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Golly, This Is Bolly
FSJ February, 2012


Whisper: Rockstar girl Nargis Fakhri faces a major visa problem and cannot enter India to work here because she’s of Pakistani origin.

Truth: Hear it from her discoverer Imtiaz Ali who is in touch with her on a daily basis. “The Pakistani origin bit only means that she gets interrogated a little more than others,” Imtiaz told FSJ. “She is asked if she has visited Pakistan and the answer is ‘no’.”

Background: Nargis’ father is of Pakistani origin but he met and married her Czech mother in USA where Nargis was born. Her parents divorced each other when she was barely 6 or 7 years old and Nargis has always been a US citizen with no links at all to Pakistan.

“Nargis didn’t have a multiple fi lm contract with us. She had a contract for only one fi lm and once that film was completed, her work permit expired,” remarked Imtiaz. Now all that Nargis needs is a letter from any fi lmmaker who has a fi rm offer to make her, a letter undertaking that he is making a fi lm with her. “That will happen soon, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Imtiaz
optimistically stated. In other words, it’s only when someone really wants to make a fi lm with Nargis Fakhri that she can get a work permit again.

Until then: Nargis is back in the US. “She has gone home because she knows that once she starts another fi lm and comes here, she won’t be able to go back for maybe another two years,” Imtiaz explained. Hmm, anybody in fi lmland ready to bell this cat?

Hello, Good Morning, Ganpati Allah

Pranam Walekum, folks! Oops, it’s got nothing to do with secular feelings being whipped up after the recently concluded Republic Day. It’s the name of accomplished character actor Sanjay Mishra’s debut fi lm as director. What’s with the catchy title? “I had a Muslim friend whom I introduced to a Sadhubaba. He touched the Sadhu’s feet saying, ‘Baba, Pranam Walekum’. And that’s how I got my title for this fi lm!” offered Sanjay Mishra. Reminds us of little Aryan, Shah Rukh Khan’s son, who’d coined  the name Ganpati Allah for the gods worshipped inside Mannat.

Curiously, Mishra’s satirical tongue-in-cheek fi lm starring Irrfan Khan boasts of scenes directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia (of Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster fame). Now how did that happen, Tishu? Says Tigmanshu, “Sanjay is a very good friend and batch mate from NSD. When I heard the script of Pranam Walekum I fell in love with it immediately.” A classic old boys’ reunion

The Pregnant Pause After The Dirty Picture

After Entertainment, Entertainment,  Entertainment, it’s going to be Vidya, Vidya, Vidya in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani. The toast of the year 2011 is determined to keep up the wow work  (and the resultant accolades and awards), this time heavier than before. Playing a six-month pregnant Vidya (her name in the fi lm), she is doing the promotional requisites looking pregnant, very pregnant.

With the first trailer out, there are two things you’ll get to see throughout the mysterious Kahaani – plenty of grimy Kolkata (the entire fi lm is shot there) and frames full of Vidya (it’s another of her full-on woman-oriented films).

Turning up looking full-blown preggers, Vidya epitomised the term ‘getting into the character’. Now don’t be surprised if it stirs up a trend. It is after all, only a matter of time before the ape game starts!

Stay Away From My Funeral

The bhel puri of religions in the Mahesh Bhatt family (mom: Muslim, dad: Hindu, wife: Christian) has sometimes led to a stand-off as it did between the Bhatt brothers and their late sister Sheela’s husband, Darshan Sabarwal.

Popular fi lmmakers Suneel Darshan (Andaaz that launched Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta) and Dharmesh Darshan (Raja Hindustani, Dhadkan) are the sons of Sheela and Darshan Sabarwal, making Mahesh Bhatt their mama. Err, make that their estranged mama since the Bhatts and the Sabarwals were renowned to be not on speaking terms.

Recently, when Suneel and Dharmesh’s  father passed away, the mourners at the chautha (prayer meeting) were many including Juhi Chawla and Raveena  Tandon. Uncle Mukesh Bhatt stood with the family while the word that went out was, Mahesh Bhatt is so unforgiving, he kept away even during his brother-in-law’s death. But Mahesh is a quiet operator. When he heard that his brother-in-law had passed away, he went straight to the cremation ground and stood with his two nephews. He later explained, “I went to the funeral because there was an animosity in our relationship with the nephews. I went there, met the boys, felt a certain amount of emotion for them and came away. But when they asked me to come for the chautha I said, no, it’s a public event. I don’t want to be a part of it, it doesn’t draw me in.”

In true Mahesh Bhatt manner, he not only stayed away from the chautha (he never ever attends any) but also announced to everybody at his brother-in-law’s funeral, “I told all of them, none of you are invited for my funeral, stay away!” A deadly silence followed, we presume.
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