Reluctant to talk
June 18 2017 10:00 PM
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The poster for Salman Khan’s next film.

There is never a dull moment when Salman Khan makes his appearances before the media for interviews, a ritual that he is forced to go through every time one of his movies is set for release. 
Normally contemptuous of the media, he reluctantly has to court them to promote the movie. This time Tubelight is going to be the next release and it is important to him for various reasons. He is producing the movie and it is a role which might further establish him as an actor, instead of just a superstar. 
But Salman being Salman, there is no telling how will behave during interviews. In one such interaction, the interviewer questioned him on how he perceives criticism and his answer was that reviewers had no right to review movies because they just pass opinion while all the hard work is done by those who work on the movie!  Then when the questions started to be on the court cases against him, he got rattled. He said that there was a deliberate campaign against him just because he was a superstar and if he had been an ordinary person none of these cases would be there. When pressed on whether he was using his charity foundation as a public relation ploy to build his image, Salman got up and walked out. 
In another interview, he spoke against war and said that people who ordered it should be the first to fight. This is more comfortable territory to speak on given that Tubelight itself is connected to war and his character is a symbol of someone who bridges those differences. 
Meanwhile, there was another strange news connected to Salman which got many all agog. There was a rumour doing the rounds that Rohit Shetty had managed to rope in Salman and the Bahubali hero Prabhas for a movie. This would have been a huge casting coup by any reckoning since both actors are pan-Indian sensations given the extraordinary performance of their movies. And Shetty could certainly do with a mega blockbuster since his reputation has lost some its sheen after the poor showing of Dilwale. 
As it turned out, the news was not true. He put a statement on Twitter which said, ‘It is fake news, I’ve been in Spain since the last 3 weeks, I don’t know how this rumour started.’

The return


Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai have done a number of movies together and some of them, under the eye of good directors, have even been noteworthy. 
Guru, the Mani Ratnam movie based on the life of the industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, was one such. Ratnam also cast them in Raavan but that one didn’t do very well at the box office. There have been a scattering of hits like Sarkar Raj and Dhoom 2 which featured the two but these all go back a decade.  
Both have careers that have more or less ended as leading actors and while Abhishek is trying to stay afloat by being second leads to other actors, Aishwarya’s comeback has been a series of flops. 
But that has not stopped them from once again coming together in a movie. Reportedly, they are in talks with Anurag Kashyap for it. Recently, Abhishek was asked about it at an event and he confirmed the news. But Kashyap, he clarified, will be producing the project and not directing it. 
What has worked for Abhishek throughout his career is being the son of Amitabh Bachchan. He inevitably gets top filmmakers to cast him despite his run of flops. The Abhishek-Aishwarya combination might have some curiosity value to viewers. But that won’t necessarily translate into large footfalls to theatres unless the movie is exceptional.      

Jail talk

In 1993, Mumbai, following communal riots, was rocked by a series of bomb blasts. Since the law goes really slow in India, it is only now that some of those who were behind the blasts have been convicted. One of those, a gangster named Abu Salem, was the one who had supplied illegal arms to Sanjay Dutt at the time. Dutt has however paid for his sins. He has done his time in jail and walked out a free man, presumably immune from any more punishment. 
But it is not so easy to put your past behind you. A public interest litigation filed in the high court has accused the government of allowing Dutt to be released eight months before his allotted time. In between he was also out on parole for many days citing medical and other reasons. The judge who was hearing the PIL has asked the government to explain all this. The reason cited for his early release was ostensibly ‘good conduct’ and they have now to show what exactly was Dutt’s conduct. 
The government however is planning to justify its decision as being within the rules and so Dutt might not be under any threat of having to return to jail.      


A father’s doubt


Saif Ali Khan is an actor. His mother, Sharmila Tagore, was an actress. His first wife, Amrita Singh, is an actress. His present wife, Kareena Kapoor, is also one. And yet being entirely involved in this profession, he seems to be somewhat ambivalent about his daughter Sara joining the industry. 
She has a movie with Sushant Singh Rajput. In an interview to a newspaper, Saif spoke about how he had known that she would be an actor ever since her childhood. But now when that dream is coming true, he seems unsure about her choice. He said in that interview that he was tense because the industry can be cruel and make everyone fearful. And his daughter had had the option of settling down in a place like New York instead of testing her luck in a place where despite very good work there is no guarantee of results. 
Though it must be said that the situation is really not as bad as Saif puts it for children from star families. They get lots of breaks and even if there is a slight amount of talent in them, it is possible to find a footing. 


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