Siddharth Narayan, quite the chocolate boy of south Indian films, is about to hit big time. Deepa Mehta’s celluloid adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which features him, will be screened at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Narayan, who was last spotted in Bollywood as one of the ill-fated five boys in Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti, plays the role of Shiva, a key character in Rushdie’s much acclaimed book. An excited Narayan recently tweeted the film’s first look poster, which features him prominently. Well, who needs the PR machinery when the stars themselves do the job so well on social networking sites?
Some things seem to take on a life of their own. Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire came, took the world and the Oscars by storm, and went. But the movie is still being praised or pilloried. Rashmi Bansal has done a bit of the latter in her book, Poor Little Rich Slum. Bansal and her co-author Deepak Gandhi feel Boyle’s movie didn’t depict Dharavi accurately at all. So they wrote their own book showing the slum in a better light. Poor Little Rich Slum talks about the energy, entrepreneurship and business acumen of Dharavi’s residents. Now, now, what on earth would the likes of Oprah Winfrey, who had her share of slum porn when she came to Mumbai, say to that?
After the Kerala-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences performed a life-saving liver transplant on a 16-year-old girl last week, it invited Malayalam actor Mohanlal to the function to felicitate the donor. The event took a filmy twist here. Mohanlal was so impressed with the idea of organ donation that he decided to become a donor himself. “The new lease of life for the schoolgirl should open up awareness about organ donations. I wish to donate my organs too,” he said. Aishwarya Rai has already promised to donate her eyes. If more celebs do the same, it would inspire many others to pledge their organs. Well done, Mr Mohanlal.
It’s a new feather in Sunidhi Chauhan’s cap. The singer of many a hit Bollywood track, the attractive Chauhan, who can do raunchy and rip roaring in equal style, has done the voice cast for the character of Sita in the upcoming 3D animation film, Sons of Ram — Heroes Will Rise. Produced by Amar Chitra Katha in association with Cartoon Network, the film is based on the comic book Sons of Ram and is the story of Luv and Kush, who were born to Sita after Ram abandoned her. Doing the voice of the long-suffering Sita seems like quite a change from singing a pulsating Beedi jalaile or a Dhoom machale. But then given Chauhan’s range, she will probably give voice to the pure and tragic with as much elan.
Piyush Jha, the filmmaker who scripted and directed Sikandar, King of Bollywood and Chalo America, is testing a new medium. He has penned Mumbaistan, a crime thriller about “a morally ambiguous city” replete with “hardboiled heroes and femmes fatales” chasing justice. “It is a very rare thing that a filmmaker becomes a novelist and writes crime fiction,” says the Bihar-born Mumbai-settled author. Slated to be launched next month, Mumbaistan will be the first of a crime fiction series being done by Rupa Publications. The affable Jha is leaving no media stone unturned to promote his book. There is a YouTube song promo for the book and a shorter clip, where Jha tells viewers what to expect from Mumbaistan — imagine Ram Gopal Varma and Alfred Hitchcock on the same page. He has also got Bollywood Queen Bee, Ekta Kapoor, to write a blurb for the book. Any surprise then that the book, if successful, would spawn a film?