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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

Bollywood shattered as Sanjay Dutt is sentenced to six years’ jail
Bollywood was plunged in gloom as its beloved Munnabhai, Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. Premieres and parties were put on hold. Close buddy Suniel Shetty, like many others of the film fraternity, broke down on hearing the verdict. “Too harsh a judgement”, felt everyone. Sanjay himself burst into tears when the judge pronounced the sentence. Regaining composure, the actor then made just one request, which thankfully was granted: He wanted to make an overseas call to his daughter Trishala in New York.

It was only appropriate that after spending three days in Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison, Sanjay who popularized Gandhigiri in Lage Raho Munnabhai, was shifted to Pune’s Yerawada jail, a prison which was home to Mahatma Gandhi for several years during the freedom struggle.

Baby B on its way!
The latest buzz in tinseltown is that Baby B is on its way! Yes, Aishwarya Bachchan is said to be expecting. So Chota B will be a papa and Big B the grand-daddy of ’em all. Interestingly, Abhishek in one of his recent interviews had remarked that kids shouldn’t be planned. “They should just happen.” Well Abhi, it’s happened for you! There is no confirmation yet from the family but then, are the Bachchans known to confirm anything till it finally happens?

By the way, an unpleasant rumour doing the rounds is that Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan have decided not to work with Aishwarya in any film because they were not invited for the shaadi. Strange, they should be angry with Big B, not his bahu!

SRK, Kajol will be back together
Remember the terrific onscreen chemistry between Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? Well, get ready for another magical treat as Karan Johar has reportedly succeeded in roping both his buddies for his next venture titled Khan. Of course, it took a lot of persuasion on K Jo’s part to convince Kadz to do the role, obsessed as she is with her real life role of mommy. Though not much is being revealed about the project at the moment, it is confirmed that the movie will be set in New York (where else!) and will deal with the serious subject of international terrorism.

Meanwhile, Kajol and Ajay will begin shooting for Rajkumar Santoshi’s mythological drama Ramayana around January next year.

John, Bipasha still together?
Those of you who thought that the rock steady John Abraham-Bipasha Basu relationship had hit rock bottom, well, here is some news. The latest buzz is that Johnnie boy has succeeded in wooing back his sulking lady-love, though the duo themselves refuse to make any comment. But why was Bips sulking in the first place? Well, John was said to be getting utterly fond of his Salaam-e-Ishq co-star Vidya Balan. And where does Saif Ali Khan figure in all this? Apparently, contrary to rumours, Bipasha and the chhote nawab are only gym partners. Nothing more, nothing less.

And news just comes in that John and Bipasha have agreed to do a sizzling item number for No Smoking. Should we take that as a good sign? Incidentally, Lara Dutta and Kelly Dorjee have parted ways after eight long years. Reason: Lara is said to have found her ‘partner’ in an Italian businessman whom she met in London.

Chak De! India
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade 
Director: Shimit Amin 
Music Director: Salim-Sulaiman

It couldn’t get better than this. An off-beat sports-based film with none other than superstar Shah Rukh Khan at the helm. You could say this is the actor’s best performance till date -- restrained, minus all hamming and straight from the heart --- his stubble lending him a maturity that has rarely been seen, except may be in Swades. What’s more, Chak De is a moving ode to patriotism sans all the preachiness associated with the sentiment. 

Shah Rukh plays Kabir Khan, an Indian hockey player, whose one mistake of missing out on a vital penalty shot in a final World Cup match against Pakistan costs him his career and his honour. Accused of being a traitor, he goes into oblivion. 

Seven years later, he gets a chance to prove all his detractors wrong. His task is to coach the women’s hockey team, and his dream --- to make it win the World Cup. A seemingly impossible feat as it is hardly a team. Rather, it’s a fractious, squabbling bunch of girls drawn from the various states of India, which makes the job of the coach a Herculean one. 

A great plus point of the movie, besides SRK’s fantastic act of course, are the terrific performances by the faceless girls, without which the film would never have looked real. Vidya Malvade is the only known face here, thanks to her modelling background and her debut film Inteha. The editing and cinematography are also excellent.

Chak De is a must-see not only because it a well made, refreshingly different film (there’s no love angle) but also because it is a telling commentary on the state of sport in India.

Among the most awaited September releases is Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (earlier titled Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay), featuring Amitabh Bachchan as the legendary dacoit Gabbar Singh and Sushmita Sen as Durga, the role played by Jaya Bachchan in the original Sholay.

Other scheduled September releases are Ram Gopal Varma’s Darling starring Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol and Isha Kopikkar, and Indra Kumar’s laugh riot Dhamaal with an all-male cast of Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Riteish Deshmukh. 

Satish Kaushik is all set to remake Subhash Ghai’s superhit Karz with Himesh Reshammiya in the lead. Search is on for an actress to step into Simi Garewal’s shoes. The remake will be shot in Europe.

After Kamal Haasan's Thevar Magan, remade in Hindi as Virasat with Anil Kapoor as the hero, shooting has begun for what will be the biggest Bollywood remake of a Tamil hit film --- Gajini, with none other than Aamir Khan in the lead role.

Anurag Kashyap says he is all set to embark on project Devdas with Abhay Deol in the lead. The director says that his film will be called Dev.D and it will be a completely modern day take on the previous versions.

Current Top 10 Songs
1. Chak De India (Chak De! India)
2. Tera Mera Milna (Aap Kaa Surroor)
3. Mahiya (Awarapan)
4. Cash Meri (Cash)
5. Ek Din Teri (Naqaab)
6. Do You Want (Partner)
7. In Dino (Life In A Metro)
8. Jhoom Barabar (Jhoom Barabar Jhoom)
9. Heyy Babyy (Heyy Babyy)
10. Akele Tanha (Darling)

Current Top 10 Movies
1. Chak De! India
2. Partner
3. Aap Kaa Surroor
4. Cash
5. Apne
6. Kaafila
7. Gandhi My Father
8. Life In A Metro
9. Naqaab
10. Awarapan

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