Monday, March 31

Ranbir Kapoor blows Kiss to Deepika Padukone
Making his love interest clear, Ranbir Kapoor blew a kiss straight from the ramp to actress Deepika Padukone.

Attired in a black and beige "sherwani" or Indian-style coat with intricate ethnic motifs at the hemline and sequin work at the collars, the star walked the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) ramp for designer Arjun Khanna in Mumbai late Saturday.

The sherwani was tastefully teamed with beige churidar and red scarf to give a dramatic effect, the actor's face and hair were painted golden.

"Before I came here I didn't know that my face would be painted golden. Only when I reached the venue and sat on a chair (backstage) to get the make-up done, I got to know about it. But I enjoyed the whole experience," Ranbir told IANS after the show.

He refused to comment on his romantic link-up with Deepika. Starting with his signature dance step from the title song of Saawariya, Ranbir descended on the runway.

And then he spotted Deepika sitting next to his mother Neetu Singh. Cutting short his catwalk, he blew a flying kiss towards her. Deepika blushed and hid her face behind her cascade of hair.

While Deepika sported a light grey tube top with abstract prints matched with slim fit dark blue jeans, yesteryear actress Neetu Singh was decked in white trousers and a kurta top with white, red and blue geometric prints and Swarovski work at the neckline.

"There couldn't have a better confession of love than this. Ranbir made it clear at the LFW that Deepika is his love interest," said Rashmi Singh, who attended the show.

Unlike his contemporaries, Ranbir did not take expert advice from his ladylove, who was a model by profession. "No I did not take any tips from Deepika before walking the ramp. I had never walked the ramp before. It was the first time for me but I was quite confident. It proved to be an excellent experience," Ranbir said.

"Moreover, the Indian fashion industry is growing very fast and if I can contribute a little to it, it would be great," he added.

When asked how fashion conscious he is, Ranbir said: "I am not fashionable at all. My knowledge about fashion is only through Arjun. Fashion for me is being comfortable."

After the show, Deepika left the venue with Neetu in the same car.

The five-day fashion extravaganza at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) would end on April 2. Fifty-seven designers, established and new, including the likes of Narendra Kumar, Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Neeta Lulla, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Wendell Rodricks will show their collections.

Sunday, March 30

Unforgettable Show: Lara Dutta out and Akshay Kumar in
While actress Lara Dutta has opted out of the Bachchans' 'Unforgettable Show' world tour because of her knee injury, Akshay Kumar has decided to join it, though he will perform only at select venues.

The show's organisers Wizcraft are now in the process of finalising seven to eight big stars from Bollywood to accompany Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, and Aishwarya Rai at various venues in July and August.

'Akshay is back in the Bachchans' world tour. But he'll join them only at selected venues because that is all Akshay's schedules allow,' said a source.

'Likewise, at other centres we're roping in other A-listers who will join the Bachchans as they perform all over the US and later Europe. In this way there would be a couple of big surprise guest appearances by marquee names in every city, though rightly the focus of interest would remain the Bachchan family,' added the source.

Composer duo Vishal-Shekhar has been confirmed as a part of the tour. They will be accompanying the Bachchans for all their concerts, just like decades ago Kalyanji-Anandji used to be an integral part of the Big B's concerts.

In fact, an album featuring Abhishek with guest vocals by the Big B that Vishal-Shekhar have been putting together for the last two years will finally be ready to coincide with the Bachchans' world concert.

Saturday, March 29

Tanushree Dutta is Mad, says Rakhi Sawant
Rakhi Sawant seems to be getting lucky with her growing item numbers in films. After featuring for an item number in Krazzy 4, Rakhi has been roped in for yet another item dance in Horn Ok Pleassss. Rakhi has replaced Tanushree Dutta.

It may be recalled that we had reported yesterday about a fracas between Tanushree and Nana Patekar on the sets of the film at the Filmistan Studios. Apparently, Nana passed some derogatory comment on Tanushree's dress sense and that did not go down well with the actress.

However, on Wednesday night, producer Sami Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang approached Rakhi to fill in for Tanushree. Our source revealed, "Siddiqui and Sarang met Rakhi on Wednesday night and explained their dilemma to Rakhi, who immediately agreed to do the item number. In fact, she has already begun shooting with Nana for the song."

When contacted, director Rakesh Sarang confirmed the news and said, "Tanushree refused to attend the rehearsals and wanted to start shooting the song directly. She also insisted that the song should be picturised only on her."

Without revealing details, Tanushree said, "Yes, there was an issue on the sets, but I didn't want to take this to the media. Is there anything wrong in that? But the electronic media was adamant on getting bytes from me and in the
Rakhi Sawant on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss fracas my car was damaged. Moreover, if I only wanted to throw tantrums, I would have thrown them from the first day itself and not waited for the last day of the shoot. I rehearsed for five days for the song and was very well prepared for it."

Though Tanushree refused to comment on the 'issue', a source close to the actress revealed, "When the filmmakers had approached Tanushree for the item number, she had not only confirmed the design of her costume, but also the dance steps for the song. Tanushree was shocked when she learnt that the item songs involved intimate touching which was not agreeable to her. She had also heard about Nana's habit of passing comments but this time she experienced it herself."

Meanwhile, Rakhi Sawant said that she had no qualms about doing the item number with Nana. She said, "Sami Siddiqui and Rakesh Sarang felt that I was the right person for the song so I agreed to do it. I have great regard for Nana Patekar."

Friday, March 28

Amitabh Bachchan takes on Raj Thackeray
Replying to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena supremo Raj Thackeray's remarks against him, Amitabh Bachchan has stated that India is a free country and everyone has the right to live wherever they please.

