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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

Sush goes the Ash way
This bit of news will certainly have Aishwarya Rai sit up and take notice. Her archrival Sushmita Sen has bagged an international project produced by none other than Robert De Niro’s daughter Drena and directed by New York-based Indian director Manish Gupta. What’s more, Sush has current beau Randeep Hooda for celluloid company. The two play an Indian couple in New York in the movie titled Karma Confessions and Holi. The other actors signed up for this Bollywood-Hollywood collaboration are Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Deepal Shaw, Suresh Oberoi and Rati Agnihotri. The story revolves around 15 guests meeting over a weekend to celebrate Holi and the relationships that unfold therein. The movie, to be shot entirely in the United States, is scheduled to be released in time for Robert de Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival which opens in March-April next year.

While on Sush, the sensuous actress might play the title role in Rituparno Ghosh’s Draupadi based on the Mahabharat. She was approached by Ghosh after Bipasha Basu declined his offer since the role required ‘too much exposure’. Now, that’s difficult to believe!

Bachchan to romance Tabu
The reclusive Tabu is all set to resurface on the big screen after a hiatus, and that too, with none other than Big B as her leading man in a yet untitled movie. To be directed by adman Balkrishnan, the film is said to be a mature and powerful love story between a young woman and an older man. While Tabu is ecstatic, Amitabh is no less thrilled. Calling Tabu a “truly top-of-the-line artiste”, Bachchan says that it would be a great challenge to do something as unconventional as this with an actress of her calibre. That’s some compliment, coming from the star of the millennium. 

Incidentally, Tabu and Amitabh were supposed to do a film together some years ago but the project didn’t take off. If it had, we would have seen the two talented artistes play daughter-in-law and father-in-law in it.

Aamir once bitten, twice not shy!
After enjoying his single status to the hilt following his divorce with Reena, Aamir Khan now seems to have had enough of it. The buzz is that he is all set to tie the knot with his petite and perky girlfriend Kiran Rao on December 28. Aamir himself characteristically refuses to confirm or deny the rumour though he certainly is open about his relationship with Kiran. The lovebirds are seen together at all functions holding hands. On screen too, Aamir is pairing up with a new lady. No, she’s not a newcomer, rather she’s someone who has delighted her fans over the years before she decided to take a long ‘nappy’ break. Yes, Kunal Kohli’s Fanaa sees Aamir and Kajol come together for the first time. Aamir is said to be playing a terrorist in the film while Kadz plays a Kashmiri girl whom he falls in love with. 

While on Aamir, his fascination with firangis continues. After the Lagaan heroine, the Khan has another British actress starring opposite him in Rang De Basanti. The girl is said to be Alice Patten who is apparently the daughter of a leading politician in England.

Side effects of Rahul, Mallika’s pyaar
Talking of pairings, this one surely takes the cake --- the cerebral Rahul Bose and the voluptuous Mallika Sherawat! After Preity Zinta who played an RJ in Salaam Namaste, we now have Rahul playing a DJ in an urban romantic comedy with the catchy title Pyaar Ke Side Effects! And Mallika is the damsel who dances to his tunes. It’s a story about two people who have different ideas and expectations from a relationship. 

Rahul and Mallika ---- they sure make strange bedfellows! But you never know, the side effects of this weird celluloid combination might just turn out to be lethal! Incidentally, Rahul is known to shower lavish praise on his co-stars after he has worked with them --- first it was Mithun Chakraborty, then Bhumika Chawla and now it could very well be Mallika. Unless of course, she rubs him the wrong way! 

It’s official now. Paheli, produced by Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Amol Palekar, is India’s entry for the Oscars. Based on a bizarre folk tale of Rajasthan, the film is steeped in Indian cultural ethos. Starring Shah Rukh and Rani Mukherjee, it also has a cameo by Amitabh Bachchan.

This year the Diwali biggies include Garam Masala and Kyon Ki and incidentally both are directed by Priyadarshan. Kyon Ki sees Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor team up for the first time. Vashu Bhagnani’s multi-starrer comic caper Shaadi No 1 is also slated for a Diwali release. 

There’s good news for fans of the mighty Deols. Anil Sharma’s Apne (earlier titled Chupke Chupke) has Papa Dharmendra and sons Sunny and Bobby share screen space for the first time. As is obvious, it is a family drama.

Meghana Gulzar is back after four years to direct Esha Deol and Fardeen Khan in her second film titled Honeymoon — a frothy romantic comedy, far removed from Filhaal

The Parineeta girl Vidya Balan will be working with Rituparno Ghosh in two films, one Bengali and the other Hindi titled London Summer. The talented and beautiful actress also has two more films by Vidhu Vinod Chopra in her kitty --- the sequel to Munnabhai and Eklavya, which also stars Big B.

Koi Aap Sa
Starring: Aftab Shivdasani, Natassha, Dipannita Sharma
Producer: Ekta Kapoor
Director: Partho Mitra
Music Director: Himesh Reshammiya

Well, the theme of the movie certainly has the potential to strike a chord with the youth but when there’s the non-descript trio of Aftab, Natassha and Dipannita as the lead players, that’s a little difficult to achieve. 

Lovers have to be friends although friends may not be lovers is the underlying message of Koi Aap Sa --- nothing new really --- which is actually a Salaam Namaste and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai rolled into one. But while these two had Preity Zinta and Kajol respectively to light up the screen with their effervescent performances, Koi Aap Sa has to depend on Natassha to do the needful. Not that the girl is a bad actress. Nor is she bad looking. In fact, she has the typical sweet, girl-next-door looks. She just lacks charisma and screen presence. Ekta Kapoor should have the good sense to restrict her to the small screen where she’s made quite a name for herself. And Aftab? Although he’s improved as an actor, he certainly ain’t no Shah Rukh or Saif Ali Khan. 

Rohan (Aftab) and Simran (Natassha) are college buddies who play basketball together (yes yes, just like KKHH) --- he actually calls her paaji! There’s a twist in the tale when Simi is raped by her fiance’s friend and left pregnant. Though Rohan is initially torn between his girlfriend Priti (Dipannita Sharma) and best friend Simran, he eventually decides to play the loyal friend to Simran at the cost of his love. So, they’ve got to pretend to be a couple to stop wagging tongues. In the bargain, Rohan loses his girlfriend and Simran her boyfriend (Himanshu Malik). But then, sacrifice is what friendship is all about, isn’t it? Well, at least in the hallowed portals of Bollywood! But wait, that’s not the end. There’s melodrama and more melodrama till the movie drags on towards its denouement.

On the whole, Koi Aap Sa is average fare and one really wonders why after the success of the sex comedy Kya Kool Hai Hum, Jeetendra’s daughter had to resort to making an unoriginal movie such as this. 

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Kajrare Naina (Bunty aur Babli)
2. My Dil Goes (Salaam Namaste)
3. Aashiq Banaya Aapne (Aashiq Banaya Aapne)
4. Dus Bahane (Dus)
5. Halka Halka Sa (Chocolate)
6. Just Chill (Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya)
7. Dil Nahin Toda (Shaadi No 1)
8. Seene Mein Dil (Koi Aap Sa)
9. Kaisi Paheli (Parineeta)
10. Main Vari Vari (Mangal Pandey)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Salaam Namaste
2. No Entry
3. James
4. Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara
5. Chocolate
6. Dus
7. Bunty aur Babli
8. Aashiq Banaya Aapne
8. Kasak
9. Dil Jo Bhi Kahey
10. Siskiyan

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