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Deepa Mehta inks deal with Amitabh
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 19 After Mira Nair's "Shantaram",
Amitabh Bachchan has now agreed to work with Deepa Mehta in her
next film "Exclusion".
Mehta, who sneaked into Mumbai for just a day for a series of
press conferences promoting her Oscar-nominated film "Water",
found time to meet up with Amitabh Bachchan at his office Janak
to ink a deal.
"Amitabh and I met in Toronto when he was there to promote Karan
Johar's film ('Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'). I was there with
'Water'. He was interested in 'Exclusion'. Now we met again at
his office on Friday and he has said yes. I'm too delighted for
words. It's been a dream to direct him," Mehta told IANS.
It looks like the Bollywood icon's earlier stance on the
redundancy of an international career is going for a toss.
Whether he wants it or not, international filmmakers are ready
to take his stardom to the West in a big way.
Earlier entitled "Kamagata Maru", "Exclusion" is the true-life
tale of a ship that took a group of Indians to the shores of
Canada in the early part of the 19th century. But they were not
allowed to enter the country.
It is described as one of the most notorious "incidents" in the
history of exclusion laws in Canada and the United States
designed to keep out immigrants of Asian origin.
The film will feature Amitabh alongside John Abraham.
It's like a double whammy for Mehta. She has managed to rope in
one of the most sought after actors for her film and "Water",
about the plight of the widows in the pre-independence era, is
set to hit the Indian marquees on March 9. John, Lisa Ray and
Seema Biswas play important roles in the film, which was shot in
Preity, Arjun join Amitabh in Rituparno's next film
New Delhi, Feb 19 Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and
Amitabh Bachchan will be seen together in Rituparno Ghosh's
forthcoming English film.
The yet untitled film, which is being produced by Planman Motion
Pictures, will also feature Shefali Shah, Bengali actor Jishu
Sengupta and Divya Dutta.
"I am extremely happy with the finalisation of the cast. A great
script and good actors are an extremely exciting proposition. I
am sure the film will shape up wonderfully. After all, Ghosh is
a magician of a director," said Arindam Chaudhuri, chairperson
of Planman Motion Pictures.
Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, CEO, Planman Motion Pictures, said
the film would go on floors by the end of February.
"An integral part of the film would be shot abroad, for which we
are exploring several location options. As soon as the
formalities are done, we will finalise the international
schedule," said Bhattacharjee.
Aftab sports bald look in 'Red'
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, Feb 19 Actor Aftab Shivdasani, who
desperately wanted a radical makeover, has almost gone bald for
Vikram Bhatt's "Red".
"I was discussing this new look with Vikram when we were doing 'Ankahee'.
I was longing to see myself in a new light. I went to hair
stylist Aalim Hakim... Vikram has been very supportive and we
finally implemented the look in 'Red'. I'm in love with this new
look," said Aftab.
He plays Neel Oberoi, a heart patient who falls in love with
Anahita, played by Celina Jaitley, reports Bollywood Trade.
"'Red' signifies anger, passion, danger and hence goes with the
film. My character Neel is a passionate, intense guy. He is
required to be portrayed in that light (referring to his 'bald'
look). The look compliments my character in the film. I've never
played something like this before. 'Red' was a great opportunity
for me as an actor."
The film, releasing March 2, has been described as an erotic
thriller -- the Aftab-Celina lip-lock has generated enough hype
The actor has interesting line-up of films, including "Life Mein
Kabhi Kabhie", "De Taali", and "Speed".
Sushma not obsessed with her achievements
Sushma Reddy, who recently hosted "Indian Rendezvous" -- a
six-part series on as many Indian metros -- doesn't believe in
talking too much about her work.
"I find it strange and absurd to talk about things just to be in
news. I can't blabber foolishly just for the heck of it. I
believe in talking when the time is right. Let things
materialise and I shall talk about it," she said.
The waif-like beauty has been roped in for a new project on
"Travel and Living". She is also looking forward to Mahesh
Manjrekar's much-delayed "Big Bazaar" and a few other projects,
reports Bollywood Trade.
About her blink-and-miss role in "Don", Sushma said: "It was
more of a personal favour to Farhan Akhtar. I have high regard
for him as a director and more so as a person. I've known him
since quite some time. In fact, we have a similar group of
friends. He needed an actress and he called me up so I went
ahead with it."
Sushma spent Valentine's Day with sister Sameera and friends.
She treated herself to "Music & Lyrics" followed by a sumptuous
"I don't think you need a particular day to profess love for
someone. Valentine's Day should be taken in the right spirit. If
you're in love with someone you express it everyday. It's a
daily affair and not a one day thing," she opines.
Prod her about the presence of a 'special someone' in her life
and she says, "I will never comment on my personal life. Please
leave that bit to me."
