Ash the criminology expert!

Yes, Slumdog Millionaire bridged the gap between East and West, and back home Aishwarya Bachchan is doing the same thing, what with her Pink

Panther stint.

Well, the film that’s set to release soon is quite the topic of convo these days, and people are dying to know if Ash has a prominent role in it, or is it really a blink-and miss kinda thing.

But Ash isn’t a worried woman. As tongues wag, she’s busy playing Sita in Kolkata for Mani Ratnam’s Raavana. “Ash does not play a miniscule role in the motion picture as assumed by many. She plays a criminology expert and has done her job quite well,” we’re told. Now, as to who leaked out this little bit of info, well, we’ll just leave that for the experts to find out.

Slumdog was unstoppable: Anil

We are on top of the world! When we stood on the podium, having bagged the Best Motion Picture Award, no one in the audience seemed


It was as if they all knew that Slumdog Millionaire would have a clean sweep at the Oscars, which, let me reassert, is the most unpredictable of all awards. From my side, I never had sleepless nights before the ceremony. I was rather composed. Irrfan, Dev, Freida and I told each other that we needed to enjoy every moment of it. The Oscars don’t happen to everyone everyday.

While we were at the awards, we were anxious about how many awards we would win. But after the first two, it was like a never-ending series. SM was unstoppable. Rahman was holding the two awards as if they were his babies. He showed his aggressive side while performing the two numbers. It was really awe-inspiring.

Right now, we are in a celebratory mood. We’ve already been to three parties and are attending the fourth one at the hotel. We have all the Hollywood greats joining us. We’ll be rocking till six in the morning. Life is one big party at the moment.”

Neha Sharma

Neha Sharma is a Telugu Actress. The shots below are from her portfolio.

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Family man in Bollywood

Remember the likes of the golden boy of the Sixties, Rajesh Khanna. He stormed into the hearts of women with his soul stirring films like Anand.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan More Pics

His films that went on to become silver and golden jubilees, had women queuing up at his residence and flooding the actor with marriage proposals. The actor supposedly got letters written in blood threatening suicide if he didn't agree to marriage to that particular woman. Even as Khanna's personal life made for juicy fodder to a celeb hungry nation, its populace swooned when he declared marriage to a sixteen-year-old Dimple Kapadia.

A decade earlier, it was the light-eyed Raj Kapoor, ruling the hearts of billions. His films were treated as extensions of his personal obsession of the female form. And Kapoor never believed in holding himself back. His much married status not withstanding, the hot blooded Kapoor had torrid affairs with all his leading ladies and those he decided to launch.

Cut to present Bollywood. The current crop of actors, much married and relishing every moment of their stardom refuse to step around in the industry, sans their better halves. Gone is the time when our very own Ghajinji aka Aamir Khan kept his marriage a secret to avoid ruining his chances of making it as the next Bollywood sensation. Today the Khan lights up everytime Kiran Rao, his wife is brought into a conversation. He also speaks about his children and confesses he misses playing dad to them all the time. Talk of the Khans, and who can forget the much smitten junior Nawab, Saif Ali Khan. Married to yesteryears actress Amrita Singh, who was a decade older to the Khan and then divorced, Saif is taken over by the dewy eyed, Kareena Kapoor. In almost all interviews, Khan blushingly confesses he wants to settle down with her all over again.

So what exactly is happening in B-town used to a hush hush policy when it came to their personal lives? Generations down, actors pledge their loyalty and openly flaunt their 'commited' status. No longer is the grapevine goes on an overdrive alleging relationships about an actor. Says film analyst, Amod Prakash, "The concept of looking at films has changed over a span of time. Earlier, films were looked upon as means to easy money, lavish expenditures and leading a flamboyant lifestyle. People who were associated with the industry relished such a life and yes after some time, the fame, the adulation went to their head. Then it became really tough to lead a simple life anymore."

