Friday, August 18, 2006

The E T Bollywood Special

The Economic Times dated Sunday 13 August had a guest editor: Filmmaker Karan Johar. Besides being an acclaimed producer-director of Hindi films, Mr.Johar is also known to be an outspoken supporter, friend, confidant, soul-mate etc. of Shahrukh Khan,the Hindi film world’s leading superstar. As I read through this particular issue of ET,I realized how closely and in tandem, the diverse worlds of films and business journalism, managed to work, benefiting each other. If any interested party manages to catch the issue on the net, fine, happy reading. For those otherwise busy/ unbothered, here’s a peek into the KJo edited ET.
Page one: A sampler of Karan’s long interview with Shahrukh; the piece is called, interestingly, foreplay. For a moment I had a feeling I was reading Cosmopolitan. Anyway, here’s the first question from Karan:2.7bn people in the world know Tom Cruise. 3.2bn people in the world know Shah Rukh Khan. Flattered, or do you think you are beyond comparison?
SRK gave a long and confusing reply to the effect that yes he was flattered, but Tom Cruise probably did more business.
Page13 had the full text of the interview. There were some good, sensible, sensitive questions and some , uh, weird ones. A few were as follows: ‘ Fifteen or sixteen years ago, when you came to Mumbai, did you think that one day, you would not be able to walk the streets of France, Germany or Poland just like today?’ SRK replied sensibly and quite wittily: Some years ago I used to shoot in Switzerland—only the cows recognized me, but now when I go to Germany and walk out of my house, I’m surrounded by 10-15 Germans.
Now here come the more amazing questions: ‘Does the loss of your crown, your throne of King Khan scare you at all? Being called a living legend—doesn’t that scare you?’
Well, besides all this there was talk about their latest film KANK. At one point SRK made this observation: ‘If you ask me, creatively, it is a great film made by perhaps one of the greatest directors of our country.’
Page1 also had more film–based items: a lead story on films still in main being a family business; the Bollywood power list according to a survey commissioned by ET, news about an international film on Buddha. Next, page2 had an interesting interview with photographer Sheena Sippy .[daughter of Sholay director Ramesh Sippy].Sheena has recently come out with a coffee-table book about the Hindi film world. The four photos that accompany the article make me want to have a dekko at the tome entitled Lights,Camera,Masala. Incidentally the book is priced at Rs 1995.
Regular Economic news on pages3,4,and 14.
Page5 had an Archie comic strip that also starred Karan Johar; funny.Also on this page was the full story about the ET commissioned survey.137 respondents from nine Indian cities,all in 20 to 40 age group were surveyed and thus was presented the latest Bollywood Power List:Amitabh Bachchan, SRK, Aishwarya Rai ,Rani Mukherjee,Lata Mangeshkar, Hritik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Karan Johar,AR Rehman,Yash Chopra—in that order. Fourteen more names followed,but there was no mention of supposedly popular names like Sonu Nigam, Saif Ali Khan, Asha Bhonsle and the like.
Page6 saw Karan in serious, soul- searching mode. Samples: ‘I’m a lonely man’.Page7 to 12 featured Bollywood money talk, Karan’s all-time fav movie list[good one featuring gems like Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulaam], sports films, Shammi Kapoor the earliest net surfer, synchronized sound and its increasing usage, film memorablia collection—all in all a pretty good collection of articles ,good change from the usual round of bulls, bears and business.
My final impression of this special collector’s issue was that it was a bit like a decent Hindi film—entertaining overall, irritating in parts.

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