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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cricket: Tendulkar set for 400th one-dayer

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India superstar Sachin Tendulkar will on Thursday become the second player to feature in 400 one-day internationals.

Tendulkar will open the batting against Australia in the fifth match of the seven-ODI series against Australia, with the tourists leading 2-1.

Meanwhile, uncapped batsman Subramaniam Badrinath, 27, comes into the squad to replace the injured Gautam Gambhir.

He hit a double century for India A against South Africa and said of his chance: "It's a dream come true."

Badrinath added: "Playing for India has been a childhood dream for me and I am delighted that I am close to achieving that now."

Gambhir will miss the rest of the series after sitting out Monday's victory over the world champions.

The toss in Vadodara on Thursday could be absolutely crucial, with no team yet able to post a win when batting second.

Their batsmen had struggled until that triumph in Chandigarh, in which Tendulkar made a battling 79 and Sourav Ganguly weighed in with 41.

Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar warned last week that senior players' places would come under threat from the likes of Badrinath unless their form improved.

He said of the Tamil Nadu right-hander: "Players like Badrinath are waiting for their chance and you cannot ignore them.

"It's a professional set-up and nobody can take their place for granted."

The squad for the remaining two matches will be decided after Thursday's encounter.

Meanwhile, Sree Santh, India's fast bowler, has admitted he taunted Andrew Symonds after the Australian batsman was dismissed on Monday.

Santh told reporters he used the words: "Hard luck, you're going to lose now" to the Queensland all-rounder, but denied allegations that he had also clapped in his face.

The irony was that the hot-headed Santh had been rested for the encounter, but was in the vicinty of Australia's batsmen as they walked back to the dressing-room.

India have lost just once in five matches in Vadodara, a city in the dry state of Gujarat, and racked up 341-3 in beating West Indies here in January.

The only other player to reach 400 caps in one-dayers is Sanath Jayasuriya, 38, who on Wednesday was playing his 402nd match in Colombo against England.

'Jodhaa Akbar' for 80? 'Welcome' for 55?

Rumors are rife that UTV is planning to sell the global distribution rights of their ambitious venture JODHAA AKBAR for an astronomical price -- Rs. 80 crores. Also, WELCOME, acquired by UTV for a huge amount, is also in the market with a heavy price tag -- Rs. 55 crores.

That’s a smart strategy from the corporate company’s point of view. If they’ve invested an 'x' amount in a film and can recover the entire amount at one go and even make a neat profit in the process, it will only make the balance sheet of that corporate house look more rosier and healthier in times to come.

Meanwhile, UTV refused to comment on the development, but it’s learnt that Studio 18 has shown a keen interest in acquiring the global distribution rights of the two films. Will wait for the two corporate giants -- UTV and Studio 18 -- to make an official statement on this one!

Enough crying, now romance!

The Dokha experience wasn't all that pleasant for Muzamil Ibrahim.

But ask him if he's crying over spilt milk.

"Not at all," says the model-turned actor. "I've already moved on, though not from the banner. I'm very much with Vishesh Films and the Bhatts. In fact I'm signed on to do an out-and-out romantic film with them in the middle of 2008."

The Vishesh film will be directed by Mohit Suri.

But the more vishesh baat in Muzamil's career. He has signed on to do a comedy with Sunrise Productions featuring Nana Patekar in the lead.

The film is directed by first-timer Rakesh Narang who has done some topical work on television with Mahesh Bhatt. It looks like the Bhatt connection in Muzamil's life refuses to go away.

Muzamil and Rimii Sen play the romantic lead

Er….Muzamil and comedy?

"Yes I want to try something totally different in my second film. In Dokha I cried, both off and on camera. And the audience didn't even hear me cry in my own voice," he makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to his dubbed voice. "Hopefully this time I'll make myself heard in my own voice."

Isn't comedy a hard genre to crack at such an early stage of his career?

"It is," admits Muzamil. 'But I believe an actor needs to grow quickly. The sooner you prove yourself in a tough genre, the better. I started with a very complex role. But I feel comedy and that too with a seasoned actor like Nana will be really tough. Let's see. I love challenges.And the challenge of working with Nana really grabs me."

Abhishek isn't building Body

The one person besides Abhishek who was really baffled to be informed about Abhishek's body-building plans was his producer Shrishti Behl.

After reading that Abhishek intended to go bare-chested for Drona, Shrishti called up Abhishek to complain. "You've decided to develop your musles, shave you chest and go bare-bodied for Drona. And you haven't ven told us, the producers. Not fair!"

Actually, Abhishek himself was unaware of his sinewy plans. But then as his much wittier and far more wry dad says, "Nowadays we've to read in the papers and watch on television every morning to know what we're doing in our lives."

For the record Abhishek has no bare-chested scenes in Drona or any other film. He's intrinsically shy about undressing or making love on camera. In fact one of the reasons why he turned down Mira Nair's The Namesake was a stripping and kissing sequence.

Abhishek's loss was Kal Penn's gain.

"Jagjit Singh is much better" - Gulzar

The Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh had a near-stroke. Now recuperating at Bombay Hospital he's doing well.

Close friend and colleague Gulzar who has been keeping a close vigil on Jagjit's health says, "I sent him a message this morning saying, 'Please don't listen to Ghazals like Bahadur Shah Zafar's ‘Lagta nahin dil mera’, listen to numbers like ‘Beedi jalay le’ and you'll be fine."

According to the inimitable Gulzar Saab the best way to dodge thoughts of mortality is laughing at death. "Jagjit blood pressure fell really low. It could've been a stroke. But a friend who works at Bombay Hospital took care of everything. Jagjit will soon be fine. But he needs to stop working so hard."

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