Deepika Padukone has nothing lined up after the release of Bajirao Mastani this week. Sure, she is said to be in conversation with a bunch of filmmakers, including Sriram Raghavan, her Piku director Shoojit Sircar, and Sujoy Ghosh for Kahaani 2. But nothing’s been signed and sealed yet. Except possibly the third XXX film opposite Vin Diesel, an official announcement for which is expected soon.
Despite having politely turned down a role in Furious 7 (because it clashed with the dates she’d given Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the promotions of Ram-Leela in 2013), the actress has reportedly stayed in touch with Diesel who invited her back to Los Angeles recently to test for his other action franchise. Apparently titled XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, this third instalment about an extreme sports enthusiast-turned-spy could see Deepika take a role that many of Diesel’s fans suggested Katy Perry should play.
Turns out Badlapur director Sriram Raghavan is working on multiple scripts right now because Deepika’s schedule is undecided. She’s more or less locked to star in his adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s The Accidental Apprentice, but she can only allot dates when she has clarity about her commitment to Diesel’s film. Raghavan doesn’t want to sit twiddling his thumbs while he waits for Deepika to finish XXX, so he’s apparently banging out another script which he could direct if he does have a few months before she’s ready to shoot with him.
A Lyrical Sabbatical
Farhan Akhtar, who’s currently busy wrapping Rock On !!2 in Mumbai, is looking forward to a three-month hiatus from the sets later this year. The actor-filmmaker will put on his musician hat and spend most of his time holed up in a studio recording a bunch of tracks that he’s written and composed recently.
Over the last few months, particularly while travelling, Farhan scribbled ideas as and when they came to him and subsequently fleshed them out into full songs. Then, using nothing else but his guitar and his iPhone, he recorded scratch versions of each track. He’s currently got roughly a dozen pieces that he’s hoping to record professionally once he’s got Rock On!! 2 out of the way, and he seems open to the idea of releasing them either as an album or as separate singles.
His music, he told me, comes from a deeply personal place within him. No wonder the songs are about things as varied as an incident related to the attack on Peshawar school children, his response to being a celebrity in the information age, and his idea of a romantic ballad. “Anything could become a trigger,” he revealed, speaking about his inspirations.
The Perils of Passion Projects
A well-respected director with a tendency to push the envelope when it comes to his themes, is reportedly in something of a bind. His passion project, which bombed at the box-office earlier this year, was all set to get a sequel after the filmmaker convinced his producer to give him a second shot at the material. But now there may be trouble as far as that film goes, given that his leading man has had a falling out with his very influential producer.
The actor, who was signed up with the producer as an in-house talent, has reportedly severed ties with the studio over his displeasure at the way they “manhandled” his career. They blocked his bulk dates for an ambitious project which appears to have fallen through, and as a result the actor left promising films with talented directors, including a film with his mentor that he did not want to let go of.
The big question now is whether the producer will still greenlight the director’s sequel. If he does, will he allow the director to work with the actor again? Or will he encourage the director to rope in a new actor? Industry insiders are saying it may be for the best if the sequel is made with a different actor. That might help the new film disassociate itself from any baggage of the previous flop. But one also hears that the director is keen to work with the same actor.