Jan 312015

Exclusive | February 1, 2015 at 5:40 am

filmfare_2014_15The glitz and glamour couldn’t get as sparkling as it was on 31st January 2015 on the 60th Annual Filmfare Awards 2014. Biggest stars, their performances and the winners. The night was all about Bollywood’s best. Since the beginning of 2015, we had been bombarded with star sponsored awards show be it Stardust or even screen awards each of them were very much biased. So, everyone were expecting something similar even in Filmfare but the winner list surprised everyone by going along with the audience and critics choices instead of the BIG STAR’s influences.

Here are the winners of 60th Filmfare Awards 2014;

Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male): Shahid Kapoor for ‘Haider’
Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female): Kangana Ranaut for ‘Queen’
Best Film: Queen
Best Director : Vikas Bahl for ‘Queen’

Best Film (Critics): Ankhon Dekhi
Best Actor Critics (Male): Sanjay Mishra for ‘Ankhon Dekhi’
Best Actor Critics (Female): Alia Bhatt for ‘Highway’

Lifetime Achievement Award: Kamini Kaushal

Best Supporting Actor (Male): Kay Kay Menon for ‘Haider’
Best Supporting Actor (Female) : Tabu for ‘Haider’
Best Debut Director: Abhishek Varman for ‘2 States’
Best Debut (Male): Fawad Khan for ‘Khoobsurat’
Best Debut (Female): Kriti Sanon for ‘Heropanti’

Best Story: Rajat Kapoor for ‘Ankhon Dekhi’
Best Dialogue: Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani for ‘PK’
Best Screenplay: Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani for ‘PK’

Best Playback Singer (Male): Ankit Tiwari for Galliyan (Ek Villain)
Best Playback Singer (Female): Kanika Kapoor for Baby Doll (Ragini MMS 2)
Best Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for ’2 States’
Best Lyrics: Rashmi Singh for ‘Muskurane Ki Wajah’ (CityLights)
Best Background Score: Amit Trivedi for ‘Queen’
Best Choreography: Ahmed Khan for ‘Jumme ki raat’ (Kick)

Best Action: Sham Kaushal for ‘Gunday’
Best Cinematography: Late Bobby Singh and Siddharth Diwan for ‘Queen’
Best Editing: Abhijit Kokate and Anurag Kashyap for ‘Queen’
Best Production Design : Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray for ‘Haider’
Best Sound Design : Anil Kumar Konakandla and Prabal Pradhan for ‘Mardaani’
Best Costume Design: Dolly Ahluwalia for ‘Haider’

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Jan 312015
Bollywood Buzz, Exclusive | January 31, 2015 at 12:47 pm

arjun_salmanActor Arjun Rampal has rubbished reports of having a tiff with Salman Khan over Shah Rukh Khan.

Confused? Well, the story goes like this. An online portal reported that Arjun Rampal and Salman Khan had a fall out as the former was bitching about Shah Rukh in-front of Salman and he didn’t like it.

According to the report, Arjun Rampal met Salman Khan at the latter’s residence recently. They had dinner and drinks and were talking about various things when the subject drifted to Shah Rukh Khan. We all know that once friends Arjun and SRK don’t share a good rapport now. So, apparently Arjun started talking about SRK. But Salman, who is now a good friend of SRK, stopped him there and then, and told him to leave his place.

Well, do you believe this? Even we don’t and Arjun Rampal made it clear that it is a baseless story.

The actor took to Twitter to rubbish the report. He tweeted:

Arjun Rampal has always been quick to repsond to any false and baseless reports through Twitter. He had also previously slammed reports linking him with Sussanne Khan.

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Jan 292015
Bollywood Buzz | January 29, 2015 at 2:09 pm

srk_varunFor a while now, Varun Dhawan has been making news regarding a project with Rohit Shetty. But although his name was initially being attached with a Ram Lakhan (1989) remake, we’ve learnt that the actor will feature in another project helmed by the film-maker, co-starring Shah Rukh Khan.

The untitled film will apparently go on the floors in March, after Varun finishes promoting his February 20 release, Badlapur. Speculations have been rife that the film could be a remake of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Hum (1991) or Amar Akbar Anthony (1977). However, an industry insider tells us that the comedy-action project will have a completely original script.

The source says, “Varun is confirmed to do the film. He is kicked about the prospect of working with Shah Rukh, under the guidance of Rohit. He feels Rohit is one of the most exciting directors to work with. In all likelihood, the film will hit the screens by the end of 2015. Currently, Rohit and his team are busy with the pre-production work on the film.”

