Monday, August 17, 2009

An interview with Shahid Kapur

An interview with Shahid Kapur

Shahid Kapur

Born in Delhi, Shahid moved to Bombay at the early age of 10. After completing his schooling from Raj Hans, he joined Shaimak Davar to get trained in dancing.From an early age, he always wanted to do something in films and his first break came when he got a call from Ken Gosh's office for a screen test. Earlier Shahid had been featured in video albums and a TV Commercial. Now with a 5 movie contract with Tips, he is looking forward for his next films.

His upcoming film KAMINEY is creating buzz all over. From the romantic boy of JAB WE MET to the mean double role that he would be seen in, Shahid Kapur seems to be on the crossroads of superstardom. With a slew of releases lined up this year, we chat up with the actor about his brand new act, the upcoming films and about the controversies that surround him.

Let's begin with KAMINEY. Tell us a bit about your act in the film?

Well, KAMINEY is a different kind of genre that I haven't attempted before. It's the story about two brothers Guddu and Charlie. The two characters are vastly different in their outlook and have an eternal dislike for each other. As you are aware it will be my first double role act. The film is really important for me as there are many things that I will be doing for the first time in my career as an actor.

You have a double act in the film and both are physically challenged since one lisps and the other stammers. How difficult was it to don these two characters and shoot for them simultaneously?

It was not an easy affair for sure. I guess if you have to choose between lisping and stammering, the latter is a more challenging act since it is a psychological problem. While trying to portray the act, I consulted many doctors and it's really difficult to communicate if you stammer. I had the challenge not make a caricature of this act and thanks to my director who made this tough job easier for me. But, to tell you that the portrayal of Guddu and Charlie was an easy affair would be an understatement.

We hear that you worked really hard on the look of your character in KAMINEY? Tell us more about that?

The double role that I am doing in the film was a challenging act for Vishal since he wanted a pair of characters never seen before in Hindi cinema. I had to work for one full year to fit in the role of Charlie and Guddu. It is Charlie who needed more work on the physical part and I had to grow long hair and sport stubble to look the part. I would say that it was loads of hard work that made these two characters come alive on-screen. Now, all I want is my hard work to translate into some good audience reaction.

Which character was more satisfying creatively? Charlie or Guddu?

I think both the characters are incomplete without each other. For me KAMINEY will not be a great experience without Guddu or Charlie. The different range of emotions these two characters display on screen is a great high in its totality. You cannot separate one from the other.

You have worked with different directors in the past. How would you describe your experience of working with Vishal Bhardwaj in this film?

I have been a great fan of Vishal Bhardwaj's films. Since my dad has worked with Vishal earlier, I had the opportunity to watch all his films and to tell you the truth; it was always my wish to be part of his films. Vishal told me about KAMINEY before the start of his last film OMKARA. Though nothing much could materialize that time, we met again and when I heard the script I immediately gave my nod to be part of the film. Vishal is a very intense director and has his own cinematic vision. I really thank him for putting his belief in me with this subject.

There is much written about your personal life these days. Many people even say that you and Priyanka share more than a professional relationship. How do you deal with all these public intrusions in your personal life?

Well, I believe this is the price you pay for being a celebrity. I have been surprised to read all these stories that keep appearing in the press regularly. The best part is that I have learnt to take all such gossip in my stride. I realize that the larger public is interested in knowing more about a public figures personal life. The fact that I had a public breakup and haven't been vocal about my personal life is one of the reasons for such speculations to take root.

"The movie is not a typical Bollywood film but still remains a Bollywood film"

Bhavna Pani

What is the movie 'Fast Forward' all about?

'Fast Forward' is primarily a dance film but at the end of the day it is a proper Hindi pot boiler. It has drama, comedy, music, colours and youthful energy. It is a feel good, simple film which will make you smile. It is based on interpersonal relationships between dancers, their lives, their ups and downs, their challenges and how they get over it.

We saw you doing some nice moves in the trailer. Have you taken any formal dance training previously or for the film?

I have been into dance since I was six, I have been performing on stage. But this is the first time that I have been a part of a dance film. Dancing on stage is very different from dancing in Hindi films. So, I hope my training did contribute in some way. The dance forms I have been trained in are very different from the ones I have done for this film. But, definitely, if I would have been a non dancer it would have been very difficult.

What role do you essay in the film?

