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Sophie's love quotient is empty
By Swati R. Chaudhary,
Mumbai, Dec 28 Singer-turned-actress Sophie
Chaudhary says she could identify with her character Tanya in
romantic comedy "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" (PKSE) because she is
herself missing a love life.
"Tanya in some way is similar to me. She's smart, glamorous,
intelligent and a very 'real' character. She was somewhere
missing a love life also. So I can relate to her," said Sophie
who is still basking in the stupendous success of PKSE.
Now she will be seen in Vikram Bhatt's "Speed" and Arjun
Rampal's home production "I See You", which is releasing Friday.
Sophie plays Dilnaz, a fun, flirty, ambitious TV anchor in "I
See You", reports Bollywood Trade.
"I have a special appearance in the film. I took it up because I
couldn't say no to Arjun and Mehar. There's also a song
picturised on Arjun and me, choreographed by Shiamak Davar and
Arjun has really done a commendable job,"
In "Speed" she is paired with Aftab Shivdasani.
"It's an action oriented character and I could never imagine
myself playing someone like this. My character Monica is a hot
headed passionate girl and there is a grey side to her
"I enjoy all kinds of cinema. I also enjoy multi-starrer films.
I want to take up interesting roles that have substance and work
with good banners," said Sophie who made her debut in the David
Dhawan's "Shaadi No 1".
She is currently recording her own music album that'll be out by
I wished Jesse Metcalfe would seduce me: Kangana
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 28 Just two films old, Kangana Ranaut,
who walked the red carpet at the Dubai International Film
Festival with Hollywood's most recognised names, is overjoyed
because she got to see her teen icon Jesse Metcalfe.
Metcalfe, who plays John Rowland in the series "Desperate
Housewives", was also present at the fest.
"I've had a secret crush on Jesse whose name I didn't know. But
like any 19-year-old my heart would skip beats when he seduced
Eva Longoria in 'Desperate Housewives'. I'd wish he'd seduce me.
And, now, there he was sitting right in the row in front of me
at the premiere of Emilio Estavez's new film 'Bobby'," Kangana
told IANS from Dubai.
Did she try to approach Metcalfe?
"No. I didn't have the courage. But I kept staring at the back
of his head rather," said Kangana.
Also walking the red carpet with Kangana on Sunday were
distinguished American actors Joshua Jackson and Laurence
If that is not enough, people in Dubai gave this talented
newcomer more reasons to rejoice. They repeatedly mistook
Kangana for an American Mexican.
"I guess it is because of my hair and looks. From now on I've
decided to wear a sari at all international events. There was a
party for us which the prince Of Morocco attended."
Apparently, the prince made more than a passing note of Kangana.
But she wants to come back home to be with her sister.
"My sister Rangoli keeps sending miss-you messages. She's all
alone in Mumbai and I just want to return."
I don't mind being an object of fantasy: Dino (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 28 Actor Dino Morea confesses that he
doesn't have any inhibitions about showing off his sex appeal
and that he has no qualms about stripping either.
"But with a reason. I won't just take off my clothes for the
heck of it. In 'Raaz' I took off my shirt and had my chest being
pawed," Dino told IANS.
In fact, a year back he did a photo-session in a wet sarong in
Goa that ranks as the most explicit ever by a male Bollywood
actor. Dino is game for more of the same.
"I'm aware that photo shoot went a little further than I had
thought. But it was aesthetically done. Moreover, fans like to
see that kind of thing. I don't mind being their object of
fantasy at all," said Dino.
Dino's newly launched website - dinomorea.net - has a lot of
very candid pictures
"I started it on my birthday (Dec 9). Fans will see me the way I
am, and sometimes that may mean more of me than normally meets
"It will have pictures of me at home, the way I am, in shorts
... or out of it, ha ha. It'll be a hugely interactive website
where I'll be in touch with fans 24x7. I'll answer all their
questions, no matter how frank. But nothing lurid, please! We're
a family oriented society, you know."
The ebullient actor, who's turned 32, has no inhibitions about
being a gay icon.
"Male or female, it's flattering to be fodder for fantasy. Any
celebrity who claims otherwise is lying. I love the thought of
people out there getting turned on by me. Isn't providing
pleasure the No.1 objective of an entertainer?" asked Dino.
At the end of the day, Dino is a family man. To prove it, he
headed home to Bangalore to be with his mom and dad for his
"There's no pleasure greater than family. In any case, birthdays
are a bit of an anti-climax for me. I don't enjoy them. The
cakes and candles are not my scene. Nor do I like to party on my
birthday. I just like to be with my folks."
Did he make any birthday wishes?
"Yes I want my production house to get going as soon as
possible. The director and script are in place. Now I'm casting.
I want big names."
Dino's brother Santino, however, won't be in the first home
"But he's getting ready for the big bang. He has lost plenty of
weight and is looking like a million bucks. I think I'll soon
have stiff competition at home."
Any marriage plans?
"I'm only 32. Why do I need to get married?
Dino, who forayed into filmdom with "Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi",
has featured in films like "Tom Dick And Harry", "Fight Club",
"Holiday" and "Aksar" in 2006.
