Anupama Chopra happens to be a journo turned author. And now she has come up with her latest book named “The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema by Anupama Chopra”. It was released recently by none other than the Queen herself, Kangana Ranaut at Taj Lands End on one pleasant evening over a cool session of wine & vodka.
Incidentally speaking the book “The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema” is a collection of Anupama Chopras’ televised interviews with both Bollywood & 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 & Johnny Depp to name just a few.
These conversations give an insight into the creative process of actors, directors & 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 averred, “The sound stage, now studio number 6, at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio has a storied past. The studio itself was founded in 1954. For 2 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 & panel discussions. The hours were long but the set was intimate. I remember one December evening when we shot 2 conversations in a row, first an actor’s panel with Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh followed immediately with a promotional interview for ‘Dhoom 3’ with Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan & Uday Chopra. The first panel ran late, Aamir arrived early. At one point, there was a star jam on stage 6. That apart 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.”
On the same occasion Kangana Ranaut averred, “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.”
As a parting shot a brief intro of Anupama Chopra would not be out of place here. Anupama Chopra is basically a film critic, television anchor & author. She is also the director of the Mumbai Film Festival. She has been writing about Bollywood since the year 1993. She is founder & 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 & NDTV 24/7. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Hindustan Times, The Los Angeles Times & VOGUE (India). In 2001, Anupama won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema for “Sholay: The Making Of A Classic”.