Brave old words
You wouldnt connect former minister and educationist Karan Singh with the release of a new album. But the erstwhile Maharaja of the former princely state of Kashmir has just compiled a collection, called Voices of Freedom, which was released at the Vice Presidents residence on Friday. The album comprises speeches by some of Indias leaders — including M.K. Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. The speeches, in the original voices, are interspersed with patriotic songs. A Saregama product, the album is the latest in a long line of collections of speeches. Two major books of speeches were released last year. And now, for those who want to not just read, but hear as well, Karan Singh has done his bit.
All for uncle
If you are Aamir Khan, you either go the whole hog, or not at all. So we are told that Khan is leaving no stone unturned — or no invite unsent — for a gala launch of his new film, Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na which stars his nephew, Imran. For Khan, who has never been flamboyant in his actions, this is a first. But, then, nothing is too good for his nephew, and no gesture too extravagant for his uncle and Imrans grandfather, Nasir Hussain. Khan tells us that he had planned a similar mega event for his directorial debut, Taare Zameen Par. But since I was wearing so many hats I couldnt manage to call people to the event. This time its more of an emotional reason. I am doing it for my chacha jaan, he says, referring to Hussain, who produced Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, the film that catapulted Aamir Khan to fame. I want to invite all his colleagues and my friends from the industry to share this special moment with us. Did we hear someone say Chacha Zindabad? It could have been either Imran, or Aamir.
Call it the magic of the make-up artiste, or Koel Puries acting ability — but the actor was apparently so convincing as a shopkeeper while shooting for Amal in Mehrauli village in Delhi recently that some school kids were completely taken in by her. They actually went up to her and asked for all those things that kids revel in — pencils, erasers and sweets. Purie was kicked, and promptly gave away the stuff to the children. But, of course, its been a while since she bought a pencil or an eraser, so poor Purie had no idea how much to charge them. She asked for a negligible amount, and everybody was happy — Purie, with herself; the kids, with the bargain; and the unit, with the successful shoot. Last heard, even the producers — who may have incurred a loss of 10 bucks or so — were not complaining.
In Rome you do as the Romans do; in Australia, you wear fluorescent jackets. Indian actors were forced to get into those lurid tunics that have so far been the trademark of road workers — from traffic cops to municipal employees — back home in India. During the shoot of Singh is Kinng in Gold Coast city, Vipul Shahs unit found that if they shot on the roads, the jackets had to be worn. If not, each errant jacketless crewmate would be fined $1500. So, of course, the unit meekly donned the jackets, which warn drivers that there are men at work on the road. Yes, it was a bit funny, says pro-ducer Vipul Shah. I had a person assigned to check that all of us had our lifeline jackets on while shooting, he says. We guess Shah just got straitjacketed.
The king and she
Sudhir Mishra wants a good laugh — and how else, but by directing a new film. Mishra, who won critical acclaim for Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi three years ago, and popular acclaim for Khoya Khoya Chand last year, is already planning out his new venture. It will be called Nawab, The Nautch Girl and The John Company and will be a rollicking comedy set in the 1850s. According to Mishra, the film will revolve around a lovelorn nawab obsessed with a nautch girl. The good news is that Mishra wants to cast the beauteous Chitrangada Singh of Hazaaron... in the lead, along with Irrfan Khan. These are early days yet, but the film already sounds promising.