Saif recovering and stable: hospital
Mumbai, Feb 19 Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan, who
was rushed to a city hospital here Sunday evening after
complaining of chest pain, is better and recovering from severe
exertion, hospital sources said Monday.
"Saif Ali is out of danger, but will be kept under observation
for the next two days, said Lilavati Hospital dean N. Trivedi.
Saif, 36, was rushed to Lilavati Hospital Sunday evening after
suffering a "suspected" mild heart attack. He was admitted to
the intensive care unit and underwent an ECG, which had shown
that he had irregular heartbeat.
"A team led by cardiologist Vivek Mehan immediately performed an
angiography but found him to be stable," Trivedi said.
Saif had early Sunday morning returned from a tour of South
Africa and had rehearsed for a performance at a function earlier
in the day. He complained of chest pain at about 5 p.m. when he
was heading for the evening's Stardust Awards at the
Saif was to have received the award for best actor in a negative
role for "Omkara", which brought him much critical acclaim when
it was released last year.
Saif's sister actor Soha said:" Saif had been working day and
night and was over-exerted."
"He returned from South Africa at 1.30 a.m. Sunday and rushed to
the MMRDA grounds at the Bandra-Kurla Complex to practice for
last night's Stardust Awards," Soha told IANS Monday.
But soon news of Saif's heart attack spread and several
Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, who were
present at the awards function, rushed to the hospital to see
him. Others like Fardeen Khan, Preity Zinta, Kunal Kohli and
Jackie Shroff followed.
Akshay Kumar to star in Priyadarshan's next
New Delhi, Feb 19 Bhushan Kumar of T-series has
roped in Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar for his next production -
"Bhool Bhulaiya" - a comic thriller and remake of the 1993
Malayalam super-hit "Manichithrathazhu".
Set in a small town, the film promises to be a blend of thrill
and humour, revealing many dimensions of human psychology.
Directed by Priyadarshan, the movie's cast will include Vidya
Balan, Shiney Ahuja, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav and Amisha
Patel. The screenplay and dialogues of the film are written by
Neeraj Vora and the 41-day shooting schedule began Sunday in
This is Akshay's second film with T-Series after "Humko Deewana
Dino Morea 'best kisser' in Bollywood
Actor Dino Morea is slated to take over the mantle of the 'best
kisser' in Bollywood from Emraan Hashmi.
Those who have seen the rushes of the film "Bhram" swear that
the lip-lock between Dino and model-turned-actress Sheetal Menon
is one of the most passionate scenes ever shot in Hindi films.
Though it will be Dino's first on-screen kiss, he is said to
have carried it off exceptionally well. Director Pawan Kaul has
shot the passion-play between the two actors aesthetically.
According to eyewitnesses, Dino was initially nervous, but once
the camera was on, he carried off the kiss quite skilfully.
Both Dino and Sheetal were models, hence they shared a certain
comfort level on the sets, said the eyewitness. "In 'Bhram', the
kiss is with a twist in the tale, which is great," he added.
Governor will speak to PM on
Uttar Pradesh: Raj Babbar
Lucknow, Feb 19 Bollywood actor-turned-politician
Raj Babbar claimed Monday that Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V.
Rajeshwar was going to speak to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on
the opposition demand for dismissal of the Mulayam Singh Yadav
Speaking to mediapersons shortly after calling on the governor
at the Raj Bhawan here Monday afternoon, the Jan Morcha leader
said: "The governor assured me he would convey the opposition
demand for clamping president's rule on the state to the prime
minister, who in turn would convene a meeting of his cabinet to
take a decision on the issue."
"While our leader Vishwanath Pratap Singh has already sought
dismissal of the Mulayam government, I came here to call on the
governor and make a written representation in this regard,"
Babbar told reporters outside Raj Bhawan.
Asked to comment on the continued opposition by the Left to any
move to clamp president's rule in Uttar Pradesh, Babbar said:
"We are also not in favour of use of Article 356 to dismiss any
democratically elected government; but here the case is
He said: "In Mulayam's case, it is a question of upholding the
spirit of the apex court's order that invalidates the very
inception of his government."
Voicing opposition to Mulayam Singh's offer to prove his
majority on the floor of the state assembly, Babbar said: "The
question of allowing him to do so does not arise as it is an
open secret that last time when he proved his majority in the
assembly (Jan 24), he had engineered defections by at least 17
MLAs belonging to other parties."
"Giving him an opportunity for floor test would amount to
extending him yet another chance to forge defections through
horse-trading," he charged.
