Aug 212014
Chit Chat | August 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

priyankachopra-marykom-storyPlaying a sports icon is a tough task, as it involves not just acting but a physical change.

Priyanka Chopra is a strong girl, who has always loved challenges, but playing Mary Kom was one of her toughest, both professionally and personally. Mary Kom was the last script she had narrated to her father. And she went on to start shooting it just four days after he died. Over an hour-long conversation over lunch ahead of her upcoming biopic Mary Kom, she talks to Bombay Times about the challenges of playing her, the experience of visiting Mary’s home in Manipur and why she considers her a friend today. Excerpts:

How hard was it for you to play Mary Kom?This film is hard for me on so many levels. I went into shooting it just four days after my father passed away. Though I have not dealt with it even now, at that time I needed something that drove my entire focus. He used to really enjoy hearing my scripts and I would often narrate my scripts to him over dinner. This was the last script that he had heard. He had only said one thing, ‘Please isko na, theek se karna. Don’t do it like a Hindi film heroine would do sports. If you are doing it, do it right.’ Both my parents have been into sports unlike me, who was not athletic and always so lazy. So, while training whenever I went to the gym, he used to find it really funny as I would come back and complain. And he would say, ‘Aur bano heroine, kisne bola tha,’ and he would laugh. He would say, ‘Do it right, don’t just wear gloves and pose.’ Maybe that is why subconsciously, in a way, I wanted this to look as authentic as possible. Today, I can play the game to the extent if you put me with an amateur boxer in the ring, I will be able to handle it. My dad would say, ‘This film is a punishment for you. All the time you keep showing off that dekho mein kitna khaati hoon, but I am so skinny and so in shape, now you have to build your body and go to the gym.’

What did you do to look as authentic as Mary Kom?Physical training: As an actor, you give me something difficult and I am ready to jump onto the bandwagon. The first challenge was how to look like her, as I, being a North Indian, don’t look like her at all. We tried prosthetics, VFX and many things to make my features look different, but it started looking so gimmicky that we said, ‘Forget it.’ Before the film, everybody spoke about how I am so fit, but actually I know it is only genetics. I hate the gym. I thought it was very cool that I would be playing a boxer, but soon realised that she had arms and muscles. I never thought it would be so difficult. The toughest thing was to learn the sport. I was trained by Mary’s coach. Three months before shooting, post pack up, as I was shooting Gunday and Krrish3 also simultaneously, I would go to Sanjay Sir’s office (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) for 1-2 hours everyday, where a ring had been created for me to train in. Mary is a lefty and I am a righty, so it made it that much more difficult. In fact, now I almost feel I have become ambidextrous. Today, I can do about 50 push-ups and it will not hurt me. I had to gain weight and had to bulk up. So I was on heavy proteins and veggies. They also gave me some appetite-increasing things and I had to eat 6 times a day. I would have protein shakes that taste like cardboard water. I was shooting my other films from 9am to 9pm and then would come back and train. I would not sleep till 12 to 12.30 at night and then again get up in the morning. My trainer Prashant would sometimes come on the set and make me work out in between my shots. Even a boxer doesn’t have to train so much as they have built their body over time. I had to become like that in 3 months. I have a house in Goa near Baga where I stayed for 25 days before shooting along with the director Omung Kumar and the team. We converted the top floor into a gym and the ground floor became our den, where every evening we would watch a boxer film on a big screen along with dinner that we would order. We had created charts capturing Mary’s life that were put up on the wall. In fact, these chart papers travelled back with me to Mumbai, where they were put up in my house on my wall throughout shooting the film.

