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Reports about Devdas!

Discussion in 'Devdas' started by Meghna04, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Here are some reports about the movie Devdas:

    Devdas in New York!
    Shah Rukh, Aishwarya woo desis in NY!

    Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai address a press conference at The Mark Hotel, New York. Posters of their latest film Devdas fill the background.

    The duo recently attended the Cannes Film Festival, where Devdas won rave reviews. Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Jackie Shroff, also starring in the film, were conspicuous by their absence in Cannes as well as in New York.

    Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali did not attend the New York press conference.

    Aishwarya puts on her dazzling smile and charm as she bowls over New Yorkers.

    At the press conference, she stated, "It was when Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) narrated the script to me almost two years ago that I really heard the story for the first time.

    I then made a conscious effort not to see the earlier films - I wanted to go in to this project with no mental frame of reference whatsoever.

    I wanted my Paro to be Sanjay's interpretation of the character and to do that, I needed to stay free of any conceptions based on what previous actresses had done with the role."

    The chain-smoking, wisecracking giant of the Bollywood box-office Shah Rukh Khan seemed to dominate the press conference.

    Famous words from the conference: "I normally never drink, but for this film, I drank. I'll tell you, life can be very hard. Imagine, it is two in the morning and I have to drink Bacardi and have Madhuri (Dixit, who plays Chandramukhi in the film) fawn all over me on one side while Ash is dancing for me on the other - I tell you, life sucks!"

    Devdas is the Shah Rukh's and Ash's third film together - the first was Mansoor Khan's Josh (in which they were siblings) and the second was Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein (in which Ash was Shah Rukh's dead love).

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas is the third film based on the same subject. The first one was directed by P C Barua and starring K L Saigal (1935). The second was directed by Bimal Roy and starring Dilip Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Vyjayanthimala (1955).
  2. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    On the set's of Devdas!

    It's a bewitching beehive.

    Post shooting a major part of his film at Film City, Bombay, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has now moved to Filmistan Studios for the last lap of his dream project Devdas.

    Floor 3 of Filmistan. I am greeted by a gaunt Sanjay. He has lost so much weight: "Yeah, look at what Devdas has done to me."

    Sanjay is shooting the climactic dance number, featuring Paro (Aishwarya Rai) and Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit). Both look gloriously Bengali, in heavily embroidered silk zari saris and traditional jewellery. The chorus dancers, too, with their saris wrapped in the traditional Bengali style, are dressed to kill.

    Madhuri, Aishwarya and cinematographer Binod Pradhan (working for the first time with Sanjay) get into position. And much to Sanjay's annoyance, the dancers chatter incessantly in the background. It takes a while for them to get quiet.

    I'm dazzled by the sheer multi-dimensionality of Sanjay's sets. The colours scream with subdued flamboyance. Red, silver and gold dominate the dance floor. Art director Nitin Desai looks pleased. "Sanjay is a director who knows exactly what he wants," the affable Nitin looks on at the world of romantic lyricism he has constructed.

    An entourage from London has come to observe Sanjay at work. Though the shooting commenced around 1300 hrs, they were invited at 1100 hrs. The Brits look on with genuine interest as Madhuri, eyes brimming with tears, moves towards the camera to give a perfect take.

    "Their saris are really lovely," a Londoner leans over. "Tell me, which one of the two ladies is hotter with the audience?" I tell him.

    The question reminds me of the inevitable comparisons between the two that are bound to crop up once Devdas releases in April.

    Right now, both seem comfortable in their individual space. While Madhuri retires to a chair after every shot, Aishwarya is more effusive. She hugs Sanjay, laughs and whispers in his ear.

    I make small talk with Aishwarya and head towards Madhuri, who smiles politely. "Sanjay doesn't like his heroines disturbed between shots," she hints broadly as I sit next to her.

    I look at Sanjay, daring him to shoo me off. He grins and rolls his eyes.

    The cameras roll. Aishwarya and Madhuri are transformed into two exquisitely lovelorn ladies, pining for Devdas who, incidentally, isn't on the sets that day.

    A few days later, on Floor 4 of Filmistan, Shah Rukh Khan is looking dapper in a dhoti. Jackie Shroff, who plays Devdas' friend and confidante, Chunnilal, is even more comfy in the national garb.

    Madhuri, Jackie and Shah Rukh share a perfect emotional shot. I get up from my chair to offer her a seat. Madhuri beams and plonks herself on the other seat. "It's okay. The chair doesn't have anyone's name written on it!" she laughs.

    On the set, Shah Rukh and his director remain locked in a serious discussion about the next shot. Jackie comes down, smiling to meet one of his favourite directors, Ketan Mehta. They chat amiably.

    I tell Jackie he makes a cool Chunnilal. "Let's hope the audience feels the same way," he winks, and goes back to gabbing with the softspoken Ketan.

    The set is alive with sounds and smells today. Perfumes and unpolished wood mingle with samosas and dahi vadas as snacks make their round.

    The director's utterly charming mother is on the set today. She is undoubtedly the star of the evening as the entire unit fusses around her. But she is worried: "Look how much this film has taken from Sanjay. He hasn't eaten since this morning."

    Finally, after the next shot is duly discussed and decided, Sanjay turns his attention to the lunch which his mother has prepared. With her watching over him, Sanjay digs into his home-prepared dal chawal. He invites me to have a few morsels. "This could be my last meal for a long time," he grins.

    A familiar-looking boy walks up to her. She greets him warmly. He is the boy who played Nana Patekar and Seema Biswas' son (and Manisha Koirala's little brother) in Sanjay's first film Khamoshi: The Musical.

    The faces I saw on the sets of Devdas are memorable, alive, eager -- the mood is mesmeric. The elegance, poise and romance of an era gone by are about to come alive on screen.

    Sanjay, for one, can hardly wait.

  3. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Jackie Shroff on Devdas!

    Though Jackie's first 2002 release, the Amisha Patel-Aftab Shivdasani starrer Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai sank without a trace at the box-office, the year holds a lot in store for him.