The Congress and several opposition parties are clamouring for
the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh government in the wake of the
Supreme Court disqualifying 13 MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party
for defecting to Mulayam Singh Yadav in August 2003 to help him
At least I'm original: Madhur
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 18 Madhur Bhandarkar, whose recent film
"Traffic Signal" fetched him mixed reviews, doesn't mind being
called an offbeat filmmaker, saying, "At least I'm original."
"My films don't make a billion rupees at the box office...But I
deserve credit at least for moving away from the clichés of our
cinema," Bhandarkar told IANS in an interview.
"People say Madhur is an offbeat filmmaker. I don't mind that. I
know how people respond to me at a shopping mall or on the
streets. That's my biggest reward and award," he said.
"Whatever I've achieved has been on my own. I had no godfathers
or patron saints in the film industry. I know there's hostility
towards me. I don't know why it's there. But I know there's
hostility towards me," he added.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: Apparently "Traffic Signal" has opened poorly overseas.
A: Yes, it's a little weak. But "Traffic Signal" isn't targeted
at the overseas market. There're no stars in the film.
Everywhere else it's doing very well.
Q: It takes audacity to make a de-glam product in this day and
A: Yes and I shot in real sunlight. Bahut himmat ki zaroorat hai
(one needs a lot of bravery). "Traffic Signal" came in face of
films with a heavy gloss. I'm proud to do a slice-of-life work.
But if you see my career - from "Chandni Bar" to "Traffic
Signal" - I've always explored the less glamorous aspects of
life. I'm not a commercial filmmaker at all.
My films don't make a billion rupees at the box office. I keep
experimenting with various aspects of life. But I deserve credit
at least for moving away from the clichés of our cinema.
Q: Your films also require financial audacity.
A: I never had a problem getting producers once "Chandni Bar"
was released. Whether it's "Satta" or "Corporate", I never had
to struggle for a producer. None of my films ever lost money.
Everyone earns money.
Q: You're accused of selling grass roots to the audience.
A: But "Page 3" and "Corporate" were about the elite class. That
was a deliberate attempt to move away from the grass-root image.
Q: But there's a fixed formula to your cinema - clutching at a
large gathering of characters, capturing them with their pants
down within their given socio-political sphere.
A: Agreed. But at least grant me the credit for exploring
different themes and characters. At least I'm original. I've
received at least 400 SMS since "Traffic Signal" released.
People are praising me for having the guts to make a film
without stars - rustic and very real. I don't even have a hit
song in the film. Still I'm happy by the response.
Q: The reviews have been pretty mixed.
A: But that's the story of my career! The reviewers didn't even
spare my "Chandni Bar". They said it was bleak and pessimistic.
"Page 3" they said was like an ongoing party. "Corporate" they
said was filled with trade jargon.
Q: Strange, considering how far you've taken mainstream cinema.
A: Whatever I've achieved has been on my own. I had no
godfathers or patron saints in the film industry. I know there's
hostility towards me.
I don't know why it's there, but I know there's hostility
towards me. I'm treated like an orphan in the film industry. But
at the end of the day, I'm happy because my producers are making
money and I get to make the films I want.
Q: You're also victimised at the awards.
A: Initially, I used to get upset about it. Now it's okay. I
agree "Chandni Bar" and "Page 3" got a raw deal at the popular
awards. But both films got the national award. To me that's more
Q: You've got money and popularity...
A: Money I haven't got. But I'm definitely happy by the
recognition and the success of my films. When I look back, I see
this filmmaker who made a film called "Trishakti". When I see my
movies I feel I've really achieved a lot. One flop and I'd be
back in the doldrums. I'm very happy doing what I'm doing.
People say Madhur is an offbeat filmmaker. I don't mind that. I
know how people respond to me at a shopping mall or on the
streets. That's my biggest reward and award. Beyond that I'm not
a filmi person. I'm into my own world and my own cinema. I've
very few friends in the industry. I haven't worked with big
Q: But you've worked with Tabu and Raveena Tandon.
A: Yeah, but I was accused of making woman-oriented films.
There's always a sense of discrimination against me. If I've a
subject for Hrithik (Roshan) or Abhishek (Bachchan), I'd
definitely work with male stars.
In fact, "Traffic Signal" is my first film with a male
protagonist. I'm happy Kunal Khemu has been appreciated. People
now say Madhur can make a male-oriented film.
Q: Your casting is impeccable.
A: See, once I read the script, I cast according to characters.
In "Traffic Signal", I've cast real eunuchs and beggars. I've
even cast people from my unit. And the two insurance agents who
get beaten up by Sudhir Mishra are played by Joe Rajan who's a
travel agency owner and G.K. Desai, a producer of English
movies. They also acted as party crashers in "Page 3". Hence the
dialogue for them in "Traffic Signal", "Arrey yaar, we earlier
used to splurge on free drinks at page three parties, now we're
Q: People missed that in-house joke.
