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Friday, October 26, 2007

Malllika is no more a sex-bomb

Rahul and Mallika hit it off like a house on fire during Pyar Ke Side Effects. While Pritish Nandy Productions are still planning a sequel, Sanjay Chhel has gone and got the unlikely pair together again for his film.

How did it happen?

We've had many incredible casting makeovers, like Tabu stepping into Rani's space in Mira Nair's The Namesake….and Deepa Mehta's Water which was originally earmarked for Nandita Das finally went to Lisa Ray.

But this one takes the cake…and makes you quake.

In writer-turned-director Sanjay Chhel's Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam a role designed for Tabu has now be allocated to Mallika Sherawat. It's easy to see the two are as different from each other as any two actresses can be.

The closest that these two antithetical screen queens came to each other was when Mallika's Murder was released alongside Tabu's Meenaxi on the same Friday.

Director Sanjay Chhel is confident he can slot Mallika in the place vacated by Tabu.

"Tabu was being considered earlier for the role of the theatre actress. But it didn't work out."

Apparently Tabu was remarkably rigid about the money. The producers were unwilling to pay her the price she asked for.

Obviously the role has undergone critical modificiations to suit altered conditions.

Director Sanjay Chhel disagrees. "I'm a writer. So I know exactly how to place an actor into a character. Yes, Tabu was to do the role. But the way I look at it now, the role is perfect for Mallika. If Naseeruddin Shah had done Black wouldn't it have been different from the way Mr Bachchan played the character?"

Chhel asserts that his film isn't a spoof on Mughal-e-Azam. "No one in his right mind would satirize that all-time classic. My film is about a theatrical repertoire. Everyone –Rahul Bose, K.K Menon and Mallika—has a comic role."

It would be interesting to see Mallika do yet another role after Pyar Ke Side Effects where she is cast opposite her sex-bomb image.

Indeed the most interesting part of Sanjay Chhel's Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam isn't the title. It's Mallika moving in Tabu's territory.

Priyanka Chopra to endorse J. Hampstead

Priyanka Chopra is the new face of J. Hampstead, an international fabric brand brought in India by Siyaram’s in 1995. Priyanka has endorsed for variety of brands from beauty soap Lux to Kinetic scooty and many more. However, this graceful diva is now all set to endorse the international garment brand.

Priyanka Chopra has come a long way since she was crowned Miss World. With many hit films to her credit such as Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Aitraaz, Bluffmaster, Krissh and Don, she is counted among some the fantastic actors in the film faternity today. However, being chosen as a new face of J. Hamstead gives a new high to her career.

Priyanka’s upcoming films include Harry Baweja’s Love Story 2050 and Goldie Behl Drona.

SRK served legal notice for smoking in public

Whatever Shah Rukh Khan does is always under the scanner of probing eyes. As King Khan is busy aggressively promoting his next film Om Shanti Om, the television cameras are following him with the zeal of an inquisitive teenager. As is well known SRK had said ‘no’ to No Smoking (we mean the film that is). But maybe K (we mean Khan and not John’s character’s name in the film) should have resisted from his penchant for smoking in public places. Why? Read on….

Well, of late SRK has been getting legal notices for his house. But he has been served a legal notice he wouldn’t have hoped for. Without much ado, let’s spill the beans. According to sources, The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication has issued a legal notice to Khan for smoking during the recently held HT Leadership Summit in New Delhi and at the T20match in Mumbai.

Shah Rukh Khan has to reply to the notice within 15 days. If one recalls then the anti-tobacco body had earlier served a similar notice on Amitabh Bachchan after he was shown smoking on hoarding and posters of his film Family.

Rani plays an angel in Kunal Kohli's film Click here to add this article to My Clips

It looks like the daag on Rani Mukherjee's chunari will be effectively washed off with her next release.

After giving such a grandly understated performance as the archetypal Fallen Woman in Pradeep Sarkar's Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Rani rises straight for heaven in the next Yashraj film where she plays an angel descending to earth with a rather sweet and heartwarming mission.

While Mr Bachchan plays God, ghost and djinn in God Tussi Great Ho, Bhootnath and Alladin respectively, Esha Deol has already played a ghost in Darling. But no one has played an angel in Hindi movies before…unless we count Aftab Shivdasani who says his role as the angel in Anupam Sinha's Shukriya was his best ever.

Rani, apparently, took her angel's role very seriously, even going as far as to abstain from her favourite fish dishes to feel the pure and positive energy of an angel. Says a reliable Yashraj source, "It's not easy playing an angel. It's a character absolutely without a reference point. Rani has gone into her inner resources to create the character."

Contrary to some reports, she doesn't wear only one costume throughout the film. The still-untitled film will be completed in February and not in December as reported in the press.

Rahman and UN team up for a cause

A.R Rahman is geared up to be the ideal mascot for a musical show called ‘Mission Ustaad’ to be launched on a new Hindi television channel called 9X in association with the UN and Endemol Productions.

‘Mission Ustaad’ seems to be an apt vehicle in the opinion of the creators of the show, for spreading awareness about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals as music unifies the human race. The show will feature some of the best entertainers from India.

Rahman who has worked earlier with UN by composing an anthem on poverty and the unprivileged through his ‘Pray For Me Brother’ said that he was pretty convinced that the partnership will surely result in the desired awakening among Indian viewers and will definitely touch the chords of Indian viewers.

The show offers a real hope for the marginalized people of India like the Dalits and tribals as far as the education is concerned, emphasized Salil Shetty, the director of United Nations Millenium Campaign.

Open auditions for Singh Is Kinng

Vipul Shah is on a hunt for character artistes for his next production Singh Is Kinng, starring the by-now-bankable pair of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. The film is directed by Anees Bazmee and is being extensively shot in Gold Coast, Australia.

In his attempt to cast new actors, an ad has been posted on one of the local Bollywood website in Australia. The ad states the requirement of a 45-60 year old ‘Indian gangster’, a girl aged between 20-30 years for the role of ‘girl friend’, a 5-8 year old girl to play the ‘daughter’, a 45-55 year man to play the ‘father’, a 44-50 year old the ‘mother’ and a 25-28 year old man to play a ‘Punjabi gangster’.

With an open call for auditions to act in one of the biggest Bollywood films, people who wish to be actors can’t really complain of lack of opportunities in Bollywood anymore.

Mira Nair's Shantaram to start in Jan 2008

The Big B returned to India earlier this week from the London Film festival where he was greeted to a standing ovation. He's now shooting for two back-to-back films Bhootnath and Alladdin where he plays a ghost and djinn.

Says the Big B, “I am shooting for Bhootnath now, which completes by the middle of November. I start with Sujoy Ghosh's Alladdin soon after, as also Shoojit Sarkar's tentatively titled Shoebite, a working title just yet, and Leena Das's Teen Patti. All these will be on till December."

Big B then starts work on his first full-fledged international project. "From January 2008 I'll be working with Mira Nair, Warner Bros and Johnny Depp on Shantaram.” For some time now, the rumour mills have been insisting that the Big B is going bald for Mira Nair's film. The Big B richly rubbishes the rumours. "This is completely untrue! I've no knowledge of any such requirement for Mira's film, nor have I spoken to anyone about it. When I heard about this I spoke to Mira, and she rubbished it. She told me she hasn't even envisaged me as bald for Shantaram let alone share it with the media which is so busy imagining me bald through morphed pictures on the net, etc. But sorry I'm not obliging."

After Shantaram the Big B has Pocket Maar with Ravi Chopra. "Ram Gopal Varma, Balki, Prasoon Pandey, Deepa Mehta and a few others are under consideration," he concludes.

Vidhu Chopra's tribute to R D Burman

Vidhu Vinod Chopra on his return to Mumbai after a 3 week stay in the US inaugurated the state-of-the-art sound studio located at his office in Mumbai where he worked with Shantanu Moitra on the music of Rajkumar Hirani's next feature. The studio is fondly named 'PANCHAM' after R.D.Burman with whom Vinod has recorded for his films Parinda and the musical 1942: A Love Story. Shantanu, Vinod and Raju cracked the theme song in just one sitting at the new studio.

