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June 20, 2000


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Josh, in real life!

Shah Rukh Khan From reel life to real life, that's how one would describe what happened in Calcutta's Menoka cinema last week. Like in Josh, the film which was running at the cinema, two rival gangs created a spectacle by getting into a fight. The police had to be eventually called in to end the fistcuffs.

It all started when about 50 fans of Shah Rukh's fans decided to put up a life-sized portrait of their idol at the cinema. But another group -- this one comprising of die-hard Hrithik fans -- objected. What followed was much like what happens in Josh between Shah Rukh's Eagles and Sharad Kapoor's Bichhoos. Finally, like in the film, the police had to intervene.

PEN heads towards IPO

The volatile nature of the share market has forced several Bollywood bigwigs to opt for a wait-and-watch policy and postpone their proposed IPOs. But, while the Information, Communication, Entertainment stocks continue to fluctuate, a Bollywood company, Popular Entertainment Network, is considering jumping onto IPO bandwagon sometime in August.

Jayantilal Gada, just 36 years of age, helms PEN. He is much respected in the film fraternity because of the honest and transparent way in which he goes about his business. He holds satellite and Doordarshan rights to a huge library of films.

Once, while acquiring the satellite rights for Subhash Ghai's films, he was late by four days in paying his last installment. Without any intimation or reminder on Ghai's part, Gada sent an additional cheque for Rs 8,136 towards the delay charges for four days. An impressed Ghai never encashed that cheque. Instead, he framed it as a souvenir of Gada's integrity.

Incidentally, PEN is a debt-free company. As Gada says matter-of-factly, "I don't want public money to pay off any debts -- I don't have any -- but rather to expand my business."

Shah Rukh gyms for Ashoka

Hrithik Roshan One of the most ridiculous statements one has heard in recent times is that Shah Rukh is pumping iron these days to match Hrithik's muscles. The Khan is spending hours in the gym, but that is because he is aiming at the right body tone for essaying the title role in his home production, Ashoka The Great. Shah Rukh will be required to bare his torso in the last few reels of the film, hence the muscle-toning.

Get the picture?

Photographs are a customary part of every wedding and are lovely memories of the happy occasion. But the Rajshris, as usual, were thoughtfully different. They have sent copies to each and everyone who attended Rajat Barjatya's wedding reception, showing the invitee wishing the newly weds. A wonderful gesture indeed!

Reliance eyes the world of entertainment

India's largest corporate body, Reliance, has decided to enter the entertainment business. Speaking on the occasion of its annual general meeting in Bombay on June 13, Reliance group chairman Dhirubhai Ambani told the shareholders of Reliance Industries Ltd, "Reliance plans to roll out a world class, all-optic, Internet protocol-based broadband network covering the top 115 cities in India. The group will invest Rs 15,000 crore in the ICE sector."

The company also plans to involve itself with television software production. With this goal in mind, it has acquired Plus Channel, the television software company, thereby becoming owners of all the software produced by the channel. Plus was earlier funded by industrialists Ajit Gulabchand and Dilip Piramal, among others.

Poornachandra Rao is back

He has made nearly 70 films in eight languages (Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi and Kannada). His films have starred top actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth, N T Rama Rao, A Nageswara Rao, Chiranjeevi, Mammootty and Vishnuvardhan. Among his popular films are Chaalbaaz, Andha Kanoon, Aakhri Raasta, etc.

After keeping his distance from the industry for the last two years, the one-time prolific producer A Poornachandra Rao is back where he belongs. He has now launched a Tamil film, titled Nanda, which is being written and directed by the young and talented Bala, whose debut film, Sethu, released to rave reviews.

Was Rao's sabbatical only meant to launch a spectacular second innings? To use his patent phrase: Can't able to say!

A suffix for a title

The practice of adding suffixes to film titles is gaining currency day by day. Some (or many?) instances: Kargil -- The Border, Tabaahi -- The Destroyer, Mrityu -- The Truth, Sandeh -- The Doubt, Taandav -- The Dance Of Revenge, Tapish -- The Burning Desire, Sazaa -- The Punishment, Sparsh -- The Touch, Jaal -- The Trap, Jadh -- The Root Cause and Devi -- The Bride In Red. It began when producer-director Raj Kanwar, unable to obtain the title Daag, christened his Sanjay Dutt-Mahima Chaudhary starrer as Daag -- The Fire.

This trend of circumventing titles (the regulation in the industry prevents a producer from titling his film with a name registered in another's favour) is spreading fast. There's producer D Rama Naidu's under-production film, Aaghaaz - The Beginning. In this case, though, the purpose of the suffix is not to circumvent but to explain the Urdu word, aaghaaz.

A look at the week

**Ratings based on box office collections and cost of the film**
Rating Film Production House Verdict Position Last Week No Of Weeks Since Release
1 Josh Venus Above average in Bombay, south (Extraordinary initial value/ Average in some circuits) 1 2
2 Joru Ka Ghulam Noorani Film Corporation Average/ Above average
in Maharashtra
New New
3 Kya Kehna Tips Films Overflow 2 5
4 Kaho Naa...
Pyaar Hai
Filmkraft Superhit 3 23
5 Dulhan Hum
Le Jayenge
Baba Films Average (Losing in
some circuits)
4 13
6 Hadh Kar
Di Aapne
R R Productions Loser (Average in
some circuits)
5 10
7 Chal Mere Bhai Neha Arts Loser 7 7
8 Hum To Mohabbat Karega KPS Films Disaster 6 4
9 Hera Pheri A G Films (P) Ltd Loser (Overflow in
Bombay, south)
8 12
10 Jung Satish Tandon Productions Loser (Average in
Delhi-UP, commission
earner in Punjab)
10 6

Komal Nahta edits the popular trade magazine, Film Information.

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