Kangana Ranaut and Bipasha Basu have accused Gitanjali Gems, founded by Mehul Choksi (Nirav Modi’s — recently accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam — relative), of breach of contract and non-payment of dues.
After the 2014 blockbuster hit Queen, Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao may be joining forces once again to star in an upcoming thriller together.
“It’s also highly likely that Rajkummar Rao, who was Kangana’s co-star in Queen, will be sharing screen
space with her in this film too. Rajkummar has also been on a high with his last few films either doing well at the box office, or gaining critical acclaim,” said an unverified source, according to a Deccan Chronicle report.
Shailesh Singh, one of the co-producer’s of Ranaut’s 2016 release Simran and her 2011 release Tanu Weds Manu has reportedly invested in the actor once again — this time in the form of a thriller which will apparently be helmed by a director from the South film industry. Ranaut is currently shooting for Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi which is directed by Krish, and Singh is reportedly keen on getting another director from down south to helm the project.
The movie will reportedly go on floors by the second quarter of 2018.
Whereas 2017 saw one movie starring Ranaut in the titular role (Simran), it is Rajkummar Rao who has been setting the box-office ablaze with critically acclaimed performances in movies like Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Newton.
In his open letter on Kangana Ranaut and nepotism, Saif Ali Khan mentioned how he is not on social media because it comes across as ‘fake’. Now, Ranaut has responded with an open letter of her own. Thus, open letters seem to be the tweet equivalent of those who have chosen to distance themselves from social media.
In her open letter, Ranaut clarifies that her response to Saif’s letter should not be viewed as a clash of individuals but as a healthy exchange of ideas. Ranaut largely countered Saif on three arguments. Firstly, she explained how the nepotism is not a personal issue between both of them and in fact, addresses a much larger issue that concerns society as a whole. Therefore, she argued that Saif did owe an explanation to the public, and not just a personal apology to Ranaut.
“Nepotism is a practice where people tend to act upon temperamental human emotions, rather than intellectual tendencies. Businesses that are run by human emotions and not by great value-systems, might gain superficial profits. However, they cannot be truly productive and tap into the true potential of a nation of more than 1.3 billion people,” she said in her open letter.
Secondly, she contested Saif’s claim about genetics playing a role in children of film personalities inheriting their talents. She argued that artistic skills, hard-work, experience, concentration spans, enthusiasm, eagerness, discipline and love, which are prerequisites of making it large in the film industry, can not be inherited.
“If your point was true, I would be a farmer back home. I wonder which gene from my gene-pool gave me the keenness to observe my environment, and the dedication to interpret and pursue my interests,” she said, in her open letter.
She even challenged Saif’s allegation on the media for being a part of the vicious cycle of nepotism. She said that nepotism is a part of the human nature, not a crime. While she said there is no point in getting defensive about one’s choice, she also clarified that nepotism is not the way to go forward.
“In my opinion, that is an extremely pessimistic attitude for a Third World country, where many people don’t have access to food, shelter, clothing, and education. The world is not an ideal place, and it might never be. That is why we have the industry of arts. In a way, we are the flag-bearers of hope,” she signed off.
When Kangana Ranaut called him “the flag bearer of nepotism” in the Hindi film industry, Karan Johar didn’t take it very kindly.
Alluding to the now infamous Koffee With Karan show where those now famous words were uttered , Karan told film critic Anupama Chopra during a (later) Q and A session at a London university:
“When she says ‘flag-bearer of nepotism’, I just want to say her, I am glad she knows what it all means. I don’t think she has understood the entire meaning of the term.”
Apart from not knowing the meaning of nepotism, Karan also accused Kangana of playing the “woman card, and the victim card”.
His remarks earned him and Kangana several brownie points, especially when she responded with .
But an old interview clip of Karan’s — with, once again, Anupama Chopra — from 2014 shows that whether or not Kangana understands the meaning of “nepotism”, Karan does understand it. And what’s more, he believes that he’s been guilty of it as well.
