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Thursday, October 11, 2007

I can never love a guy who’s gay: Aarti Chhabria

Your kind of man?
A self-made man, who’s down to earth. One who’s loving and caring. Must be someone who understands and pampers me a great deal. He should have respect for my parents. He should also have a killer smile.

Your favourite romantic getaway would be…
Gold Coast. It’s a beautiful beach in Australia. In India, it would be Goa.

Who inspires you most?
My dad, for the person he is. He is strong, focused in life, very intelligent and educated. He has taught me that money isn’t all that matters in life. He believes in goodwill. He has proved to be a great husband and the greatest father.

Given a chance to date a historical character who would he be and why?
Hitler. Maybe, I could have brought out the romantic side in him and prevented the Second World War.

Can a man and a woman have platonic relationship?
I believe they can take care of each other without having any sexual feelings attached.

Your first crush?
There was a cute boy in my locality. I used to go and stand for my schoolbus half an hour before just for a glimpse of this boy.

What do you think about the institution of marriage?
Indian culture and rasams are very rich and meaningful. Tradition and culture should definitely be followed. I feel marriage is a very important part of anyone’s life.

What would you do if your man turned out to be gay?
I can never fall for a guy who’s gay. His body language and behaviour would easily suggest his state.

Is a sense of humour a must?
It’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is that the guy should love me. There should be a competition between us on who loves whom the most!

The Big B brings in a quiet birthday

The 65th birthday would rank as the Big B's quietest yet. His son was shooting in Namibia for Goldie Behl's Drona and his daughter-in-law was wrapping up the Pink Panther in Boston while wife Jaya was down with a bout of flu. Added to these problems was the constant worry of having a severely ill mother on his hands.

Says a close friend of Mr Bachchan, "He wrapped up his shooting by evening on the eve of his birthday and headed straight for the hospital to be with his mom. That's where he brought in his birthday. Being with his mother gave him an inner strength and tranquility that only a devoted son knows about. And sons, let me tell, don't come any more devoted than this one."

Mr Bachchan himself, bogged down by family, media and legal pressures politely refused to do interviews this birthday. "What's there to say? A birthday is like any other day for me. Yes, friends, fans and supporters make it a very special day for me. I accept their good wishes with tremendous humility and gratitude."

Katrina not Bebo with Shahid

Whatever the truth about the status of the Shahid- Kareena relationship, the one truth about Shahid's career is clearly perceptible in his choice of heroines.

The lament, "There're not too many suitable leading ladies for me" no longer seems to hold true for Shahid.

After the ready-for-release Jab We Met with Kareena, it's Aziz Mirza's Lucky Charm with Vidya Balan, and then a straight-from-the-heart love story for Shahid.

And this time his leading lady is Katrina Kaif.

The prolific and passionate Raj Kumar Santoshi who has decided to bring together the untried pair is currently in the pre-production stage of this romantic quickie.

Says Raj, "I haven't done a simple love story before. Most of my films have been very intense and searching. I just wanted to see what it felt like to direct a boy-meets-girl story. Now that my Ajay Devgan-Vidya Balan starrer Halla Bol is ready."

Shahid is an actor Raj wanted to work with for a while. He earlier planned to bring Shahid and his father Pankaj Kapoor together in a comedy. But has now decided to go ahead with the love story instead. "He's got what it takes. And I know Shahid is capable of great intensity in a romance."

The untitled film hits the floors in early November. "I hope to complete the film by the end of the year."

Raj's next release is Halla Bol featuring Ajay Devgan and Vidya Balan. "It's my take on an actor's conscience and its awakening. But it isn't preachy or solemn.I've tried to keep the message as entertaining as possible."

The versatile director's much-discussed Ramayan project with Ajay Devgan as Rama, Kajol as Sita, Riteish Deshmukh as Laxman ad Prakash Raj as Ravan has been pushed to the end of 2008.

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Kasmera giving me hell:Rakhi

Rakhi Sawant didn't know what hit her when last week on the dance competition Nach Baliye 3 fellow- contestants Karan Grover and Kavita Kaushik did an act based entirely on Rakhi's unsavoury kissing controversy with the singer Mika.

