May 112018

From Romeo and Juliet to Heer and Ranjha, the greatest love stories are tragedies. The story of Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt’s romance is one such heartbreaking tale that will have you reaching for the tissues. On the actress’s birth anniversary, let us take a trip down memory lane.

In 1977, Parveen was nursing a broken heart, after ending her relationship with Kabir Bedi. It was during this time that she found solace in Mahesh, and they began a passionate relationship. The filmmaker was already married to his childhood sweetheart Lorraine Bright aka Kiran Bhatt, but that did not stop him from falling head over heels in love with Parveen. He walked out on his wife and daughter Pooja and began living with Parveen.

Everything was perfect in their fairytale romance, until one fateful evening in 1979. In an interview with Filmfare, Mahesh revealed that as he entered Parveen’s apartment, he saw her petrified mother in the corridor, who requested him to check on the actress. He walked into the bedroom and witnessed a sight that sent a chill down his spine.

“Parveen was dressed in film costume and sat curled up in the corner between the wall and the bed. Her gait was beast like. She had a kitchen knife in her hand. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. She said, ‘Shhsssh…! Don’t talk! This room is bugged (installed with a spying device). They’re trying to kill me; they’re going to drop a chandelier on me.’ She held my hand and led me outside. I saw her mother look helplessly at me. Her gaze revealed that this episode had happened before; it was not the first time,” Mahesh said.

Top psychiatrists were consulted, and Parveen was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Mahesh tried being there for her, but her delusions kept getting worse. “Sometimes she’d say the air conditioner had a bug. We had to dismantle it and show it to her. At other times there was ‘a bug’ in the fan or in the perfume,” he recounted.

Mahesh recalled one particular incident when Parveen believed that the car they were travelling in had a bomb. “She threw open the door of the moving car, saying the bomb would burst and ran out on the road with me trying to hold her. People thought ‘Parveen Babi’ was having a fight with her boyfriend. Somehow, I huddled her into a taxi and brought her home,” he said.

“The scene was scary – I got into LSD and Parveen went through a series of nervous breakdowns. I went through trauma and a hell of my own making for two and a half years,” he told The Times Of India.

When the attacks got out of control, doctors said that electroconvulsive therapy was the only option. But Mahesh did not want his ladylove to go through that ordeal. His opposition to this particular method of treatment led to whispers that he was a “user” who did not want what was best for her.

Seeing no other way out, Mahesh ran away with Parveen to his philosopher friend UG Krishnamurti in Bengaluru. “I believed the quiet life there would give her solace even as the drug therapy was on. If she had to heal it would be there under the veil of anonymity. UG saw little chance of complete recovery. He suggested an alternative life, free from the pressures of stardom,” the filmmaker told Filmfare.

Shortly after, in October 1979, he left Parveen in the care of his friend and came back to Mumbai. Mahesh believed that he was part of the problem, and that he needed to distance himself for her to be on the path to recovery. He moved back in with his wife and tried to mend what was left of their marriage. He also began writing his breakthrough film, Arth, and found it to be cathartic.

However, the same year, Parveen returned to Mahesh’s life. Though he had reconciled with his wife, he could not resist going back to her. “Parveen knew I was in touch with UG, who was against her returning to films. He was the voice of sanity, which she didn’t want to hear. So she played the last card,” he said, adding that just as they were about to make love, she asked him to choose between her or the philosopher.

It was then that he understood that their relationship was doomed and walked out into the pouring rain, leaving a stark naked Parveen calling out to him. But he never looked back.

“I understood that the relationship was doomed and that I was deluding myself in hoping for a happy ending. The only person who had cushioned her from ECT, who had nursed her and had suggested a way out; she didn’t want to hear his truth! UG had fathered me and mothered her. There was no way the party would continue. We broke up in 1980,” Mahesh said.

Outlook quotes him as saying, “I remember, the last time I saw her was at a bookshop in Holiday Inn when the Gulf War was on. We didn’t even say hello to each other. She had become a completely different personality.”

When Parveen passed away in anonymity in 2005, Mahesh was the one to claim her body. “I thought if none of her relatives came forward I’d bury her. She was the springboard of my success. Arth (based on his relationship with Parveen) became the lifeblood of my resurrection. You take away this defining watershed tragedy and my narrative ceases to exist. I owe it all to her. By offering to bury her I felt a sense of closure,” he told Filmfare.

