Monthly Archives: September 2017

Julie 2 actress Raai Laxmi on her Bollywood debut — and those persistent MS Dhoni questions

If an actor’s 50th film marks her foray into Bollywood, then the interviewer should probably steer clear of questions involving the actor’s ‘confidence’. Raai Laxmi — Bollywood debutante and South film industry veteran — certainly has a lot of it, and is confident about making an impact with her upcoming film Julie 2. When we meet up to chat about her film, a torrential downpour rages outside, but Raai Laxmi — a Mumbai resident for the past 10 years — is calm and comfortably ensconced on a settee, sipping a cup of chai.

Why did she choose to make Mumbai her base, despite being a popular star down South? “I lived in Chennai for about three years and when the studios took over, we started shooting elsewhere. It made no sense (to stay put in Chennai) and the locations were so far from my home that I normally had to take two flights to get there. It was easy for me to work with Mumbai as base. It’s been more than 10 years and now I consider airports and flights as my first home,” says Raai, laughing.

Raai Laxmi in a poster for Julie 2. Image courtesy Facebook/@Julie2Film

In the initial years of her career, Raai was credited as ‘Lakshmi Rai’. It is only recently that she adopted the name we now know her by. “I changed from Lakshmi Rai to Raai Laxmi some three years ago; there was no trigger for it. It was my father who forced me to change my name. He didn’t have any explanation for it, he just said that the change would be good for me. And it has worked well for me!”

Not many know that in 2006, Raai was approached by Yash Raj Films for a role in Chak De India. Raai was finalised for a part, but things didn’t fall into place at the contractual level. Raao too got busy with Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil cinema, shooting (in the initial phases of her career) as many as six films a year. “When big opportunities knock on your door, you definitely want to show your presence. In the past there have been three attempts to ‘introduce’ me. While dates didn’t work out in a few cases, it was a contract issue in some others. There were also clashes of opinions with a few producers,” she explains.

Down South, Raai has worked with all the top stars of the day. Why debut with Julie 2 in Bollywood ten, instead of a project opposite an A-lister/one supported by a big banner? “Bollywood, to me, is a new industry and I have no idea how it operates. I come from a different school of thought and wonder if it’s the same here. We don’t chase people and I would have been happy to accept a film from a big banner or with a known star. It’s just that the Khans do one film in a year and Akshay does three films with a long queue of producers behind him. Also it’s a rare thing that you get to see a fresh face in the films of such stars.”

One of the dampeners during the Julie 2 promotion press interactions have been questions related to MS Dhoni, with whom Raai was once in a relationship. For Raai, it’s in the past and the questions about Dhoni seem to visibly annoy her. “It is annoying,” she says. “I feel like banging my head against a wall. People start judging you and imagine that you’re doing this for publicity. I have my own identity, and if I’ve not been talking about (the relationship), then why are people asking me about it?”

When faced with a couple of persistent questions about Dhoni at a press conference for Julie 2, Raai responded with, “Who is he?” She tells us that the constant questions are in a sense, ‘forcing (her) to not acknowledge him’. “When you say something, it becomes a headline. When you don’t say anything, it becomes a headline,” she says, wryly, adding, “Maybe I shouldn’t date someone famous, only to bring an end to these questions.”

Perhaps after Julie 2‘s release, the focus will shift to other talking points when it comes to Raai Laxmi.

Salman Khan-Jacqueline Fernandez’s Race 3 might star Sidharth Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapur

Jacqueline Fernandez had confirmed her involvement in Race 3, alongside Salman Khan, a while ago.

Firstpost had also earlier reported that Sidharth Malhotra might be joining the cast of the action thriller, as the makers are looking for a fresh face with Khan. However, according to a, apart from Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapur is also in final talks with producer Ramesh Taurani for a role in the film.

Sidharth Malhotra and Aditya Roy Kapur. Images from AFP.

The two actors have not had an exceptional year at the box office. While Malhotra’s A Gentleman bombed at the box office, Kapur’s Ok Jaanu also failed to leave an impression.

The report suggests that in order to turn the tables in their favour, the two are hoping to get cast alongside Khan’s, in roles that would otherwise be underwhelming considering their star power.

Demanding a remuneration much lesser than what they usually command in the market, both the actors are staggering under the pressure of delivering a hit. However, despite the conjectures, there is no official word of confirmation on these developments.

