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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Amrish Puri

With a deep dominating voice and a stately demeanor, Amrish Puri ruled the Bollywood industry as an exemplary actor. Born with the name, Amrish Lal Puri on June 22nd, 1932, in Nawanshehar (Jallandhar). He graduated from BM College in Simla, Himachal Pradesh. Amrish came to Bombay with not even hundred rupees in his pocket and made it so big with his sheer hard work, perseverance, and disciplined lifestyle.

Believe it or not, Amrish Puri wanted to be a Bollywood movie hero but failed a screen test in 1954. Starting his career in the Bollywood industry at the ripe age of almost 40, Amrish Puri proved to be one of the most talented villains in the history of Bollywood with his image as an actor rising to iconic status. He debuted in Reshma aur Shera in which he blend into the background with another long wait until He was cast by Shyam Benegal in some of his films, namely 'Nishaant', 'Manthan and 'Bhumika. Meanwhile Amrish Puri following his brother Madan Puri’s footsteps made a name for himself in theatre. He had also lent his voice to several advertisement jingles.

Amrish’s first commercial success came with his role of duryodhana in Hum Panch, a modern day version of Ramayana. With films like ‘Vidhaata’ and ‘Hero’ becoming hits, Amrish Puri became a star villain. This is when Hollywood came calling with Steven Spielberg casting him as the main villain, Mola Ram in his film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984. This has been his best-known role outside of India. In this film he acts as a cult leader of Thugees who perform supernatural spiritual rites by sacrificing kids on the Alter to Kali. He gained appreciation for his role in Nagina but his career defining role was yet to come as Mogambo in Shekhar Kapoors’ Mr. India. In this role Amrish played a terrorist named Mogambo who encourages his underlings with the phrase “Mogambo khush hua”. This phrase became immensely popular after the release of the film and the film is still remembered with it.

After his role as Mogambo, Amrish became a staple Bollywood actor. He went on to play many supporting roles, including his famous role as Baldev Singh in the Indian blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge! While he is best known for his work as a villain, he has also played the "good guy" at times. He was a kind-hearted American businessman in Pardes (1997) and a genial grandfather in the film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2000).

Amrish Puri has received the filmfare award in a supporting role thrice in the years 1986, 1997 and 1998 for the films Meri Jung, Ghatak and Virasat respectively.

He also won the Star Screen Videocon Awards for the Best Supporting Actor for Ghatak and Virasat.

Amrish Puri worked in Bollywood, Hollywood, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil films. Though he was successful in all of these industries, he is best known for his work in Bollywood cinema.

His last film was Kisna: The Warrior Poet. The film was released a few days after his death due to brain haemorage.

Mithun Chakraborty

Once regarded as a rival of Amitabh Bachchan, Mithunda is rightly so regarded as a legend. Incredibly talented dancer and actor, Gouranga Chakraborty aka Mithun Chakraborty was born on June 16, 1947, in Kolkata.

He graduated from Scottish Church College, Kolkata , from where he earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry (B.Sc) after which he joined Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). He started his film career as late as when he was 29 years of age, in a Bengali film made by Mrinal Sen called Mrigaya.

Before Mithunda entered the film industry, he was a staunch Naxalite till his brothers died in a freak accident. On leaving the Naxalite fold Mithunda exposed himself to great risk as the Naxalite fold is a one way road (it was an unwritten law that one could not abandon the Naxalite cause once it had been embraced). This is the turning point of Mithunda’s life making him an icon! Mithunda is also well equiped in martial arts.

He is married to actress Yogita Bali and has had 6 children of her. His eldest son, Mimoh Chakraborty is following his father’s footsteps by joining the film industry. Mimoh’s debut movie is scheduled to be launched in 2007.

Mithunda is the only actor to have won a National Film Award for Best Actor in his first movie. After this he did some minor roles till he rose to fame in late 1970’s with lead roles in many Hindi films such as Suraksha (1979) , Taarana (1979), Paanch Patita (1980), Hum (1980).

