Archive for the ‘Cannes’ Category

Over the last couple of years, Kareena Kapoor has been part of some of the biggest box office hits including 3 Idiots (2009) and Bodyguard (2011). And now, she is hoping that boyfriend Saif Ali Khan’s action extravaganza, Agent Vinod, will join the list. The film releases early next year.

“I have complete faith in the film, Saif and its director Sriram Raghavan. If you ask me, I believe that Saif was born to do the role (of a spy in Agent Vinod). Now, let’s hope for the best. I am keeping my fingers crossed,” says Kareena, whose next lot of films also includes Madhur Bhandarkar’s controversial Heroine.

Ask Kareena about being a part of big hits and she immediately says: “It’s definitely overwhelming. And it’s actually four big hits including Golmaal 3,” says the actor with a smile. “But I want to keep pushing the envelope and aim to continue doing some great work.”

Although Kareena has been a part of back-to-back biggies, she refuses to get into competition mode with other female stars. “I only see the camera. I have always been content in my own space and the only competition I have is with my own performances. I aim to outdo myself with every film. Others can worry about being on top,” she says.

Interestingly, before the Kapoor girl proved her merit, the industry considered only Hema Malini in the hit league, when she delivered back-to-back successes in the 1970s like Sholay, Dus Numbri, Haath Ki Safai, Dream Girl and Sanyasi. But what Kareena is most excited about is the diverse roles she’s given by filmmakers, and the audience’s acceptance.

“I consider myself lucky that 3 idiots is the biggestever grosser. Bodyguard had the year’s biggest opening while Golmaal is one of the most popular franchises. So both the diversity and acceptance are very satisfying,” says the actor. In the meantime, she’s working hard on her role in Heroine, which experienced a major setback when lead star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan quit after announcing her pregnancy.

Ask Madhur whether he’s glad to finally have his lead star in place and he says, “We had discussed a lot of films, but nothing materialised. But I am sure Heroine will be a landmark in Kareena’s career.”

Hollywood star Evan Rachel Wood and Bollywood heartthrob Saif Ali Khan pose together on the second night of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.They may have been clueless about each other’s existence, but Hollywood star Evan Rachel Wood and Bollywood heartthrob Saif Ali Khan did a good job of hiding it.

After an endearing “Hi, I am Saif Ali Khan” and handshake on the red carpet, the two got down to the business of playing up to the press galleries by posing together on the second night of Abu Dhabi Film Festival on Friday.

While the Agent Vinod star was in the capital to receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Actor Award, the American actress was here to showcase her political thriller The Ides of March, starring and directed by George Clooney.
In a white and black Jason Wu dress paired with a blazing orange over-sized clutch, Woods confirmed what we have always believed. “George is amazing, smart and cool. He was a practical joker, as he went around with a toy gun spraying water, filming people when they weren’t watching etc,” said Woods.

Clooney wasn’t the only one who did her in. She’s game for Bollywood too. “Please don’t ask me about the latest movie I have seen, but I love Bollywood and I am open to acting in one,” she told reporters gathered at the press pit.
A suave Khan, who was earlier spotted at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar in a white cotton tunic and red shorts looking a tad disoriented, was quick to rattle off the names of the projects on his plate.
“I have three projects that I am producing — a zombie comedy, a spy thriller and a romantic comedy with Deepika Padukone. It’s one too many, but I hope to be back in this festival with a film next time,” said Khan.

And the road has been far from easy, as is suggested by the plaster on his forehead. “It happened during the filming of my action film Agent Vinod — it’s been rather painful,” Khan explained. “We are shooting the last leg in London, Russia and Rajasthan soon.
“I have been to Abu Dhabi before, but it’s my first time to the festival. I think we share a common love — a love for cinema,” he added.
Khan was equally thrilled when he realised that his maternal relative and acclaimed Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s 1901 novella Nashtanir (The Broken Nest) adapted into a film by Satyajit Ray was being showcased at ADFF.
“He has done some amazing work and my mother [Sharmila, the great grand-niece of Tagore] often marvel at his work. He makes us proud.”
The tables were turned when he went on stage to collect his honour — a nod to his stellar career in Bollywood.

