Brunch, the Sunday magazine of Hindustan Times (with whom I have a passing connection), has come up with a glossy Collector's Edition on Bollywood. The Editor of Brunch - Poonam Saxena - is a big movie fan who sneaks in a cinema-connected cover story every now and then. With this special issue, they have completely outdone themselves in terms of the photos, design and the content. They have got fifty stars writing about fifty stars.
Pick up the issue. At 100 bucks, it is a steal!
I ended up writing a piece on Bollywood's New 'New Wave' and looked at how the 'indie' (which is not actually indie in India) movement is taking shape and gaining momentum. Will post that piece later.
I was also co-opted to write some Short Takes on the fifty stars - some small snippets of trivia - to go with the profiles, a sort of light counterpoint to the 'tribute' / 'appraisal' that was the main thing. I wrote more than 250 snippets of trivia - about five per star. Posting the whole thing would probably crash Blogger. So, I am choosing forty of those - the ones I really liked and/or discovered during the 'research'.
The forty stars have been divided into four logic-less sections.
This Is The Beginning
- Shah Rukh Khan’s first movie appearance was in a Doordarshan-produced telefilm, co-scripted by Arundhati Roy. It was called In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones and he played a ‘gay-ish’ character.
- Anil Kapoor’s first screen appearance was in a movie called Tu Payal Main Geet, in which he played the young Shashi Kapoor.
- Farooq Shaikh’s film debut was in Garam Hawa, an acclaimed film made by MS Sathyu. After this, he was noticed by Satyajit Ray and played a small but significant role in Shatranj Ke Khiladi.
- Vidya Balan’s first film to release was a Bengali one called Bhalo Theko (as three films in Tamil and Malayalam she was signed for, were either shelved or Vidya was dropped).
- A struggler for a very long time, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s first screen appearance was in Sarfarosh. He played a petty criminal being interrogated by Aamir Khan and Mukesh Rishi in a police lockup. He has played the role of a washerman in a Pepsi ad with Sachin Tendulkar. He hid himself behind the clothes whenever the camera turned to him since he didn’t want to seen in the ad.
- Malaika Arora Khan met her husband Arbaaz, while shooting a steamy ad for MR Coffee.
- Shilpa Shetty started her modeling career at the age of 16 with an advertising campaign for Limca.
- One of Paresh Rawal’s earliest film roles was in a telefilm Holi, directed by Ketan Mehta. In this film (made in a FTII workshop for graduating students), many future stars contributed – including one Aamir Hussain who later became famous as Aamir Khan.
- One of the few Indian actors who have regularly appeared in big-ticket Hollywood productions, Irrfan Khan made his film debut in an international production – Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay.
- Farhan Akhtar was an apprentice on Yash Chopra’s Lamhe and an assistant director on Himalay Putra, which was Akshaye Khanna’s debut film. Maybe he pitched the idea of Dil Chahta Hai to him then?
- When Ranbir Kapoor passed his Class X Boards (with 53% marks), Neetu Singh cried with joy as he was the first Kapoor to have passed school without failing a single year.
What's In A Name?
- In Pyar To Hona Hi Tha, Ajay Devgn played a conman who stole a credit card to cover his expenses. The name on the credit card was Kumar Mangat, his then-secretary and executive producer of his productions.
- Hrithik’s nickname is Duggu, which is a reverse of father Rakesh Roshan’s nickname – Guddu.
- Parineeti Chopra’s parents named her after seeing a Prakash Jha film called Parinati (starring Nandita Das among others).
- In Raakh (which released just after QSQT), Aamir’s character was called Aamir Hussain – which is actually his real name and the only time Aamir has been called Aamir on screen.
- Salman’s full name is Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan. In Sanam Bewafa, Salman Khan played a character called Salman Khan.
- Arshad Warsi’s son is called Zeke Zidane. He appeared in a cameo in Salaam Namaste along with mother, Maria Goretti. If you thought his son’s name wasn’t weird enough, Arshad named his daughter Zene Zoe.
- Om Puri’s full name Om Prakash Puri wasn’t considered ‘smart’ enough for the movies. So he tried names like Vilom Puri and Azdak Puri before falling back on Om!
- John Abraham played the lead role in Anurag Kashyap’s surreal No Smoking. His friend’s role in the film was supposed to be played by writer-director Abbas Tyrewala, who dropped out and Ranvir Shorey played the role. That’s why Ranvir’s character was called Abbas Tyrewala.
- In Agent Vinod, Saif Ali Khan played a RAW agent with multiple identities. He used names like Kapil Dev, Vinod Khanna, Freddie Khambatta and Mahendra Sandhu. The last one was the name of the actor who played Agent Vinod in the 1977 film.
