3 years

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The Salman Raj

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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The Salman Raj • Role Call for Ranbir’s Girls • Madame Rudraksh

It does appear that Salman Khan will star in a Yash Raj Films production after all. One of Bollywood’s top film production banners, YRF has worked with every top star from Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan to Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan. The one who remained elusive all these years was Salman who turned down more than one offer from the banner, including the lead in Chak De India and Dhoom 3.

Now though, it seems New York director Kabir Khan has got the picky star to say ‘yes’ to his political thriller that will be produced by YRF. The industry grapevine has it that Salman has demanded a fee on par with what producer Aditya Chopra pays Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, and there are also rumours he asked to look at Aamir’s Dhoom 3 contract before signing himself up so he could be sure he wasn’t getting lowballed by the famously stingy banner.

Ironically, Kabir Khan had wanted to make a thriller with Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan in the lead after New York, but Chopra reportedly felt such a project would be too expensive and a logistical nightmare, hence he is believed to have asked Kabir to apply himself to another script.

Starring opposite Salman mostly will be Kabir’s New York leading lady and the actor’s ex Katrina Kaif. The busy actress has apparently blocked bulk dates for the film so it can be completed on a single schedule.

The famously stubborn Chopra—who has made it a policy not to grant entry to actors’ make-up vans into YRF Studios (because the studio rents out its own make-up rooms)—had no choice but to bend the rules and allow Salman’s make-up van onto its studio premises after the actor threatened to call off the shoot and disrupt the schedule of a film he was making there, if he couldn’t use his own van. The producers of that film appealed to Chopra and reportedly asked him to make a concession in the case of the equally stubborn star.

With Salman now gearing up to shoot for YRF’s own production, it’s going to be a tricky dance for the producers who will no doubt try very hard not to upset the apple cart. If that means allowing his make-up van entry into the studio for the duration of this shoot, surely it can’t be a very high price to pay! Best of luck saying ‘no’ to other stars when they make the same demand, though!

Role Call for Ranbir’s Girls

Despite unconfirmed reports that Wake Up Sid director Ayan Mukherji has cast Anushka Sharma as the female lead opposite Ranbir Kapoor in his next film, it appears that at least four actresses are waiting with bated breath to know if they’ve landed the part.  While Sonam Kapoor (a friend of Ayan, and Ranbir’s Saawariya co-star) was in the running initially, she’s been struck off the list following her ‘unprovoked attacks’ on Ranbir in that Koffee With Karan episode. That leaves the race open to Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Nargis Fakhri and Anushka Sharma. Each of these four ladies has been romantically linked to Ranbir at some point or the other.

A coming-of-age road movie set in north India, Ayan’s project will be produced by Karan Johar. The joke in Bollywood is that the role will ultimately go to whoever is ‘closest’ to Ranbir at the time casting is being completed, and by that logic alone it’s between Nargis Fakhri and Anushka Sharma, who have most recently been linked to the star.

Then again, going by Ranbir’s propensity to ‘make new friends’ (the actor has most recently been linked to Kingfisher Calendar Hunt winner and Bollywood wannabe Angela Jonsson), don’t be surprised if new names are added to the list as Ayan gets closer to the final casting announcement.

Madame Rudraksh

A top actress who delivered two back-to-back hits in female centric-films recently is reportedly getting on the wrong side of her producers these days. Filmmakers have been saying that  the actress is alienating the very people who championed her when she was down.  The arrogance seems to come not only from the recent success, but also from her new boyfriend. Then there is the hot new project she’s signed with one of the most prominent producers of small-budget but high-concept films in Bollywood.  Not only does she insist on making key decisions regarding the marketing of her movies, the actress also wants a say in casting. Every business meeting at her home begins with her coming out with photographs of a godwoman she follows. New acquaintances are handed over such photos for “good luck”, while she sits, clutching a rudraaksh  she’s also been sporting as an accessory on the red carpet lately.