Not People Like Us

A Package to Watch out for

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Broken Heart Therapy • Thankless and Indifferent

Dedh Ishqiya director Abhishek Chaubey’s new movie Udta Punjab has been in the news for some weeks now, although filming on the project won’t begin for some time. This ensemble piece—reportedly fashioned after Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning drug-trade drama Traffic (2000), starring Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones—has already landed A-listers Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in central roles. There are strong rumours that Kareena Kapoor, who was also offered a pivotal part, has said ‘yes’ as well… although it’s unclear whether the Jab We Met actress will have any scenes opposite her onetime boyfriend Shahid. The movie will have parallel- running storylines, and a source familiar with the script reveals that Shahid and Kareena’s respective subplots don’t overlap.

Gossip surfaced recently that Kareena was instrumental in Vicky Donor star Ayushmann Khurrana being dropped from the film, but the actor has said it was he who had to leave the project.

Turns out that the shooting dates required for Udta Punjab clashed with those he’d allotted to other films that he’d previously committed to, thus leaving him with no option but to bow out of Chaubey’s multi-starrer.

The director himself, who until now made movies exclusively for his mentor and co- writer Vishal Bhardwaj, is leaving the Haider filmmaker’s safe cove. It is no secret that Chaubey has signed up to helm this project for Phantom, the filmmaking collective run by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena. Dismissing idle chatter that he’s fallen out with Bhardwaj, Chaubey is believed to have said that he’s still thick with his longtime collaborator, but that he’s also keen to work with other producers.

Broken Heart Therapy

Guests holidaying at a five-star resort in Goa over the New Year’s weekend noticed that Bipasha Basu and her Alone co-star Karan Singh Grover weren’t particularly shy about showering each other with PDA as they unwound at the hotel poolside with their friends. The couple, both ‘single’, have carefully avoided responding to incessant rumours that they’re dating, but eyewitnesses say they’re clearly an item. The two of them reportedly partied it up with Bipasha’s close buddies, designer Rocky S and model Candice Pinto, unperturbed by the fact that all eyes were on them. At least two hotel guests who spotted them lolling in the sun insist that their chemistry was palpable, given “all the constant embracing”.

Meanwhile, a friend of Bipasha confirms that the two are currently together, but doesn’t want to slap a label onto their relationship “because they’re mature enough to know this may just be a casual thing.” Neither is treating the other like the great love of his or her life: “They’re both getting over break-ups and they’re enjoying the no- pressure aspect of this.”

Thankless and Indifferent

From what one’s been hearing, a talented actress who towered above her competition with a solid performance in one of last year’s better acclaimed hits, is hurting from the cold shoulder she claims she’s got from her director and her leading man since the release of their film.

The actress was reportedly already smarting from the “shoddy” way she was allegedly treated during the film’s promotional efforts; she claims she was deliberately kept away from media interactions and left out of publicity material like posters and hoardings.

It’s not that she was greedy for attention, she says. It’s that the project’s decision-makers didn’t have the foresight to see that the film may have benefitted from advertising her presence in it. A point that has proven true since the film’s release—she walked away with the best performance reviews.

Even now, months after the film’s release, neither the director nor the actor has stayed in touch with her. She’s been bumping into them at award functions and everyone’s cordial with one another, but she feels let down by their lack of genuine warmth.