Inspired in dreams, artiste sculpts 25 Aishwarya idols
By Anil Sharma,
Jaipur, Dec 28 Inspired in his dreams and mesmerised
by the beauty of Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai, a sculptor is at
work to make 25 statues of the glamour icon.
"A divine lady appeared in my dreams and suggested me to make
sculptures of a beautiful woman. She told me that it would give
me recognition across the country," Arjun Prajapati said.
"So eventually I decided to portray Aishwarya Rai as she is one
of the most beautiful women I could think of.
"Each week I conceived a new pose of Aishwarya in my dreams and
I worked on each of them. I would soon complete 25 different
poses of the actress," Prajapati told IANS.
Once the work is over, he plans to hold an exhibition of the
statues in Mumbai and hopes superstar Amitabh Bachchan would
agree to inaugurate it.
Prajapati said the idols were meant to satisfy his creative urge
and will not be put up for sale.
"Aishwarya is among the most beautiful of women, so making her
sculptures is a real pleasure for me. I would first display
these statues in an exhibition in Mumbai and would later put
them in my museum here, which has over a thousand different
works," the artiste said.
Recipient of a number of awards and accolades from national and
international organisations, Prajapati said he mastered his art
through continuous dedication and hard work.
The sculptor runs Arjun Arts, a gallery here well known for
artistic stoneworks, marble sculptures, sand stone and clay.
"I started the gallery with the sole objective of reviving the
waning art of folk sculptures and giving a new and modern look
to the art," he said, adding he was planning to set up an art
Anything physical is not necessarily unbecoming: Hrithik
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 28 While his kiss with "Dhoom 2" co-star
Aishwarya Rai raised many moral eyebrows, Hrithik Roshan is
unperturbed and says "anything physical" is not necessarily
"If I thought it was unnecessary or unbecoming I wouldn't have
done it. It's all about moral perceptions. To someone with a
backward mindset even holding hands in public is scandalous. In
the West, kissing in public is absolutely normal. It's sad that
we categorise anything physical as unbecoming," Hrithik told
He refuses to believe there's a widespread outcry against the
kiss. A legal suit has been filed in Indore against Hrithik for
his hot kissing scene.
"It's just one man (an Indore-based lawyer) who has objected. He
doesn't represent any section of people. He's a lawyer sitting
in his office and enjoying every bit of attention. I believe
he's excited about a TV camera in his office. It's like a burst
of glory in his life. I'm totally indifferent to this kind of
behaviour. It's time for a change."
After "Dhoom 2" he is recognised as a sexy star and his fans
have flooded him with adulation and appreciation.
"I continue to get messages galore. I enjoy all of them, the
sweet, polite and graphic. As it's going, 'Dhoom 2' will become
the biggest hit ever! The collections are insane. Overseas,
Mumbai and in some other places it has already crossed the
entire business of 'Krrish'. I'm so glad it all worked out."
Hrithik is optimistic about the future.
"The collective consciousness of society regarding moral values
is evolving. I dream big movies and visuals. For me the kissing
scene in 'Dhoom 2' is one such visual. It's a moment when
long-withheld love between my character and the girl he loves
culminates in a kiss.
"It's a beautiful scene. In fact, it's one of the primary scenes
driving forward the love story of Sunehri and my character
Hrithik admits he had never done a kissing scene before.
"I did give it a lot of thought. There was enough reason and
inspiration here to go ahead. I tried to make it as beautiful as
possible. And I stand by it completely."
So how does it feel to be called the new No.1?
"Great! But it's futile to do mental gymnastics about my box
office position. These are numbers meant to only inflate your
ego. I'm enjoying it, yes. It's very important for me to
understand that people are only trying to make me happy by
calling me Rock Star and No.1, or whatever. I'd rather not waste
my time thinking about this.
"I've done good work and 'Dhoom 2' worked. What made it work was
that all of us in the film were on the same side. All of us -
Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya, Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu and I -
were trying to make the same film. That's why we had such a
Suddenly the 20-something generation is rooting for Hrithik.
"Agreed, they're an attraction. But I think what worked for my
character is that I played a cool guy for the first time. I did
play one in the second-half of 'Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. But
The actor believes that "Dhoom 2" has given him a much-needed
"Earlier, I was relegated to playing goody two-shoes - you know,
the consummate do-gooder with a sweet smile on his face. After
the nerd and the innocent 'Koi ...Mil Gaya' and 'Krrish', it's
very re-assuring to know I'm capable of jumping from one end of
the image-spectrum to another.
"As an actor it's very satisfying to be accepted in 'Dhoom 2'.
The entire credit for that should be given to stylist Anaida. I
can't even begin to take credit for my look. Right from the
conception stage Anaida led me into the look."
So far it was believed good-looking people weren't capable of
performing well. Hrithik has definitely proved that wrong.
"The fact that they're considered great actors, makes them good
looking. An actor may not be into gyming and slimming. He still
has all the women lusting after him. How do you explain that?
There's a secret ingredient, which you exude and radiate as an
actor. That's the quality that makes you sexy."