While we take a moment to appreciate that, here’s a look at those relevant portions from his 2014 interview:
“[Referring to casting Alia Bhatt in Student of The Year] I picked up a chubby girl… I saw something… And I can’t lie. Maybe the fact that she is Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter also excited me. Right now, I’d like to say no, but maybe back then, it was a really strong sub-layer [sic]. And that is nepotism and we’re guilty. I’m guilty.
Would I have cast Varun Dhawan if he was not David Dhawan’s son? Because he is David Dhawan’s son, he was on my sets as an AD, and that’s why I spent enough time with him and got to know that he can be a movie star.
There are too many factors in this country that contribute to movie stardom, true talent is the least of them.”
[Anupama and Karan’s fellow guests on the show, Deepika Padukone and Tisca Chopra say at this point: “That’s so sad.” Karan then continues:]
“It is truly tragic.
Would I have been a filmmaker? I’m a producer’s son. I had no experience. I was an assistant on one film. My father had the platform to give me and that’s why I’m a filmmaker. And so if I go through any struggle in my career, I deserve it.”
From 2014, when he had a perfectly lucid understanding of what comprises nepotism to 2017, when he did an about-turn on the subject, Karan’s beliefs sure have undergone quite the sea-change.
While Rangoon hits theaters next week, the film’s lead actress Kangana Ranaut is on a promotion spree along with co-stars Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan. Expectedly, several of the statements she’s made while on her publicity rounds made headlines — be it on Hrithik Roshan, or her comments regarding nepotism while on Koffee With Karan.
Firstpost recently had a sit-down with Kangana for our latest episode of Gossip Guy, and boy did she have a lot to talk about with host Renil Abraham.
First off, Kangana laughed off the uproar over her nepotism remark on KWK, although she pointed out that what she had said was entirely true. “Of course I am going to say it to Karan (Johar)’s face, I believe that (it’s true),” Kangana told us, adding, “To his credit, even he (Karan) is laughing about it. We need to loosen up a bit and see the funnier side of things. We will be a great society if that happens.”
She was more serious on the subject of her fall-out with Hrithik Roshan, which dominated headlines in 2016. Kangana told us that not refraining from talking about it was a conscious decision she made. “If I kept it as a secret, it would have become bigger in everyone’s (minds),” she explained. “All my interviews in the past seven days have been about that. I have said whatever, in my capacity, I understand about the situation.
“The only thing you care about that point is your career. In a way, it directly affects your career,” Kangana said.
“This is something very personal, it is out in the open and it is completely damaging, it is ruining my hard work of 10 years. I am a great actress and I remain one… the media has been amazingly supportive, so have the people around,” she added.
As for whether or not she was concerned about being portrayed negatively, Kangana said “I was concerned, but at the same time I did not want to shut up. I did not want to take the easy way to get done with everything… Luckily I am not answerable to anyone — a husband or child, whom you care about. I wasn’t in any other relationship at that time. Your partner can put pressure on you to put an end (to such an issue). I was single and I did not have any emotional pressure, my parents were very supportive. I had to protect my career… did not know how to do it, so I just did what I did. Today, it seems like such a waste of time.”
It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.
One such character was the wonderfully-nuanced cameo by SayaniGupta, who played Hina Siddiqui, a young Muslim woman driven to despair. It’s a small but pivotal and deeply impactful role, so much so that Sayani was lauded for her performance by some of the veterans from the industry. Twitterati in large numbers also poured their love for her.
Gupta has so far been doing a balancing act between commercial and art cinema. She has received critical acclaim for her offbeat and distinctive roles in films like her debut Margarita With A Straw (played the role of Kalki’s love interest)and most recently Fan (as Shah Rukh Khan’s secretary), however, Sayani doesn’t take compliments or criticism seriously.
“I have never sat down to ponder over what others have to say because ultimately you know what you have done. Piyush Mishra (theatre and film actor, NSD alumni) called me few days back when I was shooting for Jagga Jasoos, and said while referring to Jolly LLB 2, ‘I didn’t know you acted so well.’ Lot of people are complimenting me on social media as well. Somebody told me that they went to watch the film thrice because of me. There are lot of people who said I made them feel for the part and I made them cry,” says Sayani.