    For starters, there is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, touted as Hindi cinema's most expensive and the year's biggest film. "See, you won't see me in the film's posters or the promos. But I make a special appearance in the film as Chunnilal, Devdas' friend. It is not a lead part but you could definitely say that Devdas wouldn't move forward if it wasn't for me. As for Sanjay as a director, no one, in my opinion can surpass Sanjay's finesse, his sensitivity and his graceful style."

    "I've worked with Madhuri [Dixit], Aishwarya [Rai] and Shah Rukh [Khan] a zillion times before. I wasn't starstruck or in awe of them. And I'm not going start comparing who is better. Let alone the performances, why must we even compare the different versions of the film? But the poor chap [Sanjay] has to live up to [K L] Saigal saheb and Dilip saheb. Though I haven't seen the [earlier] versions of the film, this is Sanjay's interpretation of the text. Drawing comparisions would be unfair. After all, the earlier versions were part of another era of cinema altogether."

  4. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Madhuri about Devdas...

    'Devdas will bring back the old magic'

    For critics who had written off Madhuri Dixit as another Bollywood actress blissfully trading silver screen glamour for life as an NRI wife, the Dhak dhak girl seems to have taken on the task of proving herself as a serious actress quite seriously.

    Playing Chandramukhi in the millennium remake of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's popular Devdas is just the kind of role she thinks has the elements to put her post-prime career back on the rails.

    "Working with [director] Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who had the guts to make a film on this celebrated and oft-filmed theme, was a good experience. [There have been two versions of the film: one directed by P C Barua and starring K L Saigal (1935), and the other, starring Dilip Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Vyjayanthimala, and directed by Bimal Roy (1955). The 2002 version, which releases in June stars Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai].

    Dixit continued, "It should work magic and bring back the craze of my Ek, do, teen [from the film Tezaab] days," the glamorous screen beauty said, at the launch of a line of cosmetics named after her in Kolkata.

    Devdas, which follows her experimental roles in Gaja Gamini by painter M F Husain and Rajkumar Santoshi's Lajja, has been the first exposure of its kind for Madhuri Dixit-Nene.

    "I play a courtesan for the first time in my film career. It is no doubt a very challenging role, especially since Sanjay [Leela Bhansali] does not compromise with quality. The self-effacing nature of the character really appealed to me," Dixit, who was accompanied by her parents, said.

    Dabbling with roles beyond the mainstream was one of her dreams ever since she rocketed to the top with N Chandra's Tezaab, said Dixit who was clad in a navy blue business suit.
  5. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    The unchained melody of Devdas

    Sukanya Verma

    The tunes of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas are like a good bouquet. They mature with time. And though at first may not catch your fancy, they grow on you.

    Adapted from Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's classic novel of the same name, Devdas is cinematically recreated for the third time in Hindi. The earlier two versions directed by P C Barua (K L Saigal, Jamuna, Rajkumari), and Bimal Roy (Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala Bali, Suchitra Sen) hold a special place in the pages of history. Whether Bhansali's vision of this tragic saga (starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai) will share the honour remains to be seen.

    What is most striking about the music is that the songs are not mere excuses for the actors to break into dance, but actually aid narration. Ismail Darbar who composed the music for Bhansali's smash hit Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, bathes Devdas with resonant tunes, powerful vocals and dramatic orchestration. The music has a strong classical base with an air of tragedy.

    Like the subject itself, Devdas has a larger-than-life quality about it, evident in the surreal and haunting Silsila yeh chahat ka sung in the bewitching voice of newfind Shreya Ghosal.

    Maar dala, literally, goes for the kill with its enticing play of words. Kavita and K K beautifully echo Chandramukhi's sentiments as she experiences the first pangs of jealousy in this richly tuned ditty. Lyrics by Nusrat Badr spring life in Darbar's extensive compositions with its imaginative poetry.

    Udit Narayan and Shreya murmur sweet nothings as they playfully chide and make up in Bairi piya. Narayan successfully captures the eternal romanticism of Devdas whereas Shreya brings an element of impishness to Paro's character by blushing Eesh at every given opportunity.

    Mellifluous would be the right word to describe Udit Narayan's smoothly rendered Woh chand jaisi ladki.

    Moulded in the typical Baul geet format, Chalak chalak is a cry for love by the inebriated Devdas. Sung by Udit Narayan, Vinod Rathod and Shreya, Chalak promises to lure you with its ebullient bouts of zest and rhythm.

    Heartbreak reaches its zenith in Hamesha tumko chaha. Ismail Darbar creates a chilling effect in this gently paced song by using conch shells blowing in the background. Kavita Subramaniam and Udit Narayan do full justice to this difficult composition.

    Composed and written by Pandit Birju Maharaj, the compelling Kaahe chhed mo, begins with a prelude in the maestro's voice. Kavita Subramanium beautifully brings out the trauma of separation as she chants Kaahe ched mohe garba lagaaye, Nand ko laal aiso dheet, panghat mori laaj linhi [Why do you tease me, O mischievous Lord Krishna]. Madhuri Dixit does her bit as she playfully coos a few verses in the song.

    The theme of Devdas captures the seven essential elements of this ill-fated love story ---intensity, pain, sacrifice, ego, tragedy, empathy and anger. A new name in the music world, Monty creates impact by producing a tune that starts off in a tranquil background then escalates at a feverish pitch only to ease off.

    Despite Jaspinder Narula's rustiness and Shreya's coyness, More piya fails to score brownie points, thanks to its heavy instrumentation. A word of praise for lyricist Sameer for proving there is more to his pen than the clichéd dils and dhadkans.

    Dola re dola is packed with dholaks, mridangs, shehnais and daflis, and a loud chorus. Unlike the older Devdas, which showed Chandramukhi and Paro sharing screen space for only a brief moment, the new version will show Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai vying for attention as they dance in tandem to the beats of Dola.

