3 years

Not People Like Us

For Privacy in the Dark

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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For Privacy in the Dark • Missing Freida • Casting Coup

Imran Khan, who recently moved back into his family home at Pali Hill after renting an apartment at Hill Road for over a year while the bungalow was being renovated and refurbished, still has one unfinished job as far as the renovation project is concerned. The actor will build his very own private theatre in the house that his maternal family has owned and occupied for 50 years.

The Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Naa star says the theatre will seat approximately 20 guests, and is being outfitted with the latest technology. “Almost every preview theatre in Bandra has been recently demolished or converted into a commercial [block],” the actor said, explaining why he was keen to have his own little movie-watching haven.

Missing Freida

Everyone from young ’uns Sonam Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandes to old favourites Sushmita Sen and Raveena Tandon turned up for the launch and after-party of the flagship Roberto Cavalli store in New Delhi earlier this week, but the Italian designer revealed that the woman he was missing the most was Freida Pinto. The Slumdog Millionaire actress, who has attended more than a few of his shows at the Milan and Paris fashion weeks, was in Dubai walking the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the city’s international film festival, for which she serves on the jury this year.

Freida wore a glamorous gold Ralph Lauren gown as she posed for pictures before making her way into the Jumeirah Arena, where Life of Pi opened the festival’s ninth edition. The actress reportedly cheered on the film’s 19-year-old Indian star, Suraj Sharma , and his co-actors Adil Hussain and Shravanthi Sainath, as they took the stage to introduce the film. Freida told reporters that all the Oscar buzz surrounding Life of Pi reminded her of her own “life altering” experience with Slumdog some years ago.

Having worked with some of the biggest names in the West—Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Julian Schnabel, Michael Winterbottom, Tarsem Singh, Jean-Jacques Annaud,and even Terrence Malick—Freida is apparently keen to be part of an Indian film, and apparently joked with Anurag Kashyap while shooting with him on Winterbottom’s Trishna (Kashyap has a small cameo as himself in the film) that he should write a good part for her in one of his films, and not save all his films’ best roles for his wife Kalki Koechlin.

Casting Coup

It could well turn out to be the casting coup of the season if this prominent filmmaker gets his way. For his next film, a sprawling period piece with a massive ensemble cast, he is keen to rope in a beautiful female star who hasn’t made a movie since she had a baby last year. In the same film, he has plans to cast a leading younger actress in a romantic track opposite her real-life boyfriend, who is expected to play the male lead.

The two actresses, regarded popularly as the most stunning women in Bollywood, have never had an opportunity to become friends, or even so much as get to know each other. At some point or the other, both actresses dated the same man, thereby automatically being pitted against each other by the controversy-loving film press. They’ve reportedly avoided each other cautiously at public events, including the recent premiere of a film they were both at.

More awkward may have been a recent overseas shooting schedule of a film, during which the married actress showed up to spend time with her husband, who was filming with the other actress. Unit hands say the mood was tense the first day the ladies were on set together, but everything went off smoothly, given that the ladies didn’t exchange a word… or even a smile.

It’s hard to imagine that both actresses will, in fact, agree to work in the film, given that they have several common scenes which they will need to shoot together. But before he can even convince the two actresses to set aside their hang-ups and act in his film, the director himself may need to overcome a significant hurdle in the form of a third A-list actress, and his close friend, who is allegedly determined to be cast in one of those two plum roles.