She continues, “My performance really moved my mother, and she is far too detached about the industry and not at all excited about the film world or what I am doing. She is not in favour of me acting and it was quite a struggle to convince her when I went to FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). Little by little, she is coming to terms with it but she would have rather seen me as an IAS officer or in a regular job.”
“We are from middle class family and they didn’t want their only daughter to get into films. Obviously there are certain perceptions about the film industry. My close friends never say nice things, they are always critiquing my work, but finally they felt that I was brilliant in Jolly LLB 2.”
Strangely enough, Sayani has been getting offers for horror movies for last few years and she, too, fails to understand the reason for it. “Maybe they think I am a Bengali, I have big eyes…” she laughs.
While Sayani so far has rejected two offers post Jolly LLB 2 (as she is “choosy”, “instinctive”, “and not ready for it”), she is certainly excited about her first international project, The Hungry, which is an Indo-British production starring Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra. The film, for which the actors were very selectively chosen, is directed by debutante filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee, who is an alumnus from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Hungry is an adaptation of William Shakespeare tragedy Titus Androcinus, which is believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593.
“This year marks the 400th death anniversary of Shakespeare. His stories could seem a tad hyper-real for this era, but this film is a realistic take. The script won at a collaborative cine-lab,” says Sayani, further adding, “The film has a bunch of deadly actors. We shot for it in Delhi and Agra. The ambience on set was stimulating and since we all got along so well, it turned out to be a great shoot.”
Recently, Sayani earned an honourable mention for the Best Actress award for her short film, Leeches, at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). In just two years of her career, she’s also bagged one of the lead roles opposite Naseeruddin Shah with The Hungry. The actress considers it her privilege to act alongside ‘Naseer’, who was her teacher at the FTII.
“Naseer was very excited about his role after decades. He plays my father. He has been my teacher and lot of my understanding about acting and the craft is because of him. It was almost like reassurance of sorts when he would come to take our class. I adore him as a human being. He is fun to be around. He has always taught us how acting is all about reacting. He is a keen listener, which adds to the performance,” she says, adding:
“There are two of the coolest men I have worked with – Shah Rukh Khan and Naseeruddin Shah. They are sensitive, they are aware, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are normal dudes.”
So did Sayani take any advice from the two “coolest” men?
“Some of the things Naseer told me is: ‘Learn your lines till you bump into a furniture. Know your lines backwards. Study the script well. Be relaxed and don’t take things too seriously. Make it fun and light.’ On the other hand, there’s much to learn just by the way Shah Rukh carries himself. He is the most technically sound actor, I feel. His understanding, the cleanliness with which he does everything, his craft is solid. He doesn’t show it. He is persistently hardworking and also the humility. He doesn’t take his stardom seriously,” she reveals.
Two of Sayani’s “friends” from the industry are the erstwhile directors – Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bhardwaj. She may not have offers from them yet but she certainly takes their advice. “I don’t talk work with them. Hirani often tells me that I should give people time after they have seen my film. I did audition for a part in Rangoon but Vishal told me that it won’t be good enough for me. I would never ask them to cast me because that could hamper our relationship. Whenever they want to cast me, they will.”
Sayani is currently shooting for Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif- starrer Jagga Jasoos which has been in the making for a long time. “When I signed the film I was playing the only narrator in the film. I had a separate track of my own. But since there is no script — Dada (Director Anurag Basu) doesn’t work with scripts, he writes as he goes along — my role has changed. I will know what my part is only after I see the film. Also, it is a very difficult film when it comes to format. It is musical, it’s a children’s film, and it is not a normal narrative. I play a 14-year-old girl and that is all I know (laughs),” she says.
Mumbai: There seems to be no end to the feud between Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut, with the National Award winning actress today asking why he needs his father to rescue him from controversies.
Recently, Hrithik’s father and filmmaker Rakesh Roshan had said in an interview that his son chose to remain calm and dignified when someone was spreading lies about him (referring to the battle between Kangana and Hrithik).
He had even said that if Hrithik chose to come out with the truth, it would shock everyone.
Initially, when the journalist asked Kangana to comment, her sister Rangoli came to her rescue saying the question can be skipped, although Kangana chose to respond.