Vinod was in the US for 3 weeks where his film Eklavya - The Royal Guard was screened on Oct 4 at New York University. The film was screened as part of the University's Director's Series. Other directors featured in this series include Ang Lee, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Martin Scorcese and Sean Penn. The screening was followed by an hour-long question and answer session, which was moderated by Richard Allen, the Chair of Cinema Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. On Oct 6, Eklavya was screened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The Peabody Museum is among the oldest museums in the United States and has a renowned collection of modern Indian art.

Gafla selected for Indian Panorama at IFFI

Gafla, a Sameer Hanchate film, which is inspired by the stock market scam of 1992 has been officially selected for the Indian Panorama of the 38th International Film Festival of India, Goa, which is scheduled between Nov 23 – Dec 3, 2007. Of the 21 feature films selected for the festival only two Hindi films made it to the Panorama the other being Bhavna Talwar’s Dharm.

In October 2006 Sameer released Gafla, his debut Hindi feature film, which was the first of its kind from the Indian film industry. The film is a human story about ambition; a journey that goes through an inevitable conflict between human morality and economic logic. The filmmaker Sameer says that he was inspired to do the film because of the enormity of the issue. "Our stock markets are the financial barometer of our country. It is a world that affects the rich and the poor. And these effects stem from greed and panic".

The film stars Vinod Sherawat, Shruti Ulfat, Purva Parag in lead roles and Shakti Singh, Brijendra Kala, Gyan Prakash, Pramathesh Mehta, Saurabh Dubey, Aditya Lakhia, Mangal Kenkre and Sameer Hanchate amongst others with Vikram Gokhle in a special appearance.

Salman beats Abhishek, goes to Madame Tussauds

Salman Khan won the world famous attraction’s public poll by a landslide. He will be soon monumentalized in Madame Tussauds. London is surely delighted about it. Salman beat nine other stars namely, Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Kajol, Lata Mangeshkar, Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham. Abhishek was the closest contender to Salman.

Salman has agreed to sit for Madame Tussauds sculptors in Mumbai. He will be the attraction’s fourth Bollywood figure, joining fellow Indian A-listers Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The figure will be officially unveiled early 2008; a final date is yet to be confirmed.

According to Ben Lovett, PR Manager for Madame Tussauds, “Over 10,000 fans and visitors voted in our poll, and we’re over the moon that Salman Khan is the winner. The Asian market is critical to our attraction and our association with Bollywood, particularly the launch of Shah Rukh Khan earlier this year, has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Asians, from both the UK and abroad, visiting and enjoying Madame Tussauds. We hope to build upon this exciting relationship with the unveiling of Salman.”

Salman Khan commented: “I am touched and honored that my fans have chosen me to appear in Madame Tussauds and hope that the figure will bring much enjoyment to Bollywood followers the world over. I very much looking forward to visiting in the future and coming face to face with my likeness.”

Salman Khan next release is Bhansali’s Saawariya starring Rani Mukherjee and debutantes Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dumped for a better career!!!

It has happened so many times before. Avant- garde directors who started off being committed to committed actors suddenly become committed to more commercial considerations.

It happened when Prakash Jha crossed over from Anu Kapoor in Damul to Ajay Devgan in Ganga Jal. Poor Anu kept quiet.

But the volatile Naseeruddin Shah was far more vocal when the auteur Ketan Mehta decided to make his dream project Kartoos on the life of Mangal Pandey with Amitabh Bachchan. The film finally got made with Aamir Khan in the lead.

Naseer blasted Mehta for deserting those who supported the cause of meaningful cinema.So did Om Puri who felt betrayed cheated and let down when his favourite director Govind Nihalani switched from the Om- Naseer brigade to Ajay Devgan in Takshak. This, after Om provided Nihalani with infinite inspirational energy in Aakrosh, Ardh Satya and numerous other films.

Now it's Rajpal Yadav's turn to be left behind in the rat race.

Having been a prominent and pivotal part of Chandan Arora's first two fine-and-relevant feature films Main Madhuri Dixit Ban-na Chahti Hoon and Main Meri Patni Aur Woh, it was expected that Rajpal would naturally be an intrinsic part of Chandan's third film.

But Chandan's new venture Striker features Siddharth in the lead.

Explains Arora, "Rajpal and I share a tuning that goes beyond one film. If I had my way I'd feature him in all my films. But after Main Madhuri and Main Meri Patni AurWoh didn't work out, coming together for a third film would have made both of us look like losers drifting together. Rajpal has proved himself as an actor. I need to get my credibility -level high."

Rajpal, currently shooting in the back of the beyond laughs off any question of betrayal. "Chandan and I have done two films together and they've been decisive to my career.

Whatever work I'm doing today is because of Main Madhuri (where I wasn't Madhuri) and Main Meri Patni Aur Woh (where I wasn't the patni). In future whenever Chandan and I come together it would be with mazbooti (strength) not out of majboori (lack of choice)."

Rajpal no longers insists on leads. "I can create my space in even a cameo, as I've done in my new release Bhool Bhulaiya. Or it can be the lead, like Dhol. In fact I'm the lead with Govinda in Chal Chala Chal and in Rakesh Roshanji's Krazy 4. I've listened to 45-50 scripts in the last few months. Of these I've chosen to be in just 4-5 films."

Tell him how his presence in the otherwise-disastrous Go brings the house down and Rajpal is delighted. "I'm blessed. I came into the industry only to be an actor, How was to know audiences would love me so much?

If today they start laughing the minute they see me on screen I want to pay them back for their love by not making false moves. No more films like Undertrial for me."

SRK and Kajol pair up again!

They have been one of the most popular hit pairs of Bollywood, starring in superhits "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" and "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

Now King Khan and Kajol are getting back together after seven long years in a film slated for release in 2009.

Titled "My Name is Khan", the film focuses on the plight of the Muslim community after the Septmber 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US. We just can't wait to see the duo share screen space once again.

Ex-wife turns friends into foes

Model-turned-actor Aseem Merchant is very angry and upset by his ex-wife's ex-husband Ken bringing his daughter Sasha into the marital dispute.

"I can understand the guy trying to sort out his differences with his ex-wife who happens to be my ex-wife too. But why is he dragging my daughter Sasha whose mother happens to be Ken's wife, in his dirty allegations? It's just not done."

Aseem says he divorced from his wife Mamta six years ago. "Then she was married to Ken in the US. Then they had some problems. Why is he now dragging my name into his differences with Mamta?

What kind of a humanbeing would actually ask a question like …am I divorced from my ex-wife or not? Aren't there papers to prove such things? Ken Bagga knows he won't be heard in the Indian press without dragging my name into it."

The two men were apparently friends. "I've always been very helpful to him whenever he has come down to India. We'd even party together in Mumbai. I'd lend him one of my cars during his stay in the city. He should've respected my feelings and not dragged my daughter into his dirty accusations."

Aseem's daughter Sasha from his marriage is now staying with him. "After her break-up with Ken in the US,and return to Mumbai, my wife felt my daughter needed a father-figure. She moved in with me and has been doing very well for herself. I resent the fact that Sasha has been dragged into this."

Speaking on the status of his relationship with his ex-wife Aseem says, "We're of course friends. We share the responsibility of looking after our daughter and that keeps us bonded. She has her own place in Lokhandwala which is very close to my place. When I travel she looks after our daughter.

Otherwise she has her own life. In fact I didn't even know about the status of her marriage with the Ken until all this appeared. She did mention though, that he had stopped sending money. At first he seemed like a nice guy, Yes they met much after we divorced. "

He says there're no chances of a reconciliation between him and his ex-wife. "I don't believe in looking back. I've a few women in my life. But I'm not focusing on that aspect of my life.

I've my career, and I'm looking forward to the release of my Bengali film Ashima directed by Shishir Mishra.It's a beautiful film with a great story and I play the author-backed role of a doctor."

But the role that he loves the best is that of the single parent. "My daughter is the only important woman in my life. Next year when she's 12 I plan to send her to Woodstock in Mussourrie. My ex-wife is doing well for herself in the designing business. Ken wants her back.

All this crap about not being in touch with her is so wrong. He has constantly been calling and messaging her. Only a weak and publicity-hungry person would get a child's name involved with all this."