His breakthrough role came in the musical drama Disco Dancer in 1983 which was a huge success at the box office. In the mid 1980s Mithun was regarded as a rival to Amitabh Bachchan due to similar genric films and characterisation; i.e that of an angry young man. Mithun has not only achieved commercial success but has also been criticaly acclaimed. His performances in Mrigaya , Tahader Katha and Ramakrishna, have been widely appreciated. He has received the coveted National Film Award for Best Actor for these three films.

He has also won the Filmfare Award for Jallad & Agneepath and has won many awards in India and abroad in the last 31 years.

During the mid 90s he shifted his focus to low-budget B-grade movies which he produced.. These movies mostly cater to the audiences of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, where Mithun has a cult-following even today, thanks to his Bhojpuri movies.

He made a comeback to the Bollywood mainstream film industry in 2005 with the film Elaan which was not successful. After a few supporting roles in films such as Lucky: No Time for Love and Dil Diya Hai. He gave a critically acclaimed performance in Chingari which was however, not a commercial success. He recently starred in Mani Ratnam's film Guru in which he acts as an upright editor of the newspaper The Independent. By the looks of it he might be on his way to get another critical appreciation.

Sushmita: I love Mallika Sherawat

The intrepid Mallika Sherawat has an unlikely supporter in Sushmita Sen.

"I really think she has a lot of spirit and spunk…and tremendous audacity " says Sushmita. "To have come from where she has and to establish her own identity, and to have that kind of spirit couldn't be easy. But she has done it."

Tell her Mallika speaks of Sushmita as some kind of a role-model, and the actress smiles. "Really ? I haven't met Mallika. But the little that I know of her, I like her."

Mallika seems to subscribe to Sushmita's school of thought.

Laughs Sushmita. "I don't know what Mallika's thoughts are. But I feel every role I've played so far has been a stepping stone towards the goal that I've set for myself. To get to a summit you need to climb step by step.

I think I've been climbing the stairs very steadily. Not for a minute did I believe I had to be Madhuri Dixit just because I came into the film industry as Miss Universe. I knew I had to work hard to get there.

Some people get there more easily than others. But that's life. Maybe I've made some major mistakes in my career. And I continue to make them even today. But that's part of the growing experience."

So what keeps Sushmita going….and growing? "The one thing that nourishes me constantly is my selfidentity. I'm very comfortable with who and what I am.

I am an actress only when the camera is switched on. The minute it 's over I go back to being myself. I don't make an effort to make other people comfortable. I feel I can't be an image for people. I have to be a real person. I have to be absolutely me."

Ask her what 'absolutely me' is, and the prompt reply. "Absolutely me, is tons of contradictions. It's being an enigma even to myself at times. It's someone only I knew, and that too once in a while."

Yes, Abhishek did hurt Rani

By Subhash K Jha

For those spoilsports who were waiting to see deathly tension erupt on the sets of Pradeep Sarkar's Laga Chunri Mein Daag after what's widely been labeled the wedding snub, there was disappointing news.

There was absolutely no coldness between Rani and Abhishek when he returned two work after a two-month break.

"How can there be?" says a close friend of both the stars. "Rani and Abhishek have done four films as a lead pair, all hits. They're seen as the Amitabh-Jaya of the new miellennium. And forget that. They're so comforatable with each other. Yes, not being invited to the wedding did hurt Rani.

She always thought of the Bachchans as a part of her extended family and hoped they considered her the same. Intially she was upset about not being invited. But the minute the she met Abhishek last week after a longish gap, all grievances dissolved instantaneously."

Rani and Abhishek are back whooping it up on the sets as though nothing has happened.

"Nothing about Abhishek has changed after marriage. He's still a major prankster filled with masti. When Rani realized this, she immediately dropped her defences. The party spirit that prevails every time Abhishek is around is back. The set for Laga Chunri Mein Daag resembles a picnic spot," says the source.