An inside source also revealed to the publication that Taurani himself does not feel the need to have another male actor alongside Khan.

Bigg Boss 11: Judwaa 2 cast Varun, Taapsee and Jacqueline to join Salman Khan on opening episode

Salman Khan, who is set to host Bigg Boss 11, will have Judwaa 2 actors Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu as his guests during the opening episode of the upcoming show.

Varun Dhawan has stepped into the shoes of Salman, who played a double role in the 1997 film Judwaa, which was also directed by David Dhawan. It has Karishma Kapoor and Ramba in the female lead roles.

Interestingly, Salman was also present on the wrap-up day of Judwaa 2, which is a remake of Judwaa.

Now, the team of Judwaa 2 will visit the original Judwaa superstar on Bigg Boss season 11’s launch episode. The cast will be shooting with Salman on Friday, said the spokesperson of the film.

The show will premiere on October 1 on Colors.

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and directed by David Dhawan, Judwaa 2 is presented by Fox Star Studios and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment.

The film is slated to release on Friday, 29 September.

Newton brings forth the point of view of those who conduct elections: Amit Masurkar

It was the search of a political idea on the web that led to the inception of Newton.

Amit Masurkar was determined to make his next film a political one after the critically acclaimed Sulemani Keeda. Amit spent the subsequent days doing things that writers often do – type out words on Google and look for all possible search results.

“The words that caught my attention were ‘polling booths’, ‘EVMs’ and ‘Presiding Officer’. I typed other words too and the search threw up ‘political dynasties’, ‘conspiracies’ and ‘scandal’. We already have seen films dealing with the latter topics but one has never seen anything from the point of view of people who conduct elections,” reveals Amit, on how Newton was born.

After having travelled to roughly 50 film festivals across the world with the film, the moment is finally here for the director, as his labour of love will be screened in cinema halls of its origin country.

Newton was shot in the Naxal prone areas of Chhattisgarh.  Amit maintains that he was very clear about rooting his film in the region of Chhattisgarh because of its red earth and unique tree topography. So was it a cakewalk shooting in the Naxalite zone? Amit answers, “Do you think so? It was quite tough actually. We wanted to cast local people for the film. It would have been tough getting them to a different location. With so many people it was easier for us to just go there and shoot.”

Despite the assurance and cooperation by the state government, the first day of the film unit in Chhattisgarh was anything but a smooth ride. The first location earmarked for the shoot was a forest area near Raipur. To the unit’s horror, ten days before the shoot of this low budget flick was to commence, the forest officer (also the signing authority), was found guilty of corruption charges. The subsequent raids yielded millions in cash stashed at his house.

“We had no clue what to do next as he had also turned a fugitive. After the officer was sent to jail, the next one was scheduled to join in his place only after few days. It was only after the local line producer informed us of another location called Dallirajara that the shoot could commence,” informs Amit. When the shooting began, the unit was informed by the local police chief not to take any police protection, as it would have meant danger to their lives. The covert message was to be behave like locals.

newton (1)

Being a low budget flick, the film also had its share of disappointment even at the scripting stage. Two leading production houses rejected the script even before reading the plot. Was it disappointing? “Not at all. I am more comfortable working with faces that I know. If somebody green lights a project and later quits his job, chances are that when someone replaces him your project might just go south. No one is interested in taking chances at these foreign studios.”

Amit was also part of the writing team that gave the fabulous The Great Indian Comedy Show, but the following years were full of struggle bearing no results despite the hard work. He would pitch ideas to directors and after being signed would start working on a script. The saga continued for four years and not a single script could fructify in the shape of a film. This was also the phase when he suffered depression. “I don’t know how I got out of it. I just decided not to depend on other people. It was then that I decided that I should do my own thing. I made a list of things that were available to me and then wrote a script around it and that’s how Sulemani Keeda happened.”

It was sheer luck for Amit when Newton metamorphosed from an independent film to a studio-backed film. It was a one-month assistantship under Aanand L Rai in 2004 for a telefilm that tilted things in his favour. “Rajkummar Rao showed him a clip of Newton and the shots impressed him. When Raj told him about me, his instant reaction was ‘I know him’. He then took my phone number and called to say that he loved the clip and was open for help of any sort,” reveals Amit.