This is the first time Bachchan has reacted in public against Thackeray ever since the latter targetted him for being more loyal to his hometown, Uttar Pradesh, rather than Maharashtra, where he has been residing for more than 40 years.

Bachchan's statement came a day after a hoarding -- erected at Mumbai's North Central area of Shivaji Park by Thackeray's followers -- made fun of the actor and called him 'Superstar Shetkari.' (farmer)

The hoarding also mentioned that Bachchan, who had donated his Lonavala land to farmers displaced due to the construction of a dam, was demanding the land back, a move that Bachchan had made only the day before.

The actor gave his answer at a press conference for the International Indian Film Academy, of which Bachchan is the brand ambassador. When a journalist asked him to comment on Thackeray's repeated attacks on him, Bachchan said, "The Indian Constitution has given me the right to live anywhere in the country. It is my fundamental right."

Without naming Thackeray, Bachchan said, "Everybody has a right to the freedom speech but I only follow the law of the land, the Indian Constitution and my conscience. Besides that, I don't bother about anything else."

When asked to comment on the Lonavala land issue, Bachchan said, "The case is sub judice and I cannot talk about it."

Thursday, March 27

Tanushree Dutta's loss is now Rakhi Sawant's gain
There was a high drama on the sets of Horn Ok Please.

Apparently, the shooting was stalled when Tanushree Dutta, who was to do an item number, allegedly refused to perform with the film's lead, Nana Patekar. This enraged the producer, Sami Siddiqui, so much that he cancelled the shooting, and he ousted Tanushree from the film.

The actress will now be replaced by the original item queen, Rakhi Sawant. The song will be shot this afternoon.

The incident blew out of proportion when Tanushree refused to come out of her vanity van, thus delaying the shoot for over two hours. Irked by Tanushree's unprofessionalism, the producer cancelled the shoot.

While the reason for Tanushree's behaviour is unknown, a Mumbai tabloid has hinted that the actress' skimpy outfit was the cause of the spat. Apparently, a unit member made a lewd remark, which upset the actress. What added salt to injury was Nana Patekar's remark, which implied that the actress should have known better than to appear for the shoot, uncovered.

Horn Ok Please is directed by Rakesh Sarang, and also stars Muzzamil Ibrahim and Rimi Sen.

Wednesday, March 26

Deepika Padukone crazy about Ranbir Kapoor
It may take yesteryear lover boy Rishi Kapoor and his son Ranbir some time to showcase their talent together. But the young actor's girlfriend Deepika Padukone already has that privilege.

She will be sharing screen space with Rishi in Saif Ali Khan's first production to be directed by Imtiaz Ali of Jab We Met fame. I did a reading with Rishi uncle for the film, and I was simply stunned. He's that good. Imtiaz's film will be a departure for me,' Deepika told IANS.

'I'm lucky enough to work with both Ranbir and Rishi uncle. Now all I need is a film with Neetu aunty to complete the picture,' she added. The actress, who debuted with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in 'Om Shanti Om', will play Saif's leading lady in the yet untitled film.

'I'm definitely looking forward to working with Saif. He's one of the best actors we've ever had,' she said. But before that Deepika is currently shooting for Nikhil Advani's action flick 'Chandni Chowk To China' with Akshay Kumar.

'I've trained in martial arts for the film and I enjoyed myself thoroughly because I'm athletic. People see me as very ladylike and proper. But there's another, very tomboyish side of me that you'll see in 'Chandni Chowk To China'.'

However, her first post 'Om Shanti Om' release would be Yash Raj Films' 'Bachna Ae Haseenon'. In the film, Deepika has to share her boyfriend Ranbir with two other leading ladies. 'Yes, but that's only for the screen no?' she quipped. 'It is Ranbir's film all the way. In my very first narration I was sure I wanted to do it.

'Siddharth Anand suggested I take some time to decide, but I liked his honesty and I loved my bit in the script. Siddharth was honest enough to tell me there were three other girls with Ranbir in the film - now, of course, there're only two other girls. As an actor it's important for me to be part of projects I believe in even if my role is comparatively small.'

Tuesday, March 25

Bangkok is The Hottest destination for Bollywood
Bangkok is beckoning Bollywood. Half the Indian film industry is currently stationed in the city for work - and not quite for sampling its glitzy nightlife and shopping malls.

First of all, the four As - Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao - have been in Bangkok for a month shooting for Neera Vora's 'Shortcut'.

Another A-star Akshay Kumar is also in Bangkok with his pretty co-star Deepika Padukone shooting for Nikhil Advani's 'Chandni Chowk To China'.

Ranbir Kapoor flew to Bangkok Friday for a photo session for the Filmfare magazine, and not to join girlfriend Deepika Padukone.

Bangkok is currently the hottest spot for not only film shooting but also other glamour events. Priyanka Chopra flew to Bangkok last week to do an ad with Saif Ali Khan.

'It was touch-and-go because I had to wrap up the ad, then rush back to Mumbai and then rush to Miami for Tarun Mansukhani's 'Dostana'. But the rush was worth it because I always like going to Bangkok for holidays and work.'

Sammir Dattani, who's holidaying in Bangkok and Pataya with his friends, ran into several colleagues from the industry.

'The entire industry seemed to be there, either holidaying or working. Bangkok is a fun spot and at the same time very work-oriented. I shot for my comedy 'Dhoom Dhadaka' in Bangkok. Now I'm back here for holiday.'

Sammir sees more and more of Bollywood making a beeline for Bangkok this year. Never mind if Nagesh Kukunoor's 'Bombay To Bangkok' crashed with a thud.

Monday, March 24

Shekhar Kapur all set to take over New York I Love You
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker, Shekhar Kapur, is all set to do something which he has never before done in his career. Shekhar would be taking over and completing New York, I Love You, a series of short films which was to be originally made by British director Anthony Minghella who passed away last week.