I play the character of Jeel. She is one of the characters who is not dancing in the film because she is not allowed to dance for some reason. Finally, towards the climax of the film there is a turning point where she performs the finale. So she is very simple, fun loving, college going girl next door. But, of course, it needed a lot of dancing skills. Even that one last dance was difficult.

The movie has seasoned actors like Vinod Khanna and Mahesh Manjrekar. How was it working with them? Did you learn anything from them in the process?

It was great working with them because they are veterans in their own right. They are immensely seasoned and there is so much to learn from them. Unfortunately I didn't have too many scenes with them but I remember my first day of shoot and my first shot of the film was with Vinod Khanna. He was very calm and relaxed. I was completely taken aback by his attitude and persona. He is amazing.

Music plays a very important role in any dance or musical film. What kind of music will we get to hear in 'Fast Forward'?

'Fast Forward' is a dance film and so one will get to hear a lot of dance music. It's a complete album which has a romantic song as well as has this haunting melody. There is a sad song which always brings a tear to my eyes.

We have had a couple of musical and dance films in the past in the industry. How would you discriminate 'Fast Forward' from others?

Dance remains the basis of all these films and I can't really discriminate 'Fast Forward'. Only thing that probably is the USP of the film is the youthful energy. The movie is not a typical Bollywood film but still remains a Bollywood film.

"I know I have grown somewhere because in front of the camera I am getting that ease somewhere&

Akshay Kapoor

What is the movie 'Fast Forward' all about?

'Fast Forward' is an underdog's film. The backdrop of the film is dance. We are exploring for the first time in Indian cinema in an honest way, hip hip, locking and different dance forms. It is the western genre of dancing which lot of films have attempted but I guess this is the first time we have got instructors and dancers from abroad to come and help us to be honest in our film.

Since the movie is based on DANCE, have you taken any formal training for it?

No! Unfortunately before signing this film, I was unwell and was in the hospital in the US. When I signed this film I was not here. I just rehearsed for about three weeks when I was here.

What role do you essay in the movie?

My character's name is Sunny and he is a very naughty character. His only goal in life is to have fun and make some money here and there. You can call him a Roadside Romeo. But the key is that when he finds his love interest in the film , that is the time when he is able to find his ambitions in life. His love interest drives him to his way in the film and that is the beauty.

What other dance forms will we get to see in the film?

At the end of the day it is an Indian film. So we have the Bollywood jhatkas and matkas. Also at the same time we have salsa numbers, hip-hip, locking. These are the main genres of the film.

Music is always the highlight of any dance film. What kind of music would we get to hear in 'Fast Forward'?

There are fourteen tracks in the film. I can't classify it as certain genre because at the end of the day we are making a movie in Indian cinema. We have mixed the music. We have different music but still have the Indian touch to it. We have danced our hearts out for this film. There are all pumping thumping numbers except for one slow romantic number, which I am completely in love with.

The film has some seasoned actors like Mahesh Manjrekar and Vinod Khanna. How was it working with them? Did you learn anything?

First of all it's a great honor to work with such actors. Like I said before, working with such actors, you get to learn a lot. I am a theatre actor and theatre is an actor's medium and a film is a director's medium. Working with them, I have realized the art of relaxing, trusting your audience, etc. As new comers we try too hard at times. Working with them I have realized that we just play the character and rest I have to leave in the audience's hands.

'Fast Forward' is your second film. How much do you think have you grown from your previous film?

I am always growing from film to film. If you say how much I have grown, I won't be able to measure it because there are no boundaries to measure complete growth of an actor. I know I have grown somewhere because in front of the camera I am getting that ease somewhere. It's a learning process. No matter how old I get here, I would still be learning.

We have seen a couple of dance and musical films in the past in Indian cinema. How would you discriminate 'Fast Forward' from others?

The musical and dance films in the past are not only great films but have left a mark in their times. Each era in Indian cinema has been different. 'Dil to pagal hai' was a commercial dance film in its time but at the same time their approach was different. Same goes with 'Fast Forwad', we have attempted something different. There are many people who can do hip hop, but how honest are they? All I can say is that I have put my heart and soul in the film and left everything in the audience's hands.

What is the USP of the film 'Fast Forward'?

Whenever somebody asks me about the USP of the film, I am lost. Entire story in this film is spoken by dance. You can probably call it a musical. I would say passion is the USP of the film. One will learn no matter what you are doing, passion is something that will drive a person to do something bigger.