Thanks to the filmmaker of Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhanaa, the initial plan of releasing the film in 150 screens has now trebled.

For this engineering drop out, jungles have now become addictive. “I realised after the shoot, jungles are very addictive. You have to build your own infrastructure. There is a thrill and it gives a very sublime feeling,” he adds.

Watch: Sanjay Dutt reveals why he choose Omung Kumar’s Bhoomi as his comeback film

Ahead of the release of Bhoomi, Firstpost caught up with Sanjay Dutt, who was more than happy to answer our curious questions.

One of the most obvious ones, at the heels of his release, is — Why Bhoomi  and not Munnabhai 3, as the latter already has a trailer out?

Dutt reveals, “Munnabhai 3 is still on the scripting stage. Right now it’s on hold. Bhoomi is a film I really wanted to do as a comeback, especially because I believe in women empowerment. I wanted to talk about what a rape victim [sic] from a small family goes through living in a city like Agra”

Speaking about Omung Kumar, the director of the film, Dutt says, “Omung is a great director, he’s tried something different with Bhoomi. It’s totally a commercial film.”

Was politics ever an option for a comeback, we ask Dutt? He is quick to respond, “Not really. Two family members is enough. Cinema is a medium where I can reach out to many people, and send out a good message.”

Watch Firstpost’s interview with Sanjay Dutt.

Bhoomi director Omung Kumar on Sanjay Dutt: ‘The industry loves him for who he is’

Sanjay Dutt is all set to make yet another comeback to films with this week’s release Bhoomi, and even as director Omung Kumar says that it’s a huge responsibility on him, he appears quite confident and upbeat. That’s probably because Omung feels the film will be lapped up by Dutt’s fans, who’re eager to watch him on the big screen after such a long hiatus. For Omung, who previously helmed two biopics — Mary Kom and Sarbjit — Bhoomi is a different genre altogether, an out-and-out mainstream commercial potboiler.

Bhoomi is certainly a different genre for me but I have done it in my style. I have paid lot of attention to the performances. You won’t see the hero Sanjay Dutt, you will see him as the character, Arun Sachdeva,” Omung told Firstpost in the run-up to his film’s release. The director’s confidence also stems from the fact that Dutt has chosen him over other filmmaker friends to make his big screen return with. In fact, Dutt has expressed his confidence in Bhoomi being his perfect comeback vehicle.

Sanjay Dutt with Omung Kumar on the sets of Bhoomi. File Photo

Bhoomi is an entertainer, a commercial action film and this is the genre I want to be in,” Dutt told Firstpost in a recent interview. Omung seconds: “Bhoomi is a complete potboiler. It has the quintessential Bollywood score, whistle-worthy dialogues, raw action sequences. I’ve also shot in unusual locations like Chambal.”

Omung recounted how he got Sanjay to agree to do the film. “I went to meet Sanjay and showed him Sarbjit’s trailer which he loved. Then I narrated four scripts to him, out of which, Sanjay chose Bhoomi. Maybe the script touched his heart and it matched his sensibilities. I was just producing the film at that time but then he insisted that I direct it as well. At that time my psychological thriller Five was about to go on the floors but since I got busy with Bhoomi, I had to push that one (back).”

Dutt has had many ‘comebacks’ — like a cat’s nine lives, his career has received fresh impetus every time he’s returned from a (forced) break. Jaan Ki Baazi (1985) was his first movie after he came back from his drug treatment and rehabilitation in the US;  Daud (1997) was his first film after his 1993 arrest in the Mumbai serial bomb blast case, and having wrapped up his jail sentence, Dutt is now back with Bhoomi. His last two films before being sentenced to imprisonment in early 2013 were PK and Ungli (both released in 2014).

Omung looked back at how Dutt’s always managed a successful return and said, “(It’) probably because the industry loves him for whatever he is that the offers keep flowing in. He has had a long journey of about 186 films but few films touch you more like Vaastav, Naam, Saajan, Munnabhai… For us, he is a fabulous actor, he is known for his style, for his swag, his physique…but in my film, I didn’t want all of that. I wanted a new person. I have broken that mould and you will see his acting ability. His face speaks, each frame looks like a painting because his wrinkles talk, his beard talks, all that oozes emotion — and to me those were the high points.”

