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Shah Rukh Khan was in Malaysia on Saturday. He was conferred a Datukship, the country’s equivalent of a knighthood.

The actor is among 78 people to get the award in conjunction with the governor’s 70th birthday, alongside the country’s navy chief, academics, artists and journalists.

Special bond

The Datuk was given to SRK as he has helped promote Malacca as a tourist destination through his films 1 2 Ka 4 and Don.

The actor who returned to Mumbai on Monday says, “I have a special bond with Malaysia and the people who live there. For years, I have been going there and always hoped to make films in the country and it’s various states because of the warmth of the people.

They do love me a lot there. I got the opportunity to shoot 1 2 Ka 4 in Malacca and Don there and am really honoured by their awarding me a Datukship.”

Global spokesperson

The actor who has also received awards from many other countries previously, adds, “I am just as the right place at the right time but I feel l like a global spokesperson for our media and films. Whether it is a French award, the GrÃvin museum, Madam Tussaud’s and now Malaysia, it speaks volumes for the work and honour our country is achieving internationally.

Awards like Datuk make me want to work harder and do my bit for making the profession of films even more popular around the world I think the Malacca governor for bestowing this honour upon me and promise to uphold the love shown to me by the Malacca people.”

But the award came with a controversy. Opposition leaders slammed the move and questioned the governor for choosing to honour the Indian actor, with the Datuk. Khan brushes off the debate over the title with, “The lesser said the controversy, the better. It’s becoming a way of life with me. I don’t react to it because I find they take away from positivity that I want to spread through my work.”

Courtesy of Mid Day

This has been issued in Public Interest

Red Chillies International Limited, today announces with great regret that they will be unable to facilitate the three city tour of the show “Temptation Reloaded 2008” with the proposed starring of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan and other superstars in Germany . This is due to the breach of contract by the promoter of the shows SensAsian Media Limited (SensAsian Media). SensAsian Media did not fulfil its obligations in due time which makes it impossible for the shows to happen in Germany. We regret the inconvenience that these unforseen circumstances have caused to our fans and the audience.

Statement from from Official Tour Website

The Shows were planned to be presented in Berlin (Velodrom) on October 17th , in Munich (Zenith Die Kulturhalle) on October 18 th and in Frankfurt (Festhalle) on October 19 th.

After the completion of his forthcoming venture Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Shah Rukh Khan plans to take a long break. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is Aditya Chopra third directorial venture and is slated for a December 12 release. The actor has already postponed the release of his Billoo Barber to next year now.

Shah Rukh is presently busy with the preparations for the curtain raiser of his world tour, The Temptations Tour which will be unveiled on 25th October in Dubai. Post that event Shahrukh plans to take a long break and go on a holiday with his family.” reveals a source.”

Shahrukh often takes his family on a holiday. Last year too the King Khan had done the same before Om Shanti Om.

“It is only after coming back from this break that he intends to reshoot portions of his home production, Billoo Barber. The actor is not happy with his special appearance in the film. Since Ranjnikant’s Kuselan which was in Tamil remake of the same version did not do well at the box office the actor wants to take no chances with his film.” the source adds.

Courtesy of Real Bollywood

The Power of Bollywood

Bollywood is a force for good in India, gently softening the values of a conservative nation.

The financial size of the Indian film industry is $2.5 billion, puny compared to America’s $40 billion. But Bollywood doubles in size every five years and its cultural influence is greater than its numbers.

Ticket sales in Bollywood represent only 0.7 percent of the world’s entertainment business. In 2011 this will become 1.3 percent, according to a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry and AT Kearney. The Indian animation industry did $285 million dollars in business last year. It’s growing at 35 percent. The gaming industry is growing at 70 percent and will be $300 million next year.

Four things are accelerating the size and power of Bollywood. The addition of hundreds of cinema screens across India every year, especially in malls and multiplexes (India has only 12 screens per million people compared with the USA’s 117); the improvement in the quality of cinema halls which has encouraged middle-class families to leave home; the rise in the price of tickets, which are rarely less than Rs100; and a growing global appetite for Bollywood that’s not just from South Asians.

The content of Bollywood’s movies has also changed. Through the 90s, Bollywood split into two. One part still addresses the old audience, which wants to cheer angry heroes who bash, slash and shoot their way about while avenging their raped sisters and slaughtered brothers.

Dharmendra and Mithun Chakraborty still make films that service this audience –rural North India – that cherishes honour. Even if everyone in the movie dies, it’s OK as long as the hero’s honour is intact. These are films cheaply made and not released in multiplexes. As Bollywood eases out of this category, it is being taken up by regional cinema, such as Bhojpuri.