Minghella, who has made films like Cold Mountain and The English Patient in the past, was a good friend of Shekhar. In fact, the late filmmaker had even asked Shekhar to take charge of the project since he was not keeping well. This will be a first of its kind experience for Shekhar to enter the creative zone occupied by another man.

The series has lot of directors (including Mira Nair) who would be shooting love stores in New York City. Some other bigwigs attached to this project include Brett Ratner (director of the Rush Hour series of films), Scarlett Johannson and Natalie Portman.

Shekhar would be flying to New York for getting ready with the production of the film in the first week of April.
Shatrughan Sinha's son Luv Sinha ready for debut
Another superstar son is all set to make his debut in the film industry following the footsteps of other star sons like Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor.

Former cine star and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha's son Luv Sinha is all set to make his debut with film Sadiyaan, which is based on the relationship between India and Pakistan.

"Like others, I also wish that my son becomes a far better and successful actor than me," Shatrughan Sinha said on Sunday. Sinha had also interacted with the film's unit which is shooting near Chandigarh.

Sinha said the film which has been shot at different locations in Punjab and Jammu, is expected to release by September next.

Actress Hema Malini and Rekha will be seen together in this film almost after 20 years. Actor Rishi Kapoor is playing the role of Luv's father in the film while the role of heroine is being played by a Kashmiri girl Fareen.

The film is being produced and directed by Raj Kanwar who has given hit films including Shah Rukh Khan starrer Deewana. Popular Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh is also playing an important role in the film.

Sunday, March 23

Priyanka Chopra gets pregnant
Denying rumours that she forced Madhur Bhandarkar to change the climax in Fashion, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who has been shooting nights for the movie, says her character getting pregnant was not a part of the script.

Priyanka told IANS: "That was never a part of the script. The ending was decided at the scripting stage. The girl was never meant to get pregnant.

"Why would I shy away from doing something unconventional? I started with Aitraaz, which was as unconventional as they come. I'm so amused by all the speculation about Fashion. It just shows how much interest the film is generating. In spite of the constant attention, we've shot a majority of the film. We're all working really hard on it."

"I don't know where these stories come from. Apparently, I asked Madhur to change the climax of the plot so that my character doesn't get pregnant. Now where did that come from? Madhur is a very competent director. Do you think he'd allow any actor to tamper with the script?

"Yes, the two of us sat down on the script and threshed it out over six-seven months. Once that was done, we went by the script completely. I'd be the last person to ask for changes once I begin shooting."

As for the film being inspired by the lives of real-life ramp-walkers, Priyanka clears the air.

"The film is a work of fiction. It's not meant to be the true story about the modelling world. Basically, it's the story of this one girl's biographical journey, just like Tabu in Madhur's Chandni Bar or Bipasha in Corporate.

"The fashion world is my character's backdrop. My character could very well have been a part of any other profession."

Priyanka, who will be seen in Drona and Love Story 2050, admits that she has never been more nervous about any of her films.

"It's a very nerve-wracking character and I hope I'm able to live up to people's expectations."

Priyanka has to cram in as much of the shooting as possible for Fashion before she rushes off in March to Miami for Karan Johar's Dostana directed by Tarun Mansukhani.

"That would be a welcome sunny seaside change after shooting the intense scenes indoors on a set for Fashion. It's a young peppy frothy film. Totally different from Fashion."

Friday, March 21

Kangana Ranaut faces Assault Charge
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut is in trouble. Her driver has accused her of physical assault and registered a case against the star of 'Woh Lamhe' and 'Gangster - a love story'. The driver, Rajesh Shah, has alleged that Ranaut slapped him after he bumped her car into another vehicle Thursday morning, when he was driving the actor to the sets of her latest film.

The incident reportedly enraged Ranaut. Kangana later summoned the driver to her make-up van where she allegedly slapped him. The case has been filed at the Versova police station in northwestern Mumbai.

'The driver has registered a case against Kangana, her sister Rangoli Ranaut and her make-up man,' Deputy commissioner of Police Vinay Choube told IANS. Choube said the driver alleged that Kangana's sister and her make-up man were also present in the make-up van and they also assaulted him.
Rani Mukherji: Rise, Fall and Rise again
Over a decade ago in 1996, there stepped in a new girl into the industry, like umpteen others, with a film which in no way showed any class. The film was 'Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat' and the heroine was Rani Mukherjee (now Mukerji). Before debuting in a Hindi film she had already worked in a Bengali movie 'Biyer Phool' and did show some promise, but didn't really look pretty and tall enough to reach the top slot in Bollywood. And truly enough she had to wait for another two years before she got her next shot at films and this time opposite none other than superstar Aamir Khan in the hit 'Ghulam'. Rani struck it immediately and suddenly she turned the 'A' grade heroine as she bagged the Shah Rukh starrer 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' (1999) after that. And though it was just a cameo, she was declared as the new 'it' girl in B-Town. She even bagged the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award for this role.

Rani worked with the next big Khan – Salman - within a year, stamping on the fact that she is indeed the choice of the big league, especially since the old queens like Kajol and Madhuri were phasing out.

The upward swing
She went on to act with other big stars like Govinda, Kamal Hassan, Anil Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan in the next couple of years. However, that stamp of class in her performance still eluded her and so did a single hit since 'KKHH' till a new director, Shaad Ali, gave a new direction to her career with 'Saathiya' which released in 2002. The film brought her both critical and commercial acclaim and Rani was suddenly the fancied Saathiya of every teenager. That film got her the Filmfare Best Actress award for the first time.