Priyanka proposes marriage!!!

They may be a low-profile couple, but nevertheless, Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja have never tried to hide their relationship.

While Priyanka is steadily climbing the popularity charts in Bollywood, Harman is being touted as one of the most promising debutants this year. And at such a stage of their careers, it came as a surprise to Harman when Priyanka recently popped the question.

Sources say the couple was in the company of friends when Priyanka suddenly proposed marriage to her boyfriend. However, Harman is not really prepared to tie the knot right now. He wants to stabilize as an actor before taking the plunge.

But whatever be their decision for now, there is no doubt that the pair is quite a cute one. They often drop in on each other's film sets and chat over the phone during breaks in the shoot.

When Priyanka sustained minor injuries while doing action scenes for film "Drona", Harman reportedly rushed to the sets. So hope this jodi enters wedlock soon.

What is a Lolita without sex?

Long-standing buddies Jackie Shroff and Shashilal Nair who have collaborated on unusual projects like Falak, Angaar and Grahan had a difference of opinion while shooting for Lolita.

While Shashi insisted that Shroff go about the love-making screen with his screen Lolita as Nabokov envisaged it, Jackie was inhibited about making love on camera.

Nair had to flash the contract for Lolita in front of his friend to get him to comply. "I've learnt to put it all on paper," says Nair. "I've suffered enough in the past. Now friend or no friend, I want everything on paper. "

Jackie had to reluctantly relent and do the hot scenes. " Jackie is a cool guy. So he finally did them. There're strong sexual undercurrents in the film. You cannot make Lolita without sex. It's like halwa without ghee."

Nair admits his version of Lolita is steamy. "It has to be! Haven't you read Lolita? If you have you know sex plays a vital part in the relationship between the older man and his young object of adoration. I've gone by the book.

And no. I don't care if people say I'm being sleazy. I've never cared about prudish opinion. I make the films I want to. Besides according to me, you cannot tamper with a classic."

While Jackie's old co-star Dimple Kapadia plays his wife a new girl is being introduced in the steamy Lolita mode. "We haven't decided what to call her. We call her Lolita on the sets. "

(Is Shakti Kapoor listening?)

As for Ram Gopal Varma's version of Nishabd, Nair protests, "Please! To begin with it wasn't Lolita at all. How could there be Lolita without sex?

But I really loved Ramu's treatment and Amitji's performance. Very classy. My Lolita is nothing like Ramu's Nishabd except the age difference between the couple."

Nair admits people will be shocked by the steamy aroma of his Lolita when it releases circa June. "Let them be. I'd rather shock audiences than bore them."

Saif and Kareena admit relationship

Finally, they have said it. At Manish Malhotra's fashion show for the Lakme Fashion Week, Saif admitted to his relationship with Kareena saying, "Yes, we are not exactly shouting from the rooftops but yes, clearly we are together. And we are happy together."

The couple was spotted together in public for the first time.

Reports of a romantic linkup between 27-year-old Kareena and 37-year-old Saif Ali Khan first surfaced while the two were shooting for Yash Raj Films Tashan on locales in Ladakh and Rajasthan.

Then came the news of Kareena celebrating her 27th birthday last month with a small party for select friends including Saif. Saif and Kareena also hit a night club in Delhi on October 5 where when a photographer clicked Saif and Kareena hugging they bullied him and deleted the photograph.

Saif had been single for months now, since his break-up with girlfriend Roza. The actor has, since, been linked to Bipasha Basu and Dia Mirza.

As their romance intensified, Kareena unceremoniously dumped former beau Shahid Kapoor August end while he was shooting for Aziz Mirza's Lucky Charm in Toronto, Canada.

However, Shahid Kapoor who had been stoically maintaining silence for sometime also quipped on the sets of the Sony show Jhalak Dikhla Ja in the course of an interview, “For all ye girls out there, I am single and ready to mingle!”

I didn't expect it from Ismail Sir: Aneek Dhar

Singing sensation Aneek Dhar, who won the talent show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa", is taken aback that composer Ismail Darbar, who was a judge for the show on Zee TV, has termed the voting process in the competition as "humbug".

"I am sad to hear that he is calling Zee TV's voting a humbug, but the fact is that the voting was done by people and not Zee TV," Aneek told here.

"Ismail Darbar had always supported me. I never expected such a reaction from him. Zee had supported every participant. It wasn't just me and why would they do that because there were more talented contestants than me," he added.

The other two finalists were Rajasthan's Raja Hasan and Amanat Ali from Pakistan. Darbar told reporters that Hasan had got the maximum votes throughout the show and Amanat was the most talented.

So according to him, either of the two should have won the show, not Aneek. He alleged that the voting process was not transparent.

Aneek walked away with a Rs.5 million contract with Universal Music and a Chevrolet Spark car after being declared the winner at the grand finale Saturday night.

The singer from West Bengal says winning or losing was not important, what mattered was that he participated in the show.

"I wanted to be a good singer and this is the reason why I came to Mumbai. I didn't come here to get trapped in controversies," Aneek remarked.

"I did my job, and the rest was up to God. He gave me what I deserved. I am sure it was God's and my parents' blessings that helped me win this title."

Aneek is now looking forward to working with his mentor, composer-cum-singer Himmesh Reshammiyya, and A.R. Rahman.

"It's my dream since childhood to work with both of them."

The youngster also dreams of singing for superstar Shah Rukh Khan some day.

"Everybody knows I'm Shah Rukh Khan's fan. It may sound funny, but I think if I get an opportunity to work with Karan Johar, I can fulfil my dream of singing for my favourite hero Shah Rukh."

Right now, the singer has plenty of stage shows lined up.

"After 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa', I am starting with stage shows in all four metros. Then I will go on a world tour organised by Zee TV. When I'm a little free after all this, I'll get time to look for other options," Aneek said.

AB records two rap songs, a ballad for Vishal-Shekhar

At 65, Amitabh Bachchan remains indefatigable. Even as he continues to shoot for a number of films juggling dates among Mumbai, Goa and Delhi in the last one week, he also found the energy, breath and time to record three songs for Vishal-Shekhar for two different films.

"That's not all. One more song remains to be recorded for Sujoy Ghosh's Alladin as soon as I return to Mumbai," the Big B said from Goa where he’s shooting for debutant director Vivek Sharma's Bhootnath. Big B plays a ghost in Sharma's film. "I've sung a rap song for Vishal-Shekhar for my ghost's character in Bhootnath and another rap song for my djinn's character in Alladdin. Plus I recorded a soft lyrical number for Bhootnath. As soon as I return I'll record one more song for Alladin."

Vishal-Shekhar who've composed this carnival of crooning for the Big B, have been working on a non-film album of Abhishek Bachchan's hip-hop for producer Rohan Sippy for the last one year. That too will have singing inputs from the senior Bachchan.

"It looks like the music composers are thinking of an alternative career for me. They obviously don't think much of me as an actor," the Big B jokes before flying off to the London Film Festival for Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear, a film for which the actor's vocal prowess has come into much

Chak De India and Akshaye shine at the AIFF

Shimit Amin’s Chak De India has won the ‘Best Film Award’ while Akshaye Khanna received the ‘Best Performance Award’ for his sensitive role in Gandhi My Father 5th Australian Indian Film Festival. For starters, Chak De India, which was shot in Australia, is a feel good hockey film shot in Melbourne and Sydney starring 90 Australian hockey players and over 9000 Australian extras. While Akshaye’s role of Harilal (Gandhi’s son) in Gandhi My Father, has been recently been accepted into competition at the Tokyo International Film Festival and also finds itself in competition for Best Screenplay at the inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

The awards function was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art and was attended by Chak De India’s Shimit Amin, Sagarika Ghatge and Tanya Abrol, and also Gandhi My Father’s team of director Feroz Khan and Akshaye Khanna.

Australian film critic, Peter Thompson hosted the ceremony, with the Australian actress Isabel Lucas presenting the Best Performance Award while Ian Chappell, Special Representative, Australia for UNHCR, announced the award for Best Film.

The awards were chosen by a respected group of Australian film critics including Peter Thompson (Showtime), Margaret Pomeranz (ABC TV at the Movies), Nell Schofield (Channel 9 Sunday Show), Marc Fennell (Triple J), Adrienne McKibbons (Metro Magazine) and Ian Taylor (ABC TV).

