Thursday, July 10, 2008

In conversation with Vinay Pathak

It’s kind of hard to take someone like Vinay Pathak seriously, especially when you’ve seen Bheja Fry and loved it. This talented actor however is so much more, as we discover in a chit-chat with the man, the mayhem, the one and only, Vinay Pathak…

He is dressed in black and sports a hat, and if I am to be blamed for wanting to burst into a fit of laughter, I am ready to face my judgement. Stereotyped as a funny man, this actor is funny alright, but there’s a brilliant actor lurking somewhere, in those lovely crease lines that appear on his face when he smiles, and this interview seeks to discover that very, Vinay Pathak.

ME: You are considered to be the king of subtle humour, how do you react to that tag?
I have no issues with it whatsoever, and if my fans think I’m worthy of such a tag, I am humble and privileged. I am however very conscientiously trying to not let myself get stereotyped, which is why I’ve tried every possible role offered as long as it’s interesting enough.

ME: Which character is the closest to what you are in real life?
None of them actually. Vinay Pathak the actor is whoever the role wants him to be. Vinay Pathak the person is still a mystery to most (smiles).

ME: So you’re not a funny guy in real life?
VP: Am I? (stares and laughs) I don’t know (smiles).

ME: What is that one role you wished you had played?
I always wanted to play Saif’s role in Omkara. I love that character, but Saif got to it before me. Such characters are immortalized. It’s like Manmohan Desai and Shakespeare are the same person – Creating characters that entertain and can never be forgotten. These characters are so deep, so full of life, it’s amazing. I hope someone doesn’t get to play my favourite character from The Tempest before I do, but that’s surely another character I’d love to play.

ME: You are everywhere, how come?
VP: Bheja Fry made me sell-able. I am now a sure profit and directors and producers don’t mind making a film with me in the main role, as they’re convinced I’ll make the money they want, and I am happy I can do that.

ME: Do you agree that you are a multiplex actor?
As much as I hate that tag, that is the future! Yes, my films will take forever to reach a stage where I’ll have loyal audiences at all levels, but that isn’t frightening anymore, with multiplexes seeming to be the future of cinema viewing in the country.

ME: When did your career begin and how?
VP: My first film was Fire with Deepa Mehta, where I played a small role and then I did a few roles in films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Jism. I started turning down such roles only for the fear of being stereotyped in roles I didn’t really care for.

ME: Any South Indian stints?
Yes, in 1995 I clearly remember I was offered a role in a movie with Charu Hassan, and was asked to arrive at Coimbatore for the music release. I couldn’t pay for the tickets and they refused to pay for it too. Later I realised that I lost the role. I wouldn’t mind a role down south in any language as long as it reads well.

ME: Any other releases we can look forward to this year?
VP: Lots! And guess what in 80 per cent of them I’m playing the leading role. You can look forward to Sourav Shrivastava’s Oh My God, Straight from iDreams directed by Parvati Balagopalan, SRK a remake of a Malayalam movie by Ajay Verma, Mumbai Chakachak from Suniel Shetty’s Popkorn films, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi from PNC with Rajat Kapoor and another film with Rajpal Yadav. That’s nine releases in all (smiles).

ME: Finally, what’s with the chemistry with Ranvir Shorey?
VP: We are 'just' good friends (laughs). We are completely diverse personalities, but when were thrown together in one scene the magic just happens. Like in that Channel V show House Arrest, where a bit of it was us as characters, but most of it was just spontaneous. We have chemistry and it’s brilliant it works (smiles).

I take leave of the madman and as much as I would love to keep talking to the actor who knows what he wants, he hurries away for a photo shoot. Don’t forget to catch him in his next release via Darjeeling, where he is more than a saving grace.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pink Hindi Mein :)

I've always wondered how Pink - that mad crack song by Aerosmith would sound in Hindi, so I took the liberty to crucify it with my translation into Hindi...
This is NOT serious :)
But Bahut Enjoyable Jee :)

Gulabi, Mera naya paagalpan hain...
Haan, Gulabi, ka koi sawaal hi nahin...
Gulabi, aapke premi ki hoton par...
Kyonki Gulabi hain woh pyaar jo tune dhoond liya...

Gulabi hey tumhare angoor par...
Aur Gulabi kyonki tum itni woh ho...
Gulabi hein woh rang ishq ka...
Aur phir fashion ke ssath jaatha hain...

Gulabi, pehle nazar mein heen pyaar...
Haan Gulabi jab light bund kiyaa tho...
Aur Gulabi, ek patang jaise udne lagan hoon...
Aur Gulabi, sab kuch achcha hone wala hain...
Aaj raath hum jo bhi kar lenge...

Gulabi, tu mera saaras ban sakthi hoen...
Kyonki Gulabi, ek naya bhasha hain...
Gulabi ek badaa sa umbrella jaisa...
Aur Gulabi, usko kabhi bathaana mat...

