News Round-Up: Arjun Reddy Remake, Karan Johar Paan, and Sanju Madhuri

Finally, some interesting news stories!  I’ve been checking for days, and there hasn’t been anything that I consider juicy (no, rumors of possible conflict, and discussion of something someone said that might be offensive are not juicy).  But today, lots of actual industrial news!  So happy!

Arjun Reddy Remake, Director Versus Producer

This is fascinating!!!!  And a sign that, yes, the film industry is still very messy and small and personality based.  Sandeep Reddy Vanga, the writer/director/producer of Arjun Reddy, will not be directing the remake. For a really interesting reason!

As he explains, he had no idea the remake rights were even sold until he saw the announcement.  And, it sounds like, he wasn’t clear that the didn’t have the right to sell them himself, but now realizes that was the case.  His co-producer, who came in late to help fund the film, ended up with the rights because:

He came to me with an emotional plea, wanting me to put his father’s name in the credits as a producer. At that time I was thinking only of somehow releasing the film on time. I had put everything into this film. When we couldn’t find a producer for the film my family and I put out own money in to produce Arjun Reddy. However at the last minute I signed a document as per my associate’s desire.

Yep, this is the Indian film industry as I have learned about it!  It’s not all logical and corporate and so on.  It’s people being so committed to their dream project that they put everything into it.  And legal decisions made based on emotional pleas.

And it’s still emotional now!  The reason Vanga isn’t directing the remake isn’t because he doesn’t want to or legally can’t or something stupid like that.  It’s because he promised the role to Shahid Kapoor and now feels he can’t work with anyone else, it wouldn’t be a right thing to do to Shahid.  And I have to say, Shahid is BRILLIANT casting.  That Kaminey roughness, the Rangoon sense of hidden emotional distress, perfect!  I’m sorry we won’t get to see that version.

So, again, emotional and so on.  The whole thing, Vanga starting by figuring out who he wants to work with in the remake and then building a lengthy relationship with his star, and finally this awkward “break-up” moment which makes him feel unfaithful to even consider another star.

And then the other part of it!  The official people who bought the remake rights are Cine1, the Mickey Virus people.  But Vanga says the lead in their version is definitely definitely going to be Arjun Kapoor.  And that Boney flew down to meet him and beg him to direct it!!!!  So either Cine1 is a cover and this is really a Boney production, or Boney is a super super involved father. Or, more likely, both.  Boney is big on the southern remake rights, and I could see him jumping on this movie in particular because it is perfect for his son.

Oh, and the punchline to the article, which is the same place I have to end: Vanga won’t even consider maybe directing Arjun in the part, unless Arjun loses 20 pounds.

(Gotta say, I agree.  Arjun is cuddly, that’s not a bad thing, but he can’t play a strung out drug addict looking like this)


Karan Johar in Trouble with the Law!

Because there was a Paan ad in one of the shows he produces.  Which broke the tobacco laws.  Is this seriously possible?  That an ad can slip through in that way?  In America it’s illegal to have tobacco ads on TV, and so they are never on TV.  Like, the companies wouldn’t even try, the ad companies wouldn’t make the ads, there would be sooooooooooooo many steps along the way that just wouldn’t happen before the ad got on TV.

But, I’m not an expert on Indian law, maybe it is confusing, or there are loopholes people don’t fully understand, or something.  Or maybe it is like those buildings in illegal zones where they just go ahead and build them and assume it will work out and no one will notice.

I am an expert (sort of) on Karan Johar!  And him being picked out of all the producers and everyone else involved both for the FIR with the police, and the headline of this news story, that is business as usual.  He’s a soft target, he’s the one who is always picked out.  And he can handle it, he will get his lawyers together and so on and make this go away.


Sanju Delay Explained (sort of): it’s Madhuri

You ready for the explanation of why Sanju got delayed this last time?  Or the sort of explanation?  The leaks from the production seem to be taking a scattershot approach, giving every reason possible in order to hide the real one.

First, it’s running behind schedule.  Second, Hirani isn’t happy with the footage already shot.  Third, they are rewriting it.  Fourth, they can’t decide between Sanju and Dutt for the title.  Fifth, MADHURI.  Or, as the production source puts it:

There is particular debate over the inclusion of the women he dated since some of them are now married and have moved on in life,

So, it’s a mess is what I am getting.  I’ve been there.  Not often, but sometimes.  I get all the way into a blog post, it’s not quite working, I move paragraphs around, I rewrite the beginning, then I end up dumping 2/3rds of it and changing the title and starting from scratch.