    The music of Devdas may not strike the right chords (mass-wise) as it did in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's earlier films Khamoshi - The Musical and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Yet it's old world charm, classical connotations and complex melody makes it exquisite.

  6. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Producer Bharat Shah about Devdas:

    'If Devdas goes wrong, I will quit'

    What makes producer Bharat Shah supremely confident

    The man who has produced the most expensive film of the year is not worried about its box-office prospects.

    Bharat Shah is confident that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Rs 500 million film Devdas will recover its money in two weeks! In fact, he expects an 'overflow from various centres'.

    He adds, "If a good film like Devdas goes wrong, then I will lose confidence in filmmaking, and will quit the industry." He refutes charges that certain Mumbai theatres screening Devdas had current bookings open. "There are certain theatres with no advance booking, and therefore people might have bought tickets in current booking," he justifies.

    The Shah Rukh Khan-Madhuri Dixit-Aishwarya Rai starrer released July 12.

    Shah, who was in police custody for his links with the underworld, spoke to Bharati Dubey about his latest production, Devdas.

    You seem to be at loggerheads with Sanjay Leela Bhansali...

    Not at all. He is a creative man and therefore, a little whimsical.

    There were reports that some members of the cast chipped in, in the making of the film.

    It is my money and only my money. No one else has invested anything.

    Although the music rights of the film were sold to Universal for more than Rs 130 million, the music has not really caught on...

    Universal did not support the music, as they should have. They did not do anything, because of which we faced a lot of problems. They have always promoted our music well in the past. But not for Devdas.

    I am told the music is picking up now that the movie has released. I expected that.

    Were you involved with the film right from the beginning?

    I was always the producer of the film, but because of the controversy, my name was kept away.

    Did you ever think the budget would cross Rs 500 million?

    No. I did not think that the film's budget would be so high --- even Sanjay would not have dreamed of that budget. But I always give my directors a free hand. Once I get involved with a project, I do not compromise. Whatever money I have invested on the film shows. Everybody, from Sanjay to Shah Rukh Khan, has worked very hard.

    Was Shah Rukh your first choice to play Devdas?

    Of course. Shah Rukh was the first choice for Devdas. We did not think of anyone else because no other artiste would have suited the role. I do not think Sanjay spoke to anyone else for that role.

    Shah Rukh is not only my all-time favourite, but the number one star in India. He cannot be compared. He is the best.

    Why were only 495 prints of Devdas released?

    Sanjay took a while working on the shorter version of the film. So we could not come out with 600 prints. We plan to add 250 prints soon.

    After Shah Rukh's previous film, KS Adhiyaman's Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam released, you blamed the media and industry for pulling it down...

    The film was delayed for six years. Once a film gets delayed, people lose confidence in it. The industry rejects a film before it is even released, which is not right. Till today, its music is at number one. And we have an overflow from most of the territories.

    Only filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt stood by you during your trial.

    The film industry is with me even today. But not all have the guts to talk openly. Directly or indirectly, they do not want to get trapped. Everybody knows what is happening. Why would they take the risk?

    The diamond industry knows that Bharat Shah has not done anything wrong. Besides, I do not need any help. I have God on my side. I have come to know in the last one-and-half years kaun apna aur kaun paraya hai [who is on my side and who is not]. Ninety nine per cent are paraya; only one per cent is apna.

  7. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali about Devdas:

    'Devdas isn't jinxed'

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his Rs 500 million piece de resistance

    When Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to remake Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's romantic classic Devdas, little did he know what he was getting into.

    Though the experience of recreating the magic with Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit was fulfilling, there were constant rumours about the film's financial sources and the pressure of putting together what promised to the most exquisite tale of tragic love since Bimal Roy's 1955 Devdas.

    But Sanjay was undaunted, he tells Subhash K Jha:

    Is Devdas really jinxed?

    Anyone who thinks my set burnt down is welcome to verify my statement. It was a small fire in a shed where some drapes caught fire. My set was not damaged. Why is the film jinxed? If the fire was so devastating, how could we have started shooting 36 hours after the accident?

    All the talk about black magic, jinx and jealous elements has became too much. We were trying to make a good film. It was even written in a section of the press that we were not taking good care of the crew --- that I make unbelievable demands on my technicians.

    I have never seen a more charged and passionate group of actors. You cannot imagine the level of commitment Shah Rukh, Madhuri, Aishwarya and the rest of the cast have shown. Each time there was a problem, they were enthused to work harder. I could not have expected more from them. Yes, we did have problems on the sets. They only made us want to do better.

    Could your inaccessibility be a reason for the unfair speculation?

    I have not been deliberately inaccessible. There is no secrecy about the project. I did not talk about the film to the media because I did not have the time nor energy. If you talk about the film prematurely, it gets overhyped. If you do not, the press misinform the public.

    The media wrote that someone from the unit tried to sabotage the film by causing the recent fire. But these people stood by me like pillars of strength. Every member of the unit worked hard. Even the day after the fire, we shot with Madhuri and Jackie without missing a beat.

    Which film does not face problems? Look at the scale of my film. This is a very exciting time for mainstream Hindi cinema. After films like Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan, Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai and Madhur Bhandarkar's Chandni Bar, we should encourage directors to try new themes.

    Earlier, good cinema was synonymous with parallel cinema. Now you should applaud mainstream cinema that is trying to be different. Everyone says, let us make good films. But when someone tries to do so, do not call his effort jinxed.

    How many sets did you erect ?

    About ten sets --- all done by Nitin Desai.

    Tell us about your supporting cast...

    Jackie Shroff is Devdas' best friend Chunnilal. What a terrific Chunnilal he makes! He looks stunning in a dhoti. I can think of no other actor as Chunnilal. Kiron Kher plays Paro's mother, Smita Jayakar plays Devdas' mother. Vijay Crishna, Devdas' father, is a theatre personality. Vijayendra Ghatge plays Paro's husband and Dina Pathak is her mother-in-law. Then we have Abha Mukherjee as Devdas' grandmother. She is so adorable, she is an angel! All of us took turns holding her hand whenever we were tense.