An interview with Smiley Suri

An interview with Smiley Suri

Bollywood Trade News Network

Smiley Suri, the pretty petite girl, had left her mark as an actress in her first film KALYUG. Inspite of being from the Bhatt camp, she preferred to prove herself independently. Now her next film YEH MERA INDIA (YMI), directed by N Chandra, is ready for release on 28th August 2009. Another film DOWNTOWN, directed by Andalip Sultanpuri with a new hero is also on the floors.

After KALYUG, your second film YMI is now releasing. What is the movie all about?

YEH MERE INDIA is a typical N. Chandra film. It will bring back the old N Chandra of films like TEZAAB, ANKUSH, KAGAAR, TEJASWINI, NARSIMHA, PRATIGHAAT etc. Like them even YMI is a hard hitting real film which was also shot at real location. Anybody can relate to the characters shown in the film. It deals with many different issues but at the same time it will be a paisa vasool for the viewer. I am glad that I am a part of this movie. After KALYUG I was waiting for a good script with a strong role for me.

Tell something about your character? How did you prepare for your role?

In Y.M.I., I am playing a totally different character than that of Renuka of KALYUG. Renuka commits suicide after facing sexual harassment. My character Asha in Y.M.I. also goes through the harassment but she fights backs with the people and the circumstances. She is very sweet simple Maharashtrian girl and works in a call center. But she is very strong and unwilling to give up or accept defeat. However, when you talk about my preparation for role, I have been in Mumbai for a very long time now and my interaction with Maharashtrians too, has been in depth. I just had to look around at my friends and known people to adapt the body language and characteristics. Then we had shot at real locations that too added to my learning experience.

What is your look in the film?

This is the story of 24 hours. Since I am a simple middle class Maharashtrian girl, I'm wearing Salwar Kamiz at work. But in 2nd half of the day I'm with my boyfriend played by Purab Kohli. So I suggested to Chandraji to let me wear long skirt and top. He liked it and accepted it. So there are only two changes in the entire film.

Title is, YEH MERA INDIA. It suggests nationalism. Comment.

There are five different stories in one movie. All are inter connected and influence each other's life. People from different places come together as one story eventually. While watching it you will definitely think that this kind of situation and reactions can happen only in India. You will walk out with the feeling of pride at being an Indian. It's the story of people and their reactions. It is not about patriotism but it will invoke the feeling.

How was the experience working with such a talented director like N Chandra? What did you learn from him?

Well Chandra ji is a very experienced director, so naturally my exposure to his style of acting has been really very big learning curve. He prefers to enact the scene for his actor. May it be me or any other senior actor. I realized that in this manner, he is able to draw exactly what he wants. In fact I had to give such fewer retakes for most of my shots because of this. His excitement and energy level, while demonstrating, used be exactly as per the age of the character, which was really amazing. He is always open to suggestion.

Most of the directors are known for their temper. Is N Chandra also prone to such tantrums?

On the contrary, he is so patient with his artiste and he really pampers them like a baby. I remember one incident very clearly. We were shooting the film on Synch Sound, so there used to be big mike and many wires on us for proper recording of the dialogues. For one particular scene, when I was putting the mike in my clothes, zip broke. Naturally we had to re-stitch it and this took about 15 minutes. When I reached the sets I was 20 minute late and was scared that Chandra Ji would be angry. Instead he called me to ask if I was ok and needed more time. He used to pamper me.

You have worked with two directors. What is the best about both?

As an actor I have worked with three directors by now. Mohit is young and very intense about his projects. He is totally focused on the story while shooting. Chandra ji is also very focused but takes it slightly easier. He would enact the scene and then let us take off from there. Andalip Sultanpuri ji has different way. He would explain his expectations and then let you do the scene. All three are useful for the growth of an actor. I am lucky to have worked with them.

Who are the other co-stars in the film?

We have five different stories dealing with different issues in the film, so we have huge star cast in the film and all of them are great actor. Anupam Kher, Seema Biswas, Rajapal Yadav, Purab Kohli, Shivaji Shinde, Parveen Dabbas, Rajit Kapoor, Parizad Zorabian. But in my story I am playing main protagonist and Purab is my love interest while Rajit Kapoor is playing my boss.

Now a days, link up between lead pair is so common. Anything brewing between you and Purab?

No baba. No link ups. We are great buddies but that is all. Since Purab has worked in Mohit's film WOH LAMHE, I know him well. So from the first day itself, we were together on the sets. We would also rehearse our lines together before the scene because in synch sound, there isn't any dubbing. Sound and dialogues are recorded at the shoot. So we had to practice and rehearse, but all was in good faith and only as friends. It's like two guys together. There are some scenes where I had a long monologue but still he would come in my vanity van to help me learn and practice.