Rakhi went visibly pale when Grover and Kaushik started their jig.

This time the item queen isn't in the mood to forgive and forget. "I went blank when I saw them. My heartbeats stopped. If they had warned me about what they were going to do I wouldn't have come to watch from the audience.

I became so tense anything could've happened to me. Then what would have happened to my act which followed this piece of unauthorized dirty dancing?"

Rakhi openly accuses her colleagues on Nach Baliye of catty behaviour. "They're trying their best to demoralize me. I'm in a bad state. If it's not fellow-dancers like Karan then it's Kasmira Shah giving me hell.

The kind of names and comments I get would make any other girl give up.My partner Abhishek tells me to ignore all this.

But when you rehearse for a week and then just before your act you're shaken by someone trying to belittle you, then it does seem like sabotage. Karan and his partner could have done anything in the ched-chad special. Why pick on something from my life?"

Adds Rakhi, "In the same episode Abhishek and I replicated Gopi Krishna and Sandhyaji's immortal dance number Ja ri hat natkhat from Navrang. There's a decency to be observed even when doing ched-chad on stage. I felt very bad.

If the other contestants don't have it in them to do something so classical, why be openly jealous? I praise the other contestants on their face even when they dance badly. No one encourages me. Very frankly, Abhishek and I don't need anyone encouragement.

No one was there for me when I started out. Producers would openly ask me to sleep with them. I had to hear vulgar comments and vulgar propositions. I've kicked and crawled up.

And I will do my best for my boyfriend. I want Abhishek to be a breadearner like me so we can walk through life shoulder to shoulder."

Rakhi is determined to bear the digs on Nach Baliye. "If not for my sake then my boyfriend's. This is his last chance, and I won't allow it to be ruined. People thought I could only do item songs with that Navrang number I've proved Rakhi Sawant can be traditional and classical."

She has currently set side her entire career for Nach Baliye. "There's no time for anything else. We get one week to prepare for every episode. Within that period we've to make sure we're the best.

And then the last thing I need is for other contestants to pull me down. They say an item girl can never be an icon. That really hurts. Am I not a humanbeing. Don't I have dreams? All the contestants are secretly working against me all the time

Ekta Kapoor's Reality Check!

Reality shows are here to stay. And there's no doubt about it especially when television tycoon Ekta Kapoor bets her money on it.

The young businesswoman is now planning to make an acting-based reality show for Sony TV on the lines of Zee's "Cinestar Ki Khoj". She has been taking keen interest in making shows for the channel, especially since Sandeep Sickand quit it.

While Balaji serial "Khwaish" is already on air, sources say about three more shows are in the pipeline, one of them being the reality show on acting.

However, statistics show that only reality shows based on singing and dancing have got the TRPs soaring. The second innings of Zee TV's acting talent hunt "Zee Cinestar Ki Khoj" failed to earn the kind of TRP ratings its debut show did.

The response led to Sony and Star steering clear of reality shows based on acting. But all that can change, believe industry insiders, if Ekta puts her mind to it. And when the soap queen makes a plan, usually there is solid conviction behind it.

Buzz is that the sudden shift of focus towards Sony is because Ekta's top actors like Prachi Desai, Ronit Roy and Jai Bhanushali are participating in "Jhalak Dikhlaja", in which papa Jeetendra is also a judge.

"With her increased involvement in the channel's programming, Ekta has already occupied the hot seat in the organizational hierarchy. Her serial has pushed up the TRPs of the channel," said a source employed with the channel.

Another speculation is that her tilt towards Sony is because her serials on Star Plus and Zee are not doing too well these days. However, a creative person associated with Balaji Telefilms is all praise for her boss: "Ekta is the queen of soaps.

Whatever be the matter, she is enjoying very good viewership for all her shows. It is just that she is spreading her wings and not limiting herself to a few channels."

But then, the TRP charts prove otherwise. Even a mythological-historical show like "Prithviraj Chauhan" is enjoying higher TRPs than Balaji's prime-time soaps. Had that not been the truth, why would Ekta sack six of her creative people all at one go.

Her rift with her subordinates could also be because of her bossy attitude. Her possessiveness about her actors is a very well-known fact in the television industry.

