Let’s Talk Films With Sameer K Singh

Today on Let’s Talk Films With, I have one of my older associates and now a dear friend Sameer K Singh who is the Founder of Yoola. A fellow filmy guy and the biggest fan of Akshay Kumar, let’s hear what he has to say about his ‘Filmyness’.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Well if there’s anything apart from my work and family that can excite me then it’s movies. I would rather watch an already seen movie again than going out to party. My favorite genres are comedy and thriller or something that can keep me on the edge of my seat. If it’s about my favorite Akshay Kumar and if my schedule allows, I can watch from 2 to 3 movies of his in a day be it same or different, doesn’t really matter.

Since what age are you watching movies?
I don’t remember exactly, which somehow suggests that I started watching movies from a very young age, not that I am not young now (laughs) but I assume I must be around 10-12 (smiles).

You being a business guy… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead playing a businessman to the T?
Well, there are so many that I am little confused here, if you watch Bollywood movies closely, you will get some or other entrepreneurship tip from every 2nd movie that releases. I will name few of my favorites which are Guru, Rocket Singh Sales Man Of The Year, Band Baja Baarat, Badmash Company, etc but the one that would be on top of my list would be Lagaan. Yes, you must be wondering what has Lagaan to do with business? But as you go deep into it, there can be no better motivational character than Bhuvan as an Entrepreneur. The character goes against all odds, builds a team, leads it till the end and wins because of team work, belief and his determination and of course a little luck (tongue out). These are the characteristics of a true entrepreneur.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
Haha!! I am a 90s kid, pure desi who grew up watching Shaktimaan, pointing a finger towards the sky and rotating 360 degrees was more me. Never tried wearing my briefs over my pants at least not that I remember but yes I did wear capes and act like I could fly.

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy is to be immortal and the only medium that can make me immortal is movies. I believe whoever comes on the silver screen becomes immortal, we have lost so many legends in past but because good movies have that charm to connect with its audience by heart, actors stay with us forever. Like for example, I was watching DDLJ recently and didn’t realize that Legendry Amrish Puri isn’t between us, this sudden realization saddened me but at the same time, I was cheering that he will always remain with us throughout our lives because of his work. So yes, if given a chance I would love to try my skills to act as well, not immediately but definitely (smiles).

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Believe me, I try and watch each and every movie that comes across. I have watched Bollywood movies that many don’t even know the names of. I do survive even the bad ones but one of the most bizarre movies was Jism 2, it was like a nightmare and I wanted to leave the theater but to maintain my track record of watching every movie till the end, I stayed and survived.

Your favorite movie and why?
It has to be Garam Masala on top, I watch it when I am upset, it makes me cheer up, I can watch it again and again and it will never be enough for me. I remember I once watched Garam Masala thrice in a day, it sounds crazy but yes that’s what I am when it come to Akshay Sir and his comic timings in his movies. Other favorites would be Dil Chahta Hai, Hera Pheri, Race, Taare Zameen Par, Munna Bhai, etc.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Can I mention my favorite instead?

Go ahead (smiles).
Okay, there’s this dialogue from the movie Ishq where Kajol and Amir Khan burns property papers to make a cup of tea and later after tasting it says, “Dhai crore rupaye jab ek cup chai ka zaika nahi badal saka toh hum pyaar karne walon ka irada kya badlega” Sheer brilliant!!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
“Kyun Thaak Rahe Ho??” from Houseful 2 is one of the funniest and can be used in day to day life. I am very good with dialogues and easily relate to any situation with apt dialogues to express myself.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Yes please, if possible, let’s sponsor a one-sided ticket for the maker of Jism 2, it was such a disaster that I still can’t forget the trauma after so many years of its release.

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island ūüėõ ?
Imran Khan maybe?

Any message to fellow movie buffs?
I have messages (laughs).

