Read all the LIVE tweets from the event here hash tagged – #dialogues
I love the concept of HT Brunch Dialogues – they call it conversations with Indian cinema, and it is exactly that. They had their first session in Mumbai recently, with the theme of crime. There were two panel discussions on the subject – one from the filmmakers’ point of view, and the other from the performers’ point of view. Want to know what they talked about?
On the filmmakers front, there was Ekta Kapoor, who has really carved a niche for herself in the crime genre with films like Shootout at Lokhandwala and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai; Sanjay Gupta, who’s the director/writer of the upcoming Shootout at Wadala; and Tigmanshu Dhulia, director of the recently acclaimed Paan Singh Tomar.
Many films take “inspiration” from Mumbai’s underworld dons (such as Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai), with several characters representing different dons. You and I would think that portraying real life people, especially underworld dons, could become messy business – what if you rub someone the wrong way? But director Sanjay Gupta made a surprising revelation when he said that the underworld dons are generally not upset about being portrayed in films – to the contrary, they’re usually quite flattered! There’s something I didn’t expect, but I have to admit it makes sense.
Then we moved to the panel discussion with John Abraham, Kangna Ranaut and Manoj Bajpai, all starring in the upcoming Shootout at Wadala (which is a prequel to Shootout at Lokhandwala). They discussed their characters and what went into playing them. Host Vir Sanghvi made a point that Kangna has done gangster films before (Gangster, OUATIM) and asked her what separated this film. Her take was that it’s more realistic and gritty and actually focuses on crime, whereas Gangster was a love story and OUATIM was a periodic film.
Mostly what I got out of that discussion is that Manoj Bajpai is a hoot. He’s a fantastic actor without doubt, but I hadn’t really seen any of his interviews or such. He comes across as very straightforward and with a quirky sense of humor; Vir Sanghvi made a comment saying, “You always wanted to be an actor, not a star.” Manoj replied, “I like to live realistically. I don’t have the face of a star…” and then he cheekily added, “My father wasn’t very good looking, this is why this is my state right now.” Hehe.
John Abraham was adorable as well, he brushed off Vir’s compliments and said he doesn’t think he’s that good looking at all (the guy is either modest to a fault, faking it or really just that clueless). But he even blushed at some of Vir’s compliments, which made me go aww and made me realize he’s probably not faking the modesty. He said he doesn’t know how to react when young girls, around 10-12, come up to him and say, “John, you’re looking so hot!” Manoj Bajpai cut in with a hilarious, “It’s better than having old aunties come up to you and call you Manojji” and the crowd cracked up. :)
The night even featured musical performances by The Bartender; loved the vibe they brought and Anushka Manchanda is both smokin’ and incredibly talented, what a combination! I also got to meet the lovely Meiyang Chang (of Indian Idol fame, he even starred in Badmaash Company), who I had spoken to via Twitter about two years ago, but hadn’t spoken to since – crazily enough he remembered me, he either has super memory or my Twitter handle is really just that ridiculous and memorable. ;)
All in all, great night! Loved the discussion; I liked that we could move beyond gossip and talk about Bollywood on a more intellectual, academic level. There are supposed to be more HT Brunch Dialogues in the pipeline; I’m really looking forward to the next one and can’t wait to know what the theme for it is!