    What about Shah Rukh?

    He has gone beyond my expectations by giving an outstanding performance. He cannot match up to Dilip Kumar's Devdas. He has not tried to. Shah Rukh plays him differently.

    I am extremely happy with everyone's performance, including [cinematographer] Binod Pradhan. I had watched him working when I was assisting Vidhu Vinod Chopra in 1942 - A Love Story.

    It must have been a trying experience.

    Yes. I do not know what PC Barua and Bimal Roy went through. I have heard they, too, had their own share of problems while making their Devdas. I was so tense, I put on weight. I ate all the time. The only thing I did to relax was listen to Lataji's songs.
  8. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    I know this is posted in the thread "Oldies but Goldies", but I think it should be placed here....

    Shah Rukh Khan about Devdas!

    Part one:

    Shah Rukh Khan on Devdas, the ultimate lover

    When a brand of anti-dandruff shampoo on Indian shelves got Shah Rukh Khan to endorse it, the company struck pay dirt --- the man wears black all the time.

    In person, he is diminutive. But there is something about him that transcends his lack of inches; some sort of metaphysical platform heels that give him heft and stature to the point where he is able to walk in and dominate a room where every single male --- and some of the females --- are taller than him.

    That phenomenon was on view at The Mark Hotel, East 77th Street, Madison Avenue recently, when Shah Rukh Khan arrived, with costar Aishwarya Rai, to promote his latest film, Devdas.

    For Khan, the cliché, All The World's a Stage, comes true --- he is a consummate and, more important, constant performer. The curtain is always up when he is around; the show is always on.

    And there is only one star --- the chain-smoking, wisecracking giant of the Bollywood box-office.

    Press conferences are in general boring affairs. A Khan conference, though, is the nearest thing to getting ringside seats for a stand-up comedy show. Someone asks him:
    "Today, when you are low, depressed, there are various societies that offer help, there is psychiatric counselling, there are so many ways of getting help. Do you think if Devdas were alive today, he would really have drunk himself to death?"

    The answer comes without pause for thought:

    "No, he would have come over to live in New York!"

    Someone else wants to know how come he smokes in public despite so many television cameras being trained on him.

    "Ah, that reminds me," he says, "let me do my bit for a social cause. If you are watching me, hear this --- don't smoke. Smoking is bad for you; smoking can kill you. Do something else --- chew gum, kiss a pretty girl, whatever. But don't smoke."

    For close to 20 minutes, Shah Rukh and Aishwarya Rai answered media questions. For a further ten minutes, he then sat down with Prem Panicker for an exclusive interview. A compilation of the two:

    Why would anyone want to make the twice-made Devdas all over again?

    Devdas is a very, very special film in the history of Indian cinema. The chance to interpret it as a person of today's generation would --- and I belong to today's generation --- be irresistible. Why make Psycho again? Why make The Sound Of Music again? Why commit harakiri?

    Devdas is a classic film, and our version, our interpretation, is a tribute to that Devdas. I hope you guys enjoy it, and I hope we make a lot of money.

    (Pause) You know, what we are really hoping is that today's kid will see the film, then go home and say, 'Yo, Dad, I saw Devdas; it was real cool!' Ever since we started this film, we have been asked whether this story is relevant today. Yes, that talk makes us nervous.

    But I repeat, it is a great story, one of the greatest ever. Great stories can do with retelling.

    The subject of Devdas is sad, melancholy. Today, the family entertainer is doing well. When making a subject like this, isn't there a big risk?

    I would disagree --- good films do well, not only family films. And I do have a selfish reason for doing this --- it is not often that you get a chance to be part of a classic. For me, Devdas is the greatest story ever told, the greatest film ever made.

    Apart from the original novel and the earlier films, what research did you do to help you interpret the role?

    I read the book, saw the movie several years ago. I kept it that way till 90 per cent of our film was completed --- I did not want to see the original again. I admire Dilipsaab [Dilip Kumar, who acted in Bimal Roy's 1955 Devdas], enormously. I did not want my own interpretation to be influenced by what he had done.

    One thing I did --- I normally never drink. But for this film, I drank. I tell you, life can be very hard. Imagine, it is two in the morning and I have to drink Bacardi and have Madhuri [Dixit, who plays Chandramukhi in the film], fawn all over me on one side, while Ash [Rai] is dancing for me on the other. I tell you, life sucks!

    If you were to define the story of Devdas, what would it be?

    I would say it is the story of three people who loved each other so very, very much that they hurt each other and themselves.

    This film is actually one man's dream. I think it is creditable that Sanjay [Leela Bhansali, director], after a Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, did not opt for something similar, did not decide to stay on safe ground.

    Someone asked me if I thought a 'historical' film like Devdas would do well. Devdas is not historical. Emotions are not history --- love is eternal, really. Even if you mean it in the sense of a period film, well, why not? [Aamir Khan's] Lagaan did very well both at home and here. It was even nominated for an Oscar.

    Pakeezah did very, very well; Umrao Jaan did very well. Good historicals have done well. Actually, only Asoka [his film costarring Kareena Kapoor] flopped badly. But then, that is probably because of me!

    Asoka had aroused tremendous expectations. You as producer had an enormous amount of money riding on it. In retrospect, do you think you would have made that film differently? Any regrets over the way it turned out?

    None. Honestly. The film I made was one I wanted to make. That it did not do well at the box-office is another story.

    You talked of having to really drink in this film. If you got into the character to that extent, how difficult was it, at the end of shooting, to put it behind you?

    You know, I have heard from Dilipsaab that he had to go through psychiatric treatment after he finished the original version, he told me it was so intense it took him over a year to recover. But then, you are talking of the previous generation of actors. They were a lot more conscientious than we are!

    But I remember the last day of shooting. I was up in the branches of this tree, loving Ash --- now how difficult is that! Anyway, I was up there, holding her hand, and the shot was canned. I kept holding her hand. I realized that I was going to miss being sad.

