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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
SENsational memoirs
It had to happen. If Aishwarya Rai declares that she might just pen the story of her life one day, can Sushmita Sen be far behind? Yes, the former Miss Universe has begun to write her memoirs and she promises to reveal all. It’s another matter that the spunky lady’s life has always been an open book! Titled The Butterfly, the autobiography will be an honest account of her eventful life, says Sush. And yes, how can the book be complete without any mention of the men in her life! Sush says will not censor anything at all, even the ugliest incident in her life “but my only concern is that the guys may not like that.” So disappointingly, she might not mention names. Vikram Bhatt, however, the good sport that he is, has been quoted as saying that he will not mind at all if she names him. 

Meanwhile, get set for a rocking performance by Sushmita in Tanuja Chandra’s Zindagi Rocks in which she plays a vibrant singer in love with a reticent doctor played by Shiney Ahuja.

Big honour for Big B 
Amitabh Bachchan is now Dr Bachchan after being conferred an honorary degree of Doctorate of Arts by De Montfort University in Leicester recently. So another feather in the cap of the much feted actor. Incidentally, after Shah Rukh Khan, it’s now Big B’s turn to do a voice-over. Bachchan will do the both the Hindi and English dubbing for Luc Jacquet’s French docu-film March of the Penguins to be released in both the languages.

Incidentally, former Miss World Priyanka Chopra has also been bestowed with an international honour of sorts. She will be representing India at the Global Leadership Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In fact, by the time this appears in print, Priyanka would have made a speech on ‘Innovation of Competitive Edge’. She certainly seems to be the right choice for the honour, edging out as she has all her contemporaries. Lara Dutta would agree, right?

Karisma set to return to films?
The latest buzz in filmi circles is that Karisma Kapur is all set to make a comeback to her first love, films and that she has even approached Yash Chopra in this regard. What makes everyone say so? Well, you guessed it…. Karisma’s refusal to budge out of her mother’s home in Mumbai that has fuelled rumours of an estrangement with hubby Sunjay yet again, and consequently, Lolo’s return to the arclights. The couple however, predictably continue to deny the rumours.

Karisma brings to mind her sister Kareena. Grapevine has it that Mani Ratnam’s next film will star Bebo and her first co-star Abhishek Bachchan, along with Aamir Khan. If this does happen, it surely will be the biggest coup pulled off by any filmmaker

Mahima might get married
Ever wondered what Mahima Choudhary has been up to all this while? Well, if the buzz is to be believed, the lady has well and truly moved on after her bitter split with tennis ace Leander Peas, so much so that she’s even said to have found love again. Yes, Mahima apparently has been dating a prominent Florida-based industrialist of Indian origin since a few months. The two met in the US when she went there for her shows. They are said to be completely smitten by each other and according to a source, marriage is round the corner. Well, all we can do is wish Mahima good luck! 

Years after Pushkar the first silent movie in the talkies era, hit the silver screen, another silent movie is set for release. Titled My Daddy Strongest, the film will mark a comeback of sorts for Kumar Gaurav who will have British actress Tanny Jones as his co-star.

Debutant director Vishal Inamdar is making Breaking News, a bold film about the electronic media. The film stars Koel Puri, Abhimanyu Singh, Swati Sen, Harsh Chhaya and Vinay Apte. After Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan will now be seen together in Apoorva Lakhia’s reality-driven Shootout at Lokhandwala. Sanjay Dutt and Viveik Oberoi are also part of the cast. Urmila Matondkar has been replaced by Neha Dhupia. 

After the stupendous success of Bunty aur Babli, director Shaad Ali is presently working on Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom starring Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Preity Zinta and Lara Dutta. Big B plays the sutradhar (narrator) in it. Yashraj Films’ Kabul Express has been selected for the world premiere at the 31st Toronto International Film Festival. The fest will be held from September 7—16. The film stars John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, who play TV journalists in it.

Writer-director Varun Khanna’s second venture American Blend is set for a September release. It revolves around an Indian family starring Anupam Kher in the lead. The film has already won many awards at the Riverside International Film Festival in the US.

Starring: Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Viveik Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor
Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Music Director: Vishal Bharadwaj

Forget Shakespeare. Forget Othello. Forget Omkara. Just watch the Hindi adaptation of the Bard’s tragedy for Langda Tyagi, the Indian Iago. Yes, watch Vishal Bharadwaj’s second Shakespearian offering (after Maqbool) for Saif Ali Khan, for his mesmerising makeover to be precise. Saif’s rendition of the foul-mouthed, scheming Langda Tyagi creates an Iago that is almost flawless. Kudos to the director for extracting from Saif, a performance that is the complete antithesis of the actor’s real life persona.

Omkara crackles with a heady rustic flavour drawn from the badlands of Uttar Pradesh where outlaws script the rules of politics. The film has an authentic rural feel but it is not for the squeamish, replete as it is with expletives. The story is simple. Bhaisaheb (Naseeruddin Shah), the ruling politician-cum-don anoints Omkara (Ajay Devgan) as his successor in the Assembly, who on his part appoints Kesu (Viveik) as his chief lieutenant in the party. This enrages the wily Langda Tyagi (Saif) and he plots a revenge that leads up to a horrific tragedy. Yes, the climax is riveting. 

Ajay has already proved his mettle in films like Gangajal and Apaharan. Kareena is good enough as Dolly, the desi Desdemona but the real convincing one is Konkona Sharma as Indu, Langda’s wife. Viveik pitches in with a decent performance and Bipasha Basu playing Billo (Bianca the prostitute in Othello), sizzles in the item number Beedi Jalayle. All in all, the acting is of a high calibre. And it’s good to see actors like Kareena, Viveik, Bipasha and of course Saif, experiment with their image and what’s more, make a success of it 

Music, by Vishal himself, is totally in sync with the ambience of the movie. Dialogues and cinematography are fantastic. On the whole, Omkara is Bollywood at its creative best and a highly recommended watch. 

Even Shakespeare would vouch for that! 

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Kabhi Alvida (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)
2. Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)
3. Tu Hi Meri (Gangster)
4. Beedi Jalayle (Omkara)
5. Dil Na Diya (Krrish)
6. Aashiqui Mein Teri (36 China Town)
7. Jhalak Dikhlaja (Aksar)
8. Aap Ki Khatir (Aap Ki Khatir)
9. Pal Pal (Lage Raho Munna Bhai)
10. Apna Sapna (Apna Sapna Money Money)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Krrish
2. Omkara
3. Golmaal
4. Corporate
5. Fanaa
6. Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar
7. Gangster
8. Phir Hera Pheri
9. The Killer
10. 36 China Town

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