But, WHY is it a mess?  I have three theories.  First, Sanjay.  The story is just too BIG.  Trying to turn it into a powerful film narrative is too hard, figuring out what to include and what not to include and so on.  Is it a father son story?  A drug recovery story?  A mother son story?  A romance?  Like my blog posts, Hirani had a script and shot footage, then realized his big point was something else entirely and he has to dump almost everything and start over.

Image result for sanjay dutt arrest

(Do you build the story around this moment?  Or something else?)

Second, Ranbir.  I am just getting such deja vu from Jagga Jasoos with this!  What is it about Ranbir that forces reshoots?  Is his footage that hit and miss?  Sometimes he is just so bad you have to reshoot?  Or is it that sometimes he is so good, you want to start over and get that in every take?

And third, Madhuri!!!!!  And in general the pitfalls of a biopic.  This is the the first major film biopic, the first time they are having to deal with the problem of telling a real story about real people, real people who you know and work with.  How do you handle that?  Because it’s not just Sanjay’s story, it’s Madhuri’s and Nargis’ and Sunil Dutt and Gaurav Kumar and on and on and on.  You have to be fair to all these people, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because you know them, you see them at parties, your kids play together, and ultimately you care about them as people.  How do you balance that with caring about your movie?

Image result for sanjay dutt madhuri

(Do you build the movie around this moment?  Can you?)


33 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Arjun Reddy Remake, Karan Johar Paan, and Sanju Madhuri

  1. Shahid would be a good choice for Arjun Reddy no doubt, but personally I like Arjun Kapoor idea more. Shahid already has Udta Punjab and we know he is cabaple to do difficult roles. What
    I don’t like is that Sandeep Reddy Varma didn’t even know that he can’t sell the rights. So frustrating.


    • Yes! I also suspect that if he fought it, he could delay the remake. But he couldn’t make his remake either while it was in court, so no one wins. It’s this kind of thing that makes me prefer the relationship based word of mouth and handshake agreements, because it ends up being a lot easier to adjust and make the best film possible. Although in this case, it seems a like a pretty straight forward deal of Boney wanting this movie for his son and willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, so even if the director had had the rights, he may not have gotten anyone willing to fund him if Boney fixed it so they wouldn’t, and therefore he would be stuck with Arjun anyway.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 8:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Aww, I feel bad for the original director not being able to work with Shahid, because I also agree that would be excellent casting (and much safer when you think about Shahid’s pretty stellar acting record…he deserves much more praise than he gets generally). And I’ve been hoping that Arjun would slim down to his Ishaqzaade debut days for a long time (as much as I like his teddy bear charm, the Arjun Reddy role requires it). I still have hope that he can pull it off, but now that I know what could of been with Shahid it will be even tougher to live up to expectations.

    These FIR stories just baffle me…there’s just no point to it all. Of course, American politics and culture aren’t looking too good these days either.

    About the Sanju delays…I have no interest in this film so whatever:) I am decidedly not a fan of Sanjay Dutt and don’t get the appeal. Plus, I actually think he did something so amoral and stupid and possibly knowingly evil that it’s hard to get behind a film that will most likely polish his tarnished image. I struggle with any kind of admiration for him and Salman for similar reasons. Salman has at least demonstrated a desire to be a better person, but Sanjay Dutt honestly still seems like a bit of a thug.

    I think you’re on to something there with the multiple takes necessary for Ranbir’s acting. I would bet that he’s hit or miss because he’s often hungover or high.


    • It’s funny, because one thing I have heard about Rishi is that he is always always a one take actor. He may complain and get angry and generally be difficult, but if he is supposed to show up and do a scene, he will do it perfectly on the first take and be done. He talked in his autobiography about how that is how he was trained, he gets in character and shoots the thing and then is done with it, and he gets acclaim for his performances. Deservedly so, he has just gotten more brilliant in recent years. And Shashi was the same, and Shammi, really all the Kapoors. Heck, all the old-school actors were like that! Even Salman in his most troubled period, the complaints were that he didn’t show up on set, or got into fights, or whatever. But once the cameras were rolling, he did the shoot and was done.

