INTERVIEW: NOUREEN DEWULF #QNA #ANGERMANAGEMENT #THEJUICE

Noureen Dewulf interviewed by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) over Skype for The Juice for the February 2015 issue.

American-Indian actress and one of Maxim’s 100 Most Desirable Women on the Planet, Noureen Dewulf, talks about working opposite Charlie Sheen, breaking Hollywood stereotypes and Bollywood plans.

Congratulations on the pregnancy! Has it been tough to juggle the pregnancy along with the last few episode of Anger Management?
Thank you so much! You know, I think you have to find a balance for yourself as a human being so it’s really not been that tough. I really want to be one of those women who has it, all you know. It’s 2014, so I don’t want to give up my acting career because I want a family and I certainly don’t want to give up on having a family just because I am a successful actor. I want everything and I know that I can do everything – I’ve always found a way of making things work. Maybe I’m naïve, but that’s my dream (chuckes).

How do you look back on possibly the biggest gig of your life, Anger Management, as it comes to an end?
I think I’m the same actress but a lot more people know who I am. A lot of people have gotten a chance to see what I’m really good at – being funny. I’ve been working for many years but this was really my first breakout hit. I auditioned against some well-known blonde actresses for Lacey, and I’m proud that I got this on the strength of my abilities as a comedic actress and not because of my ethnicity. So I really hope that it sets me up for something even greater in the future.

It’s amazing how you’ve had a career where your roles have had very little to do with your ethnicity or the colour of your skin. How did you manage that?
I had taken a decision that I’d rather not work for a while than take on stereotypical roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing Indian characters. That’s who I am and I’m so proud of my Indian heritage. But I wanted to show the world that somebody can be Indian by birth but all of her characters don’t have to consistently talk about her race. In the beginning it was tough, people would be like, ‘Why does she think she can be ethnic and not play ethnic roles’ (laughs). But I think if you develop a confidence in yourself and your abilities, and work hard and are a good performer, the same people go, ‘Why should be stop her!’

There’s also this thing in Hollywood where they try to categorise you as the ‘hot actress’.
(Laughs) Yeah, there’ve been times where I’ve had to downplay that a lot but I think, sometimes, it helps a little bit so I’m happy to use that as well. I am lucky to be seen in that way but I do try and do all sorts of different roles – I remember, in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, they covered me from head to toe because why would Matthew McConaughey’s character have this assistant around the whole time and not be dating her!

You’ve worked with some crazy A-list talent like Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Jennifer Lopez, Charlie Sheen…
I remember, on my first day of working with him, I was like, ‘Wow! Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen!’ He’s the king of the sitcoms, a Hollywood legend! I really do like him a lot as a person and I continue to be star struck by him. He’s so smart and honest, and he’s a standup guy. I don’t think a lot of people realise how nice and respectful he is. He’s a friend of my husband and mine now, we have dinner at each others’ houses. Yeah, I never thought I’d be telling the world that I’m friends with Charlie sheen but here I am (laughs).

So what have you picked up from these phenomenally talented actors along the way?
I’ve always been pleasantly surprised when I meet some of these bigger stars because they are so nice. I’ve definitely picked that up from them: the fact that they are so, so famous and yet are so kind and down to earth. You can’t live in a bubble because to be a good actor, you have to have life experiences. With McConaughey, particularly, I learnt the value of being uniquely focused, even when you are doing a comedy. From all the great comedic actors I’ve worked with, I realised that to make an audience laugh, you have to be willing to make a total fool out of yourself (laughs).

Any plans of working in Bollywood?
It’s one of my dreams! I’ve grown up watching Bollywood. The first cinematic experience I had was being in love with Hema Malini and some of these legends that my parents loved too, when we watched these movies together. I’ve gotten scripts that have been quite cool but it’s been tough to commit because Bollywood schedules are really lax (laughs). But I love India, I love Indian food, I love Indian spices, and I have a very deep connection with being Indian. Growing up, the question I was asked every day was, ‘Where are you from’, so you really identify with the fact that you are an Indian. I can’t wait to work in Bollywood.

