Dec 6, 2008
MUMBAIl It is rather ironical that Yash Raj Films' much-talked about forthcoming release "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi", which is expected to bring cheer to the production banner and wrap up the year on a happy note, is being released in a not very happy time.
Starring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan along with newcomer Anushka Sharma, the romantic drama is releasing on December 12.
The people in Mumbai, in particular, are still haunted by the wounds inflicted on the nation's movie and financial capital by terrorists 10 days ago. But the production house is hopeful that by the time the movie hits the screen, normalcy will return to Mumbai and the mood of the people, not only in Mumbai, but elsewhere in the country, too, will undergo a change.
"At least, we are expecting that to happen, though nobody can predict what will happen tomorrow," a spokesman of Yash Raj Films said on Thursday.
In Mumbai, the people have begun to come to the cinema halls. But there are palpable signs of suspense around most of the cinema premises and most cinegoers are still caught in fear and uncertainty.
This accounts for the sparse clientele of family audience, particularly the females who, otherwise, throng the multiplexes in the city.
"Following Mumbai police's order, we have stepped up the security check at our properties. Though this may have inconvenienced our patrons, we must say that it is for their own safety that we have had to do so," said Yogesh Mehta, manager of Cinemax property at Goregaon, a north-west suburb of Mumbai.
The news floating around currently that there might be another terror attack only adds to the city's tense situation, even though the people in general have taken it in their stride and are going about their jobs as usual.
"After what Mumbai went through 10 days ago, it is understandable if a fear psychosis has gripped the city and there is a little drop in the number of people visiting the theatres of late. The theatre managements can do nothing but to bear with it and hope that the scenario will turn for the better soon," said R.C. Vidhani, president of the Theatre and Multiplex Owners' Association.
"Whether the scenario turns for the better or not, 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' is important for Yash Raj banner for more than one reason. The stakes are high on the movie primarily because, after last year's 'Chak De! India', Bollywood's most prestigious production house has not had a hit so far," said Vikas Mohan, editor of Bollywood's trade magazine Super Cinema.
"All the four Yash Raj productions so far this year, 'Tashan', 'Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic', 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' and the animation movie 'Roadside Romeo', could not warm up to the box office. These successive failures, obviously, put a dent on the banner's image," he added.
Apart from that, with 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi', Aditya Chopra has returned to direction after nearly eight years. His last directorial venture was "Mohabbatein", released in 2000. And this, according to Mohan, also adds to the banner's pressure.
Said trade analyst Vinod Mirani: "Aditya Chopra-Shah Rukh Khan team has given the Bollywood's biggest hit ever, "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge'. The question that is being asked is, will the duo be able to do it again? Since the audience's expectations from the movie are much higher, this has put an additional pressure on the banner."
The movie has a newcomer, Anushka. How will the audience react to her? Will Anushka be able to do a Deeepika Padukone in "Rab Ne Ban Di Jodi"? That's pressure number three.
"The movie being Shah Rukh Khan's first release this year, much depends on him to see it through the box-office," Mirani said, adding that for the superstar's own sake and for the sake of everybody at the banner, "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" should click at the box office.Shah Rukh and Yash Raj Films had worked wonders together in the past. That's the reassuring factor and it bespeaks of probable box-office success of "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi", notwithstanding the panicky situation prevailing in the country currently.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan will have the honour of being the first Datukship recipient from Malacca to don the official state samping during a special investiture ceremony tomorrow.
The RM3,000(S$1260) specially-made black samping is adorned with kesidang flower motif and tied in the style of the late P. Ramlee to complete the baju melayu to be worn by Shah Rukh Khan.
Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaacob will confer the award at the Dewan Seri Negri in Ayer Keroh at 10am in a ceremony to be attended by 1,000 guests.
"This is the first time that we are using this particular songket for a Datukship recipient and Shah Rukh Khan will be first to wear the official samping," exco member in charge of human resources, health and consumer affairs Datuk Kapt (R) Abdul Karim Sulaiman told a press conference yesterday.
The samping is sponsored by Institut Seni Malaysia Melaka, whose representatives will help the actor put on the samping.
"This will certainly help promote both Malaysia and Malacca," he said when contacted in Paris by mStar Online yesterday.
"What better time to launch it than in conjunction with the actor's visit?"
Mohd Ali was responding to the statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that tourist arrivals in the country was expected to fall.
Dec 3, 2008
PETALING JAYA: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan says he is humbled by being awarded a Datukship. He apologised for not receiving the honour in person during Malacca Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob's birthday on Oct 11.
"I would also like to thank the Malaysian government, my friends, fans and Malaysians who have showed me so much love," said the popular actor, clearing the controversy of whether he was reluctant to accept the award.
Shah Rukh was awarded the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) which carries the title "Datuk".
Speaking in an exclusive phone interview with mStar Online yesterday from his palatial mansion Mannat in Bandra, Mumbai, Shah Rukh could not contain his excitement when talking about the award.
"After I heard about the award, I have not stopped telling everyone around the world – in the United States, Britain and South Africa – that I have been knighted," he said.
He said he only came to know about the award when he arrived in Singapore during the first week of November for the Zee Carnival.
"I saw it in the papers at the airport and was so surprised. I asked my friend who picked me up and he told me it's a prestigious award, akin to the British knighthood.
"I would have stayed back if I had known much earlier.
"Again, I apologise," said Shah Rukh, who also had to reschedule the Nov 28 ceremony as he was not well.
"We were completely in communication with the Malacca government but because of my very tight schedule and me falling sick, there was no way I could have come earlier," he said.
Shah Rukh said he was quite thrilled at the thought of donning the traditional official black baju Melayu, samping and songkok to receive the award.
"What made this honour so profound was that it was given by a country that does not even speak my language.
"I have so much love for Malaysia. I shoot my movies there, take my family for holidays and visit my friends.
"This special honour is such a humbling experience," he said.
Asked about the controversy over the award, with some saying that he was not deserving of it, Shah Rukh said:
"I do not have to read about myself in the papers. I know who I am and what I deserve.
"Whatever people write about me, be it positive or negative, will not change anything.
"I am a bit self-centred in that sense. I am my own best friend," he said.
He added: "I have got a Padmashree in India. I have been honoured in Malaysia and France. I'm at Madame Tussaud's. I have a 2 billion rupee (RM150mil) turnover for the work I do.
"I've got a lovely house, beautiful children, lovely family.
"I've got beautiful friends in Malaysia. What more could I ask for. I thank God for all these blessings."
Shah Rukh confirmed he will be receiving the award at 10am on Saturday at the Dewan Seri Negri, Ayer Keroh in Malacca.
The event will see some 1,000 invited guests attending.
"It would be a day trip and I will leave the next morning. I cannot stay longer as I have a movie launch and press conference to attend to in Mumbai.
"Otherwise, I would have loved to stay on," he said.He will be releasing his new movie Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi next week
"I've tried to keep away from commenting on this as there are no words to express a situation like this because our feelings are mixed with anger, disbelief and sadness," the Bollywood 'badshah' says.
"Being Muslim myself, I believe youngsters need to understand and respect Islam in the right way. It's such a huge waste and my appeal to all in these times and in recent years (sic) is that please can we run what we want in terms of politics, government, jobs and teaching our children with the prime motive of taking communalism out of it," Shah Rukh told BBC Asia Network in an interview to be telecast this Saturday.
"The religion our children are born with should be something they practice as a discipline and work should be developed as the new religion. I think no agenda should be attached to any kind of religion," Shah Rukh says.