Joining the revellery are Kunal Kapoor and Konkona Sen-Sharma.

"In fact Abhishek has known both the director Pradeep Sarkar amd Kunal for years. Abhishek oftens jokes that he wants to be as thin as Kunal," says the source.

The buzz on the sets of Laga Chunri… is that Abhishek hasn't changed one bit. "Marriage hasn't made him less bratty. It would take a lot more than marriage to the most beautiful woman in India to change Abhishek," jokes Abhishek's buddy.

Bipasha-Ronaldo caught 'Kissing'...

One of Bipasha's dreams came true at Lisbon. "I got to meet my favourite footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. For two months I had been raving to my boyfriend John that I'd meet Cristiano at IIFA. They had promised to make him walk with me. I was crushed when it didn't happen.

Who was to know that I'd party with him just weeks after IIFA?! I was like a fan to begin with. But after we bonded we just became two individuals bonding as buddies over an important international event. We're pals now. If I ever have to see a football game all I've to do is ask Cristiano."

Bipasha became a football fan ever since she met John. "I've been Cristiano's fan for five years…Both John and I. I haven't yet told him the details of my partying with Cristiano. I will as soon as he returns from his outdoors."

Actually the duo hit so well that Ronaldo, who has reportedly been dating former Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson for months, was spotted kissing Bips at a VIP party in his home country of Portugal.

An onlooker told the leading tabloid: "Cristiano and Bipasha were all over each other. They were kissing and he was being very tender, cupping her face and staring into her eyes."

When asked about the 'Kiss', Bipasha said: “Yes, it is me in the picture. It was taken at an opportune moment and has been taken out of context. Again, it looks like a case of irresponsible assumptions.”

Bipasha danced and partied with The Man United footballer until her sole was bruised. "I felt like a princess. He paid me so many compliments. He danced with me throughout the night.

There were 50,000 jealous women staring at us. I must've got so much Portuguese bud-dua that night. The local girls wanted to murder me. Now he wants to e-mail me regularly".

During dinner Cristiano told Bipasha he's a big fan of Bollywood. "I thought he was just trying to be sweet. I told him he didn't have to say he liked Bollywood films just to please me. But he called his mother, spoke to her in Portuguese.

She loves Indian films for their emotional content. That wasn't the end of it. Cristiano fished out his cellphone and made me hear Tujhse naraaz nahin from Masoom. He said, 'Now do you believe me?'

Bipasha laughs at the memory hours after landing back in Mumbai. "Though he looks older, Cristiano is very young….just a boy. Now I've told him I'm only his fan on the field. Beyond the field he's my friend.

I've told him I'm his first Indian friend. We discussed John and my football film Goal. I've invited Cristiano to India."

I fantasize about Tom Cruise

Move over desi beefcakes. They are passé because now spice girls of Bollywood go weak-kneed over phirang men.

And we thought it's just Bikini Babe Celina Jaitely and Amrita Arora who have their heartthrobs - Bill Cusack and Usman Afzal respectively - from foreign destinations! There are many more, on the same track, who find Hollywood guys much sexier, hotter and desirable than our desi actors.

Many of us perhaps are not even aware that Urmila Matondkar can die for Mel Gibson. This is what she has to say, "I have a long list of guys that I find sexy and they are all from Hollywood! I confess that I have been in love with Mel Gibson from a long, long time because I find him the hottest and sexiest of them all."

Similar is the case with Khallas girl Isha Koppikar. Her fondness for Russell Crow has reached such heights that she could get palpitation if the man winks at her even once.

She says, "I simply love Russell Crow. He is just amazing as an actor, a person, a man and his personality is admirable. Perhaps no one can match the impression he has on me. I don't find our Indian hunks as impressive as Russell, whom I really love."

Sex kitten Koena Mitra is no less. The actress dreams of visiting the world with heartthrob Tom Cruise.

