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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

‘Windfall’ for Aishwarya
Aishwarya Rai awaits a ‘windfall’ even as the two international films in her 
kitty — Coline Serreau's Chaos and Roland Joffe's Singularity — are yet to get 
off the ground. Windfall, to be produced by Hollywood-based Zachary Coffin, will be a "two-hour epic thriller" woven around the tragic gas leak that hit sleepy 
the city of Bhopal 20 years ago. Ash will be paired opposite an American star in 
the film which will be set mostly in present-day America, with flashbacks to 
Bhopal. Ash who plays Jasmine Singh, an Indian American born in Bhopal but 
raised in Beverly Hills, is also the film’s executive producer. “The movie will 
be inspiring, I simply had to be involved,” says the actress. Ash may also find 
herself in Rush Hour 3 after Sheeraz Hasan, producer of a US entertainment show, initiated talks between the actress and Hollywood director Brett Ratner. 

Even otherwise, Aishwarya is on top of the world these days — quite literally! 
Ash who is looking for bigger challenges in life than scaling peaks of beauty, 
is just back in Mumbai after meeting the Indian soldiers at Siachen, the highest battleground in the world. "Just to see our soldiers smile and look happy made 
my heart dance with happiness," she gushed.

Shah Rukh, Salman cry and make up!
The ‘cold war’ between the two mighty Khans, Shah Rukh and Salman, has at last ended. It happened at the sangeet ceremony of mutual friend choreographer Farah Khan. (Farah married her Main Hoon Na editor Shirish Kunder on December 9). The festivities were on in full swing when the ‘superbrat’ suddenly went up to SRK and in true filmi fashion, embraced him for a full three minutes in the presence of almost the entire film industry which had turned up for the gala function. Onlookers who cheered, say it was an emotional moment. Both the guys were misty-eyed, and no…they weren’t glycerine tears! Said a mutual friend, "It was long due, really. How long could they go on like this?” 

Salman and Shah Rukh were said to be extremely close till that infamous incident two years back when Salman apparently barged on to the sets of SRK’s home production Chalte Chalte to meet Aishwarya Rai. The two Khans got into a heated exchange that culminated in Ash being thrown out of the movie, and Rani stepping into her shoes. 

Kajol finally says ‘yes’
Kunal Kohli of Hum Tum fame has managed to do what no other director, not even Karan Johar, could. He’s got the elusive and fussy Kajol to sign on the dotted line. Yes, Kads has finally said yes to a movie after her maternity break. The yet untitled film will have Aamir Khan as her co-star and will be timed as 
Aamir's third film after Ketan Mehta's Mangal Pandey (earlier titled The Rising) 
and Rakyesh Mehra's Rang De Basanti. Kajol had earlier turned down Ravi 
Chopra’s Babul in which she would have played Big B’s widowed daughter-in-law. Rani Mukherjee has now bagged the plum role.

Meanwhile, Kajol’s husband Ajay Devgan is charged up about what he calls “the 
most challenging role of my life”. He plays the mentally challenged father of a 
boy whom he brings up on his own, in Harry Baweja’s Main Aisa Hi Hoon. The film which also stars Sushmita Sen and Esha Deol, is slated for a January release.

Beyonce game for Bollywood 
US pop star Beyonce Knowles is all ready to shake a leg in Bollywood films or 
even do an "item number". The regrouped member of hit band, Destiny's Child, Beyonce said she was a fan of Bollywood movies because “they are so colourful”. The multiple Grammy winner for her 2003 solo debut, Dangerously in Love said she had seen and loved some Indian hits such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, the Oscar- nominated Lagaan and Devdas.

Meanwhile, pop diva Christina Aguilera, currently visiting India, is on a 
spiritual trip and reportedly seeking inspiration for her next album which might 
feature Indian classical music. Unconfirmed reports suggest that she might be 
roped in for a guest appearance or a dance number in a Bollywood film. 

Five biggies are lined up for a January 2005 release: Bewafaa, Kisna, Black, 
Insan and Tango Charlie. 