“This is by far the most useful award that I have received. Thank you and enjoy the movie,” said Khan, pointing to the watch that was presented to him.
And enjoy they did, as the packed theatre watched the thriller The Ides of March.
“The film is on politics, but it’s also about human nature and moral dilemma,” said Wood. “It’s not one-sided.”
The ADFF runs until October 22.

Jaeger-LeCoultre takes great pride in awarding the inaugural Glory to the Actor Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, to celebrated Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan, in recognition of his achievements as an actor/producer and his efforts in the developments of the Bollywood film industry.

Star of numerous Bollywood blockbusters – such as Love Aaj Kal, Race, Omkara, Parineeta, Aarakshan, and Hum Tum, and international successes, Salaam Namaste – an acting career spanning nearly 20 years, and honoured by numerous awards – such as the prestigious national Pradma Shri for his outstanding contribution to the development of the film industry in India – Saif Ali Khan is a worthy recipient of the inaugural Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Actor award.

Watch aficionado Saif – son of acclaimed Bollywood actress, Sharmila Tagore, and late India cricket captain, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi – wears an ode to his family, a personalised edition of Jaeger-LeCoultres Reverso Grand Taille with the Pataudi family crest engraved on the reverse of the case. Saif received this unique piece at the momentous celebration of the 80th anniversary of the iconic watch with Jaeger-LeCoultre in Paris in June of this year.

The award ceremony will take place on 14 October 2011, during the Abu Dhabi Film Festival at the Abu Dhabi Theater on the Corniche. The ceremony will precede the festivals gala screening of The Ides of March, a new film by George Clooney, starring Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gossling and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

We are delighted that Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen to give the first Glory to the Actor Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and so, I am sure, are the many fans of Saif Ali Khan among the sizeable community of Bollywood lovers here in Abu Dhabi. It will be both a pleasure and an honour to celebrate the achievements of such an acclaimed actor, said Peter Scarlet, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Initially an award dedicated to filmmakers at the Venice Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre takes great pride in extending the Glory Award category at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2011 and its feature on the calendar of prestigious film festivals around the world. The Glory Award category honours and supports the film industry in recognition of both upcoming and confirmed actors, directors and producers.

“This is a partnership we are very excited about because Jaeger-LeCoultre shares our dedication to cinema as an art form, and to the recognition of the achievements of gifted actors from around the world. There are many ways our efforts complement each other and we look forward to working with Jaeger-LeCoultre in the years to come,” said Eissa Saif Rashed Al Mazrouei, Director of Special Projects for ADACH.

Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Jaeger-LeCoultre, the reference in Swiss fine watchmaking, is pleased to announce its official 3 year partnership with the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), one of the largest and most influential international film festivals in the Middle East.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long standing connection with the film industry, and a strong commitment to supporting and promoting cinematic culture. As a major player in watchmaking history, celebrating its 178th anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre is a true watchmaking legend, respected for upholding watchmaking traditions and maintaining the spirit of invention. A perfect fit in a region with shared regard for tradition and heritage mixed with modernity and the ultimate quest for perfection. said Jrme Lambert, Chief Executive Officer Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Jaeger-LeCoultres long-established relations with the film industry are exemplified in its 7 year partnership with the Venice International Film Festival. The brand and the Festival share a common devotion to artistic heritage. The two sides meet each year to praise film and culture, to extol history and time. In recent years, Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Venice International Film Festival have been in close cooperation to support and promote the film culture.

In addition to the Venice Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre recently joined forces with the Shanghai International Film Festival, further cementing its position as supporter of the global cinematic industry.

Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre

A major player in watchmaking history since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre is the first Manufacture to have been established in the Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. It played a pioneering role by uniting the full range of technical and artistic professions under one roof and made an indelible imprint on the watchmaking development of the entire region. The Manufacture has an impressive range of world firsts, superlative creations and legendary models to its credit, including the Reverso, the Duoplan, the Master Control, the Memovox Polaris, the Gyrotourbillon and the Atmos. Guided by time-honored know-how and a constant quest for technical enhancements, the master-watchmakers, engineers and technicians craft each watch in harmony with the same passion. Each masterpiece, heir to 178 years of expertise, calls for the exercise of no less than 40 professions and benefits from cutting-edge technologies while being crafted in harmony with the noblest traditions of the Valle de Joux. Building on a vast heritage encompassing 1,231 calibres and 398 registered patents, Jaeger-LeCoultre remains the reference in high-end watchmaking.