"Yes, Tom Cruse is really someone I will enjoy to spend rest of my life with. If he is with me all other things in the world cease to exit for me. I fantasize being marooned on an island with Cruise. His body, looks and style are extremely fascinating," confesses Koena.

Lara Dutta is all set to dump Kelly?

Rumour has it that the rock steady relationship between Lara Dutta and her beau Kelly Dorjee is presently going through a very rough patch.

It has been close to eight years since Lara Dutta and Kelly Dorjee began dating. Over the years, their love has withstood the test of time. But now, some deep rifts have begun to appear.

After living-in together for many years, Lara and Kelly seem headed for splitsville. While the real reason of the split is still not clear, it is being speculated that the two lovers have had too much of each other and that love has begun to evaporate from their relationship.

In the first sign of an impending split, Kelly has reportedly moved out of Lara’s apartment in Bandra and has rented a new house.

Friends close to the couple are quoted as saying that earlier Lara and Kelly would often attend the social dos and dinners together. But of late, things have changed. Kelly is often spotted alone.

Lara has not denied in the past that her relation with Kelly has been through rough patches over the years. But this time, the friction between the lovers seems a tad too serious.

So far there has been no confirmation or denial of the split by either Lara or Kelly.

Mallika Sherawat is producing now?

Whatever said and done about Mallika Sherawat, but this bosom girl sure is enterprising The actress has recently turned a businesswoman and plans to start a production house with her brother Vikram very soon.

This idea has been on Mallika’s mind for quite some time and now finally, it is crystallising. Blue Velvet will be the name of the production house and the actress is currently busy scanning around 50 scripts for her company.

Mallika intends to support projects that she believes in. Many filmmakers have dropped their scripts at her office and the scripts are being scanned right now. Her brother Vikram will be looking to the finances of the firm."

Mallika is keen to start her production house by backing the stuck film Fauj Mein Mauj directed by Murli Nagavalli, previously assistant to Priyadarshan, where she plays a female cadet in the Indian army. The film also stars Sahil Khan, Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav."

Ravi Walia the present producer of Fauj Mein Mauj denied these claims though, saying, "There is no truth in it. My film is being solely produced by me and I have no clue if Mallika is turning a producer or anything."

Doctor gave me what God did not!!

Mallika and Rakhi are two names that make heads turn and spell OOMPH. The sex symbols have been known to hit tabloid headlines since their entry in to the industry and especially of late, what with Rakhi appearing on Karan Johar's high-profile show, and Mallika doing a Rs 1.5 crore guest appearance in Himesh Reshammiya's Aap Ka Suroor

But recently the question that has been arising is who is the best? The diva! The Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood...

The bindaas Rakhi Sawant makes no bones about her humble background, rather she has been able to use it to her own advantage. Born to a Mumbai policeman, she entered Bollywood through the music video and item number route. Since then, she's done umpteen no. of minor roles in several minor movies.

Mallika Sherawat, the self proclaimed 'empress' (Mallika) of the tabloids, in contrast, made the right move to begin with, changing her name, divorcing her husband and kissing her first hero (Khwahish) 17 times. Since then, her rise has been steady.

Her latest appearance in Aap Ka Suroor played up her vamp image, complete with Helen style Mehbooba dance. Mallika has done an excellent job crossing over from being a cheez to a heroine acting with Rahul Bose, and commanding Rs 1.5 crore for a guest appearance in Aap ka Suroor.

Certainly in the big league, she's also regarded as sexy rather than beautiful. Mallika was the first Bollywood actor to receive an offer from Playboy to pose nude, which she turned down. Both are known for courting controversy.

"I've slogged like crazy to get where I am. And those who think it's just my body that got me where I am, they should take a look at the others who have rushed in after me.

They haven't gone beyond their first feverish film," says Mallika, but brakhi isn’t very far behind with “I am not Mallika Sherawat, I am not Aishwarya Rai, I am not Preity Zinta. I am Rakhi Sawant and I represent the general public" and "Jo bhagwan nahi deta woh doctor deta hai.