Is there any song in your film which is related to India? 'phir bhi dil hai hindustani' type?

No we don't have any song like that but yes we have one background song which comes on particular time in the each and every story.

Why is there such a long gap after your first film? Why were you not seen in any of Bhatt film?

I was getting offers of same lovely sweet simple girl of Kashmir which I have played in KALYUG. I had no intentions of getting type cast. So I preferred to wait instead. When YEH MERA INDIA came, I accepted and the film was shot a little while back. It has taken little longer to release. Another film DOWNTOWN is on floors. As for not repeating Bhatt camp, they don't really repeat their heroines. I was no exception.

Any future project you are working on after this?

After this DOWNTOWN is coming starring me opposite a actor, Rati Agnihotri, Vinod Khanna and its directed by Mr. Sultan Puri who has directed Salman Khan and Urmila Matodkar starrer movie JANAM SAMJA KARO. Few other projects are under discussion.

An interview with Prachi Desai

An interview with Prachi Desai

Prachi Desai

Ritesh Sharma, TWF, Bollywood Trade News Network

It's more than a year now that ROCK ON released and since then there has been no looking back for Prachi Desai. She is ready with her second film LIFE PARTNER and is all excited about it. The actress spoke to our correspondent on her role, her future plans and more.

You seem to be on a high since ROCK ON!! released?

It's exactly a year now but yes I am really happy about the way it changed my career, my plans and everything around me. But I am not resting on my laurels as I plan to do a number of roles (Smiles). It has been a great year so far.

So you can feel the change?

(Laughs) Don't even ask me that. My life has changed completely and drastically. Television and films are two completely different mediums and I can feel the change. It's a big place, work culture is different and so many other things. I am still trying to get accustomed to all this. For me it is like learning step by step. I don't want to hasten but am a silent learner. The last year has been real fun for me, at the same time and a learning experience.

In fact LIFE PARTNER is a comedy, something that you haven't done earlier.

In fact, I have only made people cry so far. (Laughs out loud). It was only serious roles that I had been playing... on television, in ROCK ON!! Everywhere. So this is also a welcome relief for me as well as the audiences. It's a fun movie full of one-liners and the comedy is completely situational.

But you are again playing a married woman.

(Ha...ha...ha). I think not only the audiences but the directors too now have started loving me as married woman. But on a serious note LIFE PARTNER is one film I really wanted to do because of the script and the role. It's just a coincidence that so far I have always played a married woman on screen. But I too now want to do films, where I can play other roles. It's time now that I should take this into concern.

Don't you think that you might just get typecast and land up doing such role over and again?

To be honest I am very conscious about that. I think before coming to film the directors had seen me only as a married woman on television. But I can't deny that it's because of television that I am here today, got so many good roles and now I am looking for a steady career in Bollywood. Actually, most people still can't guess my age or may be they are completely unaware that I am only 20 years old. They have always seen me in a saree and with sindoor on my forehead. So it's also not their fault. I too want to play my age and very soon you will see me doing that. At the same time I also think it's a great achievement for me to have played roles of married woman which otherwise is played by senior actresses with years of experiences behind them.

What's your role in LIFE PARTNER?

A married woman! (Pauses). See you already know it but it's not that I am married from the beginning till the end. I play a Gujarati girl, from a royal family. She is educated, knows the world, smart and modern yet she is very attached to her family and believes in the traditional value system. She runs her father's business and believes in the institution of marriage and is a dutiful wife. It's a mad film. More so because you have great actors like Govinda, Tusshar Kapoor and Fardeen Khan who have impeccable sense of comic timing.

And what about Genelia D'Souza?

Oh! she is a darling. We have become quite a friend. We really got along well on the sets and were like pranksters.

Don't you think of going back to television?

Oh least not now. I do miss television but I don't think I will be back anytime soon.

Not even if your mentor Ekta Kapoor asks you to?

I don't think she will do that because she is my mentor. We are still very close to each other and share the same relationship. I still take suggestions from her because I know she is always there for me. It's hasn't changed a bit.

Your next film ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAI is again has a very serious subject.

It's a film where I play a serious role but it is a lot different from my previous roles. It's a gangster film but again very different.

What next?

Officially these are the two projects I have, though I am about to sign up a few more. There's a lot happening (Smiles)