After three of his films—Bullet Raja, Humshakals and Happy Ending—flopped, the buzz was that producers were reconsidering casting Saif Ali Khan in their projects and were renegotiating his remuneration. Now, after some introspecting (perhaps) and (hopefully) careful reading of scripts, Khan is believed to have signed a few new films, at least three of which see the 44-year-old cast with new co-stars. In Sujoy Ghosh’s adaptation of The Devotion of Suspect X, he has two smoking-hot talents as his co-stars—Kangana Ranaut and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In Sameer Sharma’s Jugalbandi, Parineeti Chopra is hotly tipped as his co-star. Then, in the film in which he reunites with his Omkara director Vishal Bhardwaj, the director’s favourite Shahid Kapoor is also cast. And we all know the textured past between Khan and Kapoor (Kapoor famously dated Khan’s now-wife Kareena Kapoor). Saif’s next release, though, will be the political thriller, Phantom, with Katrina Kaif.
In cruise control
The cast and some of the crew of the June-release, Dil Dhadakne Do, attended a humid brunch in Mumbai to promote the music of their forthcoming film. Anil Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, who play father and son, were the life and soul of the event, cracking jokes and jumping on stage to dance along to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s tunes. Also present were Shefali Shah, who plays Kapoor’s wife, along with Priyanka Chopra, who has sung her first Hindi playback song in this film, but shied away from delivering a spontaneous rendition. Farhan Akhtar was seen bobbing up and down to every track that was played and Anushka Sharma looked stunning in a white jumpsuit. Keeping them company were supporting actors Rahul Bose and Parmeet Sethi, producer Ritesh Sidhwani, co-writer Reema Kagti and lyricist Javed Akhtar. After the event, the team interacted with the media over brunch and drinks, and reminisced about the fun they had shooting on the large cruise ship.
Bombay to Goa
Even though one might think old Mumbai would be the ideal backdrop for promoting 1960s period drama Bombay Velvet (releasing May 15), the producers chose to hold a press junket in Goa. The film was, however, shot mostly in Mumbai and Sri Lanka. Present at the Goa meet earlier this week were director Anurag Kashyap with his lead cast Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar, along with supporting cast members Vivaan Shah, Satyadeep Mishra and Siddharth Basu. Amit Trivedi performed a short concert of songs from the film. Johar was seen wearing wide collared shirts and suits like his character, Khambatta, and seemingly enjoyed being a star and actor instead of worrying over production details. Kapoor was relaxed and played the genial host. Kashyap was also joined by producing partners Vikas Bahl and Vikramaditya Motwane. Motwane, director of Udaan and Lootera, who recently became a father, said his daughter was called ‘Untitled Production No 1’ as the parents had not been able to agree on a name.
Centre of attraction
It really says something when Deepika Padukone is the more compelling reason to watch a film that also stars Amitabh Bachchan. That’s the case with today’s release Piku, in which Padukone and Bachchan play father and daughter in a quirky roller-coaster ride detailing their crazy relationship in the film directed by Shoojit Sircar. Sircar had earlier made Vicky Donor, another feel-good situational comedy that emerged as a sleeper hit and made a star of Ayushmann Khurrana. In Piku, Padukone plays titular role of an architect who is also juggling caring for her ageing father. This is not the first time Bachchan and Padukone are in a movie together: They previously played father and daughter in Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan. Adding to the curiosity around the film is the unusual pairing of Padukone and Irrfan Khan, who joins Baba and Piku on a road trip that turns out to be rather memorable.