Not People LIke US

Bhai Does It Again

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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No More Delays | Strictly Decorative

Salman Khan’s love-hate affair with the media continues, and this past weekend, the superstar demonstrated just how much he enjoys frustrating journalists. Two groups of media- persons—photographers and television reporters—had assembled at two different points alongside the red carpet that led into an awards ceremony, hoping to catch stars for pictures and sound-bites, respectively, as they made their way to the event.

The actors dutifully posed for pictures first, then a few feet away stopped to talk to the group of bite-hungry reporters. When it was Salman’s turn, however, he happily stopped for photographs but smiled cheekily as he began to walk past the reporters. Spotting the look of desperation and disappointment on their faces, he taunted them, asking: “Bite chahiye?” (You want a bite?) When they nodded in the affirmative, hopeful that he might oblige, the actor mischievously mimicked the gesture of gnashing his teeth as if he was biting something. Tickled by his own joke, he laughed at having outsmarted them and walked away without speaking to the exasperated journalists. Evidently, he was in no mood to address the recent failure of Tubelight, which would no doubt have been the most popular question.

No More Delays

Deepika Padukone may be inching towards the end of her work in Padmavati. The actress has reportedly allocated dates for the film only until the end of August, after which she will likely begin other projects. The film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is still shooting with each of his three principals, and insists he will still make his November release date. But industry watchers are sceptical. Ideally, however, Bhansali would like to release in summer 2018, and he’s shared his thoughts with his partners, luring them with the carrot that Cannes would be the perfect place to showcase the film. But the big guns at Viacom18 have balked at the idea, insisting that the film has already gone way over budget and cannot withstand any more delays.

After outstation shoots were twice disrupted, security has been beefed up at the Film City sets of Padmavati. Visitors reveal that there are dozens of bouncers and security personnel manning studio gates to ensure that no untoward incidents are repeated. Bhansali’s personal security too has been tightened. The bill for these expenses goes straight to his partners, who, according to trade reports, had already committed a whopping Rs 190 crore to the project—and this was before the budget ballooned.

Strictly Decorative

This young actress whose most recent film has come a cropper at the box-office is reportedly upset with critics for dismissing her ‘work’ in the film as ‘strictly decorative’. Given that she had barely 10 lines in the entire movie and less screen- time than all of the other principals, some would say the critics were being polite. The joke in the industry is that the twenty-something comes from a legacy of the finest timber in Bollywood, and has turned out to be a chip off the old block. ‘It is likely that her wax impression would be more animated than her,’ one reviewer declared.

No wonder she’s been telling friends she wants to ‘punch the critics’. But shouldn’t her anger be aimed at her director, who reportedly slashed her role on her very first day after she took more than a dozen retakes to get a simple line right? According to well placed sources, a senior actor in the cast who is thick with the director, recommended that the actress’ role be kept to a bare minimum after it became clear she was too raw and couldn’t match the timing and speed of the rest of the cast.

One catty insider remarked that the actress talked more in the interviews she’s been giving to promote the film, than she did on screen. Ouch!