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Alright (laughs) let me reframe my question… Any messages to fellow movie buffs?
1) Don’t support piracy, a movie requires a lot of effort, time and hard work of a team. Piracy kills the enthusiasm and charm of watching a movie on the silver screen, ultimately making it less attractive.
2) Not all movies are same and comparing two different movies isn’t right. There are good movies and bad movies but every movie has a target audience if you go to watch an adult comedy, make sure you are in that mood and don’t expect it to be classic PK or 3 idiots. If you do so, you will be disappointed but if you don’t you will definitely enjoy it.
3) Don’t compare Indian Film Industry with Hollywood, If you do, compare the ticket prices and budget too. Indian films are as good as they should be. Movies are meant for entertainment, get entertained.

Wish you all the best for Yoola and may you have a great year ahead Sam!
Thank you and wish you all the best for your next book Alfie The Elf… I believe it is releasing in a couple of weeks?

Yes it is and like movie piracy, please do not ask a free copy from any author (winks)
Arre nahi, I will be buying my copy, First Day, First Show.

Err… it’s not a movie (laughs)
I know, sometimes the filmy keeda makes me say such things (laughs). On a serious note, I will be buying the book and I am sure it will be magical like your previous one.

Thank you (smiles)
So guys, if you are in Pune, then please do download Yoola and try it out. I am sure you will love the features of the app. Get more details at http://yoola.co/

Let’s Talk Films With Maanvi Gagroo!

If you have watched the much appreciated short series by TVF – Tripling recently, then you would not have missed the vivacious and goofy Chanchal the sister of Chandan and Chitwan. Today, we have the most talented and beautiful Maanvi Gagroo talking about films with me. So here are some excerpts from our fun chat.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Oh, I can watch movies all day, every day! That’s why I love attending film festivals because you just go from one film to another. My favorite genre is drama. A film with strong characters and a good story about these characters. About real characters with real issues.

Since what age are you watching movies?
For a non-Bollywood family, my sister and I grew up on a fairly filmy diet. Both my parents are big movie buffs. I remember them showing us ‘Sound of music’, ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘My fair lady’ as kids. They also loved giving trivia while the films were on. So yeah, there was always an interest in films.

How did your acting journey start?
Quite by chance actually. There were these auditions going on for a Disney show called ‘Dhoom Machao Dhoom’, I tested for a part on a whim, got the role and the rest, as they say, is history.

Your breakthrough role that made viewers sit up and notice you?
I think my first film ‘Aamras’. Although the film didn’t do well at the box office, I’d get great reviews. I remember all the reviews had mentioned and praised my performance and that was such a great feeling.

Tell me one movie that you remember where the main lead has done a great job?
I think Konkona Sen Sharma in 15 Park Avenue was outstanding. She played her part with such nuance and subtlety. It was a delight to watch her.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your superhero cape and skirt and tried to save the world?
Nope, never. (giggles)

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
It wouldn’t be a secret then, would it? (winks)

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Tees Maar Khan (laughs). I am putting myself in a spot, but, I just didn’t get the film.

Don’t worry you are not alone (winks and laughs). Your favorite movie and why?
Revolutionary Road. I thought the idea itself had me impressed. And then the performances were so real and felt. I remember thinking the entire time how great it would be to play that part (of Kate Winslet).

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Umm…(squints and thinks for a moment) I don’t remember which film but there was this scene where a police officer is reporting to his senior and it goes like this;
Junior cop : “Sir something is wrong”
Senior cop : “You mean something is not right?”
Yeah, that’s an actual scene in an actual film!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
I know all the dialogues from DDLJ (winks). See I told you I am total filmy (smiles).

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Hahaha..too many man, too many!

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island? (winks)
Oooh..all the good female actors so I can do all the films they’re getting offered.

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Message to fellow movie buffs?
Don’t go by the frills of a film. I often find people going to the movies for the wrong reasons and then getting disappointed. And I find myself asking them “yeah what else did you expect? ” So my advice would be to watch a film for its story, script, and performances and not for the music or the locations it’s been shot at!

So tell me about your future projects?
My film ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ is premiering at the BFI London Film Festival so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve done a few ads which should be coming on air soon. End of the year I’ll also be traveling overseas with my play. And apart from that, I’m looking for more exciting work (smiles).

