Barfi cast comes to Dubai
Forget about boy-meets-girl and try this on for size: hearing- and speech-impaired boy meets girl, falls for girl, girl marries someone else, then realises she still loves boy, but by then boy has fallen for second girl - who happens to be autistic. Not your regular love triangle, is it? Barfi, Anurag Basu's latest directorial venture, stars Ranbir Kapoor as a happy-go-lucky petty thief, Murphy, and Priyanka Chopra as his childishly endearing paramour, Jhilmil. Both were in Dubai yesterday to promote the film a week ahead of its release, along with the producer Siddharth Roy Kapur of Disney UTV Studios. This is Kapoor and Chopra's second film together (after 2010's Anjaana Anjaani) and at the press conference, both of them seemed equally excited about the project. "This is an out-and-out feel-good film," said Kapoor. "You will walk out of the theatre with a big smile on your face," Chopra said. This is UTV's third film with Kapoor and its fifth with Chopra. Deftly dodging questions about the film's box office stakes, Kapur urged audiences to "look beyond the numbers" and instead at the soul of the film.
* Ujala Ali Khan
Shirish Kunder hints at Akshay Kumar fallout
The actor Akshay Kumar has been missing from all the promotions of his forthcoming film Joker, after he reportedly had a falling out with Shirish Kunder, the movie's director. Kunder hinted at the issue on Monday, posting on Twitter: "A true leader takes responsibility for his team and leads them through thick and thin. Never abandons them and runs away." Hours later, he deleted the tweet. Several Bollywood news websites have alleged that Kumar was apparently not satisfied with how the film turned out. The fantasy adventure Joker, slated to be released in India tomorrow, reunites Kumar with his Rowdy Rathore co-star Sonakshi Sinha.
Shahid Kapoor backs out of new film
The actor Shahid Kapoor has pulled out of a new Yash Raj Films project. According to the film's director, Maneesh Sharma, Kapoor's schedule is in conflict with the movie's shooting dates. The film was originally scheduled to begin shooting next month, but has now been postponed until the production finds a new leading actor. "It's sad that Shahid has had to opt out, but it's understandable, given his packed schedule," said Sharma. Kapoor is reportedly filming three new back-to-back projects: Rajkumar Santoshi's Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Prabhu Deva's Namak and an untitled film directed by Bejoy Nambiar.
Indian-American director wins two US awards
The horror thriller 9 Eleven, written and directed by the Indian-American filmmaker Manan Singh Katohora, has won the Best Feature and Best Director awards at this week's World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, DC. Katohora previously won the Rising Star Award for the film at this year's Canada International Film Festival. The film, starring Shalabh Agrawal and Aisha Rasul, chronicles a day in the life of 11 people tormented by an unknown entity. Shot entirely in Washington, DC, the movie features the music of the Bollywood composer Jatin Pandit.