      If that is the issue with the reshoots, it also makes me admire Karan even more. Because ADHM was the only Ranbir film to release on time as planned in 3 years at least. I wonder if Karan knew this might be an issue and built reshoots into the schedule? Or else figured out a way to get Ranbir so comfortable and so in character that he got it in the first shots.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 8:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I can see it being a Kapoor family acting trait that they are only going to give a scene one take and its the director’s responsibility to fix it somehow if he doesn’t like it.

        Karan does indeed deserve tons of respect. Where does he get the time and energy to do everything he does?! I do wish he would live up to his promise that he would direct more frequently in the future, but I suspect the twins have focused more of his direction in smaller projects that can keep him close to home…overseas shoots would be harder but he’s so rich (nannies) and he has his mom co-parenting.

        I suspect that ADHM was an easier shoot overall since the character was pretty straight-forward and not too much of a leap for Ranbir and his hangdog/hangover looks sometimes worked with the script:)


        • See, what I’ve heard about the other Kapoors is that they insist on one take, but they also insist that the one take they give will be so good the director won’t have anything to complain about. And then the director doesn’t. Kind of an all or nothing thing, there was a year or so that Rishi just refused to go to work when he was around Ranbir’s age. But when he actually did show up on set, he did it perfect in one take. It sounds like maybe Ranbir lives in the grey area, he will show up but he may not be ready.

          I wonder if Karan is also slightly more focused on building up a legacy now that he has babies. A financial one, not a creative one. Producing with Dharma, and generally streamlining and coordinating Dharma into a self-sufficiant studio is going to help Yash and Rihoo when they are grown, they can take over a growing concern or let someone else run it. It’s reminding me a little of Shahrukh, he got serious about buying a house and starting his own production company when he had babies. And then once the kids were older, he started thinking about what he was leaving them spiritually and creatively. So maybe Karan will be very practical and Dharma focused for 10 years, and then suddenly realize he has nothing he is proud of personally to leave his kids and go on an orgy of artistic experimentation.

          Part of Karan’s brilliance (and Yashji before him) is type casting soooooooo perfectly that his actors barely have to act. Which I am beginning to think is extra important with Ranbir! Wake Up Sid and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani were the same, he could just show up and be himself mostly.

          On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 10:05 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. I don’t see much sense in doing a biographical feature film about Sanjay while he is living and working…his father would have made more sense, I think.
    Ranbir messes up his life…and somehow he seems to be heading for disaster…which makes me think of Abhishek…
    I agree that Indian Cinema is full of enthusiastic and talented filmmakers…but also full of people who take advantage of the enthusiasm. It’s revealing that the associate used the time pressure to get what he wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do have a nice ending for Sanjay, and I suspect it was the ending which inspired the film. Hirani shot Sanjay leaving jail when it actually happened, I am sure that will be the last sequence of the film. But then the question is, what goes before? His romance leading to his final love story with the woman who waited for him while he was in jail? His conflict with his father that he resolved by finally serving his term and feeling like he lived up to his legacy? I guess it’s the start that I find more puzzling than the ending. I don’t know if that would have been helped by waiting until he was no longer living and working. Maybe it wouldn’t even have helped with the concern about offending others, after all even if Sanjay is no longer around, there will still be his children and the children of others and so on. They are having difficulties with the Kishore biopic for that reason.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 10:45 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • What Sanjay ddi was not right. He misused his access to people and privileges throughout his life. But this episode with the law has had a sobering effect on him. He has come to realize how he messed up things for so many people.