Jan 262018

Veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who has been in the Hindi film industry for more than four decades

Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt

Veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who has been in the Hindi film industry for more than four decades, says he has seen a number of transitions in the industry including the time when filmmaker Vikram Bhatt marked his debut and then made a name for himself.

Besides Vikram, who is Mahesh’s family friend, Vikram’s daughter Krishna too has boarded the filmmaking band wagon with her upcoming web-series “Untouchables”.

“I think I have seen so many transitions of this industry and Vikram came and joined me and then Vikram became a force to reckon with. He has made his foray into the world wide web and Krishna is one of that streak,” said Mahesh in a statement.

“As you get older you have faith in the younger people and I personally feel that the younger generation has the urgency and idiom of today to communicate with the world in their language but what they need is the draw from the emotional depth of the journeys that we have taken. My journey, her father’s journey and that’s how her graph will be fuelled by a deeper understanding and I think she already has that in her,” he added.

While Mahesh debuted in the film world with his direction of the film “Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain” in 1974, Vikram entered the film industry in 1992 with “Jaanam”.

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Jan 022018

Alia Bhatt, who is busy filming for Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra and Ranveer Singh’s Gully Boy, might delay Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak 2

Alia Bhatt has been roped in for the sequel of father Mahesh Bhatt’s 1991 directorial venture, Sadak. While the film was expected to hit screens in August, it looks unlikely, thanks to Alia’s packed schedule. The actor, who recently wrapped up Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, reportedly left for Israel with Ranbir Kapoor and Ayan Mukerji, her Brahmastra co-star and director respectively.

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt

The superhero film will be shot in three parts. After wrapping up the project’s first schedule, Alia will start shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh. A source tells mid-day that Sadak 2, which pairs Alia with rumoured beau Sidharth Malhotra, has suffered because of her other projects. “Alia is juggling Brahmastra and Gully Boy. While the former releases in 2019, the latter is scheduled to hit screens later this year. Alia will also be busy promoting Raazi for a couple of months, as it releases in May. So, Sadak 2 has been postponed. It will roll by the end of 2018.”

Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt

The sequel will take off from Sadak lead actor, Sanjay Dutt’s character taking a leap of 26 years. When mid-day reached out to Alia, she refused to comment on the project. “Whenever I’ll work in my father’s production, the news will be out there for everyone to know. As of now, I can’t reveal anything.”

Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh
Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh

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Aug 052017

Kangana Ranaut’s nepotism remark had hit a raw nerve among the who’s who of Bollywood. It’s an open secret in the film industry that hasn’t exactly been too kind to outsiders. Yet, the blue blood of Bollywood refused to let the remark go down with grace. What followed was outright denial, then petty ridicule (in the form of punny jokes at the IIFA awards) and later an open letter justifying nepotism as natural selection.

Emraan Hashmi Owns Up To Nepotism © Youtube

Just when we thought there was no one in the industry who would own up to it and call a spade a spade, actor Emraan Hashmi spoke up. The actor who is the nephew of Mahesh Bhatt, has always been forthright and honest in an industry where diplomacy is taken as a morning pill. We have always admired Emraan for his lack of pretence and his transparent interviews.

In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, the actor confessed that nepotism exists in the industry and was the reason why he could get his first break in Bollywood, thanks to his uncle Mahesh Bhatt. “Yes, nepotism exists in our industry, and I got a break because of it. If my uncle, who is a producer and director hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have been an actor.”

Emraan Hashmi Owns Up To Nepotism © Hotstar

The actor had no qualms in accepting that having godfathers in the industry makes it a lot easier to penetrate the cold hard fabric of the close-knit industry, “I wouldn’t push my seven-year-old son, Ayaan, now into Bollywood. But tomorrow, if he wants to become an actor, it will be a lot easier for him because his father is an actor and producer.” 

And, of course, there’s a downside to it too and Emraan is well aware of that. “The industry will try to box my son into an image that his father had and completely snatch away his individuality. They won’t let him start afresh, like an outsider.”

Emraan Hashmi Owns Up To Nepotism © Instagram

Finally, someone who had the guts to face the truth and say it out loud, without being self-defensive or dismissive, and without jumping to justifications about how hard work is necessary too. It takes a person who is confident in his own skin to own up to something like that. Emraan is an immensely talented actor and has given us some real powerful roles. Grounded and brutally honest, that’s the Emraan we look up to, just like most of his roles.