It is indeed a matter of pride for India that the festival has an advisory board comprising of advisory board comprising of Ronnie Screwvala (UTV Group), Sanjeev Kohli (Yash Raj Films), Simi Garewal and Natalie Miller (Sharmill Films), and Yash Chopra as the festival’s patron.

Hrithik takes one more step towards Hollywood

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‘Brillstein-Grey’, Brad Pitt's management of over 20 years, has now signed Hrithik Roshan.

In the past, there have been major Motion Picture Studios in Hollywood that have set their eyes on Hrithik. In addition, numerous A-list filmmakers too have offered him roles in their high profile Hollywood films. Now ‘Brillstein-Grey Entertainment’, #1 Management Firm in World, has managed to gain Hrithik's attention.

Moreover, Hrithik has finally said yes to Hollywood and is taking serious steps in the direction, which leads him to being the first mainstream Hindi cinema actor to be aiming at a higher platform.

Hrithik's new International manager, Jai Khanna from Brillstein-Grey confirms, "We are thrilled to be working with such an international star. Hrithik has a strong, authentic, and cool personality. As an icon of masculinity and powerful character, he truly embodies the star quality of cinema's great leading men."

Jai further comments on Hrithik's star power, "Audiences have repeatedly flocked to his films throughout India, Asia and a number of other countries. We are excited to now introduce Hrithik to the US, thus giving his unique talents a much larger platform."

Closer home, Hrithik is looking forward to Jodhaa Akbar, which is all set to release on January 25. The film's promo has created quite a buzz amongst the audiences ever since it was screened across theatres, last Friday. Mounted on a huge canvas, this Ashutosh Gowarikar epic has music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Javed Akhtar. A UTV production, Jodhaa Akbar is now all set to be the first big release of 2008.

The film is also special for Hrithik since it would be his first release after more than a year after the release of Krrish (June 2006) and Dhoom 2 (November 2006).

Eros International acquires overseas rights of Krazzy 4

Eros International, the leading integrated company within the Indian media and entertainment sector announced the acquisition of the international rights of Rakesh Roshan’s Krazzy 4 produced by Film Kraft Productions and directed by Jaideep Sen. Krazzy 4 stars Juhi Chawla, Dia Mirza, Arshad Warsi, Irrfan Khan, Rajpal Yadav and Suresh Menon.

Krazzy 4 is a comedy with a social message and is a wholesome commercial entertainer, which will appeal to every section of audiences. The film is based around the four characters played by Arshad Warsi, Irrfan Khan, Suresh Menon and Rajpal Yadav who form the crazy foursome with key supporting roles by Juhi Chawla and Dia Mirza.

Following tradition of all Rakesh Roshan films, Krazzy 4, currently under production, also begins with the letter K and will have music by Rajesh Roshan.

Vipul Shah on why he turned producer with Singh Is Kinng

"It's very simple, really," explains Vipul Shah from the Gold Coast in Australia. "It was no longer feasible to keep my production house running with my own directorial inputs. So I invited Anees Bazmi to direct Singh Is Kinng for me. Now I'm ready to invite other directors to make film for my production house."

Vipul has accompanied his director Anees Bazmi to Australia for a very special reason. "We're working with an entirely Australian crew. Though I've had experience with a foreign crew (in Namastey London), Anees hasn't really had any experience in a foreign shoot. So I am here to guide him."

Isn't there bound to be a clash when two directors work together as producer and director. "Not at all," protests Vipul. "I leave the execution entirely to Anees. I'm here only to help him in whatever capacity."

Vipul says Singh Is Kinng would have the kind of budget that he has so far not been able to afford for his own directorial ventures. "Thanks to my collaboration with Adlabs I feel we can give this film a truly international feel."

The cast which includes Neha Dhupia, Om Puri, Javed Jaffery and Sonu Sood besides Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, has been in Australia since September 18. Shooting begins on November 2. "We've to be very careful with our shooting. The safety rules in Australia are very strict. We can't afford to goof up."



Friday, October 19, 2007


Singer Kalpana who captured the hearts of many music lovers with her melodious voice in 20 languages already sung 2000 popular songs in past 5 years. Now once more back with her debut solo Hindi album MAA-e-Ri .Music doe Shanky-Rinkks has composed the music for the album which is a Times Music presentation. MAA-ei-Ri has Sufi and peppy tracks. Energy and rhythm will suffuse the album. It will be a Sufi rock or a Sufi pop album.The lyric of the album is written by Sandeep Nath who has given hits in films like PAGE 3, CORPORATE, SAWARIA and many more. This album will show case the best of Kalpana.
MAA-e-Ri is Kalpana’s 1st solo album releasing from TIMES MUSIC. While talking about the album Kalpana says, “All the six tracks in the album are fresh and breezy. The album does not fall in any particular genre as it has a blend of earthy and heavenly love.” Kalpana hails from Assam and made her Bollywood debut as a playback singer with films like SANDHYA –THE FEAR WITHIN, 88 ANTOP HILL, STUMPED to name a few. Her musical journey began at the age of 5 when she was learning from her father. I am launching my first International music album in order to reach out to the maximum music lovers around the globe.

Kalpana has also rendered her voice for Item Dance of Mallika Sherawat , Rakhi Sawant , Ravina Tendon, Poonam Jhaver , Sambhavana Seth in the recent past. The prowess of the singer is so much so that recently popular film actor of the past Mithun Da [Chakraborty] has signed her to sing for his next Bengali film also.

Ashok Bhatia [P.R.O.]
[Total Media People]
Panchsheel 3 F 423, Raheja Township
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MUMBAI 400.097
Phone No. 022-28777911/9821182030
My E Mail: ashokbhatia7852@yahoo.co.in

I gave Tendulkar out wrongly against England: Umpire Dar

Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar has, for the first time, admitted he gave Sachin Tendulkar out wrongly in the deciding seventh One-Day International against England in London last month.

"Immediately after I gave Tendulkar caught by wicket-keeper Matt Prior off Andrew Flintoff I realised from his reaction that I had given a wrong decision," Dar told IANS in an interview here.

Tendulkar, who scored 30 off 46 balls, was visibly stunned and he uncharacteristically stood in his crease for a few seconds, suggesting he had not snicked the ball, before returning to the dressing room.

Batting first, India were reduced to 59 for four with Tendulkar's dismissal and eventually lost the match by seven wickets at Lord's and with it the series 3-4.

Dar, who was here to officiate in the India-Australia One-Day Internationals, said that the mistake had occurred because of a brief lapse in his concentration.

"On that ball Flintoff was very close to bowling a no ball and as I was looking at his foot my concentration was disturbed," said Dar, widely considered one of the best umpires in the world.

Asked if he felt like taking his decision back to enable Tendulkar to continue batting, the 39-year-old member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Panel said that he had never recalled any player.

"Since I had never called any batsman after giving a decision I did not call him back. So, if I were to call Tendulkar I would also call the last man if given wrongly out," reasoned the man from Lahore.

"I knew that match was the decider. And I was upset after giving that decision. It was tough match (for me)," he said, referring to the 3-3 series score before that match.

Dar, however, showed his regret and tried to show his feelings to Tendulkar immediately after the match.

"After the game when players shake hands with the umpires, Tendulkar also shook my hands on the field. As he did that I said to him 'hard luck'," disclosed the affable official, who became the first Asian to officiate in 100 ODIs here Wednesday.

"Players also know that how good an umpire is. They understand that mistakes are not made deliberately and they respect good umpires."

A former first-class player himself, Dar revealed that if he is not satisfied with one of his decisions early in a match it bothers him.

"If I give an erroneous decision early in a match it plays on my mind. But I try not to let that decision affect me for the rest of the match," he said.

Dar, who also officiated the final of the 2007 ODI World Cup, was recently short-listed among the three umpires for the annual ICC's Best Umpire Award, which eventually went to Australian Simon Taufel.

He is thankful to his parents and his wife for their sacrifices to enable him to be away for long periods and concentrate on his job. His work entails him being away from home for seven-eight months a year, which forces him to miss his three young sons.

