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The newest kid on the block

Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN
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The newest kid on the block • Saif’s recovery plan • All for a good cause
Ranbir Kapoor’s cousin Armaan Jain, who’ll make his debut in Lekar Hum Deewana Dil shortly, says he wasn’t initially inclined towards a career in the movies. The young kid says he always intended to follow in his dad’s footsteps—a banker and graduate of the London School of Economics —but discovered eventually that the family’s relationship with Bollywood was a link too hard to resist.

First he assisted Karan Johar on My Name is Khan, hoping to get some set experience. Then, having watched how effortlessly his bhaiyya Ranbir transitioned into a matinee idol, he decided he’d like to take a shot at it too. “Watching him in Saawariya was so exciting, because that was my brother up there,” he says of Ranbir’s debut. “It’s only much later when I’d decided to be an actor, that I began watching him as an actor, and of course he’s very good—he’s a bawaal actor!”

Armaan, whose mother is Raj Kapoor’s daughter Rima Jain, was born much after his illustrious grandpa’s passing, but says he’s constructed an image of him from the memories his uncles and cousins share with him. “And then there are all the movies he acted in, which make me feel so much closer to him,” he says of the original showman.

Where pressure is concerned, Armaan insists he didn’t feel any until recently when journalists began putting the question to him during media rounds: “My family never makes me feel like I had something to prove, and I’m grateful for that.” But he realises the film needs to do well if he wants to continue to have a job. “Yeah, I’m not going back to Economics,” he says sheepishly.

Saif’s Recovery Plan

Saif Ali Khan, who has received the worst reviews of his career for Sajid Khan’s Humshakals, is reportedly telling friends he was always sceptical of the film, but decided to put his faith in Sajid, who was confident the film would turn Saif into a “mass hero” like Salman, Shah Rukh and Akshay. Critics have singled out Saif’s performance in the movie, describing it as his worst yet, and insisting that the Omkara star never should’ve attached himself to such drivel in the first place. Evidently Saif failed to carry off the film’s low-brow slapstick humour, overshadowed by Riteish Deshmukh and even Ram Kapoor who fared slightly better by all accounts.

But the actor and his producing partner Dinesh Vijan are apparently in damage control mode already, quickly rushing his next film to the finishing line to wipe away the audience’s memories of Humshakals at the earliest. That film is Happy Endings, directed by Go Goa Gone helmers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK. It’s a romantic comedy opposite Barfi’s Ileana D’Cruz, and the star and his team understandably appear more confident about that one, given Saif’s consistent success in the genre. He also has Kabir Khan’s action thriller Phantom with Katrina Kaif, before he embarks on two new projects— a Mohit Suri film, and a “relationship drama” that Vijan himself will direct with Parineeti Chopra opposite him.

As for reuniting with Sajid professionally—Saif had committed to doing another film with the director midway through Humshakals, even without a script in place—the chances appear slim now. Unless career suicide is on his mind.

All for a Good Cause

A senior actress, celebrated as much for her enduring looks as for her versatile talent, has sportingly put vanity aside to tackle a challenging supporting role in an upcoming English film. The lady in question, well into her fifties, allowed the film’s stylist to…umm…pad her rear in a way that has been a source of amusement and amazement for other characters in the film. Yes, to put it straight, she’s sporting a giant bottom in the movie.

It’s a surprising breakthrough on the filmmaker’s part, given that the actress is not exactly a fan of ageing or looking anything less than a million bucks on the screen. But turns out she has a soft spot for the film’s director, in whose debut movie she had starred, taking up an unconventional, grungy part in that one as well. She has admitted openly that she isn’t driven by any desire to work after all these years, and is seduced by fat pay cheques and not necessarily great roles.

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