At the same time, Ekta also has loyal supporters amongst her actors. Aspiring actor Jai Bhanushali, one of the participants in "Jhalak Dikhlaja" and the lead of "Kayamath", says: "Ekta never stops us from doing anything we want.

She told us that if we can manage it then we could go ahead and work with other channels and media houses. She said we should just see to it that our work does not get affected. Ekta wants her work to be perfect and that's it." But then, would any actor working for Ekta dare to say a word against her?

Wouldn't that be suicidal, especially when one is at the threshold of a career in television? It's only after carving a niche for themselves that Smriti Irani and Cezzane Khan dared to stand up to Ekta.

A few months back, when Ekta launched Dhoop, she was asked if it were an alternative to her serials just in case they flop. Her reply was much in the face. "Yes, may be you all can consider this as an alternative as my serials are not doing well."

Well, Ekta we hope that your new experiment of getting into the arena of reality shows saves you the Dhoop of poor TRPs of your soaps. Here's hoping Ekta sets a new trend with her reality show on acting on Sony.

Big twist in Akki's comic plot!

Strange are the ways of show world. While the Hindi chant Hare krishna hare rama in Bhool Bhulaiya had some fundamental elements incensed, another song Allah haazif seems to be targeted at a Muslim audience to coincide with Eid.

Producer Bhooshan Kumar completely denies this. "We had the catchy phrase Alla hafiz in mind for a long time. You know how these lines like Mashaa Aallah and Ya Ali are working with the younger generation.

So there was a situation for a road song in Bhool Bulaiya where Allah Haazif worked fine. That the film is being released on Eid and the Muslim audiences would like that number is just a coincidence."

As for the Hare rama chant Bhooshan explains, "Yes there was some objection to the visuals of a Buddha statue and some glamour elements. We removed them. Even then some people objected to the song. But since it was approved by the Censors there isn't much that anyone can do."

Though the promotional clippings of Bhool Bhulaiya give the impression of being a comedy Bhooshan outright denies the film a place in the genre of hilarity.

"Of course Bhool Bhulaiya has a lot of funny moments. But those moments are combined with a supernatural element. This is a supernatural comedy, something never done before."

The T Series head honcho feels the days of the ouch-and-ouch comedies are numbered. "Partner did well. But Dhamaal and Dhol were not the hits they were expected to be. I think the audience is looking for a twist in their comedy. Bhool Bhulaiya provides that twist."

There's no funny stuff in Bhooshan Kumar's two forthcoming films.

"We have Nagesh Kukunoor's Aashayen and the other project tentatively titled Tasveer. Both serious films."

Shilpa's stage act a flop show

After all the hype around "Big Brother" winner Shilpa Shetty's stage debut, the opening shows of musical "Miss Bollywood" were a big disappointment. Not because of her performance, but because of delays and technical glitches which were nothing short of plain mismanagement.

On September 29, the media preview of the show in Admiralspalast theatre, Berlin, was delayed after 35 bags containing costumes and accessories were lost by the airline. They were recovered only a few days later.

To make matters worse, a defect in the playback machine forced the two-hour programme to be curtailed to an hour. The producer had to come on stage and apologize to save face. The shows on October 1 and 2 had to be cancelled and another preview was held on October 3.

Berlin, one of the most happening cities in Germany, didn't seem to take all this well. It was only when the producers gave away two tickets free for every ticket of the cancelled shows that the opening night on October 4 witness a filled house.

But Shilpa didn't disappoint. The audiences loved her dance skills and Ganesh Hegde's spectacular choreography. With London as the backdrop, the musical tells the tale of a young choreographer struggling to fulfill her dreams in the city.

The producers claim there has been 30-40 per cent advance booking for the rest of the shows in Berlin, from where the musical will go to Offenbach and the UK. But until and unless the management takes up responsibility and prevents last-minute glitches, all the hard work Shilpa has put in in the past few months might go waste.

I am gyming a lot to lose weight: Vidya balan

Lately, Vidya Balan has earned a reputation for getting into controversies over refusal of roles or disagreeing with costume designers. The actress clarifies to TWF correspondent Ramesh Shah about some of the misunderstandings

Excerpts of an interview:

Tell us about Bhool Bhulaiya?
That’s my next release. I play the catalyst in the film who opens the door to a chain of events. I am very excited about the film. It's a psychological thriller in true sense. I loved being directed by Priyadarshan.