Look at poster boy Farhan Akhtar. Despite creating waves with his debut film, the guy goes about announcing that he is married and father to two lovely daughters. Shilpa Shetty is gifted the IPL by her business man beau Raj Kundera who is Shetty's latest arm candy. Are better halves now more conspicious today because they all have very strong identities of their own? The demure Sussane Khan Roshan reveals, "I believe in doing my own thing and I am a success at it. Its great to be known for my own abilities and ofcouse, even as I am proud of everything that my husband has achieved, I take pride in whatever I have achieved. It gives me a sense of satisfaction that at the of the day I am enjoying everything that I do."
The trend in the industry is to wear your heart on your sleeve and take pride in doing so. A case in point being newbie Deepika Padukone who followed in the steps of Saif Ali Khan and tattooed her beau Ranbir Kapoor's name on her shoulder. Kangana Ranaut is also making headlines for her much talked about 'committed status' with new comer Adhayaan Suman. Psycholohgist Suchita Paul points out, "In the early days, the more the number of affairs, the greater a star's desirability factor. But now, everyone just wants to work and keep themselves grounded. People have realized the value of life and how important it is to spend quality time with your near and dear ones. One more thing is that women have become independent, they have begun to step out and thus they demand their glory under the Sun. So everyone has realized the importance of respect that both partners need. It helps to cement bonds and makes you want to stick around with your man/woman."

Says actor Sammir Dattani, "Relationships are for keeps for everyone these days. Being public figures, everything we do happens to be in the public glare. There are so many questions that we are asked, but then that is part of our profession. How one handle these queries depends on the individual. Also it's no longer about being single or committed in the industry. What matters is whether you are doing good work and only that can get you recognition."

Director Mohit Suri, who directed Emraan Hashmi in Raaz 2 insists that it's because of the audience's acceptance that film makers can experiment more and more with their scripts and characters. "If you look at the actors today, they are much fitter than what they used to be atleast a decade before and they are all raring to go. Do they look their age? Infact they work so hard to get into the skin of the character, such that the association is built with the audiences. Viewers today don't want to know if the actor is married or not, they root for him anyways."

No wonder then that SRK networks with his children and wife around him. Something that even advertisers have spotted given the infinite number of family products that he endorses. Advertising professional Mohit Desai suggests, "Actors have become extremely image and brand conscious. The kind of products they endorse is directly linked to their public image. The moment that is tarnished, they know that they will be dropped as brand ambassadors. So it forces them to stick to their a squeaky clean images. Even an actor like Akshay Kumar, who was notorious for his affairs more than his films, is slowly cleaning up all the mess he made in his younger days. Today he is the most sought after actor not just in Bollywood, but also in the ad world who want to cash in on this image of his."

Aarti Khanna, a die hard fan of Shah Rukh Khan states, "I just love the man. One never hears any controversy about him, he is always accompanied with his wife and speaks openly about his children. He isn't restricted as an actor, he is also a business man and a complete charmer." Point taken. So it does seem that it is as much the moolah as it is a conscious shift in focus towards a healthier lifestyle for our entertainers in the industry.

Katrina might just join a political party

In life, they harassed her by making her Congress president and almost the Prime Minister of India; now, even on screen, there is going to be no
Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif More Pics
peace for Sonia Gandhi.

The latest bit of news to cause the Congress bahu to go into a deeper frown is the one from Bollywood that compares Katrina Kaif to her in looks. The beautiful actress, flattered by the comparison — no doubt, is not anxious to take it further despite the obvious comparisons to Soniaji in Prakash Jha’s film Rajniti.

“She is definitely a powerful person but I’m not emulating her,” Katrina clarified to BT. However, for her role in the political film, the actress did do a lot of research on how politicians go about the process of campaigning, how they deliver speeches before crowds of thousands, and how they grow into powerful orators. And for which she happily faced the camera sans makeup and in simple cotton sarees!

Katrina is also pleased that she can finally prove those critics wrong who branded her as a glamourous doll. “I have got to another level with this film. People will now know that I can do other type of films as well. I have been part of successful films and now I’m glad I’m doing substantial roles,” said the proud actress, adding that she can identify with the character she’s playing. “She is a free-spirited girl and she knows what she wants. She has no ego hassles... it’s her determination that I could relate to,” said Katrina.

Strangely, for somebody who didn’t follow politics, Kats is now showing a healthy interest in the job of the politician. “Prakash Jha understands politics and he gave me an insight into the functioning of the system. Now I find it quite interesting,” said Katrina from Turkey where she is shooting for Rajkumar Santoshi’s film. So will she stand for elections if offered a ticket? “Never say never. There have been many things in my life that I thought I could never do, but they’ve happened. If a political party that I believe in approaches me, I might just join them,” said Katrina, showing that reel might become real for a change.

Is King Khan lonely at the top?

