Not People LIke US

Public Frenemies

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Saving the Box Office | Whose Loss Is It Anyway?

It’s true what they say: nothing is permanent in Bollywood, neither friendships nor enmities. Earlier this week, when Karan Johar shared a picture of his twins on Instagram, it was the first time that anyone outside his inner circle was getting a look at the babies. The director finally appeared to have got comfortable with showing them off to the world.

But I’m digressing. Not long after Karan had shared the picture, Kajol, his friend of 25 years with whom he is no longer on speaking terms, ‘liked’ the picture, thereby ending a sort of cold war that has existed between them for the past few years. The filmmaker and the actress famously fell out, when, according to the former’s memoir, an ugly incident transpired between Karan and Kajol’s husband Ajay Devgn. Karan said he felt betrayed when she chose to stand by her husband without so much as finding out what had transpired. Things got worse last year when Ajay accused Karan of paying an online troll to run down the former’s film Shivaay, which was set to release on the same date as Karan’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Again, Karan said he was heartbroken that Kajol had chosen to believe the bizarre accusation blindly.

But minutes after Kajol broke the ice by ‘liking’ the picture of Karan’s twins Roohi and Yash with his mother Hiroo Johar, the filmmaker ‘followed’ her back on the social media platform and everything seemed right with the world for the time being. An insider, however, reveals that this wasn’t the first time Kajol had got a glimpse of Karan’s kids. Shortly after they came home, she had received a picture of them and had responded fondly, saying the little boy, Yash, reminded her of Karan’s late father Yash Johar after whom he was named.

Saving the Box Office

It’s been a less-than-scintillating year at the movies with top marquee names like Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan failing to engage audiences with their latest movies. But relief could come from different quarters. One of the more eagerly awaited movies from the trade’s perspective is 102 Not Out, an unusual comedy from Oh My God director Umesh Shukla, which is tentatively slated for release in December. In the film, Amitabh Bachchan reportedly plays the 102-year-old father of Rishi Kapoor’s character who is 75. Based on a Gujarati play, the story’s laughs come from the fact that Bachchan’s character, who is of good health despite his age, must care for his septuagenarian son who is suffering from memory loss.

Whose Loss Is It Anyway?

So it turns out that the veteran filmmaker father of a top male star has thrown a wrench in the plans of a young director who was looking forward to starting his new film with the heartthrob star. The over-cautious father has sent the director back to the drawing board, insistent that he return only once the script is in better and tighter shape.

The film, a real life story about an inspiring figure, was meant to go into production just weeks from now, but the star’s father has said the shoot will have to be pushed back. This, insiders are saying, has proven to be a setback for the director who was looking forward to diving into the shoot and taking his mind off the messy controversy he got embroiled in recently. The delay will also likely hurt the film’s producers who had finances and schedules all locked in anticipation. But, trade pundits are saying the person most likely to be affected is the star himself who hasn’t had a release since earlier this year. One of the most talented young stars in the business, the actor has been dogged by health problems and personal issues lately, and many say he needs to be working more frequently. One film every year-and-a-half is hardly a good pace for an actor in his prime.

However, there is an opinion among industrywaalas that the star’s father has taken the right decision. The film is likely to release in October. Given what a bad year it has been for movies, you can never be too careful.

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