Not People Like Us

The same old game of hide and seek

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Of Bestsellers and Blockbusters • Happy High?
Despite what the tabloids have been saying repeatedly, Ek Villain star Shraddha Kapoor hasn’t ever accepted that she’s seeing her Aashiqui 2 co-star Aditya Roy Kapur. The actress has sportingly laughed off all the rumours, sticking to Bollywood’s oldest cliché by insisting they’re “just good friends”. However, buzz doing the rounds suggests that Shraddha recently flew in to Kashmir to spend time with Aditya, who is shooting there with Katrina Kaif for director Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

It was apparently a short, fleeting visit to the Valley, and despite the pair’s best efforts to keep her arrival under wraps productionwalas got wind of the fact that their leading man had a pretty visitor. Tongues are wagging that Shraddha made the trip to see her ‘good friend’ because they will be separated shortly, when she heads off to Las Vegas next week to shoot a long outdoor for ABCD 2 with Varun Dhawan.

Meanwhile, rumours about Shraddha and Varun’s ‘closeness’ died a natural death when it became clear that the Main Tera Hero star had gotten back with his childhood sweetheart Natasha Dalal. Shraddha and Varun have known each other since they were kids, their respective fathers having collaborated frequently on movie projects. Varun’s father David Dhawan directed Shraddha’s father Shakti Kapoor in several of his comedies, and their kids often spent holidays at their parents’ outdoor schedules in places like Ooty and Manali in the early 90s.

Of Bestsellers and Blockbusters

Say what you will about Chetan Bhagat’s literary skills (or the lack of them), but it’s hard to deny the popularity and reach of his books. So much so that even Bollywood can’t have enough of him. Three of his six bestsellers have translated into super-hit films (one inspired a dud, two are being currently turned into films). Earlier this year, he successfully transitioned into a screenplay writer with Sajid Nadiadwala’s Salman Khan-starrer Kick, and now he will earn that coveted title that authors everywhere lust for when their books are being adapted into features—producer.

Ekta Kapoor, who snapped up the film rights to Bhagat’s most recent title Half Girlfriend, reportedly paid the author Rs 5 crore for the same. Not only that, he will also receive a one-third partnership in the film’s profits and a producing credit when the movie makes it to the screen. Not too shabby, eh? Ek Villain director Mohit Suri, who will helm the project, has reportedly received a Rs 8-crore salary for taking the gig, and will also receive one-third ot the profit and a producing credit, like Bhagat.

Meanwhile, No One Killed Jessica director Rajkumar Gupta, who’s been chosen by UTV to direct the adaptation of Bhagat’s Revolution 2020, has been moving slower, given that he’s currently working on two scripts simultaneously. According to sources in the film trade, Bhagat has received multiple offers from prominent Bollywood producers to write directly for the screen.

Wiser filmwalas, however, realise that turning his books into films are a safer bet, given that fans of each title are a guaranteed audience for that particular film, thereby ensuring considerable ticket-sales irrespective of the film’s star cast. And as they say, the proof is in the pudding —this year’s (not so) surprising Rs 100-crore blockbuster, the Arjun Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer 2 States.

Happy High?

Friends and family of a leading film director are reportedly concerned about his health. The young man in question appears to have a drinking problem. Bollywood insiders are saying he can’t seem to handle the success he’s tasted recently, after years of failure and struggle, and has taken to drinking as a result. Eye- witnesses swear they’ve seen him hanging out at a popular watering hole in Andheri every evening, and chatting up PYTs (pretty young things) who’re happily throwing themselves at him, hoping to land a role in his next blockbuster.