A: Yeah "Page 3" came two years ago.
Q: I found Sudhir Mishra wooden.
A: I wanted him to deadpan through the film. I wanted him to be
himself on screen. I think he's commendable.
Q: Some portions in the film were found to be vulgar.
A: You mean the pervert who touches up the beggar? I've done
research and know that such things happen. Reality, they say,
bites. People can't take harsh reality.
My twins more important than
'Dallas': Gurinder Chadha
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 18 Britain-based Indian filmmaker
Gurinder Chadha of "Bend It Like Beckham" fame is in the family
way and says she has shelved her next film "Dallas" to prepare
for the arrival of her twins.
The expected date of delivery is July 20. "I'm pregnant! I'm
expecting twins this summer," Chadha told IANS.
The 47-year-old, who is married to filmmaker Paul Mayeda Berges,
never seemed happier.
"And rightly so because no film experience can compare with
this. In fact I've put my big project "Dallas" on hold until the
babies com e," she exulted as she awaits the D-Day.
Naturally, Chadha is doubly excited about the twins. "You know
I'm not one to do things by halves," she joked.
"But twins always arrive early. So I expect I'll be a mom by
mid-June," she added.
Talking about the names, she said: "I told Aishwarya Rai that if
I've a boy and a girl I'll call them Ash and Abhishek. It's a
joke, of course. My husband Paul and I haven't thought of names
for our twins."
As for "Dallas", Chadha is still very excited about returning to
the project after her pregnancy.
"I had to pull out of the project. But the producers insisted
that they want me to do it. I'm still very excited about it. The
re-write of the script is on. In the meanwhile, I may do a
smaller project which I'll cast and prepare before summer and
then shoot in autumn after my maternity leave."
Chadha is also upbeat about receiving the OBE from the Queen.
"It finally happened at the Buckingham Palace. My family was
there - my mom, my husband and my godson. Somehow it always
feels good to be recognised, specially in Britain which is my
Bollywood stars get seriously
fashionable (WEEKLY ROUNDUP)
By Priyanka Khanna,
New Delhi, Feb 18 Signature line of clothing that
are inspired, crafted and fine-tuned by film stars themselves is
the hottest new trend in the world of fashion.
Jennifer Lopez has it and so do Sarah Jessica Parker, Eminem,
Britney Spears and loads of other international celebrities, so
why should Indian film stars be far behind.
Not content with merely endorsing clothes brands or gracing the
opening of clothes stores, hot and happening Bollywood stars are
increasingly getting involved with fashion wear at the sketching
John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan lead the list when it comes to
adding a very personal touch and bringing out signature fashion
collections. While John has tied-up with Wrangler, Hrithik is
working very closely with ITC in a bid to find a way into your
John's involvement with his own line needs to be seen to
believed. Each piece of his collection comes with small notes
sticking out from the inside pockets containing personal
comments from the actor himself on the design, style and how he
came up with the look.
Like John, Hrithik's association with ITC's John Player began as
a brand endorsement but has taken a personal turn.
Atul Chand of ITC said in an interview: "The association
benefits both. It brings alive the personality of the brand and
helps establish a style statement for the star or a specific
character the actor is trying to popularise."
Apart from the above two, actor Fardeen Khan, after severing
ties as brand ambassador for clothes brand Provogue, is set to
launch his own line. Model-actor Milind Soman is even working
with designer Madhu Jain to revive handicraft in Kashmir.
The stunning Malaika Arora of "Chaiyya chaiyya" fame has been
turning down lucrative offers to sign up as brand ambassador by
the dozen. She wants to bring out her own clothing line that
will be an extension of her identity.
The linkage between film stars and fashion goes way back. In a
nation where film stars are often equated with god, the kings
and queens of celluloid have known to influence millions of
people who try to think, dress, walk and even talk like them.
There were times when an entire generation of girls would style
their hair in line with the hair-do of the leading female
Young boys would ape clothes and even mannerisms of leading
actors. Mothers of girls getting married would take posters of
films to their tailors for getting wedding trousseaus made.
But at the same time some of the clothes that actors wore were
so outlandish that even the most ardent fan would never follow
suit. The thought that film stars could get into the clothing
industry was once inconceivable.
"Today more than ever before fashion and showbiz go
hand-in-hand," says model-actor Samita Bangargi who launched her
Fall Winter collection some four months ago.
Samita got involved in the clothes business after she was asked
by a jeans brand to design for them. She was quick to recognise
the potential in the trade and launched her own brand.
Given the increasing importance of revenue from brand placement
in films and merchandising, the synergy between stars and
fashion is set to increase many folds.
According to reports, in 2006 brand cameos earned around Rs.800
million and as a result, even small- and medium-budget movies as
well as animated films can hope to cash in.