Kamal Haasan has finally found himself a leading lady for his Tamil-Hindi bi-
lingual, Mumbai Express — Manisha Koirala. The Nepalese beauty was zeroed in on after various Bollywood actresses, including Tabu and Bipasha Basu, were sounded out. Even Kajol was approached. This is the first film Manisha has signed after her return from New York.

Bipasha Basu is all set to sizzle on the Pakistani silver screen. According to 
the Daily Times, Bipasha will star in a movie titled Khulay Asman Kay Nichay 
opposite Pakistani stars Sana, Saleem Sheikh and Humayun Saeed. The film is based on a real story, revolving around childhood engagements, and will be 
directed by actor-turned-director Javed Sheikh. Sheikh is also reportedly on the lookout for a Bollywood hero to play the lead role.

Beautician Shahnaz Hussain, we hear, has received a Hollywood film offer and it has nothing to do with beautifying actresses out West with face packs et al. 
Instead she could star in a flick opposite Pierce Brosnan. While producers have 
offered to pay her a magnificent sum of several million dollars for the film titled Taj Mahal – A Lover's Story, the lady is apprehensive about taking up the job. She doesn’t want to leave behind her herbal empire or even be away from it for too long. But she is considering the option. 

Sriram Raghavan is on to his next film tentatively titled Trishul. The erstwhile 
assistant to Ram Gopal Varma made his directorial debut in the latter's  production Ek Hasina Thi featuring Saif Ali Khan and Urmila Matondkar. Sriram 
and his younger brother Sridhar have written the script of Trishul. "It won't 
be a multi-starrer as such," said Sriram, "but there will be two prominent stars." They are rumoured to be Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan but the  director says nothing has been finalised as yet.

If his forthcoming English film Sins draws the expected response in the Indian 
and international market, Vinod Pande, the maker of the film is planning two more sequels to the film, Sins-I and Sins-II. According to Pande, Sins is a bold 
English film portraying the story of "a crime of passion" based on a real life 
incident that happened in the south. 

Starring: Akshaye Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Arshad Warsi
Director: Priyadarshan Music Director: Vidyasagar

Is it a comic version of the Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet or a family drama? A multi-star social, or a romance? Actually, Hulchul is a mishmash of everything but fun in parts. The story of a feuding family brought together by their offspring is nothing new and not all the humour is tasteful or even funny. In fact, this movie is devoid of that one quality that made Priyadarshan’s Viraasat so memorable: dignity. 

If at all you get the illusion of watching a well made film, it is because of 
the remarkable performances by the underrated Akshaye Khanna and the vivacious Kareena Kapoor. As spunky college kids who belong to two warring clans, the duo bring to the screen a refreshing new chemistry. They make a delightful pair. But it is Arshad Warsi who comes up with the most scintillating act, sometimes even overshadowing the brilliant Paresh Rawal. If you enjoyed Warsi's performances in Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2 and Munnabhai MBBS, you'd realise how skilfully he makes space for himself in the thankless role of the hero's sidekick.

The only other important female character besides Kareena, is her authoritarian grandma played by the versatile Laxmi. It’s nice to see Farah after a long time. Her performance as Paresh Rawal’s wife is pleasantly underplayed.

Music by Vidyasagar is terribly mediocre. The second half drags a bit. But do go see the movie. Don’t miss out on the fun even if the quality of humour is not your cup of tea.

Current Top 10 songs
1. Main Yahan Hoon (Veer-Zaara)
2. Yuhin Chala Chal (Swades)
3. Tu Hai Khushboo (Aitraaz)
4. Ishq Kabhi Kariyo (Musafir)
5. Rok Sako To (Rok Sako To Rok Lo) 
6. Dhoom Macha Le (Dhoom)
7. Rafta Rafta (Hulchul)
8. Chak De (Hum Tum)
9. Bheege Honth (Murder)
10. Bas Main Hoon (Kyun Ho Gaya Na)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Veer-Zaara
2. Hulchul
3. Aitraaz
4. Musafir
5. Mughal-e-Azam
6. Rok Sako To Rok Lo
7. Dhoom
8. Hum Tum
9. Murder
10. Naach


January  2005 Article
November  2004 Article
October 2004 Article 
September 2004 Article 

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