Aishwarya Rai offers prayers in Pushkar
Jaipur, Dec 28 Bollywood's glamour queen Aishwarya
Rai Thursday visited the Hindu pilgrim town of Pushkar and
offered prayers at the famous Brahma temple.
"Aishwarya Rai came here in the morning and offered her prayers
at the Lord Brahma temple," a temple priest told IANS on
Pushkar, 140 km from here, has the only temple dedicated to
Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, which was built in the 14th
century. The town also has a lake that is considered holy by the
Aishwarya's visit, however, charged up the serene atmosphere of
the pilgrim town. There was commotion as priests fought among
themselves to decide who would offer puja for the actress.
The priests were not amused when Aishwarya's security personnel
tried to quieten them. Some of them said the guards were drunk.
The actress had offered prayers at the famous Sankat Mochan
temple of Varanasi in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh Nov 27 along
with superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek.
Aishwarya reportedly visited the shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin
Chisti in Ajmer Thursday, but the dargah committee refused to
confirm or deny the reports.
The actress has been spending time in Jaipur shooting for
Ashutosh Gowrikar's mega epic "Jodha-Akbar", starring her and
Hrithik Roshan in the lead roles.
Deposed Thai PM inspires
documentary on perils of demagogy
By Frederick Noronha,
Bangkok, Dec 29 Thai documentary filmmaker Pipope
Panitchpakdi is working on an ambitious new project - to tell
the story of politics going sour in that country.
"My next film is on (deposed prime minister) Thaksin Shinawatra.
It's called 'Democracy For Sale'. It will be ready for MIPCOM
(the France-based global content event) in (late) 2007,"
Panitchpakdi told a visiting IANS correspondent.
"It's a film about Thailand. It asks how much you can rely on
the democratic process - not democracy itself. And how a
business tycoon could twist it for his own benefit," said the
In September, the Thai army seized control when Shinawatra was
in New York. Policeman-turned-magnate Shinawatra was one of the
richest people in Thailand. Entering politics in 1994, he became
prime minister in 2001.
But the controversial politician's government has been hit by
charges of corruption, dictatorship, demagogy, treason,
conflicts of interest, human rights offences, use of legal
loopholes and hostility towards a free press.
"In Thailand, democracy is an imported idea," said the
"When people are desperate and poor, it's so easy to come up
with policies that please them and exploit them too.
"But the film doesn't offer any conclusions. It makes its point
with comic and satirical tones.
"When populism is used with the poor, it hurts them bad. It also
creates a dependency. This film goes back to the times of
Aristotle (and touches on global issues too)."
The film focuses on Shinawatra's speeches. "He says many things
in his speeches.
We link it with the Cold War, George Bush Senior, and his talk
of the New World Order. The order we got is a weird order, and
an awkward democracy."
He said the shooting has been done, and cutting of the film was
expected by April.
Panitchpakdi's 2002 documentary "Community Radio" won the Best
TV Documentary award from the Sangchai Suntornwat Foundation.
His documentary "Cobalt 60: the Continuing Struggle" was
nominated for the Tolerance Prize of the International
Federation of Journalists.
"In Thailand, the only thing a documentary film-maker can do is
to hope to sell in Europe, where there are many stations thanks
to the digital revolution. Some here work in advertising, just
to make enough money to make documentaries," he explained.
"Some documentary film-makers go in for the maximum
'tear-factor', where they de-politicise the story and sell it.
But that's worse than soap opera.
"Technology is now available to filmmakers (in the Third World).
But when we're fighting for space (internationally), it's the
skills that are lacking and need to be built up.
"It's simply not true that non-White film-makers cannot think of
After century of music making, Saregama to make films
New Delhi, Dec 29 Saregama, India's oldest music
company which has about 300,000 Bollywood songs in its treasury,
is expanding and venturing into filmmaking business.
The company is rolling out with renowned film director Aparna
Sen's "Kite" and Ken Ghosh's untitled venture.
"We are looking at seven verticals of business - first vertical
is the creation of market for music through emerging
technologies like cell phone, CDs and DVDs. Second vertical we
are doing is films because it is adjacent to music. We know the
community well and we are building capability in films,"
Saregama India Ltd managing director Subroto Chattopadhyay told
IANS in an interview.
He, however, refused to discuss the budget of the new ventures.
For its film business Saregama is associating with one of top
creative minds in the field, roping in B.R. Sharan, of Lalita-ji
Surf ad fame, as chief creative officer (cinema and television).
"Sharan has 24-25 years of experience in the industry and he has
a very nice mix of technical and creative capabilities. He has
worked with filmmakers and producers of great eminence, so he
understands the film genre well. He has also worked as creative
head in an advertising agency, so he understands the technology
and process very well," said Chattopadhyay.
Apart form Sharan, the 106-year-old firm has also joined hands
with Vijaylakshmi, known as Asia's first woman cinematographer.
"She has been a cinematographer all her life. She monitors our
TV content business out of Chennai. She knows filmmaking well.
"We are in the process of taking on board someone who is a
person of great capability and eminence and comes from the
eastern India. The name will be out in just a few days."