“Why can’t men stand up for themselves. He (Hrithik) is a 43-year-old man. I just can’t understand why his father has to come to rescue him from all these small controversies,” the Queen actress said.
Kangana was talking at the launch of Chetan Bhagat’s latest novel, One Indian Girl.
The controversy between the two actors had begun when Kangana mentioned ‘silly exes’ in an interview. Hrithik then shot off a legal notice to Kangana asking her to retract the statement. This had led to some mud-slinging between them.
She is a three times National Award winner after all and she is not even 30 as yet. But I wouldn’t know. Fed on a diet of Satyajit Ray and Rittwik Ghatak from our childhood we were taught to sneer at Bollywood very early on. And Kangana Ranaut’s mega box-office triumphs with such cringe-worthy names as Tanu Weds Manu are, from all accounts, brazen money-making missions achieving their goal hand over fist.
Yet, I am her fan, a zealous, devoted fan at that. For what she stands for in her person rather than what she enacts on screen. As was revealed in her spell-binding double act on television on 3 May, the day she was awarded her third National Award. I was glued to the idiot box all through, enthralled till the very last minute of her two interviews on two channels. She looked stunning of course and being the actress she is, making her presence felt must be second nature to her. But it was what she said that was so exhilarating, so electrifying.
Admittedly, told not very well. Without scripted lines, her words didn’t quite flow, without someone hollering “cut” she didn’t know when to stop. She kept repeating herself, going on and on saying the same thing in the same words over and over again. Yet, nothing could detract from the substance of what she said, so prettily, with such ease and with such quiet confidence.
To be able to declare so openly, knowing that the interviews were being beamed straight into people’s living rooms and bedrooms across the country, that there is “Nothing gross about our period blood, Why do we need to tell women that period blood is gross?”; to talk so freely about “bodily fluids” of men and women; to admit publicly about being “sexually active” without a hair or hide of a husband in sight; to be so unapologetic about her many flings (“It’s very hard for me to find any sort of shame or blame in my life); to dismiss the name-calling she’s been subjected to (‘whore’ and ‘witch’ being the more innocent ones) as “very old-fashioned, it won’t work” — who was this woman, Kangana or Madonna?
Precisely. If it was Madonna and Shakira in the West some years ago, it is Kangana and Sunny Leone in India in 2016. Sunny Leone, who burst onto our consciousness at the beginning of this year, refusing to beg mercy for her stint as a “porn star”, maintaining her poise and dignity despite the interviewer’s desperate efforts to name and shame her. Together they are busy breaking moulds, shattering images, sending out of court the cherished fantasy that the “ideal bharatiya nari” is one who values her chastity belt more than her life. A proud Sunny Leone not only acts in a film named One Night Stand but also unabashedly admits to such one-nighters during her days as a single woman.
What’s your favourite beverage? an interviewer had once asked Kangana. “Coffee!” she had promptly replied. “I can drink it any time. And red wine. Over the years, I have bought a whole load of fine red wines from Paris.” Even a few years ago, our most successful heroines would romp about half-naked on screen but when it came to their off-screen personas they wouldn’t be caught dead in any such attire or with a drink in their hands or a cigarette dangling from their fingers. Kangana received her third National Award from President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday dressed not in the regulation Kanjeevaram but in an off-shoulder dress, very Western but very Indian too.
Evidently a new Indian womanhood is being scripted and Kangana and Sunny are the prime but not the only examples of this phenomenon. Just look at the enormous outpouring of support for both these women on the social media where the new India lives and plays. It is clear as daylight: More and more urban Indian woman are refusing to subscribe to the belief that you can’t be a true Indian woman unless you live by certain age-old norms. The sexual revolution is here to stay and for women too.
Ironically, the women are racing ahead but Indian men are unable to keep pace. In the Kangana-Hrittik Roshan kerfuffle it is Roshan who has gone out of his way to project a sati-saddhvi holier-than- thou image, not Kangana. As for one of her other exes, Adhyayan Suman, the mind boggles.Someone who by his own admission has studied in London and New York and got his dream car BMW7Series for one of this birthdays, turns to mummy’s pundit-ji with his girlfriend woes.
