|Rajnish Sharma is an India-based journalist who has worked for leading Indian dailies like The Times of India and Hindustan Times. A familiar name with the overseas NRI and PIO readers, he has been writing columns and articles for a host of magazines and portals in the US, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Australia. Over the years, he has covered virtually every aspect of journalism with his wide ranging interests ranging from culture & cuisine to finance & technology and from politics & Indian diaspora to environment & Bollywood. He can be contacted at
Ash is in the thick of action
On her birthday this year (November 1), Aishwarya Rai was in the thick of action. No, not with beau Vivek Oberoi but in the company of Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth, her co-stars in the English film The Last Legion being shot in Slovakia. The actress who plays a Byzantine warrior Mira, will appear in a stunning sword fight sequence in the film set against the fall of the Roman Empire in 470 AD. What’s even more creditable, Ash has done the scenes without using any double. Noted sword master Richard Ryan of Troy fame is all praises for her: “Aishwarya’s handling of the sword is fantastic, especially for someone with no previous experience.”
Meanwhile, back in Mumbai, Abhishek Bachchan has been zeroed in on as Umrao ki jaan! Yes, JP Dutta has signed on his blue-eyed boy Junior Bachchan to star opposite Aishwarya in his remake of Muzaffar Ali’s classic Umrao Jaan. “ Abhishek is perfect for the part of dreamer and poet,” says Dutta.
Grover pitches for Bond baddie
Gulshan ‘Badman’ Grover is really busy these days --- no, not shooting for a movie as you might think, rather he’s in London lobbying for the coveted role of the main baddie in the next James Bond movie Casino Royale. Gullu is pitching for the part of Le Chiffre in the film based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond book. Shooting is due to begin in Prague in February 2006. If the actor clinches the role, Grover will become the first Indian to act in a Bond film since tennis star Vijay Amritraj and Kabir Bedi starred in Octopussy in 1983. In fact, the news of Grover having bagged the role has already appeared in London dailies The Evening Standard and Daily Mirror. So there is some confusion on that front. One will have to just wait and watch!
After Saif, Akshay dons the chef’s cap
Bollywood heroes have stormed into what is traditionally considered to be a woman’s domain --- yes, their favourite haunt these days seems to be the kitchen! What’s brewing? First Madhavan in Ramji Londonwaley, then Saif Ali Khan in Salaam Namaste, and now it’s the turn of Akshay Kumar to don the chef’s cap. In Rajkumar Santoshi’s Family, Akki plays Big B’s elder son (yet again) and makes his living working in a restaurant as head cook. Family is expected to release end-December.
While on Akshay, the guy has finally admitted that he was a casanova before marriage. “It was amusing to play the role of a casanova in Garam Masala because it felt like I was playing myself in flashback mode. I was like this five years back.” Today, of course, adds Akki, he’s a happily married man and “all that is behind me”. Now, that’s some honesty but wonder how wife Twinkle will react to her husband’s candour!
It’s the great wedding season
Cousins Fardeen Khan and Zayed Khan are all knotted up --- no pre-release jitters, these guys are just suffering from pre-marriage jitters. Yes, while Feroze Khan’s son Fardeen will be united in holy matrimony with childhood friend Natasha Madhavani, the pretty daughter of yesteryears’ actress Mumtaz and London-based tycoon Mayur Madhavani on December 16, Sanjay Khan’s son Zayed will tie the knot with long time girlfriend Mallaika Parekh on November 20, putting to rest all rumours of an affair with Esha Deol. That’s not all. The Kapoor khandaan is also getting set to welcome the newest entrant to their illustrious family --- Rishi and Neetu Kapoor’s daughter Ridhima will be marrying Delhi-based Bharat Sahini on January 25.
Incidentally, Karisma and hubby Sanjay Kapur have resolved their differences and got together again after a period of estrangement.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has tied up with Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Entertainment to co-produce a Hindi film for the international audience. Titled Saawariya (Beloved), the film will go into production in 2006. There is a strong buzz that it will star Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir and Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam. The two star kids had assisted Bhansali in Black. This would be the first instance of a Hollywood studio funding and producing a Bollywood film to be shot mostly in India.