Real fights: All my opponents in the film are real boxers. For instance, one of them Pavitra, is a boxer from Hissar. She is playing a Sri Lankan boxer in the film and loses to Mary. As boxers, you cannot have an expression on your face as the opponent should not come to know. But we are doing a film and you need to give expression. So I would say to her, ‘every time I hit you, you can’t be a stone wall and not react.’ So finally I had to get punched in reality for her to feel anything. I would get punched full day. We have replicated some of Mary’s fights fully. One day, I started bleeding from the head. We wore the head gear of course, but I had to still get punched on the face and go back. I got an absyss on my forehead. I put ice and again next day we started shooting. During shooting it started bleeding again and suddenly there was blood trickling down from my forehead. They caught it in the camera and started shouting, ‘Cut! Cut! Priyanka is bleeding.’ My mum is a surgeon and had to be called to take out all the pus in my van and put bandage so that we could finish it as the girls had to go back to Hissar. We shot for 25 days everyday boxing for 12 hours. I am a tough girl and can take a punch, but the boxers are not used to more than 3 hours so for them they were shocked to see how much work we actors do. They were jokingly saying, ‘Aap actors ko toh abuse karte hain.’ I used to go back home so tired that my mom would make sure that I got into the bath tub in which she would put salt as I would not be able to move my body. I passed out one day in my bath tub. One of my thumbs is permanently damaged and I cannot fully bend it for life.

Looking like Mary: She changes her hairstyles more than I do. She loves to make her hair in so many different styles. She loves her make-up, lipstick and nail polish and is very fashionable. In fact, make-up is her favourite thing in the world. I spent three days with her and her family in Manipur, where they hosted me in their house. I went to her village, her school, her college, the church she got married, met her almost 100-year-old grandmother who is so mindb-lowing. She looks at you and says get up and throws you out. Superb it was. I went to her parents’ house, the fields where she grew up, and it gave me such a perspective of what the film should look like. We have replicated so many things in the film. Like her house is exactly the same. Omung being a production designer himself, recreated it just like the original. We replicated her look when she was in school. She used to love those tick-tack clips which I hated. She was in love with them, so in the whole film I have worn them. We replicated her exact wedding gown, her make-up and the look of her wedding. Over time, we became friends and I would talk to her before many shots and ask her what she was thinking at that time and we have captured many things in her zubaan in the film. She is just 33, so was easy for me to just pick and ask her about the incident that I was shooting, as it is her current life.

What is Mary like in real life?She is so feisty. When you think of a boxer in your head, you think of some strong, bulky person. When I first saw Mary, I was shocked. She walked in her French chiffon, hair straight with pangs, gold earrings and glitter on her nails and I was so confused. I had been training looking at her in the rings. And there was Mary, who giggles, sings, dances and was so excited with the idea that a film was being made on her and the fact that I was playing her. She loved Barfi. In this film, I have taken over Mary’s personality fully. She is a full ladhakoo. I went to her gym in Manipur and all these kids were very excited that I have come and it became overcrowded. She took off on all of them. They don’t have these fancy, heavy bags. They have their own innovative ways, for instance they had these tyres stacked up hung from the ceiling on which you punch. She doesn’t care a shit about what people think, she has an opinion and doesn’t mind voicing it. She is an open personality, but at the same time she is a girl who loves cooking, loves being a mother. In fact, she is a really good cook. She loves dressing up and going shopping. She took me to this only-female local market. You can’t mess with Mary as she fully bargains. She is really sorted and her kids are running around her all the time. We have captured all that we saw in the film.

In what ways did you relate with Mary personally?We are both from small towns and have made our careers in male dominated fields. When she started boxing, women couldn’t play for the country. It was only in 2000, when she started playing for her country that women were allowed to take part in boxing. Just like she represented India and was a world champion, I too was Miss World. As personalities, we are really similar though I am a little more shy than her. I fight with my loved ones and will throw things at them, but otherwise I am shy. But she is shy only in front of her husband which is really cute after having three children. He has a straight- faced humour and is very much the man of the house and yet he loves to see her fly and shine. People started making jokes about him when she started becoming famous but he said to her, ‘it is your time.’ He is so content as a man himself and so relevant for today’s men, who need to learn from him that it doesn’t make you any less a man. He takes care of the kids and will do everything when she is training. Now, she is making a bigger house and an academy as she can afford it. It’s amazing to see what she is doing for her people.

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Aug 212014
Bollywood Buzz, P.K. | August 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

shahrukh-salman-aamirIt seems Aamir Khan is in the mood to rag his friend and colleague Salman Khan! The former dropped his pants for the poster of his forthcoming film “PK” and wonders would the latter ape him again?

