02/01/2015 2:53 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

The Grain of Truth in Every Roast

By Rajeev Masand

I have a feeling you'll be hearing about the AIB Knockout featuring Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor for some days to come. Modelled after Comedy Central's popular Roast, the two Gunday stars signed up to be humiliated, insulted, laughed at and openly ridiculed by a panel of comedians (and the occasional odd-man-out, read yours truly!) at a live event with a 4,000-strong audience in attendance last Saturday, whose proceeds were divided among three charities.

The two actors sportingly took dozens of jokes on everything from Arjun's obese past and Ranveer's sleazy reputation, to their lack of talent and their sheer luck at landing hot movie-star girlfriends. Filmmaker Karan Johar played Roast Master at the event, willingly subjecting himself to a barrage of gay jokes, even as his 70-year-old mum smiled nervously from the front row. In an unscripted moment that threw off even the usually unfazed Johar, Ranveer Singh made his entry on stage, grabbing the director by his face and planting a wet one smack on his mouth, causing the stadium to erupt in deafening laughter. From that point on, the evening quickly turned into a slaughterhouse for Ranveer and Arjun's egos, which had to have taken a good-natured pounding at the hands of the roasters. "You're the least talented person in a family that also has Sonam Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor," one funnyman declared to Arjun. At another point, Johar said: "Ranveer, you've made such terrible movies lately, it's like the last good thing you were in was Deepika Padukone." Ouch!

But wait, Deepika was right there in the front row, laughing through the dozens of jokes aimed at her boyfriend that invariably mentioned her too. Equally sporting was Alia Bhatt, also chuckling from the front as the roasters directed sharp one-liners her way too.

A Good Friend and Great Sport

Reportedly, Sonakshi Sinha and Arjun Kapoor are on a break. The Tevar stars who started dating while shooting the film some months ago, have decided to take it slow barely months into their relationship. Their movie opens in January and they've been spending a lot of time together travelling across the country on a promotional spree, but they're "just good friends now" and no more.

And since good friends show up for each other's gigs, Sonakshi turned up at the Roast too, and smiled through all the jokes that were cracked about Arjun and her, specifically about her weight. "Sonakshi acted in a movie called Lootera, which was based on an O'Henry short story called The Last Leaf," one roaster began. "The Last Leaf... because Sonakshi ate all the rest," the joke went. Big props to the actress for taking it on the chin--"It's true!" she yelled out from her seat in the front row.

Presence of the Uninvited

Later the same night, the celebrations moved to Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif's terrace garden in Bandra, where the couple hosted some of their friends to a night of drunken revelry that reportedly wound up at 4.30 the following morning. Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, Imran Khan and Avantika Malik, Ayan Mukerji, Imtiaz Ali, Rajkumar Hirani and Vikas Bahl all showed up and hung out at Ranbir and Katrina's plush new pad, digging into a mutton delicacy that had everyone raving. Conspicuous by their absence were Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, who were apparently not on the guest list but who for their own part continued celebrating after the Roast with Finding Fanny director Homi Adajania and his wife Anaita Shroff-Adajania.

Hirani's Choice

Ranbir Kapoor, one hears, is more or less locked to take the lead in Rajkumar Hirani's next film... which won't be a sequel to PK, despite what its final scene might have suggested. The 3 Idiots director, notorious for taking long gaps between films, has reportedly decided on his next subject already, and is believed to have confirmed Ranbir for the film.

Sources close to Hirani reveal that Ranbir was in fact the director's first choice to play the alien protagonist in PK, but the filmmaker couldn't say 'no' to Aamir, who was insistent on doing the film. Aware that PK addressed sensitive but relevant themes, and had the potential to be a game changer, Aamir is said to have 'hounded' Hirani to cast him over any other actor that the director may have been considering.

Before the film's release--and ever since the trailers went public--Aamir's arched eyebrows, and glimpses of what appeared to be an on-the-nose performance drew much flak from film buffs and industrywalas alike... making even Hirani nervous. But evidently the actor knew exactly what he was doing. Unanimously declared one of his best performances recently, critics and fans have both acknowledged that Aamir succeeded in not caricaturing a character that could've easily fallen prey to a broad stereotype. But having made two films with Aamir in a row, Hirani appears to have decided to go in a different direction with his next, opting for the younger superstar to topline the new project that remains, typically, shrouded in Christopher Nolan-level secrecy.

Transitory Delights

Rumours about this attractive actress and her co-star in an upcoming have been growing louder by the day, and it's refreshing to note that neither is making any effort to deny or hide the fact that they're dating. The pair showed up at the housewarming party of the actress' manager recently, and no one raised any eyebrows at their closeness. A big fan of high- heeled shoes because of her height, the actress has apparently given up wearing heels so she doesn't appear to tower over her new boyfriend. Industrywalas are cynical about their relationship, however. They insist the pair will last as long as their movie clicks. "Both are coming off break-ups, and it's clear there's a strong physical attraction between them. But if the film tanks, more than likely they'll quickly get over each other and move on," one seasoned producer reasons.

Perhaps they'll cross that bridge when they reach it. For now, it's all new and shiny and they seem to want to make the most of it. Who're we to grudge them that, eh?

Sticky Encounter

A top female star and a male A-lister she once used to date crossed paths at a filmi wedding reception last week, and eye- witnesses swear there was so much tension in the air you could cut it with a knife. The actor, who was accompanied by his wife, and the actress, who showed up with her mother and a sizeable entourage, consciously avoided each other, both trying to look busy as they literally found themselves face to face.

This reaction is hardly surprising given their tumultuous history. The pair could never openly acknowledge their relationship although it was Bollywood's worst kept secret. Details, however, came tumbling out after a scandalous controversy involving a disgruntled employee popped up.

To be fair, the actor is one of the industry's leading skirt- chasers and has always been--his image of a devoted family man no more than an unconvincing cover up, say Bollywood insiders. She, meanwhile, is in a much better place professionally than she was when they were together, although a healthy romantic relationship has eluded her for a while.

This article is from Open Magazine.