Omung revealed that Dutt and he were both nervous on the first day of the shoot as they tried to understand each other’s method of acting. “I realised that Sanjay would want me to okay the shot in the first take. He hates rehearsing!” said Omug, adding with a laugh: “There is a huge court room scene with dialogues running into 10 pages. He did that scene in one take — he had told me earlier that he won’t give a second take at all!”

Paresh Rawal on why he thinks Ranbir Kapoor is like Naseeruddin Shah, demonetisation and his latest film

The politician in Paresh Rawal is yet to be overshadowed by the actor. Clad in blue jeans and a loose shirt when I meet him at a five star hotel, it’s evident that Rawal is on familiar turf. So what’s his first love these days — films or the Parliament? “Basically I am an actor so it has to be film sets, but these days I am enjoying my stint in a different way. The experience inside the Parliament is enriching. It helps one learn tricks of the world which helps me polish my craft as an actor,” Rawal says, as we settle down for a chat.

People who have interacted with Paresh Rawal will vouch for his reserve. He hardly engages with people he does not know and intracting with the press seems to be anathema. The cumulative result is that he is perceived as a snob. Is the assessment true? “If I keep appearing in front of them (people and the press) on a regular basis, they themselves will get bored of me. Rest assured, I am not media shy. People who know me and are close to me know this well that I don’t even have an iota of snobbishness. As far as perception goes, it’s difficult to win over perceptions because that’s not tangible. You can’t please everybody,” Rawal explains.


Paresh Rawal has never looked back after he shot into the limelight with his menacing act in Arjun. He was handpicked for the role by director Rahul Rawail after seeing him perform in a play. Rawal, a gifted actor, excelled in virtually every role that was offered to him. He believes that this could happen only because he did not receive formal training from any school. He cites his villainous acts in Dacait, Kabzaa and Sir, which were all inspired from people he knew. “It’s difficult for me to get into (the skin of) a villainous character who is an idiot. These days no one is scared of villains. Whatever make-up you apply or weapon you carry, people will never be scared of you. Behude lagte hai hum. If it’s all about portraying a behuda character, might as well make it amusing,” he reasons.

His upcoming film Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi has been compared to 2 States, but Rawal denies any similarities. He maintains that the film is a laugh riot and the Gujarati character that he plays is neither stereotypical nor caricaturish. The film also reunites him with Rishi Kapoor after almost 25 years. The last time the two shared screen space together was for Rajkumar Santoshi’s Damini. So was there a moment when the passage of time hit home? “Never,” says Rawal. “Those from the Kapoor clan are such large-hearted people. I never got this feeling that I am acting with him after such a long period. He is a straightforward man.”

Currently he is also busy shooting for Sanjay Dutt’s biopic. The very mention of his co-actor Ranbir Kapoor brings a twinkle to Rawal’s eyes and it’s fair to conclude that the younger actor has the veteran in thrall with his acting prowess. In fact, Rawal believes that Ranbir is in the same league as Naseeruddin Shah. “An actor is known by his choices and just look at Ranbir’s choices. No one can dare stand in front of him.” He recalls: “When I was acting with Ranbir in the Dutt biopic, I got a feeling which I had experienced when I was acting with Naseer Bhai during Sir 25 years back. There is an actor in front of you to whom you reacting. The feeling was surreal and it happened after 25 years.”

Rawal is, of late, known for his acerbic tone on social media platforms. His Twitter account was in the eye of a storm when he mentioned Arundhati Roy in a tweets about Kashmir. Has his wife ever chided him to tone down his tweets? “She knows that there is no point chiding me but she also knows that I mean every word that I say or write on my social platform. I know that sometimes my style is acidic and harsh but during such cases it becomes impossible for me to keep things inside because of my anger.”

How Sara Ali Khan and Jhanvi Kapoor became Bollywood’s most hyped debutantes in recent history

After years of speculation, Amrita Singh and Saif Ali Khan’s eldest daughter Sara Ali Khan has started shooting for her first Bollywood film, Kedarnath. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor (Kai Po Che, Rock On!!), Kedarnath is described as a love story that unfolds during the course of a pilgrimage. Sara, along with her co-star Sushant Singh Rajput, visited the Kedarnath temple on the eve of the shoot.

Meanwhile, Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s daughter Jhanvi Kapoor’s debut film, a remake of the Marathi blockbuster Sairat, will go on the floors this November. Her co-star, in this Dharma Productions film, is another star kid — Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan. The Sairat-remake will be Ishaan’s second film. The 22-year-old will make his debut with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds.