The figure is projected to climb to Rs.2 billion this year and
reach Rs.8 billion in 2010.
Last year, Farhan Akhtar's "Don" tied-up with international
men's wear brand Louis Philippe, besides others like Tag Heuer
watches, Motorola, Garnier, Citibank and Oakley sunglasses. The
long list of brands piggyback riding on "Krrish" included ITC's
Siddharth Roy Kapoor, senior vice-president, UTV, says that
while branding does not contribute significantly to revenues
yet, it has enormous potential.
"After 2006's success story, more FMCG brands and durables have
woken up to the power of movies as a means to push their
products. Companies are increasingly opting for joint
For UTV's upcoming film "Goal", Reebok worked closely with the
film's costume designer to create outfits for the cast.
Besides helping to promote the movie with a media campaign,
Reebok would also highlight its association with the movie.
As Bollywood is turning from gratuitous dance scenes and
melodramatic romance to gritty storylines, actors are sporting
more realistic looks. The men especially are experimenting with
their on-screen look like never before.
Though our actors are yet to go in for drastic moves like
Charlize Theron did in award-winning film "Monster", but at
least some are going the extra mile to look the part.
Aamir Khan leads the pack with his drive for perfection.
Recently, he grew a moustache and gained weight for his title
role in "Mangal Pandey" and then he lost the kilos to play a
college boy in "Rang De Basanti".
After stunning audiences with dramatically different looks in "Krrish"
and "Dhoom 2", Hrithik is now growing a beard for the period
look needed for Ashutosh Gowarikar's "Akbar-Jodha".
Even Abhishek Bachchan has been growing his hair for "Jhoom
Barabar Jhoom" and "Drona". No more fake wigs and beards for
Actor Saif Ali Khan hospitalised
Mumbai, Feb 18 Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan was
admitted to a hospital here Sunday evening after he felt unwell
while performing in an awards ceremony.
Khan was immediately shifted to the Leelavati Hospital after he
complained of chest pain.
Actor Iqbal honeymooned in
Maldives to avoid embarrassment
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 19 Television artist Iqbal Khan
surprisingly chose not to honeymoon at any of those exotic spots
that his new bride Sneha selected on the net because he was not
sure he will get a visa.
"After the experience I went through some months ago who knows
how the immigration authorities would've reacted to my name,"
Iqbal told IANS.
The actor, who was seen in series like "Kyun Hota Hai Pyarr" and
"Karam Apna Apna", referred to his humiliating experience with
the American consulate which rejected his visa plea some months
ago arguing that his name suggested terrorist links.
"I'd rather not think about these things. There're enough
holiday spots in our own country for my wife and me. We had a
week of bliss in the Maldives. And our honeymoon is still on
since I'm not working.
The couple is technically back from their honeymoon but they
continue to be in the honey-mode.
"We make it a point to watch at least one film every day in the
theatre. And if not in the theatre then we watch a DVD. Both
Sneha and I have become diehard movie buffs."
He says he is enjoying his break from acting.
"Marriage so far has been an extended honeymoon. There were no
adjustments with each other or our families since we've known
each other for years now."
Iqbal and Sneha's first post-marriage Valentine's Day was a
"We were caught in a traffic jam for hours. So, we spent our
Valentine's Day trapped in the traffic. No sweat, as long as we
The actor is working out rigorously and trying to keep himself
in shape for his next leap.
"Lately, I had put on a lot of weight. Now when I return viewers
will see the taut character Angad that they saw in 'Kyun Hota
Hai Pyarr' when I first appeared on television."
Iqbal, who left Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms in December, has
yet to make up his mind about his next work move.
"I've had very tempting offers from Zee, Sony and STAR. But I've
said no to all of them. I don't want to go back to doing the
same thing. Whatever I do has to be a step forward."
Aditya Pancholi rubbishes link up rumours with Kangana
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 19 Aditya Pancholi controls his shock
and anger at the reports allegedly describing Kangana Ranaut as
"I've been instigated to talk against Kangana. I've been told
she has been using me. But that's complete rubbish. In fact,
I've forwarded the nasty messages about Kangana to her. Kangana
isn't my girlfriend. I never said any such thing. Why would I? I
would never speak like that about someone I care so much for.
She means so much to me and my family.
"At the same time, I'd like to clear that I'm not her father and
my daughter isn't her sister. I've been in this industry for
years. I've had so many flings and affairs. I'm not a kiss and
tell guy. I did have a temper problem. But I'm not a bad guy.
I'm not a conniving guy. And I'm not into women at all for the
last five years," Aditya told IANS.
Aditya was last seen in Sanjay Gupta's "Musafir" as inspector
So, what's the nature of his friendship with Kangana?