Rakhi, with her unabashed comments about her plastic surgery, her kiss with Mika and her controversial Bigg Boss appearance.

Lets take a case study of Koffee with Karan.

Karan Johar has featured every celebrity worth showcasing on his show. And almost each one has mentioned either Rakhi or Mallika in conversation not always in a complimentary way.

While Mallika herself appeared on the show last season with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rakhi has only just come on —solo. Rumours have it that no star wanted to appear with her. Both got accolades for the way they handled themselves —with frills and blatant attitude.

Says brand domain expert Harish Bijoor, "Both have been in the public eye and have common points to offer. But Mallika's positioning has been on the level of class, she's branded herself with her work. While Rakhi believes all publicity is good publicity —that's not good brand positioning."

"Mallika Sherawat is instantly associated with one word: sexy. Her positioning is sharper. Rakhi Sawant's brand positioning, on the other hand, is what's known as dissipated —a bit of this and that. The name Rakhi raises the thought of controversy /Mika/kissing/exposure.

Our marriage is not a joyride

Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora will be seen again after a break of 14 years in an ad for the Starcity Group. They were seen last together in MR Coffee campaign. The ad has already been shot.

Arbaaz and Malaika are the brand ambassadors for the Starcity Group. They kickstart the Groups 1,000 acre development plan which is next to Amby Valley in Lonavala. Starcity aims to rope in people from the entertainment world who at some stage want to live there.

Malaika is nostalgic about the MR Coffee ad where Arbaaz and she had met. They appeared in music videos (the Rajashris) and media events together, but could never shoot an ad together again.”

Malaika and Arbaaz share a great comfort level on screen. As they can be totally open to each other on what they like or dislike about each other while shooting.

Says Malaika regarding the comfort level they share, “Recently, when we shot the song for Indrajit Lankesh’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects, he was watching my shots and said he wanted to see how good I was at my job!”

Arbaaz’s performance in Shootout At Lokhandwala has been widely appreciated.

“I loved his performance too,” pipes in Malaika, while Arbaaz adds modestly, “I am happy that I got noticed in spite of the film’s big cast. Next I will be seen in Hansal Mehta’s Woodstock Villa. It’s a stylised psychological thriller.”

So what keeps their relationship alive even after 14 years?

Arbaaz says, “I know a lot of people feel ours is a fairytale romance, but the fact is there’s a lot of love and respect for each other and our work.

It’s not a joyride and like any normal couple we are constantly working at our relationship.”

While Katrina's away Sallu plays!

Salman's Yorkshire IIFA buddy Sienna Miller is in town and our kind hearted bad boy gave her the perfect taste of fine Indian hospitality at a lavish party in his Bandra home.

Miller, who is in India to promote Global Cool (an organisation that creates awareness about global warming) along with Amitabh Bachchan met her at the IIFA awards in Yorkshire last month and two hit off great since then.

Salman wanted to make her feel welcome in Mumbai so he hosted a perfect dinner for her at his place.

Sienna arrived at the party clad in a simple white dress made of hakoba, white bangles and kolhapuri chappals, looking relaxed and very bohemian chic! She danced to lots of Bollywood songs and had a blast till 5 am at Salman’s house!”

Other guests at the intimate party included the usual suspects like Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia, Sohail Khan, Arbaaz and Malaika, Amrita Arora, Arjun Rampal, Anil Kapoor and Dino Morea, among others. Katrina Kaif was away shooting in London.

Miller is on a week-long trip. She met Amitabh Bachchan on Tuesday and urged Indians to do more to slow global warming.

"If each one of us does our bit, we will be helping to keep global warming from harming our countries," she said.

Big B is the brand ambassador for Indian International Film Academy which in turn has aligned with Global Cool, an organization that spreads awareness about global warming.

The American-born English actress is self-confessed Indiaholic- loves Indian food, Indian people and Indian films so much so that she wants to star in them one day.

