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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  click here
Ash-Abhishek wedding soon?
Aishwarya Rai had the entire country abuzz with talks of her impending marriage to the country’s most eligible bachelor Abhishek Bachchan when she accompanied the celebrated Bachchan family to the holy city of Varanasi. The fact that Abhishek and Ash sat next to each other during the ‘private puja’ and emerged garlanded with Ash donning a red vermilion teeka on her forehead, only added fuel to the speculative fire. They are already man and wife or have exchanged rings, it was said in hushed tones. No one knows the truth but the Varanasi visit certainly seems to confirm what the rumour mills have been churning out religiously. The rituals, it was said, were an exercise to remove all hurdles affecting Ash’s prospects of marriage with Aby’s baby. Of course, for Ash and the Bachchans, mum’s the word. If astrologer Chandraswami is to be believed, the two will tie the knot anytime between January 14 and February 27. We wait with bated breath.

Madhuri Dixit to make a comeback 
Yash Chopra has managed to do what no other filmmaker could. He has got Madhuri Dixit Nene to sign on the dotted line. Yes, the actress is all set to make a comeback in Yashraj’s yet untitled film and is working out regularly to get back in shape. “I’m nervous and feel like a newcomer but I’m excited as well and am working hard at looking fit and fine,” admits the former diva. What about her babies? “They’ll accompany me to the shoots, of course. I can’t do without them,” says the doting mom.

Meanwhile, Karisma Kapur who’s had her fill of playing the Delhi socialite to the hilt, will also grace the silver screen after a long hiatus in filmmaker Onir’s movie titled You & I. It’s a romantic story with adventure sports as its backdrop. The hero has not yet been finalized.

Abhishek to play daddy cool! 
Abhishek Bachchan is all set to play daddy dearest to Hrithik Roshan in Shaad Ali’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom! Before you do a double take, read on. We don’t mean the Dhoom 2 guy. Rather, Abhishek is the father of twin boys in the movie who are named Hrithik and Roshan. Interesting!

Abhishek brings to mind his father. Amitabh Bachchan who has already been deified by the film industry, is set to play the ultimate role of his career --- that of God. Yes, Big B plays God, in Rumi Jaffrey’s God Tussi Great Ho, albeit a spunky, funny and dude-like God. The actor has this ongoing dialogue on life with the film’s hero Salman Khan. Incidentally, after Jackie Shroff, Amitabh plays a ghost in Ravi Chopra’s Bhootnath. 

Thanks but no thanks: Sanjay
In an unprecedented show of solidarity, the entire film fraternity was all set to observe December 12 as a ‘no work’ day in support of Sanjay Dutt, who has been cleared of terrorism charges in the Mumbai blasts case but faces a guilty charge under the Arms Act and is to receive his sentence shortly. But the campaign was called off at the last moment following Sanjay’s emotional letter to his well-wishers requesting them not to go ahead with their plan. It was none other than Sanju baba’s buddy Suneil Shetty who was spearheading the ‘Save Sanjay’ campaign. “He has suffered enough and we are his extended family,” Suneil had said.

Incidentally, the first call Sanjay made after the judge pronounced that he was not a terrorist, was to his daughter Trishala, now 18, who lives in the US.

MOVIE UPDATE
One of the most awaited releases of 2007 is Farah Khan’s second directorial venture Om Shanti Om, earlier titled Happy New Year. It stars Shah Rukh Khan and debutante Deepika Padukone, who happens to be the daughter of former badminton champion Prakash Padukone.

Vinod Khanna is looking forward to his comeback film Risk, a thriller with a family backdrop. Directed by Vishram Sawant, the film also has Randeep Hooda and Tanushree Dutta in pivotal roles. Vinod plays a gangster in it. 

David Dhawan is all set to remake the 70s’ blockbuster Amar Akbar Anthony with the Khan brothers. While Salman will play Anthony (played by Amitabh Bachchan in the original), Arbaaz will play Amar (played by Vinod Khanna), and Sohail will step into Rishi Kapoor’s shoes as Akbar.

It’s the coming together of two greats --- Aamir Khan and Mani Ratnam. After much speculation, it is now official that Aamir will play the lead in Mani Ratnam-directed Lajjo, a love story based in Rajasthan. Kareena Kapoor will star opposite Aamir.

Madhur Bhandarkar is working on his most glamorous and expensive film to date. The movie titled Fashion will delve into the world of modelling and will feature real life models.

The cast of Pradeep Sarkar's next film, as yet untitled, has been decided. Sarkar will make the film for Yash Raj Films and it has Anupam Kher and Jaya Bachchan playing husband and wife. Rani Mukerji and Konkona Sen Sharma have been cast as the daughters of the house. 

MOVIE REVIEW
Dhoom:2
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan
Director: Sanjay Gadhvi
Music Director: Pritam 

Chic packaging, thrilling heists, bike chase, snazzy Brazilian locales and the scintillating chemistry between Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai combine to make Dhoom:2 a rocker all the way.

Unlike the prequel which borrowed unabashedly from Ocean’s Eleven, the story this time is credited to producer Aditya Chopra, even though the story is not of much consequence here as are individual sequences revolving around robberies.

Forget about everything else, you can’t miss the film for one big reason: Hrithik. Watch him zip around faster than a Hayabusa, leap up and down cliffs, burn the dance floor or emote the way only he can. Yes, as hi-tech international thief Mr A, Hrithik’s the hero of the show and you know it when even our proverbial ice-maiden goes weak-kneed in his presence and succumbs to his irresistible charms. As Sunehri, the small-time thief who joins Mr A as his accomplice, Aishwarya gives her hottest performance till date, replete with a steaming lip-lock.

As ACP Shonali Bose, Bipasha Basu looks great and suits her role just fine. And Abhishek? The guy manages to hold his own in any role that is given to him and so as the rugged no-nonsense ACP Jai Dixit, he’a a charmer. Uday Chopra plays Abhishek’s soft sidekick Ali with consummate ease. Together they enthrall.

Music is good. Action scenes are brilliant. All in all, the thrill and the chills in Dhoom:2 will keep you humming Crazy kiya re.

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Crazy Kiya Re (Dhoom:2)
2. Aaj Ki Raat (Don) 
3. Kya Mujhe (Woh Lamhe)
4. Tere Bin (Bas Ek Pal)
5. Let’s Go Party (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)
6. Beedi Jalayle (Omkara)
7. Salaam-e-Ishq (Salaam-e-Ishq)
8. Mujhe Haq Hai (Vivah) 
9. Tere Bina (Guru)
10. Maula Mere Maula (Anwar)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Dhoom:2
2. Don
3. Baabul
4. Vivah
5. Lage Raho Munna Bhai
6. Umrao Jaan
7. Omkara
8. Woh Lamhe
9. Pyaar Ke Side Effects
10. Apna Sapna Money Money



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