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Chandigarh, Sunday,July 19, 1998
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So much fame, so soon
By Lakshmi Menon

She is barely out of her teens. And already Karisma Kapoor is counted among the top heroines in Bollywood history. ....
"I like to do different roles
By A.L. Choughle

He is one of the country’s top models and a rising television star. That’s Milind Soman of the controversial Tuff Shoes ad campaign and Madhu Sapre’s boyfriend. Called a ‘lady-killer’, thanks to his chiselled face and hunkish body, Milind is said to be an unfriendy and arrogant person.
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The show gives millions of Khushwant Singh’s fans a chance to see him on television on a subject he is completely at ease with — women.

Meghna in Dubai: Party time

So much fame, so soon
By Lakshmi Menon

She is barely out of her teens. And already Karisma Kapoor is counted among the top heroines in Bollywood history. For, given her age and experience, nobody has earned so much fame so soon.
Her latest is the hat-trick of awards beginning with the two Filmfare awards — one as Best Actress for Raja Hindustani and the other is Best Supporting Actress for Dil To Pagal Hai.Karisma Kapoor

The third and the most prestigious of all is the National Award, once again for Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai. The reality of this achievement has yet to sink in though.
“I was in Canada on a concert tour with Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt,” she narrates. “One day I get this call from dad informing me that I had won the National Award. I was zapped beyond words!
“Even when the congratulations started pouring in, I remained in a daze. It was just so incredible. I had always thought I had to pay an intense role, be swathed in a saree through 18 reels, to wow the jury.”
This was a role which had been offered and turned down by every heroine from Juhi Chawla and Kajol to Urmila Matondkar and Manisha Koirala — all because Madhuri Dixit had been signed as the first lead.
Karisma surprised everyone by accepting the role: “I looked at the role not from a star’s point of view, but from that of an actress. And I discovered that there was lot of scope for me as a performer.
“It was a challenge to be pitted opposite an actor like Shahrukh (Khan) and match histrionics with a veteran actress like Madhuri... I think I was destined to play Nisha, destined for this honour.”
Significantly, Karisma started her career with a “performance-oriented role” in Prem Qaidi. Despite being Raj Kapoor’s grand-daughter, she was making her debut with a remake of a South Indian film opposite a hero nobody had heard of.
The performance gave her the image of a glamour doll. “That’s true,” she sighs. But I was so young then and raring to go. I wanted to do everything I was offered.”
However, amidst the fluff and formula, there were films which gave her the chance to showcase her histrionics. These included such superhits as Anari, Dhanwan and Khuddar.
“Khuddar had a very interesting role for me and I think I acted very well,” she recollects. “But thanks to one Sexy Sexy dance number, my performance was completely sidelined.”
Karisma got stuck in a rut and it needed a Dharmesh Darshan and Raja Hindustani to pull her out. “That one film changed everything,” she admits. “Suddenly people began to take me seriously as an actress.”
The satisfaction is all the more as she has done the family proud with the National Award. “More definitely, I have done dadaji proud,” she says referring to her grandfather, the late Raj Kapoor.
Now obviously no Kapoor is peeved with her for breaking the family tradition and forcing her way into films? Before her, no Kapoor girl had dared to step in the studios, right?
“Wrong,” she snaps. “Shashiji’s wife Jennifer worked in movies even after she was a Kapoor Bahu, so did Geeta Baliji (Shammi Kapoor’s wife). There was never any restriction on us.”
There is a thoughtful pause, after which Karisma continues emphatically: “I am into acting not because of who I am but because this is what I love doing. And I think I am doing it well, huh?”
Krisma’s next biggie is Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Hai Saath Saath. She is undoubtedly thrilled to be working with the Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Kaun Hai director, but she is not playing favourites.
“I give every film my best shot, be it Sooraj’s film or David Dhawan’s Biwi No. 1 or Shravani Deodhar’s Silsila Hai Pyar Ka,” she says. “After all, am I not supposed to be a director’s actress?” — (MF)