"She's a very dear friend of mine. I know Kangana from the time
she came to Mumbai. I was the first person she met. I can swear
on my mother nothing would make me happier than to see her
Aditya says he has not done any favours to the actress, who made
her mark with debut vehicle film "Gangster - A Love Story" and
proved her credentials once again in her second release "Woh
Both the films were based on true-life stories - "Gangster" was
about mobster Abu Salem's affair with actress Monica Bedi and
the next one was based on Mahesh Bhatt's relationship with
"It was her destiny that she met me. When I saw her I was stuck
by her honesty and innocence. I knew she could be misled in this
industry. Kangana was so naive and pure."
Aditya says he is closer to Kangana's family than her.
"I don't speak to her as much as I do to her father and sister.
I speak to Kangana's father at least five times a day. When her
sister was attacked I fought for them because I wanted justice
done. I didn't want a beautiful girl like Kangana's sister to be
"Whatever influence I had, I used it to help her. I didn't do it
to be given a bravery award. I've only the best intentions for
Kangana. If her career goes wrong because of me I'd never
Aditya says he and Kangna share a special bonding but it is not
like father-daughter relationship.
"She isn't my girlfriend at all. And I've no control over her
life or career. I just worry that she doesn't make any wrong
So what happened on that night when Aditya apparently got
violent with her on the road?
"At 1 a.m. she was travelling alone on an auto-rickshaw. You
tell me, is it right for her to do that when she has been
getting death threats? I called her and tried to stop and then
came on the scene to take her back. There was no physical
violence at all. I wouldn't dare get violent with her.
"You think I've a temper? You should see her when she's mad. I
call her 'Jhansi ki Rani'. I'm scared of her. I never touched
Kangana or the auto driver. I just asked her to get into the
car. Stubbornly she flung my hand away and went across the road
and sat in another auto-rickshaw.
"The next morning my wife got a call from a paper saying they've
visual evidence that I slapped Kangana. How can I do that? She's
like a little delicate child. If people think I'm controlling
her life then I swear I'll never meet her. If I can't stop her
from going on an auto-rickshaw, how can I tell her which movie
to do? I'm so hurt on her account."
Aditya does not want anybody to sling mud at Kangana's
"She has worked so hard to get where she is. I don't want anyone
to point a finger at her because of me. In my whole life I
haven't met anyone as sincere and honest as her. I'll disappear
from the face of this earth. But I won't harm her."
Aditya is sorry to have hurt his lovely wife Zarina Wahab.
"She doesn't like my daughter's name dragged into my
controversies. Sanaa is a child. She's now leaving for LA to
study acting and then she's to pursue her career."
Aditya admits his temper is his biggest flaw.
"My biggest weakness is my temper. I want to act. But I can't
and won't do crap work. I don't go anywhere to ask for work. I
don't want some child to put on a DVD 50 years from now and
wonder who this fool Aditya Pancholi was. I was appreciated in
whatever movies I did. And I'd like to leave it at that."
No threat for 'Barso re', holds top slot
New Delhi, Feb 17 Several new songs have made it to
the list but A.R. Rahman's "Barso re" from Mani Ratnam's "Guru"
continues to rule the charts and is number one this week too.
The top 10 Hindi songs for the week are:
1. "Barso re" - Film: "Guru"; Music Director: A.R. Rahman;
Singer: Shreya Ghoshal. The hugely popular song about welcoming
rain retains once again its premier position this week.
2. "Crazy kiya re" - Film: "Dhoom 2"; Music Director: Pritam;
Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan. Another Aishwarya Rai song on the list.
The fast number sets your foot tapping and is a visual treat as
3. "Salaam-e-Ishq" - Film: "Salaam-e-Ishq"; Music Director:
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Singers: Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Kunal
Ganjawala, Sadhana Sargam and Shankar Mahadevan. Lavishly shot
in the true Yash Chopra style, the song has slipped down on the
4. "Dilli" - Film: "Delhii Heights"; Music Director: Rabbi
Shergill; Singer: Rabbi Shergill. The foot-tapping beats and
Shergill's capturing voice make "Dilli" an above average number
and quite apt for the movie. The song is meant for Delhiites.
5. "Chakna" - Film"; "Namaste London"; Music Director: Himesh
Reshammiya; Singer: Himesh Reshammiya. It is a dance number
already doing the rounds in discotheques. The song has beats
that make sure listeners enjoy the track even if they are not on
a dance floor.
6. "Rozana" - Film: "Nishabd"; Music Director: Vishal Bharadwaj;
Singer: Amitabh Bachchan. "Rozana" can be termed as an awesomely
romantic and sensuous number.
7. "Main hoon don" - Film: "Don"; Music Director:
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Singer; Shaan. The listeners are not yet
bored of the stylish song shot on Shah Rukh Khan.
