Power lists, box-office lists, most sexy lists... we see a lot of those in bollywood. But none of those lists tell us what filmi people are really like, as people, not as stars. So we decided to find out.
We’re tired of the polls and surveys that put film stars on power lists, box-office lists, love lists and so on. Instead, we want to know the real deal. For instance, of all the filmi people, who’s the biggest gossip? Who’s the actor most likely to drive you crazy over the minutest details? And who’s the person you can run to if you have a sad story to tell?
Since we’re not part of Bollywood — we only report on it — we can’t answer these questions ourselves. And we know that people within the industry don’t like to chat about their colleagues for fear of upsetting them.
So we did the next best thing. We asked six filmmakers all our questions, assuring them that we’d keep their names confidential, and got the answers we wanted. After all, who knows a film industry person better than another film industry person?
So who’s what in Bollywood? Read on to find out.
Everyone in Bollywood gossips, said our secret panel. But some chatter much more than others. Karan Johar and Rakhi Sawant got the most votes — four each. Kareena got two and Shabana Azmi and Amrita Rao one each. Here’s what our anonymous panel said about them.
Karan Johar: He speaks his mind and makes no bones about it. That’s what’s nice about him. He talks about the whole industry without a problem. It’s rare to find people like him in the industry.
Rakhi Sawant: She’s one of the biggest gossipmongers in the industry and has the latest information about everyone.
Kareena Kapoor: She loves gossiping. It’s her favourite pastime.
Amrita Rao: She talks about everyone and has borne the brunt of being labelled a gossip.
Shabana Azmi: She is very good at gossip. If you really want to know about anyone in the industry, call her and she will give you all the details.
King of one-liners
There’s a big difference between making jokes and being witty. So who’s the person whose one-liners are most likely to make you crack up on the sets? Well, Farhan Akthar got six votes and Abhishek Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan logged four each. Here’s what our anonymous panel had to say about them.
Farhan Akhtar: He has the ability to come up with the wittiest lines when you are not expecting them and he does it all the time. Even when he’s involved in his work, he comes up with perfect one-liners. He doesn’t have to think about it, he’s very spontaneous.
Abhishek Bachchan: He comes out with the best one-liners when you least expect it, and keeps a straight face when he cracks jokes. It’s great fun to work with actors like him on a comedy film. They really create the atmosphere needed for the movie.
Most fun on the sets
Every time a film star talks about work, he or she claims that being on the sets is like being at a picnic. When we asked our anonymous panel who’s the most fun on the sets, Johnny Lever topped with six votes, Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan got four each and Manoj Bajpayee got two.
Johnny Lever: He is full of fun and jokes all the time. There is never a dull moment on the sets with him around. Even at parties and events he is full of life and energy. When Govinda joins him, it is double dhamaal.
Ajay Devgn: He is funny all the time, loves to joke and make people laugh. He is always up to some mischief on the sets and keeps everyone in splits.
Amitabh Bachchan: He looks quiet but can be very funny. He can keep you entertained for hours with his jokes and conversation.
Manoj Bajpayee: He can make everyone around him laugh, even in a serious situation. He is very easygoing and lively even in times of stress.
Biggest livewire on the sets
You have to wonder where they get their energy from. Preity Zinta topped this poll with six votes, while Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan got four each.
Preity Zinta: She is the liveliest actor in Bollywood. She has so much energy, even late at night, that you wonder where it all comes from. She is never tired or dull.
Saif Ali Khan: There is never a dull moment with him on the sets. He keeps coming up with new things to talk about and then plays the guitar. The sets just burst with energy when he is around.
Ajay Devgn: Ajay not only keeps everyone on their toes but also makes sure that there are no lacklustre moments on the sets. He is always crackling with energy, playing games and cracking jokes. He is always up to some mischief.
Quietest person on the sets
It was unanimous. Amitabh Bachchan and Prabhudeva each scored six votes. Why? Our anonymous panel explains.
Amitabh Bachchan: He is one of the quietest actors. He comes on the sets, settles in a corner with a book and never interferes in anything that goes on around him.
Prabhudheva: He is a very shy and quiet man. Never gives his opinion unless asked to. It’s great working with people like him.
Best shoulder to cry on
Bollywood people refer to the film industry as a fraternity, but some people in it are the best pals of all to have. Our anonymous panel gave Salman Khan and Madhur Bhandarkar six votes each, while Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Sanjay Dutt followed with two votes each. Here’s why.