"I like to do different roles
By A.L. Choughle

He is one of the country’s top models and a rising television star. That’s Milind Soman of the controversial Tuff Shoes ad campaign and Madhu Sapre’s boyfriend. Called a ‘lady-killer’, thanks to his chiselled face and hunkish body, Milind is said to be an unfriendy and arrogant person. But that’s not the impression you get when you meet him on the sets of Captain Vyom Ketan Mehta’s science fiction serial in which he plays the title role. He is jovial, friendly and down-to-earth. And who says he doesn’t give interviews easily? Ask him for an interview and he is ready for it immediately. “I only don’t speak to the gossip press,” he informs.
The starting point of the conversation is obviously Captain Vyom. How does he find the experience of working in a science fiction serial? “It’s really good,” he smiles. “I was always interested in working in this kind of a serial because I have been a fan of Star Trek. In fact, I had this dram of playing Batman. And Captain Vyom is quite close to that.”
The serial is about the space mission of Captain Vyom and his seven assistants to catch 12 villians whoi are out to destroy planet Earth. And though Milind plays the title role, is there any scope for him to perform in a serial which has 10 minutes of computer graphics and special effects.? “There is lot of scope,” he shoots back. “I have been noticed in this serial and have also been appreciated a lot. Science fiction is just the backdrop and the graphics are props.”
Milind is all praise for his director. He says he finds it very exciting to work with Ketan Mehta. “He is a brilliant director,” he is trying to create something new and different and that’s why people are appreciating it. The serial is getting an amazing response from viewers.”
Variety is the spice of life and that’s what Milind believes in. All the serials he has done so far have been different from one another. “As an actor I like to do different roles,” he emphasises. “That’s why you don’t see me in soaps which are all similar.”
Milind debuted on television three years ago with A Mouthful of Sky, India’s first English soap which he says was badly criticised by the press. And Milind was also called a ‘wooden actor’. He says though he and the soap got a bashing from the press, he was noticed in it and the soap also did very well despite its late night slot. “It was my first serial as an action and I think I was okay,” he feels. “I don’t think I was that bad. Basically it was a learning experience for me.”
But more that A Mouthful of Sky, Milind was noticed in Margarita, a tale of love and passion which was shot against the backdrop of Goa. “It was a brilliant serial,” he says. “I think it was one of the best serials made on Indian television.” Next followed Vakaalat, a court-room drama in which he played a lawplaying a major role in Sea Hawks.
In three years Milind has done just five serials. That’s because he is very selective, he says. “I don’t want to repeat myself in any role,” he elaborates. “Besides, I like to repeat myself in any role,” he elaborates. “Besides, I like to do one project at a time because I can’t run from one set to another.”
Milind was never interested in acting. And neither was he interested in modelling. He was happy doing a diploma in electrical engineering after which he wanted to do the degree. But around that time one of his friends suggested that he venture into modelling. He visited an ad agency and he was found unsuitable for a suitings campaign. A few months later, he got a a call from a model corrdinator for a print campaign of shirts. And when he was told that he would be paid Rs 50,000 for it, he just grabbed the offer. After that he didn’t look back and he went on to become one of the country’s top models.
And how did acting happen to him? “Actually I was not interested in acting at all,” he says. “I was happy doing ad campaigns and fashion modelling. First I got this offer for A Mouthful of Sky and I said no. Then Amol Palekar approached me for Dayra which I decided to do.” Dayra took time to roll in and meanwhile he was again approached for Mouthful..., which he accepted, thinking it would be a good learning experience before he did Dayra.
Later Amol Palekar changed his mind. He replaced Milind with Nirmal Pandey because Milind says things didn’t work out. But he regrets not doing the film which, he feels, would have won him critical acclaim. Though he lost Dayra he started getting lots of offers for serials and Milind decided to become a full time actor.
Milind fails to understand why he is still called a ‘wooden actor’. “I have improved a lot,” he says. “Nobody is a perfect actor right at the start. One learns with experience. Jackie Shroof took 10 years to mature as an actor. Sharon Stone was noticed after 20 years. The fact is my directors are happy with my performances. So I don’t need approval from anyone else.”
Being a model, he must be an expensive actor. “No I am not that expensive,” he informs. “The fact that my price is acceptable to my producers means that I am not expensive. Moreover, if I like a project I bring down my price.”
Doesn’t Milind want to work in films? “I have been getting offers for the last six years,” he reveals. “I had shot for Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander but I left it after the second shooting schedule. After that I had signed four films but they didn’t go on the floor. I am still getting offers but they are not exciting enough. In any case I am not in a hurry to do films.”
A year ago he had done six pilots of serials and Milind says at least two of them are definitely going to go on the air. “I don’t know what has happened to the remaining four,” he laughs.
Both in modelling and showbiz one gets to meet lots of beautiful women. Milind laughs. “Yes, that’s true,” he laughs loudly. “You meet lot of beautiful women and you get attracted to them. But the choice is yours.”
He is going steady with Madhu Sapre for the last few years. When is he going to tie the knot? “We haven’t decided yet,” he smiles. “We are comfortable with our present relationship.” — ANF

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