The public adores him. They stand in droves outside his house everyday and they come in hundreds to visit him on his birthday. He is also the golden boy of the industry; they too visit him in droves every time there is a crisis in his life like his recent surgery and attend his parties with much gusto.

He is Shah Rukh Khan.
He is a man who has every reason to smile and make merry. Why then does he confide more in his computer than in his family and why does he only work within a very small circle?

As he stays at home for two months after his anthroscopy, it is time to introspect.
The list of actors he has estranged grows each time he opens his mouth. From the Bachchans to the three contenders for the throne, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar, they all hate him despite the photo-op displays of camaraderie. Amitabh Bachchan has had a bone to pick with him ever since he followed in Big B's illustrious footsteps and signed Kaun Banega Crorepati. Salman Khan and he had a very public fight reportedly over an old flame of Salman's but that was only the last straw. Despite SRK's visits to the Salman Khan home, there had been animosity brewing between them for a long time.

Aamir Khan of course cannot stand anyone who says anything even marginally negative about him whether it is critics, co-actors or rivals. SRK's digs at Aamir have not gone unnoticed leading Aamir to blog the famous sentence about his dog called Shah Rukh.

With Akshay the open rivalry is relatively new. Till last year they were on the point of announcing a film together, today they barely greet each other civilly when they meet. While SRK's camp pray that every film of Akshay should bite the dust, Akshay's coterie send out SMSes when an SRK film hits the theatres saying that the film is not doing too well, even when the collections are respectable.

One very successful actor was even overheard saying that from now on every time SRK made a crack at his expense, he would respond in kind. Obviously SRK's somewhat wacky sense of humour, which can be funny when directed at himself but hurtful when directed at others, has not gone down well with his rivals. After his stint as compere of last year's Filmfare awards during which he and Saif Ali Khan made fun of everyone and everything, this is even more obvious.

Things are no better with directors. Mani Ratnam, for example, who loves to repeat the actors he is comfortable with has not repeated SRK after Dil Se. Vishal Bharadwaj has been peeved with him ever since SRK offered suggestions on a Vishal script that Vishal was keen on making with him. The 'I know everything' director took offence to it and started criticizing some of SRK's past work. SRK did to take this lying down and returned all this criticism with interest. The Omkara director was shocked and later realised the gravity of the situation and wanted to mend things with SRK. He approached Gulzar to mediate between the two of them. Gulzar tried his best to pacify SRK but SRK declined the offer to work with Vishal anymore.

Mahesh Bhatt though, who last directed him in Duplicate, and has not gone back to him for a film, thinks SRK is more grounded than most. He says, "I only see a wiser and quieter man, somebody who is very clear and sorted. He read out some extracts of his autobiography to me, they were heart-breakingly true. Here is a man whose humanity is still intact. He is one of the few people who has his feet firmly planted on the ground."

On the other hand SRK can be the staunchest and most loyal of friends. His friendship with Juhi Chawla has stood the test of time and even today he is a regular visitor to her house when he is in town. In fact during his one day recent stay at hospital, his food came from the Juhi household.
SRK now works with only a very select group of people which includes Yash and Aditya Chopra (and the films they produce), Farah Khan and Karan Johar. Most of the time he is not even available to listen to a narration by other makers. This definitely limits his choices.

Mushtaq Sheikh, an ex journalist and close friend of ShahRukh who has documented SRK's life in his book Still Reading Khan says, "Why does it become a wrong choice? You don't question the decision of the biggest star that India can ever know. The decision has worked for him. He is a man for whom friends are his world. His comfort zone is important to him. He worships his work, and if you worship your work, you obviously want to do it with the people you are comfortable with; people whom you feel are on your same wavelength with you. That's exactly why SRK is able to pull off film after film for more than a decade now. It doesn't get bigger than Karan and Adi does it? SRK has the best and the biggest. Maybe Bollywood will have to wait if they want to be friends with him or respect his space if they want to work with him."

Brave words these, defensive too but also very revealing. SRK has painted himself into a corner and hurt or annoyed most of the film industry. While he and his friends may like to pretend that this is all very well and so long as the public love him all is fine with his world, the fact is that at 43 he has limited choices. The old adage which says you need to be careful of who you offend while on the way up, because these are the same people you will meet on your way down, will come back to haunt Shah Rukh Khan, once the darling of the industry but today the most detested.