Wish you all the best for your future projects Maanvi and thank you for being a part of my chat series.

 

Let’s Talk Films With Tara Alisha Berry!

In the hordes of so many star kids in the industry, there is one girl who stands high because of her talent and talent only. I am not saying this because she is my bestie but she has truly defined herself in that mold.¬†After entertaining us with Love Games, Mastram, and The Perfect Girl, I have Taasha Alisha Berry talking about her ‘filmygiri’! So here are excerpts from our conversation.

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Welcome to LTFW Taasha, it’s a pleasure to have you back on my web chat (smiles)
Pleasure is all mine Shy (smiles)… and you know how I lovveeeeee to have a fun chat with you (animatedly and giggles)

Okay… I get that… so shall we start?
Yup… (hesitantly)

What happened? The Yup didn’t sound too confident.
I am still figuring what controversial stuff are you going to ask me this time (giggles)

Hmmm… don’t worry this will be plain fun…Okay so let me start with the first question
Okay.

Tell me what kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
I love all kinds of movie except horror films hahaha get too scared! I can and have watched three/four movies back to back. Also, LOVEEE Hollywood TV shows and can finish entire seasons in a day. My mother, aunt and I have had movie marathons since my childhood!

Since what age are you watching movies?
Gosh, ever since I could remember! Everyone in my family loves watching movies so I started literally the minute I could! Hahaha

You being an actress… tell me one movie of actress that really moved you?
Nutanji in Bandini, Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music… so many more!

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your superwoman cape over your blouse and tried to save the world?
Hahaha YES! When I was a kid I loved playing these fantasy games, makeup stories and scenarios and act them out! Even now though would LOVE to portray a female superhero on screen!

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What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars is something quite simple actually Рjust want the opportunity to work in the best films with the best directors and best actors…haha not asking for much na? That’s the dream! But yeah a major dream of mine is to work with Wes Anderson!! In any of his films!

Wow! Okay tell me the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Brilliantly bizarre film!

Your favorite movie and why?
I have many favorite movies! To name a few… Bandini, Sujata, Chandni, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Prestige ! Mainly because all these movies have blown me away and made me want to jump into the screen and be a part of them! They inspire me and solidify my passion to be in the movies!

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Oh god… um hahaha! This answer will get me into trouble!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
‚ÄúKitne aadmi the!‚ÄĚ is what comes to mind right this second! Hahaha and also ‚ÄúThappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyar se lagta hai.‚ÄĚ But haven‚Äôt had the chance to use either in reality! Hahaha

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Hahaha I think your aim is to get me in trouble!

Okay… let’s move ahead (winks). Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island?
Really Shai….? Hahaha You really want to get me in trouble!

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Just trying hard so that you can give me a name (laughs) Okay… fine let’s move to your future projects… details?
I am currently prepping for a film which I am super excited about although can’t talk about it yet! The producers will make an announcement soon!

Okay cool… Any message to fellow movie buffs?
Keep watching, keep loving, keep obsessing! I know I can’t stop!

Nice… thank you so much for being a part of LTFW and may you achieve a lot of success with your future projects (smiles)
Thank you and yes all the best for your next novel ALFIE… I read the synopsis… it’s amazing… (smiles)

Hey thank you (smiles)
Waiting for the release… I want to read this book at one go… (smiles)

Thank you and I am sure you will definitely love it and thank you once again for being a part of LTFW!

Let’s Talk Films With Sumeet ‘Mikesh’ Vyas!

Today in Let’s Talk Films With… I have one of my favorite actors and a very good friend who does not need anymore introduction – Sumeet Vyas talking all about being filmy.¬†

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Sumeet, not many people know the filmy side of yours and therefore, here is the first googly question to you – What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Hahaha… Hmmm (takes a deep breath and animatedly thinks for a moment) Well… I’m a sucker for drama films. Twisted family films and rom-com’s are my favorites. I can watch say 3-4 films at one go.

Still in the Tripling mode huh?
Well, you can say that (smiles).

Hmm… tell me since what age are you watching movies?
Since the age of three. The first word I learned to speak was Chitrahaar!!!