“My mother was very worried,” Suman told an interviewer, “and she called the family’s Panditji to come home and meet me. The first thing he asked me was: ‘Khana banati hai tumhare liye?’ When I said yes, he said, ‘Apna impure blood milati hai khaane mein black magic ke liye’… The same Pandit later on came on Salman Khan’s Dus Ka Dum also and he looked at Kangana in the middle of the show and said ‘Aap pisachini hai.’ She treated it as if it was a joke. It’s there on national TV.” In what century is he living in, I ask you.
Come on Indian men, grow up. Or be prepared to be left behind while women not only enter heretofore forbidden temples and mosques but dance on your foreheads too.
Noted actress Vidya Balan on Thursday extended support to Queen star Kangana Ranaut, who is going through a legal battle with actor Hrithik Roshan.
Vidya has said she has great admiration for Kangana for “standing up” for herself.
Asked about the row between Kangana and Hrithik, Vidya, who was at the trailer launch of TE3N here, told reporters: “It’s none of my business to judge anyone and least of all to comment on what is their business… But I have the greatest admiration for her (Kangana).
“Its very creditable that she is standing up for herself because as women we find it easy to stand up for everyone else but ourselves…
“We stand up for our fathers, husbands, children and parents but we rarely stand up for ourselves. So kudos and more power to her,” she added.
Issues between Kangana and Hrithik surfaced when the former hinted that the latter was her “ex”, saying in an interview she fails to understand “why exes do silly things to get your attention”.
Vidya Balan has been applauded for doing movies centered around women like Kahaani and The Dirty Picture, and she feels that there is no harm in calling then ‘women-centric’ films.
“It’s been the norm; every film is ‘male-centric’. The identity of the character is missing, vague. When we see film with woman in the lead, it is a woman-centric film. I think there is no harm in pronouncing films as women-centric. At this point of time we need it, may be after sometime we won’t need it,” Vidya said on the sidelines of MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival.
Actress Kangana Ranaut, however, thinks it is not about male or female-centric films, it is about characters. “I think it is not about male or female centric films but about the character one plays on screen. The characters are remembered,” she said.
The two actresses were speaking at a session on ‘Women in Films’ at MAMI festival, where veteran actress Shabana Azmi and director Kiran Rao were also present.
Complimenting Vidya and Kangana’s work, Shabana said, “There were lot of women-centric films with Nutan, Meena Kumari, Mala Sinha, then there came a phase where women were shown as a forgiving wife, sacrificing sister, loving mother, it was all stereotypical.”
“It is a happy time as women are playing protagonist in films,” she said.
Shabana added she fails to understand the disparity in remuneration for male and female actors in the Hindi film industry.
“I am unable to understand why gender comes in a profession. I got good money in mainstream films and for small budget films, I got money according to the budget of the film.”
Vidya, 37, feels women undermine themselves, but she is content with her pay scale.
“I think we undervalue ourselves. People often in some or the other way tell us we are not valuable. I have done small budget films and I get the price accordingly. Apart from that whatever I ask for I have got that. I am happy with the growth,” she said.
On the other hand, Kangana revealed how studios pay the actresses. “I think for the last 10 years I was struggling to get a break, today I am happy where I am. I ask what I feel is right. We get five per cent of what our male counterparts get,” she said.
“There are studios that offer us big films saying it is an opportunity for us, but they don’t pay us enough. It is our right to get paid,” the 28-year-old Queen star.
On being criticised for giving inputs in dialogues and screenplay, she said, “As an actress when I started contributing to my films, writing dialogues and screenplays, I thought people would find me useful. I was shocked to see that it was seen as something which is not accepted no matter how much they are benefiting from it,” she said.
“My contribution is seen as interference. But when a male actor, who is this maverick, larger than life person, does the same thing it is not considered that way. I was called an interfering b***h,” she said.
On the occasion, Vidya also expressed her displeasure over people talking about her looks and weight.
“I think age is just a number. I entered the industry at the age of 26 when actresses either settle down or think of settling down in their life. I would be happy to play any kind of role provided it is exciting. I don’t appreciate when people talk about my look, like saying that I have put on weight and all,” she said.