Kareena Kapoor goes international

The actress who’s on a film-signing spree at the moment seems to be sharing that success rate even when it comes to signing brands. And the latest buzz on the Kapoor babe is that she has now been signed on by an international clothing brand. An insider revealed, “The company had considered several of the top actresses of Bollywood, but zeroed in on Kareena.” Seems like Kareena’s popularity is already reaching out across the seven seas. So, will we see her shining on the Hollywood billboards next?

8 Filmfare nominations for ‘Rab ne..’, 6 for ‘Ghajini

After months of speculation, the Filmfare nominations are finally out. Time to see who will take the 'beautiful dark lady' home this year! Will
Filmfare nominations
Filmfare nominations
it be King Khan’s simpleton Suri act in Rab ne.., happy and 'gay' Dostana or 8-packed Aamir Khan?

Even as the stars get ready for the big night, stay glued to get all the inside dope and starry controversies surrounding the event. So, who are you betting on this year?


Best Film
Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na
Jodhaa Akbar
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Rock On!!

Best Director

A.R. Murugadoss: Ghajini
Abhishek Kapoor: Rock On!!
Aditya Chopra: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Ashutosh Gowariker: Jodhaa Akbar
Madhur Bhandarkar: Fashion
Neeraj Pandey: A Wednesday

Best Actor (Male)

Aamir Khan: Ghajini
Abhishek Bachchan: Dostana
Akshay Kumar: Singh Is Kinng
Hrithik Roshan: Jodhaa Akbar
Shah Rukh Khan: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Naseeruddin Shah: A Wednesday

Best Actor (Female)

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Jodhaa Akbar
Anushka Sharma: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Asin Thottumkal: Ghajini
Kajol: U Me Aur Hum
Priyanka Chopra: Fashion

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male )

Abhishek Bachchan: Sarkar Raj
Arjun Rampal: Rock On!!
Prateik Babbar: Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na
Sonu Sood: Jodha Akbar
Tushar Kapoor: Golmaal Returns
Vinay Pathak: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female )

Bipasha Basu: Bachna Ae Haseeno
Kangna Ranaut: Fashion
Kirron Kher: Dostana
Ratna Pathak Shah: Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na
Shahana Goswami: Rock On!!

Best Music Director

A R Rahman: Ghajini
A R Rahman: Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na
A R Rahman: Jodhaa Akbar
Pritam Chakraborty: Race
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy: Rock On!!
Vishal-Shekhar: Dostana

Best Lyrics

Abbas Tyrewala: Kabhi kabhi Aditi (Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na)
Gulzar: Tu meri dost hai (Yuvvraaj)
Jaideep Sahni: Haul –haule (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)
Javed Akhtar: Jashn-e-bahara (Jodhaa Akbar)
Javed Akhtar: Socha hai (Rock On!!)
Prasoon Joshi: Guzarish (Ghajini)

Best Playback (Male)

Farhan Akhtar: Socha hai (Rock On!!)
KK: Khuda jaane (Bachna Ae Haseeno)
KK: Zara si dil mein (Jannat)
Rashid Ali: Kabhi kabhi Aditi (Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na)
Sonu Nigam: Inn lamhon ke daaman mein (Jodhaa Akbar)
Sukhwinder Singh: Haule haule (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)

Best Playback (Female)

Alka Yagnik: Tu muskura (Yuvvraaj)
Neha Bhasin: Kuch khaas hai (Fashion)
Shilpa Rao: Khuda jaane (Bachna Ae Haseeno)
Shreya Ghoshal: Teri ore (Singh is Kinng)
Shruti Pathak: Marjaawa (Fashion)
Sunidhi Chauhan: Dance pe chance (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)

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Who is Priyanka bonding with?

Priyanka Chopra and Scottish actor Gerard Butler are bonding over lunch, regular phone-calls and SMS

It’s raining men in

Priyanka Chopra's life. After her on-and-off relationship with Harman Baweja, and, rumours of her growing closeness with Shahid Kapur, there are murmurs in the industry that Priyanka is bonding big time with Scottish actor Gerard Butler (of 300 and P.S. I Love You, f a m e ) . Priyanka and Gerard first met at the inauguration of Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai’s latest iconic luxury resort, in November 2008. The two have been in regular touch with other. A friend of Priyanka tells Mumbai Mirror, “Since November, Priyanka and Gerard have kept in touch via phone calls and SMSes.”