In the UAE Friday to be honoured by a luxury watch company, Bollywood heartthrob Saif Ali Khan opens up about his lineage, his career and ‘Saifeena’

It calls for a certain amount of class and breeding to be gracious while grappling with a personal loss. And Saif Ali Khan, just coming to terms with the death of his father, legendary cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, on September 22, has that in spades.
Graciously accepting my condolences with a polite “thank you, ma’am”, the award-winning actor — whose royal lineage is well-documented, with his ancestors ruling Pataudi, an erstwhile princely state near Delhi — spoke haltingly as he talked about the rich legacy left behind by his famous father.
“I looked up to my father tremendously — in almost every way. He was a remarkable man,” said Khan in an exclusive interview with tabloid! as he waited to board a flight to Mumbai.
Often referred to as the Chhote Nawab (junior prince) by the Indian press, the Aarakshan star is aware of his rich inheritance — more so than before. India, a nation full of cricket lovers, was plunged into grief when its beloved “Tiger” — a nickname his father earned for his aggressive sporting prowess — died.
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“He was so dignified and inspired so much respect in all of us. I will not emulate him, but I will try and absorb the very special qualities that made him the man that he is. I would like to carry on the good work that he was doing. I don’t know how to word it, but in whatever way I can I will take his legacy forward,” said Khan, adding that his father supported several charities.
Perhaps it’s this quality that made the Delhi-born, UK-educated star the ideal ambassador for Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Friday at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre will decorate Khan with the inaugural Glory To The Actor Award in a nod to his sizeable contribution to Bollywood. But when you ask the recipient whether it was his pedigree that won him this account, he demurs. Khan believes it was a healthy mix of Bollywood and blue blood.
“I think it’s hard to differentiate one from the other. If it’s just my family background, I don’t think they [Jaeger-LeCoultre] would have ever heard of me. The fact that I am an actor in Indian films has advertised my name and made it known to the world. My job and my profession is obviously something that I am proud of. I am equally proud of my family background. I think one complements the other in a way. It’s hard for me to separate the two.”
The 41-year-old, who made his debut in the family drama Parampara in 1992, found Bollywood the best leveller. Film folklore has it that showbiz did not mete out the royal treatment to Khan — whose mother is legendary actress Sharmila Tagore — as he struggled to gain a place in the highly competitive industry. In the early ’90s, he was panned for his effeminate voice and was mostly a part of ensemble films such as Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari, which had far more established stars leading the projects.
Cinematic coups
But the 2001 box office hit Dil Chahta Hai — a coming-of-age film about three friends — put him firmly on the Bollywood map. In recent years, he has topped up his account with several cinematic coups. Be it playing the jealous Langda Tyagi in Omkara, Bollywood’s answer to Othello, the commitment-phobe Jai Vardhan Singh in Love Aaj Kal or cold-blooded murderer Karan in Ek Hasina Thi, Khan has aced the acting game.
“It’s been 19 years and I am very happy that I found something that I love and it’s wonderful to be loved so much in return. I feel I am better at [acting] now than I was before. But, I have a strong feeling that the coming months will be my best phase in my career, starting with Agent Vinod.”
The highly anticipated spy-thriller is the next film from his production house Illuminati Films, which he started in 2009 with the blockbuster Love Aaj Kal. Khan plays the title role along with Kareena Kapoor, his longtime girlfriend. Shot on a massive scale, his magnum opus has been in the works for the last two years.
“Agent Vinod, as my director Sriram Raghavan puts it, is a little bit Bond and a little bit Tin-Tin. It’s ultimately an action adventure. This guy is not a copy of James [Bond] or Jason [Bourne]. I am amazed that Sriram has come up with an original character, because it’s so easy to ape a Western spy considering the number of Hollywood films that have been made in that genre.”
Though the plot is intriguing to industry insiders and Bollywood buffs, it’s the on-screen pairing with Kapoor that’s grabbing headlines. The divorced father-of-two began dating the Bollywood A-lister in 2007 and has been attempting to stoke some on-screen chemistry with thrillers like the terrorism drama Kurbaan.
Though it didn’t ring any bells at the box-office, the Saifeena (the tabloid title bestowed on the power couple) chemistry in the film was much applauded. And as expected, the impending marriage plans of this dynamic-duo are debated, scrutinised and analysed to great lengths. Khan is a tad irked by it all.
“At the right time next year, we can comment on our future plans,” said Khan, adding that working together on Agent Vinod would naturally put the spotlight on their personal lives.
“People generally tend to be more interested in our personal life than our professional lives. And that one question in a long-drawn interview ends up grabbing headlines. It negates everything you are trying to put across or talk about. While I understand it, I hope people also realise that I respect my relationship tremendously. Therefore, I try and avoid answering certain questions. There’s so much more going on.”
Dutiful son
The rough cut of Agent Vinod has already been submitted to the Berlin Film Festival programmers. Khan is convinced that it will make the cut.
“Agent Vinod is a very special film. And I know it has been stretched over two years, which could have been avoided, but it’s got some superb action sequences. Though it’s a bit premature to speak about it, I have a good feeling about it,” said Khan.
He will be flying straight to London after the Jaeger-LeCoultre awards ceremony in the capital on Friday, to shoot the last leg of his epic. Apart from Agent Vinod, which is tipped to release in February, he’s also planning a zombie comedy (yet to be titled), plus Cocktail, a romantic comedy with Deepika Padukone.
Surprisingly, his professional commitments have not forced him to turn his back on his personal life. Khan was on his way back to Mumbai after visiting his mother Tagore in Delhi when tabloid! caught up with him over the phone on Tuesday. As he put it, it’s all about striking a fine balance.
“When your father is alive, you can afford to be a bit negligent, even careless. But after he’s gone, I have to take care of my mother and my sisters as well.”
Saif on…
His watch collection: “I love watches. In fact, I collect them and I have a fair amount of them. But I have only limited myself to buying one watch a year and I look forward to it. Also, Jaeger-LeCoultre have very kindly given me a personalised edition of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Grand Taille with the Pataudi family crest engraved on the reverse of the case.”
On the term Bollywood: “I am not massively proud of the name. I know, I am nobody to complain. But it really doesn’t do much for our international image. There are certain people who make very corny movies and have notorious dealings with people. They generally colour the reputation of everybody. But the people I have worked with are well-organised and in touch with the world cinema.”
On marketing blitzkrieg that has become the Bollywood norm, such as the RA.One promotions headed by Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan for his rural drama Peepli Live: “Aamir [Khan] has the best cinematic mind in the business. He’s an inspiration and I would love to follow some of his clever strategies for Agent Vinod.”

