K Jo's latest success story

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  • Published 11.07.10

The celebration began with an impromptu family dinner on Friday night, followed by a lunch party the next morning. And it’s been going on non-stop in Manish Malhotra’s very Punjabi family ever since nephew Punit Malhotra’s (see pic) first film as director, I Hate Luv Storys (IHLS), became a box-office hit. A visit to Manish’s swank Pali Hill apartment found even Punit’s grandparents strutting around like they’d delivered a hit. Manish’s mom, that’s Punit’s grandmother, a hardcore card player, was actually exulting that she could now hold her head high every day at the club where she meets her gang to play cards.

And God forbid anybody who dares criticise the film. More than Punit, it’s his uncle (who is more paternal than avuncular), his parents and his grandparents who react sharply to an adverse remark. “My grandmom’s probably doing some voodoo right now on them,” wisecracked Punit who says he hasn’t been reading any reviews but following the ratings given by different critics. When Shobhaa De, who hated the film, wrote a piece calling him a villain who should be spanked in public and Punit tweeted a nasty one in reply, his mother forced him to pull it out. “She was as livid as the rest of the family but wanted no negativity in the house. So she forced me to delete it,” explained Punit.

For Dharma Productions, the success of IHLS has come after a long spell of complete setbacks (like Kurbaan) or films that just about gasped their way to safety but couldn’t really make much money. Wake Up Sid would fall into this phew, just about made it, category.

Funnily, IHLS has also been Karan Johar’s least expensive film. Apart from overpriced fare like Kurbaan (selling price: Rs 50 to 55 crore) which couldn’t manage an opening, even Wake Up Sid was a more expensive film (costing around Rs 25 crore while IHLS cost under Rs 20 crore). Anil Thadani (Raveena Tandon’s husband) who bought IHLS from UTV for Bombay, got back his investment within the first three days itself. I Hate Luv Storys has gone on to make more than Rs 30 crore in the first week, making it an undisputed hit for Dharma Productions (even the ultimate verdict on My Name Is Khan is debatable).

After Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, this is the first time that Dharma Productions will be celebrating the success of a film. Which really means that it’s their first big one after dad Yash Johar passed away.

Also in a celebratory mood is the Nitin Mukesh family. Firstly, son Neil has been so busy completing films for Yashraj (Lafange Parindey co-starring Deepika Padukone) and Vishal Bharadwaj (Saat Khoon Maaf with Priyanka Chopra) that his dates have become pretty precious. It’s a status that makes his folks immensely proud of him. Neil also managed to squeeze in a commercial for a deodorant where he looks suave with a touch of arrogance. It’s a typical Neil look that’s working bigtime for him. While Neil worked, his parents got their Nepean Sea Road house renovated in time for Ganpati (bringing Ganeshji home for all 11 days in August is a must-do for the family). When Neil’s sis Neha (married and settled in Kanpur) visited her parents with kids in tow, the actor was busy, his mother had shifted all of them into their Powai house and dad Nitin was supervising the renovation work in Nepean Sea Road which is at the other end of Mumbai.

Neil said that everything fell into place by his dad’s birthday last month. The two films were wrapped up and Neil had free time on his hands to escort his dad to the showroom to pick up his surprise birthday gift. “I’d arranged it in such a way that dad got his dream Merc just around his birthday. You should’ve seen the gleam in his eyes when he saw it!” chuckled Neil Nitin Mukesh. “Dad doesn’t drive but I drove him around. Then we took all his friends also for a drive — he’d promised them that the day he got a Merc he’d take them for a drive in it. Dad was like a kid in a toy store.”

Neil topped that by driving the Merc, followed by two other cars, all the way to Lonavla where the actor had booked the entire family — parents, younger brother Naman, sis, brother-in-law, kids and staff — at Amby Valley for a two-day break. Nitin couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birthday. Or a better son.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is editor, The Film Street Journal