Shah Rukh’s olive branch – birthday wishes for Uddhav

Mumbai, July 27 (IANS) Of all the greetings that Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray received on his 50th birthday Tuesday, one stood out – ‘best compliments’ from none other than Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who had been targeted by the party this year.

The birthday wishes were conveyed not through a traditional greeting card, but in a half-page advertisement released in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna. It said, ‘With Best Compliments From…Red Chillies Entertainment’, the film company owned by Shah Rukh.

Coming as it did just a few months after the Sena had launched an all-out campaign against the superstar, the impact of the ad (Page 20, left hand side) was not lost on either readers or Uddhav.

‘I am accepting best wishes from everybody,’ is all that Uddhav chose to say when asked about the ad this afternoon.

The olive branch extended by Shah Rukh – in the form of the advertisement – comes nearly six months after the Sena had launched an all-out campaign against the superstar following the release of his blockbuster, ‘My Name Is Khan’, in February this year. The party was angry with him for speaking in favour of Pakistani cricketers for the Indian Premier League.

The issue had pitted the state government and the Shiv Sena against each other in a controversy that raged for nearly 10 days and prompted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to make a visit to Mumbai Feb 5 and thumb the saffron party in its bastion.

A.R. Rahman to sacrifice Bollywood for international career?

Mumbai, July 27 (IANS) Music composer A.R. Rahman’s international career which has taken off in a biggish way after ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ keeps encountering snags, thanks to long-pending assignments back home.

According to sources, Rahman has to keep interrupting his international plans to be home for various pending assignments. The harried composer is now seriously thinking of putting all home-made assignments on hold to concentrate on building his career abroad, or else he feels he would lose the international advantage he obtained after ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

Says a friend of Rahman: ‘The Indian assignments after ‘Slumdog Millioniare’ have been very time-consuming, especially ‘Raavan’ where Rahman not only had to do two versions of the music in Hindi and Tamil, but director Mani Ratnam also asked him to give three to four tunes for every lyric before one was selected. The music of ‘Raavan’ took more time than Rahman could afford, with the result that other Indian assignments primarily Abbas Tyrewala’s untitled John Abraham-Pakhi starrer got left behind.’

At the moment Rahman is back again in Chennai for mixing the music of Abbas’ film. But the background score of the film which releases in October is still be done.

No one is admitting it, but one of the primary reasons why Tyrewala’s film got delayed is the music score which Rahman has been serving up piecemeal, for no fault of his, since the composer was committed to be out of the country for half the year for his world concerts.

Says the source: ‘Rahman had to continuously keep breaking his international tours and other projects to be home for various reasons, like the music release of ‘Raavan’ and other things. He has begun to feel that his international career would never take off if he has to keep returning home.’

Abbas Tyrewala, in Chennai with Rahman for the mixing of his film’s music, jumps to the composer’s defence. ‘Yes Rahman has been a little tied up and therefore unable to deliver quickly. But that’s because he has to be constantly moving back and forth between India and the US. ‘Raavan’ took much longer than Rahman thought. I’m not worried about my music. It’s almost done. Whatever time Rahman takes is finally worth the while.’

In the meanwhile, Rahman has not signed a single new assignment in Mumbai or Chennai in the last few months.

After completing Abbas Tyrewala’s music, Rahman will now focus on consolidating his career abroad.

Arbaaz Khan Next Action to be director”I might turn to direction in the future: Arbaaz Khan”

Mumbai, July 28 (IANS) Arbaaz Khan is expanding his horizon. The actor debuts as producer with upcoming ‘Dabangg’, starring elder brother Salman Khan and introducing Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter Sonakshi, and says he might venture into direction one day.

Arbaaz says he was dilly-dallying with his next career choice of opening up a production company when he chanced upon the script of ‘Dabangg’ and found it to be the right one to venture upon for his debut production.

‘Honestly, before I turned producer, I had no inkling. I was thinking of getting into production when I met Abhinav, the director of the film. He narrated the basic idea to me; I kind of got excided and my idea of turning into a producer re-emerged in my mind.’

