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Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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For Old Times’ Sake | Pocket Money

By the time you read this, Karan Johar’s new film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil would have likely released in cinemas without hiccups. The movie was in the eye of a storm recently after Raj Thackeray and his MNS party threatened to ‘ban’ its release because it stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan as part of its cast. The party withdrew its protests after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis brokered a truce between Thackeray and Johar that reportedly cost the latter a sweet Rs 5 crore. But in the days leading up the mediation, even as Johar worked the phones, tapping his friends and contacts to help negotiate a solution, one learns that veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, father of the film’s leading man Ranbir Kapoor, was going redder and redder in the face trying to contain his anger at the bullying that Johar and the film were being subjected to.

Famous for his say-it-like-it-is bluntness and his combative personality, particularly on Twitter, the senior RK had to be especially requested to refrain from expressing his feelings on the matter, lest it make things worse.

Moreover, Economic Times reported earlier this week that during a ‘chance meeting’ in the capital recently between Rishi Kapoor and Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, the 64-year-old actor made an impassioned plea for the film’s smooth release.

For Old Times’ Sake

Time and distance do indeed make hearts grow fonder. Many of the principal cast and crew of the beloved 1992 film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar reconnected after 20 years at a live reunion (co-hosted by yours truly) organised during the Mumbai Film Festival. The film’s reclusive director Mansoor Khan, who has relocated to Cunoor in the years since, made a rare appearance, alongside his cousin and the film’s leading man Aamir Khan.

Evidently enthusiastic about spending more time together after the event, the team—including Pooja Bedi, Ayesha Jhulka, Kiran Zaveri, Deepak Tijori, Mamik Singh, Aditya Lakhia, Deven Bhojani, and assistant-director-turned-choreographer Farah Khan— quickly created a WhatsApp group and made plans for their own reunion the following Monday. It was Farah who hosted the informal reunion dinner at her Andheri Lokhandwala skyrise, and went a step further and pulled off a coup.

Farah also extended invitations to Milind Soman, and producers Bunty Walia and Karan Razdan who were all originally cast as actors in the film but subsequently dropped and replaced because they famously gave Mansoor a hard time on the set. There was no awkwardness when the gang met at Farah’s home, and Milind even sportingly posed for pictures with Deepak, who’d replaced him in the film.

Pocket Money

The big story doing the rounds currently involves the possible fallout between a top star and his business managers. It all started with the discovery that a fairly large sum of money that the actor believed was due to him from a television network for a long time had, in fact, already been paid to the agency representing his businesses, but never passed along to the actor.

Following that discovery, the actor and his father, a famously tight-fisted veteran producer, reportedly reached out to a number of clients whom the actor had engaged with in the last three years, and took stock of the payments that had been made. Those meetings allegedly led to more embarrassing revelations that further exposed his managers.

Insiders are now saying the actor has decided to give a cold shoulder to his managers. However, it may also be true that the actor does not want any unpleasantness at the moment, given that he’s got a big make-or-break film around the corner.

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