Dec 122012

Salman Khan – the B-town goldmine is an unstoppable phenomenon. The most ‘Wanted’ star is said to have the Midas touch.. Many say he is Midas – whatever touches him turns gold. The year 2012 may blow the trumpet for Hindi cinema’s potential biggest blockbuster ‘Dabangg 2’. Will it break the record of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’? Will it surpass ‘3 Idiots’ and reach the 300 crore mark? The actor who gave series of disasters in 2008 with ‘Yuvvraaj’, ‘Heroes’, ‘God Tussi Great Ho’ is today the Messiah of the industry. He is called the Man who brought the ‘real’ single screen audience and the whistles back to theatres with ‘Wanted’ in 2009. What makes him the most popular actor in box office terms and what are the expectations with ‘Dabangg 2’….?

When asked the big man, Salman Khan, on how he sees his stardom and keeps himself moving the secret behind his success, Salman says, “At this age of 47 I have to do much better work then I used to do 20 years back. I have to jump higher, kick harder, look better and do actions better than the previous film then only I can romance on screen and people will like me. Once the action is over romance is gone.”

Veteran journalist Deepa Ranade says, “Expectations with Dabangg 2 are sky high. Today Salman Khan is the man with the Midas Touch… whatever he touches turns gold….”

“Interestingly, Salman Khan is not a yesterday’s occurrence; all the expectations, hype and aura surrounding Salman is the result of proper and carefully cultivated brand image doctoring of a star who maintained his warmth amongst the audience since ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ days”, adds Deepa and continues,  “Salman’s ‘bindass’ attitude of a brat who cares has always found connect with the audience especially the young ones. His commitment towards his looks, physique, love, affection for his family has got admires beyond kids and teenagers. Today everyone from college going son to his mother, father and sister want to watch Dabangg 2 that’s the impact he had had on people and he has maintained what he is in front of all.”

When asked Arbaaz Khan on what he feels regarding the expectations on Dabangg 2 where he debuts as a director, Arbaaz shares, “I can’t say how will the public react. As far as the film is concerned ‘Dabangg2’ falls in the category of ‘Rocky’, ‘Rambo’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. We have maintained the temperament of ‘Dabangg’ in this sequel which starts from where the previous ended. On the sets I was the director and Salman was the actor. That’s all no starry vibes. I dreamt of being a director for many years. I assisted Mahesh Bhatt during the late 80s and early 90s. Now my debut film has become the talk of the town. I had responsibilities before ‘Dabangg 2’ and will have after its release also whatever be the faith.”

The industry trade pundits are upbeat and are expecting a mammoth huge opener for Salman starrer ‘Dabangg 2’. Veteran trade expert and editor of Entertainment Trade N.P. Yadav says, “Dabangg 2 has an open week. Salman’s power at box office has been tremendous since ‘Wanted’ he is undoubtedly the most bankable star in Hindi cinema. Dabangg 2 is expected to break the records of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and can even surpass ‘3 Idiots’ and set a benchmark.”

According to N.P. Yadav Salman has mastered his stardom and cashed in on his popularity very smartly with the help of Reshma Shetty who has made him realize the importance of promotion, media, publicity and released his films on holidays like EId and this time Christmas also. Salman was always a darling of the masses. Since his entry he has delivered, set and broke records with trendsetters like ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ or ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!’ Salman is the only evergreen popular star of Indian cinema today and the most bankable on Indian box office. But it’s SRK who has enjoyed maximum stardom the most since 1993 with ‘Baazigar’. He still remains undisputed in overseas with his latest JTHJ doing a business of whopping 70 crores in overseas alone. Aamir Khan’s ‘Ghajini’ performance at the box office in 2008 got the 3 Khans on a single platform before that nobody was around Shahrukh Khan. Having said that it is a fact that the actor who enjoys maximum faith amongst the distributor and producers on Indian screen and who can guarantee a storm on the opening day is Salman Khan – He is unstoppable….

True, the star power of Salman was used to get maximum screens for JTHJ in India. Let’s see what records Salman in his most loved avatar of Chulbul Pandey does on Indian box office.. Will ‘Dabangg 2’ reach 300 crores…? Will the phenomenon continue its dream run? Will the Messiah deliver on this Christmas….?