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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

Alone in death, as in life

The glamour girl of the 70s and early 80s, Parveen Babi was found dead at her 
Juhu apartment in Mumbai on January 22. As in life, Parveen was alone in death too. There was no one by her side when the end came. Parveen stayed alone in her flat and rarely ventured out or interacted with anyone. Neighbours said she probably died of gangrene. Belonging to the royal family of Junagadh in Gujarat, Parveen made her debut with BR Ishaara’s Charitra. Stardom came with Deewar with Amitabh Bachchan as her co-star. The two went on to do many films together — Amar Akbar Anthony, Shaan, Kaala Patthar and Kaalia to name a few, all huge hits. Parveen became the symbol of the New woman: Urban, sensitive and intelligent as she redefined norms — as much by playing Big B’s live-in girlfriend in Deewar as with a lifestyle that broke all shackles. She had intense relationships with Mahesh Bhatt and Kabir Bedi. The beautiful Babi was the first Indian actress to grace the cover of Time magazine. 

Parveen left for the US in the early 1990s. She returned three years back, 
bloated beyond recognition, to talk about to the media about an “international 
conspiracy to finish her”. She became the butt end of jokes as she accused 
several prominent public figures and Bollywood stalwarts of having “plotted” her killing. It was obvious that the actress had turned an emotional wreck.

Michael Douglas ropes in Ash 

Aishwarya Rai’s career continues to go great guns — the latest is that Hollywood star Michael Douglas has signed her for his forthcoming venture Racing the Monsoon. The international action flick, expected to go on the floors early 2006, is the first American production to be shot entirely in India with a huge portion being shot at the picturesque Amby Valley on the Pune-Mumbai highway. Douglas will reportedly have a double role in the film which is being directed by Steven Carr. The movie has been inspired by a short story that appeared in Wall Street Journal and spoke about Angadis who are the traditional diamond couriers. “The entire process is secure and there have never been too many lapses. This inspired me to base my film entirely in India," Douglas said.

Douglas, who has produced and acted in several Hollywood films, said: "What I 
love about India is the contrast between the old and the new, the traditional 
and the contemporary." To a question whether the film would have some songs, he quipped, "it better have!"

Hrithik, Ash set to create dhoom

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai have done a volte face. Suddenly both have 
turned villainous and with a vengeance. What’s more, they’re enjoying every bit of the devilish experience. Yes, it’s official now: Hrithik and Ash will play the lead in the much speculated sequel to the 2004 success, Dhoom, titled Dhoom 2. "I've played the good guy long enough. Now, it's time for me to get evil!" laughs Hrithik. "It's cool to play a baddie. Playing this nightmarish guy is one 
of my dreams come true." The film, a hi-tech thriller with a profusion of special effects and action-oriented spectacles promises to be bigger, costlier, and more in-your-face than Dhoom! Hrithik and Ash have been missing the chance of coming together for a while now. Just after the release of Kaho Na…Pyaar Hai, the two were slated for a love story set against a war backdrop, to be directed by Tanuja Chandra. But the project fell through. 


Rituparno Ghosh and Aishwarya Rai will team up for the third time after the 
Bengali Chokher Bali and the Hindi Raincoat. The new Hindi film is expected to 
cast Ash as Shabana Azmi's daughter. "It's my third film in the mother-daughter trilogy after Unnishe April and Titli," said Ghosh. 

Aparna Sen was all set to make her first Hindi film Gulel with Ajay Devgan and 
Saif Ali Khan but the project fell through with the two principal stars revealing a reluctance to go ahead with the film. Now the director is ready to make an English-language film. Titled 15 Park Avenue, the movie will feature her Mr & Mrs Iyer stars Rahul Bose and Aparna’s daughter Konkona Sen Sharma. It’s 
the story of two non-Bengali sisters living in Kolkata. Meanwhile, Tabu (not 
Konkana) is now doing Mira Nair’s Namesake.

A UK-based NRI is set to make an English film on Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and has started the search for an artiste to play the lead role. The film titled 
Sonia will be produced by Sunanda Murli Manohar, an NRI from UK, and is based on a book written by journalist Rasheed Kidwai titled Sonia - a biography. The film will be directed by Jagmohan Mundra, who has made Hindi films like Bhawandar and Kamala. The film will be shot in India, Italy and the UK. Sunanda has already produced films like Indian Summer, Blood Stone and Tropical Heat. Her Ramji Londonwale is now ready for release. 

Vinta Nanda's White Noise has become a hot bet in the festival circuit. After 
the Kara festival in Pakistan and the Florence festival in Italy, the film has now been invited for the Berlin festival. 

Noted filmmaker Kundan Shah’s latest venture Three Sisters, is based on the 
suicide by three unmarried sisters in Kanpur in 1988. Shah, who is well known 
for films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na, says his new film is not a docu-drama, "but an artistic vision of creative realism". 

Actress-singer Suchitra Krishnamurthy Kapur will probably have to wait for some more time before her comeback film with Anil Kapoor, Galti Se, makes it to the theatres. The Ram Gopal Varma film revolving around the story of a man who accidentally murders his wife, was shot in two versions, but the film has been held up. 

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee 
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Now, this one’s got real Oscar potential. For here comes a movie from Mumbai 
that creates a new idiom altogether and speaks in the universal language of 
cinema, one that transcends all spatial barriers. Anyone, anywhere, can connect to it. What’s more, Black stuns you into silence, a silence that is overpowered only by the sounds of sobs.

There is art that enthrals, entertains, excites… and there’s art that leaves you 
with a heavy heart. Of course, the film is ultimately a celebration of the human spirit, a story of triumph over tribulations but you are misty-eyed throughout. You soak the fluid, raw emotion, you become a part of the unspoken bond between a blind, mute and deaf girl and her teacher who etches on the stark blackboard of her mind a zillion words, expressions and images, and you identify as much with the helpless girl as with her able-bodied sibling who feels neglected.

Bhansali’s creativity takes a quantum leap since Khamoshi, which also dealt with the travails of the disabled. You feel like giving a standing ovation to him for filtering even black through his unique prism of artistic vision, to produce so 
many hues. Be it the frame of a dining table cover in flames because of candles dropped unknowingly by the blind little girl or the vignette of grains of rice flying as the eccentric tutor battles to make a “fine young lady” of a tormented, violent girl, the director never once loses his touch and infuses beauty and visual splendour into the film just as he did in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. Besides scenic opulence, there’s also that musical cadence which is the hallmark of all Bhansali’s movies.

There are moments in the film which move you to rare heights: Bachchan’s 
attempts to tame the raging eight-year-old (an absolutely superlative performance by young Ayesha Kapoor), his first connection with her, his first 
serious stroke of Alzheimers. Bhansali is indeed lucky that he got his Debraj 
Sahai in Amitabh and Michelle McNally in Rani. Without these two brilliant 
artistes, the director’s vision would have remained just a dream. 

Watch Black to experience emotions you may have never felt before. A must see for all cinema buffs across the world.

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Ek Bawafa Hai (Bewafaa)
2. Main Yahan Hoon (Veer-Zaara)
3. Khoya Khoya (Shabd)
4. Yuhin Chala Chal (Swades)
5. O Makhana (Dil Maange More)
6. Hum Hain Is Pal (Kisna)
7. Shikdum Shikdum (Dhoom)
8. Chak De (Hum Tum)
9. Bheege Honth (Murder)
10. Tu Hai Khushboo (Aitraaz)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Black
2. Page 3
3. Shabd
4. Kisna
5. Insaan
6. Blackmail
7. Aitraaz
8. Veer-Zaara
9. Elaan
10. Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav


March  2005 Article
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