    For an entire year, that is what I did. I was sad.

    I don't remember the exact quote, but someone once said something to the effect that sadness brings out the best in art. After we wrapped this film, I have not worked for six months --- I have just enjoyed the feeling of being sad. It is a very beautiful emotion to be in. We stars live in this bubble where everyone is smiling at you, where everyone loves you. Somehow, you lose touch with real, deep down sadness. Working on this film put us in touch with that emotion.

    You come across as an actor who takes a lot of pains, preparing for whatever you do. Where and how did you study your craft?

    Well, in my early days, I studied at the National School of Drama in Delhi. I belonged to a semi-professional theatre group. We had a lot of workshops, and put up some semi-professional plays. I did two years in television, now ten years in film --- it has all been part of the learning process.

    More than that, I read books, I watch films. I like kids. Not the way Michael Jackson likes them perhaps --- oops , maybe I shouldn't have said that :tape2:--- but I like kids. You watch kids, you learn. They are so uninhibited, so natural.

    I have a son who is four, a daughter who is two. And I suspect that, mentally, I am somewhere between those two ages!

    What would a child know of the kind of deep-down, gut-wrenching sadness of a Devdas?

    Have you ever tried taking candy from a kid? Kids know sadness, believe me. In fact, Dilipsaab once said to me that Devdas is really a child trapped in a man's body.

    You were recently at Cannes for the film festival, where Devdas was screened out-of-competition. What was the experience like?

    Beautiful. I was like a kid in a candy store. Imagine, wherever you go, whoever you meet, they are all talking cinema! The people there are very gracious, very welcoming, very receptive of what you do.

    I have never in my life walked down a red carpet that size. I have never in my life had an audience of 2,000 after the screening of the film, give us a 20-minute, non-stop, standing ovation.

    Then I got to meet Martin Scorcese, which was cool. I also met Sharon Stone --- wooooh!

  9. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Part two:

    Have you ever thought of crossing over into Hollywood?

    Hey, that is not for us to do it. It is not like they are waiting, you know. The big Hollywood studios, with their gates wide open, going, 'Hey, where are those guys from India?'

    Actually, more than crossing into Hollywood as you call it, my dream is to make a Hindi film that will be welcomed in Hollywood. That will be released like a Spider-Man is released, or a Minority Report. There are some obvious constraints --- for instance, the mainstream audience here likes its films shorter.

    I would like to keep that in mind, but still stay within Bollywood's formula --- the songs and dances and romance and all the rest of it. Because that is our idiom, that is what we are comfortable with, and that is our USP.

    Acting in a film like this --- how has it changed the way you will chose your future roles?

    Devdas is a romantic character and I have been responsible for a lot of the romantic characters on Bollywood these last ten years. So there are times when I wake up and say hey, I don't want to be in love today.

    That feeling got reinforced. I mean, where love is concerned, this is it. Devdas is the ultimate lover. I don't think there is much more I can do in that line, not for a while.

    You know what I would really like to do now is something radically different --- I would like to do a Spider-Man: fly from building to building in tights. I would like to have some fun.

    We read that you are working on your autobiography. How is that coming along?

    You are not the only one. I too read someplace that I am working on my autobiography. I wanted to ask the guy who wrote that story how it is coming along!

    The thing is, people take a button and sew a shirt on it. I like writing and I write lots of notes. I have this laptop I carry around everywhere and that is the only thing I can do with it. Jokes aside, what I do is write down little things I see and hear and observe --- you know, it might be an incident, a joke, a quirk in someone's character, whatever.

    I write them all down and, some time or the other, they come through in the movies. I might think of something and get the screenplay writer to work it into the story or use that in my acting.

    I have been making notes on Devdas because I thought it might be interesting for us to do a collector's book kind of thing. An actor talking about what acting means to him, through the process of working on a film. It is all pretty vague yet, but one thing for sure it is not an autobiography.

    You have been directed by Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam and there was talk you would do a film with Shankar…

    Who told you that?


    Did he also tell you that I signed for him and took a signing amount? You know how much? One rupee. I took one rupee from him. And told him I would give him dates in bulk whenever he wanted them.

    We were supposed to do Nayak [which Shankar then made with Anil Kapoor in the lead] together. I saw the Tamil original [Mudhalvan] and loved it. But I was not comfortable about doing the Hindi version. I told Shankar that in Tamil, that whole chief minister for a day thing worked brilliantly, but I did not think it was such a big issue in North India. I didn't think the concept would work as it is.

    So on that project we had some issues --- nothing major, just that we didn't think alike on a few things, so it did not make sense to do it.

    But I still have that signing amount; he still has my promise of dates. He is one guy I most definitely want to work with. For me, he is like James Cameron --- you know, he makes out-and-out entertainers on a gigantic scale, and that kind of thing can be a huge high.

    You haven't signed a film in ages. You mentioned you haven't worked for six months. Your next film is your own home project and that is still a long way from getting off the ground. Is all this the signal of something?

    Actually, you know, June 26 marks exactly 11 years since I faced the cameras for my first shot for Dil Aashna Hai, in 1990. I knew it would be a tough field, a very demanding profession. So I promised my wife [Gauri] I will work like hell for ten years, then I will take a break, slow down, spend time at home, rethink what I want to do.

    Last year was the tenth anniversary of that day, but Devdas was on the floor then. I could not take the break I had promised myself and my wife. So I am taking it now.

    Any professional needs time to look back at what he has done, evaluate himself and his work, learn, move on, maybe even make the same mistakes again. But here, for ten, no 11, years, it has been like a film of mine releases on Friday, and on Monday I am on another set doing something else.

    Your back problem has nothing to do with this break, then?

    Oh no, not at all. That is another thing I keep reading about myself, a back problem that keeps me from working. I do have a back problem and it is kind of serious, I will not deny that.