Interestingly, the film might also see Shah Rukh reunite on-screen with Kajol, who is close to being confirmed for the part. On the other hand, Varun will likely be seen with Heropanti (2014) actor Kriti Sanon. At a recent event, Shah Rukh had said, “Rohit’s film will start in March. I will join the rest of the cast and crew from May or June.” Despite repeated attempts, Varun couldn’t be reached for a comment.

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Jan 292015
Bollywood Buzz | January 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Salman-KhanBarack Obama’s casual use of SRK’s “Senorita, bade bade deshon mein…” dialogue from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in his address at the Siri Fort auditorium has left Salman Khan’s legion of fans rattled, dumbfounded and in some cases utterly devastated.

“Why did he have to choose that gay guy’s punchline over bhai’s?” wailed a self-confessed Salmaniac’. “Bhai is also a Muslim. Bhai is also a superstar. And bhai has far more and far better punchlines than SRgay! Oh why! Why! Why! Why?”

“What a nightmare this is,” said another Salman fan, wiping his brow with the sleeve of his Being Human T-shirt. “We got badly humped on Twitter by SRGay’s fans today. We had no answer to their trend SRK pride of India’. We tried to recoup and trend #SwachhBharatWithSalman in response, but it was so bloody lame, with zero conviction behind it.”

Later in the day, Salman’s fans held a massive virtual meeting, wherein they discussed possible retaliatory measures to tackle the development. Some suggested that Salman get back at Obama by driving around White House. Some others suggested letter-bombing Obama with DVDs of movies such as Veer and Yuvvraaj. However, most ideas were reluctantly discarded once the President’s Secret Service was taken into account.

Eventually, it was decided to approach another world leader to endorse Salman Khan by spouting some of his legendary punchlines. All Salmaniacs unanimously agreed on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Vladimir Putin is the bad boy of world politics. He goes topless at the slightest excuse, likes to shoot endangered species, runs over hapless countries, and hates Obama. He is simply the perfect choice,” raved another Salman fan, who confirmed that the proposal has already been accepted by Moscow.

According to sources, late on Tuesday night, when Obama rang up Putin demanding that he stop his nefarious activities in Ukraine, Putin shot back, “Ek baar jo mene commitment kar di, uske baad to mein khud ki bhi nahi sunta!” When an irked Obama warned of further sanctions on Russia, Putin scoffed, “Mujhpe ek ehsaan karna ki mujhpe koi ehsaan na karna,” and slammed the phone down.

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Jan 292015
Bollywood Buzz | January 29, 2015 at 1:55 pm

khansWhen the name Aamir Khan’ pops up in a conversation, the immediate image that comes to mind is beatific- a warm smile, Buddha like ears & a pleasant demeanor that strikes awe. I like to call him the thinking Khan’ in most of my writing. He is the nice guy of cinema who will go beyond a pay cheque for a good cause & a good film. Even when reality differs and controversies pop up, little impacts Aamir’s image. As a producer, Aamir has had run ins with two of his directors- Amole Gupte & Anusha Rizvi. Occasionally, a section of the film business is found muttering about his hard bargaining skills. And he prayed at Mecca before the release of PK. Not so nice references to his personal life from the past too no longer make news.

Aamir Khan’s image is the result of a well thought out process- one that capitalizes on his ability to navigate challenging films & take on genuine causes. In play comes the efficient team of Spice PR. It’s Bollywood leading marketing and communication agency, led by Prabhat Chaudhary & Shilpa Handa. They have ruled the film space with strategic messaging to their credit over the years (Dhoom 3, Bang Bang, PK, 3 idiots, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara & all Yashraj releases). And their footprint in personal PR of stars is built on thought, trust & careful management over time. Prabhat though is quick to give credit to the cinematic work that two of his biggest stars- Aamir Khan & Deepika Padukone- have achieved so far.

“Aamir’s imaging has been organic. To some extent, the same process has happened with Deepika. I will not take that much credit for that. Both these actors have really delivered on the box office, and in terms of content, they have really outshone many. Everytime you expect Aamir to do a certain kind of film, he does something else! He produced a Taaren Zameen Par’, and then followed it up with Ghajini’. The only consistent aspect has been his propensity to take up challenges that engage him. He enjoys good will on the ground. Everytime you call him an activist, he does something else. Be it with his films or his other work, it is difficult to bracket him.”

