Glam avatar

After making big impact in small films, Aditi Rao Hydari is finally doing an out and out masala entertainer, Boss, a remake of Pokkiri Raja. “Such films have a bigger reach and I want to move ahead of the innocent girl image.” Is that the reason that she is showing her glamorous side both on and off screen? “See, now I have spent some time in the industry. So my designers friends like to try out different outfits. And I am comfortable with that. Also, when I say I want to try different roles, I don’t mean compromising on my inherent identity. I know I can never look like a man eating seductress.” Cast opposite Shiv Pandit, Aditi says she knows that Boss is a male dominated film but she is the only female actor in the film. “So the focus is on me and I wanted to be a part of a massy film as I have grown up watching such entertainers.” But she has also grown up learning Bharatanatyam from Leela Samson and classical music from her mother Vidya Rao. “Yes, classical dance and music are integral to what I am and perhaps it shows in my acting. It is the expressions that make me different from others but unfortunately we don’t have roles which require these skills.”

All at sea!

A few friends find themselves marooned in the midst of a sea. For long it was the premise of many a B-grade Hollywood film. Now producer Anubhav Sinha seems to have indigenised it courtesy the friendly Fiji government, which is on an overdrive to promote its islands. Directed by debutant Gurrmeet Singh, Warning reminds of Piranhas and Shark but Gurrmeet says here the dangers are more emotional than physical. “Sharks are just one of the dangers, the story is more about how the friends try to outclass and outlive each other when they found themselves stuck in middle of the sea. It is a struggle against nature and each other.” Manjari Phadnis is the only recognisable face in the cast. “We auditioned actors not only as individuals but also how they look as a group. We wanted actors who could give ample time and are physically fit. Medical tests were done to check their fitness. So face value was not the top priority,” says Gurrmeet, who has earlier assisted Ashutosh Gowarikar on Jodha Akbar and Farhan Akhtar on Don. “I am a sort of water baby and working with Farhan taught me the use of technical wizardry. I have an Italian DOP who is used to shooting such films and then there was a guy from National Geographic, who was familiar with shooting sharks.” 80 per cent of the 100 minute film is shot in water. “Many such films are shot in pond or swimming pool but we shot in sea and you know how dangerous salt water is for the equipment. Plus shooting in 3D format made it all the more challenging,” says Gurrmeet, also recalling how sea snakes build a nest beneath the platform which they had put up in the sea to shoot. “The scale looks big on screen but we have shot it within miniscule budget as we had to make it commercially viable. A 3D film of this scale required at least 80 days but we finished the job in 42 days flat.”

Shekhar is back

After a sabbatical, Shekhar Suman is back on television with a series on comedians of Hindi cinema on ABP News. Starting this Saturday Mera Naam Joker looks into the life and times of leading comic artistes. From Gope to Mehmood and Johnny Walker to Asrani it goes beyond the screen image of people who made us laugh. “I have a long association with the channel. I did Pol Khol when it was called Star News. I agreed to do the series because it brings out the professional and personal side of some very competent actors who were not allowed to be versatile because they were branded as comedians,” says Suman, who has just wrapped up his directorial debut Heartless. He says comedian has lost its value in Hindi cinema but there was a time when no film could be expected without a comic artiste. “They helped in establishing in many a superstar.”

Masti in print

The synergy between cinema and books is getting deeper. No, we are not talking about cinematic adaptations of literature but publishing and production houses joining hands to create tomes to generate interest in the film. This week we saw two such books making their way to stands. While Om Books International has come up with the making of Satyagraha, Harlequin India has released “Grand Masti: Fun Never Ends” in collaboration with Maruti International. Now Harlequin is known world over for its female readership and romantic novels with Mills & Boon being a household name but Amrita Chowdhury, Country Head and publishing director, Harlequin India reminds us that the publishing house also has Spice, a section dedicated to erotica and “Grand Masti” is released under this imprint. Isn't Masti franchise seen as a brand of corny adult comedy? Maintaining that the book and the film are complementary to each other, Amrita says, “The producers have told us that the first film was enjoyed by both male and female audience. And at the end, the boys do realise the importance of integrity in matrimony. Also, the book is a softer version of the adult comedy and is not a rehash of the screenplay.” She clarifies that author Neha Puntambekar has created fresh episodes around the characters of the film. She informs that the e-version is already out in the international market.