Vidur’s International Forays : Hollywood

Today I am completing 21 years in Mumbai as an acting trainer. In these 21 years I have trained innumerable actors of Hindi films and many more of South Indian Films. I have covered a whole gamut of Indian actors. Suddenly on October 04, 2010, I got a call from  Seher Latif, a Casting Director for Hollywood films. She asked me if I could come to Udaipur to train Dev Patel of ” Slumdog Millionaire ” fame. It was for his new film, ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “. Initally I was purplexed at the offer and then I was extatic. I started my innings as a trainer with Geetanjali Khanna and Saif Ali Khan and during these fatefull years, [ October 1989 – October 2010 ] I have trained almost 90% of the new-comers of Hindi film industry and many of the South Ibdian Film Industry. And in the 21st year of my training here I am getting a chance to work with a Hollywood celebrity. I immediately agred and met Dev Patel in Mumbai’s Grand Maratha Hotel. I had one session here and then next day took flight to Udaipur.


Dev Patel

Image via Wikipedia


For my readers, I am reproducing some facts about Dev Patel from the internet………..

Dev Patel was born in Harrow, England, to Gujarati Indian parents, both of whom were born in Nairobi, Kenya, where there is a significant Indian community.[4][5] His parents both emigrated from Kenya separately in their teens, and only met in London.[5] His mother, Anita, is a carer, and his father, Raj, an IT consultant.[5] He has one sibling, an older sister named Komal.[6] He was raised in the Hindu faith.[7]

Patel grew up in Rayners Lane, Harrow, and attended Longfield Middle School. He had his first acting role as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the school’s production of Twelfth Night.[5] Patel was given the Best Actor award for his performance and says that was the day he knew he wanted to become an actor.[citation needed] He later went to Whitmore High School, receiving an A* in GCSE Drama, for his “self-penned portrayal of a child in the Beslan school siege“. During the exam Patel moved his examiner to tears! [8] His drama teacher Niamh Wright has stated: “Dev was a gifted student who quickly impressed me with his innate ability to communicate a wide variety of characters imaginatively and creatively. … He was awarded full marks for his GCSE performance to a live audience and the visiting examiner was moved to tears by his honest portrayal of a child in the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia.”[8][9] He eventually completed his AS Levels in PE, Biology, History and Drama in 2007, while he was working in Skins.[8]

Awards and nominations for Slumdog Millionaire :

Won :

I was elated when I was told that the director of ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ” is Mr. John Madden. I was delighted to meet and work with the director of ” Shakespeare In Love “. I met him next day of my reaching Udaipur and found him so unassuming and down to earth, that I got a shock of my life. There are so many lesser mortals in Hindi Film Industry, who after their minor and insignificant success, behave as if they have conquered the world and here was a director who had been nominated for Oscars for his film ” Shakespeare In Love ” and he lost the Award to Mr. Steven Spielberg, who won it for ” Saving Private Ryan “” , but was behaving as if he has done nothing. I am reproducing some informations about Mr. John Madden from internet………………………………

John Madden Photo

John Madden Biography


Date of Birth: April 8, 1949

This native of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England began his career in the English theater, moving later to the BBC to work in television and radio drama. Madden’s resumé as a stage director includes prestigious work in both Britain and the United States. He directed Caritas Christi at the National Theater and helmed Broadway productions of Beyond Therapy, Wings and Grownups; he also staged the latter at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

In 1975 he crossed the pond and moved to the States to develop radio drama with Earplay, a National Public Radio drama project. During his time directing in radio and on stage, he taught in the acting and playwriting programs at the Yale School of Drama.

In 1984 he began to work extensively in TV as well as directing for the BBC and for commercial television in the UK. He worked on popular series like The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, as well as telefilms like A Wreath of Roses and The Widowmaker.

Madden’s first feature, Ethan Frome (1993), was not a box office hit. However, there was praise for Bobby Bukowski’s striking cinematography, which added to the bleakness of the tale, and Madden was established as a competent storyteller.

