Kamal Haasan is reportedly encouraging comparisons between his new directorial venture, Vishwaroop, and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. The actor-filmmaker will likely release a two-part edition of his ambitious film, and while he’s been saying he always planned it as a double bill, technicians working on the opus have a different story to tell. They insist Kamal has overshot footage, and what they’re currently assembling resembles nothing short of a mess. Determined not to chop the film mercilessly, Kamal has apparently decided—against the advice of his producers and technicians—to go ahead with a two-part, and is now saving face by suggesting this was his plan from the start.
This Is Preity’s Big Secret
Preity Zinta’s debut film as producer, Ishq in Paris, is over two months into filming, but the actress won’t reveal who her leading man is. According to the industry grapevine, Preity’s buddies—Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan—all vanished into thin air around the time they learnt she was looking to cast a hero opposite herself in the movie. The actress nevertheless found her male lead just days before taking off for Europe earlier this year for filming.
Director Prem Soni (of Main aur Mrs Khanna shame) and his star-producer are keeping the identity of her co-star under wraps, and are reportedly planning a mega ‘unveiling’ closer to the film’s release. But I’ll play party pooper here and spare you the long wait for this underwhelming announcement. I have it from trusted sources that the makers of Ishq in Paris have cast baby-faced model and TV actor Gaurav Chanana as the film’s leading man opposite Zinta. Did I hear you say, “Gaurav Chanana who?” Fair question.
Chanana, a familiar face on the boob tube (having appeared in commercials for everything from toothpaste brands to life insurance policies), is possibly best remembered for his role in the Chicago Hope-inspired hospital-centric TV serial Sanjivani. Many years Zinta’s junior, an insider says he happily agreed to do the film because his own film career had hit a roadblock after his debut in the 2004 dud Woh Tera Naam Tha.
The Miser and the Camera
He may share his second name with his more ‘commercial minded’ movie-star cousins, but he’s had considerable success himself taking the road less travelled. This popular leading man of mostly quirky, often art-house fare is a favourite among a band of younger filmmakers driven to tell unconventional stories within the ‘mainstream’ format.
However, insiders insist that even if his taste in films is unconventional, he’s no different from typical penny-pinching actors who seldom reach into their own pockets to pay bills. While working on a new thriller with a respected young filmmaker he’d previously made a memorable movie with, the actor accompanied the unit production manager on an equipment-hunting session one afternoon. While they were out and about, the actor set his sights on an expensive DSLR camera, but he wasn’t carrying enough money to pay for it. He reportedly asked the production manager to shell out roughly Rs 50,000—the cost of the camera—offering to return the cash the following day. Hardly in a position to say ‘no’ to the star, the manager paid up. Expectedly, the money wasn’t returned the following day, or the day after, or anytime that week. The manager has said he repeatedly sent word to the actor’s secretary asking to be reimbursed for the camera, as he needed to settle accounts with his boss. No response from the star or his secretary.
When a few months had passed without any visible inclination on the actor’s part to pay for the camera, the desperate manager and the film’s producer realised they had no choice but to get the studio involved. Since this wasn’t one of those super-expensive vanity projects where stars are unduly pampered—rather, a tightly-budgeted project—the studio co-financing the movie decided they couldn’t just write off such a significant amount. So, while settling the actor’s fee, they deducted the cost of the camera. Embarrassed that his indiscretion had become public knowledge, the actor didn’t contest the cut. He simply never brought it up with anyone—not the studio, not the film’s producer, and not the poor production manager, who was just relieved that he wasn’t going to lose his job if the money wasn’t recovered.