According to market sources, the third celebrity to be
associated with Saregama will be none other than Aparna Sen.
Apart from having best of creative minds, Saregama also plans to
introduce best of technology.
"We would like to bring in some cutting edge technology and
processes and best practices around the world to enable us to do
this well - we are on the hunt for it.
"We have two-three projects on hand. We have one film with Ken
Ghosh. We are doing a music video with Rituparno Ghosh and which
is around (Ravindranath) Tagore's poetry. It is an international
product. We are planning to do 'Draupadi' with Rituparno. We are
also planning to do a film called 'Kite' with Aparna Sen."
Chattopadhyay says budget will be no constraints.
"At this point in time our budget is appropriate to the content.
First we will understand how the whole things happens, hire
specialists and professionals and then we will flesh out other
details. But one thing is sure, we will work with domain
The focus will be on mainstream movies. "As we roll out we will
be mainstream entertainment," he said.
And of course, content will be given priority.
"We will be indeed focusing on good, strong stories and strong
scripts because it is the soul of a film. We will be driven by
high quality content. I also believe good quality content can be
well marketed," he said.
The company has bought 18 acres of land on the outskirts of
Kolkata to build its studio.
Chattopadhyay said: "Film city is within the realm and I don't
see no reason that why we shouldn't consider it seriously. But
it needs to be evaluated, financial viabilities to be looked at
and we need to decide what kind of technology we want to deploy
because it's a fast moving situation."
In the TV industry, Saregama is active in the south and is
planning to tap Hindi and Bangla channels as well.
"We produce 14 hours of content for Sun out of Chennai in four
languages and we have been doing it for three-four years. And I
think we are doing it nicely. Now, we have to think how we scale
it up and transfer that capability to other languages.
"Right now we are reviewing the whole TV business and we will be
looking at Hindi and Bangla channels as well. Bangla is a very,
very widely spoken language."
Moreover, the firm is also going into radio content and event
"Events help you to socialise your business and bring consumers
and entertainment together. So we are looking at event
management and if you look at all of them are adjacent
businesses with touch points."
Good news for wannabes as Saregama will provide a bigger
platform to showcase their talent.
Rahman, Reshammiya to belt it out on New Year eve
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 29 Singer Himesh Reshammiya has
unexpected competition from really stiff quarters this New Year
eve - A.R. Rahman, who will be performing live in Mumbai.
Interestingly, Reshammiya has his first concerts lined up for
the same evening in the same city.
Rahman will belt out his anti-poverty song "Pray for me
"The anti-poverty song is produced by Bala, who earlier did my 'Vande
mataram'. We'll be introducing the number in Mumbai at a live
performance for New Year's eve," Rahman told IANS.
The number is very special for Rahman not only because of its
social message "but also because it's my first song in English".
He said: "You can call it my gift to myself on my 40th
Ask Rahman about Reshammiya and he replies: "He fills a lacuna
in Hindi film music, just like Nadeem (of Nadeem Shravan). He's
trying to mix a lot of genres. People like his music. It's good.
There're audiences for large genres of films. And he's doing a
Reshammiya, who claims to be a huge Rahman fan, has gone on
record to say Rahman is the only composer he would sing for if
Good films rolled out in heartening splendour in 2006 (BEST
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 29 This year I felt I was a child in a
toy store. The goodies from filmdom rolled out in heartening
splendour. To pick out my favourites during a year dotted with
dynamic delights is not an easy task.
But here goes the list that starts with Rakeysh Omprakash
Mehra's "Rang De Basanti" (RDB). It is also India's official
entry to the Oscars this year.
1. "Rang De Basanti" - From "Sholay"'s Basanti to "Rang De
Basanti" -- mainstream Hindi cinema took a U-turn this year. In
the tradition of 'Guru Dutt's "Pyaasa" and Mahesh Bhatt's "Saraansh",
RDB went way beyond a movie experience. It questioned the
quality of contemporary life. Corruption ceased to be cool. What
qualified as full-on cool was editing, music and performing
profile. Every actor seemed to forget the camera. Almost a year
after its release, the colours of RDB refuse to grown dim.
2. "Water" - Deepa Mehta's elegiac look at a widow's ashram on
the banks of a quietly non-judgemental river, just swept me away
in its bridled wave of emotions. Here is a filmmaker that feels
deeply and expresses tightly. And to make John Abraham and Lisa
Ray look convincing in white muslin was no joke. Wonder how
Mehta managed what Ravi Chopra couldn't in "Baabul"... make
widow rehabilitation look like a matter of the conscience. (Yet
to be screened in India)
3. "Dor" - Nagesh Kukunoor's story of two young women's search
for one destination had a devastating echoic effect underlining
its acutely sensitive canvas. The locations were so real you
could stand on that mound of boulders where the Rajasthani
child-girl Ayesha Takia stood to mobile-connect with her
long-distance husband, and get a view into the very heart of the
universe. "Dor" is a film that lingers long after its playing
4. "Lage Raho... Munna Bhai" - Lage raho, Raju bhai. Raj Kumar
Hirani pulled out all stops to give us a film that made us
feel-good about life. Gandhigiri has become a catch phrase all
over the country. Though, at the end of the year I did feel
Gandhiji himself would have had a good laugh over this
magnificent merchandising of the Mahatma.