These two newbies are probably the most hyped debutantes Bollywood has seen in recent times. Even Alia Bhatt, who debuted in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year five years ago, didn’t have the kind of pre-launch hype these girls do.

Let’s take a look at how Sara and Jhanvi’s debuts compare.

Sara Ali Khan with Karan Johar. File Photo

The Beginning

Bollywood first took notice of Sara in early 2012 when she posed, with her mother Amrita Singh, for the cover of Hello magazine. The then-16-year-old Science student looked elegant in an ivory-and-gold Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla creation. While it was obvious that the teen had her heart set on a career in Bollywood, her parents insisted that she complete her education. Weeks after the magazine hit stands, Amrita, in an interview, said, “Sara is good at academics. She even plans to go for further studies to Yale University. So we need to give her some time.”

Even while Sara was studying at Columbia University, speculations about the film she’d debut in continued to swirl. There was Dharma productions’ remake of the Hollywood film Fault in Our Stars opposite Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan Khattar, a film opposite Hrithik Roshan which was to be directed by Karan Malhotra (Agneepath, Brothers) and the sequel to Student of the Year opposite Tiger Shroff. It was only earlier this summer that Kedarnath was confirmed by Amrita as Sara’s debut film.

Close on Sara’s heels, Jhanvi also first made her presence felt with a magazine cover. She was seen on the cover of People Magazine (Dec 2012), along with her mother Sridevi and young sister Khushi. Like Amrita, Sridevi also said that Jhanvi ‘was too young to sign a film’ but ‘she’s always wanted to act’. The 20-year-old finished her schooling at Dhirubhai Ambani School, Mumbai before completely focusing on getting Bollywood ready. While Amrita hesitated about Sara’s association with Dharma, Sridevi, it was said, didn’t even bother looking at any other opportunities for her daughter. After Karan Johar announced in 2015 that Dharma will launch Jhanvi, it was just a matter of finding the right film.

Jhanvi with her parents, Sridevi and Boney Kapoor, and younger sister Khushi on the IIFA green carpet a few years ago. File Photo

The Film

In June last year, Karan watched Sairat, the highest earning Marathi film of all-time, and he was bowled over. Directed by Nagraj Manjule, the film is a young love story juxtaposed against caste conflict. With Nagraj keen on focusing on his Hindi directorial debut (starring Amitabh Bachchan), the reins of the Hindi remake were handed to Shashank Khaitan whose previous two films — Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania — were megahits.

What made Parshya and Archie’s love relatable was that Sairat was soaked in realism. From the naturalistic acting to the brutal violence, the semi-rural landscape and even Archie’s inexpensive sartorial sense helped make the film real. It would be interesting to see how Shashank will find the balance between realism and the trademark Dharma sensibilities. After all, Manish Malhotra has been roped in to dress Jhanvi for the remake.

Details about Sara’s film Kedarnath, on the other hand, have been hard to come by. Even the film’s ‘first look’ that was launched to coincide with the beginning of the shoot, gives away almost nothing about the storyline, which is credited to its director. According to early buzz, the Uttarakhand floods of 2013 form the backdrop of this story of human spirit that persists in the face of tragedy. Sushant’s character in the film is a pitthu, who carries pilgrims on their shoulders. The film will mostly be shot in Uttarakhand.

The Mothers

Like the “heroine’s mummyjis” of yore, both Amrita and Sridevi have been working meticulously behind-the-scenes to make sure that their daughters make the right moves. The Mom actress has come a long way from when she wasn’t keen on a career in showbiz for either of her daughters. In the early days when Jhanvi first started making headlines for her Instagram posts, her superstar mom even ordered her to stay off any kind of social media. Sridevi was instrumental in getting Karan to launch Jhanvi and now that the film’s shoot is just months away, it’s all hands on deck. One hears that she is even closely monitoring all the looks Malhotra is creating for her daughter.

While Sridevi was instrumental in her daughter getting a launch as a ‘Dharma heroine’, the buzz is that Amrita is the reason why Sara lost out on the opportunity. Apparently, the actress wasn’t keen on the three-film caveat that a Dharma launch film came with. By debuting with Kedarnath, not only is Sara not tied down to any production house, she is also free to choose managers and staff that she’s comfortable with instead of those ‘recommended’ by Karan. What also tipped the scales in favour of Kedarnath, for Amrita, was that her friend Ekta Kapoor is one of the film’s producers.

