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Jackie Shroff Exclusive Interview By Jyothi Venkatesh

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Jackie Shroff Interview

The down to earth and humble actor who was appointed the Brand Ambassador for the 14th MIFF 2016 goes down the memory lane and asserts that he is just beginning his career and it would be wrong to say that he is an achiever– though he has completed 34 years in films as an actor. Born to a Gujarati father and Turkish mother, Jackie Shroff has appeared in 207 films in nine languages in a career spanning nearly 34 years.

Q) Is it true that you were the local toughie during his early years?

A) Though I was popular as Jackie dada among my folks in Teen Batti, it was my elder brother who was the real (dada) of the Chawl. My brother was the real Jaggu Dada of our Chawl. He used to take care of our slum people, look after them when in need. But at a very young age, unfortunately, my brother jumped into the sea to save someone. My brother did not know swimming and started drowning. I threw a cable line at him, but though he held onto it and remained floating for a few seconds the cable slipped out of his hands. I was young and scared and stood there watching him drown. After him, I decided I had to look after my slum people just like he did and turned into Jaggu dada.

Q) You had to struggle a hell of a lot. Isn’t it?

A) My struggling years makes for a great story. Since I always had an inclination for style and cooking, I applied to Taj Hotel in Mumbai to be a chef apprentice but was rejected as for falling short of the minimum qualifications. Later I also tried my luck at Air India for the post of (a) flight attendant but was once again rejected for similar reasons. One fine day while (I) was waiting at a bus stop, a man walked up to me and asked me ‘modeling Karega?’ I was broke then as I was not earning at that time quickly asked, ‘paisa kya’. My journey towards stardom began at that particular moment.

Q) Let us go on a flashback mode. How did you bag the minuscule role in “Swami Dada?”

A) I played the henchman of Shakti Kapoor in Dev Anand’s “Swami Dada.” Dev Anand was impressed by my looks when he spotted me in a Charminar ad, and when I later went to him for a role, he offered me, “Swami Dada.” Though I never thought I would be able to act, I grabbed the role. Later, Subhash Ghai gave me my first break as a lead in “Hero.” Though I was written off by the critics as a wooden actor, the film went on to run for 75 weeks and became a blockbuster. In fact, it was Ghai who gave me my screen name Jackie and the rest is history.

Q) Bo Derek played one of the key roles in your wife Ayesha’s home production “Boom.” How did you get Bo to say yes for your film?

A) I had met Bo Derek at an awards function held in South Africa. I had spoken to her about my desire to cast her in my wife Ayesha’s film “Boom.” Bo was sweet enough to tell me that if the script convinced her, she would readily do my film. And she did. It was fun working with Bo whose fan I have been since my childhood.

Q)What do you feel when you look back at your career?

A) Sitting back now I realize that from “Hero,” my debut to my last- “Brothers,” spanning almost thirty-three years consisting of various types of experiences good, bad and ugly, it has indeed been a very long journey.

Q) In what way is your lifestyle different today?

A) Earlier I used to associate thoughtful scripts with hits. However very soon in my career, I realized that my thinking was very wrong. When films like Mahesh Bhatt’s “Kaash” flopped while inane and mediocre action films became big hits. I decided to try to maintain a balance of both the genres of films- the inane dishum dishum types would keep their distributors happy and the moolah flowing, while the thoughtful ones would take care of critical acclaim and artistic satisfaction. I decided to take a decision consciously to cut down on my films because I want to chill out, spend quality time with my family, with myself. Mine has indeed been a very long innings.

Q) You were one of the first few stars who agreed to anchor a TV show called Missing.

A) I am very happy that thanks to the show on Sony TV with which I was associated as an anchor, as many as five kids were reunited with their parents, though after 52 episodes were telecast, the channel, in which I also had a stake at that point in time decided to close it down because it was not able to generate good TRP’s.

Q) What has your stint with the film industry taught you as an actor?

A) I should confess that over the years as my friendship with filmmakers increased, I did many films on grounds of friendship. While some worked, many flopped. However, I have absolutely no regrets. I feel that I am one of the few actors who can boast of such a wide variety of roles. I was even accepted in a negative role in “100 Days” when my career as a leading man was at its peak. What more could I have asked for? I feel that it is very important for an actor to realize his own potential and do only those films, which suit his personality to the T, than get stuck in a rut. Touchwood. I think in that sense I have been extremely lucky.

Q) Tell me about your film “Life’s Good?”