According to sources, Priyanka and Gerard had actually hit it off at the party hosted by Shah Rukh Khan in Dubai, soon after the inauguration of the luxury resort. Today, Priyanka and Gerard share a deep bond.
Priyanka’s official spokesperson did not deny the ‘dostana’ between Priyanka and Gerard. She said, “Priyanka and Gerard hit it off really well in Dubai and have maintained their friendship ever since.’
Buzz is that Priyanka and Gerard recently had lunch and coffee together in Chicago where Priyanka was shooting for Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Rashee? Though Priyanka’s official spokesperson refused to confirm this, a friend of Priyanka tells us that the couple did spend some quality time together. “A couple of Priyanka’s cousins who stay in Chicago accompanied Priyanka and Gerard.”

Preity Zinta's nominated

Preity Zinta nominated for the 29th Genie Awards for her performance in Heaven on Earth

Preity Zinta is carving a niche for

herself globally. After winning the Best Actress Award at the Chicago Film Festival last year for her portrayal of a battered Punjabi wife in Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth, Preity has now earned a nomination at the 29th Genie Awards.

She has been nominated under the category, ‘Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role’. What makes this nomination even more special is that Preity is the first Indian actress to have earned this nomination. The Awards will be held on April 4 at Ottawa in Canada.
The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT) announced the nominations recently. This year, other nominees in the same category are Susan Sarandon for Emotional Arithmetic, Marianne Fortier for Mommy is at the Hairdresser’s, Ellen Burstyn for The Stone Angel and Isabelle Blais for Borderline.
The call from the official representatives of the 29th Genie Awards informing about her nomination caught Preity off guard. A source close to the actress said, “The news took Preity by surprise. She is delighted.”
On a high after being nominated, Preity said, “I am super excited. I have crossed my fingers and toes and everything else. I cannot stop smiling as Susan Sarandon and Ellen Burstyn have been nominated under the same category as me. They both are Oscar winners. It is an absolute honour for me to find myself amidst such achievers. I cannot stop thanking Deepa (Mehta) for making me part of Heaven on Earth.”

Katrina Kaif to talk in Hindi

We hear, Katrina’s role in this movie has been inspired by Sonia Gandhi, while Ranbir Kapoor’s role seems to be inspired by Rajiv Gandhi. Now, if Kat is going to be a political personality, too, she obviously is required to deliver long speeches to crowds, and that’s going to pose a great challenge to the actress.

For this, we are told, Kaif has been attending voice modulation classes. Let’s hope she can get rid of that English twang soon.

I’m no pompom girl: Shilpa Shetty


Now that you are part-owner of the Rajasthan Royals what plans do you have for the team?
Shilpa Shetty: If you're asking me this to find out how keenly I'm interested in this new venture then let me tell you I'm hands on into it. When Raj Kundra and and I decided to take the plunge into the IPL, we did it with our eyes open and after much deliberation. In hindsight, it appears uncanny because among all the IPL teams I've always felt the most connected with the Rajasthan Royals.

What would your contribution to the team be?
Shilpa Shetty: Well I am not going to bullshit myself into believing I've been brought in for my business acumen. The team had it all. They needed the glamour quotient and for that I am here. But please, I am not going to be one of the pom-pom girls on the field, if that's what the spectators expect. I'm certainly not going to be the eye candy of the venture.


So where will your glamour quotient come in?
Shilpa Shetty: In the music video, to begin with. Our next move is to shoot a music video. We want it to be the slickest and the best. Of course, I'll be in it. Isn't that a given? I've so many commitments in the coming months including my two films; Sunny Deol's "The Man" and R. Sarath's "Desire" to complete. I'm not signing films crazily. So I can devote the time I want for the IPL.

So you're ready to bounce again?
Shilpa Shetty: (Laughs) You could say that. Doing it for my own venture would be a pleasure.


Will Raj direct the music video?
Shilpa Shetty: Ah, that would be telling. Let's see. Raj is a crazy cricket fan. And why shouldn't he be? He's an Indian who lives in England. All Indian men are crazy about cricket. And everyone knows cricket was born in England. So Raj has a double reason to buy a part of the IPL.

What about you?
Shilpa Shetty: I love cricket. I've inherited it from my father who's the craziest cricket fan I've ever met. The Rajasthan Royals is my gift to my father.


I thought it was Raj's Valentine gift for you?
Shilpa Shetty: Please! I'm sure there're other gifts awaiting me for Valentine's Day.