Kedarnath is slated for a summer 2018 release and if the untitled Sairat-remake doesn’t get pushed, it should also hit theatres next year. While trade pundits feel that Jhanvi might have an edge over Sara because she has Karan Johar as a mentor, only time will tell how the audience will receive these star daughters.

Daddy: Arjun Rampal gives his heart, body and nose to the film, but is let down by Ashim Ahluwalia

The first time you see him, it’s through a glass wall. Light tinted, slightly oversized sunglasses  and a small, neat moustache embellish the face, carefully half hidden in profile. He hasn’t spoken and you don’t take much notice of him except as a big gangster, Maqsood (read Dawood). He is, apparently, a man of some importance. We know this because he has a sidekick who addresses him as “Bhai”.

The second time you see him, he is seated in a car. He is dressed in a printed silk shirt. His hair is long and thick and the camera is close enough to see his eyes through those light gold shades. And then he speaks. The unmistakable grainy voice belongs to Farhan Akhtar. The hitherto dull and dim lit screen, suddenly lights up. The rest of the long hour and a half, you wait for the next glimpse of Bhai.

Oh, but isn’t this film about Arun Gawli, the gangster who became known as Daddy?

Unfortunately, yes. It is also a film that attempts to walk the thin line between the real and commercial cinema. But how real can a movie be, without it being a documentary?

In the previous scene with Bhai, the men, sort of huddled outside, are being given an important assignment. One of them dares to enquire about the payment. He is Arun Gawli, a small time goon from Dagdi Chawl in Mumbai’s Byculla area.

If Farhan Akhtar is unrecognizable, with the perfect detailing of the underworld man from the eighties; Arjun Rampal as Arun Gawli fondly called Daddy, is equally nondescript behind the prosthetic big nose and long hair. Utmost care has been taken to recreate the real world of a man whose humble beginnings in the 70s and 80s are traced to a place called Dagdi Chawl.

The old staircases, the crowded, long balconies, the small rooms with faded, cracked paint and weak, wooden doors — are painstakingly lit with dim light to show a world as dark as Gawli is made to be. This is that Mumbai chawl  where he woos a Muslim girl across the balcony and eventually marries her. This is the unsafe place which he builds into a mini fortress, armed with his faithful men and guns. This is where crossfires are exchanged every time the cops come to get him. This is the hideout where he religiously prays to his God — Shiv Shambho.

This is the home where he holds his baby and a gun with one hand and a toy rattle with another.

The latter, particular image should ideally evoke some strong, mixed emotions.  But it doesn’t. In fact, the film, does not stir up any emotion, whatsoever.

Daddy has been positioned as a ‘real’ film with ‘commercial’ value given by Arjun Rampal’s name. But this faithfulness to the realistic feel, ends up overlooking the required drama and entertainment in films, which go beyond repeated shootouts. The silk shirts and the bell bottom pants also need some flesh, blood and soul, just like a simple Dagdi Chawl-made vada pau needs its dry garlic, and red, hot chutney.

Rampal’s Gawli says “ikde ye” quite comfortably but does not engage you with a real conversation after that.

The matter of fact tone is as dull as the Wikipedia page which informs you of as much as you see in the movie. The story had sufficient meat in the way three men — Baba (Anand), Ramu (Rajesh) and Arun (Arjun) — formed the BRA gang and their eventual journey. However, you never really get to know who they were as people or friends.

None of the fantastic detailing to recapture the ’80s matters. The flat dialogues make the pace  and the tone feel so stretched that the songs provide a welcome break. Particularly, an item number that reminds one of Parveen Babi in a gold, shimmery costume and of the popular disco beat.

Arjun Rampal seems to have given his heart, mind, body, soul and ‘nose’ to this film as actor, co-writer and producer. Hence, it’s disappointing to see it all ruined by director Ashim Ahulwalia who is obsessed with art direction and the costume department. The setting and sepia tones take precedence over the screenplay and the character.

This is not so surprising, considering his debut film — the Nawazuddin-starrer Miss Lovely — which drew some attention during film festivals but failed when released in theatres.

