June 28, 2008

A New Profession for Celebs


Move aside Angelina Jolie and A Mighty Heart - the story of journalist Daniel Pearl, come in Apoorva Lakhia and Mission Istanbul.

Giving media professionals around the world a much needed shot in the arm is this daring director who has always been fascinated by the bravado of journos. "They display unique courage whether they report truth or gossip," says Lakhia whose new film, the espionage thriller Mission Istanbul, has four characters playing journalists on the war front. These are not superheroes but real life people caught in extraordinary situations.

Lakhia, whose fascination runs deep, has dressed his filmi scribes in chic and classy clothes to 'suit' their high-profile jobs. While in plus media offices he has them wearing international designer brand suits that are yet to hit the stores, Lakhia dresses up his cast of journalists in rugged jeans and jackets when out on the field. This, incidentally, is the same director whose first film Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost had actress Rageshwari playing a scribe; he continued the trend with his second film, Shootout at Lokhandwala, in which Lakhia showed Diya Mirza as a TV reporter.

Now in Mission Istanbul, Zayed Khan and Shriya Saran are a couple who play journalists and go through ego clashes, conflicts of interest and have little time for each other because of their high stress jobs. While one is ambitious, the other is headstrong. There's also Bollywood macho man Sunil Shetty as a commando turned journalist who is unafraid of reporting from the frontlines. And Nikitin Dheer (of Jodhaa Akbar fame), as a suave and dashing media magnate inspired reportedly by Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner.

There are other instances, too, in which Bollywood weilded the pen on screen. National Award winner Konkana Sen did that in Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3 where she played a journalist covering the lives and times of the glitterati. While Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya had Preity Zinta's character modelled after a famous journalist from a leading news channel. Preity, who had earlier played a journalist who sang and danced in Mission Kashmir, slipped into character easily.

Then Bollywood has also had Raveena Tandon, Juhi Chawla, Karisma Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, and Namrata Shirodkar acting as TV journalists. But none got the same screen that Preity did in Lakshya. Actors also have slipped into journos' shoes. There was Anil Kapoor in Nayak, Shah Rukh Khan in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and Dil Se and Arvind Swamy in Bombay.

"If you go beyond watching the news, you realise reporting live from any place of heavy action can be so fascinating. Your life, your job, and sometimes your credibility are at stake. Yet, giving out the truth to the public is the prime agenda of a journalist and that's so fascinating. He fights his own battle and passes on information to us," says Lakhia.

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