5. "Gangster" - It was the dark horse of the year with a sublime
performance by debutante Kangana Ranaut. Sodden, scarred and
scared she ripped the screen apart with her searing presence.
Anurag Basu's original screenplay hinted at fears and
insecurities of human heart that his mentor Mahesh Bhatt used to
6. "Dombivli Fast" - A Marathi film by debutant director
Nishikant Kamath featuring Sandeep Kulkrani as a man, who after
years of commuting through a life of middleclass drudgery loses
the plot. Plotted like a thriller, "Dombivli Fast" was a taut
and disturbing mirror of everyday anxieties edited at the pace
of a local train in hurry to get to a place where the working
class rests its case.
7. "Khosla Ka Ghosla" - The biggest surprises come in smallest
packages. This was the sunshine film of the year about a Delhi
denizen and his family getting together to fight a land shark.
Superbly plotted with lines that flowed with the inevitability
of a tube of toothpaste, this comedy was like Raj Khosla's "Do
Raaste" gone zany. This was one 'Ghosla' that Raj Khosla would
have happily inhabited.
8. "Omkara" - Saif Ali Khan as the newest avatar of
Shakespeare's Iago as the epitome of evil -- so mean, so wicked
and conniving -- he brought boorishness into vogue. If
Shakespeare were alive to see the new interpretation of his
tragedy, he would have probably smiled at the liberties with his
text. God knows, director Vishal Bhardwaj's characters did not
give us much to smile about.
9. "Vivah" - Simple, elegant, soft and supple "Vivah" brought
back a feeling we had long abandoned in our quest for the
Machiavellian world of "Omkara". To be simple is very difficult.
Quite simply, Sooraj Barjatya pulled off that difficult job.
10. "Provoked" - Jagmohan Mundhra's well-crafted film on
domestic violence gave actress Aishwarya Rai a chance to get
into the skin of a real-life abused wife in London who finally
has the guts to get up and say, 'I don't'. (The film has not
been released in India yet)
11. "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" - Who would've thought there would
be a chemistry between Mallika Sherawat and Rahul Bose? But the
two whooped it up in this sex comedy as though they were made
for each other. Urban couples identified completely with the
angst of a commitment-phobic man and his anxious girlfriend. And
talking to a certain intimate part of the male anatomy became an
acceptable part of human behaviour.
12. "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" - Karan Johar explored the anatomy
of urban marriages with an aplomb that insouciantly belied his
candyfloss image. As a filmmaker Johar crept coolly out of his
nutshell into a knot-shell. The wedding planner in Johar went in
and out of a quartet of lives. Two couples crisscrossed into one
another's lives with terrible consequences. And their ugly
confrontations were handled with dignity.
13. "Corporate" - Madhur Bhandarkar's sharp exploration of the
corporate world was done with well-researched confidence. The
ensemble cast from Bipasha Basu to Sammir Dattani lent a
feverish flavour to the proceedings. Though not as engaging or
path breaking as Bhandarkar's "Chandni Bar" or "Page 3",
"Corporate" had a sustained breathlessness in its narration.
How stars will shine on New Year eve
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 29 Skiing in Switzerland, camping in the
hills of Uttaranchal and catching up with friends at a cozy get
together in Mumbai - that's how Bollywood stars and small screen
actors plan to say goodbye to 2006 and bring in the New Year.
Saif Ali Khan: I'll be skiing with my kids in Verbier in
Switzerland for New Year's eve. Can't think of a better way of
bringing in New Year.
Rahul Bose: I'm currently in Andaman for the commemorative event
for the second year of tsunami. But I shall be back in time to
go on a holiday for the New Year with my sister and my niece.
They're the fulcrums of my existence.
Smriti Irani: Work and more work on New Year's eve and then a
quiet dinner with family.
Rajiv Khandelwal: Will be camping in the mountains of
Uttaranchal with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew.
Riteish Deshmukh: Nothing planned. Will see how it goes.
Iqbal Khan: My two sisters and their kids will be with me,
Inshaa Allah, along with my dad and mum. The entire family will
be together and we'll have a blast. Maybe I'll go and see my
fiancé. Since this will be her last New Year's eve with her
family, she'll want to be with them and I respect that. I know
that sounds boring for someone who's getting married in a few
weeks. But I've always been a home bird.
Bipasha Basu: No plans as such - just a small dinner with family
and friends. Some very close friends have come from abroad. So
I'll take them to the pleasure spots in Mumbai. And on Jan 8 I
leave for South Africa and London for four months. Meanwhile,
there are loads of works to be taken care of.
Arshad Warsi: My wife Maria and I are having a small barbecue
party at home with some friends. Wanna come?
Aftab Shivdasani: My plans for the New Year are right now
undecided. I'll just play it by the ear... year, ha ha.
Shilpa Shetty: Spending it with family at home and then I leave
home for a longish spell.