Saif Ali Khan is patching up with all those years he has lost. This is his second innings in Bollywood and the most fruitful one. He is ultra-busy with work doing film projects one after the other. He just wrapped up Prakash Jha’s ‘Aarakshan’ and is finishing shoot on his ambitious home production ‘Agent Vinod’.

Saif will also be seen in his another home production along with Deepika Padukone titled ‘Cocktail’. Further, he has also been offered two very lucrative offers. One being ‘Go Goa Goa’ that is touted to be India’s first ever zombie movie and director Raj Kumar Yadav’s ‘Ghanchakkar’.

It is also reported that post the debacle of ‘Jhoota Hi Sahi’, Abbas Tyrewala has come up with something really interesting and wants to cast Saif as the lead. Well, all we can say is that the nawab is back in demand.

Prosthetics is in vogue in Bollywood right now. Amitabh Bachchan used it to perfection in Paa (2009), Vidya Balan is likely to employ cosmetic effects in The Dirty Picture, and if all goes well, Saif Ali Khan will also join the prosthetics bandwagon in Go Goa Gone. For his upcoming zom-com (zombie ).

For the uninitiated, Shor In The City directors, Raj Nidimoru-Krishna DK, are set to direct Go Goa Gone for Saif’s Illuminati Films. Also starring Kunal Khemu, the film is apparently about a bunch of youngsters who are out to have fun but get attacked by zombies. “Saif plays a central character and he will be required to look like a zombie in some of the fun sequences. So, the makers have decided to use prosthetics on him,” says a source.