Kareena Kapoor joins Ash's league

Kareena Kapoor will be part of three films to be made by production house Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision.

Just days after her beau Shahid Kapur signed a two-film deal with UTV, Bebo has clinched a three-film deal with Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision for which she will reportedly be paid Rs 6 crore.

If the amount reported is correct then this deal puts Kareena in the league of top Bollywood heroines with an acting fee approximating Rs. 2 crore per film. Only Aishwarya Rai is the other Bollywood actress who gets as much amount.

As per the deal, Kareena will act in three films to be made under the banner of Shree Ashtavinayak over the period of two years.

The first of these films will be the sequel to comedy ‘Golmaal’. The sequel, appropriately titled ‘Golmaal Returns’, will feature Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade and Tusshar Kapoor.

The three-film deal does not include the movie with director Imtiaz Ali for which Kareena has been shooting lately with boyfriend Shahid. The deal suddenly puts Kareena in the thick of action after a long hiatus.

The shooting of ‘Golmaal Returns’ will begin in November in Dubai.

He made me look stupid seductress

They say, behind every successful man is a woman. Likewise, in Bollywood, behind every successful brand, is a publicist.

Upcoming actress Sherlyn Chopra realized this last year, when she hired the services of celebrity publicist Dale Bhagwagar, who also looks after the imaging of the likes of Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Shiney Ahuja, Esha Deol and films of Farhan Akhtar.

Sherlyn, (then called Mona Chopra) was languishing in obscurity after her C-grade films ' Time Pass ', 'Jawani Diwani' and 'Naughty Boy' had bombed. But the self-proclaimed "master manipulator" that Dale is, he managed to turn the tides for the actress.

Within no time Sherlyn was splashed in various newspapers and magazines with a variety of pictures, all of which befitted her well-publicized 'split personality'.

At times, she would look demure. At other times, bold and daring. At times, she would be photographed dressed as Santa Claus and playing with kids. At other times, she would appear on the cover of Man's World, imparting sex gyan.

At times, she would pose for newspapers wearing a tricolour salwar-kurta. At other times, she would be arrested by the Alibaug police for doing a bikini photo shoot without police permission on the beach.

At times, she would attend a music launch event dressed in a burkha, protesting against the unwillingness of the makers of her film 'Game', to change her name from Mona Chopra to Sherlyn Chopra in the title credits of their film. At other times, she would appear nude in fashion photo shoots.

Whatever the reason, Dale ensured Sherlyn Chopra always hogged the limelight. On her part, she never disappointed him and churned out scandalous quotable quotes by the dozen to a jaw-dropping media; a quality the publicist loved.

Within a matter of months, Dale's calculating strategies and media placements turned her into being 'controversy's favourite child'. She received loads of attention in the print, television and internet media throughout the year.

So it has come as a shock to the fourth estate, that Sherlyn has kicked out the very publicist who made her the brand she is. She has claimed that the publicist tried to be "God" in her life and kept telling her what she should do and what she should not.

Sherlyn loves to be in the midst of things and her teaming up with this publicist had proved to be an unbeatable dynamic combination.

So what made her throw him out? "Apart from manipulating the media, Dale constantly told me what I should do and avoid; which paper I should speak to and which paper I shouldn't. I even heeded to an extent, but then he began behaving as if he was all powerful; as if he ruled me. But he's just a PR. Not a God," quips Sherlyn.

But surprisingly, the publicist only has good words for his ex-client. He says, "Sherlyn is not only a fiery person but a powerhouse performer. Her talents have been untapped until now. But just wait for her music album 'Outrageous' to release.

She will stun everyone with her singing prowess and performance. Pralhad Kakkar is directing her debut video and he will work magic for her. "

Isn't the publicist upset with Sherlyn for throwing him out? "I can't help but move on. She fired me as she thought of me as a control freak. But I can't help it as I pride on that quality of mine. I like to guide and tell my clients and the media what I need from them. My profession demands me to be stern at times.