Times changed and Rani was suddenly capable enough to carry an entire film on her shoulders as well. And if 2002 have her one big hit, the next year gave her two of the biggest hits of recent times – 'Chalte Chalte' and 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' – both with Shah Rukh Khan. 'Chalte Chalte' got her the BBC Film Café Best Actress award. And while she appeared as the perfect Yash Raj baby who could shed tears at the word go, Rani Mukerji was also the actress who could be associated with the noir genre as she starred in films like 'Calcutta Mail'. She also showed that she could easily do other unconventional roles too in films like 'LOC Kargil', 'Yuva' and 'Paheli'. She was soon crowned the Rani (Queen) of Bollywood.

2004 saw two landmark performances from her – 'Yuva' and 'Hum Tum'. While 'Yuva' got her the best supporting actress award, 'Hum Tum' got her the award for best actress in a lead role, making it a clear sweep. She also became the first actor ever to do so. Kunal Kohli's 'Hum Tum' was also a landmark in terms of story telling. The year, in fact, was a landmark for Rani in personal measures too as it saw her linked to two heroes within a space of months – Abhishek Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan. The same year also saw her starring with Shah Rukh once again in Yash Chopra's last directorial 'Veer Zaara'.

The next year saw Rani coming up with what could be called her best performance till date in 'Black'. The black-robed deaf, dumb and blind character in the film opened the audience to a spellbinding experience winning her awards and appreciation galore. She won the best actress award for this movie yet again.

The year also saw the rumours of her link-up with Abhishek getting cemented further when they did some sensuous scenes for the movie 'Bunty Aur Babli', which incidentally, was directed by same director who gave her 'Saathiya'. She starred in a total of four films that year – each as big as the other. The other two being - 'Mangal Pandey: The Rising' with Aamir Khan and 'Paheli' with Shah Rukh Khan. What's important about 'The Rising' is that it was the first time that Rani played a prostitute. The film sunk.

With repeated success she became one of the biggest stars in the overseas market too. And stage show organisers poured in money for Rani Mukerji performances. She was a part of Shah Rukh's world tour Temptations. The association with Shah Rukh and Karan Johar continued along with a strengthening of friendship in 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna', which became the highest grosser overseas till then. Rani was even voted heroine No.1 in a ranking by Filmfare.

The downward dip
But of late, especially post 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna', success seems to be playing hide and seek with the queen bee. Her subsequent releases last year (2007) not only showed that she was losing the charm, but also getting repetitive. The year did give her a semi-success with 'Ta Ra Rum Pum', but the much hyped project 'Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag' and 'Saawariya' ended in a whimper. Worse, she played a prostitute in both the latter movies, creating an adverse impact on her good girl image.

Currently Rani is trying to recuperate from the blood drawn last year with her 'Hum Tum' director Kunal Kohli. Reports suggest that she is playing an angel this time in his untitled film. Let's hope with her angelic act Rani will be able to bounce back in the age of Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra.

Thursday, March 20

Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraaj delayed again
Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj shoot was apparently cancelled for the umpteenth time. The reason this time as well, was Salman Khan. The actor was to shoot for Ghai in Panvel yesterday when he called to cancel the shoot.

Salman's girlfriend, Katrina Kaif, who stars in the film, got so irritated that she told the production guys that next time she would not be able to adjust her dates. She then took off to Ajmer with Salman's sister Alvira. Katrina later said that she went to the dargah to pray in the morning and came back in the evening. But she refused to reveal whether she had gone to pray for the success of her film Race, saying it was very personal and between her and God. Talking about the cancellation of the Yuvraaj shoot, she said that it had got delayed and not cancelled. She also said that it was happening just the second time and not the seventh as is being written. Salman had to complete the shoot of Boney Kapoor's film. She also laughed off rumours that she had refused to adjust her dates next time. Director Subhash Ghai took pains to stress that the shoot had been delayed and not cancelled. He said that it had been postponed by three days from March 16 to 19 as Boney's Pokhiri shoot got extended and he requested Ghai to allow him to shoot with Salman for a few more days. Ghai also said that Yuvraaj was about 75 per cent complete. Three songs and the climax need to be canned according to the director.
Being a Firebrand doesn't mean Uttering Rubbish, says Minissha Lamba
If one thought that the pretty young Minissha Lamba was all sweet and docile then think again. That's because in her upcoming film Shaurya, the Yahaan actor gets into quite a firebrand mode.

Reveals Minissha, "The character of Kaavya Shastri which I portray in Shaurya is pretty much a firebrand. For her truth is the ultimate. As an investigative journalist, she has just started off her career and hence doesn't come with an excess baggage. One can safely presume that she is uncorrupted by politics around her."

Minissha as a firebrand comes across as quite an unlikely combination. After all, she has been having fun singing and dancing in mainstream films like Rocky - The Rebel and Anthony Kaun Hai in the past. "Well, you are forgetting Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. where I played a super-woman", jokes Minisha.

Getting serious, she adds, "In any case, being a firebrand doesn't just mean uttering rubbish or speaking loud. Even without such traits one can be tactful, straight forward, not indulge into blabbering and still make a point. I credit my director Samar Khan for making Kaavya Shastri as real as it gets. If he wanted, he could have made my character that is just proper. Instead, he has made me go through those little moments of eccentricity which makes it all the more identifiable."

What were her efforts in making her character work for the film? "Not many are aware that before entering films, I wanted to be a journalist myself. Also, in every day life, I get pretty moved when I see any wrong doings around me. It is just difficult to keep my head down and bow out of a situation like this. Some people in fact feel embarrassed when they have to pitch into someone else's problem. They feel that it may be unnecessary for them to indulge into someone else's affair and allow the person to be mistreated. But I can't be like that!"

