrithik declined because he didn’t want to do another remake after Bang Bang! (a Knight & Day rejig) , which is director Sidharth Anand’s explanation, or he didn’t want to do another movie with Sidharth, which is what Bollywood insiders insist.

Meanwhile, Hrithik is reportedly being courted by UTV-founder and former Disney India head Ronnie Screwvala to star in a kabaddi- themed film that Ronnie will produce under his newly formed RSVP banner. Ronnie, who is the owner of the U-Mumba team that plays in the Pro Kabaddi League, has roped in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to direct a story scripted by Neerja scribe Saiwyn Quadras.

Sources say Hrithik is interested but hasn’t made a firm commitment yet. He’s already more or less given the thumbs up to Queen director Vikas Bahl for his next, and there’s papa Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish 4 in the pipeline. Slipping into shorts for kabaddi might have to wait.

Desperately Seeking a Hero

The buzz in film circles is that the makers of an action film under production are ‘stressed out’ by the recent dud of their leading man. The studio has never worked with the actor before and has taken a leap of faith in signing him as the male lead of their movie, which they envision as a potential franchise. The actor—whom many have described as ‘a character actor in leading man’s garb—has proven his credentials as a performer repeatedly, but mostly while playing well-defined characters. Success has eluded him when he has tried to play the ‘hero’. In the new film that will likely release next year, he has been cast as an action star, and its fortunes could ride largely on his charisma and ability to look good in cool costumes and driving fancy cars. While his recent film did flop, it also positioned him as a heartthrob.

Insiders say the studio will work hard to repackage his image closer to their film’s release. The movie is still being shot and the director couldn’t be happier with his leading man’s commitment, but everyone involved with the project— including the gentleman in question—is aware that an image overhaul might be desperately needed.

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