Not People Like Us

Jailhouse Rock

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Past Perfect | Role Mole

It’s not even Diwali yet, but fireworks are on their way. There’s a good chance things could get ugly very soon between Nikhil Advani and the folks at Yash Raj Films. According to word on the street, both producers are currently developing projects that are sounding suspiciously similar.

Advani is producing Lucknow Central with his former assistant Ranjit Tiwari as director and with Farhan Akhtar and Kriti Sanon slated to star in it. The film was announced recently, and those in the know reveal that it’s the story of jail inmates in Lucknow who start a music band. The script is said to be based on true incidents.

At YRF, meanwhile, Daawat-e-Ishq writer-director Habib Faisal reportedly got a green light from Aditya Chopra for his script about—you guessed it—prison inmates who form a band. But Faisal’s film, according to studio insiders, is in very early stages of pre-production.

Traditionally, Bollywood tends to sweat when multiple filmmakers set out to tell the same story. Inevitably, the one that reaches the screens first fares better than the other(s). If they somehow manage to get there together—like was the case of the two Bhagat Singh films, one by Rajkumar Santoshi, the other by Sunny Deol—they can both fail.

It’s true in the West too. The Ashton Kutcher- starring Steve Jobs film, an uninspired snooze- fest, clearly killed the appetite for another biopic on the Apple wiz. No wonder Danny Boyle’s smart, Aaron Sorkin-scripted drama starring Michael Fassbender barely created even a whimper when it arrived two years later.

The studios know the math. Will YRF pull the plug on Faisal’s film since the rival project is expected to go on the floors later this month? Or is it going to be a clash of the jail bands? Watch this space.

Past Perfect

The tabloids are filled with stories about Deepika Padukone who is believed to have run into two of her exes at the launch of Yuvraj Singh’s apparel brand last weekend. The cameras had caught the actress sharing friendly vibes with the cricketer, whom she famously dated before she began seeing Ranbir Kapoor during their shoot for Bachna Ae Haseeno in Australia. At the launch event, there wasn’t even a hint of awkwardness and discomfort between Yuvraj and Deepika, who caught up warmly in full public view.

According to gossip rags, DP also ran into Nihar Pandya at the event, whom she was seeing shortly after she moved to Mumbai before her big movie break with Om Shanti Om. No photographs of the two at the launch have surfaced, but eyewitnesses say they had the body language of old friends.

A refreshing change from so many 90s stars who studiously avoid each other at public events even years (and sometimes decades) after moving on from breakups. To be fair, equal credit must go to current partners and spouses for being secure enough in their relationships to not blow a fuse each time the partner runs into a ghost from his or her past. Frankly, it’s become something of a spectator sport craning one’s neck to see the reaction of star wives when they graze against one of their husband’s exes.

Role Mole

Could an A-lister discreetly be leaking key information about her as-yet-unreleased film to the media in an attempt to make her own role in the project appear more significant than it is? Well, seems that way.

When vital casting details and spoilers from a much-awaited new project found their way to the press, it took only a little sniffing around to learn that who was responsible for the leak. Apparently the actress in question ‘dropped’ the details to a hack she is known to have friendly relations with, on strict instructions to hide his source.

But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why she felt compelled to resort to such sneaky measures. Insecure about the possibility of being regarded as someone not crucial to the drama at the core of the film, the actress is believed to have given out coveted casting details that appear to amplify her own role and importance in the project.