During “Dhoom 3? Aamir’s cap caught people’s fancy, including Salman.

“During ‘Dhoom 3? my cap got very famous and Salman was wearing the cap on ‘Bigg Boss’, so, now I want to test his friendship. So let’s see can he do this – he removed his shirt, now can he remove his pants?” Aamir asked, humorously.

He was addressing the media who gathered here for the launch of the second poster of “PK”, directed by Rajkumar Hirani.

In the first poster, Aamir went nude and flaunted his chiselled body. But the naysayers have alleged that it has been photo shopped.

Denying the allegations, Aamir said: “The photo has not been photo shopped. I had made the body for ‘Dhoom 3? and simultaneously I started shooting for the film… in fact, after too long I shot for two films at the same time.”

“For me, this poster is not vulgar. Vulgarity is not in your clothes, it’s in your mind and the way you talk,” he added.

Would you go nude if it’s the demand of the script?

“It’s too difficult, but over the years I have realised that nothing is impossible. We can only do our work,” he replied.

Although not much is known about the film, but interestingly, Aamir will be “seen speaking in Bhojpuri throughout” the movie.

“I hope Bhojpuri industry accepts our film whole-heartedly. Language has an emotional connect,” he said.

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Aug 162014
Bollywood Buzz, Exclusive | August 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

shahrukhBollywood’s badshah Shah Rukh Khan has been recently named as the second richest actor in the world. In fact, Shah Rukh has beaten Hollywood biggies like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood or Adam Sandler in terms of wealth and status. A report in Wealth-X has estimated SRK to be worth $600 million. Not only is he a great actor, producer, TV host but is also a co-owner of an IPL cricket team. He is sharp, intelligent and has an excellent business sense. Be it movies or endorsements or business venture, whatever SRK touches becomes gold. Let us go through ways which has helped SRK make money.

Innovative ideas: When a new movie is to be released, promotional activities take a huge chunk of the budget. Be it city-to-city press conferences or launch parties, these promotional activities are very important for the film’s success. But what if the campaign can be tapped to get massive returns? That’s exactly what Shah Rukh Khan has in mind for his next home production, Happy New Year, which is gearing up for a big Diwali release. A Mumbai Mirror report says that instead of asking the cast of the movie to give interviews and shoot pictures, SRK has a new game-plan in mind. He is planning worldwide shows with the film’s cast, including Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani, ahead of the film’s release. The group will be called Happy troupe and will also feature director Farah Khan. It is touted to be bigger that Shah Rukh’s Temptation reloaded. He will be conducting shows in the US, UK and Canada, and each show will make around seven crore. The Mirror report has estimated that these shows will make Rs 200 crore even before the film releases in the theatres.

High-profile endorsements: From endorsing cold drinks to talcum powder, from endorsing cars to fairness creams, no one can beat Shah Rukh Khan in the advertisement world. Just recently the superstar bagged a 20 crore worth endorsement deal with a pan masala brand. This is touted to be one of the highest endorsement deal signed by a Bollywood actor. In fact, King Khan endorses so many brands that he has created his own ‘Brand SRK’. He is very popular in the endorsement world as he is able to connect with both classes as well as the masses. His easy charm, personality, box-office success and good looks make him a favourite in the advertisement world. Also his self-made man image makes him more attractive.

Selling satellite rights: Shah Rukh Khan is a smart filmmaker. He knows that there is a huge audience that cannot afford to watch movies in the multiplex. However, if it gets telecast on TV there is no way they will ignore it. Though SRK’s latest release Chennai Express did extremely well at the box-office, SRK sold satellite rights of the film to Zee Entertainment at Rs 48 crore. In fact, a TOI report says that the filmmakers had a deal with the channel that if it crosses the 100 crore mark, they will get more money for selling the rights. Interestingly, this was the first time ever that a film’s satellite rights were sold with such a pre-condition. Quoting a source, the report adds that SRK was involved with very area of the film’s marketing and branding.