Gulabi, pehle nazar mein heen pyaar...
Haan Gulabi jab light bund kiyaa tho...
Aur Gulabi, ek patang jaise udne lagan hoon...
Aur Gulabi, sab kuch achcha hone wala hain...
Aaj raath hum jo bhi kar lenge...

Main, tumhara premi hona chahtha hoon...
Main, tumhe rubber me wrap karna chahtha hoon...
Jitne Gulabi jaise ki hamarey chaadar...
Kyonki Gulabi mera manpasand crayon hain...

Gulabi, pehle nazar mein heen pyaar...
Haan Gulabi jab light bund kiyaa tho...
Aur Gulabi, ek patang jaise udne lagan hoon...
Aur Gulabi, sab kuch achcha hone wala hain...
Aaj raath hum jo bhi kar lenge...

Just in case you want to cross check (do it! it's more fun!)
Here's the original :)

Pink it's my new obsession
Pink it's not even a question
Pink on the lips of your lover,
'cause Pink is the love you discover
Pink as the bing on your cherry Pink
'cause you are so very
Pink it's the color of passion
'Cause today it just goes with the fashion
Pink it was love at first sight,
yea Pink when I turn out the light,
and Pink gets me high as a kite
And I think everything is going to be all right
No matter what we do tonight
Pink you could be my flamingo
'Coz pink is the new kinda lingo
Pink like a deco umbrella
It's kink - but you don't ever tell her
Pink it was love at first sight
Pink when I turn out the light
Pink gets me high as a kite
And I think everything is going to be all right
No matter what we do tonight
I want to be your lover
I wanna wrap you in rubber
As pink as the sheets that we lay on
Pink is my favorite crayon,
yeah Pink it was love at first sight
Pink when I turn out the light
Pink it's like red but not quite
And I think everything is going to be all right
No matter what we do tonight

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

In conversation with Kunaal Kapoor…

Tall, FAIR and Handsome!

I bumped into Kunaal Kapoor recently at the launch of Bangalore latest Indian Terrain store, and I was quite surprised to discover so much more about this teen heart-throb!
In conversation with Kunaal Kapoor…
He’s famous for swooning audiences all across the country with his lean-hunk image all dressed to kill in designer sherwanis that have never ever looked better! He’s romanced a star far older to him on screen in style and been the muse of a painter in a saga that can never be retold.

He shook audiences with his performance in a path-breaking trend-setter of sorts, and played a copy writer with such panache, that advertising seems to suddenly have become the most glamorous profession on the platter.
Kunaal Kapoor, in all his gorgeous self was down in the city to woo his fans at the launch of the latest Indian terrain store. As the brand ambassador of the label, I got to see quite a bit of him and got to know lots more.
I decided to get more out of this star, and his extremely hidden life, and here’s what I discovered!

ME) In your first movie you were a muse, the sole focus in a movie where you occupied all the male attention in the plot, after such a role how did you manage a Rang De Basanti?
KK) I was just eager to be a part of the film as I found it extremely interesting and the fact that we all gelled really well as a group added to the advantage. I like playing roles that can be defined by one emotion. Be it intense or serious, or angry or patient. My character has to have that one character trait that should stand out, and I love doing roles which cater to such tastes.

ME) So you don’t really like being stereotyped? You however already have been as an intense actor with roles that boast of gravity:
KK) I know that’s the image that I have right now, but the role in Hat trick was aimed at putting an end to that image. There was nothing deep, or even extremely sane about my character in that movie, and even though it didn’t do all that well, I loved the experience!

ME) Characters that you’ve really loved doing other than your role in RDB?
My role in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag was fun, of course I don’t eat so messily, I promise (giggles), but since I’ve been production assistant before my stint with films, I did associate with the character.

ME) You seem to have a repertoire of jobs before you thought of films, which were the most memorable? And any plans of switching careers?
KK) (Laughs) I’ve been everything under the sun! I was once involved in exporting mangoes and also tried my hand at the stock market. I’ve just decided on settling in films, please don’t ask me if I plan to switch so soon, I really can’t afford to (laughs).

ME) You were an assistant director and the switched to an actor, how was the whole change like?
KK) Funnily enough I was more in front of the camera even during my stint as an assistant director, and often was used when there was the need of an extra or someone who could help people with the lines etc... So it wasn’t really hard. Actually it was all Rakyesh’s idea. And as I always say as an actor you get to be pampered, while as a director you have to pamper everyone else, so I obviously prefer the former.

ME) What’s your favourite Bollywood film?
KK) As clichéd as it sounds, Sholay. I’ve watched the movie over 40 times, and I still never get bored, the characterisation was so brilliant! Imagine a character like MacMohan who didn’t have much to say, yet was immortalised forever through the movie! That’s good cinema to me.

ME) Do you watch South Indian movies?
Of course I do! I am a huge fan of Rajinikanth. I watched Sivaji and consider it to be one of my favourite films.