    I have what they call a prolapsed disc --- I like getting into everything I do. So I end up doing a lot of my own stunts. I have damaged my knees, my ankle, all kinds of things.

    I had a guest appearance in Shakti, and I had to do a stunt. Later I felt a pain in the back. You know how it is, you think it is overwork and you ignore it. But it got bad, so I had it checked up and they told me a disc had slipped.

    Surgery is an option, but I don't want to go in just now. I did that with my knee, I had surgery. The doctor told me to rest for six weeks, but I went right back to work. I shot Mohabbatein on crutches. As a result, my knee still bothers me.

    This time, I thought, instead of going in for surgery like a quick-fix thing, I will rest, see what happens, check it out. If necessary go for surgery and make sure I also have sufficient recovery time.

    So you will now take a holiday before getting back to business as usual…

    No no. I am taking a holiday. In fact, just before coming here, I was on holiday with the kids and it was wonderful. The thing is, really, I have been telling myself for some time --- I want to do one film at a time.

    But if you are working flat out, that never happens. You will be doing a film and then someone comes to you and asks you to do something and you sign up, and then someone else comes along. It never ends.

    So the only way out is to stop doing films altogether for a bit. Now, I have stopped. So here on, I can focus on doing just that one film --- I have my home production next. And by the time I am done, I can think of what I want to do next.

    The thing is also that when you do this day in and day out, you become kind of practiced, facile. There are little shortcuts you learn and you begin to use them unconsciously, instead of acting. That is because you are doing it all the time. So you try to make it a little easier on yourself. You know how to do a shot. Often, you just breeze through it without effort, without putting anything of yourself into it.

    That is what I want to change. I want a break, so that when I face the cameras next, I will feel that tension again, that fear.

    I want to be raw again.

  10. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    The tragic love of Shah Rukh, Madhuri, Ash...

    Shades from 'Devdas' saga...

    Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Jackie Shroff, Kiron Kher, Vijayendra Ghatge and Smita Jayakar.
    Producer: Mega Bollywood Private Limited
    Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
    Music: Ismail Darbar, Pandit Birju Maharaj and Monty
    Adapted from Sarat Chandra Chaterjee's acclaimed novel, Devdas is about a man who loved and lost.

    Born to a rich and prosperous family, Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan) is at odds with everything since childhood. The only person he confides in is his neighbour, best friend and soulmate Paro (Aishwarya Rai).

    When Devdas' father sends him away to London for further studies, an anxious Paro waits for him in anticipation. On his return, their feelings for each other are rekindled. A timid Devdas is unable to convince his status-driven family that Paro is the girl he wants to marry. By the time he gathers the courage to propose Paro, she has already committed herself to aged landlord Bhuvan (Vijayendra Ghatge) in marriage.

    Distraught, he hits the bottle and seeks solace in courtesan Chandramukhi's selfless friendship. Accustomed to constant flattery, Chandramukhi is struck by Devdas's indifference and eventually falls for him.

    Depressed in Paro's memory, consumed by alcohol, disillusioned with life, Devdas is hell bent on a path to self-destruction. Though Devdas and Paro's love story meets with a tragic end, they have become immortal characters in pages of history....

    Shah Rukh Khan played bad guy in Baazigar and Darr; a good guy in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; a historical figure in Asoka.
    With Devdas, the actor makes an attempt to recreate the aura of the tragic figure brilliantly essayed by the likes of K L Saigal and Dilip Kumar in the past.

    According to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali if he were to make Devdas again, he would "only cast SRK" in the stellar role. As an aside, actor Chandrachur Singh (Maachis) always dreamt of playing Devdas and expressed his disappointment when Khan bagged the coveted part.

    Aishwarya Rai plays the pivotal character of Paro -- a symbol of grace, pride and commitment, striving to keep her love for Devdas till the very end.
    After virtually no release for a long time, Aishwarya makes up for her absence with the much-awaited Devdas.

    It was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that catapulted Aishwarya Rai in the top rung of actresses. Her stirring portrayal of the stubborn yet sensitive Nandini in HDDCS was applauded unanimously.

    Interestingly, Kareena Kapoor had auditioned for Paro's role, but Bhansali thought Ash was better suited for the part.

    A trained Kathak dancer, Madhuri Dixit displays her histrionic as well as classical dancing skills as the courtesan Chandramukhi who undergoes a complete metamorphosis after meeting Devdas.
    The actress has also rendered a few verses in the Pandit Birju Maharaj composition Kahe chede mohe piya.

    Apparently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali wrote all his earlier scripts keeping Madhuri in mind but nothing ever materialised. Madhuri finally consented to act in Devdas. She is expected to dazzle the audiences with her performance.

    Jackie Shroff plays an interesting cameo of Devdas's friend Chunnilal, who believes in drinking and making merry.
    The charismatic actor teams up with Shah Rukh Khan after the eminently forgettable King Uncle, Trimurti and One Two Ka Four.

    Bhansali also approached Govinda and Saif Ali Khan for the same role. Apparently, Govinda refused to play second lead and Khan wasn't happy with the remuneration.

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali's adaptation of Devdas begs to be different from its predecessors. A few novelties have been included in the plot.
    One of the highpoints of the film is the electrifying dance sequence Dola re dola choreographed by Saroj Khan and picturised on Devdas' leading ladies Madhuri and Aishwarya. Not only do the excellent dancers burn up the dance floor they also exchange heated words in a verbal slandering match. The earlier two Devdas films do not show the two meeting.

    Also, originally, Devdas goes to Kolkata to pursue further studies. In the latest version, he will be shown as London educated.

    Grandeur is second nature to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Unlike the earlier humble looking versions, Bhansali lends his interpretation a larger than life and glitzy quality.
    To get the perfect look, the maker and his crew did a lot of research. After observing a lot of houses set during the British Raj in Kolkata, art director Nitin Desai came up with four diverse sets -- Paro's haveli before marriage, Paro's mansion after marriage, Devdas' palatial house and Chandramukhi's glistening mirrored, maze-like kotha.