Salman Khan: Call him any time of the day and he will listen to your woes and help you out. He is the best 4-am-friend you can have. And he does not tell your tales to other people.
Madhur Bhandarkar: Any time you have problems, you can rely on him. He has always helped anyone in need. You can bank on him at any time. If you are in trouble, you can call him immediately.
Sanjay Dutt: He’s like an older brother you can trust when you’re in need. He has always been there in testing times.
Preity Zinta: She is always there to listen to you and ever ready to help you in your distress. She will go out of her way for you if she feels that you are in trouble.
Shah Rukh Khan: He may not be the best of friends with everyone, but is ever ready to help anyone in trouble. He will be there for you at any time.
No nakhras from these people! Our anonymous panel were unanimous about Emraan Hashmi who got six votes, while Imtiaz Ali got five and Ajay Devgn two.
Emraan Hashmi: He’s so cool on the sets that you don’t even realise he’s there. He’s a great actor to work with, who never lets you feel the pressure.
Imtiaz Ali: He is the calmest person ever. Even during shoots he is never stressed out. He never gets hassled.
Ajay Devgn: He is very calm on the sets, and off them, and never gets worried in difficult situations. He
just takes charge and handles everything easily.
They say God is in the details. Some actors are, too. Who? Aamir topped the poll with five votes, followed by Hrithik Roshan with four. Abhay Deol and Ajay Devgn got two each and Rahul Bose one. Here’s why.
Aamir Khan: He loves being perfect. He is not only honest in his profession but in everything he does in life. The most important thing in his life is that whatever he wants to do, he must do correctly. If he has to enter a particular lane and there is a no entry sign, he will go back say, two-and-a-half kilometers, and then enter the lane — even if the building he wants to get to is just the second one in the lane. Whatever the cost, what he does must be correct.
Hrithik Roshan: A complete perfectionist. Be it his lines or work or a scene, he will go out of his way to perfect it. You just have to give him the details of his role and bang! He will make sure it is perfect to a T.
Abhay Deol: He is a perfectionist in his work and his everyday chores. He will go to great lengths when it comes to getting his work done perfectly. But what is good about him is that he does not force others to do the same.
Ajay Devgn: He is a complete perfectionist — always on time and particular about everything he does, be it his lines, his clothes or reporting to a shoot.
Rahul Bose: A perfectionist in every walk of life. He is like a schoolmaster who is always worried about indiscipline. He keeps advising and lecturing everybody. If the food is late he will lecture the spot boy. He expects
everyone to be perfect like him.
HT Café Adds…
Though we’re not part of Bollywood, we have been reporting on it for years. So we’ve added a few lists of our own, based on our interactions with people from the film industry
Married and proud of it
In an industry where link-ups, affairs and flings are part of the game, a couple of people have steered clear of all controversies.
Imran Khan: Aamir Khan’s bhanja could easily be the poster boy of successful marriages in Bollywood with his absolutely spotless image vis-à-vis his personal life. He started dating Avantika Malik at age 19, married her in 2011 and attributes his personal growth to the relationship.
Abhishek Bachchan: Ever since he married Aishwarya Rai in 2007, they have been called the ‘super couple’ and clubbed together as ‘Abhi-Ash’. And there have been no rumours of link-ups or flings.
AB Jr. is a hands-on dad too, even changing their daughter Aaradhya’s nappies when necessary.
There’s no doubt about who’s the first man in their lives… Priyanka Chopra tops this chart, followed by Sonakshi Sinha, with Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor lagging behind.
Priyanka Chopra: Daughter of Dr Ashok Chopra, PC has always been very close to her dad. No matter how busy her schedule is, she’s always there for him and refers to her father as her backbone and the man whose advice she always takes.
Sonakshi Sinha: She doesn’t talk about her father much. But the daughter of actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha will not disobey him ever, and continues to live with her parents even though she has her own flat in their family home.
For these men, the kids come first. Always.
Akshay Kumar: He’s possibly the busiest actor in B-town, but Akshay spends every Sunday, when he’s in town, with his son Aarav and daughter Nitara. He picks up Aarav from school when possible and often talks about all the things the two of them do together.
Shah Rukh Khan: No matter which part of the world he may be in, SRK has always managed to sneak in time for his kids, Aryan and Suhana. He makes sure he attends their school meetings, plays games with them and takes them on holidays. And he talks about them all the time. By now, everyone knows of Aryan’s love for sports and Suhana’s creative writing and poetry.