That is why Dar, who has also officiated in 39 Tests, has decided to quit umpiring at 50, 10 years before the retirement age prescribed by the ICC.

Cricket: 6 Ducks with Highest Score 7

If you are wondering if this is individual player statistics.. You are mistaken.. It's the total team statistics..

WestIndies Under-19 were wrapped up for 18 in match against Barbados with 6 ducks and highest score of 7.

The second highest score is extras (6). The complete batsmen score read 1,0,0,0,0,7,2,0,2,0 and 0 not out.

Barbados player Pedro Collins produced a record spell of 7 for 11.

This created the new lowest score in domestic circuit. The previous record of lowest score was 23, set 23 years ago. (Middlesex Vs Yorkshire,1973).

Well, No prize for guessing who won the match.. Yes..

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I am so sorry I messed up Vidya

Lately, Vidya Balan has earned a reputation for getting into controversies over refusal of roles or disagreeing with costume designers.

She had a huge problem with Aki Narula’s clothes while shooting for Ramesh Taurani’s film in Canada.

Says Vidya, "Such things happen. It's not a big deal. I don't know why the media went ballistic about it. Aki left the clothes and came away to India. I didn't like some of the clothes because I felt that they didn't go with the character. So, I went to shop on my own. That was fun."

In Sajid Khan's Heyy Babyy too Vidya received a lot of flak for her styling skills.

But this time her designer Manish Malhotra took the entire responsibilty and even sent a message apologising for going wrong with her look in the film.

However Vidya holds no grudges. “The onus isn’t his alone. He sent me a very sweet message saying, ‘I’m sorry I messed up. I hope we get another opportunity.’ He needn’t have apologised. He got a lot of flak for my look. So did I. I accept the criticism as much as I accept all the praise that comes my way”

Vidya is sure she can break free of the sari mould to look Western. Her new shoulder length hairdo makes her look breathtakingly glamorous. She seems to have suddenly stepped out of the Parineeta era into the contemporary world.

She has also shed a lot of weight in the recent past as well.

"I think I had allowed things to drift. I should have looked after myself more. But it's fine now. I am gyming a lot now and keeping as fit as a fiddle," she tells with a broad smile.

I was punished for kissing her: Abhay Deol

Q-One quality your woman must possess?
A-A sense of adventure!

Q- Any particular reason for the same?
A- Because I am adventurous myself.

Q-And the other must-haves include?
A-She has to be a career-oriented woman. She should be earnest, have a great sense of humour and, and, and — the list is indeed long!

Q-Internal or External Beauty?
A-A combination of both.

Q-From Bollywood or outside?
A-I would love to meet someone from outside. Lemme see!

Q-Would you cook for her?
A-Yes, sure. If she is willing to eat whatever I cook for her!

Q-What gifts would you expect from her?
A-The best of anything. But honestly, I don't care for gifts much. However, as I am an outdoors person, she can take me out for dinner.

Q-What would be your favourite romantic getaway with her?
A-I love the sea and the beaches. So it can be any beach destination.

Q-How important would calls and SMSes be in your relationship?
A-Since that’s a symbol of communication, I guess it would be very important.

Q-What if she was earning more than you?
A-I would love it. I would love to be a ‘kept’ man, but she should make it a point to take care of my expenses!

Q-So you prefer a career woman to a housewife?
A-Yes, absolutely.

Q-How long would you wait to take your relationship to the next level?
A-If I think about it at the moment, it's going to take really long. At one point of time, when I was younger, I thought I wouldn't get married ever. At least, now I am open to the idea. Then, too, marriage is still not in my itinerary for at least 7-8 years.

Q-Do you remember your first crush?
A-Of course, I remember her. I was in school and was six years old then. I was punished by my teacher for kissing her!

Raza Murad in a film based on Nithari Killings

Raza Murad is geared up to wear the character of Mohinder Singh Pandher, the dreadful murderer in Nithari killings in a film titled D5. The film is being directed by Yoginder Gupta and Sushil Gupta former builder, makes his debut as a producer.

The idea is the brainchild of the director, Yoginder Singh with whom Raza had worked earlier in a comedy flick Tamboo Ka Bamboo. Nithari killings had brought shivers to the spines of every Indian earlier this year. Raza Murad along with Yoginder Gupta has taken an initiative to bring up the root cause of such a frightful incident to which Raza says, “The film is an eye opener with a purpose of making the people aware and cautious of misdoings in the world and also teaching their children to remain guarded when it comes to strangers.”

Gopal Singh who had appeared in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Traffic signal as a beggar will be seen playing the servant, Surinder’s role in the film. As far as Raza is concerned, he already is done with his share of research on the subject and says, “I remember Mohinder Singh very distinctly. I have observed him very minutely. His appearance, mannerisms, body language and expressions even when he was taken to Ahmedabad for brain mapping test. However, not even in my wildest dream did I think I would play this character in future.” He also adds, “I have been to the homes of the killed children and have seen Mohinder Singh’s bungalow with my own eyes.” The film will be shot in Mumbai with some exterior shots taken in Noida.

D5 went on floors on October 15 and the shoot is expected to be wrapped up in 15 days.

FICCI felicitates R.R. Patil for his role in fighting film piracy

A high-powered delegation of FICCI’s Entertainment Committee met Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil on 15th October to felicitate the government for the support rendered in combating the increasing evil of film piracy. The film industry was a happy lot when they learnt that the Government of Maharashtra has decided to include video piracy under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act, which provides for the preventive detention of an offender.

The delegation comprised of Raaja Kanwar, Chairman, FICCI Digital Entertainment Forum & Vice Chairman, UFO Moviez Ltd., Ronnie Screwvala, President, Film and TV Producers’ Guild of India and Chairman, UTV, Shabana Azmi, former Member of Parliament and social activist and Ritesh Sidhwani, Director, Excel Entertainment P. Ltd.

Vaibhavi Merchant's musical for Europe, Turkey, South Africa

Choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant announced the launch of the fourth tour of her dance extravaganza, The Merchants of Bollywood, on 13th October at Yash Raj Studios. Her musical will tour Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, London, Dubai, Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa from November 2007.

The Merchants of Bollywood is loosely based on her own life. It follows the story of a young woman who rebels against her father, a classical Indian dancer, to follow her dream and make a name for herself in Bollywood.

Compact Disc India announces a strong growth momentum in Q2 FY 2007-08

Compact Disc India has declared its financial results for the second quarter [July, August, September] of 2007-2008. Revenue for the second quarter grew by 74.44%, while profits grew by 126.26% in comparison to the second quarter of fiscal 2006, thus maintaining a strong growth momentum.

The revenue for the second quarter was recorded at Rs. 2131.86 lakhs vis-à-vis last fiscal’s second quarter revenue Rs. 1222.07 lakhs, an increase by 74.44%. CDI’s second quarter profit was posted at Rs. 422.48 lakhs, while last fiscal’s second quarter profits were posted at Rs. 186.72 lakhs, a whopping increase in profits by 126.26%.

The Earning Per Share for the second quarter of the financial year 2007-08 was registered at Rs. 4.41.

V&S Broadcasting appoints Sanjay Bhasin as V.P. Sales

V&S Broadcasting, an affiliate of UTV Broadcasting Ltd., has announced the appointment of Sanjay Bhasin as Vice-President, Sales. Sanjay will now lead the Ad Sales division of V&S Broadcasting for their forthcoming set of three channels in the coming months, one of which, World Movies, has already been announced. He will be reporting to Dilshad Master, COO, V&S Broadcasting. These channels will form part of the upcoming bouquet of TV channels from the UTV group.

With media experience of over 17 years, Sanjay has worked with Walt Disney Company, MTV, Buena Vista Television & The Times of India group.

Ravi Chopra to co-produce Deepa's Heaven On Earth

It seems like the season of improbable collaborations. First we had Ekta Kapoor and Sanjay Gupta getting together to produce films. Now it's Deepa Mehta and Ravi Chopra who will be co-producing Deepa's first Punjabi film Heaven On Earth.