You were criticised for your look in Heyy Babyy?
As a team, Manish Malhotra (fashion designer for me in Heyy Babyy) should have worked better. I think it was the collective responsibility of Manish Malhotra and myself.

You had put on lots of weight in the recent past?

Why did you allow it to happen?
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.

You had problems with Aki Narula’s clothes while shooting for Ramesh Taurani’s film in Canada?
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.

All is not well between you and your mentor Pradeep Sarkar ?
Yeah. Dada (Sarkar) was offended when I refused Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (that role has been done by Konkona Sen Sharma).

How long will his heartburn last?
That I can’t say. But knowing Dada, I am sure that he will come around.

Why did you turn down Laaga...?
Dada wanted me to shoot in January '07 but I had committed those dates for Heyy Babyy a year before.

Why couldn't you adjust the dates?
That was next to impossible. Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan and Riteish Deshmukh were not free for a long time after that, and I surely cannot compel them.

You refused Sudhir Mishra too when he offered you to play the lead in Khoyya Khoyya Chand (that role has been done by Soha Ali Khan)?
I had a few questions on the role.

Sudhir didn't take it well?
That's right. But I hope that he understands one day. There was no personal agenda. An actor does have queries sometimes.

On Shaji Karun's Suryamukhi, which you didn’t accept?
I loved that role and wanted to do it. But the film got delayed. When they finally decided to start shooting, I was leaving for Jaipur for Bhool Bhulaiya shoot. That's the only reason. Surely, I can't be in two different cities at the same time.

Ash's Abhi Prem takes new turn!!!

It's an open secret that John Abraham is very keen to be cast opposite Aishwarya Rai. He believes they'd make a very handsome screen pair.

And when their first celluloid coupling in Sriram Raghavan's Happy Birthday fell apart, John was bitterly disappointed to lose out on an eminently viable co-star.

Things worked out pretty smoothly after the Birthday fiasco. Director Sriram who has just released a fascinating noire film Johnny Gaddaar was quickly convinced by John to launch another project with Ash.

This is an intense love story for Abhishek's childhood buddy producer Rohan Sippy to commence shooting in November.

However Aishwarya currently shooting in Boston for Pink Panther 2 has serious second thoughts.

Says a source, "Ash opted out of Karan Johar's film because she didn't want to play a woman who has a multiplicity of men in her life. Now in Sriram's film she'd rather not do an intense romance with John.

After marriage Aishwarya's personal and professional priorities have changed completely. She was always conscious of her image. Now she'll do nothing that would even remotely compromise her position as the Bachchan Bahu."

Producer Rohan Sippy remains convinced Ash is the right choice for Sriram's film.

He flies to the US this week and then to Boston for an emergency meeting with Aishwarya, hoping to convince her of the project's urgent need of her presence.

Says the film's director Sriram Raghavan, "The project is an untitled love story which I need to go into right away in the first week of November. John's dates are in place. He can't give us dates after January 2008. Ash is shooting in Boston.

And Rohan is flying to meet her. Hopefully things will be in place once he returns. Ramu showed me a promo of Sarkar Raj. Ash's performance just blew my mind. I really want to work with her."

Until the producer's return, everyone on the project has fingers crossed.

Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt

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Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Farah Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Farah Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Farah Khan, Deepika Padukone
Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Farah Khan, Deepika Padukone
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Shreyas Talpade, Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Sajid Khan, Manish Malhotra, Karan Johar
Sajid Khan, Manish Malhotra, Karan Johar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shreyas Talpade
Shreyas Talpade
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Arjun Rampal
Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Kishan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Sajid Khan, Farah Khan
Sajid Khan, Farah Khan
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Mehr Jessia Rampal, Arjun Rampal
Mehr Jessia Rampal, Arjun Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Sajid Khan
Sajid Khan
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Manish Malhotra, Mehr Jessia Rampal
Manish Malhotra, Mehr Jessia Rampal
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Kishan Kumar
Kishan Kumar
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Ashmith Kunder, Shirish Kunder
Ashmith Kunder, Shirish Kunder
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Neelam
Om Shanti Om fashion show at Grand Hyatt, Vishal Dadlani, Farah Khan
Vishal Dadlani, Farah Khan

Madhavan turns producer

With the Tamil version of Nishikant Kamath's Dombivali Fast entitled Yenalu Oruvan, Madhavan has finally taken the plunge. He's started his production company Leukos Films bought over the rights of Yenalu Oruvun from Abbas-Mastan and K Sera Sera.

