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Priyanka goes to the movies
celebrity circus

It was Saat Khoon Maaf fever all through Thursday, especially for Priyanka Chopra. There were two back-to-back screenings for the press at Film City while Priyanka had two of her own personal shows in the evening at the swankier Yashraj Studios.

You’ve got to see Priyanka when one of her important films is being screened. She sat in the foyer with her little team led by a bright girl called Natasha who co-ordinates all her work. Her teammates also whispered to her the names of who was around and where she had met them, to save her the embarrassment of not recognising someone. It was a little like the party scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s assistant had to brief her on who was coming up to say ‘hello’. Once in a while, a PR person would walk up to Priyanka to read out a text message she had received praising the film and her performance. “That’s a mild one,” Priyanka commented. “You’ve got to see the kind of crazy messages I’ve been getting all day.” She was clearly on a high. Saat Khoon Maaf which is completely Vishal Bhardwaj’s brand of quirky, edgy cinema, is undoubtedly a Priyanka film and the actress is only too aware of its importance on her résumé. “All the more when people say, women-oriented films don’t get an opening,” she chirped. This girl can really talk and she can throw tantrums too.

People have a way of strolling into a film screening even an hour late and the punctual PC wouldn’t stand for it. Even as she spoke and gave a long interview sitting outside the screening, she was sort of policing the area and sending her girls to turn away the really late, late ones. “I can understand it if someone’s late by five or 10 minutes. But it’s not fair to the film to come in an hour later and watch it,” she fretted. She spotted a couple of girls attempting to go in and despatched “Nuts” to, “Please go and tell them they cannot go in and see the film now. We’ll send them tickets to see it in the theatre tomorrow.” When one pushy guest said, “I’ll watch the second half now and catch up with the beginning later at a theatre,” Priyanka politely told the latecomer, “Please don’t go in and see it now. You can watch it at 9pm or in the theatre. But please watch the whole film. You won’t even understand what’s going on if you go in now.” It was quite clearly grrrr, how can people turn up one hour late to see a film?

During the interval, when her parents (who’d seen the film earlier) came up and said they were leaving, PC threw a big tantrum. “How can you not stay?” she admonished her mother. “My parents have to stay till the end!” They did. One of the Morani brothers (they are the people who made a pile by manufacturing firecrackers, then got into film production, now do stage shows all over the world and exclusively handle all of Shah Rukh Khan’s hefty public appearances) gushed during the interval, “Shah Rukh Khan had better watch out, you are the only competition to him!” A huge SRK fan, PC loved that one.

Ranveer Singh, the young Yashraj discovery who now rushes in with the confidence of a star, especially when he’s on home territory like Yashraj Studios, came in like a whirlwind. No, he wasn’t going in to watch it so late and no, he had an event to attend, so he couldn’t catch the 9pm screening either. “I’m going to boost your sales by buying tickets and watching it in the theatre,” he promised her. PC did a quick calculation and told him, “I did that for your film. I took six people to watch Band Bajaa Baaraat in the theatre. You have to better that. So now you take at least seven people to the theatre.” Ranveer agreed. More than anything else, you could see a definite chemistry there. They’re obviously buddies and don’t be surprised if a film is brewing between them.

Meanwhile, where was Shahid Kapoor? He’d left for his dad’s shooting of Mausam in Gwalior. And filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj himself was in Berlin collecting accolades for his new film at Berlinale, the film festival that’s currently going on in Germany.

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