See, I can't be a yes-man to my clients. I prefer to plan, strategize, do imaging and media placements. I like to tell my clients what to do and what not to. I like to guide and groom them for the media. If that's being God, then I am God".

As soon as Sherlyn removed the publicist, she went ahead and bad-mouthed Vinod Pande, the maker of her recent film 'Red Swastik'. Pande had mentored the actress when she was down and out and cast her in his psycho thriller which miserably bombed at the box-office due to an improper release strategy.

Sherlyn asserted. "I will never again work with a filmmaker like Vinod Pandey. I am ashamed that I had to mouth my dialogues like a seductress. Vinod wanted me to overact all the time.

Can't you seduce without nakhras? At 22, when I can understand, why can't Vinod pandey who is a veteran in this industry understand what the difference between real and fake is?"

"I would have never allowed her to do something as foolish as spewing venom against a film director," says Dale. "I know that by now, she hates me advising her, but makers and their films are the ones to catapult an actor to stardom. One should never badmouth them. "

Dale modestly adds, "However hard a publicist would try, it's ultimately the films and their appreciation that speak for any artiste. "

But wasn't he the one who managed to bring Sherlyn into the limelight when the media was wary of featuring her because of her down-market past? "Yes, I did. So what? It was my job and I was handsomely paid for it. Even if I have to do it all over again for any other actress, I would," he says.

"When the media refuses to give mileage to an artiste I take it up as a challenge to splash him or her across the papers and television screens. Such challenges give me a kick," Dale adds.

Sadly for the publicist, while fulfilling one such challenge, it has turned out that he himself got the kick.

Don't waste your time on me: Bips

By Subhash K Jha

Bipasha Basu isn't enjoying the way her relationship with John Abraham is being linked to her absence in the new shampoo ad for the brand they they endorse.

"People can say what they like. They do that anyway, no matter what explanations we give. John and I are not answerable to anyone."

Regarding the speculation about John doing the shampoo ad with another model, Bipasha sighs, "When we signed the contract for the shampoo we didn't even know we'd be doing any of their ads together."

Bipasha and John signed their contracts separately. "And my association with that brand of shampoo continues. At this point of time John and I are advertising different brands of shampoo. So the question of me being replaced in the new ad doesn't arise. People can continue to speculate as much as they like. It doesn't bother me."

All the loose talk about the status of her relationship with John has begun to annoy Bipasha. "Let them say what they like. My life is mine alone. I'm answerable only to myself, my family and my close friends.

Beyond that, does it really matter? What I'm doing in my personal life shouldn't be of any consequence to anyone except me. I mean no harm to anyone. So why harm me with such endless speculation?"

The gossip mongers have been going to town with the now-off-now-on observations. Says Bipasha. "Precious news space shouldn't be wasted on such trivia. There's so much more worth writing about. From now I won't discuss my private life in print."

How Abhishek fell in love with Ash!!!

Abhishek Bachchan said his wife is uncomplicated and "always smiling," in a newspaper interview published Wednesday, describing how he met and fell in love with Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai.

Bachchan and Rai were married in April in what Indian media dubbed "The Wedding of the Century" — an extravagant affair that had photographers and cameramen camped for days outside their homes in suburban Mumbai.

The two became friends when they worked together on the 2000 movie "Dhai Akshar Prem Ke," but cupid didn't strike until they filmed "Dhoom 2" five years later, he told.

They were paired together again in Kuch Naa Kaho (2003) but it wasn't till Aishwarya and he jived together to the beats of Kajra Re in Bunty Aur Babli, right under the eyes of dad Amitabh Bachchan, that the sparks began to fly.

The romantic drama, Umrao Jaan, was supposed to be their big film together.

When it hit the floors Abhishek and Aishwarya had not started dating, but well before its release they were known, though not acknowledged, to be an item.

The film, though made with a lot of passion, failed to stir audiences and onscreen chemistry between the couple remained lackluster.