Performing in weddings: It is not easy to make King Khan dance and no one knows that better than industrialists or politicians who pay Shah Rukh Khan in crores to make him perform in their family weddings. A Mumbai Mirror report says that King Khan charges about USD 15,000 for an appearance and close to Rs 8 crore for a wedding performance. In fact, these reports emerged when the actor gave a 30-minute performance at a high-profile wedding in Dubai last year. It is said that SRK enjoys a monopoly of sorts as Salman Khan is advised not to dance given his health conditions and Aamir and Saif don’t like to perform. Hence, he gets the price he demands. Apparently the Mirror report says that he received around 250 invites for wedding appearances or performances in 2012 but took up only 10 of them. That means he can easily make Rs 80 crore in a year by just performing in high-profile weddings.

Marketing strategies: When it comes to movie promotions and marketing strategies, Shah Rukh Khan is unbeatable. And this has been proved by the stupendous success of his movie Chennai Express. In fact, he is credited for introducing the concept of a huge promotional campaign before and after the release of a film. So doing city tours, attending press conferences, coming on TV reality shows, SRK does it all. In fact, reports suggest that it was SRK’s idea to give one Chennai Express ticket free with every two tickets purchased in Delhi. He also took advantage of the hype around the movie and increased the price of ticket before the release of the film. Even a hike of Rs 10 per ticket can have huge impact on the overall collection of a film.

Smart investments: Shah Rukh Khan has value for money and believes in investing his money smartly. The superstar has smartly invested his money in properties across the world, an IPL team and a production house Red Chilli Entertainment. A Mid-Day report says King Khan has invested in Imagination Edutainment India Pvt Ltd, which is a local franchisee of KidZania, a global chain of indoor theme parks for children. By making smart investments, SRK knows he will only get higher returns and be able to double his money.

Sharing profit percentage: Though Shah Rukh Khan is not the only actor who demands a percentage of the profits of a film, he is one of the first few actors who started this trend. So while Aamir reportedly claimed 33 percent of the profits for YRF’s Dhoom 3, Shah Rukh Khan makes more. A TOI report said that King Khan also has a large share in the profits of Vishal Bhardwaj’s film, produced by Sajid Nadiadwala. Rumour has it that he has at least a 60 percent share.

TV shows: You will be surprised to know that Shah Rukh Khan, who started his career with TV soaps Fauji and Circus, is among the highest paid actors of TV as well. After ruling the box-office, SRK again made a foray into television as the host of three reality shows- Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 3, Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? and Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout. However, SRK’s fee went up with each show. A TOI report says that in 2011, he charged 2.5 crores for Zor Ka Jhatka…, an Indian adaptation of the American reality show Wipeout. With this kind of money, no wonder SRK is indeed the richest actor of India.

Have a thirst for knowledge: Shah Rukh Khan has a huge appetite for knowledge and loves to read. He is among the most updated and informed actors of the film industry. His study is littered with books of all genres and makes it a point to stay abreast of the latest news as well as gain knowledge from books. Another thing that keeps him focused is that he loves his job and puts in utmost dedication and hard work. Hence, it is his passion, thirst of knowledge and dedication that makes SRK the top most star of the country and hence makes him equipped to earn a lot of money.

By Pritika Ghura

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Aug 162014

Bollywood Buzz, Jai Ho | August 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

tabuTabu, who will next be seen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s desi Hamlet, hopes to lose the serious actress tag with a comic caper.

I hope you are not going to ask me why I’ve turned into a recluse?” are Tabu’s first words as we step into her new office. Even though she’s often spotted at parties and previews, the media has of late, come to picture her as a real-life Miss Havisham of sorts.

“It’s because I’m single and living alone that people assume that I’m a recluse,” she says, exasperated. “It adds to the mystery and mystique. Had I been married or in a relationship, things might have been different. Sach to yeh hai, my life is simple and stupid. Chahe jitna bhi khod lo, kuch nahin niklega.”

Tabu grew up in Hyderabad, waiting for a prince to ride up on a white stallion and sweep her off her feet. But at 16, she moved to Mumbai and into wonderland, and over the years, the gap between fantasy and reality has become too big to bridge.

“Princes came along, but only in the movies,” she says wistfully. “Marriage is still important, I don’t deny or reject the fact that nature has ordained that we should be with someone who can add something to our lives. But I’ve also come to understand that you should be with someone for the right reasons and not because it’s conventional.”