The makers aren’t willing to divulge details yet but don’t deny the use of prosthetics. “Yes, all our actors will surely look their part with the help of VFX, make-up and prosthetics. We aren’t going to stop short of anything to make a good film,” says Krishna. Interestingly, Go Goa Gone’s crew is going to be completely foreign with technicians including stylists, make-up men, action director, editor and cameraman.

“All the technicians come from different countries like Australia, USA, Canada and UK. It’s not a conscious decision to keep out Indian crew. But zom-com is a new genre in India. So an experienced crew will be a big help,” says Krishna DK. “Plus, we have known a lot of technicians (roped in for Go Goa Gone) for some time now. And others came in through references. And since we have the right film to rope them in, why not?” says the director, adding they have agreed to work on relationship basis and will be paid in accordance with what Indian experts are paid. Interestingly, a fresh face has been cast for the female lead.

“We can’t disclose her identity right now, but she is an US-based actor. All of us, including Saif, felt a new girl would fit the part perfectly,” says Krsihna, adding Soha Ali Khan isn’t a part of the film.

Another Khan of Bollywood, Saif Ali Khan is riding high on success. With biggies in hand, Saifu has come a long way in the industry. Speaking about his choice of films he says, “I want to do subjects which are made for ‘men’. Heroism in Bollywood has almost disappeared. It would be a great change if movies made by men for men made a comeback.”

Having said that, Saif seems to be in awe of the Hindi film industry. “Our film industry is one place where nothing is based on one’s cast or creed…. No one is big or small and any actor can make it to the top,” says the actor.

Filmmakers of the present generation have turned to the West for tips and tricks. Saif agrees to the fact that his own films are also based on the western concept of filmmaking. “Yes! My films like Love Aaj Kal, Agent Vinod and some others are literally based on the westernised pattern. So, I sincerely like the ideas of Prakash Jha who always prefers to make Indianised films. We need to have more and more such issue-based films here in India,” says the actor-turned-producer.

Saif is set to play an Indianised character in Jha’s Aarakshan. Speaking about the movie he says, “India is a difficult country. Before doing Aarakshan I was of the opinion that reservations need not be given any importance. I looked at one’s merit and intelligence as evaluating factors. But after working in the film I feel our country is divided in two sections and both need to be addressed appropriately. Extreme measures can only be understood well by the janta.”

Based on the delicate issue of quota system, the film showcases politics as one of the key elements. But Saif prefers to maintain a safe distance when it comes to real-life politics. “I am not a politician by nature. I am very happy and comfortable being in tinseltown. I used to read some political news but now I have no interest,” says the actor.

In Aarakshan, Saif plays the character of a lower caste teacher. And it doesn’t come as a surprise that this Nawab found it a tough task to portray the character on screen. “It is difficult to enact real and normal characters like the one I play in Aarakshan. But then dramatic and larger than life characters, like that of Langda Tyagi (Omkara) are easy to perform. On the sets I like to maintain my cool and get into the character till the shot is over,” says the actor.

Deepika Padukone stars opposite Saifu in this film. This will be their second film together and it seems there is more in the pipeline. Happy to work with Deepika once again, Saif says, “There is no chemistry as such which we share on the sets. We as actors just need to perform our parts in an exuberant manner. After Aarakshan I will be working with Deepika in a romantic film. It is tentatively titled Cocktails and is a deep-rooted love story. The details shall be disclosed later.”

Despite being happy to work with Deepika again, he refuses to choose among Deepika and Kareena, who is his co-star in Agent Vinod. “I do not like to combine my personal and professional lives,” he says. Coming back to Aarakshan, Jha prefers the use of shuddh Hindi and we wonder how Saifu coped with the demand. “My Hindi is very good. People have formed this wrong notion that I may not be fluent in Hindi. But the fact is that my Hindi is good,” clarifies Saif.

On a lighter note, Saif says that the movie increased his Hindi vocabulary with help from Prakash Jha. “I only remember Prakash repeatedly saying ‘Eh gadhe, idhar nahi wahan par ja!’ And so gadhe (donkey) is the word that enriches my Hindi vocabulary now,” laughs the actor.