Chopra who's currently in London will fly to Toronto in November to seal the deal. He says, "I really like Deepa and her partner David Hamilton. We share a certain creative and community affinity (we're both Punjabis). I distributed Deepa's Water in India. And now it looks like I'll be co-producing Heaven On Earth. I hope there're many more films to come."

Says Deepa, "I'm still very much a stranger in the Mumbai film industry. Mr. Ravi Chopra is someone whom I share a great rapport. That's still a rarity for me in Bollywood."

Adds her partner David Hamilton from Toronto, "Yes, Mr. Chopra and I are in negotiation. But right now it's too early to say anything about it. We're looking at not just an India-based collaboration but a far larger partnership stretching over several films."

Indian cricket board is worth nearly Rs.10 bn

Mumbai, Oct 17 (IANS) Irrespective of the national team's performance, the Indian cricket board is getting rich each year and its current total assets stand at a whopping Rs.9.6 billion ($245 million; 120.6 million pounds), thanks largely to its marketing policy and investments by sponsors.

In addition, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) has made investments worth nearly Rs.7.5 billion ($190 million; 93.5 million pounds) and its 'current assets, loans and advances' stand at almost Rs.2.1 billion ($53 million; 26.2 million pounds), as per its 2006-2007 annual report, a copy of which is with IANS.

Out of its total assets of Rs.9.6 billion, the board has 'fixed assets' of Rs.71 million ($1.8 million; 891,268 pounds) at the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year. The worth of the fixed assets has shot up from Rs.16.3 million ($416,007; 204,657 pounds) during the previous fiscal year.

BCCI's marketing committee, headed by vice president Lalit Modi, is credited with bringing in most of the money during 2006-2007. Income from grant of media rights alone stood at Rs.3.1 billion ($80 million; 39.3 million pounds).

The BCCI spent Rs.37.5 million ($956,301; 470,459 pounds) on its brand new, all-glass headquarters, 'Cricket Centre', built on the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) land inside the Wankhede Stadium, venue of the seventh India-Australia One-Day International Wednesday. This amount is an additional expenditure during the year and is in "excess of the budget", says the report.

The prominent fixed assets include 'improvements to leasehold premises' worth Rs.26.1 million ($664,299; 326,805 pounds); furniture and fixtures worth Rs.13.9 million ($354,646; 174,470 pounds); 'intellectual rights' under intangible assets worth Rs.3.9 million ($99,390; 48,896 pounds); office equipment worth Rs.8.5 million ($217,685; 107,091 pounds); air conditioners, refrigerators and water coolers worth Rs.7 million ($179,453; 88,283 pounds); 'buildings' representing the National Cricket Academy Indoor School constructed on land owned by the Karnataka State Cricket Association in Bangalore, worth Rs.3.7 million ($95,229; 46,848 pounds) and trophy replicas and cricket memorabilia worth Rs.1 million ($26,413; 12,994 pounds).

Vipul's confidence in 'Singh Is King'

SINGH IS KING made news when two prolific film-makers decided to come together for this film -- Vipul Shah and Anees Bazmee. SINGH IS KING made news again when they roped in Akshay Kumar for the principal role in the film. And now, Vipul promises a film that has never been seen on the Hindi screen before.

Speaking from Australia, Vipul sounded gung ho about the project Anees and he have embarked upon. “We’ve devoted almost two months to its pre-production, before we embark on its shooting [from November onwards]. Everything to the minutest detail is being looked into before we start rolling. It’ll be a film to remember. You wouldn’t have seen something like this on Hindi screen before, I assure you,” he tells me.

Please elaborate. “There’re many surprises coming your way. Just wait and watch,” he smiles. With Akshay going through a great phase professionally, SINGH IS KING is, without doubt, one of the hottest projects in the market today.

'Allah Ke Bande' for film festivals first

Producer Ravi Walia has ambitious plans for his new film ALLAH KE BANDE, directed by debutante Faruque Kabir. Although the shooting has just commenced, the makers have decided to take the film to major international film festivals, including Cannes, before releasing it theatrically in India in May 2008.

Highlighting a major issue -- kids being used for armed conflicts and separatist movements – ALLAH KE BANDE has a formidable star cast comprising of Sharman Joshi, Naseeruddin Shah, Anjana Sukhani, Atul Kulkarni, Zakir Hussain and Anupam Kher. Shooting of the film commenced this week.

Meanwhile, the producer is giving finishing touches to his almost complete film DE TAALI. A lavish video is being filmed on the principal cast at a suburban studio in Mumbai.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Name is Anthony Gonsalves with OSO

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Farah Khan’s much awaited film Om Shanti Om is all to release in November. The film has a huge starcast which includes Shah Rukh Khan, Shreyas Talpade, Arjun Rampal and Debutant Deepika Padukone. Om Shanti Om hits the theatres on November 9. But before this SRK starrer gets projected on screen, you will see the theatrical promo of another SRK production My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves.

My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves is made under the banner of SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment and T Series. The film marks the debut of Nikhil Dwivedi. The starcast of the film includes Amrita Rao, Pawan Malhotra, Lilette Dubey, Anupam Kher, Saurabh Shukla, Kunal Vijaykar and Mithun Chakraborty. The film is directed by E Niwas.

And for all the IndiaFM surfers, the first theatrical of My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves will also be released exclusively on IndiaFM.com, the same day when it will be showcased in theaters.

Aamir very upset with brother

Faisal Khan's recent allegations against elder brother and renowned Bollywood actor Aamir Khan have left him stunned and very upset. Aamir is so disturbed that he had cancelled his plan of coming live and chatting with fans on his personal website www.aamirkhan.com on Saturday at 8 pm IST, citing personal problems.

The note on the site from the "Lagaan" actor says: "Sorry everyone, but due to unavoidable personal reasons I will not be able to chat live with y'all today 8 pm IST as I had earlier mentioned.

Will fix a new date and time for my chat and keep you posted. In the meantime, please continue to post your comments and reactions to the curtain raiser of TZP ("Taare Zameen Par") in the blog space. Regrets. Aamir".

His blog also adds: "Sending all a warm hug. May we invest more in peace, happiness and in the wellbeing of all humanity. Eid Mubarak".

On Friday, Faisal spoke to the media and publicly accused Aamir of mentally torturing him and forcibly locking him up in a flat for almost a year. He added that Aamir wanted to prove that he was suffering from mental illness and Aamir's bodyguards had been forcing him to take medicines.

Even Aamir's father, film-maker Tahir Hussein, stood by his younger son and provided in writing that Faisal was completely healthy in all aspects.

Faisal and Hussein were spotted visiting Mumbai's K.E.M. Hospital for check-ups, the results of which Faisal might use to prove his fitness and to reaffirm that his statements against Aamir were not a result of his alleged unstable mental state.

A very close source said: "Aamir was overjoyed by the response his website had generated and was extremely excited to see the reactions to the first promos of "Taare Zameen Par", his debut directorial film.

He had planned to be present online to know the reactions. But after his brother and father went on record with their accusations on Friday, he was extremely upset and hurt."

In July 2000, Aamir's lawyer had posted a notice in several trade magazines severing all professional ties between the actor and his father.

The notice read: "Mr. Aamir Khan, a cine artiste, is not associated with the business of production of cinematographic films of his father Mr. Tahir Hussain Khan..." and that anyone who got involved in Tahir's company "shall do so at his own risk and my client shall not be liable for any such dealings".

Industry insiders had speculated that the rift was a result of Aamir's disapproval of his father's reported involvement with a newcomer, a much younger actress whose work Tahir intended to showcase through his production company.

A few had claimed that Aamir was reacting to news that his father had been raising funds by trading on his son's name and reputation.

On February 9, 2005, the Mumbai police had reportedly persuaded Faisal to get admitted to a hospital for psychological treatment. Aamir had filed a petition with the police claiming Faisal had been sending threatening letters to him and other family members.

When neither Aamir nor any other family member were able to persuade Faisal to get admitted to a hospital, the "Rang De Basanti " star approached the Khar police station with the letters and sought help.

An industry source said: "Faisal's acting career never took off and he was in a major depression with no help coming from any corner. This led him to troubling his elder brother Aamir."