He first garnered wide-scale notice with his feature Mrs. Brown (1997) starring Judi Dench. Dench was denied an Academy Award for her starring role, but was given a “runner-up” Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Madden’s next and most successful film, Shakespeare In Love (1998). The film not only received applause from critics and viewers alike, but it gave Madden nominations from the Oscars, BAFTA and Golden Globes for Best Director.



Killshot (2009)
Proof (2005)
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
Shakespeare In Love (1998) – Oscar Nomination for Best Director
Mrs. Brown (1997)
Golden Gate (1994)
Ethan Frome (1993)

In Udaipur I met writer of the film, Mr. Ol Parker also. I was impressed by his simplicity. I made few suggestions in the script and he agreed to all of them without any annoyance or protest. He patiently listened to me without frown and smilingly agrred to all of them. I have no knowledge of him , so I am quoting from the internet………………..

Ol Parker

(born 1969, London) is an English TV writer and director.

In 1997, he married actress Thandie Newton, who starred in his first film, It Was an Accident (2000).

His birth name was Oliver Parker, but he changed his first name to Ol, to avoid confusion with Oliver Parker who directed An Ideal Husband (1999).

Filmography :



Judi Dench

Image by lewishamdreamer via Flickr


I met Judy Dench also, who is part of the cast. I had never imagined that one day I would be meeting M of James Bond films. On 11 October I returned to Mumbai after a week long session with Dev Patel and immersed in my routine work.

My life has been a saga of frequent changes. I am not going to give up acting training for sure but I am starting my career as a film director. It is a Bhojpuri film and it would be my second directorial venture. My first directorial venture was ” BHAKTI HEECH KHARI SHAKTI ” in Marathi. My billing for that film was as a Co-Director. So in a awy this Bhojpuri film is my first film as a director. Naturally film direction is going to take much time of my life now.

In a sense I am feeling happy that as an acting trainer I have reached my pinnacle. From Indian films in Mumbai to the International Arena in Hollywood is a very satisfying journey indeed.


Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

[ For the information about  Dev Patel, Mr. John Madden and Mr. Ol Parker, I have quoted extensivelyfrom Wikipedia.I am thankful and express my gratitude. ]

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 1 : Udaipur [ B ]

I posted my blog about Udaipur trip from Udaipur. Next day I returned to Mumbai and immersed in hectic life style. I wanted to post the second part of my blog  immediately but was unable to do so because of various factors, specially my busy schedule. Since I am through with various pending works , so I decided to complete the blog today. After visiting City Palace and the famous Pichola Lake and Fateh Sagar Lake, I decide to visit other famous places on the outskirts of Udaipur. First visit was to SAHELION KI BADI :

1 – The Entrance of Sahelion Ki Badi;


2 – The Fountain & Swimming Pool inside Sahelion Ki Badi:

=============================================== 3 – The lotus Pond of Sahelion Ki Badi :


After Sahelion Ki Badi, it was the turn of MOTI MAGRI. It is a grand memorial of Maharana Pratap, built on the top of a hill.

1 – A Bird’s View of Moti Magri – Maharana Pratap Memorial :


2 – The Statue of Maharana Pratap at the Memorial :


It is sacrilege to be in Udaipur and not to visit Haldighati, the famous battleground of the war between Maharana Pratap and the forces of Akbar. I was dyeing for the pilgrimage but my work schedule in Udaipur was not permitting me. One day my session with Dev Patel got cancelled and I got this golden opportunity to visit Haldighati. I hired a cab and rushed to Haldighati. When I reached the famous pass, I had goosebumps. I became numb. Apart from Panipat and Khanwa, Haldighati is the third most famous battleground in Indian History and here I was entering there, right there ;

1 – The Pass of the Haldighati Battlefield :


2 – Anther View of the same Haldighati Pass :


3 – Gate of Rakta Talai, where actual battle took place :


4 – Another View of Rakta Talai :


5 – The Entrance of Chetak Samadhi :


6- Replica of Haldighati at Moti Magri :


After visiting Haldighati, I went into trance. I felt as if  in my previous birth, I was also there in the army of Maharana Pratap. I could feel the place. I have just one humble suggestion that the place should have been preserved in its pristine form and not as the modern park, which I got to see. But anyway, I am still dazed.


Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

Vidur’s Travel Diary – 1 : Udaipur [ A ]

I always fancied Mr. Vir Sanghvi‘s flair for writing on the topics as varied as politics, food, wine and travel. It would be asinine for me to compare myself with legendary Vir Sanghvi, but I do have some flair for writing on politics and films. Though I always fancied and wanted to write on Travel and Food also. But I did not want to start my travel writing on some pleasure trip. I wanted to write about a visit , about a trip which is worthwhile. And I found an opportunity now. I was called to Udaipur to train Dev Patel of  ” Slumdog Millionaire ” fame as  dialogue coach by the team of a British film, ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “. The film being directed by Mr. John Madden, who incidentally directed ” Shakespeare in Love “, is a comedy based in Rajasthan. I can’t disclose more about the film at this juncture. I will write a separate blog on my this international foray, later on.

Maharana Pratap by Raja Ravi Varma ((1848 CE -...

Image via Wikipedia - Painting by Raja Ravi Varma

I took 11.00 AM flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai on October 04, 2010 and landed at Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur at 12.15 PM. I was thrilled, as Udaipur is the part of Mewar, kingdom of Sisodia Rajputs. It is the clan which gave birth to warriors like Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sanga and Maharana Pratap. This clan is known by the names of  queens like Maharani Padmini and Maharani [ later on Saint Poetess ] like Meera Bai. It is the land of  Jaimal and Patta and of Panna Dhai, who sacrificed her own son for the safety of the crown prince Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap. It is the land of Haldighati. I got goose bumps when I landed at the Maharana Pratap Airport of Udaipur. I was received at the airport by Casting Director Seher Latif and was driven straightaway to Udaivilas Palace Hotel.



I had read about this hotel in the column – Rude Travel , of Vir Singhvi, a weekly column which he writes in the Sunday edition of Hindustan Times – Cafe. I was anticipating the grandeur but what I saw , left me awestruck and numb. Udaivilas Palace Hotel is simply beyond words. When I came out my car and started walking inside, the entrance, the courtyard, the lobby and the elegant galleries leading towards the suites left me speechless. There were several people continuously working for the upkeep. No wonder Udaivilas is so immaculately maintained. I have special place in my heart for the staff of this hotel. They are courtessy personified, very polite and humble. I have some really bad experience with the snooty staff of some of the lesser known hotels. But I will always remember warm smile and polite namaste with folded hands of the staff of Udaivilas Palace Hotel. Their dresses are also elegantly done. I don’t have enough money to stay here on my own. But if ever I have my coffers full by any chance, I shall come with my family and stay here for at least one night. It is an earnest wish. I am putting some photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel here :

1 – Main Entrance of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :


2 – The Courtyard of Udaivilas Palace Hotel :


3 – The Courtyard – One More View


4 – The Corridors Leading Towards Suites :


5 – A Suite of Udaivilas Palace Hotel


Udaipur – The City :


This last capital of Mewar was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559. It is surrounded by Aravalli Hills and adorned by several natural and man – made lakes. It is because of this that Udaipur is known as the Venice of the East. Its largest lake Fateh Sagar looks like this :



Udaipur/Rajasthan/India City Palace

Image via Wikipedia

Ferguson has described City Palace as the largest in Rajputana.  Situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, it is not a uniformed structure. It is a cluster of buildings, made by every ruler as per his needs, whims and fancies since 1571. Nevertheless it is a spectacle to watch. On one side there is the magnificent view of Udaipur city and on the other side there is beautiful Lake Pichola.