- Kareena Kapoor’s name is derived from Anna Karenina, which her mother was reading while she was pregnant and was very impressed with the iconic heroine.
You Only Know Half The Story
- In a much-publicised poll conducted by BBC, Amitabh Bachchan was voted the Star of the Millennium beating Sir Lawrence Olivier and Sir Alec Guinness. In the same poll, Homer Simpson came 5th and Govinda came 10th.
- Sonakshi’s father is the youngest four brothers – Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan. And in a next-gen extension, she has two brothers – Luv and Kussh. By the way, their house in Mumbai is called Ramayana.
- After an affair with Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika tattooed RK on the nape of her neck. After they broke up, she redesigned the tattoo to make it (sort of) look like TMK. For all her troubles, she was chosen ‘Tattoo Queen’ by India’s first Tattoo Convention.
- Konkona Sen Sharma’s father, Mukul Sharma, is a science writer and author (who used to write a popular puzzle column in The Times Of India called MindSport). He acted as the male lead of Parama, directed by Aparna Sen. He also wrote the short story on which Ek Thi Daayan is loosely based on.
- Ayushmann Khurana’s first job after completing studies was a radio jockey for Big FM in Delhi, where he hosted a show called Maan Na Maan, Main Tera Ayushmann. RJing runs in the family as his brother – Apaarshakti – is also a RJ in Delhi. Going by both their names, their parents’ hobby seems to be generating tongue-twisters.
- To mark the 10th anniversary of Ranu Mukerji’s first superhit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, an animated version of the movie was made starring dogs in the three lead roles (and other animals for the remaining characters). It was called Koochie Koochie Hota Hai and Rani did the voice-over for her original character, Tina.
- Naseeruddin Shah is an enthusiastic photographer. He has been credited with ‘Still Photography’ for Khamosh. Even in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, the camera he used in the film was his own.
- In the award-winning Life of Pi, Irrfan played a character called Pi. In the movie Chocolate, he played a character called Pipi.
- Rishi Kapoor and his sweetheart Neetu Singh got married in a grand ceremony, which was the first time Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performed in India.
- Abhishek Bachchan has appeared with Amitabh Bachchan playing the latter’s grandson (Delhi 6), son (Sarkar), father (Paa) and unrelated (Bunty Aur Babli).
- Akshay Kumar has acted in nine Khiladi films. Eight of them - Khiladi, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Mr & Mrs Khiladi, International Khiladi, Khiladi 420 and Khiladi 786 - are in real life. The ninth is when he appeared as a star of a film called Return Of Khiladi for his guest appearance in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om.
- Kajol and her aunt Nutan have won the highest number of Filmfare Awards for Best Actress (five each). In addition to that, Kajol has also won a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. I should not tell you which film it is for as that would give away the ending!
- Sonam Kapor and Ranveer Singh are cousins (from their mother’s side). In Sonam’s second film (Delhi 6) and Ranveer’s first (Band Baaja Baaraat), they played characters with the same name – Bittoo Sharma.
- Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone (along with other notables like Margaret Alva, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Nirupama Rao) have been students of Bangalore’s Mount Carmel College (though it is not clear if they completed their courses).
- Abhay Deol seems to love working with debutant directors. His first five films – Socha Na Tha, Ahista Ahista, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, Ek Chalis Ka Last Local, Manorama Six Feet Under – were the directors’ first films.
- Shabana Azmi has the highest number of National Awards for Best Actress – five – including a hattrick for Arth, Khandhar and Paar (1982-84). She created a record at the Filmfare Awards when she won four nominations in a single year (1984) for Arth, Avtaar, Mandi and Masoom. (The only other nominee was Sridevi for Sadma.)
- In quick succession, Bipasha Basu appeared in two ‘Billo’ films. In Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, she performed a hit song called Billo Rani while in Omkara, her name was Billo Chamanbahar.
- Apart from ‘serial kisser’, Emraan Hashmi can also be called a ‘sequel king’ as he has acted in five sequels till date (Murder 2,
Murder 3, Jannat 2, Raaz 2, Raaz 3) – the highest among lead actors of the day.
- In 2002, both Karisma and Kareena Kapoor were nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – for Zubeidaa and Asoka respectively. This is the only time siblings have been nominated in the same year.
- In three of her films, Katrina Kaif came close to marrying a foreigner before turning to the hero – Partner (Peter), Namaste London (Charlie Brown) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Roger).
So, how many of these really surprised you? Oh come on, tell me the truth!