When Fifty Shades of Grey checks into cinemas soon, one Bollywoodwala will ensure he’s first in queue to catch the steamy romance. Karan Johar has revealed that he’s patiently waiting for the film, and has joked that he wishes he were in New York or London right now so he could watch an uncensored version. Turns out the filmmaker “devoured” the first book in EL James’ bestselling trilogy (on which the film is based) on a long-haul flight, and has closely followed the film’s development and casting journey.
Karan, who will begin filming his next directorial venture Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in July, has insisted he isn’t embarrassed to reveal his fan-girl like excitement for the Fifty Shades of Grey juggernaut, and hopes the film will live up to all the hype. “I think it’s great that so many people all over the world are waiting so patiently for this movie to come out. You can’t be snobbish about material that the audience is clearly looking forward to,” he told me recently.
Let it not be forgotten that Karan co-produced the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller 2 States last year (which he turned into a Rs 100 crore block- buster), so being snobbish about literary works that are deemed—umm—less than literary is not something one can hold against him.
The Well Advised Mother
Tabu’s concerns and fears that she would likely be inundated with offers to play “mother roles” after Haider may have proved to be prophetic, but the powerhouse actress is believed to be wisely considering the merit of each part instead of flatly turning them all down. She has, incidentally, accepted a pivotal part in the Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit Drishyam, in which she will play a mother who fights to protect her criminal son from the hands of the law, then gets consumed with revenge after her son is killed by the film’s hero.
Interestingly, Tabu has told friends that it was her old friend Ajay Devgn who came to her rescue again recently, recommending her for this film in which he will star as the male lead. She has said that back in her twenties when she found herself waiting literally for years for her intended breakout film Prem to release, it was Ajay who recommended her to the producer of Vijaypath and encouraged her to sign new films instead of putting all her eggs in one basket.
The Arrogant Filmmaker No One Likes
You would imagine that the abysmal failure of their latest release would mean heartbreak on the part of most people associated with it. However, it appears that’s not the case with the team that worked on an ambitious recent film that tanked at the box-office just weeks ago. Studio executives who marketed and distributed the picture are reportedly not at all surprised that the film didn’t so much as take an opening, or that critics savaged it, or the fact that audiences just stayed away. And secretly they may even be pleased.
Turns out the studio had a hard time convincing the film’s first-time director that his ambitious saga needed judicious editing. A former assistant to a famous control-freak filmmaker, the first-time helmer reportedly threw his weight around all throughout production and insisted on delivering a film that was “just too long” at roughly two hours and 40 minutes. At marketing meetings, he allegedly insisted that the studio didn’t have any good ideas and demanded that they merely execute the concepts floating in his own head. But an insider reveals that problems with the film and its director started much earlier on. The first casualty was the original producer—an indie darling, and one of the top names for small-budget, high-concept, festival-friendly films—who became unwell barely two weeks into the shoot, and then dropped out entirely because she couldn’t put up with the director’s high- handed behaviour. In the wake of the film’s recent failure, studio honchos have apparently been discussing amongst themselves that they needed to have exercised a firmer hand on the project—that they needed to have put their foot down when they could see the director was being unreasonable, andthat they ought to have made sure the film didn’t go over budget.
Even if they’re filled with regret over the way things panned out, it appears they’re not displeased about the fact that the director got what he deserved in the end—egg on his face.