        To me the story should be focussed on him. That shot of him leaving jail is teh opening of the film. Pan to show teh anger of all the people who lost loved ones in teh blasts. So much misery for so many. A shot of a weighed down defeated aged beyond years Sanjay with an apologetic look. Why would a man who looks so sorry for his deeds face so much anger..Voiceover suggesting a Rewind back to see if it was him as a person, his parents and family, his circumstances, his fame or his failed romances that lead to this moment? Maybe a bit of it all. And have quick short stories about his early life the larger than life famous parents. The iconic mother. The deep affection and love and then the loss especially when he was having a drug shot as she died. The guilt that starts to gradually ravage. The good looking boy who eventually goes on to become teh star, his romances along teh way, his blockbuster persona and then the turning point – teh introduction to unsavoury people at teh height of fame when all he touched became gold and his freefall into that world craving acceptance. A contrast with the loss of a wife; another woman to teh same disease that claimed his mother. the loss of a child – from a father and husband to an anchorless individual. All the ganster movies of that time – Vaastav, Khalnaayak the other Rambo inspired ones and soon the disapproval of his father for his ways as his sister gained prominence as a politician. The craving of acceptance, the feeling of not being good enough. And then heartbreak, more love the long drawn case, the success of Munnabhai the feeling of escape only to be sentenced, teh incarceration, the undeniable guilt, and the moments of reflection ending with him being released. People are angry but unlike at teh start teh audience feels he has suffered the effects of his action and he has learnt his lessons and an ending shot of him with his wife and kids. It’s a lot of story btu at each stage it has to be teh actor centre stage with everyone else shuffling in and out as sides liek a quick succession of short stories. Popular songs reused in teh background or as a take during a movie and teh focus always on the person’s journey. I wish they did young Sanju with Ranbir and the older versions with himself.
        Every scene needs to matter and at no point int ime can you stop interacting with the male lead.


        • Yes, that is exactly what I am picturing. Even in real life, I sensed a strange kind of peace once Sanjay finally went to prison. He was accepting his culpability and his punishment, and officially putting an end to that chapter in his life. Even after he had moved on, become a responsible husband and father with no bad associates or drug connections, it was always hanging over him, holding him back. Until that moment he walked out of jail. I want to start and end there and then look at what got him there.

          On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 11:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

  4. Dutt – I agree with Claudia, all this “making sure we don’t offend anyone” is causing these delays. I think Ranbir is perfect for Dutt, cos uhmm he always looks high. The ladies have doubts, Manyata has issues with her portrayal (she should be grateful imo, Dia Mirza is gorgeous and graceful to boot). But I’m sure its going to come off as a sugar coated take on his life.

    Arjun Reddy – Actually if Arjun does lose 20 lbs he would be perfect. And he also needs to come off as a competent surgeon, not just a doctor. Vijay came off as a surgeon who knew what he was doing unlike movies where actors just saunter in, prescribe meds and walk off. My fav scene in Arjun Reddy is where Vijay is telling off his friend for just being a physician, that was so hilarious.
    Also, addicts tend to be on the leaner side, and wouldn’t make sense for him to be this healthy looking. I also found his flab to be an issue with my fave movie to rant about Half Girlfriend too 🙂 A state level athlete would not be this out of shape.But I guess my dream of having Aditya Roy Kapur is squashed now for good 😦


    • Totally agree that in addition to all of its problems, Arjun’s fitness as an athlete was very suspect in Half Girlfriend! Aditya Roy Kapur could have pulled this role off, too, I agree. Daawat-E-Ishq is one of my favorite rom-coms and in Aashiqui 2 and in YJHD he plays a guy with substance abuse issues well. Combine all three and you have Arjun Reddy!


    • I thought Dia Mirza was perfect casting. Not only is she beautiful, she is also someone everyone likes, she would project that kind of friendly niceness. I’m also assuming from her casting that the Maanyata part will be fairly small, since Dia isn’t the greatest or biggest name actress. Which was something I thought boded well for the film, to have Sanjay work through his issues and then Maanyata show up right at the end as his reward, not a further source of conflict.

      Yes to Arjun’s size! It bothered me slightly in Mubarakan too! It’s one thing if he is playing a role where it doesn’t matter, but if he is playing a part that is written in a way that requires a certain look, he should do his job and match that look. Good point about the doctor needing to be actually intelligent seeming. That might be Arjun’s one slight advantage, he does a very good job projecting hidden intelligence.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 1:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Yeah she’s great casting but I *think* Manyata’s issue is that she wants to have a bigger part. Read this somewhere, so not entirely sure.


  5. Sanjay Dutt has so many chapters to his life and such a variety of chapters, that it would be so much better suited to a tv series or a Netflix Amazon ALTBalaji serial than a single film.

    What is Ranbir’s overarching problem in life? He has squandered relationships with the two most desirable women in Bollywood, and he’s squandered his career with significant but minimal output in 10 years, and he seems to keep playing the same character in every film (though he’s got that character down to a science!)