Dhoom 2 shortly followed Umrao Jaan. Though Abhishek was not paired opposite Aishwarya the two spent a lot of time together on the sets and that seems to have done it.

"We started dating in the latter half of the film as 'Dhoom 2' was shot for over a year-and-a-half," he said.

"There are so many things I love about Aishwarya. She's very human and unaffected and down-to-earth," Bachchan told The Times. "A simple little girl who is always smiling and that's very endearing."

But he said it was difficult to pinpoint when he fell in love.

"There was no defining moment as such," said Bachchan. "I cannot explain it in words."

Has life changed after marriage? Bachchan says Rai was pressuring him to change his diet.

"She tries to make me eat healthy food as she knows I have unhealthy habits," said Bachchan.

Akshay-Twinkle: It's not over yet!

Akshay Kumar and wife Twinkle Khanna have shot off a legal notice to a certain publication in Mumbai for "publishing a false report on July 24, 2007".

The petition in this regard was filed in the court on July 26. The couple announced in the media: "We will not stand malicious reporting by any publication anymore. We will take them to court."

Their media statement reads: “We have never reacted to what is written about us because we are happy in our own little world and have never felt the need to prove anything to anyone. But people are taking advantage of our silence to slander us and write things without an iota of truth, which we shall not accept anymore”.

The report in question claimed that the actor had checked into the JW Marriott, Juhu, for four days last month after an altercation with his wife "over his alleged philandering" with a Bengali starlet.

The report quoted sources saying: "We often saw Akshay's car stopping by at the actress's place at odd hours to pick her up. They were spotted together, sometimes even on the sets, where either of them was shooting."

It further added that Twinkle had given Akshay an ultimatum to mend his ways, but in vain. At present, Akshay is shooting in Ladakh for Yashraj Films's Tashn.

Exposing Mallika & Bipasha's real age

Exposing Mallika & Bipasha's real age

There have been countless debates over many months about Bollywood’s favourite sex bomb Mallika Sherawat’s real age.

While a prominent news channel questioned Mallika’s talll claims of ‘being very young” by digging into her history and exposing her past credentials which included her airhostess job at a certain age and her failed marriage, another one very recently talked about how Mallika lies about being 26 when she is actually 36.

This big question and controversy about Madame M’s real age just refuses to die down. There have always been contrary reports of her age in the media. At times she is 26-28 and at times 35-36. After almost succeeding in hiding her marriage, now it seems Mallika is hell bent on putting her real age under wraps.

Mallika is the front runner here, but she is not exactly alone. Bipasha Basu has convinced everyone that she is 28, while a school junior of hers from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Kolkata who is herself actually around that age says, “Bipasha was my senior in school and at least three years older than me. I don’t know how she suddenly cut down so many years”. That makes dear old Bips almost 31!

Wannabe sex kitten and queen of sleazy cinema Sheryln Chopra claims to be only 22, where as sources claim otherwise. ‘Sherlyn has been 22 for many years now”, jokes a source.

Well, there are only a few examples. There are not many (like Ash and Tabu) who admit their age blatantly. For the rest, it all boils down to Indian woman being ‘oh so conscious’ about their ages.

On the other hand, Hollywood divas Madonna, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts and co might have admitted to heir ages but that hasn’t belittled their grace, charm, appeal and appearance in any way. Our desi ladies might have emulated them in as many ways as possible but this leaf out of their book has still not been taken and will not be for long, by the looks of it.

Screen Buzz: What upsets Bipasha Basu?

Nothing upsets actress Bipasha Basu – not even the gossipmongers and the prying media. At a conference recently, Bipasha made it a point to answer questions only relating to the purpose of the conference and refused to answer any controversial queries.

When the media further tried to probe into it, by saying she ought to 'clarify', she said, "I don't feel the need to. I am not upset with anybody.

People will do what they have to, they'll write what they want to and make what they will of situations." Looks like this one is really off press!

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