3 years

Not People Like Us

Mind Your Manners

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Waiting in the Wings | Storming Mad

Kangana Ranaut does not want to be roped into another controversy. The Tanu Weds Manu star, who recently returned to Mumbai after a long schedule of her Hansal Mehta-directed project Simran in the US, was egged on by journalists to pick who she feels is more deserving of the Best Actress award this year between frontrunners Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Dodging what could’ve proved to be a fatal bullet, Kangana cleverly replied that she was in no position to make such a decision as she was on no jury, and made it a point to add that she didn’t believe in the idea of competitive awards anyway so she didn’t care who the juries decide to award after all. It’s evident that Kangana, who is on cordial terms with both Sonam and Alia, did not want to stir up a hornet’s nest by taking sides. Well played.

Meanwhile, rumours and conspiracy theories continue to fly as loyalists of both actresses draw battle lines in the sand. Alia picked up Best Actress (and a second gong) at the Star Screen Awards recently, while Sonam was completely blocked out (really Star-Screen, no love for her in the year of Neerja?). Still, both actresses were on their best behaviour and were politeness personified the morning after when they participated in a roundtable conversation with yours truly. Attagirls!

Waiting in the Wings

It’s a popular joke in film circles that every other twenty-something hoping to be a Bollywood actor will make a stop at Karan Johar’s office seeking employment as an assistant director. In the case of Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra who assisted the filmmaker on My Name is Khan, they inspired him to launch them in his directorial venture… and that is how Student of the Year came to be.

Not every AD is lucky to get a starring role in a Karan Johar vehicle, but it can be a pretty good way to get noticed. Ranbir Kapoor’s cousin Armaan Jain (whose mum Rima is a close friend of the filmmaker) also apprenticed under Karan, and lo and behold, the next thing you knew he was being launched in a film by Imtiaz Ali’s brother Arif Ali. Too bad the movie itself—2014’s Lekar Hum Deewana Dil—sank faster than the Titanic.

Waiting in the wings, are at least four young aspirants with filmi connections, whom Karan has reportedly offered to launch, although none has worked under him. According to reliable sources in the trade, Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan will be paired opposite Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s daughter Jhanvi in a remake of the Marathi box-office smash Sairat, which Karan is expected to co-produce with Zee.

There were some reports initially that Ishaan would be paired opposite Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara, but those plans have been nixed—possibly because that just may have been too weird for everyone involved.

Insiders say Karan has asked Sara to wait just a wee bit longer as he’s got something bigger in mind. That could be a project opposite Shah Rukh Khan’s older son Aryan, who Karan will launch right after the teenager is back from having completed university in Los Angeles.

Storming Mad

Two male stars, close friends initially, who fell out subsequently over (very) personal issues, have new movies coming out soon that are being handled by the same publicist. Trade waalas insist a storm is coming. One of the two actors has taken the falling out very personally and has expected common friends to take sides. It is unlikely he will not be bothered by the fact that he’s working so closely with a professional who’s also representing the other camp.

Turns out the publicist has the blessings of the star’s father (an influential force in his son’s life and career) to work with the rival actor simultaneously, but insiders in both camps are placing bets on how long before it all goes belly up and the publicist has to pick only one of the two actors to work with.