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January 27, 2000


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Babita, Kareena eat humble pie

Kareena Kapoor January 24 is a day the film industry awaits eagerly. That's when film-maker Subhash Ghai celebrates his birthday and announces a new film.

This year too, he had planned a small bash at his studio, but the Rakesh Roshan shootout shook up the industry. And so the mogul decided to have a small puja instead. And declare the star cast for his film.

I am sure all of you know that current heart-throb Hrithik Roshan has been signed opposite Kareena Kapoor, with Ghai's favourite Jackie Shroff essaying an important role in the film.

What is interesting is how Babita, the mastermind behind daughter Kareena's career, had to eat humble pie when it came to Ghai. How the cookie crumbles! The story goes like this. Kareena was supposed to be the heroine, if you jog your memory a bit, of Hrithik's debut film, Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, until J P Dutta offered her Refugee. That is when the mother-daughter walked out of Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa.

Director Raj Kanwar managed to get Hrithik and Kareena for his under production film and all was well until an interview appeared where Rakesh Roshan was supposed to have said something uncomplimentary about Babita and Kareena (though most will agree that Babita over-reacted).

All hell broke loose and before anyone knew it, Kareena had informed Rahul Rawail and Raj Kanwar that she did not want to work with Hrithik and the choice was theirs -- either they could retain her and opt for another male lead or she would walk out. Needless to say, Hrithik stayed, and Kareena was out.

When Ghai approached Babita, he made his stance clear. He intended to cast Hrithik in his film and that decision was made -- did she have any objections? Would Babita dare say she did not want her younger daughter to work opposite Hrithik and that too, to Subhash Ghai?

No way!

So Kareena accepted the film and before you knew it, had approached Rawail and Kanwar, informing them that she had sorted out her problem with the Roshans and was, therefore, willing to do their films as well. The duo took the girl back into their films without as much as a murmur of protest.

Fardeen impresses Ramu

Fardeen Khan By bagging Ramgopal Varma's new film Jungle opposite Urmila Matondkar, Fardeen Khan has unknowingly invited the wrath of envious newcomers and established stars who were vying for the role. These disgruntled souls snigger that Fardeen bagged the role only because his father Feroz Khan personally met Varma and agreed to finance the film.

That is unfair. The boy definitely deserves more credit. Do these rivals know that Fardeen impressed Ramu because he did not send his secretary or PRO to meet the director, but called him up and expressed his desire to be part of Jungle? Now if only these upstarts had not nurtured their egos, they just might have bagged the film.

Manisha takes Sanjay's advice

Manisha Koirala Now that it is certain Manisha Koirala will not be doing Deepa Mehta's Water, we can talk about what actually happened. She, of course, would have had to chop off her fine tresses and go semi-bald. She knew about it and had confirmed to Mehta that she would do the unthinkable.

What made Manisha change her mind were her co-stars -- notable among them being Sanjay Dutt -- who advised her against it. So Manisha tilted her options in favour of commercial cinema and said no to Water.

Nandita Das will be cutting off her fine tresses instead.

More on Water

While on Deepa Mehta's film one must add that Moushumi Chatterjee too, had been approached for the film. And she confirms she will be doing a small role in the film. "Yes," she agrees, "I was offered the role that Shabana is doing. But I have just signed up three big commercial films and did not want to trouble my producers. So I said no. Deepa insisted, so I am doing another role for which I do not have to become taklaa." And then very mischievously adds, "I was the one who told Deepa to take Shabana, who as it is does not have much work and therefore,would most willingly go bald." Shabana is now in the film. Is it on Moushumi's recommendation? Only Deepa Mehta can answer that one.

Time up, says Ash

Aishwarya with mama Rai Producers who sign up Aishwarya Rai for their film now make it a point to take a few extra dates from her. And those, they will tell you, will be used for the publicity of the film. And this is because everyone by now knows how Aishwarya and her mother gave Sanjay Leela Bhansali the runaround when he planned the publicity campaign for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Aishwarya concentrated totally on the publicity of Taal and ignored Hum Dil De under the pretext that she had no dates for photo shoots or for interviews for the electronic media. "I have learnt my lesson," says a producer with a wide grin. "I asked for a few extra days and after being allotted those days, I told the mother-daughter duo that I was not Subhash Ghai, therefore I was keeping these days wherein I could fit the interviews and publicity sessions of my film."

Kudos to Sonali

Sonali Bendre Sonali Bendre deserves a pat on her back. For her dedication and sincerity towards the cause that she endorses. No doubt her career is not going the way it should or rather, the way Sonali expected it to. Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Saath-Saath Hain has not worked wonders for her either.

Instead of whiling away her time gossiping, shopping or making merry like most others, Sonali has been putting her time to good use, dedicating a lot of her spare time for children with cancer. Not only does she make it a point to attend most of the organisation's important functions, but is also known to use her celebrity to focus attention for the cause and thereby help them collect funds.

Will Kajol decide, once and for all?

Is it true that Kajol was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's first choice for his next film, Devdas? Yes, says a close source, insisting that Kajol had been approached and she was keen to essay the role of Paro. But then those days Ajay Devgan was being considered for the title role.

Ajay Devgan with Mahima Chaudhury Somewhere along the line, things went awry and instead of Ajay, superstar Shah Rukh Khan stepped into the picture. That is when Kajol changed her mind. Not only did she opt out, but also made her displeasure known to Bhansali. Probably that is when Bhansali ate humble pie and headed towards Ash Rai, whom he was not too keen on repeating, considering how she refused to co-operate with him during the pre-release publicity of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

P S: Rumour has that Kajol may opt out of Karan Johar's film as well. Sources close to Kajol insist she is still not sure whether to accept Karan's film or not, opposite Shah Rukh.

While one section attributes the reason for this to Ajay Devgan, who they allege does not want her to work opposite Shah Rukh, another section offers different scuttlebutt. They claim Devgan and Mahima Chaudhary are so close these days that Kajol does not want to leave hubby's side even for a minute.

-- The Insider

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