Amrita Arora: Our whole family will be in Dubai for one week.
That should be fun.
Raima Sen: Will be in Pune for a party.
Kangana Ranaut: My parents are down for New Year's eve.
Unfortunately, they've to leave on Dec 31. My sister and me have
asked them to stay back for New Year celebration. If they're
here, we'll bring in the New Year in the traditional way. We'll
go to a temple and mom will cook some traditional dishes.
Shiney Ahuja: My wife and I will bring in New Year in our new
house with a candle light dinner.
Dino Morea: This time New Year's eve will be with family and
friends in Mumbai. For a change I won't be travelling.
I want to break more stereotypes: Preity (INTERVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 29 Bold and chirpy Preity Zinta, who was
in the news for wrong reasons this year, wants to do more daring
and unconventional roles in the coming year.
Her two films in 2006 - "Kabhi Alvida Naa Khena" and "Jaan-e-Mann"
- have given her a serious image.
"And I want to break even more stereotypes in 2007. I'm
venturing into roles I've never done before. What excited me two
years ago no longer does so. Thank god, I've the choice to be
adventurous. I don't want to spend my time doing anything I'll
regret," Preity told IANS.
She laughed about her two confrontational situations with the
media in 2006 when she took on a tabloid and ticked off TV
journalists who barged into her compound.
"I growled when I was provoked beyond endurance. And it's over
and done with. This kind of a thing really saps your energy. But
somewhere you need to put your foot down.
"But my biggest high this year has been to see the efficiency of
the judicial system and the awakening of the youth. There was
one student in Delhi who stood up to file a PIL (public interest
litigation) and that prompted justice for Jessica Lal."
Moving to less grim topics, Preity revealed she's going skiing
in Colorado for the New Year.
"I've been in the snow a lot but never skiing. And I do want to
learn a new sport. It's never too late to learn."
When told Saif Ali Khan has also gone skiing for the New Year,
Preity quipped: "Saif and I could do a ski film together."
Talking about her films she said she managed to balance out her
marital karma pretty well.
"If in 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' I was divorced, in 'Jaan-e-Mann'
I made sure the family stayed together. Was I disappointed by
the Indian box office collections of my two releases in 2006? No
way. Ten years from now I'll be extremely proud of both the
films. At the end of the day I need to be happy and proud of
what I do."
Thoughts for 2007? "First of all, I'm looking at the release of
my only film on the floor. Shaad Ali's 'Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom'
has shaped up really well.
"Finally! I've heard such amazing scripts that I'd be doing two
more than I usually do. For the first time I've agreed to do
three films in 2007.
"I've never looked anxiously over my shoulder at the so-called
competition. If I want I could do seven films a year. But I've
chosen to do one. And now I'll be doing three in 2007. As I grow
older I'm more contained and even more charged about my work."
After surviving the tsunami disaster in 2004, Preity's
perception about life has changed.
"My first life-changing experience was when I was 14-year-old
and my dad suddenly passed away. The second was tsunami. Today
I'm a totally different person. When you see death so closely
you realise what frivolous lives we really lead."
Coming to her much-discussed relationship with Ness Wadia,
Preity said: "There's so much being discussed about it even
without my talking about it. Somewhere I need to preserve that
part of me away from public life. Otherwise, all my work and my
identity would get drowned in that one relationship. I can't
keep clarifying untruths all the time. But no one listens. I
don't lie about anything. If I'm wrong, I'd admit it."
Anything she'd like to change in 2007?
"2006 was a good year for me and I'm not talking about the box
office. I've had a great year and 2007 is going to rock. I feel
I've extra batteries inside me. I'm all charged up. And I'll be
more in the country in 2007 than in the past few years.
"That should kill the rumours about my personal life. I've
noticed there's more speculation when I'm not in the country."
"If I wanted every aspect of my life to be written about I'd go
on 'Bigg Boss' (TV game show running on Sony)."
Bollywood couples who made news in 2006 (YEARENDER)
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 30 Strangely couples created more news
this year than single souls. Maybe during the year of "Vivah",
marriage was in vogue. Or maybe two always did it better than
one. More so in 2006 than during any other year.
Couples who made news are:
1. Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan: From horoscopes that didn't
match to marriage dates, this was undoubtedly the most
talked-about couple of the year. From "Dhai Akshar Prem Ke" to "Umrao
Jaan", Abhishek and Aishwarya didn't jell as a pair on screen.
But off screen there was enough sizzle and seduction in the very
idea of the couple making it to the 'mandap' to keep heads
turning and news-copy churning. At yearend, when the couple made
an appearance together at Varanasi with the rest of the
Bachchans, the shutterbugs went berserk. This is called star
2. Jaya-Amitabh Bachchan: At the beginning of the year she was
the pillar of strength when Amitabh, Bollywood's living legend,
spent agonising hours in the hospital. Jaya's face never gave
away the turmoil she felt within. Only close friends know how
much she suffered as she played the perfect hostess at the
Lilavati. Whether it was trying times at the beginning of the
year, or the 'pujas' performed at Varanasi during yearend, or
looking after her ailing mother-in-law in a hospital, Jaya was
the archetypal pillar of strength.
