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Or Not To Be?

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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Or Not To Be? • Dengue and Delay • Cashed Out and Clueless

In the race to put Hamlet on the screen—as many as three filmmakers have announced they are working on adaptations—we can safely announce the first casualty. Paan Singh Tomar director Tigmanshu Dhulia, who had approached Hrithik Roshan to star in his take on Shakespeare’s most loved play, has revealed that he’s shelved his version. As it turns out, while working on the script, Dhulia felt the ‘internalised’ aspect of the protagonist’s journey and growth wouldn’t lend itself satisfactorily to film, and began deviating considerably from the source material.

The script that emerged, he told me, is far removed from Hamlet. Unfortunately for Dhulia, however, his leading man decided the character in this script wasn’t too far removed from the one he played in Agneepath last year, and reportedly passed on the project, promising to make another movie together instead.

Meanwhile, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kashmir-set version of Hamlet, titled Haider, will star Shahid Kapoor and now Aashiqui 2’s Shraddha Kapoor opposite him. My Brother Nikhil director Onir, the third filmmaker to announce a Hamlet adaptation, has been looking for finance and a suitable cast for his film.

Dengue and Delay

Ranveer Singh, currently recuperating from a bout of dengue, will be back on his feet shortly and is expected to dive straight into promotions for Ram Leela. But few are aware that the actor will also make a short stop in Goa next week where he’ll shoot a cameo for Cocktail director Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny Fernandes with Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor.

His special appearance in the film, intended by the film’s makers to be kept under wraps, is fast turning out to be Bollywood’s worst kept secret. Turns out the producers of Ram Leela have spilt the beans! Tense over the fact that their leading man is currently indisposed and hence can’t participate in film promotions, the studio has decided to send a bunch of journos off to Goa to interview Deepika and Ranveer together on their morning off from the set of Fanny Fernandes.

Reportedly, this hasn’t gone down well with Homi and Fanny producer Dinesh Vijan, who are peeved not only over the fact that the stars will be doing press for a rival film on their time, but also because Ranveer’s cameo in their film will no longer be a surprise for audiences.

Inevitably, the actor’s schedules were disturbed when he took ill last week, with Shaad Ali’s Kill Dil expected to be worst affected. Turns out Sanjay Leela Bhansali wants his Ram Leela star to focus solely on promoting their Gujarat-set Romeo & Juliet adaptation before he resumes filming Shaad’s movie.

If indeed Kill Dil’s shooting schedule has to be rejigged to accommodate Bhansali’s tantrums, then Parineeti Chopra might find her own plans up in the air. The Shuddh Desi Romance leading lady, who stars opposite Ranveer in Shaad’s film, could be sitting around twiddling her thumbs if her co-star ends up skipping set to promote Bhansali’s opus.

Cashed Out and Clueless

Word going around in the corridors of a major film studio is that the billionaire industrialist owner of this studio reportedly sent a disapproving text message to the studio head after watching its latest release at a special preview organised for him at his own home. In the message, Mr Moneybags allegedly described the movie as ‘disgusting’, and is believed to have signed off with a sarcastic ‘Good luck’, indicating that he had little faith the studio would make money on the project.

His words may prove to be prophetic after all, given that the film’s dismal box-office collections appear highly unlikely to get anywhere close to the investment that the studio has made in the film. Industry watchers, however, are saying you can’t blame studio execs for gambling on this film. With an A-list star and a proven director at the helm, the film had looked like a sure bet.

This only proves what William Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, famously said about Hollywood in his memoir is true of Bollywood too: No one knows anything!

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