8 "Sajani vaari" - Film: "Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd"; Music:
Vishal-Shekhar; Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan and Shekhar Ravjiani.
It's a great track with a folk touch. Sunidhi is at her best in
the song that has an amazing dance vibe.
9. "Tere bin" - Film: "Bas Ek Pal"; Music Director: Mithoon;
Singer: Atif Aslam. The love song burst on the scene months ago
and listeners are still lapping it up.
10. "Maula mere" - Film: "Anwar"; Music Director: Mithoon;
Singer: Roop Kumar Rathod. The Sufi number laced with romance is
(Source: The Music Shop, Khan Market, New Delhi)
Abbas-Mustan banking on unusual combo for 'Race'
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 17 Bollywood's prolific directors
Abbas-Mustan are casting Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna for
their forthcoming movie "Race", saying that they have never
worked with the star duo.
"The movie has Saif and Akshaye as brothers trying to outdo each
other. Saif was never seen in a role like the one he'll play in
'Race'. Akshaye too has been cast like never before. But what
interests us as filmmakers is how the combination will excite
the audience," Abbas told IANS.
Saif is also thrilled to have signed the film that gives him a
chance to dance with Akshaye.
He said: "I'm looking forward to working with Akshaye. It would
be an interesting mix of different sensibilities. I'm sure the
results will be rewarding."
According to a growing belief within the film industry, every
star on his or her own spells little magic at the box office.
It's the combination that works.
For instance, Priyadarshan's comedy "Bhagam Bhag" held an
interest for the audience mainly to see the never-before combo
of Govinda and Akshay Kumar.
The director duo says that "Race" has the biggest star-cast they
have ever worked with. They have cast Bipasha Basu and Katrina
Kaif to play the female leads. The film also has Anil Kapoor.
"For Anil Kapoor we are trying to form an untried pair with some
leading lady for him in the movie," said Abbas.
Apparently Mallika Sherawat was to be cast opposite Anil. But
the pair has already been seen and rejected in Ram Gopal Varma's
"Darna Zaroori Hai".
Abbas-Mustan seem to have got the formula right in "Race".
"We want to continue doing what would excite the audience. Of
course, people want us to make suspense thrillers. We'll
continue to do the needful. But we need to spice up proceedings
within our comfort zone. One way of doing so is to bring stars
together like never before.
"While 'Race' will feature an array of stars in combinations and
looks never seen before, the new Bobby-Akshaye starrer, we're
now shooting, presents our antagonists from 'Humraaz' in totally
different roles. Then we have 'Mr. Fraud' where Sanjay Dutt and
Ajay Devgan cross swords while Bipasha Basu joins in."
Many other filmmakers are following Abbas-Mustan's formula.
Nikhil Advani's "Salaam-e-Ishq" brought unusual combinations
like John Abraham-Vidya Balan.
In "Happy Birthday" producer Gaurang Doshi has gone to great
lengths to get the hitherto-untried combination of John and
Aishwarya Rai. Doshi agrees the two stars individually spell
much less magic than in a combination.
In Mani Ratnam's "Lajjo", Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor come
together for the first time.
"It's not just for the audience. The thrill of working with big
stars in a new combination also extends to the director," said
Marriage is not on Shilpa's card yet
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 17 After winning Britain's reality show
"Big Brother", Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty is inundated with
marriage proposals but her mother Sunanda has no intentions of
finding an English groom for her.
"Where do these things come from? Knowing my mom, do you think
she would ever make a loose statement like that? My mom has
better things to do than look for a groom for me. And right now
marriage is the last thing on my mind," Shilpa told IANS.
But the actor, who has returned to Britain to complete her
commitments, is relishing all the love and affection she is
getting these days.
"For me, it's such a feeling of pride as an Indian to be called
out by name on the streets of London. My mom had predicted that
one day I'd be world famous. Of course, all Bollywood actors are
famous across the world. But this? I don't believe it. I feel
proud that an Indian is being given so much love and respect."
Interestingly, Shilpa recently got a marriage proposal in the
middle of a press meet at the House of Commons in London.
"You know in the midst of all the press interviews suddenly this
one guy piped in, 'Can I marry you?' I think he was an Asian,
though a lot of Britons are also showing keen interest," she
Speaking of her marriage, Shilpa said that British Prime
Minister Tony Blair made it a point to watch Shilpa in "Shaadi
Karke Phas Gaya Yaar", in which she was paired with Salman Khan.
"He said he saw my movie on Sky TV. That they showed an Indian
movie on Sky TV has never happened in the history of Britain. He
said he was surfing channels when he came across this movie of
mine. And he watched it."
A widely quoted interview from a British paper has Shilpa saying
she's in love with a married man who has two children.