    The costumes have been exclusively created by designer duo Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. After dressing the likes of Dame Judi Dench, the duo dress Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit. Check out SRK's intricately embroidered chikan kurtas and Madhuri's resplendent zardosi attire in the film. Costume designer Neeta Lulla strives to bring out the regal and enigmatic aspect of Aishwarya Rai's Paro by draping her in rich, traditional, nine-yard Bengali saris, replete with sindoor and a striking red tikka.

    Bhansali's labour of love-Devdas was jinxed several times as it struggled to see the light of the day. To begin with, a fire broke out while shooting and destroyed an expensively created set, which had to be resurrected.
    Next, diamond merchant and film financier Bharat Shah's untimely arrest set the film's fate in doldrums. Devdas went over budget and landed in a huge financial mess that was carefully sorted out by the determined Bhansali.

    Owing to its universally accepted theme, Devdas has been made in nine different languages including two Hindi versions. Film maker P C Barua's version starring K L Saigal, Jamuna, Rajkumari and Bimal Roy's epic starring Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala Bali, Suchitra Sen released in 1935 and 1955 respectively.

    This richly woven tragic tale of love and its repercussions on the lives of three fascinating characters will be screened at the prestigious 2002 Cannes Film Festival in the out of competition category.

    Devdas is expected to hit the marquee June 14, 2002.
  11. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Productions notes... the making of...


    Behind every dream, is a fair share of nightmares.

    A dream as big as Devdas, entailed more than a fair share of heartaches.

    The set of Chandramukhi's Kotha was made around a lake. Perhaps it was the beauty of the set, which tempted even the heat. So much so, that the water in the lake kept drying. Gallons and gallons of water had to be filled in with amazing regularity. Moreover, the bridge across the lake had a knack of sinking at all the wrong times. To us was as alarming as the London bridge falling down.

    Uninvited guests such as wild animals ventured nonchalantly around the set which brought out the animal in each of us.

    The lights and diyas which lit up the ambience, at times scared the daylights out of us. The kotha set caught minor fires on 3 occasions. Either due to the generators or the diyas. The generous lighting also gave a few people, a shock….literally and figuratively.

    Paro's delicate stained glass house was erected for seven months from November to June. Safe, non-monsoon months. Yet what does one know! There were unprecedented heavy rain showers at least four times during those months. So we had colours of the stained glass fading and this brought out the painters in our enthused team who had to keep re-touching. Moreover our use of the trolley's over the delicate floors of the sets led to a lot of chipping. Each chip cut across our hearts.

    By the time it came to creating Bhuvan's Haveli, we had no budget. But what we had was a motivated team and lots of perseverance and co-operation. And the haveli became a reality.

    All the sets were kept mounted for 7 - 9 months. It was a huge production problem and a Herculean task maintaining them.

    We used a record 42 generators for the film when normally only two or three are used. We used 2500 lights, 700 light men and innumerable junior artists. The marriages in Bombay entailed panic, as all generators swarmed the Devdas set.

    It seemed a visual delight when one thought of the scene of Paro holding her diya in a storm and the diya not going out… But actually picturising it ??? The challenge can be imagined!

    A chest puffing pride was a beautiful outfit, a ghagra-choli designed for Chandramukhi by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. It was a heart-stopping, exquisite creation, the likes of which may never be created again. It weighed a whopping 30 kilos! To top it, Madhuri Dixit had to do an intricate classical dance wearing it. Despite her best efforts, it was impossible. Finally the outfit had to be replaced by a lighter(?) one, weighing only (??) 16 kilos. The former outfit sadly could not be used in the film.

    When it came to the music, each note was nurtured carefully to see that it got its rightful place in the film. It took 2 ½ years to compose the music. Each of the songs is complexly structured. Thus each song had to be mixed 8 to 9 times and the recording spanned a record 10 days each.

    A interesting incident is related to the song "Dola re Dola …." .The song was completely recorded. The lyrics revealed a line which went "Rang Birangi Chunariya…" When the song was picturised, a red Chunariya was used as the situation demanded it. It was imperative to change the line. The lyricist Nusrat Badr seeked the correct new line for one full year. Suddenly when the song was being finally mixed , his creativity gave rise to the apt line. The mixing was stopped and a few lacs were spent to insert the new line.

    Numerous other menacing problems surfaced during the making of the film .Yet these challenges brought out excellence from each person involved. The entire unit believed in the project and the completion of the film speaks of their passion. Quite in sync with the spirit of Devdas.
  12. veronicas

    veronicas ~Forever Yours~

    :) Thank you Nicole for these interesting articles. Devdas is my favorite movie and I love to know everything about the movie and the cast.:kiss:
  13. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    The Road To Oscars

    Note: India’s official entry into the Oscar Foreign Film category, Devdas, lost out in the nomination shortlist that was announced on Tuesday, February 11 2003.

    Shahrukh Khan fans have a reason to celebrate this October when it was announced that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's lavish Devdas is India's entry for the Oscars. Devdas, a story about love and the pain that accompanies it mixed with a little alcohol will compete with other films for the nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film at the academy awards. The heart rendering film starring Shahrukh Khan and the two lovely ladies - Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit is an adaptation of Saratchandra Chatterjee's novel. The novel has already been made into films, eleven times till now. Devdas, has already achieved international acclaim by being invited for a special screening at the Cannes film festival this year. It remains to be seen whether Devdas will win unlike it's protagonist.

    Producer-director Shakti Samanta who headed the 16-member committee of the Film Federation of India (FFI) to select India’s entry to the Oscars for the best foreign film (2003) says that Devdas got five votes out of a possible 16. Devdas edged out Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Kannathil Muthamittal based on the LTTE movement in Sri Lanka, apart from Rajkumar Santoshi’s biopic The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Arjun Sajnani’s Agni Varsha, and Bengali films Manda Mayer Upaakhyan and Anjan Dey’s Saanjhbhatir Roopkathara.