Well interesting, I think our generation grew up on Chitrahaar and Rangolis (smiles) Okay, now tell me one movie that you remember where the main lead has done a great job as an actor?
Joaquin phoenix in HER.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
No, I’m not into that kinda kinky stuff… (winks and burst our laughing)

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
My secret fantasy is to win an Oscar, I’ve been rehearsing the speech since I was 5. And I want to always wear sun shades and be like Jack Nicholson. He’s my favorite movie star. Do you want to hear the speech?¬†Nah! Let’s save it for the actual event for now¬†(winks)¬†

Hmm… let’s move ahead. What is the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Void.

And, your favorite movie and why?
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless mind. It’s my all-time favorite film. Because it’s so universal.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Thappad se darr nahi lagta, pyaar se lagta hai(says in a baritone) I’m going to be stoned for this (burst our laughing).

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
‘Who the fuck are you? I’m the guy who does his job… You must be the other guy’ – from Departed.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Not my scene. I love watching crappy films after I’m drunk.

(laughs) Okay, so what’s your message to fellow movie buffs?
There’s an audience for all kinds of films. Don’t hate the ones you don’t enjoy.

Future projects?
Ribbon to be directed by Rakhee Sandiliya starring Kalki and Sumeet Vyas tada! (animatedly)

It was a pleasure to have you on LTFW… and I wish you all the best for your future projects
Thank you and I would also wish you the same for your next book Alfie The Elf and I am sure it will do well. By the way, I need the first author-signed copy and I am serious (smiles).

Of course! It goes without saying…. you will be one of the first people to get a copy of Alfie when it releases in November.

You watch Sumeet on TVF’s Tripling on every Sunday and also on Comedy Nights Bachao Taaza on Colors.

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Let’s Talk Films With Gaurav Arora – The Mystery Boy!

Today in Let’s Talk Films With, we have one of the most promising actors to hit the tinsel-town who also happens to be a good friend of mine. He is also the blue-eyed boy of the Bhatt’s who have cast him in one of their most successful franchises – RAAZ REBOOT. Here are some excerpts from our short conversation where we had some good fun over discussing movies.¬†

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
I love allllllllll kind of films.. around 3 to 4, not more (winks).

Since what age are you watching movies?
I was in a boarding school and I used to bunk my evening preps, cross the fence and go the nearest theatre (smiles). Then when I was in class 5th I got caught miserably (guffaws).

Who is your favorite actor and us his/her favorite performances you have liked?
Hmm… It would be Al Pacino in Godfather, Scent of a Woman and Scarface.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
Of course, I have but with my briefs under my pants (guffaws) would LOVE to do one soon (winks).

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
I wish to work with some super cool directors and some super hot heroines (winks) & only if I could be a part of my favourite films.

The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Jack Ass.. but I laughed and laughed and laughed….(laughs) the thought of it makes me laugh now.

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Your favorite movie and why?
Rocky…. you know this film motivated me the most when I was at my lowest and It helped me and how! And, if a film can touch you like that, nothing else matters (smiles).

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
I love corny dialogues..(laughs). Fully filmy… like How Arshad Warsi would give names to people in Munna Bhai MBBS – Baal ki dukaan, Chilly chicken, Dispensary and all… hilarious!

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
My most favourite is ‘main aaj bhi pheke hue paise nahi uthata’ from Deewar. Bachchan sahab ki baat hi kuch aur hai¬†(smiles).

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
A few (bites his tongue) cannot take names (laughs) too early for that.

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What’s your next project?
Vishesh Films’ RAAZ REBOOT with Emraan Hashmi and Kirti Kharbanda.

Congratulations for that and may the movie put in the top league of movie stars (smiles).
Thank you so much and yes would like to congratulate and wish the best with your next novel – Alfie. I am sure it will be a huge bestseller (smiles).

Well, thank you (smiles). Any message to fellow movie buffs?
Just go watch have fun and enjoy films – in theatres (winks).

Thank you, Gaurav for taking out time and being a part of LTFW and hope you all the very best for your future.
Thanks and I loved being a part of LTFW too. You actually made me laugh the loudest with your questions (smiles).