Aamir had set up Faisal's acting debut in "Madhosh" in 1994 under their home production company T.V. Films. But the Vikram Bhatt-directed film flopped at the box-office. After that, no good offers came Faisal's way.

Aamir then convinced Dharmesh Darshan, with whom he had delivered one of his biggest hits of 1996 "Raja Hindustani", to work on a project starring Faisal and him together. The film "Mela" too was a box-office washout of 2000 and Faisal went on to do Bollywood C-graders. Gradually, Aamir too distanced himself from his brother.

Faisal's accusations came the same day Aamir presented his first directorial venture "Taare Zameen Par" to cinema screens worldwide. Aamir's mother has sided with him and is his pillar of support against his father and brother. Earlier, there were reports that Aamir parents had parted ways and were no longer staying together.

I'm competitive with Rani:Saif

Idle talk about Saif warring with Rani in New York during the making of Tara Rum Pum has the affable actor amused and annoyed.

"I know there were stories of bitter quarrels between me and Rani. But if these were true why would we be doing a third film together? Yes, we're in Kunal Kohli's next. I like working with both Rani and Kunal. I must admit it wasn't so in the beginning with Kunal.

But during Hum Tum I established a comfort level with him and now I can easily work with him in project after project. As for Rani, She was good in Hum Tum. I'm competitive with her because she's a really talented actor. I just want to be better than her on screen.

Even as a person I vibe with her. We did sit around and talk quite a lot, though we can't claim to be close friends."

Saif is all praise for director Siddharth Anand. "It's always fun working with Siddharth and that crazy bunch. In Salaam Namaste half the crew was Australian.

In Tara Rum Pum half the crew was American. We started off not understanding each other. Then everyone got drunk and started loving each other, giving gaalis in Hindi."

Saif explains how the collaborative spirit changed between the two films he did with Siddharth. " In Salaam Namaste it was more me than him. This time it's more him than me. Salaam…. was based on performances.

In Tara Rum Pum Pum Siddharth is the real star. Very often the moments took over, and I didn't have to do much. And the two child actors were fabulous."

Saif's last release Eklavya didn't do all that well in India.

He disagrees. "It wasn't a disappointment for me. I read the script and I liked certain things in it. I had certain expectations from the film, and they were fulfilled. Above all, I wanted to work with Mr Bachchan.

Failure or success, I don't have to take responsibility. There're much bigger warriors in the film to take credit or flak. You can make out my importance in Eklavya from the Ravan-like arrangement of the heads in the poster.

I believe mine is the smallest. It's Mr Bachchan, Jackie, Boman, Vidya and then me. We can blame my mom (Sharmila Tagore) also."

Rani & Adi to wed on Feburary 10?

Here's is some bizzare new information about the Queen bee. According to a latest gossip Rani Mukerjee and Aditya Chopra are set to marry on Feburary 10 next year at Umaid Bhawan Palace hotel in Jodhpur, following an as yet unacknowledged engagement ceremony in June.

Rani and Aditya have booked the entire hotel which was in the news in March this year when English actress, fashion model and designer Elizabeth Hurley wed Indian businessman Arun Nayar there.

An insider reveals, “It’s one of the most expensive place in India, but Aditya and Rani thinks it’s the perfect place to get away from the prying eyes of Mumbai’s media.

They have booked the entire palace way in advance and everything is done in a hushed manner.Only a few close friends know about it. Rani's family knows about it, but we are not sure about Aditya's family."

A local film distributor of Rajasthan confirms the news.

"Yes, Umaid Bhawan has been booked for their Shaadi, and we are sure lots of people from Bollywood will be coming here for the wedding," he says.

Earlier talking to press Rani vehemently denied that she was engaged to Aditya.

At the launch of Raga Crystals range of women's watches, when Rani was quizzed on rumors of marriage to Aditya Chopra, she sarcastically responded.

"You might not know but I have five children also. Go find them and I will reward you," Rani said.

Salman is totally misunderstood: Zayed Khan

Amongst the scores of star sons and daughters in Bollywood, one prominent name is Zayed Khan. Although he got spotted right in his first film "Main Hoon Nan", the actor is still struggling to make a mark in the industry.

As of now, he is much excited about his forthcoming film "Speed", for which Zayed had to stay away from the camera for a good six months.

Q: Vikram informed that you injured your back quite seriously during an action sequence in the film. How are you now?
A: I am much better, thanks to the prayers of my well-wishers. Vikram had explained each and every scene of the film to me in detail.

In fact, that's the reason I signed the film, I knew exactly what I had to do. As for accidents, they just happen. My only grievance is that the accident forced me to stay away from the camera and in bed rest for some six months.

Q: Tell us about how the accident happened.
A: The action scene involved nine other men. I had to climb up with the help of a rope. Unfortunately, the rope couldn't bear my weight and tore off; I landed right on a chair, while the other men fell on my back.

However, this accident has made this film memorable for me. I have noticed that the films which get delayed often do well at the box-office. I have similar hopes of this film.

Q: What's the reason behind you signing so few films over these years, whereas your colleagues in the industry have signed so many of them?
A: I am quite choosy about my films now. As in, I don't want to spend 60-70 days on the sets of a film that I don't like. I want to work in films that I am excited about.

Of course, a newcomer must do many films as that's how he/she will gain experience. But that doesn't apply on me anymore. When I was a fresher I did many films as it was the only way to improve my acting skills.

Q: You are mostly seen in thrillers and action films. Why don't you try your hand at romantic films?
A: Frankly speaking, I want to do romantic films, but unfortunately good scripts are not coming my way. I wish to do a romantic film with good costars, producer and director. The main reason behind this is thriller films are easily accepted by the audience compared to romantic ones.

There is much for the cine-goers to look forward to in thrillers. But love stories can either be good or bad, there are no average love stories. A romantic film will go waste despite good director, producer and actors, if not projected properly.

Q: Would you like to play a historical character like Akbar that your brother-in-law Hrithik is playing in Jodha-Akbar?
A: Why not? God willing, I certainly will. Hrithik is a very hardworking guy, and a perfectionist at that. I respect him for that.

Right now, I want to work with good directors to understand and learn more about cinema. I have told Subhash Ghai that whether he loves me or hates me, all I want him to do is improve my acting skills.

Q: How was the experience of working with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in "Mai Yuvraj"?
A: It was good. Many say Salman is moody. But there is nothing like that. Those who spread rumours against him either don't know him or don't mean him well.

I think he is a great human being, with a heart of gold. He is one amongst the few in the industry who don't care what the media writes about them. He doesn't follow people, it's the other way round.

Q: Besides Salman, who else do you think can be included in Madame Tussauds wax gallery?
A: According to me, Hrithik will make a good choice. His talent makes films come alive.

Q: What you have to say about yourself?
A: If I manage to work in 10 hits in the coming two-three years, I would also wish that my wax statue be installed in the museum.

Q: "Shabd" was a different film of yours. What about that production?
A: I really liked that film, it is close to my heart. Unfortunately, the film was much ahead of its time. When I heard the story, I was sure that it would win the hearts of the audiences, but that didn't happen, quite like "Lamhe".

Q: Tell us about "Idiot", "Happy New Year" and "Bisaat".
A: It's been ages since "Idiot" was called off. As of now, I am not doing "Bisaat", but I am doing another film with Vasuji. As for "Happy New Year", I will go whenever Farah calls me.

Q: And your forthcoming films....
A: As of now, I am doing "Mission Istanbul" with Aporva Lakhia and "Mai Yuvaraj" with Subhash Ghai. I am quite excited about my role in "Mission Istanbul" as I am playing the lead. It is a good film, and I am sure that Indians will accept films of this genre. The story is set in New Work, where a man forms a gang with his friends and goes about terrorizing them.

Tapur out of Jhalak Dikhla Ja

The elegant Tapur Chatterjee happened to be the first female celebrity and only the second to be voted out of Sony’s ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ but it has done nothing to change her ever smiling demeanor.

In fact the way she bowed out from the show so gracefully leaving anchor Mona Singh actually teary eyed and judge Urmila Matondkar openly expressing grief and shock at her ouster, proves yet again that she is an epitome of class

. As for Shiamak Davar, he didn’t need to say anything, his expressions said it all.

