Who won? Who lost? What's the latest casting coup? Komal Nahta gives you the inside story. In our weekly Box Office column.
At the box-office, Dahek, which released last Friday, hasn't quite lived up to its ‘hot’ title. That is, to say, the film is ice-cold. It has been in the making for over six years and the staleness that crept into its making took its toll on the ticket-windows. The film opened to a 20 to 25 per cent response. The rehash of Mani Ratnam’s Bombay is no patch on the original. Poor Akshaye Khanna! Despite being such a fine actor, his choice of films was so wrong that he doesn't have a single film to talk about today. After the umpteen financial problems the film went through, it's a wonder that Dahek released at all. Just one example would suffice to indicate the kind of hassles the film had to go through. It was sold for Delhi-Uttar Pradesh for Rs 650,000, but ultimately had to be given at the reduced price of Rs 350,000!
Nadeem-Shravan to score music
Nadeem-Shravan, the hit music director team till two years back, will once again score music in a film to be announced shortly. It is common knowledge that Nadeem is facing extradition proceedings in London for his alleged involvement in the murder of music magnate Gulshan Kumar. The film for which the music director duo has been finalised is Kuku Kohli’s next which will star newcomers. Nadeem-Shravan had earlier given a super-hit musical score for Kohli’s Phool Aur Kaante. Kohli revealed that the Bombay police have no objection to the assignment and that they would not create any hurdles for him. All the songs will be recorded in London. In fact, the film will also be partly shot in London.
Three top heroines give screentests
Believe it or not, but Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the famed director of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, screen-tested three top heroines for the role of Chandramukhi in his next, titled Devdas. The role has ultimately gone to Madhuri Dixit who, incidentally, was not screen-tested. But who were the three heroines who had to face the camera on a trial basis? Well, one belongs to a major film family and has been in the reckoning for almost 10 years now. The other has made more news for her love affairs, alcohol consumption and bitchy comments. The third is a relatively smaller heroine who was appreciated for her work in a recent family drama. It must have been one of the rarest occasions when top heroines consented to give screen-tests for a coveted role in the film of an even more coveted director. Anyway, besides Madhuri, the film will also star Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya.
Have A Heart!
Madhuri Dixit’s wedding reception on December 18 in Bombay witnessed a select gathering. Those who weren't invited haven't tired of passing snide remarks about how so-and-so did not attend. But considering that half the bigwigs of the industry were not even invited, how could they be expected to attend? Madhuri invited those people whom she knew on a personal level. The only two people she telephoned personally after her invitation card reached them were Rajkumar Barjatya and Subhash Ghai. The former because they gave her her biggest blockbuster, and the latter, because it was he who spotted Madhuri when she was still a Microbiology student. Madhuri’s logic in calling the two of them personally was that she owed them this respect. Not many may be aware of the offers private television channels made to the Dixit family for permission to cover the reception. All the offers were politely turned down by the family because Madhuri did not want a commercial angle to a very personal affair. The actress and her hubby, Sriram Nene, will soon embark on a worldwide trip for their second honeymoon. Then Dr Nene will be back in the US where he will pursue further studies for specialising in heart transplantation, and Madame Nene will be back in Bombay to face the arc-lights.
In the film industry, prices never come down, they only keep increasing. Whether it is a film or an actor or actress, prices only keep going up and up. The decision of actor-turned-producer Shahrukh Khan to reduce the price of his first production venture, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, therefore, came as a surprise in trade circles. The top actor also proved to be a producer with a golden heart when he reduced the price of the film for CI (Central India) territory by Rs 500,000 from Rs 5 million to Rs 4.5 million, as he felt he had overcharged the CI distributor. May the likes of SRK increase if the evils of high pricing that ail the industry are to go.
Boney Kapoor's bad men
Boney Kapoor seems to have taken it upon himself to give actors, who are failures, a new lease of life. After his decision to cast brother Sanjay Kapoor in a negative role in his new project, Boney has decided to make Puru Raaj Kumar wear the mask of a bad man in his under-production film, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai. So all heroes who aren’t lucky enough in positive roles would do well to contact Boney for a fresh lease of life. They can at least try!
Aamir's new role
Aamir Khan is taking his new role -- that of a producer -- very seriously. The actor is in Gujarat to finalise things for the shooting of his first film as a producer. Before Aamir became an actor, he used to help dad Tahir Husain in production and also assisted cousin Mansoor in direction. With Lagaan, Aamir is taking the plunge into independent film production.
Anil, Sunny, Jackie together
Be ready for a casting coup of sorts. Rajkumar Santoshi has decided to cast Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff together in his next film, to be produced and directed by himself. The project with Aamir and Shahrukh Khan together is also in the pipeline and the rate at which Santoshi changes his mind, don't blame me if even the Anil-Sunny-Jackie project doesn’t take off soon.
Akshay’s attempt at PR
Akshay Kumar's career is not really going great guns. So, as a PR exercise, the down-in-the-dumps actor is personally calling up magazine editors for the premiere show of his forthcoming film, Jaanwar. He is quite confident of the film since its songs are already doing very well. He also has lucky Lolo (Karisma Kapoor) as his heroine.
A look at the week