So guys RAAZ REBOOT is releasing soon and I would request you all to go and watch the movie in the theater. The promo also looks amazing and you can watch the same exclusively here;

Let’s Talk Films With Manoj Chandila

Today on LTFW we have one of my best friends Рmodel turned actor Manoj Chandila talking about movies, masti, and magic. So here are excerpts from our short conversation.

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What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Movies are a state of trance for me & I would want to be in that state for as long as I can be (laughs). If I have enough time on hand I can even watch films from morning 6am to 6pm. It’s difficult to choose one film as my favorite but Dustin Hoffman’s “TOOTSIE” remains a loved film forever.

Since what age are you watching movies?
It has to be the time when I started acting & I developed a feverish love for films (smiles).

You being an actor… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead playing an actor?
Oh!! It’s Dustin in Tootsie again and Farhan Akhtar in Luck By Chance.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
(Guffaws) No… never in my wildest dreams… However, if I am provided with that kind of power I would most certainly want to save the world from coming atrocities and dangers.

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
Why would I tell u my secret fantasy, as revealing it to u it would be no more a secret (winks).

Fine… Moving on, the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
There was a film called “Boom” starring Amitabh Bachchan and Katrina Kaif, and it was a real headache (holds his head dramatically).

Your favorite movie and why?
Well DDLJ remains my all time favorite and when it comes to Hollywood, I already told – Tootsie (smiles). Oh yes, add The Scent of a Woman too….these films are special in their own way and style, and I like them for how beautifully they are woven and executed.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
“Police ne tumhe charo taraf se gher liya hai” has been the one but I recently watched a Hindi film in which the judge in a court room scene repetitively & incessantly says “Order Order”.

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
We don’t normally use any film dialogue in real life unless the situation is funny but once I do remember I bought shoes and they had to be delivered to my house and telling a store manager my name as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan after writing this name on the bill he paused and said “you are joking, right sir?” We both laughed after that (smiles).

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Let me reach that stage where I can name them…save this question until that next major interview, please (winks).

Message to fellow movie buffs?
Watch as many movies as u can and if you are an actor then stakes are much higher. You should be a walking film library. It enriches u both consciously & subconsciously.

Thank you so much for being a part of LTFW and wish you all the best for your future endeavors (smiles)
You too and I am waiting for your next book release Alfie The Elf… I just loved the first three chapters you shared with me, in fact, my daughter has already become a huge fan of Alfie (smiles).

Thank you, Alfie is on the way… we are planning a November release.

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Let’s Talk Films With Satish Perumal – Comedy Raja!

Thank you all for the unprecedented positive feedback and praise, I received for my new series ‘Let’s Talk Films With…’ ¬†This “limited edition” series ūüėČ is something different from what I have done earlier, as it will feature unique individuals who dared to do something unconventional – Zara Hatke, but are filmy at heart. Today I am featuring yet another friend who comes from a different field altogether – Standup Comedy. Yes, we have Satish Perumal who left his comfy job as a¬†Brand Services Director at MullenLowe Lintas Group to become a full-time Standup Comedian. So here are few excerpts from our conversation;

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Welcome Satish and it is a pleasure to have you on LTFW (smiles).
The pleasure is all mine (smiles).

Before we start with the routine filmy  questions, I am curious to know what prompted you to leave your comfy job and venture into stand-up comedy?
That I don’t have regrets in life and give myself a chance to take a risk. No risk, no reward.

Nice (smiles) so let’s get started. What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
Usually love watching animated movies. The creative freedom in them is spellbinding.

Since what age are you watching movies?
From a very young age, as a kid.

You being a standup comedian… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead who played the role of a stand-up comedian to the ‘T’?
Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura. He was phenomenal.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
My mother would shoot me if I did that (laughs).

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
That I be cast in one (winks).

Smart (smiles)… The most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Requiem For A Dream. Too intense.

Your favorite movie and why?
Shawshank Redemption and Kungfu Panda. Great writing.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
You’re place or mine. Hate it.

A movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
Truth, you can’t handle the truth.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
Ram Gopal Varma.

Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island?
Hrithik Roshan

Message to fellow movie buffs?
Keep watching, keep enjoying.

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Let’s Talk Films With Apurva Asrani

Today in Let’s Talk Films With…. we have an interesting personality, he is a National Award-winning ¬†editor, fellow writer,¬†filmmaker and in the recent past a voice for LGBTQ community apart from being a good friend of yours truly. So here are excerpts from our conversation where Apurva bares it all;

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Welcome Apu on Let’s Talk Tell us about your growing up days, your family, schooling, hobbies etc.
I was a creative child. I loved drawing caricatures. Some were even published in the ‘kids column’ in a local newspaper. I was also a sportsman, a runner and I won a medal every year at the sports meet. I enjoyed writing poetry, I participated in dramatics & elocution. I sucked at Maths & Physics but excelled in languages & history. Music class was the highlight of my day, while on annual day, I was sure to be up on stage, performing.

Were you a storyteller even during your growing up days?
Yes. I loved telling stories to my friends and family. Sometimes I’d stretch my imagination to spin a larger than life yarn, and then work hard to convince the listener. I would act out parts and sing songs; I was a Hindi film personified. I once remember telling my classmate that the hair on my head was a wig. I convinced him by spinning a yarn about shaving my head because I’m learning Sanskrit in a gurukool every summer vacation. He bought it.

How did the creativity bug bite you?
We lived in a joint family during my early years. There was a lot of fighting between the people in the house and I went through a phase where I needed more attention than I got. I discovered that a creative talent was always rewarded with attention. So I began winning prizes for elocution, craft and dramatics.

When did you realize that you are different from the other kids?
Never. Most kids experiment with all sorts of ideas in school. I did too. If I didn’t get along with some, I got along with some others. I always had my gang of buddies.

Were you ever bullied in school?
Not really. I had a teacher who was a bully. She would use the cane liberally and then make the kids drop their pants as punishment. She was a witch, but she was also made fun off. Kids always exact their revenge.

When did you fall in love for the first time and how was it?
It was at an inter school singing competition while at boarding. I was in an all boys school and this girls’ school participated too. She sang ‘Tumko dekha to yeh khayal aaaya’ and I was mesmerised. I ran back stage to find her, but she disappeared into a large group. 2 weeks later, I met her at church, during our Sunday school outing. Then we chatted every Sunday. I think it was love. ¬†I also had this huge crush on my house captain. He was really good looking but he was also kind. I was feeling unwell during the march-past once and I tripped over and bled. He carried me all the way to the nurse. That must have been love too.

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Did you have your fair share of heartbreaks? How did you overcome them?
By immersing myself into work. By creating something new. I think that your relationship with yourself is far more nourishing than one with someone else. Yes, you must love another with all your heart, and if you lose that person, you must cry for the loss. But after you hit rock bottom, you should start climbing up again. You take the learnings of that relationship along. I have no regrets. Each person, each experience, has strengthened my character.

When did you decide to support the LGBTQ cause and where do you think it will lead in the future?
There is no LGBTQ cause for me. There is my truth and my right to live my truth with dignity. When I see people applying confused, outdated morals on my choices, I feel very angry. I speak out because I want them to leave me and my truth alone. ¬†If every person is truly living his dream, he won’t bother about what another is doing with his life. It’s only because our society is filled with unfulfilled desires and dreams that there is resentment. And while I understand their resentment, I also believe they have no right to meddle with my life.

Do you see any hope of getting the 377 Act scrapped anytime sooner?
Yes. Hope is all we have, and we must never give up. As long as we are not hurting another, resenting another, we are good. We must live out truth and do it with pride. The more we remain hidden, the more that people will imagine weird ideas about us. Most people are not bad, they are just ignorant. That’s why we must be ourselves before them, so they can see that we are not some alien creatures from another planet. When they see that our hearts are the same, our dreams are the same, our problems are the same; they won’t dwell on the difference of orientation. Your sexuality after all is just one part of your personality.