A) I am quite kicked at the prospects of acting in a commercially viable offbeat film which I am proud to be a part of. I am thankful to Ananth Mahadevan for having had the guts to cast me in the film produced by the first time producer Anand Shukla under his banner Ektanand Pictures. The story of “Life’s Good” revolves around a 40 year old guy called Rameshwar played by me, who, after the death of his mother, is plunged into loneliness and depression and is on the verge of killing himself when his life takes a surprising turn and a six year-old girl called Mishti breaks his window pane and enters his life, all of a sudden. The long-standing friendship between them as Mishti becomes an integral part of his life is what the crux of the film is all about. The film has been penned by the acclaimed Sujit Sen who is also known for writing films like “Saaransh,” “Arth,” “Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke” and “Angaar.”

Q) What was your reaction when Ananth Mahadevan narrated the script to you?

A) When Ananth Mahadevan narrated the script to me, I was touched instantly and there was a lump in my throat as I was hearing the narration from him, since it took me to my past, to my brother my mother who are no more today. Though in general, I prefer to just hear a one line from directors when they approach me to be part of their films, since I used to go to sleep when my mother used to narrate to my stories, I told Ananth to narrate to me the entire story in one go. On the sets, I realized that I had become quite stiff as an actor and had developed a pattern of working in stereotyped roles for several years and hence let Ananth mould me the way the character demanded and you have to see the amazing result on the screen

Q) How was the experience of acting in the film?

A) I loved the character of the emotionally disturbed Rameshwar that I play in the film when he comes across the kid in his life because not many filmmakers have cast me in emotional roles. I have done emotional roles in films like Mahesh Bhatt’s “Kaash,” “Priyadarhsan’s Gardish” etc. When I was working as a villain in “Mission Kashmir,” I feel that as an actor, I had completed a complete circle since I had begun my career in films as a villain with Devsaab’s “Swami Dada,” but now I realized that with the film “Life’s Good,” I have really completed a circle as far as my career is concerned, as an actor.

Q) Though you had discovered Katrina Kaif with your film “Boom,” you have not asked her any favor till date. Why?

A) Just because I had given a break to an actor, I do not like to pressurize him or her to act in a film produced by me. Why should I pressurize Katrina Kaif and ask her to work with me or in a film produced by me just because I had discovered her with my film “Boom” when she was a raw newcomer. If she is a big star today, it is entirely thanks to her hard work and talent and would not like to bask in on her glory.

Q) You are one actor who respects all the elders even today!

A) People like Manoj Kumar, Asha Parekhji etc are my seniors and very close to my heart. Whenever I am in front of them, I have never smoked or had a drink in my hand. I remember a few years ago, I walked out a prominent award function, when I was asked to be part of badtamezi when my seniors like Shammiji were asked to sit behind youngsters. I always make it a point to tell youngsters who become stars overnight these days that just because their films are hits, they should not develop feathers and start flying on air.

Q) Not many are aware of the fact that you have to your credit films in not only Hindi but also Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.

A) Yes. It is true that I have acted in “Zamana” in Malayalam, “Aranyakaandam” in Tamil and a film in Kannada with Rajkumar’s star son Shivraj Kumar too, besides “Rudayanth” in Marathi, which also marked the debut of Aditya Panscholi as a villain in Marathi films.

Q) What next?

A) Egged by the kind of short films and documentaries that I managed to see at the recent MIFF of which h I have become the brand ambassador, I have decided to produce a documentary film on bees and honey and the role the bees play as pollinators and hence am in talks with the renowned wildlife filmmaker Mike Pandey, who has promised to help me helm the film.


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Kareena Kapoor Khan To Unveil T20 World Cup Trophies

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According to the latest reports, actress Kareena Kapoor Khan will, in Melbourne, unveil the trophies for the 2020 T20 World Cup for both men and women.  The 7th ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place from October 18th to November 15th, 2020.  Hosted by Australia, the tournament will see 16 countries participating in 45 matches to win the T20 World Cup.

Kareena Kapoor Khan, whose late father in law was the legendary Indian cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, is excited about the opportunity.  Speaking about the ceremony, Kareena Kapoor Khan said, “I am honoured to be a part of this prestigious evening. I would like to encourage all these women out there who are playing for their respective countries to pursue their dreams. It’s truly empowering to see them stand tall on an international platform.”

On the workfront, Kareena Kapoor Khan will next be seen in the comedy Good Newwz.  Directed by Raj Mehta, the film is produced by Karan Johar under his banner Dharma Productions.  The movie, which deals with two couples’ quest with in vitro fertilisation, stars Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani in lead roles.  Good Newwz is slated to hit theaters on December 27th, 2019.