"Why would I say such a thing to anyone? I'd love to know who
this 'friend' of mine is. I wonder why anyone would want to
contrive a man in my life?"
Rani, Preity to appear on Holi special of KBC
By Subhash K. Jha, By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 17 One advantage of having Bollywood's
reigning superstar Shah Rukh Khan as the host on STAR Plus'
popular game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC) is he can
convince all his buddies to come to the hot seat.
After the star-studded Valentine's Day special, Shah Rukh has
just recorded yet another special episode for KBC. This time
it's for spring festival of Holi, featuring his two co-stars
Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji.
The episode went off like a charm.
A source from the set told IANS: "There were rumours about a
fallout between Preity and Rani who were once best friends. But
Shah Rukh has a special knack of making all his heroines feel
"Earlier this week on 'Koffee With Karan' Shah Rukh actually
made Kajol and her cousin Rani - who self-admittedly don't
socialise together - sit together on one sofa and be civil to
each other. Now on KBC, Preity and Rani got along like a house
Though the exact prize money won by the two leading ladies is
not known, the sources said they won close to Rs.50 lakhs
'Eklavya' has a heart for the classics: NYT
New York, Feb 17 The New York Times describes Vidhu
Vinod Chopra's new film "Eklavya: The Royal Guard" as a sombre
drama that clearly has a heart for the classics.
"Dharma, the time-honoured concept of proper conduct, is a
recurrent notion" in the film that opened Friday in the New
York-New Jersey metropolitan area, said critic Andy Webster.
"...And while the film takes place in the present, it clearly
has a heart for the classics, particularly those of eastern
philosophy, Shakespeare and genre cinema," he added.
Shakespeare's sonnet ("Shall I compare thee...") is twice
invoked in the film and its dark palace interiors and scheming
evoke "Macbeth", the influential American daily noted.
But the swooping camera movements, slow motion and dexterous
derring-do conjure martial arts movies; arid desert scenes
suggest the western; and a spooky confrontation in a villain's
screening room almost plays like the 1960 British thriller
"Peeping Tom", it said.
"The main tribute in the 'Guard', however, is to Mr. Bachchan,
an aging Bollywood monument (and father of the rising actor
Abhishek Bachchan), whose sunken, heavy-lidded eyes, grizzled
countenance and noble bearing indisputably convey the presence
of a seasoned star," Webster said.
History Channel to bring back 'Bollywood Bosses'
New Delhi, Feb 17 In its march into the
entertainment segment, History Channel will showcase Bollywood
directors in a special series - "Bollywood Bosses" - from Monday
to put the spotlight on top directors of the Hindi film
The programme will be aired every weeknight at 10 p.m. till Feb
24. According to media sources, History Channel has bought the
rights of the original series that was earlier telecast on BBC
"The channel is moving to entertainment from infotainment and
this is one of the steps that takes it in that direction," they
"Bollywood Bosses" takes a look at the careers of some of the
biggest directors - Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar, Yash Chopra,
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ram Gopal Varma, Mahesh Bhatt, Subhash
Ghai and Vidhu Vinod Chopra - who have redefined the Hindi film
"It is an attempt to understand why they are making that kind of
cinema. Also, what are the things that distinguish them from
other directors," Anita Horam, director of the show, told IANS.
The series will look back at the lives of the filmmakers and
share the story of their journey - their struggles, box office
lows, financial disasters - to finally finding unparalleled
"We have not tried to peep into their personal life so much, but
yes we have brought forth their personal experiences that impact
their cinema. Like when we were shooting Sanjay Leela Bhansali,
we went to the chawl where he was born and brought up. When we
talked to him we tried to explain how his past experiences had
affected his movies, which are grand and magnificent," Horam
Out of all the directors, Bhansali's episode was her favourite,
says Horam. But she also confessed that she didn't have any
problem convincing the directors.
"We thought we would have problems because these directors are
hard pressed for time, but fortunately it went off very
Horam, who has produced the show along with Ruchir Joshi,
revealed it wasn't an expensive show.
"The show is a great example of the kind of entertaining
programming that the History Channel offers its viewers," said
Joy Bhattacharjya, senior vice president (programming).
No plans to be president, says
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Feb 17 Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan
has dismissed rumours that he would contest the next
presidential elections, saying he's "just not interested".
The Samajwadi Party's reported intention to field the Big B as
its candidate for presidency has the mega-star touched who,
however, minced no words to say he wanted to stay out of
Amitabh said: "I'm deeply humbled and touched by the thought.
But I'm not worthy of such a distinguished post of
responsibility. Besides no such offer or proposal has come my
"I've constantly maintained politics is not my cup of tea.
That's unlikely to change. There're many other ways of making
oneself useful to the country and the society besides politics,"