Ali Abbas Zafar, director of Salman Khan blockbusters Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, is diving straight into his next film Bharat for the superstar’s own production banner. Zafar says Salman sent him a DVD of the Korean film Ode to My Father, asking him to figure out how to adapt it for an Indian audience. Zafar was reluctant “because it’s very specific to Korean history and culture, and because it’s a massive story that spans 70 years”. But the superstar was adamant, and Zafar says he found a way to make it work.
They’ve already shot a ‘look test’ with Salman, in which he goes from his twenties to a distinguished septuagenarian, and those who’ve seen it are impressed. “Salman Khan’s father Salim saab said this film has the potential to be his biggest hit,” Zafar reveals. Given that the actor already has three films that crossed the Rs 300-crore mark, we’re talking unprecedented numbers. But, as Zafar puts it, “Salim saab wrote Sholay. I think it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about. So I suppose it’s up to us to make it happen, or botch up this opportunity completely.”
Letting Bygones Be Bygones
You might remember my bringing this up right here a few weeks ago. After Sridevi’s untimely passing, Karan Johar had managed to rope in Madhuri Dixit to replace her in 2 States director Abhishek Varman’s three- generational love story. I had called it a tricky situation because Sanjay Dutt had originally been cast to star opposite Sridevi, but given the fact that things hadn’t ended well for former lovebirds Sanju and Madhuri in the 90s, it was anybody’s guess whether he’d still do the movie.
Well, it turns out that Karan reached out to Sanju shortly after Madhuri signed the film, and convinced him to let bygones be bygones. For her part, the actress had said she would work with anyone that the filmmakers had decided to cast opposite her. She made no fuss when Sanju’s name came up, making it clear that she had moved on.
Industry big shots are not pleased that this actor’s wife is taking a ‘very keen’ interest in his work. It began with her weighing in on his costumes, but now they’re saying she reads every script he’s offered, makes it a point to sit in with him on meetings with writers and filmmakers, and offers detailed feedback on the material that’s sent to him.
Why is that a bad thing, you ask? Well it isn’t. It’s just that industrywaalas tend to complain about anything that could threaten the status quo. “Who needs to deal with another unqualified family member poking her nose where it doesn’t belong?”asks a young director snarkily, referring to the frustration among producers and directors who must deal with an assortment of partners, parents and siblings of film stars.
The actor’s wife in question is an ‘outsider’ (someone who doesn’t come from a film background), but seems to have strong opinions on scripts and roles, and it’s ruffling feathers. The rumour is that a senior writer-director huffed out of the actor’s apartment recently after the missus gave him ‘suggestions’ on how he could improve his script. “Most professionals wouldn’t be opposed to receiving genuine feedback that could make the material better. But anyone that’s speaking on behalf of a star tends to offer ‘tips’ that are solely intended to beef up the star’s role or make him look better. It’s purely selfish, vanity- related advice. And you can’t blame filmmakers for rejecting it,” the source says.
Ironically, the actor himself had a reputation for ‘interfering’ in decisions that didn’t concern him. Now Bollywood says he’s making his wife do the dirty work.