Twinkle Khanna’s first appearance on Karan Johar’s much-coveted confessional couch lived up to all expectations. The former actress turned interior designer turned columnist and author played up the shock factor by shutting up both her husband Akshay Kumar and her childhood buddy, Johar. The story of how she encouraged Johar to run away from boarding school is well recorded as is her own disdain over her acting career. Both were repeated on the show, but it was more interesting to hear about Khanna’s preference for John Abraham over other leading male Bollywood stars. She also revealed her tendency to taunt her husband, telling him that unlike her parents who both earned National Film Awards, Kumar has not even one movie award to his name. Quick-witted, with no filter on her words, Khanna skillfully painted both the men into corners. Naturally, the show ended with a plug for her new book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, a collection of short stories, which was officially launched in Mumbai earlier this week. This is her second book following the hugely popular Mrs Funnybones. And, of course, Kumar was responsible for reading an early draft and providing critical feedback.
Like many actors and directors of her generation, 28-year-old Neha Sharma, who has acted in Hindi and Telugu films, says she is greatly influenced by Aditya Chopra’s superhit Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Sharma, who made her acting debut in 2007, has previously appeared in Hindi films such as Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum and Youngistaan, and will be seen in Tum Bin 2 (releasing today). This is a sequel to Anubhav Sinha’s 2001 romantic drama Tum Bin. Sharma, who studied fashion design says she never aspired to become an actor, but now that she has, she’s rather erudite about the difference between stardom and performance. She says her passion for acting is the reason she is in the film industry. She describes filmmaking as collaborative and is particularly fascinated by the work of the cinematographer. As for stardom, she describes it as “excess baggage that comes with being an actor.” Sharma is also excited that Xuan Zang, a Chinese film she has acted in co-starring Sonu Sood and Ali Fazal, is the official Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
Playing second fiddle
Bollywood will rub shoulders with international artists including Demi Lovato, Coldplay and Freida Pinto. Vidya Balan and Aamir Khan among others have committed their support to the Global Citizen India movement which aims to mobilise the youth to take on actions for water, sanitation and hygiene, education and gender equality in the run up to the November 19 mega event. The inaugural Global Citizen Festival India will be headlined by Coldplay, Jay Z, Demi Lovato, Aamir Khan, AR Rahman, Arijit Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Sachin Tendulkar and Sonakshi Sinha, among others. The Global Education and Leadership Foundation (TGELF), an organisation focused on cultivating ethical, altruistic leadership to improve the state of the planet through collective action. Global Citizen India will comprise a distinctive mix of events, grassroots activism, media campaigning and online activation, to catalyse India’s 15-year journey towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and to bring about the end of extreme poverty. The focus this year is on quality education, gender equality, and clean water and sanitation.
While Bollywood is seeing sequels with unimaginative titles – Force 2, Rock On 2 and Tum Bin 2, there are also a host of quirkily titled films that have certainly piqued my interest. A few among them: Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Behen Hogi Teri, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Sniff! The cast matches the quirks too. Now, it’s time to wait and see if the film delivers on its enticing promise.
– Udita Jhunjhunwala