Is India ready to accept same-sex unions? How is the vibe amongst your colleagues and general people around?
You have to first accept yourself. The more you hide, shy away from your truth, cover up who you are; the more people mirror your fears. Live as you are. Let the staggering numbers show. Let society see that you are not ashamed. You may say, how does one do that, when homosexuality is still considered a crime? Yes, all sex outside the desire to procreate is considered a crime, but doesn’t that make everyone a criminal. Even those that indulge in some harmless oral pleasure?
But just being gay, outside your bedroom, is no crime. As long as you’re not fornicating on the floor of your family dinner party, there is nothing to be afraid of!If you want change, then stop fearing the ignorant. They will slowly understand that a large chunk of society chooses differently and that variety is ok!

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Would you being in the movie field help you to educate the society about equal rights through your creative work?
Yes. If you look at my filmography, especially in the last 6-7 years, all the films I’ve been associated with have highlighted an important social issue. ‘Jalpari’ addressed female infanticide, ‘Shahid’ was about how our justice system was being abused to push a communal agenda. ‘Citylights’ was about the migrant problem of the big city, while ‘Aligarh’ addresses deep rooted homophobia in our society. Each film has made some kind of impact and these films go far beyond opening weekend numbers. They are recorded testimonials of our times; they can be referenced for generations to come.

We have seen many people attempt LGBTQ subjects in movies but none of them find acceptance amongst the audience. Why is it so?
That’s not true. Many have found patronage. Like I said, these films might not find large numbers on the opening weekend, but they have excellent lifetime earnings. ¬†‘Aligarh’ for example premiered in Busan and then London Film festival in October 2015! It has continuously been a talking point since then. It’s release in India, last Feb, came with its share of buzz and debate. And today, it’s still making waves. It gets written about after people watch it on DVD, on downloads, in festivals and at seminars in colleges. The film continues will continue to live till its subject is not dealt with properly by society. The numbers in its lifetime are staggering. Munch more than the commercial potboiler that made noise and money in the first week of release, but wasn’t ever remembered again.

We see many straight individuals who support LGBTQ movement on their social profiles but have also seen them laughing at gay characters while watching a LGBTQ-themed movie. Do you feel we are a society of hypocrites? (I have seen people laughing and calling names while watching Aligarh as well as I Am when Rahul Bose is smooching Arjun Mathur in the movie)
That’s because they are uncomfortable with their own feelings. They think if they don’t berate it or laugh at it, they will appear gay. It’s ignorance and nothing else. I don’t feel bad about it. More people are watching and saluting gay characters in the mainstream today. More leading men are gay today than ever before. I am genuinely hopeful.

There are so many closeted gays who get married because of societal pressures. What advice do you want to give them?
Don’t advise them. Don’t lecture them. They did what they thought was right. Many gay men live a lonely, singular existence. They often succumb to a heterosexual marriage out of a desperate need for a companion. Sadly, they will understand themselves in due course that short term escapes help no one. On our part, we need to do our bit. We need to form healthy companionship of our choice. Once we have accepted ourselves, we need to work towards gaining acceptance from our families and our loved ones. Once we have that, we are a force. Those that are considering marriage will then be able to see that there is an empowered community that they could choose instead. Change yourself, don’t bother about the others.

What are your upcoming projects? Any dreams of becoming a director in future?
I’m writing Simran for Hansal. It’s stars the talented Kangana Ranaut. I’m also writing a semi autobiographical film that I might direct. Let’s see. One step at a time.

