Flop show

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By BHARATHI S. PRADHAN
  • Published 15.03.09
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Notch up one more flop in Sonam Kapoor’s account — Delhi 6 has landed on its belly, even if Amitabh Bachchan’s blog continues to be in denial over it. Alas, even the Bachchan family’s personal PROs who worked overtime to have columns planted in the media over how unfair everybody was being to such a wonderful film (!), couldn’t save Delhi 6 from being declared a disaster at the box office.

The last time her film flopped (Saawariya), a combative Sonam had claimed that her father, Anil Kapoor, had advised her never to read reviews (never mind if Anil himself laps them up). True, reviews sometimes pass one kind of opinion while box office figures tell a different story. But in the case of Saawariya and Delhi 6, critics’ views and commercial pickings were a perfect match — both films tanked in the media and at the box office. How long will Sonam take the ostrich posture before accepting that she has indeed flopped all over again?

A few days before its release, there was a special screening of Delhi 6 in the capital for L.K. Advani’s son’s birthday. One hears that family and friends included our very own Hema Malini who rushed in so late that it was close to interval. “What have I missed so far,” she asked in a stage whisper. “Nothing so far, baith jayiye,” advised her friend and fellow-BJP member Shatrughan Sinha.

Reportedly, after the screening, when Shatru was asked by a scribe about how to tackle terrorism in our country, the outspoken star-politician guffawed, “I don’t know about terrorism but you can sure stop terrorists in their tracks by showing them Delhi 6!” Wonder what Amar Singh, Sinha’s new-found ally, would have to say to that.

Shatru also wondered what a fine actor like Om Puri was doing in a film like Delhi 6. Om on his part is very clear that he does certain films “to fund our luxuries” and some for pure creative satisfaction. It keeps him busy round the year, fills his pockets to the brim and keeps the adrenalin flowing.

A fortnight ago, Om Puri went up on stage to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Filmfare. It seems there was a bit of backstage shuffling before he took the award. The story goes that weeks before the function, a staffer from the magazine rang him up to ask him if he would be game for the honour. Om Puri’s gut reaction was to say ‘no.’ Like most actors, he too felt that a lifetime achievement award was normally given at the fag end of one’s career, and he had miles to go before declaring that it was pack up time. But after ruminating over it for a few days, Om felt that he had perhaps overreacted to what was essentially a friendly gesture. It was really only an honour and didn’t necessarily mean he had to hang up his boots the next day. So wife Nandita apparently called up the magazine and said, Om says ok. Meanwhile, the magazine had already tapped veteran Shakti Samanta and finalised him for this year’s lifetime achievement award. Om was fine with that as well.

But a few days before the function, there was a desperate SOS to Om Puri asking if he’d take the award after all. The magazine was in a tizzy because 84-year-old Shakti Samanta had suffered a paralytic stroke and been rushed to the ICU at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. Shaktida was still in the ICU when the awards function was held. Luckily for Filmfare, Om was sporting enough to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award gracefully. And, as we go to press, Shaktida has been shifted out of the ICU into a private room.

By the way, there’s a bit of excitement at Roli, the publishing house in Delhi. They’ve bagged the rights to Om Puri’s biography written by his bright journalist wife, Nandita. The inside buzz is that Nandita has gone at it more like a journalist than as a protective wife, and has laid bare a lot of the actor’s personal secrets. It includes Om Puri’s love life and his first marriage. The fascinatingly successful actor was once married to Anu Kapoor’s sister, a love marriage that had ended in a divorce. Even before that marriage, he’d juggled with two women in his life. Nandita, his Bengali wife with whom he has a son, seems to have met with more enduring success at playing the anchor in the actor’s life.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is managing editor of Movie Mag International