In that case does Shaurya reflect what Minissha is in real life? "Exactly, this is why in Shaurya, 80% of my own personality comes into play. I get to enact the real me in the film which has only turned out to be an out rightly rewarding experience for me", says Minissha excitedly.

Wednesday, March 19

Rahul Bose extremely confident of Shaurya
Most directors crumble after their directorial debut bites the dust. But not Samar Khan. He's made of sterner stuff. Having known Samar for a really long time now, the one thing that Samar never lost was optimism. Samar is now ready with his second film Shaurya, a film that's already created a positive buzz prior to its release.

“I was apprehensive when Samar approached me with the script of Shaurya,” Rahul Bose said honestly, “But what I liked about Samar was his attitude. He was like, 'Okay, I made a mistake earlier, but I want to prove myself right. I can deliver.' And then he handed me the script of Shaurya. The writing was excellent; Samar had gone into minute details about every character. I must add, it's one of the finest scripts I've come across.”

Rahul also rubbishes reports that he interfered during the making of the film. “Samar has his vision, he was very sure about what he wanted. It would be wrong to take credit of something when the fact is that it's Samar's baby all the way,” Rahul sets the record straight.

While on Shaurya, the film will be distributed in India by PVR. The film hits the marquee on April 4.

Tuesday, March 18

Who is The Hottest Babe in Race?
It's a tough job being a Bollywood hero.

Imagine, for example, having to pick between the Race stunners.

One on hand there is the leggy and luscious Katrina Kaif.

Then there's the voluptuous and bold Sameera Reddy.

And finally there's the sizzling, increasingly desirable Bipasha Basu.

So it depends on public to decide who is The Hottest Babe?

Monday, March 17

Rishi Kapoor resembles my dad, says Deepika Padukone
A die-hard Rishi Kapoor fan, Deepika Padukone, the star of 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om, had to pinch herself when she met him - not as a fan but his son Ranbir's girlfriend.

"It's amazing. But in his younger days, my dad (badminton champ Prakash Padukone) was often told he resembled Rishi Uncle. I grew up as one of his fans, saw Karz and Kabhi Kabhie a number of times. When Ranbir took me to meet his parents, I was reliving my childhood images of the most compatible couple I've ever seen on screen."

Ranbir's parents have taken to her in a big way. "Rishi uncle is so warm. As for Neetu aunty, she has a natural grace and charm about her. She's very poised and articulate. I've met her many more times than I've met Rishi Uncle. We're going to be working together. We read a script together recently. He's so passionate about cinema. I've so much to learn from him."

Deepika is full of praise for the Kapoor couple for their children's upbringing. "Both Ranbir and his sister Riddhima have been brought up with the right values. They come from such an illustrious family and yet they're so down-to-earth. I see many similarities between their upbringing and mine. Though both Ranbir and I were exposed to celebrities from childhood, our parents have made sure we're firmly rooted to reality."

So is she looking at a life ahead of Ranbir? "Right now, we both have our careers to focus on. But we're both very comfortable in our relationship. Now that we've come out in the open about our relationship, our parents are very happy. Beyond that, it's too early to talk about marriage."

Poised, in control of herself and utterly confident, the 22-year-old answers charges of unfair conduct levelled by cricketer Yuvraaj Singh's mother with elegant aplomb. Deepika was earlier linked to the cricketer.

"I really don't think she said anything against me. If she had a grudge, she would have called me. I always say no outside source can know what kind of relationship two people share.

"I spoke to her after the statements attributed to her came out. I've always shared a fantastic rapport with her. She's a wonderful and strong person. I've learnt a lot from her. As a woman, I look up to Yuvraaj's mother. She's a multi-tasking mother. She has single-handedly brought up her two children. Yuvraaj is doing extremely well for himself and his younger brother who has just started out is also doing very well. I wish the family all the best," Deepika said.

Sunday, March 16

Yes, I was a Stripper, so what?.. says Nikki McKibbin
First-season American Idol finalist Nikki McKibbin says she was upfront with Idol producers about her stripping past seven years ago.

McKibbin, who came in third during the first season of the Fox singing competition, says she stripped for "five or six months" in Fort Worth, Texas. When asked on an "Idol" application if she had any professional dance experience, McKibbin says she wrote: "Yes — exotic."

Current finalist David Hernandez made headlines last week when it was revealed he steadily worked as a stripper for three years, dancing nude for the "mostly male" clientele at Dick's Cabaret in Phoenix.

McKibbin's advice to Hernandez: Have "no regrets" about his past.

"He did what he did for a reason, whether he loved what he was doing or he needed the money," said McKibbin.

The now-married mother of two is rebutting a report that she had a suicidal breakdown on Feb. 21 over her mother's death last August. McKibbin said the incident has been "blown out of proportion."

"I broke my foot and had a bad reaction to pain medication," McKibbin said on Monday.

McKibbin insists she was never suicidal.

Saturday, March 15

I don't want to struggle in Hollywood, says Bipasha Basu
With films like Corporate, Omkara and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, it has taken the unconventional looking Bipasha Basu about seven years to carve a niche for herself in Bollywood and she says she doesn't want to go and struggle again in Hollywood.

'Working globally is a tough thing. Offers are there but what will finally become a substantial offer and what goes into production is what matters,' Bipasha, who was in the capital for the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, told IANS.

'India is a very comfortable place for us because we have already made a niche here. So why would anyone want to go and struggle there? I don't want to go and struggle. I have gone through my struggle,' said the actress, who walked the ramp Wednesday for designer duo Gauri and Nainika Karan.

'If anything comes by, and if I'm lucky enough, I will. But it is not easy. It happened with Aishwarya Rai after six years of wanting to figure out doing global cinema. She has done 'Pink Panther', which is her first studio film. She has done those crossover films, Irrfan Khan has done it, but it takes time,' she added.

