Much like our cricketers who have a lucrative life between matches, filmmakers too have avenues that didnt exist a decade ago.
Farah Khan who released Tees Maar Khan nine months ago has never been as busy as she has been this year and she doesnt even have a movie to show for it. Judging a reality show and returning to choreography has kept her on her toes. Barely did she wind up her shoot for the TV show than she reported on Karan Johars sets to start off his new film Student Of The Year (SOTY) where Mahesh Bhatts daughter (from Soni Razdan) Aaliya is being launched.
With this film, Karan has not only gone back to his Kuch Kuch Hota Hai comfort campus but also returned to his old way of flagging off a film with Farah helming a song sequence. Every time I shoot on a fresh set, I let Farah direct a song first. I pick up cues on how she has done the lighting and then Im ready to shoot my scenes on that set, Karan once unabashedly admitted. Theres continuity in this friendship for sure. And for those whove missed it, Farah also returns to working with Shah Rukh Khan because he is co-producing SOTY with buddy Karan.
By the time she wrapped up the number for Karan, Farah was pencilled in to fly down to Chennai and meet director Shankar (he made Robot) to shoot a song for the Tamil version of 3 Idiots. Ever since she turned director with Main Hoon Na, Farah had turned her back on choreography, relenting to do just one number for very close friends like Karan and Sajid Nadiadwala. Salman got added to that list (especially after Shah Rukh stepped out of it) when she choreographed the randy Munni number for Dabangg. But when did Shankar go on that list?
When Farah sent a text message saying, Lifes never been as hectic as it is right now, the reply that went to her was, As long as youre making pots of money, fine. And she promptly answered it by saying that she was indeed making loads of it. That explains why shes choreographing a number in Chennai right now.
Shankars film too wont be her last bit of choreography before she goes back to making a film because her brother Sajid Khans Housefull 2 is on the floors. She will, as always, direct at least one major item number for him.
Going down South is also Saroj Khan who will be choreographing her own version of Munni for the Tamil remake of Dabangg. Although there have been reports in Mumbai claiming that Katrina had been signed for it at a whopping price, the truth is that since Arbaaz Khan is the owner of Dabangg and has personally dealt with the sale of the rights for the Tamil version, Malaika is the obvious choice of the producers down South. And they are still in talks with Arbaaz to see if the original Munni will come on board.
Meanwhile, Arbaaz who returned from New Jersey where he stood by while Salman underwent surgery is all chuffed up about directing the sequel to Dabangg. Whats the big deal in directing a film if you have a story to tell and you know how you want to narrate it, he asks, pointing out that he has acted in 50 films and been a part of Dabangg at every step. Besides, I come from a film family, he reminds you.
Arbaaz left for New Delhi earlier than his wife because he had to rehearse for the National Awards where Dabangg has picked up one. Unlike all the other functions that he has been attending since the release of Dabangg, the National Awards — handed out by the President of India — are conducted with a lot of protocol. It requires a rehearsal to know exactly when to get up, how to go up to the dais, how to receive your award from the President and how to exit. Malaika was to join him a day later to watch his proud moment.
By the way, filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra was watching Bodyguard when he felt uneasy and was taken to hospital from where he never returned. Somehow Jags with his imposing presence seemed infallible and his death (even if he did have a stent in his heart and complications in the lungs) came as a rude wake-up call last Sunday. Unfailingly pleasant and approachable, the film he was working on was called Kissa Kutte Ka, based on the true life story of a Dalit woman who was punished and fined by the panchayat for feeding a Brahmins dog! Jags had that unerring eye for picking up a human interest story and highlighting an issue.
Although we met several times this month, strangely, our last meeting was at Shammi Kapoors chautha. Neither Jags nor I knew that one week later there would be a prayer meeting for him.