The exterior of the Palace ;


The Manak Mahal :


The Khush Mahal :


It is not possible to write the complete account of Udaipur in one blog. So I am concluding it today and shall write another blog about other places of Udaipur and about immortal Haldighati. In the last I am putting a photo of Mor Chouk of City Palace. This is the same peacock, which Dev Anand shows to the tourists in his film ” Guide “.


Udaipur – Rajasthan – India

Ode – 4 : To Anusha Rizvi


I wanted to write about Anusha Rizvi and her film ” Peepli [ Live ] ” ever since I watched the film. My initial reaction was of shock and awe. I was unable to believe that a journalist-turned-director, who is a first timer, can make such a poignant film about rural India. It is so well-written and treated with such a sensitive way that after the film gets over, you are unable to believe that the story of Natha is over. It speaks volumes about the legendary conviction of Aamir Khan also, who backed the film to the hilt and saw to it that it gets a mainstream release. But had the film been a mediocre one, any amount of publicity, any amount of hype would have been gone awry. So in my opinion, the stupendous success does not stand only at the door of  the producer of ” Peepli [Live ] ” . Aamir Khan deserves full marks for agreeing to produce the film. He should be congratulated for having implicit faith in a debutante and a wannabe director Anusha Rizvi. But Anusha Rizvi also deserves distinction marks because she could justify the faith imposed in her by her star producer and his banner.



Image via Wikipedia


She becomes the second Indian, after Satyajit Ray, whose debut film is going to the Oscars. Isn’t it incredible? ” Pather Panchali ” and ” Peepli [ Live ] ”  have few things in common. Both the films are the debut films of their directors and both the films depict the story of rural India. Recent Hindi films have been city centric and since the new crop of the directors are ignorant of our rural ethos, their films are based in urban India and they cater to urban people only. ” Peepli [ Live ] ” beaks this rule and that too quite poignantly and successfully. Like Satyajit Ray’s ” Pather Panchali ” it portrays rural India’s poverty, misery and simple way of life. It portrays the forgotten village life of India’s approximately 5,75,000 villages.


Apu and his sister Durga running to catch a gl...

Image via Wikipedia - Famous Scene Of Pather Panchali


Rural India has fascinating stories to tell and this debutante director Anusha Rizvi decides to tread the unbeaten path and succeeds impressively like her predecessor legendary Satyajit Ray.


Satyajit Ray.

Image via Wikipedia


Aamir Khan is also unique in a way that his first film as a producer ” Lagaan ”  was a village-centric film. It was India’s official entry to the Oscars and it was selected also in the foreign films category. Only 5 Indian films have qualified for the Oscars so far. incidentally ” Peepli [ Live ] ”  is Aamir’s 4th film, which is selected for the Oscars – ” Lagaan” ,  ” Rang De Basanti “,  ” Taare Zameen Par ” and now ” Peepli [ Live ] “.


Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) with his cricket team cons...

Image via Wikipedia - Aamir's Cricket Team in Lagaan


I have become a huge fan of Anusha Rizvi and wish her all the success !



Udaipur – Rajasthan – India





Vidur’s Film Diary – September 2010

Its September and ” Dabangg “ is creating history at the box office.It becomes the second highest grosser of all times. It is next only to ” 3 Idiots “.

To emphasise my points and to show latest trends in the industry, I am quoting few relevant tweets of eminent trade analyst Mr. Taran Adarsh :

taran_adarsh Midweek B.O.: ‘We Are Family’ under-performs, has Rs. 14.2 cr. weekend


‘We Are Family’ Update II: Thu: Rs. 2.7 cr., Fri: Rs. 3 cr., Sat: Rs. 4 cr., Sun: Rs. 4.5 cr. The jump in business is missing.


Okay, for those curious to know how many screens ‘Dabangg’ opens in India, well, the number is 1584 screens.


‘Dabangg’ Update: Biggest opening so far [amongst 2010 releases] in Rajasthan.