Noureen Dewulf’s Style Files (Box)

Sense of style: Easy going, sexy and chic
Fashion must-have: Pointy black high heels and a fabulous purse
Fashion must-do: Eyeliner every day, good hair every day
Comfort dress: Jeans and a tank top
Something she’ll never wear: A mumu
Favourite shopping destination: Paris
Favourite designer: Loving all the Australian designers right now
Best style advice she has received: Never look like you tried to hard… A dress can be low cut or short but never both.
One Indian style statement she loves: Bangles with everything


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Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the February 2015 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MOVE OVER, TELEVISION. YOUTUBE’S HERE! #TV #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in November 2015 for The Juice. An edited version of the piece can be found here: http://goo.gl/VnU3Xk


The story of the birth of The Viral Fever (TVF), one of India’s only two independently owned YouTube channels with over a million subscribers, is stuff of legend amongst content creators today. When TVF’s founder and CEO, Arunabh Kumar’s, original TV series pitch to MTV India went south, Kumar put out a spoof on YouTube, called ‘Rowdies’, a piss take on MTV’s biggest show, Roadies, that went on to amass 3.5 million views (and counting).

That was three years ago, and YouTube in India was used primarily by broadcast and film studios to put out trailers, songs and the odd TV content. When ‘Rowdies’ went viral, it gave birth to a whole new medium of pop culture in India –  YouTube. As the video content-streaming site celebrates its 10th year anniversary, it’s amassed 60 million unique subscribers in India (as per comScore), and is today, arguably, the prime source of entertainment consumption amongst the youth in India.

In an Interview with Forbes Magazine in March, Head of Content & Operations of YouTube India, Satyanarayan Raghavan said that within the last two years, India’s climbed up to be in the top five content countries for YouTube globally. And a whole lot of it has to do with original content creators like TVF and All India Bakchod (AIB), as much as it has to do with youth channels like MTV India and Channel [V] struggling to stay relevant with tried-and-tested, ‘safe’ content.

Where the internet wins over TV, and even movies, is that there is no fear of censorship on it. Content creators can write biting satire and push boundaries in terms of genres, ideas, formats and even lingo (All India ‘Bakchod’ and Bollywood ‘Gandu’ are two of the most popular YouTube channels). So it’s not a surprise that the list of the top 10 videos on YouTube India in 2014 included ‘Bollywood Aam Aadmi Party’, a TVF satire on politics, ‘Ali Bhatt – Genius of the Year’, an AIB satire on Bollywood. These are themes that you’d be surprised to see being made fun of by archaic broadcast networks.

What has also certainly helped is the rise of content-sharing websites like Buzzfeed and Scoopwhoop, that make discoverability of good and ‘viral’ content much easier. Today, brands are grappling to be associated with AIB, TVF and other comedy groups like SnG Comedy and EIC, as well as individual talent like Kanan Gill and Aditi Mittal. eCommerce portal SnapDeal tied up with AIB for an undisclosed amount, while rumour has it that online real estate site CommonFloor paid almost a Crore to TVF for its original fiction series, Permanent Roommates, which has amassed around 7.5 million views over 5 episodes.

If the sold-out YouTube fan fest this year that saw thousands of screaming teenage fans go nuts over YouTube stars like Gill and Indo-Canadian Superwoman, is anything to go by, edgy comedy has broken the Indian internet and it may just be too late for youth TV to play catch up.

Five Must-Watch YouTube Series in India so far (Click to watch)
1. Baked (ScoopWhoop)
2. Bang Bajaa Baaraat (Y-Films)
3. Man’s World (Y-Films)
4. Permanent Roommates (TVF)
5. Pitchers (TVF)

Disclaimer: I’m the Associate Producer of the Y-Films series, Man’s World and Bang Baaja Baaraat and hence, they are not mentioned in the piece (conflict of interest!)


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Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
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Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the November 2015 issue. An edited version of the story can be found here: http://www.jabong.com/juicestyle/magazine/web-series/
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MARVEL VS DC: SUPERHERO SMACKDOWN! #TV #COLUMN #THEJUICE

Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) in December 2014 for The Juice.

There’s a storm coming, superhero fans. While the ongoing battle between the two top comic book houses, Marvel and DC, was on full swing over the past few years on the big screen, starting October, things got way more intense.