‘I had no clue how I will execute the project, but I kind of almost committed to him then. I got my brothers involved; they heard what I was planning and Salman liked what we brought to him. That came to action and my production company was formed,’ Arbaaz told IANS in an interview.

The 42-year-old actor is not ruling out the possibility of venturing into direction.

‘May be the transition from an actor to a producer to a writer or a director… I think something is on the cards; I am not too sure whether I will write or direct my next production, but I do have some inclination towards that. May be some time in the future I wouldn’t discount the fact that I might probably direct some of my future films,’ said Arbaaz.

Arbaaz was sure Salman Khan would be the protagonist in his debut production.

‘I was quite sure Salman would be the protagonist. I obviously had to pitch it to him and get his reaction. May be if he, for some reason, had not liked the proposal I would have to do another film with him. Fortunately he readily agreed to do the film as soon as the script was narrated to him,’ said Arbaaz.

Arbaaz decided to introduce Sonakshi as he found her apt for the role.

‘We are introducing Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter Sonakshi. It’s a very meaty and strong role. We had to go either with a star or a very, very good new girl who brings in freshness. We decided to go with the latter and we are extremely happy and confident that we have finalized Sonakshi who really fits the role and is a future star,’ he said.

Arbaaz is also playing a character role in the film. ‘I play Salman’s step-brother. That’s the basic relationship between the two characters.’

Speaking about ‘Dabangg’, he said: ‘It’s predominantly a drama action musical. It’s absolute fiction but a very believable kind of film.’

Arbaaz said he will be producing films with mass appeal. ‘As a producer I would predominantly like to make films that have huge mass appeal. I don’t necessarily want to go into a situation of making niche films. I like films that work on a larger scale and that come in every genre,’ he said.

Arbaaz declined to divulge the budget of his film but gave an inkling of how heavily he has spent.

‘It’s a very big budget film considering I have done 60 days of shooting for the action sequence. Action is the most expensive thing. People finish films in 60 days and I have only shot action for 60 days. My climax took 25 days of shoot,’ said Arbaaz.

Asked why he is not seen much in films or television of late, he said: ‘I have come to a stage where it is important for me to do quality work. I did my debut in 1996 with ‘Darar’. Since then till 2010, I had a chequered career. Some good films, some not so good, and now I have come to a stage where if something really exciting comes my way like ‘Fashion’, I would love to do it.’

Why is Sallu following Zarine Khan?

India, July 28 — Salman Khan is infamous for chaperoning newcomers especially if they happen to be pretty young women a la – Aishwarya, Katrina and the most recent being Zarine Khan. After promoting Zarine in Veer he is leaving no stone unturned to help her further her career. With Katrina busy enjoying her B-town success, Sallu is making do with her look-alike Zarine. Reportedly the actor was accompanied by the newcomer for Aamir Khan’s Bollywood bash for Argentina musician Gustavo Sanataolla. The duo also performed together at IIFA.

The actor who joined Twitter recently, didn’t care about following Bollywood big-wigs but is following Zarine. One wonders why Sallu is so keen to keep a tab on the activities of the lissome lass.

Aishwarya Rai Pregnant

Happiness has started knocking the doors of the Bachchan family and they are greeting it with open arms every moment. Legendary actor, Amitabh Bachchan has confirmed the news of Aishwarya’s pregnancy and is anxiously waiting for the baby to come into this world. Apparently both Aishwarya and Abhishek kept on denying the news of Aishwarya’s pregnancy for a long time.

Amitabh Bachchan however hasn’t disclosed many details about his daughter-in-law’s pregnancy and is a bit tight lipped about it. However there were numerous rumours about the blue eyed actresses’ pregnancy since the past two three years but now finally the Bachchan Bahu is expecting her first child. Aishwarya is in a hurry to wrap up her shooting for the upcoming film, ‘Heroine’, which even stars Arunoday Singh as Aishwarya’s love interest.

It was even said that for the past few months Aishwarya has been signing up few films for this year due to her pregnancy. The former Miss World had even expressed her desire to become a mother soon and experience motherhood in every way. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya had been married to each other for more than four years and Aishwarya’s pregnancy has come as a blessing to them.

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