ME) Plans to work with a South Indian movie or director?
KK) I was approached for Guru by Mani Ratnam and things however didn’t work out. I wouldn’t mind working in one of his movie for sure though. As a matter of fact I look forward to it. I’ve always been told how systematically the industry down south works, and I’m sure it will be quite an experience.

ME) Your favourite actors down south?
KK) Obviously the BIG man Rajnikanth and one of my personal favourites has been Revathy. I hope to act with her one day and will do anything to bag such a role.

ME) We’ve heard you are an ardent reader, what are you reading now?
KK) I am right now reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

ME) Your all-time favourite movies?
KK) The Indiana Jones series, though the latest one isn’t all that great and Chupke Chupke and yes! Braveheart (smiles).

ME) Projects we can look forward to?
I am right now working on none, but plan to sign a few very soon. Probably you’ll see me on the big screen in a year’s time…

I end the little chit-chat and as I walk away, I can’t help but noticed how the extreme curls-short hair look has done wonders to the already good-looking star. I can’t wait to see him on the big screen too, and hope he does a good job in his future projects, as he has quite a lot of self set parameters to live up to.

To be or not to be!

I like men.
It’s taken us over three decades to finally come into terms with this reality. The recent gay pride march in the city, held in commemoration of the Stonewall riots, was quite a success. That is in terms of it being a parade that broke all barriers and took the issue into the hands of the masses, literally. But is Bangalore ready to accept its gay folk? This question has no answer, not a concrete one at least for now.
We’re still a folk who’d rather ignore than accept. It’s easier to pass it off as something that one will grow out off or even worse, will get bored off eventually. We like to look at all forms of intimacy between the young of the same sex, as trivial games and will even tease a child for being so silly and foolishly intimate. But we will not accept that they could be gay. Even if we finally do accept them, we’d hope at the bottom of our hearts that it’s some disease that can be cured by medicine. If not medically, then religion will surely do the trick, we remind ourselves, and that finally lets our mind rest in peace.
“It’s not natural!” Every educated straight person likes to scream. But then what is?
Society at large, instructs one to hide these taboo emotions for the fear of being considered different and rebellious. Most of us are so dependent on society that we quietly obey in silence and convince ourselves that we’re doing the right thing.
We try as much as we can to hide and protect that uncle who plays with every little boy’s privates or that aunt who can’t seem to stop fingering every young girl. It’s all hushed up and nobody’s allowed to talk about it, like it never exists! Every night, at least a dozen young boys who return late home in this city face a harassment that nobody will ever believe occurs. Young boys are often followed and stalked by elder men in cars. Men who’ve been forced to conform, who have now finally gained independence, usually financially – leading to a sense of liberation. The only problem is the liberation is now filled with vengeance and the naivety of the pure unconditional love of childhood is now lost somewhere between lust, desire and need.
Why do we do such things to people we love? Why force them to conform and accept society’s norms? Marriages often break after a few years when the spouse realises the other partner is gay. Worse still, some decide to live with it and deprive themselves of what is rightfully theirs. It doesn’t have to be like this. A sense of acceptance and more general understanding of the differences from every human being to the other can solve all this. But it will all happen, only if we try and right now most of us don’t want to do even that!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bangalore's Pride!

Gay Parade’s are like ‘Mass’ Telugu films – they are filled with fun, frolic and freedom, they are as colourful as a prism working overtime, they are loud and proud and even if they might not culminate in all the loose ends being tied up they sure do promise to always end with that much anticipated bang!
Our Bangalore’s very own gay pride parade sure was the much loved Bang that the city has boasted so often about. What started off as a very political-looking rally soon went through a very interesting metamorphosis and was soon the loudest and most colourful rally the city has ever seen! Be it our aravaani sisters who mocked the article 377 through their tongue-in-cheek slogans that resounded through the streets or the hundred plus straight men and women who willingly joined the rally at different parts en route as they encountered it.
This was the face of minority Bangalore and the most-obvious and encouraging fact was the diasporic population that chose to participate. The rally cut across the class barrier that is otherwise the most obvious division in the city and brought together an otherwise extremely heterogeneous population under some impenetrable yet encouraging sense of homogeneity. We had every minority represented including the transgendered, the bisexual and even the bi-curious population. While slogans demanding the equality of all peoples filled the streets, smaller more subtle banners like ‘pyaar kiya to darna kya’, got the message quite satisfactorily across to anyone who cared to listen.And like that wasn’t good enough, the rally finally culminated at the Town Hall, in a dance frenzy that spelt the word F-R-E-E-D-O-M. While the spirit of dance engulfed almost everyone, and the drum got most hearts beating faster, there was a sudden sense of pride and hope that swept across the crowd. A pride of being who you are, and where we were. A pride of being different, yet so essentially similar. A pride of being gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, bi-curious and more than anything else – of being Bangalorean. We love the city, for accepting everyone for who they are, and even though freedom both legally and culturally is far away, the fact that we’ve made that first step and have been supported, is enough for now!