Success has many fathers, failures none. And if you are perceived as haughty in your creativity, then it gets even worse. This lesson is being driven home into Anurag Basu, after the debacle of Jagga Jasoos.
Basu had fast built a reputation for being the next Sanjay Leela Bhansali in terms of the creative control he exercised over his movies. It was vindicated in his previous movie Barfi, which was both a big hit and loved by the critics. Ranbir Kapoor starred in that as well and the movie bolstered his image as a fine actor.
Everything fit perfectly in place in Barfi and no doubt that was the reason that Ranbir again chose to work with Basu in Jagga Jasoos and even produced the movie. When Barfi clicked there was no complaint about Basu’s style of working. After Jagga Jasoos flopping, he is getting plenty of brickbats.
The man who is leading the charge is Ranbir’s father Rishi Kapoor, who was incensed that Basu had not shown the movie to anyone, presumably including him, for feedback. He vented it out in an interview to a tabloid by saying that the movie was not ready even a few days before the release. And so it could not be put out on schedule in a few foreign markets and lost money. He said Basu was responsible for the movie’s release being delayed three times in two years. Even now, the music was too finalised at the last minute. He also professed to agreeing with Ekta Kapoor and Rakesh Roshan, both of whom had had a bitter falling out with Basu when they were producing his movies. He also raked up the issue of Basu making Govinda work in the movie and then dropping his scenes.
Following Rishi’s interview, Govinda too launched a fusillade against Basu for how he had been treated. In an interview he thanked Rishi and said he had not even been told about his scenes being omitted. And this despite him being unwell and still going to South Africa to do his scenes. Basu, when contacted, refused to respond to Rishi’s ranting and said he didn’t want to say anything against someone so senior, who was also a friend of his father.
Ranbir has however been more diplomatic in talking about Basu, with only comments that hinted at the difficulty of working with the director. He will probably never work with Basu again.
A couple of months ago a video had gone viral that involved two Bollywood personalities who till then had shown no connection to each other. Mahira Khan, the Pakistani actress who was cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Raees, had more or less vanished from the radar of Bollywood after the movie flopped.
In the video, she was seen talking with Ranbir Kapoor. And it looked like a strange conversation because she was holding her hands together and seemed to be pleading about something to him. It was identified as an event in Dubai in which both of them were participating.
But the tongues got wagging and soon there were rumours that the two of them might be in a relationship. Evidently it got a bit too much for Mahira who has put up an Instagram image with these words written on it: ‘First Of All, No. Second Of All, No’. There have also been media reports quoting sources close to her that say that if she met him a few times, it doesn’t mean there is anything more to it!
Akshay Kumar is an expert in martial arts and is known to be a tough guy both on- and off-screen. But even someone like him can be a victim of child sexual abuse. This was revealed by him recently in conference on human trafficking that he had been invited to speak at.
He said when he was a six-year-old, there had been a liftman in his housing society who had once touched him inappropriately. He had gone and told his parents. His father had then filed a police complaint following which it was found that the liftman had a history of such deeds. The point Akshay had been making was that it was important to have communication in a family between children and parents.
Meanwhile, he also made news over another issue. Akshay had been watching the Indian women’s cricket team that had been playing in the World Cup. He was cheering them on by waving the Indian flag. Nothing much to it, except that he was holding the flag upside down. When photos of it came out, it led to a controversy. Akshay later clarified that he had been trying to set it right when the photos had been shot. But that he apologised if anyone had been offended.
You would think Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who from humble beginnings now acts opposite superstars and holds his own, is beyond the petty biases of Bollywood. But, evidently, that is not true. Recently, a casting director of his forthcoming movie Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, said in an interview to a newspaper that they had to keep special things in mind when choosing actresses opposite Nawazuddin.
This was in relation to Chitrangada Singh walking out of the project when it was being filmed and a replacement found. The casting director said that they had to see to it that fair and handsome people weren’t present opposite Nawazuddin because that would look strange. While that might have been a trick of the trade, such an attitude to a person’s skin colour and looks didn’t make many people happy and that included Nawazuddin. He tweeted, ‘Thank U 4 making me realise dat I cannot b paired along wid d fair & handsome bcz I m dark & not good looking, but I never focus on that.’
It led to others in Bollywood come forward in support of Nawazuddin. Like the actress Taapsee Pannu, who tweeted, ‘Standing for talented and versatile Nawaz and realising the kind of struggles he has fought for making a mark, these remarks give us a glimpse of the other side of the racism debate.’
Director Nandita Das too said it was not surprising that such prejudices existed in Bollywood and that Nawazuddin had prevailed over it by talent and perseverance.
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