    Liked by 2 people

      • That’s right, starcrossedhaa, but he seems not at all happy in his life outside his work and that could affect his performances (which woud be a pity ). He is truly talented but that would not save him if he becomes unreliable.
        I think he has no ‘stabilizing person’ in his life and he may need one.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think Ayan Mukherjee comes as close as anyone to being that for him. But also might be a little too starry eyed to really help. I suspect the Brahmastra shoot could be a turning point for him both personally and professionally. Ayan seems to be the person he is closest to in the world second to his mother, and Karan (based on ADHM and the promotions) seems to have a good grasp of how to handle him professionally. 3 years working just for them might not be a bad thing. Especially if the shoot is orduous enough that it keeps him from being able to party at nightclubs in the evening.

          On Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 5:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • I forgive Ranbir a lot because his childhood was so difficult, but then at a certain point, most people had a childhood as difficult as his! So his father was an abusive drunk, Shahrukh’s father died when he was 14, Karan Johar struggled with his sexuality for years, Kangana ran away from home at 15, Hrithik struggled with a terrible stutter and, oh yes, HIS FATHER WAS SHOT! Heck, even Rishi had a terrible childhood (Raj is the one who taught him how to be a parent and a husband, he just followed that example), and he went through some really dark phases, but he was always more professional than this. Except for that year he just refused to work.

      Rosie Thomas’ article on Nargis compares her life and the way people followed it to a long running soap opera. Which is also the only way I can ever imagine the film industry being captured in media! Dozens of characters each with a different focus week by week as their plots came to a boil, time jumps to take us to the next generation, introduction of exiting new characters who have surprising interactions with existing ones, and so on and so on.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 10:32 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • This discussion about Ranbir has been on my mind, so I thought I’d comment. I think that early childhood trauma, especially not having a secure loving relationship with primary caregivers, is especially damaging. So, even though Shah Rukh had lots of difficulties in life, he was coming from a pretty firm foundation of parents, grandparents, and extended family who thought he was the bees knees. While it seems Ranbir’s well-being came far down the list of priorities for his parents.

        I also think that some people are more prone to lasting effects of trauma than others–don’t know if it’s personality or genetics, or timing and type of trauma, or all of the above. Because of that, I don’t think it’s fair to compare people’s troubles to others’, nor to consider people better or stronger if they are not as deeply damaged (or not as visibly damaged) by previous trauma.

        I’m also not saying that past trauma or current mental health issues is an excuse to treat people badly. Ranbir is an adult with lots of resources available to him to heal from past trauma and to grow as a person. I hope he loves himself and those around him enough to take advantage of them.


        • This all makes sense to me. Ranbir had more family technically present, that is, actually living in the same house with him or next door, but they weren’t emotionally present necessarily. While Shahrukh had almost no family physically present, but many who were emotionally present for him, 100%. He has his own journey of difficulties, but you are right, it is different.

          I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is “enabling”, the way he is treated by the industry, but I think there is a natural effect of looking at him and seeing his grandfather and his father and projecting their accomplishments, and their stability and experience and everything, onto Ranbir. In a way that is setting him up for failure and disappointment from the audience.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. My bet is that it’s secretly a Boney Kapoor production. I don’t quite think whether Arjun Kapoor would be able to pull it off. And he’s not such a capable actor that a producer is insisting on casting only him.


    • Yeah, I’m with you. Especially because Cine1 would be a really strange group to grab these rights, a little upstart company that has never done anything this serious before. I was expecting someone like Dharma or KriArj to get them. But I could seen Boney going far outside of his comfort zone knowing that this is a role which could make Arjun’s career.

      On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 11:00 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I don’t see it becoming such a big hit in Hindi anyway. It was huge in Telugu because it was something new there, whereas there have been a ton of movies like that in Hindi.


  7. Slight correction.It is Kumar Gaurav not Gaurav Kumar.He’s such a private person that it’s possible that he’d prefer his relationship with Sanjay not to be glorified onscreen.And not only Madhuri.There’s Tina to be considered too.I think you’re being a bit harsh on Ranbir.Sure he got a lot of benefits being a Kapoor scion.But nowhere near the plum roles Alia got handed out to her when she was only a mediocre actress at the beginning.Ranbir did waste his opportunities by choosing to play only one type of character.But you might watch Rajneeti to appreciate him playing someone different,older when he was just starting out.


    • Oh duh! Of course it’s Tina Munim! If she objects, this whole film isn’t coming out any time soon.

      On Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 3:02 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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