Spice PR currently manages the PR of a young crop of stars- Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy apoor to name a few. Noting that they fill a space of promising new talent for the future. Prabhat is pleasantly surprised at their awareness levels of image management & public communication at such an early stage. He said, ” It’s the level of maturity that they display which is commendable. A Sidharth Malhotra doesn’t hail from a film background, whereas a Shraddha Kapoor does. Yet, they are both equally aware of what works for them and what would not suit them. That is maturity!”

Simultaneously, they have contributed to positioning Deepika Padukone as a female superstar with acting mettle- a far cry from her prior image of being a pretty non actor who is best known for the man she is currently dating. Now, her social causes & strong opinions make more news than her star boyfriend.

Says Prabhat, “It’s a science. It’s a skill set for sure. Like in architecture, you talk about sustainable architecture. So there should ideally be a concept of sustainable imaging. An image that can’t be sustained is an implant. An implant can’t be sustained for long. When professionals are at work they analyse your personality. A strategy is then devised. One strategy does not fit all. A strategy will only work if it is unique to particular actor. That search for uniqueness is actually the task.”

However, most public relations firms and professionals in the film business show minimal understanding of imaging. Rashly thought out implants tends to drive PR. In this day and age of paid entertainment news in India’s two biggest newspapers, little room is left for reasonable, smart messaging to go through. It’s this very crunch for news space that leads to desperate PR plugs becoming top stories across news websites. Most planted stories are laughable in terms of content and have poor grammar or writing. Not even the lay reader is fooled.

Sample a few. Recently, Vikram Bhatt made the ambitious Creature 3D’ that failed to take off at the box office. Prior to that, a report in the online page of India’s largest newspaper carried a letter from the filmmaker to PM Modi. This letter urges the Prime Minister of India to take time out of his very busy schedule to watch his first Creature film’ generated by computer graphic imagery. And the grounds for appeal are that his grandfather Shri Vijay Bhatt made Ram Rajya’ in 1943, the only film Mahatma Gandhi ever watched! To plant such an incongruous story is to push the envelope on utter rubbish, but that does not deter hyperactive film PR. Sample another one. A tweet by Sonam Kapoor on some Being Human’ merchandise gifted to her by Salman Khan on the sets of their film, also becomes a press release.

When PR takes such a mediocre turn, naturally, keen journalists focus on other sources of getting information about stars. Actors tend to be wary of too much PR as well. Anushka Sharma, whose publicity is managed by the Yashraj talent PR person, Monika Bhattacharya, swears by her subtle approach. Despite having coveted films in her kitty and a relationship with India’s most eligible bachelor, Anushka’s approach to PR is less is more’. False stories about her don’t hit our inboxes. She also rarely comments on many issues. Ranbir Kapoor is the other actor who doesn’t have a publicist to manage his image.

Having said that, public communications are a necessity for a star. This is where celebrity managers come into play. A star’s image can impact their viability in the much sought after endorsements space. So celebrity management firms also manage their publicity through key messaging and selective outreach. For instance, Matrix Entertainment manages Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif & Kareena Kapoor to name a few. Despite major legal issues, Salman’s benevolent Bhai’ image has grown over the years. Being Human’ is a well managed brand that stems from the mega brand Salman’. Despite having 1 film in her kitty, Kareena Kapoor Khan endorses the most brands amongst female stars. The mass connect that both Salman & Kareena enjoy go beyond a good or bad year at the theaters.

Reshma Shetty, the head honcho at Matrix, prefers not to speak about her work. Her team of ace business managers too is reluctant. Yet, when you note the relationship of trust and reliability that Kareena has developed with her manager, Poonam Damania, you get a sense on how crucial their contribution is to a star’s image and brand. Kareena doesn’t create news but gossip often chases her. To an extent, it becomes her manager’s job to ensure that gossip does not interfere with her image.

And when digital communications build a direct connects between a star and fan bases, imaging also becomes a personally driven business, albeit with the help of social media agencies sometimes. Tanujaa Mehra of Exceed Entertainment points out the game changing impact of digital communications.

“Ultimately, the relationship between a fan and an artist is very personal and in today’s digital age, the communication is one-on-one. Personal affairs are some thing that have to be tackled adeptly, since, every artist like any normal human being has a choice to either be open about it to be secretive about it.”