3. Shabana Azmi-Javed Akhtar: Shabana always jokes that the
secret of their long-lasting marriage is that they're never
together. Once she saw a man who looked suspiciously familiar
walking into the lobby of her hotel in Delhi. Turned out it was
"We didn't even know we were in the same city," laughed Shabana.
This year filmdom's most cerebral and yet glamorous couple
played Shabana's mother Shaukat and father Kaifi in a play that
took the couple all over the world. Quality time at its
4. Shahid Kapur-Kareena Kapoor: Away most of the time from the
limelight Shahid and Kareena took long holidays together in
Europe and performed at concerts in every part of the world -
from Bali to Baltimore. Contradicting all cynicism this peppery
pair remained together and will make it to the altar. For sure!
5. Saif Ali Khan-Rosa: Despite rumours of trouble in paradise,
the couple continued to share a quaint compatibility. Though
Saif continues to say "I Don't' instead of "I Do", most of those
close to him believe Rosa is the best thing to have happened to
him. Just take a look at them together in the ad they've done
together. And you'll know why at least three big filmmakers want
to cast them together.
6. John Abraham-Bipasha Basu: The Bengali actress and the pin-up
boy from Bandra survived one more year of ongoing speculation
about his roving eye. Don't kid me...these two are genuinely in
love, and won't oblige the cynics by parting. Lately, they had
stopped doing movies together. But now they'll be a team in
Vivek Agnihotri's football film.
7. Aryan Vaid-Anupama Verma: The only love story in the showbiz
to be played out in full view of TV cameras. That it survived
Aryan and Anupama's feelings survived such a hideous invasion of
privacy just goes to show that mediatisation isn't temporal
If you're in the limelight, you've to live with the camera
peering over your shoulder. That was the biggest lesson served
up for entertainers during 2006.
Aryan's close brush with death on Christmas night
By Subhash K. Jha,
Mumbai, Dec 30 A fun cruise in Mumbai's inviting sea
on Christmas night almost cost Aryan Vaid his life.
Shivering at the memory, Aryan told IANS: "Anupama (Verma) and I
along with other friends decided to go out into the sea in
little boats. It seemed like a fun idea. And it was. With
Anupama and my friends for company, I had never felt better."
The catastrophe happened when Aryan was changing boats.
"We all were supposed to get out of the small boats and into a
big one. I had one foot in one boat and the other in the bigger
boat, when the big boat moved. Before I knew, I was in the water
Didn't Aryan know how to swim?
"Of course, I can swim! But have you tried swimming in that deep
water at four in the morning with your clothes and boots on and
your mobile in your hand? My phone immediately slipped out of my
hand and I've lost all my numbers. But at that time it was the
least of my worries. All I could think of was how to get out of
After a tense five-minutes wait for Anupama and his friends,
Aryan finally swam back to safety.
"My friends didn't know what to do. It was the most horrifying
experience of our lives. And it wasn't as if I was drunk or
anything. I was absolutely sober, not a drop of alcohol inside
me," said Aryan who sees this as his rebirth.
He also thanks "Bigg Boss", Sony TV's game show, for renewing
"'Bigg Boss' has given a renewed recognition. And, hopefully,
2007 will bring lots of changes in my life.
"On my career front I've Anil Sharma's 'Apne' where I play the
main villain opposite Deols (Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby)."
Aryan learnt kickboxing from a trainer from Hong Kong to prepare
for the role.
"On the personal front, love is very much in the air. But I need
to convince Anupama that she's my true love. Unfortunately, my
reputation has reached her long before I did," rued Aryan.
Item numbers strike it rich in 2006
New Delhi, Dec 30 Musically speaking, 2006 wasn't a
great year for Bollywood but lilting, so-called item songs
matched with sizzling visuals acted as fillers and provided a
pleasing experience for music buffs.
Demand for item numbers soared in the year and many filmmakers -
be it candyfloss connoisseur Karan Johar or the crusaders of
realistic cinema Vishal Bhardwaj or Madhur Bhandarkar - couldn't
abstain themselves from using item songs in their films.
If "Kajra re", featuring Aishwarya Rai, was crowned the top song
last year, Bipasha Basu's rustic number "Bidee" is the
frontrunner this year. Both of them were penned down by Gulzar.
"I want to single out two item numbers in these past few years
that have set a benchmark for all others, whose writers reminded
us that any song - whether an item or a nursery rhyme - it
requires, foremost, plain good poetry. The first was, of course,
Gulzar's "Kajra re," and the second was "Man saat samandar"
written by Irshad Kamil. These are truly iconic songs that has
set completely new standards," journalist-lyricist Neelesh Misra
Misra, who penned down "Lamha lamha" for "Gangster - A Love
Story", described items songs as "great force multipliers".
"Item numbers have always been there in the movies, but suddenly
I see them as, to use a military term, great force multipliers.
In a crowd of film promos, where one song often sounds just like
the other, I think a great item song brings more eyeballs to a
film," he said.
