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Mr India’s Successor

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Mr India’s Successor • Last Breath Saloon • Righteous Interruptus

There’s been talk of a Mr India sequel for some years now, but Boney Kapoor, the film’s producer, has reportedly finally firmed up plans and is likely to make an announcement in the months ahead, even as the original Anil Kapoor-Sridevi starrer celebrates its 25th year.

When the sequel was initially being discussed some years ago, Anil Kapoor was keen to hand over the protagonist’s reins to Ranbir Kapoor, but now it appears that Boney Kapoor wants his son, Isshaqzaade star Arjun Kapoor, to take over the franchise from his brother.

Anil, who starred as the film’s hapless hero Arun Verma, is expected to reprise his role in the sequel, as will Sridevi, who is keen to follow up the recent success of English Vinglish with another solid film. The younger star—whether that be Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor or a third actor—is likely to play a grown-up version of one of the many kids who played the orphans under Verma’s care in the original film.

The big question now is: who will direct the Mr India sequel? Original director Shekhar Kapur, who has long been in hibernation, is unlikely to be offered the job, and reportedly he’s equally unlikely to take it if it were offered. The buzz is that Anil Kapoor has been dangling the job as a carrot to Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo, who’s currently helming the desi version of 24, an American thriller TV series, that Anil is producing (and starring in) for Indian television.

Last Breath Saloon

Expect stars—and egos—to clash in Marrakesh next month, when everyone from Shah Rukh Khan and the Bachchans to Hrithik Roshan and Arjun Rampal turn up in the Moroccan capital for an international film festival. Shah Rukh is likely to attend a special screening of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, representing the film’s director-producer Yash Chopra, who passed away recently. Karan Johar and the newcomers who starred in his Student of the Year will attend a retrospective of Johar’s films, while Hrithik is expected to be there for screenings of films of his like Jodhaa Akbar. The Bachchan family is also scheduled to attend the festival to support Yash Chopra’s swan song, while Rampal will probably show up for screenings of Don and Chakravyuh. It’ll be a Bollywood mela for local fans, but it’ll be interesting to see which star gets the biggest turnout at the screenings.

Righteous Interruptus

It’s fair to say that most filmwallahs were surprised when a prominent male star dumped his manager of some years without warning a few months ago. The manager in question—an oily fellow notorious for taking favours and cash from producers in exchange for access to the star—had ingratiated himself to the actor and his wife, despite his shady reputation and dirty deals. It’s a well-known fact that the star’s wife had instructed him to keep a close eye on her famously philandering husband and report any misdemeanours and indiscretions on the actor’s part. The star in turn had resigned himself to the fact that the manager would always be an irritating shadow.

When the manager was sacked unceremoniously, the star and his wife are believed to have spread the word that they’d discovered he was “looting producers” in their name, and wanted to have nothing to do with him anymore. But it turns out that there might be more to that story.

The disgruntled manager, who swears he was loyal to the couple throughout his tenure, has now reportedly been spilling the beans on what he insists really happened. According to him, the actor’s wife threw a mad fit when she discovered he’d “arranged” for a prominent actress from across the border to “spend time” with the male star. The manager says he was only acting as per the wishes of the star, and also reveals it was hardly the first time he’d made such “arrangements” for the actor.

According to him, the actor’s wife sacked him as soon as she learnt her husband had been repeatedly unfaithful to her, and that her ‘trusted ally’ had failed to report all this to her. She was even more upset that he’d played such an active role in facilitating her husband’s many indiscretions.

While he says the star wife’s anger may be justified, the manager has repeatedly said he cannot help but feel betrayed by the actor who has also turned on him, despite his unwavering loyalty. The manager says he is owed substantial money by the couple, and will not go away quietly if the couple doesn’t pay him soon.