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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
Big B gives SRK’s bash a go-by
Almost the entire film industry ushered in the New Year under one roof --- at Mannat, the sea-facing sprawling bungalow of Shah Rukh Khan. The rocking bash went on till the wee hours of the morning with the guests refusing to leave the dance floor. Conspicuous by their absence were the Bachchans and Aishwarya Rai, though SRK and wife Gauri had personally invited them. Yes, Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Ash chose to ring in 2007 as one big happy family at Big B’s residence, lending credence to rumours of a cold war between Shah Rukh and Amitabh. 

Incidentally, the star attraction at SRK’s party was the Canadian sensation, crooner Nelly Furtado who was thrilled to meet Karan Johar there. She is said to be the latest to join the K Jo fan club!

Salman’s brush with colours
It’s either the grief over losing Aishwarya Rai or the happiness at winning over Katrina Kaif, but the fact is that Salman Khan is filling up the canvas of his life with colours these day--- quite literally so. Says brother Arbaaz: “Salman was always good at sketching and painting but he never devoted time to it. It has been nearly a year since he has taken it up with a renewed passion. It makes him happy.” 

However, the superbrat who paints in his garden at home, does not like to show his paintings to all and sundry, and in fact, leaves some unsigned. Some close friends who have had the privilege of feasting their eyes on the artistic creations say they are really good, especially the ones which are replete with religious imagery. Wah wah, Salman!

Dogs step into SRK’s, Kajol’s shoes!
Remember Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol singing and dancing in Karan Johar’s debut film, the blockbuster Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Well, now close your eyes and imagine… dogs doing the same on screen! That’s no joke. KKHH is being remade as an animation film with dogs as its leading stars instead of the superstars. To be directed by Karan’s assistant Tarun Mansukhani, the film will be retitled Kuchi Kuchi Hota Hai. Bow –wow to the original idea!

By the way, in one of her forthcoming releases, Priyanka Chopra plays a crazy Karan Johar fan, which she confesses, she is in real life too. “I love all his films,” she gushes.

Bollywood on a honeymoon!
Everyone is on a honeymoon in Bollywood these days! Sample this: Esha Deol and Fardeen Khan have just got married and are setting out on their honeymoon. No no, not in real life but in Meghna Gulzar’s second directorial venture, a romantic comedy titled Just Married due for release shortly. Then, funny man Boman Irani is taking wife Shabana Azmi to exotic Goa for their honeymoon. The others heading there are Arjun Rampal with Dia Mirza, and Karan Khanna with Amisha Patel, among others. In fact, the movie Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd is about six couples on a honeymoon package to Goa.

Last but not the least, the newly married ‘serial kisser’ Emran Hashmi has just returned from a honeymoon with his wife Parveen. And this is for real!

One of the important releases of February is Ram Gopal Varma’s Nishabd starring Amitabh Bachchan and an 18-year-old debutante Jiah Khan. Loosely based on the novel Lolita, the film promises to be an unusual love story.

Rakesh Roshan plans to make a trilogy. So after Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish, there will be another film which will take Rohit’s story further. The film will go on the floors shortly. Needless to say, Hrithik will be the hero here too.

Aishwarya Rai is all set to dub in Punjabi in her much-hyped film Provoked that will be released in February in six languages. Besides the original English language, the film is being dubbed in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and Spanish, and possibly a seventh language, French.

VJ-turned-actor Ranvir Shorey who showed his comic flair in the recently released Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Khosla Ka Ghosla, is all set to star in a Yashraj film which also happens to be Madhuri Dixit’s comeback film. To be directed by Anil Mehta, it also stars Kunal Kapoor. 

Three versions of Sholay are on the floors right now. One of course is RGV’s much hyped version. Then television’s queenbee Ekta Kapoor announced a Bhojpuri Sholay. Now director Ajay Chandok has also started work on his film titled Phir Sholay. There’s no doubt that Ramesh Sippy’s classic remains the inspiration for many filmmakers even today.

Manisha Koirala is awaiting the release of Anwar and Sirf. In Anwar Manisha shares screen space with kid brother Sidharth. The film is a love story in the backdrop of communal unrest.

Bhagam Bhag
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Govinda, Paresh Rawal, Lara Dutta
Director: Priyadarshan
Music director: Pritam

The Priyadarshan-Akshay-Paresh combination has never worked as well as it did in Hera Pheri simply because there has never been a story as well conceived. It’s the flimsy storyline again that lets this film down. Otherwise, it keeps you entertained with its humour, slick pace and good casting. 

The first half of the film is breezy and keeps you in splits. The escapades of Akshay, Govinda and Paresh are truly hilarious. Just remember though, to keep your logic in suspended animation and you will thoroughly enjoy their antics. In the second half, the movie transforms from a comedy into a murder mystery and that’s where it begins to fumble. The sequence of events that lead to the climax are not convincing enough and the climax itself is a huge let-down. You come out of the hall wishing Priyadarshan had stuck to the comic track till the end. A whodunit certainly doesn’t seem to be his forte. 

Akshay Kumar of course is becoming a master at tickling the funny bone, repetitive though he might be. Govinda too is good and has lost none of his comic timing but he looks aged and even obese. Only Rajpal Yadav comes close to the inimitable Paresh Rawal in raising guffaws in a subtle way. Thrown in for good measure is Tanushree Dutta although for a teasingly short while before the other Dutta damsel, Lara takes over. Jackie Shroff is mechanical and Arbaaz Khan hardly gets any scope to perform.

Music is average except for the pyaar ka signal number which is pure dance-floor material.

On the whole, Bhagam Bhag is enjoyable fare and makes for a good laugh. Worth one watch.

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Crazy Kiya Re (Dhoom:2)
2. Pyaar ka Signal (Bhagam Bhag)
3. Aaj Ki Raat (Don)
4. Kya Mujhe (Woh Lamhe)
5. Let’s Go Party (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)
6. Come On (Baabul)
7. Beedi Jalayle (Omkara)
8. Barso Re (Guru)
9. Kabul Fiza (Kabul Express)
10. Maula Mere Maula (Anwar)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Dhoom:2
2. Bhagam Bhag
3. Vivah
4. Baabul
5. Kabul Express
6. Don
7. Omkara
8. Woh Lamhe
9. Pyaar Ke Side Effects
10. Umrao Jaan

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