Rampal in Daddy, is like Aishwarya Rai in Sarbjit. Both are fighting their immense good looks and their image, with heartfelt sincerity. Rampal gives a satisfactory, restrained performance in Daddy but he needed better scenes, especially with the ineffective and badly miscast Nishikant Kamat who plays Inspector Vijaykar.

Daddy could have been like Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya but ends up as fake as Farhan’s character name, Maqsood, in its guise to be real. Was Dawood singing in their ears — “main hoon kaun…main hoon, main hoon… DON”?

Bobby Deol: ‘Yes the film industry has let me down, but I can’t keep sulking’

After a four year hiatus, Bobby Deol — the flamboyant star of the 90s — is back on the big screen.

He hopes to win back his audience and his fading stardom, and revive his career with the upcoming comedy, Poster Boys, which marks the directorial debut of actor Shreyas Talpade, and also features his older brother, Sunny Deol. “People ask me why was I so choosy and why I didn’t do any film in the last four years. I tell them that I wasn’t choosy but people had become choosy about me,” says the actor candidly.

After a successful debut with Rajkumar Santoshi’s Barsaat (opposite Twinkle Khanna) in 1995, he went on to appear in many hits and is best remembered for his thriller and action films like Gupt, Soldier, Hamraaz, Ajnabee among others. Bobby’s career slowed down with duds like Chor Machaaye Shor, Kismat, Bardaasht, Tango Charlie. Years later, his fading career got a new lease of life with Yamla Pagla Deewana (2011) but his success was short-lived as younger actors displaced the once blue-eyed boy of the 90s. To make it worse, his films like Thank You and Players tanked at the box office.

He’s back in his flashy avatar — donning trendy shades and leather boots — and Bobby has now decided to speak his heart out.

“This is me, there is no defense mechanism,” he reiterates, adding, “I have no idea what went wrong with my career. I haven’t worked for four years, and these four years of my life has gone so fast but it has made me a better and stronger person. I have been dying to work, I love being on the sets. Now I feel refreshed, more positive in life and it reflects in my attitude or else I wouldn’t have been able to talk so openly. This way I will attract people’s attention and get more work.”

“A good subject, a good script is hard to find, God doesn’t give you chances again and again,” he says, as he looks around at his fans waiting for selfie. “I hate these selfie pics, it is the worst photograph possible…you look so distorted and ugly. We look like mannequins,” laughs Bobby, and gets down to chatting with Firstpost.

The actor says that the perception that he’ll only do starry roles and central characters has caused a dent in his career. “People started carrying false news about me and maligning me. The industry and social media kept saying that I don’t want to work. That I was content and happy. That I was busy as my wife’s going through a legal battle, but nobody knows the reality. It was tough for me to come out of all that. I want to change their outlook. I am now meeting people and telling them that I want to do good characters. Nice and meaty roles in all genres,” he says.

Few months back, Bobby had opened up about how the industry let him down and as a result he missed chances of doing hits like Jab We Met and Highway with director Imtiaz Ali, but without holding any grudges, he says, “Yes, the industry let me down but I can’t keep sulking. If work comes my way and people don’t ditch me, I would love to work with dedicated people and with some of the contemporary directors. Abbas Mustan are the only directors I have worked the maximum with. But somehow we have not been able to work together because when you are not in circulation then it is very difficult to get the project on floor.”

He further adds, “I haven’t really seen too many films off-late but I will start watching now. But I like the way Akshay is picking up scripts these days.”

While in the past Bobby was often refused roles of a small town guy, he grabbed the opportunity with Poster Boys in which he plays a naive, sincere and honest school teacher. “That’s going to be my approach now — to break stereotypes and surprise people. Earlier, whenever I would ask for the role of a poor guy, I was refused because I didn’t look like one. I always played a rich guy in many of these thrillers and rom-coms. The only time I played a small town boy was probably in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Kareeb. I never looked at myself as good looking or bad looking. There are so many films made where actors don’t look the part but perform the part. That is what I am hoping for,” says Bobby.

But one thing that will never change with Bobby is ‘disappearing’ from the city on the eve of his film’s release. Laughing out loud, he says, “I really get stressed with these box office collections. This time I am leaving for Manali. I would always run away on the release day. I am too sensitive a person, I can’t handle all this. I won’t lie; I get nervous and scared.