The National Award-winning actress recalls that once, en route to Hyderabad, her Haider co-star, Irrfan Khan, urged her to marry someone with a good sense of humour. Contrary to her intense screen persona, Tabu laughs at the silliest of jokes and finds masala movies thoroughly entertaining.

“I had a blast filming Hera Pheri, Saajan Chale Sasural, Biwi No. 1 and recently Neeraj Pandey’s Saat Uchakkey with Manoj Bajpai, shot in a hotel room in Mauritius over just 24 days.

“Before every shot, I would convulse with laughter and director Mukul Abhyankar would wonder if we were making a comedy or a psychological thriller. I want to work with people for whom a film is like a picnic and not someone who aims to change the world,” she confides.

That’s perhaps one of the reasons Tabu chose to do Jai Ho. She points out that Sohail and Salman Khan are like family. “I’ve done several films with Salman. There were two offers before this too, but they didn’t work out. When Sohail offered me Jai Ho, I grabbed it,” she says.

She reveals that she bought her plush apartment in Andheri with the money from concert tours the brothers had coaxed her to do. “The money was great and we had a blast. Ditto Jai Ho,” says Tabu.

Has she watched Salman’s latest hit Kick, which marks the directorial debut of her ‘old friend’ Sajid Nadiadwala. She admits she hasn’t, but plans to.”I always knew that there was a director in Sajid,” she says. She’d love to do such big, commercial films with which she started her Bollywood careerwith, and enjoys watching. “I’d love to work with Rohit Shetty. Every time one of his Golmaals play on TV, I sit down to watch,” giggles Tabu who was to be a part of Rohit’s All The Best before Bipasha Basu decided to do a double role.

READ: Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor sing Vishal Bhardwaj’s new tune

The actress wants to introduce the audience to her lighter side and says Irrfan has promised to make a comedy featuring them, if no one else does. “I’ve been offered too many dark, intense characters, perhaps because I can pull them off convincingly. I’m just doing my job as an actress without becoming the character I play. If directors feel I have certain skills that work for them, then surely I’ll do these films, provided they pay me a lot of money,” she asserts.

Of course, Vishal Bhardwaj didn’t have to woo her with a fat pay cheque to take on the role of Haider’s stepmother in his Hamlet. Though she’s surrounded by women who are voracious readers, she doesn’t enjoy reading and was clueless about Shakespearean literature.

“Vishal explained that the film was about Haider’s search for his father, his ambiguous relationship with his mother. The character had many layers. I hadn’t performed in this space in a while. So, it was a good exercise to express myself emotionally. But I wasn’t sure about playing Shahid’s mother. I wondered if I looked that old,” she recalls.

She accepted the film because it gave her a chance to reconnect with her Maqbool director and a part of her family which had relocated to Kashmir. But Vishal has set the first half in autumn and the second in winter which meant shooting in the Valley in November, December and January.

“It was brutally cold, my eyes and nose were watering and my teeth clattering,” she shivers even as she recalls the time. “There was a lot happening on screen to a huge canvas of complicated characters, Kashmir and its’90s politics added to the drama. Feelings changed in every frame, yet most of the time all I could think of is, ‘Did I say my lines right?” she recollects.

A decade ago, Tabu had played a desi Lady Macbeth to perfection in Maqbool. In Haider she will be seen as an Indianised Gertrude. This brings Vishal’s trilogy of tragedies to a close. The director is now planning a trilogy on Shakespearean comedies and Tabu hopes he will return to her with another story she’s heard a lot about but never read. “I too want some fun and laughter in reel life,” she asserts.

Tags: Tabu

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Aug 162014

Clicked | August 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

ranbir_aliaTaking a break from her usual gang comprising Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra and Arjun Kapoor, Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt this time went out on a movie date with hunk Ranbir Kapoor!

The two superstars were spotted at the short film festival, Shuruaat Ka Interval, at PVR Mumbai on Wednesday. While Alia grabbed eyeballs with her ‘capped’ look, what gained everyone’s attention was the crackling chemistry between the two actors. Both the stars seemed quite comfortable at the event, with Alia looking completely smitten by the Kapoor lad.

