3 years

Not People Like Us

Taking It All Off

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Taking It All Off • The Shot that Won’t Be Cosy • Exes Club
Vishal Bhardwaj may have pulled off a coup of sorts. He appears to have gathered a gallery of exciting stars to headline his Hamlet adaptation, Haider. It is, by now, no secret that Vishal has cast his Kaminey leading man Shahid Kapoor in the central role, but turns out he’s also reuniting with his Maqbool stars Tabu and Irrfan Khan, who will likely play the roles of the protagonist’s treacherous mother and uncle respectively. There is some talk that Shahid’s own father, Pankaj Kapoor has been roped in to play the role of the protagonist’s slain father, who shows up in the film mostly as a ghost. And to round off the cast, there’s Aashiqui 2’s Shraddha Kapoor as the hero’s love interest.

Likely to begin production in Kashmir shortly, one hears the movie requires Shahid to shave his head bald. When I brought this up with him recently, he joked that this could possibly be “Vishal’s revenge”, given that the filmmaker had famously attacked Shahid’s tendency to focus on his vanity over his performance around the time of Kaminey’s release.

“If Shahid would concentrate on acting instead of his hair, he’d be a far better actor,” the director had said at the time. In response, Shahid tells me: “I’ll do whatever the role requires of me.” He does not specifically commit to shaving off his hair.

The Shot that Won’t Be

Deepika Padukone is on a roll. She’s had four mega hits back-to-back, starting with last year’s Cocktail, then Race 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and Chennai Express. And even before the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela next week (carrying good reports, by the way), she’s already finished shooting for Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny Fernandes. This English language dark comedy, filmed in Goa over a single stretch recently, pairs Deepika opposite Ishaqzaade’s Arjun Kapoor, and also features the director’s Being Cyrus stars Naseeruddin Shah and Dimple Kapadia. For her part, Deepika reportedly plays an ordinary Catholic girl, and has gone ‘simple’ for the role, with minimal make up and a basic wardrobe.

Shortly after the release of Ram Leela, she’s expected to return to the sets of Farah Khan’s Happy New Year in which she’s been cast opposite her Om Shanti Om leading man Shah Rukh Khan once again. Having shot only briefly for the film during its recent Dubai schedule, Deepika has a chunk of work still left on the project, before she dives into Imtiaz Ali’s film, tentatively titled ‘Window Seat’, which also stars Ranbir Kapoor.

One actor Deepika isn’t in a hurry to work with is Shahid Kapoor. Honchos at Balaji Films have been complaining that the actress won’t return their calls ever since she learnt that they want her to star opposite Shahid in Milan Talkies.

But why blame only poor Deepika? Apparently Katrina Kaif has said ‘no’, Kareena Kapoor won’t even consider the offer, and Balaji doesn’t want Priyanka Chopra in the film because they’re convinced Shahid and PC are a jinxed pair following the failure of last year’s very expensive Teri Meri Kaahani. That leaves any of the many newcomers who’re available. But Shahid himself has said he’ll only do the film if the producers can bring an A-list co-star to the table.

Cosy Exes Club

At a Diwali party she threw at her Bandra home last Sunday, a siren star managed to have a good time, despite the presence of at least two of her exes and her current boyfriend in the same room. The alcohol flowed and the taash tables got louder by the hour, even as guests continued to drop in through the night.

The actress’ boyfriend, a failed actor reportedly preparing to turn director, stood by her side supportively and made sure guests were comfortable and always had a drink in their hands. He didn’t look the least bit uncomfortable by the presence of a silver fox in the room, a greying supermodel his girlfriend once dated and who continues to remain one of her closest pals.

The mood became tense, but only temporarily, when another of the actress’ former flings showed up in a smart black Pathani, but her boyfriend was cordial and friendly even to this actor. The two men have their own weird history, given that they’ve been on double date holidays with their own previous exes.

Guests at the party insist that the evening remained pleasant because the hostess herself is a particularly ‘chilled out girl’, well known for her warmth and genial disposition. Hard to imagine many actresses who’d invite three men who’ve been part of her romantic history to the same gathering, but this lady appears to have pulled it off in style.

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