Having managed Hrithik Roshan and Bipasha Basu for a long time, Tanujaa and the team at Exceed Entertainment are adept at building a reclusive, unreachable, slightly exclusive image for their stars. She elaborates on their method of operation. “Image management, Public Relations, brand Management, financial management et al – each department has been segregated and clearly defined. The kernel is the manager who manages the day-to-day affairs…all information is collated, culled and provided for the artists’ discretion. All the departments have to work cohesively to ensure ‘value’ of an artist increases with every association be it a film or brand etc. ”

Hrithik Roshan has successfully utilized his positive communication skills on social media, and his recent divorce hasn’t dented his popularity. Bipasha Basu, too, has managed to remain consistent with films and endorsements- converting her image as a fitness diva to profits. That working on imaging in a subtle manner works is evident in Shahid Kapoor’s recent popularity on social media. He replaced his PR agency and his Casanova image is gradually getting supplemented with that of a talented, performing star.

Last word on imaging is of course, SRK. The superstar’s films don’t always speak for newness. But his larger than life image continues to grow. Natural eloquence has always been his strong suit. With smart stunts like a lifesize 3D print model, he remains on top of his game on forever popular.

With digital media taking over, and camera phones clicking every moment of a star’s life, imaging becomes all the more crucial. It has to be thought through, and painstakingly, maintained in personal behavior and slick positioning. In this context, short term PR implants must make way for a strategic approach to image management.

Either you do a lot of PR, or you don’t do any. The approach must be consistent. Convenient outreach for the sake of a film or a product has it’s limits with the audience.

But an image must reflect the true persona of a star at all times. Otherwise, there’s only so much that paid news can do to create mirages of larger than life stardom.What are your thoughts on this?

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Jan 292015

Bollywood Buzz, Exclusive | January 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm

srk-arjun-salman-1Well if you guys are thinking that we are talking about Arjun Kapoor you are wrong, we are talking about Arjun Rampal.

Sanskriti Media and Entertainments reports that a few days back Arjun Rampal called up Salman Khan saying he wants visit him and spend the evening.

Apparently when Arjun Rampal reached Salman’s residence it was 11pm and the duo started consuming liquor. They chatted about Arjun’s upcoming film ‘Roy’ and life in general.

Later, if a source is to be believed, Arjun allegedly under the influence of spirit started talking not so good about old friend Shah Rukh Khan.

The source said, “Arjun thought that Salman Khan will also join in criticising SRK but the opposite happened. Salman told Arjun that whatever it is – is between him and Shah Rukh and he should not talk about it.”

But Arjun didn’t stop and kept on talking about SRK. Salman, who was also under influence, asked Rampal to leave his house at 3:15am.

Both Salman and Arjun were unavailable for comment.

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Jan 282015
Reviews | January 28, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Critics Rating: ?????
Box Office: TBA

Hawaizaada-Poster1890?s: India under the British Raj.

After repeating the same class eight times, Shivi is expelled from his school. Enjoying his newly attained freedom, he bumps into Sitara and here strikes cupid! Sensuality personified, Sitara is a local diva. Fed up with Shivi’s rebellious and carefree ways, his father shows him the door. Reality daunts hard on Sitara. Fearing that she will bring shame and disgrace to Shivi, she decides to leave the city. Dejected and distraught, Shivi slips into a life of sin and debauchery.

Shastry – an eccentric yet genius scientist and Vedic scholar enters Shivi’s life. He inspires Shivi to take control of himself and shares with Shivi, his dream of doing the impossible…of making the world’s first aircraft, an interpretation of freedom.

A failed lover, a diva, an old man’s dream and an impossible machine. Will Shivi ever be able to live up to his guru’s dream? Will the Hawaizaada ever touch the sky?


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Jan 282015
Reviews | January 28, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Critics Rating: ??½??
Box Office: TBA

Khamoshiyan-Movie-PosterA young novelist KABIR (Ali Fazal) is a one-book wonder. He is on an inspirational journey to find himself and to write his book. He meets a young and beautiful lady MEERA (Sapna Pabbi) who runs the isolated guest-house which he finds eerie. Meera is married to the owner of this guest-house JAIDEV (Gurmeet) who was once a rich paper mill owner, he had disguised himself as a charming man but is a controlling demon within. Kabir begins to encounter unusual things and discover secrets about the house and Meera. Meera is evasive about these suspicious incidents that are taking place, which if he finds out, would threaten to destroy her. The more Kabir interacts with Meera about these strange incidents the more he gets drawn towards her. What are the secrets that are hidden in her silences?


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