The other, call it modern, stream of movies is what is now dominant in Bollywood, and it comes from the biggest production houses of Bombay, like Yash Raj Films of Yash Chopra and Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions.

This kind of film has a hero who is less violent, more thoughtful and unlikely to sacrifice his family for his honour. It might even have a hero who plays a homosexual (Dostana – out next month), illegal in India, or sympathise with a wife who has strayed (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, 2006). A debate in India is currently on between Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who wants to make homosexuality legal, and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who wants it to remain a crime. Patil might represent the majority view, but Bollywood sides with Ramadoss. If not now, very soon, Bollywood will prevail: it always does. Only one city could have produced Bollywood and that is Bombay: not Delhi, not Lahore, not Karachi.

Bombay does not speak Hindustani naturally – or even well. But three centuries of trading have gifted it a liberal, pragmatic culture that no other city in South Asia can have. This has opened up the space for Bollywood to be creative and challenge the consensus. The dominant communities of Bollywood are two: Punjabis and Urdu-speaking Muslims from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, inheritors of our Indo-Persian culture.

The Kapoor clan of Peshawar and Lyallpur, Prithviraj and three generations after him, is the first family of cinema, active for 80 years. Decade after decade, the family produces great actors in an unbroken chain: Prithviraj, Raj, Shammi, Shashi, Rishi, Randhir, Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir. No other family of actors anywhere in the world can match the Kapoors of Bollywood.

But Bollywood is not entirely about lineage. The biggest star in cinema is the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan.

Shah Rukh Khan came to Mumbai from Delhi in 1988 at the age of 22 with nothing in his pockets, like the Baazigar he was to play in 1994. Twenty years on, he has made himself the most powerful man in entertainment, genuine Bollywood nobility – the Gandhis dine at his mansion, Mannat, when in Bombay.

He gets mobbed across the world. His company produces movies, runs an animation studio and owns the cricket team that employs Shoaib Akhtar.

His taxed income last year was a billion rupees. He paid income tax of over Rs300 million for 2006-2007.

India’s best film critic, Mayank Shekhar, says Bollywood movies “are not about filmmaking.” People go to the cinema, he says, to watch their favourite movie star “act like himself.”

People go to a Shah Rukh Khan film to see Shah Rukh Khan, not the character he’s playing. The only exception in Bollywood, says Shekhar, is Aamir Khan, who builds a character personality for different roles. What makes a star is whether the audience likes and admires the qualities the star represents: Shah Rukh Khan is the biggest star in Bollywood because he can best represent Indians.

Pakistanis who are irritated by why the character of the hero in the Bollywood movie is Hindu and the heroine Muslim have it backwards – the audience would rather see Salman Khan play Salman Khan and not Sandeep Kapoor.

Fifty years ago, Muslim actors thought they had to change their names to be accepted. Yusuf Khan of Peshawar became Dilip Kumar and Mahjabeen Bano became Meena Kumari. Today, it could be said that a Muslim was more likely to succeed in Bollywood. But that is wrong.

The stars of cinema are popular through merit alone. Entertainment is the most meritocratic profession of all: every ticket is a vote of approval.

Three nations have a star system, and they are the only three nations that have a movie industry: Hollywood, Bollywood and Hong Kong. Seven stars dominate Bollywood, and their presence in a movie will guarantee it funding, publicity and distribution. The seven are:Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan.

In output, Bollywood is king. India made 1,041 movies in 2005, compared to the United States’ 699 and all of Europe (937).

Along with lots of rubbish, Bollywood has the ability to produce work of quality that is yet popular. An example is the poetry of Sampooran Singh Kalra of Jhelum, famous as Gulzar.

Lines woven casually into a fun song (called “Chhainya Chhainya!”) that many more have heard than have Iqbal’s Shikwa or Faiz’s Subh-e-Azaadi – and just as good. Partition was a disaster for Pakistan’s actors, singers, directors and writers (except for one) because only Bombay gave them the freedom and the money their talents deserved.

Everything is celebrated by Bollywood: Eid, Ganesh Chaturthi (Sholay’s writer Salim Khan and his actor sons – Salman, Sohail and Arbaaz – keep an idol at home), Navratri, Christmas.

When Muslim actors die in Bollywood, it is common to see their janaaza being shouldered equally or even entirely by Hindus with covered heads, reciting the Kalma in conviction.

Hindus have ceased to be Hindus and Muslims have ceased to be Muslims in Bollywood. Bollywood is better than India – but it is what India will become: Bollywood always prevails.

