Soon after returning from Cannes where she will attend an out-of-competition gala screening of Bombay Talkies, the portmanteau film she’s directed a 27-minute segment for, Zoya Akhtar is likely to finally wrap up the script of her next feature in which she hopes to cast Ranbir Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. Akhtar has reportedly been working tirelessly with her writing partner (and Taalash director) Reema Kagti on this script, while still managing to squeeze in short Goa holidays every few months.
According to sources close to Kareena Kapoor, the actress has been “hounding” Zoya to finalise the script so that they can dive into the film “right away”. Ranbir, meanwhile, who is committed to completing Abhinav Kashyap’s Besharam before starting to shoot Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, also has projects with Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Basu lined up. Still, he is believed to have “reacted very positively” when Zoya first narrated the germ of the idea, and has apparently asked her to bring him the finished script when it is done.
Zoya’s project, which could be the first to star the two cousins together, is apparently an ensemble piece with a large cast. She is aware that getting Ranbir and Kareena on board is only the first hurdle; the second is coordinating their dates with those of the “massive” supporting cast she has lined up.
Catch Tabu If You Can
Tabu has always insisted that she’d much rather stay at home, her nose buried in books, than spend her days on movie sets where she doesn’t feel challenged. That explains her long absences from the screen.
But she’s back on film sets now, playing Salman Khan’s sister in his latest film, titled—some would say appropriately—Mental. It took a call from Salman’s brother (and the film’s director) Sohail, who reportedly insisted that he wouldn’t approach her unless he had something worth her while, for Tabu to even consider the project. It turns out that the brother-sister relationship is indeed key to the film’s plot. Plus, they offered her a sizeable remuneration. Soon after she said ‘yes’, Tabu was flown to Dubai for the first shooting schedule with Salman. Despite the concerns of unit members that their conflicting approach to work might make it hard for them to get through the film without causing one or both of them considerable heartburn, word is that they got through the shoot just fine. Tabu is believed to have reminded her worried friends that she has already done a bunch of films with Salman (Jeet, Biwi No 1, Hum Saath Saath Hain) and has learnt how to adapt to his style of work.
She didn’t always have a difficult reputation, although that appears to be the only thing people are saying about her now. When she first burst onto the screen, she floored both audiences and filmwalas with her freshness and firang appeal, even though acting itself never came easily to her.
But now, if the grapevine can be trusted, more than a few years in the business, one tumultuous relationship behind her, this popular actress has revealed her goddess complex. Aside from grumbling by production managers who complain that the actress turns a blind eye to her staff’s habit of blatantly mooching off the unit—inflated bills, expensive meals—there are now more than a few stories of the star’s own high-handed behaviour.
One stylist claims she was “horrified” at being treated like dirt by the actress during a costume fitting recently. The star never once spoke to the stylist while trying on different outfits. Each time the actress had a point to make, she’d address her own manager who was also in the room, and ask her to convey it to the stylist, who was right there beside her!
“She basically behaved like I didn’t exist. She refused to make eye contact with me. She would talk to her manager as if I just wasn’t there,” the lady has said to anyone willing to listen. “She behaved like she couldn’t care to speak to someone as insignificant as me.”