"I had to," shrugs Maddy. "After I saw the final edited version of Yenalu Oruvan I had to own it in every way. So yes, my company Leukos Films now owns the intellectual rights of Nishikant's film. I formed my production company only because I believe so much in the film."

Maddy now leaves the country on 20 October for a month for previews of Yenalu Oruvan all over the world. "We're going to Europe, US, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore; seven countries in the Middle East….We'll show Yenalu Oruvan in every nook of the world. I'll take it to every film festival. It's by far my best performance so far."

Earlier Nishikant Kamath had directed the brilliant Marathi actor Sandeep Kulkarni in the Marathi version Dombivali Fast. Considering the Marathi version has been so widely acclaimed it would seem taking its Tamil version abroad would result in some festival duplication and overlapping.

"Not at all," assures Maddy. "Dombivali Fast hardly went anywhere outside the country. One of the reasons why we remade it into a language I was comfortable in was because we felt it deserved to reach out to a much larger audience. Between the Marathi and Tamil versions there're many changes, and changes for the better."

In fact, Nishikant Kamath plans to make another Tamil film with Madhavan next year. Nishikant Kamath's first Hindi film Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan for UTV also stars Madhavan.

Shopper's Stop unveils OSO collection

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The leading premium fashion and lifestyle destination Shopper’s Stop and the most awaited movie of this year, Om Shanti Om have come together to unveil the unique look of the movie through a fashion show. With this association Shopper’s Stop will retail the limited edition clothes and merchandise inspired from the film at their stores across India. The dazzling show witnessed the leading pair Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone along with Arjun Rampal and Shreyas Talpade walking the ramp showcasing their respective looks from the film.

The stars transcended from the big screen to the ramp in amazingly beautiful avatars. The high voltage evening commenced with Shreyas Talpade donning the stylized look of the 70’s. The next sequence saw Deepika Padukone dazzling the ramp wearing ethnic look crafted by Huate Curry. The fashion show spiced up a lot more when Arjun Rampal walked the ramp flaunting his premium classy look of the movie, which is recreated by Vattorio Fratini.

The evening reached its crescendo when the showstopper and King of Bollywood - Shah Rukh Khan walked the ramp in his stylized new avtaar. His look in the movie will be recreated by the edgy fashion brand for youth, Push and Shove.

“The movie showcases the stars in two eras, the 70’s, and the present 2007. We wanted to associate with the brand, which could be accentuate and replicate the looks and style of Om Shanti Om in the right way”, says Farah Khan.

Om Shanti Om will be Farah Khan’s second directorial venture after Main Hoon Na. The film is slated to release on November 9.

Aashish Chaudhary signs 3-film deal

Aashish Chaudhary has another reason to smile. After creating Dhamaal on screen, he has signed a three-film deal with Suniel Shetty’s production banner, Popkorn Motion Pictures. Debutant director Saurabh Kadra will direct the first film under this deal, titled Easy Monthly Installments. Sharing screen space with him will be Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matonkar, and Arjun Rampal.

Aashish is on cloud nine as he shares a great relationship with Suniel Shetty and says, “It will be great fun to work with Popkorn Motion Pictures, and ‘Anna’ (Suniel) has made it pretty clear that I am in the film. It is like a dream come true for me to have a deal signed with his production banner. Suniel has been a part of my first film Qayamat and since then we share a great relationship and he has always been there for me.”

Easy Monthly Installments revolves around the idea of taking loans. “The script of the film is woven very classically and I feel everyone in India will relate to it since it’s based on the very idea of loans, which has become a part of everyone’s lives now,” adds Aashish.

The film would go on floors by October 13. Speed and Bhootnath are his forth-coming films.

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