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Role Call

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Role Call • Business of Enmity • The Triangular Truce

It is only in Bollywood that movie stars display such lack of professional grace that they talk about films they turned down, insisting they weren’t happy with their roles, thereby dissing the actors who replaced them in those films. In the past week alone, at least two actresses are guilty of having committed that crime. In an interview to a morning daily, Kajol revealed that she had turned down the mega-successful 3 Idiots because she didn’t think there was much to the role. The actress has said she wanted a parallel role to leading man Aamir Khan’s, or at least one as important as that of the other two male leads (played by R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi), but saw no merit in playing the heroine’s part that Kareena Kapoor eventually performed.

In the second instance, just days after it was learnt that Vidya Balan had signed on to star in filmmaker Rajiv Menon’s biopic of Carnatic music legend MS Subbulakshmi, news was floated that Aishwarya Rai had been approached for the part before her. Unnamed sources close to Aishwarya revealed that the actress wasn’t excited about the role and hence turned it down, making way for Vidya to step in.

However, Menon, who directed Aishwarya in Kandukondain Kandukondain, has reportedly said Vidya was his only choice for this film. The director famously shares a warm friendship with Aishwarya, and was in talks to direct her in an Abhimaan remake with her husband Abhishek Bachchan, but has since moved on to the Subbulakshmi project after that film fell through.

Business of Enmity

Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan may be sworn enemies, but both are fully aware that neither can attract much attention unless he’s knocking down the other. So if Shah Rukh cheerfully allowed his co-host Saif Ali Khan to make a joke about his rivalry with Salman at the recent Filmfare Awards ceremony, then the Dabangg star brazenly imitated SRK in front of the delighted mediapersons on the red carpet at the Star Guild Awards last weekend.

When controversy-hungry reporters begged Salman to react to the Filmfare Awards gag that Shah Rukh and Saif had pulled, Salman played along merrily, proceeding to imitate both actors and their style of dialogue delivery. “Kuch karna padega isske bare mein!” (Something will have to be done about this!), he said in jest on being told of the joke they had cracked. He then aped Saif’s nasal voice and SRK’s famous stutter before quickly proceeding to the venue to host the awards show.

The Triangular Truce

Call it guilty conscience or whatever you may, but it is hard to ignore the fact that an A-list leading lady appears to be going out of her way to shower praise on—and extend an olive branch to—another A-lister whose boyfriend she has been accused of stealing.

Having just exited her second failed relationship a few months ago, this gorgeous star was reportedly at a delicate point in her life when she was swept off her feet by an upcoming male star known to wear his heart on his sleeve. Encouraged to spend time together and develop a warm rapport by a prominent filmmaker who’d signed them up to star in his ambitious new film, the actress didn’t resist her co-star’s friendly overtures. Next thing you knew, they were going to dinners and movies, and a romance had blossomed.

The actor, however, has been in an on-off relationship with the other top actress, who allegedly didn’t take his new ‘fling’ too well. While they had fought and got back together many times in the past, it seemed he’d moved on this time.

Expectedly, it has been awkward for the two ladies each time they’ve run into each other at parties and award shows, and it hasn’t helped that tabloids have reported blow-by-blow details of their cold war. For the first actress particularly, it has been “harrowing” to be painted as the one who broke up the relationship, though she was the one wooed relentlessly by the male star, who reportedly convinced her he was single.

A filmmaker friendly with both actresses says that both are “basically straightforward girls who’re finding it very strange that this rivalry and enmity has come up between them”, and that one of them is making efforts to call a truce. In an interview to a film glossy recently, she has described the other actress as one of the most stylish heroines in the business, and has been praising her performance in a recent film to anyone willing to listen.

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