After playing a Pakistani girl in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, the actress returns to the celluloid in a completely new avatar. She will be seen in an action role and sporting a new hair cut in Abbas-Mustan's Race. Releasing March 21, the film also has Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy.

Commenting on her role in Race, Bipasha said: 'I am playing a complicated character. In fact, each character is complicated in the film because it is a thriller genre. A lot is driven by each one's motive, so the plot is very interesting. They start off looking as predictable as characters, but as the story goes on, each character has all kinds of shades.

'For me, it was an interesting character, the story interested me and I love Abbas-Mustan, my first directors. Also, I was working with new kinds of actors, so there is a new chemistry - all in all it has turned out better than what I expected.'

Bipasha said that technically this is her third film with the director duo. Her first film with them was Ajnabee.

'In the middle we started doing another film, Mr. Fraud. We did about 70 percent of the film. It got stuck in the making. But it is always a pleasure to work with them - they are very nice people, haven't changed.

'They understand the needs of a thriller. They are very tech savvy and use the best cameras and technical team. They are fantastic editors, so our film is very crisp.'

The film is two hours and 15 minutes long. Bipasha says today's audience doesn't have the patience to sit through a long film.

'People don't have patience. They want to condemn anything that is lengthy even though for us it's a creative process. But we totally understand that it is very difficult to keep the attention of the people because the stress level is so high that everybody wants to see something relaxing and uncomplicated.'

She says she is trying to create a balance between commercial and art house cinema.

'It is interesting for an actor to think about audience interest, but then I would not have ended up signing a film like 'Pankh'. I believe that I do have the intelligence to understand that I need to keep the balance between commercial entertainer and art-house; only then can I command different audiences.'

In director Sudipto Chattopadhyay's Pankh, Bipasha plays an imaginary character.

'I play an alter ego. I am an imaginary character - the protagonist in the film is a boy called Maradona, he has done a fabulous job. It is about a boy who goes through gender confusion.'

Bipasha, who got a makeover in Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate, says she is curious about his next film Fashion, which has Priyanka Chopra in the main lead.

'I'm curious about anything Madhur does. But I have warned him: please do not portray only negative things about the fashion world. I am from the fashion world and I know there are lots of good things you can highlight. It is a huge profession and it's a big business so the subject has to be handled responsibly. I hope he has done that.'

Monday, March 10

Media should publish better pictures of me, says Tabu
Tabu on her Telugu film, the item number she would like to do, her desire to act as a waitress and reluctance to promote her films. No, she will not talk about her lunch with Uma Thurman.

You are back to your vanishing acts, avoiding the media and making minimal public appearances?
I'm bored of this question.

How was the lunch that Uma Thurman hosted for The Namesake cast in New York?
That lunch has been over-hyped. Ask Irrfan Khan.He'll give a more interesting answer.

So, is this going to be one of those interviews again?(Laughs) You tell me? Ok, let's start again, shall we?
After last year's double whammy of Cheeni Kum and The Namesake, you have signed a Telugu film Idi Sangati.

How do you explain that?
I can't sit at home and wait for something big to come my way. I had to choose from what was offered to me and Idi Sangati made sense. The director waited for two-and-a-half years to make the film with me. Also, it's a comedy-a genre I've wanted to do for a long time.

Isn't doing a regional film after The Namesake, which took you to a global audience, a bit unsettling?
I started out with Telugu films and shooting in Hyderabad suits me. Since I'm not a cosmopolitan city-bred girl, doing a regional film is not really a departure for me. I can relate to it. That's why I've signed another Telugu film, Panduranga, directed by my guru, K Raghavendra Rao. I'm really excited about it since I play a Devdasi-something I've never attempted before-in it. I didn't plan for this big project though. Like everything else, this too just fell in my lap.

So, you never plan?
Never. Planning doesn't suit my temperament. I act on instinct when I am offered a film.

What is your most important selection criterion for doing a film?
Personal comfort. I've become choosy about the people I work with.

Why are you so reluctant to promote your films?
I feel fake saying all those good things about a film. I can't do that unless I really believe in a film.
Which was the one film you really believed in and liked promoting?
(Thinks hard) Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities. I enjoyed doing every shot of the film. It was like a treat.Recently, there were reports of you doing Deepak Tijori's film in English, Zoya Akhtar's untitled project opposite Farhan Akhtar and Shoojit Sircar's Shoebite starring Amitabh Bachchan. But you have denied that you are working on these films.(Sighs) The directors and I were only in the process of talking about whether or not to do the films. I was never doing them. I hope to find better ways to deal with such reports. So far, the only way I've dealt with them is detaching myself from them so that they don't occupy my mindspace.To be honest, I'm unable to cope with the media's intrusion in our lives. I can't handle "who wore what, who ate what, who said what"kind of reportage. I tell myself to ignore it. Even denying such news would give it undeserved importance. I have just two requests. I wish the directors refrain from announcing that I am doing their film until I sign the contract and that the media publishes better pictures of me.

Fair enough. So what's the deal with this sensuous dance number that you've done in Idi Sangati?
(Shocked) Where did that come from? It's not even a dance. It's just a slow, sensuous song.

Ever want to do an item song?
Oh, yeah. Why not? It'll be great. There won't be any onus on me in that case. I'll go as a guest on the sets and have fun.

At the Star Screen awards, you said Amitabh Bachchan made you look good in Cheeni Kum. Do you really think so?
Of course. It was unusual for the two of us to be cast together, that too in a romance. If we were to do another film together, the script would have to suit both of us.