It is heard that Alia and Ranbir will soon be seen together in Ayan Mukherjee’s next. Also, the SOTY star candidly admitted her fondness for Ranbir on Kofee with Karan, revealing that she would like to marry the actor! Needless to say, the actress seemed quite excited posing with Ranbir at the event!

Click to check out the pics.

Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt inaugurate Shuruaat Ka Interval festival

Tags: Alia, Ranbir Kapoor

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Aug 162014

Bollywood Buzz | August 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

alia_karanFilmmaker Karan Johar rubbished the reports of his role in director Vikas Bahl’s next film. Reports were that he will play the role of Alia Bhatt’s father in the movie Shaandar. Karan Johar was quoted saying, “No, I am not doing the film. I was briefly in talks at a very initial stage. I am sure when the cast of Vikas’s film is announced, it will be a terrific one, but I am not a part of it.”

Actress Alia Bhatt made her Bollywood debut with the film Student Of The Year which was directed by Karan Johar. The actress calls the filmmaker her mentor and often discuss her career with him. Karan Johar who will be seen doing a cameo role in Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming film Bombay Velvet further said that people should watch the movie before offering him role in their films. “I think only once Bombay Velvet releases should people decide on offering me more films. I don’t think anybody should take a chance till then,” said Karan Johar.

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Aug 162014

Bollywood Buzz | August 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

aamirIf sources are to be believed, Aamir Khan has started training for his next film. He will apparently play a wrestler in the film and it is being said that Nitesh Tiwari, the director of Bhoothnath Returns and Chillar Party, will helm the project. The film has apparently been titled Dangal, which means a wrestling competition in Hindi.

It will be interesting to see Aamir’s avatar in this film since he is known to undergo rigorous training for his roles. For instance, in his last film, Dhoom 3, Aamir had worked hard on his physique.

Looks like he will have to do it again for Dangal. Says a source, “Aamir will have to beef up and work towards achieving a broad-chest-and-big-muscles look. The training will be very intensive and it will need months of work. Nitesh Tiwari is already busy with the pre-production of the film.” When contacted, Nitesh Tiwari said, “I would refrain from making any comments at this point of time.”

Aamir Khan remained unavailable for comment.

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Aug 162014

Bollywood Buzz, Happy New Year | August 16, 2014 at 10:15 am

abhishiek_srkShah Rukh Khan whose Happy New Year trailer has become the talking point among the junta and media, ever since it was launched yesterday, said his male co-stars in the film — Abhishek Bachchan, Vivaan Shah, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani — were all as different from one another as chalk and cheese. Even their work attitudes differed.

According to him, Boman was the cool one while Sonu was hardworking. As for the two star sons – Abhishek and Vivaan, SRK joked on how both the boys seemed distracted sometimes. “I thought I would sit them down and have a chat with them about getting serious,” said the Bollywood superstar.

“However, when I realised that both were sons of legends (Abhishek being Amitabh Bachchan’s son and Vivaan, Naseeruddin Shah’s son), meri bolti bandh ho gayi. Honestly, I could hardly lecture the sons of legends!” he jested. However, SRK is sure that if he makes a sequel to HNY, he will cast Abhishek and Vivaan in it.

Tags: Abhishek, Shahrukh Khan

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Aug 152014

Bollywood Buzz | August 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

amitabhKhushboo had vowed that she’d get her daughter named by none other than Amitabh Bachchan, and her dream came true on a recently shot episode of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. The megastar named the baby Naveli, inspired by his granddaughter Navya Naveli.

Khushboo faced taunts galore after she let go of an opportunity to be on ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ two years ago as she had just given birth to her daughter then. Ever since, her neighbours and peers had been taunting her, saying she had lost the opportunity because she had a girl child.

A source from the set of the show shared that the lady had vowed then that she will get her daughter named by Big B.

“As luck would have it, Khushboo got selected for the show again. When she narrated her story and requested Big B to name her daughter, he chose the name Naveli,” said the source.

The new season of the popular game show will go on air on Sony Entertainment Television on Sunday.

Tags: Amitabh

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