The Beginning
To do a quick recap, it all began when Kevin Feige launched an independent movie studio, Marvel Studios, and put into motion plans to conquer the world of cinema by unleashing on to the world lesser known Marvel superheroes through their own individual movies and a shared Marvel Universe, starting with Iron Man, and leading up to this thing you may have heard of before, The Avengers.

Many billions of dollars and a buyout by Disney later, DC woke up to the potential of a shared universe too and struck a partnership with Warner Bros to create a DC Universe in the same way. The first movie as part of the universe was 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, will begin DC’s slow but steady march towards The Justice League featuring Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and more.

While both companies now have a total of over 30 movies planned up to 2020 and things are on autopilot in films, the focus has now shifted to TV. DC was the first to capitalise things here with 2012’s Arrow. The Flash, Gotham and Constantine launched in October this year, and although apart from Arrow and The Flash they don’t share the same universe, that’s four DC shows as opposed to one of Marvel, Agents of SHIELD, launched last year. But Marvel is trying now to replicate the success of The Avengers on Netflix, and it has lined up four individual series of superheroes like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, leading up to a miniseries team up called The Defenders, so s**t’s just got real, folks.

Why So Obsessed?
Paul Blackthorne, who stars as Detective Quentin Lance in the DC Comics’ hit Arrow that airs on Star World in India, says the reason such shows or movies work is because there is “such a deep wealth to go to in terms of mythology.” “There’s so much going on in between the characters even in scenes where nothing is said,” Blackthorne says. “Because of the iconic mythology to them, there’s a lot of emphasis on the characters and on the development of the characters. You see the comic book context but within that there are absolutely solid characters and great storytelling too, and if you’ve ever been to the writers room, it’s like kids in a candy store down there! That’s why this genre is so successful.”

And if you ask the fans, they just can’t seem to have enough of this battle between giants DC and Marvel, where the ultimate winners are the fans themselves. Superhero film fanatic Preeth S Kumar, who’s doing a PG Diploma in Film Art in USA, believes Marvel has the edge in this war. “Marvel has clearly stolen the march on launching and setting up the comic superhero cinematic universe, and they are constantly getting better at it as was seen with Guardians of the Galaxy,” says Preeth. “DC, in the meanwhile, still seems to be testing the waters and tinkering with their properties, although as a filmbuff, I have enjoyed DC’s superheroes on the big screen more.”

Comic Con India regular and comics enthusiast Utsav Chakravarty, whose views on the superhero genre are well documented through his online moniker Satan Bhagat, also concedes that while DC has the leg up with its TV universe, every Marvel releases are their fans’ dream come true.  “Marvel isn’t ‘ashamed’ to be associated with its smaller characters or TV as a medium,” he says. “Marvel’s entire TV and movie universe is interconnected (can you imagine the cameos!) whereas all of DC’s properties are in different universes and don’t even acknowledge each other. By the time DC cuts through the hubris, Marvel Studios will no longer a superhero collective, it will be a superhero conglomerate”


Box Piece:
Here are the top 4 new comic book hero releases to look out for:

Daredevil (Marvel): Because it is Netflix’s foray into the superhero genre and Netflix has a history of going ALL OUT. And because it is developed by Joss Whedon associate Drew Godard.

Agent Carter (Marvel): Because this is the first major Marvel movie lead character to get its own TV series. And because it stars Hayley Atwell, who is reprising her role from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Shazam (DC): Because it stars Dwayne Johnson as Shazam’s arch-nemesis Black Adams, and this is possibly the most positively buzzed about casting in the superhero universe since Robert Downey Jr was cast as Iron Man.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Because it will lay the groundwork for the Justice League movie. Because Ben Affleck stars as Batman. Because it stars a host of other superheroes and we don’t even know who yet.

Follow the blog on your left and like The Tanejamainhoon Page on FB: /tanejamainhoonpage
Follow Nikhil Taneja on FB: /tanejamainhoonon Twitter:
@tanejamainhoonon Instagram:@tanejamainhoon,
on Youtube: /tanejamainhoon

Liked/disliked the piece? Think I’m awesome or really, really not? Leave your comments below 🙂
Note: This piece first appeared in The Juice in the December 2014 issue.
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.