Do you feel bogged down by the heavy roles that filmmakers offer you?
That's the disadvantage of being stereotyped. On the one hand, it's good to have a type for yourself and then it's up to you to continue with it or not. If people feel I can do heavy and emotional roles well, then I must be convincing. But it has nothing to do with who I am as a person. Maybe, my face or appearance suits such roles. Physicality is the first thing a viewer notices while judging an actor's performance. But all this doesn't bog me down. I know I'll do a role only if I want to. Otherwise, I say no.

What is that one role that you really want to do?
A waitress in an American diner kind of setting. I like those characters.

Any plans of directing a film?
Maybe. I don't know. Not for the next five years though. If I have a story to tell or even one line that I want the audience to know, I'll do it.

Saturday, March 8

Preity Zinta’s dream house in Shimla
Even while her home in Mumbai is being re-constructed, Preity Zinta had a dream and she's about to realize it. "I always wanted a family home in my home town Shimla. I'm now going to build a house there. The older one is in a locality that's so crowded I don't recognize it any more. Earlier it was just our house and lots of trees."

Preity has an ancestral land which she has been planning to use to build a dream house. "Now's the time to do it. Build a farmhouse where my kids and my brother's kids will grow up. It's a little away from Shimla near the golf course. A gloriously green patch. I want to make it completely eco-friendly. It's so difficult to acquire anything eco-friendly here in Mumbai. I'm trying to buy an eco-friendly car. But it's so difficult. But I am determined to buy an eco-friendly car. Look at the fumes in Mumbai. I'm more determined than ever to start building my home in Mumbai at the earliest." Preity is looking at entirely refurbishing her life. "Last year I badly hurt myself on my back and pelvis. I've been working on myself. We actors are constantly hurting ourselves and neglecting our health. Look at how much Shah Rukh has gone through. And the other day when I dropped in to meet him on the set of Om Shanti Om I saw him with a 6-pack. I was like…wow! I've seen him so unwell when we were shooting Kal Ho Na Ho. He's very inspiring, and not just on screen."

She describes this year of hers in the movies as the "India Shining Year.” "After so many years of shooting abroad I'm finally working in India. I just shot Samir Karnik's Mera Bharat Mahaan in Punjab. Came back with sunburn. Now I'm back to my normal self. I am in Mumbai for shooting after a long time. Apart from the crazy traffic and heavy rain I'm enjoying myself. But I wish Mumbai had places for recreation. Where does one go in Mumbai to relax? The other Sunday when I had a day off, I had no place to go! You go to either a restaurant or a movie. And it takes so long to get anywhere! It's very frustrating. You can't go anywhere. When I want to unwind, I go out of the country. We need more entertainment and sports centers in Mumbai. You can't have children and dogs in Mumbai. If I've children in Mumbai where do I stay with them? That's why I miss my home town Shimla."

Preity who was earlier looking at one assignment a year is now busy devouring scripts. "This is probably the best time for me. Look at Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De. There were conventional trappings. There're no hard and fast rules about what I can do and can't do. Strangely, I started my career playing an unwed mother, a prostitute, and a CBI trainee. Then I started doing more commercial films. Now it's time for me to do a different kind of film. Working with Rituparno Ghosh and Jahnu Barua there was a lot to unlearn about acting. And it's not as if I look at Last Lear or Har Pall as small films."
She's currently shooting for Jahnu Barua's second Hindi film Har Pall with Lilette Dubey and Shiney Ahuja.” I want to do work that excites me. I'm not the same actress I used to be. I want to do at least one film every year that pushes the envelope. I did Rituparno Ghosh's Last Lear and now I'm doing Har Pal…It's a totally new experience. I get to play a role I haven't done before. All the co-stars, directors, cinematographer are all new. I'm having so much fun. We've already completed one schedule. The director Jahnu Barua has a great sense of humor. Though he's very quiet, he knows what he wants. Isha Koppikar is a pleasure to work with." Then there's Rituparno Ghosh. "I just love him. He's too cute. He made me feel so comfortable during The Last Lear. Working with Mr. Bachchan was a treat for me. Then I had Shefali Shah and Divya Dutta and Arjun Rampal."

One of her most ennobling moments was when Preity recently gave away the bravery awards. "To meet a woman who fought a leopard with her bare hands to save a child, or a child who jumped into the fire to save another child. Or to meet a group of young Mumbaites who've started a private ambulance service, or a Devdasi who had a child at the age of 12 who has run away from her wretched life... believe me, there's no experience to equal these. Because of people like these 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' is not just a slogan. I don't want to get up every morning and thank God for what He has given me. I'd also like to give back."

Preity feels for the girl child. "When I went to the Bravery awards I said I was grateful to be standing there because my parents didn't kill me when I was born. When I was shooting for Mera Bharat Mahaan in Chandigarh, I went to a school where there were fifty boys and just eight girls. That shocked me. What's going to happen ten years from now?"

And what about marriage to a certain Mr. Wadia? "Each time I'm asked this, I go….ummm aaah! I'm a grownup girl and I don't have to hide my marriage plans when it happens. Everything happens in its own time." Maybe the housewarming and wedding can be combined in Shimla? "Ha, what if the house takes five years to make? I can't wait that long to get married," comes the retort.
Bachna Ae Haseenon: Ranbir Kapoor's next film got a title
Ranbir Kapoor's post-Saawariya project, a romantic musical for Yash Raj Films, had been struggling to find an appropriate title. Finally, it has one - Bachna Ae Haseenon, which harks back to his father's chartbuster.

'But I don't think we decided to name the film 'Bachna Ae Haseenon' to suggest a link with my past. Sure, the song was a big R.D. Burman chartbuster in its time. My dad, mom and I are all huge fans of RDB,' Ranbir told IANS.

