February 22, 2001,
Kajol decides to ‘phase out’
Kajol decides to ‘phase out’
RETURNING after a year in hubby Ajay Devgan’s maiden production venture, Raju Chacha and in Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi had prompted the media to announce the ‘beginning of a second inning’ for Kajol. After all, she has one more film lined up — Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.
But the actress has different plans. "I am cutting down on my film assignments," she announced at a recent press conference, the first after her marriage to Devgun. "Wearing wigs, standing out in the sun for long hours and not getting my lunch on time have tested my patience. It’s time for me to phase out."
Known for her rebellious nature and for having broken every rule laid down for a Hindi film actress, Kajol was last seen in Dil Kya Kare. But she is best remembered for super grossers like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Ishq, Sapne, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Pyar To Hona Hi Tha.
These films have brought her countless awards over the past decade and a fan following that probably rivals Aishwarya Rai’s and Madhuri Dixit’s. Today, Kajol is arguably the most talented and versatile star on the mainstream movie circuit.
The compliments do not matter to her though. "If I were to listen to what people say, then I wouldn’t be married," she laughs. "It definitely feels nice to hear that I am good, but I don’t get carried away by the compliments. I know my limitations. And I have my priorities."
Her priorities are her marriage, home and the family production house, Devgan Entertainment. The company was started by her father-in-law, the veteran stunt director Veeru Devgan and Kajol is now taking it ahead with a public issue and venturing into the world of Internet.
"The fact I am enjoying a fruitful career apart from acting is a satisfying feeling," she reasons. "My company needs as much of my attention today as my movies did earlier. So I am balancing my time by acting in one film a year and concentrating on other aspects of my life the rest of the time."
But then, it is not as though she regrets having got into films: "My mother (Tanuja) was in films. My aunt (Nutan) was also a great actress. So was my grandmother (Shobana Samarth). So ours is a filmi family. My cousin (Rani Mukherji) is also an accomplished actress and doing very well for herself.
"I guess, the best thing cinema does to you is that it builds up your confidence. Before I took to acting, I was rather shy, a bookworm — even as everybody called me scatter-brained and impulsive. Today, I am a very focused person. Once I apply my mind, I can pull off anything. Cinema has done this to me."
So will she accept the offer of a good role?
"I didn’t say I’d give up acting in films altogether. I have simply cut down on my assignments because of other priorities. I feel I need to do something different in life and if I do not take my chances now, when will I? That does not rule out the possibility of taking up a good film offer."
She pauses and adds: "I would certainly be attracted to a film in which I fit completely, as opposed to a role that is altered to my size. I want to be part of a film, not the whole film. Also the subject and the filmmaker have to inspire me enough to say ‘Yes’".
Do filmmakers treat her differently, now that she is married?
Once again, she
ponders: "Well, they have begun to like me a little more. Also
strangely, they seem a little hesitant to approach me now. Earlier,
people gave me weird looks. They used to call me "Ee Kajal’ or
at best, ‘Didi’. Now they refer to me as ‘Bhabhi’. Marriage
has given me this protective mantle!" —
After Shekhar Kapoor, Gulshan Grover and Hrithik Roshan, another Indian who is going to make Bollywood proud is none other than svelte Tabu. After the much-talked about Astitva. Tabu’s heading for — of all the places — Italy. She’s been signed for a ‘big’ project that will be shot in six weeks in mind-blowing locales in Italy and Turkey.
One just hopes the gifted actress makes it good overseas. She should take heart in the fact that Italy has had a soft corner for Bollywood. Early in the eighties Kabir Bedi became one of that country’s biggest star when he did the lead role in Sandokan which broke all TV records and elevated Kabir to an earlier day Hrithik Roshan status in Italy.
Urmila Matondkar sure has a magical spell. And not just on Ram Gopal Verma but on the entire film industry. Despite a string of flops like Mast, Dillagi, Jungle, Kunwara and Deewane, she is a high in-demand star and has been steadily increasing her fee. If rumours are to be believed, she charges close to a crore a film and still she is hard hard to get.
Urmila appears to be making a niche for herself as a classy sex goddess — a slot which has never had it’s fill of claimants since Madhubala. Zeenat Aman came close to it but just about. Dimple, too, tried to slip into that role. Urmila feels the slot is ready and waiting for her. But at the rate at which flops are coming she could slip into the ranks of the countless wannabe oomph stars.
He’s come a long way from those diffident days of Maachis, yet Chandrachur Singh remains a down-to-earth kind of a guy so far removed from the filmi brat pack. But how long would it take to turn into a regular Bollywood type with all those starry airs? Chandrachur smiles that disarming smile, "Sorry, I’ll have to disappoint you on that score."
But one thing is certain — he has gained confidence over the past few years. "Things have changed for the better. Don’t forget Maachis was my debut film and I was pitted against stars like Tabu and Om Puri. Anyone would get nervous pangs at that."
But now with four big hits behind him and a dozen projects under his belt he is refusing to sign on more. Chandrachur says he doesn’t have the gambler’s streak in him so he won’t risk more than he can deliver." Let me do these films well. No point in going on recklessly." Would other leading stars take a lesson from this soft-spoken young man? —NF
More the merrier!
HINDI film audiences will soon have to contend with a deluge of big budget multi-starrers, beginning with Rajkumar Santoshi’s Lajja. The Rs 200-million-project, has Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Madhuri Dixit, Manisha Koirala and Ajay Devgan leading the cast.
Also in the pipeline are debut-making director Akhtar’s premier offering Dil Chahta Hai, featuring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Preity Zinta and Sonali Kulkarni.
Likewise, Anupam Kher makes his debut as director with Om Jai Jagdish, starring Anil Kapoor, Fardeen Khan and Abhishek Bachchan while Sanjay Gupta is directing Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty and Akshaye Khanna in Kaante.
Then there’s Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham follow-up to 1998’s smash hit, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which has Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan opposite Kajol, Jaya Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor.
Rajiv Rai returns with Pyar, Ishq Aur Mohabbat, which will star Sunil Shetty, Arjun Rampal and Aftab Shivdasani along with Kirti Reddy, Monica Bedi and Isha Koppikar in key roles.
Saif Ali Khan, Fardeen Khan and Aftab Shivdasani are coming togerher for Ramgopal Verma’s Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega while Amitabh Bachchan,Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan are being teamed for the first time in David Dhawan’s remake of Analyse This.
Rajkumar Kohli has signed up Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Aftab Shivdasani, Arshad Warsi, Aditya Pancholi and Sonu Nigam for an untitled venture opposite Manisha Koirala and Rambha in the female leads.
Clearly, "more the merrier", has become the new mantra in Bollywood. — MF
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