Among the December releases are Holiday directed by Pooja Bhatt starring Dino Morea, Rohan Sippy’s Bluff Master starring Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, and Mukesh Bhatt’s Kalyug (earlier titled Blue Film). India’s fist movie on Internet pornography, Kalyug is the story of a honeymooning couple who get caught in the web. The female lead is being played by Smilie Suri, who happens to be the sister of the director, Mohit Suri. Much of the movie has been shot in Zurich.
The other December releases are Arjun Sablok’s Neal ‘n’ Nikki starring Uday Chopra and Kajol’s sister Tanishaa which releases on December 9 along with Apoorva Lakhia’s action flick Ek Ajnabee starring Amitabh Bachchan.
Sushmita Sen has confirmed her project with Richard Gere. Called The Great Emperor, the film is being directed by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi and will be shot in Argentina. It’s a period film about Emperor Ashoka and Sush plays his youngest wife Tishiyarakshita.
Manisha Koirala will be seen in National Award-winning director Riruparno Ghosh’s forthcoming Bengali venture Khela. The actress stars opposite Prosenjit Chatterjee.
Tushar Hiranandani, the writer of films like Masti and Pyare Mohan, has roped in Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh for his directorial debut Zero Se Hero.
Starring: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rimii Sen, Om Ouri
Music Director: Himesh Reshammiya
This one’s strictly for fans of Salman Khan, and even they might just tire of seeing their favourite star gone insane (on screen of course) yet another time after Tere Naam. Priyadarshan would be well advised to stick to comedies (Hera Pheri, Hungama) kyon ki he has lost his touch when it comes to serious drama. Remember his earlier Virasat and Gardish? Kyon Ki is reminiscent of the Waheeda Rehman-Rajesh Khanna starrer Khamoshi, but it is actually a remake of Priyadarshan’s own Malayalayam hit Thalavattam which in turn was inspired by the Oscar-winning Hollywood drama One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. As for the Salman-Kareena chemistry, it doesn’t exactly crackle, though both have performed well.
Kyon Ki is the morbid story of Anand (Salman Khan) who loses his mental balance after his fiancée (Rimii) dies in a freak accident. He lands up at the mental asylum whose head is the despotic Dr Khurana (Om Puri in an uncharacteristically loud role) who has brutal ways of dealing with his hapless patients. Dr Khurana’s daughter is…yes you guessed it, Dr Tanvi (Kareena Kapoor) who nurses Anand back to sanity with tender, loving care. And then of course, the predictable happens ---- doctor and patient fall in love with each other. But Tanvi’s ruthless dad will have none of it. To know more, you’ll have to see the movie, that is, if you have a yen for things depressing!
The only bright spot in this dark tale is Dr Sunil (Jackie Shroff), the friendly neighbourhood shrink who develops a special bond with Anand, and the Dil Keh Raha Hai number rendered magically by Kunal Ganjawala of Bheege Honth fame. The title song, ironically, with many versions is a big let-down.
A quick word of advice to Sallu: It’s time you got out of that ‘cuckoo’ image. If you don’t, the viewers might just go … yes, cuckoo!
Current Top 10 Songs
1. Dil Keh Raha Hai (Kyon Ki…)
2. Kajrare Naina (Bunty aur Babli)
3. My Dil Goes (Salaam Namaste)
4. Dus Bahane (Dus)
5. Aashiq Banaya Aapne (Aashiq Banaya Aapne)
6. Jiya Dhadak Dhadak (Kalyug)
7. Just Chill (Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya)
8. Halka Halka (Chocolate)
9. Kaisi Paheli (Parineeta)
10. Main To Yun (Neal ‘n’ Nikki)
Current Top 10 Movies
1. Garam Masala
2. Kyon Ki…
3. Shaadi No 1
4. Salaam Namaste
5. No Entry
6. Aashiq Banaya Aapne
9. Bunty aur Babli
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