Like a marriage proposal?
Shilpa Shetty: That's mine for the asking anytime. Now that Raj is shifting business interests in India we just need to find the right moment to take the plunge.

The Bollywood-cricket merger seems to be expanding?
Shilpa Shetty: It had to be that way. Shah Rukh Khan and then Preity Zinta went for the IPL. For me, the right moment to do so was when Raj was ready for it. Now I must make sure I've enough time to devote to the Rajasthan Royals. I'll be there for their first match in March and all subsequent matches. Yeh mera vada hai (I promise that).

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Asin keeps the boys waiting

The Ghajini girl has a life outside of

For starters, the girl is a bookworm! “I used to have a huge library at home, so reading has been a habit since childhood. And even today, I just can’t do without a book...,” said Asin when we met her recently. So the girl is ‘booked’ in some sense of the term... but about being booked in real life, love still hasn’t happened to Asin.

The hooking and booking may have to wait for a while she tells us. As she is more engrossed in books and films, the boys will just have to wait. And we are sure they’d be willing to wait for this hottie.

SRK: A cut above the rest

Aggressive marketing seems to be the mantra of filmmakers today.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan More Pics

If Aamir Khan got barber’s to give the ushers at some multiplexes a buzz-cut, after his own style, to promote Ghajini, Shah Rukh Khan has gone a step further. SRK has planned to invite about 400 barbers, from across Maharashtra with their families, at the premiere of Billu Barber.

Director Priyadarshan confirmed the story and said, “Instead of having celebs over for the premiere of Billu Barber, Shah Rukh has planned to invite 400 barbers and their families to the premiere. His idea is to welcome barbers for the premiere on February 12, as the film revolves around Irrfan Khan, who plays a barber. Things are just getting organised for the première and the office is also in talks with the barbers’ association to get everything sorted for the big day.”

Red Chillies’ Billu Barber revolves around the story of two childhood friends, one a poor village barber, played by Irrfan Khan and a superstar (Shah Rukh Khan) and the equation between these friends from diverse backgrounds. The characters are based on Lord Krishna and Sudama.”

Hrithik's kite is flying high

Hrithik Roshan’s Kites has reportedly struck a new high in the Indian film industry.
Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori in Kites
Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori in Kites More Pics

The film industry is abuzz with the news that the film has been bought by Reliance Big Pictures for almost Rs 150 crore. And this in the times of recession. The film is produced by Rakesh Roshan, directed by Anurag Basu and stars Hrithik Roshan, Kangana Ranaut and Barbara Mori.

Our industry source says, “Every major corporate house in the industry was looking to get the rights of Kites. The deal has been closed at over Rs 150 crore. The deal includes worldwide rights, along with overseas, music, satellite and video rights. However the deal is only for a certain period with a minimum guarantee amount. This amount is over Rs 150 crore.”

The amount is so big that now Reliance will hold all the rights. Trade experts affirm that only that can make it a feasible option, although the risk of such a huge price cannot be ruled out. Some of the recent big deals have been struck for Singh Is Kinng (around Rs 70 crore) and Om Shanti Om (around Rs 60 crore). Kites surpasses both by a long shot.

When contacted, Rakesh Roshan said, “I cannot comment on the amount. The deal is of a completely new structure, not tried out here before, and the amount can even go up to Rs 200 crore. The fact is that the deal has been divided into two structures all over and the film has been made in two versions — one for the Indian market, the other for the overseas market.”

Roshan revealed his strategy, and said, “I was playing the waiting game, for I wanted to see who would take the initiative. I think the vision of Big Pictures matches my vision — about the film’s international appeal.”
Roshan gave the credit for the deal to Hrithik, and his banner Filmkraft. He said, “This time our film has an appeal not only for Indian viewers and NRIs, but also for an international audience.”

Speaking about the two versions of Kites, he said, “English is the most common language all over the world. The Indian version has more Hindi dialogues, while the overseas one has more of English. However, essentially it is a Hindi language film.”

Rajesh Sawhney, official spokesperson, Reliance Big Pictures, says, “We (Filmkraft and Reliance Big Pictures) will mutually arrive at a figure closer to the release date. I think it is a great script and a great cast with international potential. That’s why we have struck this deal.”

When asked if the huge price is justified, trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “If Ghajini can make more than Rs 100 crore, why not Kites?

The film is scheduled for a Diwali release.