    Only three Indian films — Mother India, Salaam Bombay and now Lagaan — have reached the nomination stages of the Academy Awards.

    "It's a great feeling," Sanjay Leela Bhansali told reporters after hearing the news. "We are currently planning the lobbying and strategies for Devdas. We will certainly talk to Ashutosh Gowarikar and Aamir Khan about their experiences from last year. I'm absolutely thrilled."

    Speaking about the film Aamir Khan said, “Devdas is a wonderfully crafted movie, with grandeur, elegance and style powered by brilliant performances by all the actors. Be it Shahrukh, Madhuri or Aishwarya. Even Kiron has put in a commendable performance. My support goes to Sanjay’s team. Their rich work has paid off. This time, they should get the award for us.” When asked if Shaheed Bhagat Singh may have been a better choice, Khan said, “I guess the jury knows exactly which film has got potential. It’s their work and I should not be commenting upon that,” Khan added.

    "This is the greatest reward we could have received for Devdas," ShahRukh Khan said. "Everyone involved in the film gave so much commitment and now their efforts are being rewarded. I'm just happy that I was also part of the team."

    Eros International is planning to re-release Devdas as a mainstream film in the US. Incidentally, producer Bharat Shah's office revealed that Aishwarya Rai is already in Hollywood, discussing some film scripts.

    Last year Lagaan won the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and has opened avenues for the West's interest in Indian films. SLB has been consulting Ashutosh Gowarikar, director of Lagaan for tips to promote Devdas. In an interview Gowarikar said "I am ready to impart to Sanjay Leela Bhansali whatever knowledge we have got through our experiences. In fact Jhamu Sugandh (financier), Aamir (Khan) and I will definitely tell Sanjay (Bhansali) and his team what we have learnt."

    What They Say?

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Director: "I'm very happy because the film is truly representative of Indian cinema. People complain it's so loud, kitschy and melodramatic, but it's nothing of the sort. Devdas stands for all that we've inherited from classical literature, music and dance, as well as greats like K. Asif and Mehboob Khan. We have a long way to go, lobbying and strategising for the Oscar. I'm going to ask Aamir Khan and Ashutosh Gowariker how to go about it."

    Shahrukh Khan (playing Devdas): "It has been a tough ride for Sanjay (Bhansali) and Bharat Shah. There could be no greater reward for the film than this. I thank the people who chose it for the Oscars and Sanjay for giving me a chance to be a part of his dream. For once, Devdas is very happy. I never thought I could be so thrilled"

    I would rather say, ‘Bha se Bhalo' -Jackie Shroff (playing Chunilal)

    "There is no doubt that Devdas is the best choice for India's Oscar entry this year. When mainstream Hindi cinema represents the majority of Indian cinema, why should we be hypocritical about what we send to the Oscars? It is a certainly a more representative choice than any Indian art film." - Komal Nahta, Editor, Film Information.

    "The film has a very good chance of notching up an award since it excels in every section be it photography, performance or even costumes. The music and the story of the film is of international standard." - Bharat Shah, Producer.

    'Devdas is the right film to be sent to the Oscars after Lagaan. It has the richness and the splendor that is essential for a film that is being sent to the Oscars. Devdas belongs to the Indian mainstream musical genre." - Ashutosh Gowarikar, Director of last year's Oscar nominee Lagaan.


    - Devdas has splendour and can boast of being the costliest ever Bollywood film. And the money spent does show on screen and is a sheer visual treat
    - Mind blowing performances by the leads
    - If money is spent properly Devdas can be publicized well in America
    - Not a conventional love triangle where all is well that ends well


    - Melodramatic and loud at times
    - The script has some loopholes
    - The story is of an alcoholic loser.
  14. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Devdas sweeps Filmfare Awards
    Courtesy: Times News

    MUMBAI: Devdas, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Rs 50-crore magnum opus about the unrequited love of an alcoholic may not have won an Oscar nomination, but it swept the 48th Manikchand Filmfare awards 2002 ceremony on Friday night.

    It won 11 awards, including best film, director (Sanjay Leela Bhansali), actor (ShahRukh Khan), actress (Aishwarya Rai) and best actress in a supporting role (Madhuri Dixit).

    "Everyone asked me why I put in so much money into the story of a loser, but it turned out to be a winner," said Bhansali.

    An emotional Shah Rukh said that the award, coming in his 11th year as an actor was special since he would be taking a long break for a back surgery shortly. "I hope I keep coming back and winning awards," he said.

    Aishwarya Rai gushed that she would spend the entire night thanking all those who made it possible for her to get the honour.

    Devdas also bagged trophies for choreography (Saroj Khan), female playback (Kavita Krishnamurthy and Shreya Ghoshal).

    The interlude between Paro and Chandramukhi may have been a deviation from Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's novel, but it won the 'Sony scene of the year'. The film also won awards for technical excellence in cinematography and art direction.

    ShahRukh Khan, who has serenaded his heroines in the picturesque Swiss Alps, thereby promoting Switzerland as the ultimate lovers' paradise, was presented the Swiss consulate's trophy by Geraldine Chaplin, actress and daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin.

    Mumbai girl Shreya Ghoshal, Aishwarya Rai's lilting playback voice in Devdas, clinched the R D Burman prize for the best upcoming talent in music.

    ShahRukh Khan, in his first ever role as master of ceremonies, kept the audience smiling with his spontaneous jokes and easy banter with Saif Ali Khan. Malini Sharma compered the first section of the show.

    Best Film

    Best Director
    Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Devdas)

    Best Actor
    ShahRukh Khan (Devdas)

    Best Actress
    Aishwarya Rai (Devdas)

    Best Actress In A Supporting Role
    Madhuri Dixit (Devdas)

    Best Playback Singer – Female
    Kavita Krishnamoorthy/Shreya Ghoshal (Film: Devdas; Song: Dola Re)

  15. roya20

    roya20 New Member

    Devdas was a sad movie almost from begining to end .But it was beautiful.
    And all the actors were fantastic.

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