It was a pleasure having you on our chat series, I wish you all the luck in all your future creative endeavors (smiles)
Thank you (smiles)

 

Let’s Talk Films With Ajay Makhija – YogiBaba

Dear readers, I am starting with a new fun series –¬†“Let’s Talk Films¬†With…”¬†where I will be featuring people from various walks of life talking about their tryst with films and their filmy side. And to start with¬†I have one of my dear friends¬†Ajay Makhija¬†who renounced the comforts of a city life and has become a recluse. Yogi Baba Ajay (as I lovingly call him) has done what a normal city-bred person would never dare to do, and that is settling down in the lap of nature¬†in¬†Koh Phangan, Thailand (which is an island)¬†where he has Co-founded¬†a Yoga center – Gaia Yogashala. So let’s find out what Ajay’s Filmy Fundas are;

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Welcome, Ajay to “Let’s Talk Films¬†With¬†Ajay“. In fact, you should be welcoming me¬†(winks)
Wow! Feels great to have a chat show in my name (winks) and yes welcome Shaiju to “Filmy Fundas With Ajay”¬†(laughs)¬†and the irony is instead of me asking questions, I get to answer yours¬†(chuckles)

So shall we start? What kind of movies you love to watch & how many in a day can you watch?
I like watching intelligent movies, where the plot makes sense, makes one think, stirs up emotions – the genres aren’t the most important thing as is the overall Quality of the offering. I would generally prefer to watch only a single movie in a day.

Same pinch (smiles) Do you remember at what age you started watching movies?
I have been watching movies since I was quite young. Two movies that stand out for me are Home Alone, which I watched maybe when I was 4 or 5 years old; I was that kid in the theater laughing much louder and so much longer than everyone else. And Maine Pyaar Kiya; the DVD of which I used to watch 4 or 5 times during my summer vacations in India. As you know I used to stay in Thailand when I was young.

You being a Yoga guy or Yogi Baba… tell me one movie that you remember that has the main lead practicing yoga?
Haahaha, totally stumped – I don’t think I can remember a movie like that at all. Maybe the closest is¬†Ocean’s Twelve¬†where the antagonist is a Capoeira practitioner – Capoeira being a Brazilian martial art where you become super flexible.

Have you ever imagined yourself to be a superhero and tried to wear your briefs over your pants and tried to save the world?
Imagined me as a superhero – yes but more of a sword-fighting, horse or dragon riding, medieval times warrior. No underwear shenanigans!

What is your secret fantasy when it comes to movies and movie stars?
Errmmm! It’s not a fantasy as such but I have ‘fallen in love’ with a few female characters in a few movies and wished to maybe join them on the screen. Also¬†Avatar¬†– if someone gave me the chance to give up our world and go live in Na’avi land, I would do it in a heartbeat.

That’s my secret desire to… I envy you at times¬†(frowns)
Aww…

Anyway (fake sigh), tell me the most bizarre movie you have ever watched?
Tree of Life¬†– very morbid plot lines, orchestrated sequences, it didn’t feel like a coherent piece of cinema, just pieces of different films pieced together. It wasn’t altogether unpleasant, though.

 

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Your favorite movie and why?
I really love the¬†Dark Knight. I thought it was a fantastic piece of film – well directed, superbly acted – Heath Ledger’s Joker, cinematically brilliant, being a Batman/superhero film which may seem less serious, but crossing over into just being great cinema. Larger than life, impressive, gripping, suspenseful, having us root for Batman – hitting all these different emotional chords; great soundtrack too.

The corniest dialogue you have ever heard?
Cannot remember.

Really? Okay… a movie dialogue you tend to use often or comes to your mind now?
I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse – seminal really.

Any filmmaker you would want to maroon in an island for making crappy movies?
That Transformers director, I think Michael Bay Рjust terrible. Also, unfortunately, most Bollywood directors are pretty shitty I believe. This attitude of the audience is dumb and we will make movies dumb enough for them is really sad.

(Chuckles) Any actors you want to add with the director in the same island (winks)?
Not really. Although I think Kristen Stewart takes my award for worst actor in those¬†Twilight¬†movies. Still, I’d prefer to be marooned on an island with her, instead of sending her to anyone else¬†(winks).

Nice game plan (laughs) Okay any message to fellow movie buffs?
Umm, demand smarter movies!

Thank you, Ajay, for sharing your Filmy side and I wish you all the best with your Yogic endeavors!
Aww… pleasure is all mine (smiles)

So people if you happen to visit Koh Phangan and would like to learn or practice yoga then please do visit Gaia Yogashala. For more information please log on to their website http://www.gaiayogashala.com/

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