Launched - Anupama Chopra's book -- "The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema" -- with Kangana Ranaut, Rajeev Masand and Arunabh Kumar on Tuesday, April 7, Taj Lands

 Launched - Anupama Chopra's book -- "The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema" -- with Kangana Ranaut, Rajeev Masand and Arunabh Kumar on Tuesday, April 7, Taj Lands

The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema by Anupama Chopra

The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema is a collection of Anupama Chopras’ televised interviews with both Bollywood and Hollywood personalities. These include Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut , Priyanka Chopra as well as a host of international celebrities that include Jackie Chan, Will Smith, Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp to name a few.

These conversations give an insight into the creative process of actors, directors and producers who have made some of the most memorable movies in recent times. The interviews were conducted from 2012-2014, the years the show 'The Front Row' aired on Star World. 

Recalling the experience of creating the show, Anupama Chopra said, "The sound stage, now studio number 6, at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio has a storied past. The studio itself was founded in 1954.  For two years, this space was also my professional home.  The Front Row set, a medley of black, blue and white shimmering mirrors, stood here from April 2012 to 2014.   Every week, we shot reviews, interviews and panel discussions.  The hours were long but the set was intimate.  I remember one December evening when we shot two conversations in a row – first an actor’s panel with Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh followed immediately with a promotional interview for Dhoom 3 with Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra.  The first panel ran late, Aamir arrived early. At one point, there was a star jam on stage 6.  
We shot an interview with Yo Yo Honey Singh at midnight because that’s when he comes alive.  One of the many cats at Mehboob Studio traipsed on the set during a shoot with the Barfi cast – Ranbir Kapoor continued unfazed.  My moment of bliss came when one of my favourite directors Ang Lee came on set for an interview on Life of Pi – I felt that the space had been blessed.  Each interview felt new.  Each day was fun."
Below is an excerpt from the foreword by Kangana Ranaut:

“Interviews are a part of my job, but they aren’t all the same. There are the really crappy ones that test your patience. Those are not real interviews. Sometimes, they ask you to do funny things like sing a song or twirl. You’re treated like a ‘madari ka bandar’, and it’s embarrassing. Then there are genuine interviews, like the ones on The Front Row. I often joke that my interview in The Front Row was the biggest hit I ever had. It was a real interview.  We talked about things that matter.”

For a quick video insight into the book click on the link below.
About Anupama Chopra
ANUPAMA CHOPRA is a film critic, television anchor and author. She is also director of the Mumbai Film Festival. She has been writing about Bollywood since 1993. She is founder and editor of the Film Companion channel on YouTube ( Film Companion offers a curated look at cinema – Bollywood, Hollywood and beyond. Anupama has also worked extensively with Star World, Star Plus and NDTV 24/7. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Hindustan Times, The Los Angeles Times and VOGUE (India). In 2001, Anupama won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema for Sholay: The Making of a Classic.

Report of the Event:

The event which was held at the poolside Taj Lands end began at least an hour late. The guests though were kept in high spirits with assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and finger eats. Anil Dharker gave the assembled audience constituting friends, colleagues and well-wishers from the media, Anupama's family represented by parents, sister Tanuja Chandra and Anupama's husband Producer Moghul Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Since the main attraction, Two-time national award winning actress, Kangana Rannaut and one of the celebrity guests whose quotes set a trend on twitter and youtube, was delayed , it was left to the three others assembled on the stage to begin the conversation. A short AV of the show was played and then the conversation starter was about how it was becoming increasingly difficult for TV interviewers cum critics to get stars on their shows. Because while one day they are seen to be joking and laughing on the show the next day their films are being panned and their performances ripped apart by the same host they thought was their friend.  Arunabh Kumar was of the opinion that digital media has now made it possible to entice stars into coming on board for fun interviews that are rendered n a lighter and much friendlier vein. In fact the stars who shun the Anupama's and Rajeev's of the Media world find it easier and much more profitable to be lampooned and trended on social networking sites. 

Anupama also spoke about how the trend today is towards advertorials and how advertising, marketing and journalism have merged to convey paid news to the unsuspecting reader. It's a trend that she and her fellow senior journalist compatriots find difficult to navigate. 

When Kangana made her entry it was time to discuss the interview she had done on 'The Front Row' and the famous quotes that shocked most people who watched the show.  Her candid quotes on marriage and the conditioning of women towards that aspect  
 were a trend setter on twitter and other social networking sites and she had even received numerous calls congratulating her on her statements while expressing surprise that it was she who said it. 

Kangana admitted that she never reads the newspaper neither does she watch TV. She doesn't want to be influenced by adulterated content that is more often fake than truth. She was also candid enough to say that she would never be able to do a jhatka, utter a dialogue form one of her films or sing a song on one of the many shows she may be invited to. She is just not comfortable doing so. She respects her craft and doesn't want to demean it in any fashion. On the other hand she accepts that there may be stars /actors who have no compunction of entertaining the audience of TV or live shows with their filmy antics. Kangana was all praise for Anupama's ability to get her to talk freely and openly about her thoughts and feelings. After that interview, her popularity soared to new heights and she's never had to look back since. 

At the end it was the turn of the assembled guests to unwrap the book and present it to the audience!


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