In Conversation with the Stars

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(as of Jan 04,2021 12:51:07 UTC – Details)

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In Conversation with the Stars is an extraordinary collection of curated interviews with some of the key figures of Hindi cinema. The artists discuss the art and craft of films on the Film Companion platform. In each of the interactions, film critic Anupama Chopra deep dives into what makes an artist— from Shah Rukh Khan to Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma to Priyanka Chopra—tick, providing a window into the people behind the larger-than-life persona. Through wide-ranging and in-depth discussions that make for a rich reading experience, these conversations also reveal how each of them grapple with both success and failure, and what it really means to be in the spotlight. This is a sparkling look into the lives and work of some of the most glittering stars of Indian cinema.



From the Publisher

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A Conversation with Anupama Chopra

Tell us about yourself. What sparked your interest to become a film critic?

Actually, I started out as a film journalist. I didn’t really plan to be a film critic, it just happened over the years. I started out as a reporter for India Today magazine, and as I kept reporting and writing more about cinema, eventually I started to review films as well.

How did you begin to write?

I started writing when I was in St. Xavier’s college. I was a student of English Literature and I studied under the great teacher Eunice D’Souza. I remember she used to edit the Literary Page of a paper at that time. I think the paper was the Indian Post and she asked me to review books for the Indian Post. That was the first professional writing I ever did, and I was still in my second or third year of college.

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What aspects did you try to bring out in your interactions in In Conversation with The Stars?

When I interact with artistes, my whole attempt is to bring out some aspect of their personality that we don’t know already know. We see them on the screen. They are literally and figuratively larger than life but I am very interested in knowing the person behind the art. How do you create what you create? What does it take to be who you are? So, that’s the whole point in my conversations. To try and get behind the public persona to know who the real person is.

Who do you think should read In Conversation with The Stars?

I think anyone who is interested in Indian cinema would enjoy reading Conversations with the Stars. It’s a book about a certain place and a certain time and, of course, has lots of beloved actors and directors in it, so I think anybody would enjoy it.

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Can you discuss a little more about your journey as a film critic, an anchor and an author?

My career as a film critic, anchor and author has been long and varied. I started out as a print journalist with Sunday magazine, then moved to India Today magazine and after 10 to 12 years there, I eventually moved to television with NDTV 24×7. I also did a show for Star World as well as Star Plus and now I am a digital journalist with Film Companion, a digital platform. So it’s been very interesting because I have done the same thing – I talk about cinema but I’ve talked about it in different mediums. So, with each medium, I’ve had to learn and unlearn and re-educate myself. It’s been a very exciting and fulfilling journey and I look forward to continue doing this as long as I live.

Please provide an excerpt from the book.

AC: But Ranveer, tell me this, how much of this man was in the script and how much of it was you turning into Khilji? For instance, I love the scene where you say to Ratan Singh, ‘Aap kitne acche hain (You are so nice),’ and you are mocking him! You really voiced all our feelings as viewers.

RS: That was an improvisation!

AC: Yeah, exactly. So something like that can spring out of the moment instead of being a part of the script?

RS: I think, at some point, after two weeks, three weeks or sometimes even less, you find the character and then you can flow freely and then you can improvise. It happened a lot with Jim Sarbh who was playing Malik Kafur. He and I improvised a lot. But that one moment that you speak of was an improvisation because we were rehearsing the scene and Shahid (Kapoor) was saying his dialogues and I felt that sentiment and I voiced it. And Mr Bhansali was like, ‘Say it! Say it in so many words.’

AC: Yeah, because at that point that man is self-righteous to the point of being destructive.

RS: To a fault.

AC: Yes, to a fault. Tell me about the scenes with Jim, because they are funny. I had problems with the whole track because I thought the very fact that you are commenting on his bisexuality is also a value judgement. You are showing it as one more sign that he is a bad guy. However, there were moments of tenderness as well. There was this lovely scene where you touch his cheek.

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How did you and Jim mutually agree on what you can or cannot do, since these are very sensitive things?

RS: Well, Jim is full of ideas and full of beans and actually wanted to do a lot more. Mr Bhansali had to control him and curb his enthusiasm. I have to say, it has been one of the most fulfilling co-actor experiences of my life. Jim is an absolute delight! In fact, he and I both wanted to do a lot more.

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