This is what it eventually comes to. When Om Shanti Om was released, some of the posters looked like they had been painted in the old style. But the producers were taking no chances with the likenesses of Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. The posters were generated by a computer programme. This meant that the stars looked like stars but the poster was made to look like they had been painted by hand.

When we went looking for the men who had painted cinema hoardings and posters, the watchman at one of the housing societies was slightly puzzled.

Balkrishna L Vaidya however still paints posters from his shop in Dadar. There isn’t much demand now but the 74-year-old remembers the glory days when there were nearly 30 studios working in Mumbai.

“Up to 1993, the hoardings on the roads were the most important way to advertise films,” he says. “Today, everything comes out of a machine somewhere.” But Vaidya has found an international niche for himself.

“Hans, a young man from Switzerland, saw one of my posters at Opera House and loved the work. He tracked me down and although he spoke no Hindi or Marathi, he insisted on coming to learn the art of painting with me. He studied for three days and at the end of it, I gave him a poster to take back with him.

“I did not expect anything more from him but then he wrote me a letter asking me if I would come to Switzerland and give a demonstration of my work there. I went, not because I wanted the stipend, but only because I wanted to travel and I felt this would be a great way to see the world. I must have done something right because they enjoyed my presentation and every two years, I get to go abroad to Italy, to Austria, to Germany, to London, to show them how we used to do our hoardings,” he says.

A reflective pause and then, “We don’t seem to care as much about our culture as they do. There’s not much demand for our work in India but abroad, it’s different. They hang my posters in offices, in museums. My work is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, in a museum in Germany. But as for the streets of Mumbai? We live now on our memories.”

Courtesy of Hindustani Times

Sources say the superstar’s wife Gauri Khan has already started doing up his Signature Villa at Jumeirah on the lines of their bungalow in Bandra

While Shah Rukh Khan is already the proud owner of a 58 million dirham Signature Villa on the Palm Islands at Jumeirah in Dubai, he has acquired yet another apartment in the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard, which incidentally he is also developing in Dubai.

While SRK Boulevard is his first brick and mortar venture, the supertar’s wife Gauri has apparently already started doing up his Signature Villa. “She has come here before too and was trying to see how she could do it up. SRK wants the look and feel of the house to be exactly like Mannat, his home in Mumbai. Hence, who better than Gauri to supervise how the Villa should be designed,” says a source.

Sources in Dubai also say that SRK has been instrumental in designing the look of all the apartments at SRK Boulevard along with architect Tony Ashai. The development offers 12 residential towers configured into studios, one and two bedroom apartments and townhouses. The star is also in talks with the builders to give him a place to build the distribution office of Red Chillies—his entertainment company—in the Middle East

Courtesy of DNA India

Bollywood has always been dominated by either Muslims or Punjabis, the so called minorities in India. It is the Khans, Kapoors, Chopras or Roshans who rule the Hindi film industry. There is hardly any Hindi movie which does not have a glint of Punjab either as a producer, director, dialogue-writer or a hero. If nothing else, the family drama unfolds in a setting in Punjab like the story of Lala Kedar Nath and his three missing sons in Waqt in 1960s where the lost and found drama begins in Quetta (now in Pakistan). This movie gave just a whiff of Punjabi culture played brilliantly by Balraj Sahni (again a Punjabi) and the rest of the crew.

The culture of Punjab has always been known for its warmth and colour. No movie buff has escaped its richness, splash of colour and fun potion. However in the last many decades, there were only a handful of films that carried a flavour of Punjabi life and culture. Apart from a few bhangra dances or a story set in a Punjab village, there was nothing much which reflected the Punjabi way of life. There has been an upsurge of Punjabi family drama with the release of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayeinge in the mid 1990s, starring Shah Rukh Khan as Raj in his inimitable style and Kojol as soni kudi Simran. This blockbuster changed the trend in Hindi cinema. With producers keeping an eye on NRI audience, there has been no looking back for Punjabi culture. Be it the fields of mustard, swinging to the beat of ghar aa ja pardesi tera des pukare re or chappa chappa charkha challe, the Punjabi influence was omnipresent. Gadar was one step ahead. It not only brought back memories of partition times, but also portrayed Sunny Doel as a turbaned Sikh.

Since then, there has been no dearth of movies with a dash of Punjabi touch. Veer Zaara not only depicted Punjab, but pre-independence Punjab too. Punjaban Preity Zinta looked pretty in short kurtis with Patiala salwar.

In her trademark style, Gurinder Chadda’s Bride and Prejudice took Amritsar overseas. She picked the left over threads and almost made this trend irreversible.

Courtesy of Deccan Herald

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