The "Beedi" song in Bhardwaj's "Omkara" fits his theory well. It
was one of the most talked about song of the year and as
expected, the audience savoured the experience of watching
Bipasha in it. Aesthetically picturised, it topped the charts
and is a rage even after months.
Apart from "Beedi", another item number from the same film was "Namak
Ishq ka", again picturised on Bipasha. It turned out to be
another fantastic song though it couldn't replace "Beedi" from
the top slot.
If Bipasha became the cynosure of all eyes, Payal Rohatagi too
hogged the limelight for "Mast kalandar" in "Corporate", in
which Bipasha played the main lead. But it couldn't remain a
chartbuster for too long.
When the likes of Bipasha and Payal were endorsing item songs, "Khallas"
girl Isha Koppikar too jumped on the bandwagon and sizzled in "Aashiqi
mein teri" in "36 China Town".
She teamed up with newcomer Uppen Patel in this song, which
continued composer-singer Himesh Reshammiya's nasal rendition
and remained a chartbuster. Reshammiya's "Jhalak dikhla ja" from
Aksar also did well.
While item numbers ensured instant fame for the strugglers and a
newcomer like Uppen Patel, established actors too used it as a
means to spruce up their popularity and Kareena Kapoor tops that
Her appearance in the seductive number "Yeh mera dil pyaar ka
deewana" in "Don" came as a bonus to her popularity because 2006
too wasn't fruitful to her.
However, her decision to step into Helen's dancing shoes fetched
her maximum attention and kept her floating in the glitzy lanes
of glamour world.
Commenting on the effect of item songs Misra said: "Just as
there is a `tabloidisation' of the journalism business brought
about by the live news channels, item songs have brought a
yearning for immediate results among music directors. But hey,
some them have great music so let us not close our minds to them
like I once had."
Another item song that rocked the nation was "Rock and roll
soniye" from "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna".
A last minute addition to Johar's infidelity drama, the song was
shot just few weeks before its release with the entire star cast
and it was well received by the music lovers.
Also, the fact that Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan took to the
dance floor soon after his prolonged illness made it more
attention grabbing. Just like "Don", the fate of KANK was not
good but the song was a runaway success.
One more song "Where is the party tonight" from the same film
became a hit among the party circuit.
Usually seen as a catchy, upbeat dance song, which has no
relevance to the plot, it helps in pulling the crowd to the
theatre and is not a temporary phenomenon.
"In olden days we used to have 'mujras' and now we have theses
shoddily picturised songs. Every director wants them. Any song
which is cheaply picturised becomes a dance number," said
composer Sandesh Shandilya.
Item songs contribute partially to the popularity of a star and
film. Going by the current trend, it will continue to dominate
the music scenario in the coming years.
There are some good items numbers lined for 2007 as well and the
most talked about is Mallika Sherawat's special song appearance
in Mani Ratnam's "Guru".
'I See You' leaves you bored (Hindi movie REVIEW)
By Subhash K. Jha.
Film: "I See You"; Cast: Arjun Rampal, Vipasha, Chunky Pandey,
Director: Vivek Aggarwal; Rating: *
Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan flit across the screen during
the credit titles of "I See You". They were being kind.
Dress designer Manish Malhotra has the easiest job in this
quaint but dead film about a comatose girl whose spirit visits a
talk-show host's swanky pad in London. The ghost, played by
newcomer Vipasha, looks quite bored in the film.
The cleverest thing about Suresh Nair's script is the talk-show
title 'British Raj'. You see, Raj is our hero Arjun Rampal's
name. Clever, clever!
It's a name much in favour in our films. Remember Shah Rukh Khan
in "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge"? Similarly, "I See You" too is
set in London.
Cinematographer Ashok Mehta shoots London with a mix of
touristic delight and resident ennui. Music composers
Vishal-Shekhar have come up with a good score that provide a
Somewhere between the two extremes of delight and boredom reside
the core of this failed but sweet love story between a womaniser
and a ghost.
Arjun Rampal is an actor capable of charisma on screen. As
producer, he offers himself a plum chance but unfortunately
manages to leave audiences glum. A deathly stillness occupies
the heart of the plot. And if you have watched the Hollywood
film "Just Like Heaven" you know where this Hindi version has
Most of the film is set in the hero Raj's apartment, far
prettier than Vipasha, who plays the ghost with unnerving
calmness. Scenes between Rampal and the debutante are absolutely
zero in chemistry. Seldom have we come across a pair so devoid
of a romantic link.
The fringe players, mainly derived from the original Hollywood
film, include a corrupt doctor who sells organs, a British cop
who's so obsessed with Hindi films, the comatose girl's mom who
darts dirty looks at Raj, a talk-show co-hostess who shows off
her legs so much that you wonder if she's advertising for strip
poker, and last but not the least, the hero's friend who gets
beaten up by his wife every night.
Only god knows what the husband-beating wife wants from her
husband ... or why this film was made in the first place! An
exercise in supreme self-indulgence, "I See You" tells us
nothing about London, near-fatal illnesses and self-obsessed
talk-show hosts that we really wish to know.
One can't think any really good reason to see "I See You".