'My parents' biggest hits were composed by him. But more than the instant connectivity, I think the title was selected because it's very apt for my film. It's about this guy's journey in life and his different encounters with various women,' he added.

The film, which has the young superstar courting Bipasha Basu, Minissha Lamba and Deepika Padukone, is 60 percent complete and is expected to open Aug 15.

Apart from acting, Ranbir has another passion, but not too many people know about it. It came out in the open when Bollywood played a charity benefit match against a professional team of soccer players at the Abhijeet Kadam Memorial Football Cup tournament in Pune.

Most clearly Ranbir was man of the match. He not only surprised the spectators and his colleagues with his expertise at the game but came home to Mumbai triumphant, having scored four out of the seven goals scored by the Bollywood team.

Suniel Shetty, who was present at the match, just can't stop raving about Ranbir, who walked away with the best male debutant at Filmfare for his performance in Saawariya.

'I was so bloody surprised! I thought Ranbir was a damn good actor. But I didn't know the boy played soccer like a dream. He's just so good on the field; it's scary,' said Suniel.

Suniel confesses he is a cricket fan, while his son is a big soccer fan.

'I was there for the charity football Tuesday for my son's sake though because of school he couldn't attend.'

And why does Suniel find the thought of Ranbir playing soccer so well scary?

'Because sports is finally giving Bollywood a run for its money,' observes Suniel. 'Ranbir plays soccer like a professional.

'Let the IPL (Indian Premier League) matches begin and the cinema theatres will be deserted. First the board exams in March and then the IPL matches in April, I think the movie business is in big trouble this year.'

Wednesday, March 5

Sophie Choudry is back with her new album
Singer and actress Sophie Choudry of 'Ek Pardesi' fame is back with her new album. The talented singer who already has many hit albums to her credit is really excited about this album as she herself is the executive producer for the first time and hence could really be in control. When asked to the hot babe on what one can expect from her new album, "I am really excited about my new album (yet to be titled) which should release sometime in May. There are around 9 original songs sung by me, which are a mix of dance, electro, R&B, hip-hop kind of feel but with Indian melodies."

The news is that there are multiple music directors who have worked on this album, "Yeah the music is composed by Bappa Lahiri, Biddu, Rishi Rich and two other people whose names I would like to reveal later. As for the lyrics, Panchhi Jalonvi (who has written lyrics in films like Dus Kahaniyaan, Cash etc.) and I have written the songs"

So how was Sophie's experience working with Rishi Rich considering that both have a U.K. connection, "The experience has been fantastic. We both like the same kind of music and gel very well. He is a dear friend of mine. We have waited to work with each other for the last 3 years and finally it has happened. I went to London to record two songs with him and it was a great experience. I don't need to tell you that he is incredibly talented. He has his own unique style and I am really looking forward to hearing my vocals on his music"

We quiz her on parting ways with T-series who produced few of her earlier albums, "Yeah, I did part with T-series 3 months ago though very amicably. They had a huge role to play in my career. We are on fantastic terms. However, in terms of music they wanted me to carry on doing another remix album and that was not where I really wanted to go. So, they understood and we decided to part ways for this album"

As for her acting career, Sophie who was last seen in films like Speed and Aggar is now looking forward to Sanjay Gupta's Alibaug, "I am super-excited about it. It's a very meaty and emotional role. I am thankful that Sanjay Gupta gave me this character. Sanjay Suri and I have a very interesting angle to our roles in the film."

With lots happening on the career-front, Sophie surely is riding high and signs off saying, "It is going to be some really good music and films for me this year."

Monday, March 3

Akshay Kumar in Search of Three Beauties
Well, wife Twinkle Khanna need not get alarmed, as we are merely talking about Akshay's reel life and not his real one! We are actually referring to Sajid Khan's next venture for Sajid Nadiadwala with Akshay Kumar, after the super success of Heyy Babyy.

Sajid Khan confirms what we have told you recently that contrary to speculations he has not signed Kareena Kapoor, Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone to play the three main female leads opposite Akshay Kumar. He says that all the three mentioned stars are his close friends but he is yet to decide about whom to pick. The once cherubic director (yes, he has lost a lot of weight) adds that unlike Heyy Babyy, his next venture will have a lot of romance and as a result each of the three female parts will be equally important. And that is precisely the reason why he has still not finalised anyone as yet.

Here is wishing another success to the Sajid and Sajid team for their next venture with their self confessed addiction, Akshay Kumar.

Sunday, March 2

Mithun Chakraborty joins Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj
One of 2008's most anticipated films is Subhash Ghai's Yuvraaj starring Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif in lead roles. The film which is a musical has added 2 more members to its already impressive star-cast.

The buzz is that Mithun Chakraborty apparently has been signed on to play a special appearance in the film. Says Subhash Ghai, "Yes Mithun is doing a special appearance in Yuvraaj. However it is a very important role in the context of the film. We have shot with him already for around 5 - 6 days."

Besides this Aushima Sawhney who was last seen opposite Kunal Khemu in Superstar has also been signed. Ghai adds, "Aushima is playing one of the female leads in Yuvraaj"

With some people referring to the film as Main Yuvraaj while others calling it Yuvraaj we decided to get the facts straight from the man himself. "I keep telling everyone it is Yuvraaj. The title is positively Yuvraaj and not Main Yuvraaj"

Lastly we can't wait to check out this star-studded extravaganza and hence ask the showman, how much of the shooting is actually left? "50 % of the shooting is left, and we are releasing the film on October 24, 2008, the same day when Mukta Arts celebrates it 30th anniversary," signs off Ghai.

In the meanwhile, all you Ghai fans can surely check out his next release Black and White starring Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, and debutant Anurag Sinha that opens across cinemas next week (March 7).

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