Kareena Kapoor Khan will become the first Indian actress to unveil the T20 World Cup trophies.

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Akshay Kumar Donates To Flood Stricken Families In Bihar

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Actor Akshay Kumar extended a helping hand to 25 families affected by the floods in Bihar.  The actor announced to donate Rs. 1 crore, which will be used to rehabilitate 25 flood stricken families in Bihar.

Each of the 25 families affected by the floods would be awarded Rs. 4 lakh from the Rs. 1 crore fund.  The families would be given the cheques on the auspicious occasion of Chhath Puja.

Akshay Kumar said, “A natural calamity reminds us we are nothing in front of it. But there’s one more thing, which is what bit can we do. We should do whatever we can. I am very happy that I got the opportunity to do whatever little I could. It couldn’t get bigger than being able to help those people, who have lost everything, start all over again.”

On the workfront, Akshay Kumar’s latest release, Housefull 4, is doing well among the audience.  Directed by Farhad Samji, Housefull 4 is produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under his banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Fox Star Studios.  The movie stars Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde and Kriti Kharbanda in lead roles. 

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Housefull 4 – Day 1 Box Office Collection

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Housefull 4, Akshay Kumar’s latest release, was well received by the audience despite having tough competition with Saand Ki Aankh and Made In ChinaHousefull 4, which revolves around the theme of reincarnation, managed to bag Rs. 19.08 crores on its opening day itself.

The movie managed to stay at the top at the box office and is expected to perform well during the Diwali weekend.  Despite the film doing well among the audience, it was not well received by the critics. 

Box Office India stated, “The film did slow in the evening due to pre-Diwali but still is the second highest opening ever for a comedy film and the highest opening for the Housefull franchise despite pre-Diwali.”

Housefull 4, which is the fourth installment in the Housefull series, is directed by Farhad Samji.  Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under his banner Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Housefull 4 is said to be the most expensive Indian comedy film.  The film saw franchise regulars Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh make a comeback.  Along with Akshay and Ritesh, the film also stars Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde and Kriti Kharbanda in lead roles.

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Bollywood Stars Celebrate 150 Years Of Mahatma Gandhi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined hands with Bollywood stars to release a video celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.  The video follows the theme of “Change Within.”

The video is directed by renowned director Rajkumar Hirani and brings together 8 Bollywood celebrities to share the important teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.  In the video, every actor recites a quote by Mahatma Gandhi about peace, truth and non violence, among others. The video features Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt, Salman Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Shah Rukh Khan, Vicky Kaushal and Ranbir Kapoor.

Rajkumar Hirani took to Twitter to write about the video and said, “Deeply honoured to have played a small part in showcasing Mahatma Gandhiji’s greatness. Celebrating and saluting 150 years of the Mahatma #ChangeWithin.

 

Prime Minister also shared his thoughts on Twitter and said, “Spreading the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi through cinema, ensuring more youngsters are well-acquainted with the ideals of Gandhi Ji… We exchanged thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Our film and entertainment industry is diverse and vibrant. Its impact internationally is also immense. Our films, music and dance have become very good ways of connecting people as well as societies.

Prior to the release of the video, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited many Bollywood celebrities to his residence.  The meeting focussed on how TV shows and films have helped popularise Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhism.

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Deepika Padukone Becomes Ambassador For Bharat Ki Laxmi Initiative

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Actress Deepika Padukone, along with Indian badminton player P.V. Sindhu, became the face of the Bharat Ki Laxmi initiative.  

The actress shared a video on her social media platform with the caption reading, “Societies grow when women are empowered and their accomplishments are given a place of pride! I support PM @narendramodi ji #BharatKiLaxmi movement. It celebrates extraordinary achievements of extraordinary women of India. This Diwali, let’s celebrate womanhood.”  The video features Deepika alongside P.V. Sindhu, where the duo discuss more about the initiative.

Deepika has been working hard on tackling mental illnesses through her organisation, The Live Love Laugh Foundation.  Recently, she also launched the Closet initiative, where the actress auctions clothes from her personal collection. The entire proceeds from the auction go to her foundation.

On the workfront, the actress will be next seen in Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak and Kabir Khan’s ’83.  While Chhapaak is based on the real life story of Laxmi Agarwal, an acid attack survivor, in ’83, Padukone plays the role of Kapil Dev’s wife, Romi Dev.  Chhapaak will be released on January 10th, 2020, while ’83 is scheduled to hit theaters on April 10th, 2020.

Bharat Ki Laxmi is a new initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which aims to honour Indian women who worked for the betterment of society and had extraordinary achievements.

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