UAE Update: ‘Dabangg’ 1 million Dirhams. Creates history.

FRIDAY TOTAL: ‘Dabangg’ Rs. 14.5 cr. ‘3 Idiots’ Rs. 13 cr.


‘Dabangg’ I: Has shattered all records and emerged the biggest opener ever. Has crossed the opening weekend business of ‘3 Idiots’.


‘Dabangg’ Monday Rs. 10 cr., Fri to Mon total Rs. 58.5 cr. nett. ‘3 Idiots’ Thu previews to Monday was Rs. 52 cr. nett.


Dabangg emerges the biggest opener ever of Hindi cinema. Collected approx Rs 81 cr. nett in Week 1, overtaking the Week 1 total of 3 Idiots


‘Inception’ is Incredible. Has set a new record for Hollywood films at Indian boxoffice. Completed 50 days at 45 plexes across the country.


Luckily there were no deaths in the industry this month.

New Releases & Me

First Week – September 03

1 – We Are Family……………………………………….Kareena Kapoor
………………………………………………………………Arjun Rampal

2 – The Film Emotional Atyachar………………………x

3 – Mallika………………………………………………..Sammir Dattani
……………………………………………………………..Himanshu Mallik
……………………………………………………………..Pooja Ballutia

Second Week – September 10

1 – Dabangg………………………………………………Sonu Sood
……………………………………………………………..Arbaaz Khan

Third Week – September 17

1 – Life Express……………………………………….Divya Dutta

Fourth Week – September 24

1 – Ek Aadat……………………………………………x

In total ..6… films got released this month. Out of these..6….films , my …..8……students were there in….4….films. Out of these ..8….students …7… are actors,and …1…..Arbaz Khan is the producer & actor both.

News This month :

1 – Amitabh Bachchan got National Award for ” Paa ” as Best Actor . His 4th after ” Saat Hindustani “, ” Agnipath ” and ” Black ” .

2 – The Film Federation of India selected Aamir Khan‘s ” Peepli [ Live ] “ as India’s official entry for the oscars in the Best Foreign Film category.

3 – ” Peepli [ Live ] ” is the fourth Aamir Khan film that is going to the Oscars after ” Lagaan ” , ” Rang De Basanti ” and ” Taare Zameen Par ” .

4 – ” Peepli [Live ] “ got Best Feature Film Award at the Durban Film Festival.

5 – ” Peepli [ Live ] ” had won Anusha Rizvi the Best Debutante Director Award at the Sundance Festival .

6 – The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences have approached Prakash Jha for acquiring the sceenplay of ” Raajneeti ” .

7 – Mani Ratnam was awarded the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmaker Award at the 67th Venice Film Festival for ” Raavanan ” , the Tamil version of ” Raavan ” .

8 – The government has lifted the ban on Satyajit Ray’s 1971 documentary film on Sikkim, after almost 35 years after its imposition.

9 – ONV Kurup [ Lyricist of Malayalam films like ” Madhanolsavam ” and his latest ” Pazhasi Raja ” ] and Shahryar [ Lyricist of ” Umrao Jaan ” & ” Gaman ” ] got Jnanpith Award for the year 2007 and 2008 respectively.

10 – Udan wins Best Film Award at the Houston Film Festival.


1 – Dev Anand , Yash Chopra , Lata Mangeshkar and Ranbir Kapoor celebrated their birthday this month.

National Awards & Me

57th National Film Awards were announced on September 16th . None of my students won National Awards this year. But there are 3 films, which got awards and in these films my 5 students were there as actors. I am proud to be part of following 3 National Award winning films. These films are :

1 – ” 3 Idiots ” [ Most Popular Film ]…………..Kareena Kapoor

2 – ” Delhi 6 ” [ National Integration ]…………Sonam Kapoor

3 – ” Well Done Abba ” [ Social Issues ]………………….Sammir Dattani ,
………………………………………………………………………..Minissha Lamba ,
………………………………………………………………………..Divya Dutta




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