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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. Besides these dailies he has written for a host of magazines and dotcoms in the US, Hong Kong and now Australia. Not one to get tethered to a beat 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 click here

Vivek lights up Ash's life
The Olympic Torch Relay held in New Delhi brought a lovely glow on Aishwarya Rai’s pretty visage. And no, the radiance had nothing to do with the light of the Olympic torch, but the torch that she carries for a certain Mr Oberoi! Yes, tinseltown’s most talked about couple Vivek Oberoi and Aishwarya Rai were the cynosure of all eyes at the historic event. Of course, when questioned by mediapersons about his relationship with Ms Rai, Vivek shot back, in keeping with the Olympian spirit: If you ask me about Ash, I’ll run away! It's not necessary to scream out about your relationship." Aishwarya, predictably, chose her words with care, calling Vivek a “huge support, always”. She added, we all need good friends. Of course, Ash. Only, good friends don't usually look deep into each other's eyes or share secret smiles in public! 

The momentous occasion saw many other Bollywood stars joining in, among them Rani Mukherjee, Bipasha Basu and Aamir Khan.

Aamir paints the town yellow!
Talking of Aamir Khan, people generally paint the town red, right? But trust Aamir to be different, he is painting it yellow! Well, Paint It Yellow (Rang De Basanti in its Hindi version) is the title of the movie that the actor will start working on once he’s through with The Rising. And both the films are being made in Hindi and English simultaneously. Come to think of it, Aamir is providing a lot of fodder for those indulging in yellow journalism! The actor has reportedly moved in with his current girlfriend, a South Indian who is working as Ashutosh Gowarikar’s assistant director. Aamir’s also known to be close to an eminent TV journalist. What’s more, his co-star in The Rising, the pretty Amisha Patel was treated to a generous dose of the Khan’s lethal charms during the shooting. In other words, Aamir is single and mingling like never before! And by the way, he’s moving around these days with the Mangal Pandey look — huge moustaches and long hair.

Diana Hayden in love with Abhishek?
Abhishek Bachchan’s fan club just keeps growing by the day. Now it’s the former Miss World herself who finds Aby’s baby irresistible…no, not Aishwarya Rai but Diana Hayden. The dusky beauty admits that no one “sweeter and more well behaved” than Bachchan Jr has ever come into her life. Friendship between the two apparently blossomed when they met at the premiere of Tehzeeb in which Diana had a cameo. Gushes Lady Di: “Although sadly I haven't had a chance to work with Abhishek so far, I would certainly love to be cast opposite him, no matter what the film.” She is, however, wary of uttering the word 'love' at this stage. “I can't talk too much about our relationship because things tend to get blown out of proportion in showbiz.” Wisely said!

There’s someone else who’s enamoured of Abhishek and his “brooding intensity” — filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, who has gone ahead and signed him for his new Bengali film, in which Abhishek’s co-star is the new Khan on the block: Sharmila Tagore’s daughter and Saif Ali Khan’s sister, Soha Ali Khan!

Mallika proves she ‘Chan’ do it!
The spunky Mallika Sherawat has done it again: After sizzling in Khwahish and Murder, the current hottest sensation of Bollywood has now proved that she has enough oomph to be Jackie Chan’s babe! Mallika has been signed up as the leading lady in Chan’s upcoming flick titled Timebreaker. What’s more, she has beaten the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Lara Dutta, Amisha Patel and Bipasha Basu (they were all reportedly considered) to bag the coveted role. A thrilled Mallika has left for Shanghai to sort out all the formalities. “My role is that of an Indian princess and I play Chan's love interest in the film,” says the queen of erotica. 

Incidentally, there was a lot of buzz earlier that Mallika had received an offer from Playboy to pose for their centrespread, but as it turned out, there was not a word of truth in it. Top executives of the magazine have denied the report.

Passed away: Noted producer and father of Karan Johar, Yash Johar breathed his last in a Mumbai hospital on June 25, after a protracted illness. The veteran filmmaker churned out such hits as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kal Ho Naa Ho.


Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham has become the first commercial Indian film to release in mainstream cinemas across Europe, Egypt and Iran as also in Korea. It was released in France in May and has either been released or is due to open in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Egypt and Iran.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai has been dubbed in Spanish and released in Spain and 20 countries in Latin America. The Spanish version is an hour shorter than the three-hour original and the number of songs has been cut to two from seven and re-recorded in Spanish by local singers.

Deepa Mehta's troubled project River Moon has finally got its leading man and leading lady: John Abraham and Lisa Ray. Mehta’s original choices, Rahul Khanna and Kareena Kapoor, had earlier opted out citing date problems.

Mahesh Manjrekar has signed Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore for AB Corp's Versus (Virudh). To be made in Hindi and English simultaneously, the film will co-star Manjrekar's favourite actor Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham in pivotal roles.

Veteran Anil Kapoor and youngster Shahid Kapur are coming together in Deewane Huye Paagal which is rumoured to be a loose remake of the Hugh Grant-starrer Mickey Blue Eyes. Directed by Ahmed Khan, the movie has Shahid as a fun-loving mechanic in love with a girl whose elder brother (played by Anil Kapoor) is a mobster. The casting of Shahid's love interest is yet to be finalised.

Sohail Khan is producing a film which will star his brother Salman and his lady love Katrina Kaif. Sushmita Sen too has bagged a role in the yet untitled movie film which is being directed by comedy king David Dhawan.

Lakshya (Goal)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Music Directors: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Don’t go expecting another Dil Chahta Hai, and you won’t be disappointed. Lakshya, Farhan Akhtar’s second coming after his smashing debut, has none of the banter and playfulness of DCH. The movie also marks the return of his father Javed Akhtar as a scriptwriter after a hiatus of 15 years.

Set against the backdrop of the 1999 Kargil war, this war drama, largely shot in the Ladakh region, takes us through one man's journey into finding a purpose in life. It is the story of Karan Shergill, an aimless urban drifter who discovers his lakshya when he joins the Armed Forces. Though the story has twists and turns aplenty in the first half, the impact is diluted because everything unfolds very slowly. In fact, the narrative moves in such a languorous manner throughout that the average cinegoer would start feeling restless after a point. The war scenes, though well executed, get boring after a while, more so because one had seen similar scenes not too long back in J.P. Dutta's LoC. 

On the plus side, the sequences in the Indian Military Academy have been filmed with flourish. The entire track, showing Hrithik’s evolution from a non-focused youth to a disciplined cadet, is one of the best parts of the narrative. The background score for the sequences leading to the climax is fantastic. But the songs pale when you compare them with the scintillating Dil Chahta Hai numbers. 

The film without a doubt belongs to Hrithik who stands out with his subtly shaded performance. The only other actor who makes some impression is Sushant Singh playing a Muslim soldier. The mighty Amitabh Bachchan is wasted in a role that makes a mockery of his calibre. Preity Zinta as the crusading TV journalist Romilla Dutta enacts her role with elan but it is hard to digest that a war reporter would scream at the sight of a mutilated body of a soldier!

Technically, Lakshya is a pretty slick, polished product. Cinematography by the German-born, Los Angeles-based Christopher Popp is brilliant. In fact, you could say that Popp is the other hero of the film!

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Chak De (Hum Tum)
2. Main Aisa Kyun Hoon (Lakshya)
3. Tumse Milke (Main Hoon Na)
4. Kaho Na Kaho (Murder)
5. Fanaa (Yuva)
6. Rang Deni (Dev)
7. Zara Zara (Run)
8. Kal Ho Naa Ho (Kal Ho Naa)
9. Hum Tumko (Garv)
10. Mashruqa (Asambhav)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Hum Tum
2. Main Hoon Na
3. Lakshya
4. Deewaar
5. Girlfriend
6. Murder 
7. Dev
8. Yuva 
9. Thoda Tum Badlo Thoda Hum
10. Shikaar


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