Andaz, Lara-Priyanka style
Filmmaker Suneel Darshan's new thriller Andaz starring Akshay Kumar and former beauty queens Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra is ready for release. And he is keeping his fingers firmly crossed.
"It is a very fresh film. I wanted to move away and cast fresh faces. Besides, Lara and Priyanka are stars in their own right because of their crowns. I wanted to make sure we completed this film quickly. You sign actors at the top of the heap. By the time you finish making the film, you wonder where the stardom has gone. We have to keep pace with the changing trends of cinema. Nobody knows what works. Today, even attracting audiences to the theatres is an uphill task."
Which is why he has spent over a crore just on Andaz's satellite and television promos.
Nandini on the block
She may be a newcomer, but 23-year-old Nandini Singh talks like a seasoned star. Making her debut in Mukta Arts' Ek aur Ek Gyarah, Nandini says she is "blessed to be working with such a great cast and crew who supported me so much. They didn't even play pranks on me whilst shooting."
Formerly an airhostess with Jet Airways, she found modelling and shooting for music videos -- she has featured in several, including that of the Aryans -- was good training ground for her ultimate destination: films. "I was comfortable in front of the camera. I also worked on losing weight when I realised how plump I was looking. I enjoy acting. It is something I always wanted to do."
As for her role in Ek Aur Ek Gyarah, Nandini reveals, "I play a sweet girl who tries to make everything right. All that is common between me and the character is that we both laugh a lot."
Defending her choice to debut in a David Dhawan film (which rarely offers any room for its heroines), Singh says, "Lots of new actresses usually debut in love stories. I am glad to have done something different. Besides, you really cannot categorise cinema. It is an art form."
She also thinks Govinda is a perfect costar. "He has a great sense of comic timing. I enjoyed working on my scenes with him. He also helped me with my dance steps and has a lot of patience."
The best compliment Nandini received was, "Davidji said he was happy with my work. Also, seeing my own posters gave me like a huge rush. It was like a chill under my spine to watch myself on screen with these actors whose films I have grown up watching. People have already begun to recognise me. It is flattering to have people walk up to me and ask me about my film."
A director's actress
Director Manish Jha is highly impressed with Tulip Joshi aka Sanjana (Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai) who plays the lead role in his film Matrubhumi -- A Nation Without Women. "She is extremely good in the film. She has carried the film on her shoulders. I was very impressed when I first met her. She read the script and worked on interpreting different shades of the character. She has also passed her screen tests and the first rushes with flying colours."
"The tough part was casting and locations," Jha says, "Harda, where we shot the film, was just like the ficticious village in my story. People couldn't believe I had written the film in Europe and never visited this village in Madhya Pradesh."
Jha has already finished shooting his film. He is hoping for a theatrical release in India. "I am hoping my audience can see the film. That would more satisfying than any award."
Open to offers from Bollywood, he says, "I have watched Lagaan so many times that my DVD has scratches on it. I would love to make this kind of universal film that my friends in Europe could enjoy as much as pals in India."
Hope floats for Bikram
Bikram Saluja is a disappointed man. "Roshni, a film I was banking on, is not happening owing to some problems with the producers. I really thought it was a film which would have helped my career." With Ripples Entertainment having shut shop, he is now carefully picking projects and producers. "I am okay doing two films which I have devoted a year to rather than not having a release. Which is why I am happy with my work in Plan and LoC."
Saluja is hoping his hard work will show through in these multistarrers. "I am confident about my work and myself. It is a pleasure to work with such fine actors."