“I am sad but then I am also happy that I could come this far, thanks to the support of my well wishers. It was a great experience. I enjoyed this completely new experience. I loved the appreciation.

Staying back or going was not in my hands,” quips the supermodel. Tapur might not have sizzled in her debut performance but then her second and third performances rocked.

So was it the fact the other contestants are from more commonly known fields ( TV, films, sports etc) and she being from a field only still acquainted to the elite few, affect her status when it came to the votes? Explains the Bengali beauty,“The others are very well known in their respective professions, the public know them very well. I come from a very different market. I was kind of new to them. Actually people need time to know somebody a little more.”

Unfortunately this was not the case in the show as Tapur was seen for just about three weeks on TV screens. Now she will only be back for the grand finale sometime in December.

Interestingly Tapur and her twin sister Tupur (who is 12 minutes younger than her) have been named after the famous Bengali poem by Ravindra Nath Tagore ‘Brishti porey tapur tupur" which means 'Pitter-patter falls the rain.'

Her moves on the dance floor were no less poetic. Tapur was improving fast and she managed to shine through(not to forget her goodbye performance). That’s why the voting out seemed to be even more surprising.

She says, “Actually I loved my third performance the most. I was doing a topple for the first time and it was all new to me, though everybody applauded the second performance the most.” Really it’s sad that the audience didn’t wait to know her enough!

Very few know that Tapur is the granddaughter of legendary filmmaker, the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Apart from such an illustrious background, people now have come to know about her dancing skills. So are movies on the cards? “ “I believe in the saying ‘never say never’.

I did get offers in the past. But then they have to be interesting enough. If at all it happens now, it should have a strong story base. It would be something with a strong Indian background like ‘Parineeta’ or maybe like ‘Black’.

As for my grandfather’s movies I love his all his movies. ‘Chupke Chupke’, ‘Abhimaan’ and Gol Maal are special for various reasons.

Any dream directors she wants to work with? ‘Oh there are so many of them who are doing great work. It will be unfair to single out anyone,” she retorts . But TV doesn’t really interest her. Serials are a strict no no but will she ever turn host, if it’s something interesting? “I can’t say that now. Maybe, if it’s worthwhile.”

Tapur is somebody who has achieved it all on her own steam, without really piggy backing on anyone, not even her grandpa’s name. It won’t be understatement to say that this trait is very unlike some of her co contestants on the show.

Now who doesn’t know about serial actors nurturing big Bollywood dreams and same goes for the ones on ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa’ who have taken the show as a ladder.

Even though they hardly make it there, they look for or have a strong backing in the form of a Godfather and the case is not different here. Tapur on the other hand was and is on her own. If this girl isn’t a winner, who is? Sneha Hazarika

Spotboy ties up with Benegal and Kashyap

Spotboy, the production arm of UTV Motion Pictures has tied-up with filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap and debutant Raj Kumar Gupta.

“Shyam Benegal and Anurag Kashyap are masters in their field and here they bring new narratives or give a twist to old narratives with their distinctive signature styles. And, Raj Kumar Gupta is someone to look out for. This slate surely includes some of the most discerning, entertaining cinema being produced in India today,” says Vikas Bahl Creative and Business Head, Spotboy

Shyam Benegal comes back to comedy after two and a half decades with Mahadev (working title). In Mahadev, he narrates the story of a village, which is a representative of lakhs of the villages in India. All the politics, love and romance, dreams and simplicity of a village is showcased through the eyes of a young man who wants to be a writer but ends up being a letter writer outside the post office in the village of Sajjanpur.

Anurag Kashyap, is set to recreate the classic Devdas in contemporary times in his forthcoming film Dev D. He is currently searching for the right ‘Chandramukhi’ to be cast opposite Abhay Deol.

Raj Kumar Gupta, who has been associated with Hindi feature films as a writer, assistant director and associate director, he makes his debut as a director with his film Amir, a thriller. Amir is the story of a young Muslim professional who lands at Mumbai International Airport expecting to be greeted by his family. Instead, he is thrown a cell phone and from that moment onwards has to follow instructions of a faceless, nameless voice. Starring television actor Rajeev Khandelwal, the film is at the pre-production stage with an entire crew of debutants.

'Sen girls driving me insane'

When Rituparno Ghosh first saw Madhavan in Kolkata he exclaimed, "But you look too young for the role!"

Grins Maddy, "That's because Ritu hadn't seen me after my weight loss."

Ever since Madhavan returned from Kent (UK) 6 ½ kgs lighter he's been feeling on top of the world.

"Everything seems so different. I knew all along that I was overweight, thanks to my Tamilian background that made me gorge on rice and curd every day.

All that has changed now. Not only do I recommend a light meal for myself but also for my other Tamilian colleagues in Chennai who seem to subscribe to the more-the-merrier way of life a little too obediently," Madhavan has finished shooting in Kolkata for Rituparno Ghosh's Sunglass.

"Would you believe I said yes without hearing the full script yet?" Maddy mock-whispered. "But the fact that Ritu felt it was the right role for me, gave me the courage to just plunge into the film after hearing Ritu give me brief narration. Ritu is a fabulous storyteller.

Though I met him for the first time for Sunglass I feel I've known him well for some time, thanks to his persuasive way of reaching out. I think between Mani Rathnam and Rituparno I'll cover the entire spectrum of filmmakers."

Konkona Sen-Sharma is Maddy's co-star in Sunglass. Maddy grins from ear to ear. "I think she and I make a great pair. She's dusky and so am I. Thank God I lost weight. She's reed- thin, yaar! We'd have looked like Laurel and Hardy on screen."

Maddy's other female co-star in Sunglass is Raima Sen. "Reema, Riya, Raima….all these Sens are driving me insane. As it is, I'm terrible with names. And to compound my confusion I'm also doing a Tamil film with Reema.

I hope I don't end up confusing Raima's name.By the way, she was supposed to be my co-star in Run. Good we're working together finally."

He narrates an incident that happened when he was shooting for his latest Tamil hit Thambi. "I had put on a lot of weight to play the do-gooder-goon. A female fan came straight up to me and whispered, ' I like you more this way. There's more of you fantasize about.'

I distinctly remember I had flinched because it was a a not-so-rude reminder of my weight and also because such lewd female attention always makes me feel inadequate."

This was Maddy's first visit for a shoot in Kolkata. " I love the Bengali cuisine. No fish curry for me because I'm a strict vegetarian. But I love mishti dohi, sandesh and rashogolla. Gosh, I hope I don't regain the weight I lost after such hard work!"

Why Harman's debut was postponed

Harman Baweja's debut film Love Story 2050 was supposed to be released on December 21 this week. Now we suddenly hear it’s gone to next year.

Official reason given? "The special effects in this film are far too intricate. And we don't want to rush through it." But there's a far more valid and crucial reason for the postponement of the Baweja boy's debut. And it's got to do with the clutter of male debutantes this year.

Says a source, "No living year has had so many promising male newcomers. From Ruslaan Mumtaz in Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar and Muzammil Ibrahim in Dhokha to Neil Mukesh in Johnny Gaddaar and of course Ranbir Kapoor who will make his debut with Saawariya. Naturally, Harman didn't want to come in this crowd of distinguished debutants. Next year is expected to be relatively quiet on the debutants' front." It was much for the same reason that Ashutosh Gowariker decided to come with his ambitious historical Jodhaa Akbar in 2008. With Saawariya, Chak De India, Taare Zameen Par expected to sweep the awards there was no point in losing out on the awards by releasing this year.

I'm geeting flabby for Aparna

For the last one month Rahul Bose has stopped working out. He has even ceased to play his favourite sport rugby…all this to look 45 for Aparna Sen's The Japanese Wife.

Says Rahul, "We started shooting for the portions where I've to look 45 on Wednesday (3 October). I've been preparing for it for a month. Earlier I needed to look far fitter for Samar Khan's Shourya.

But for The Japanese Wife there were many weight swings since we shot my character from his early 20s and now to 45."

To compound the physical complexities The Japanese Wife is the only film of Rahul that hasn't been shot at a stretch. "So we're taking my character through the various physical phases piecemeal. It's been tough. But finally worth it. It was the biggest challenge of my acting career."


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