Mission Istanbul Review

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Sunil Shetty, Zayed Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Shreya Saran, Nikitin Dheer
Director: Apoorva Lakhia

One of India's most respected journalists, Vikas Sagar (Zayed Khan) receives an offer he cannot refuse from Owais Hussain (Sunil Shetty).

Owais is the head of an Istanbul television news channel. He offers Vikas a very high salary package with all the frills if he accepts a position within his company.

For Vikas, this offer couldn't have come at a better time. He is going through a messy divorce with his wife Anjali (Shriya Saran) and needs to get away from the stress of it all.

So Vikas accepts Hussain's offer whole-heartedly. But little does he know that one decision will change his life forever.

Well settled into his new role, he decides to voice his plans to quit the channel and move on to newer pastures.

But to his surprise, he learns from the Turkish commando, Rizwan Khan (Vivek Oberoi), on how others who quit the television channel got mysteriously killed because they knew too much.

So will this journalist be able to survive the onslaught where others have fallen prey?

Ek The Power Of One Preview

Cast: Bobby Deol, Chunky Pandey, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Nana Patekar, Shreya Saran
Director: Sangeeth Sivan

Nandu (Bobby Deol) is an assassin by profession. Somehow he gets wrongly accused of a politician's murder.

Whilst on the run from the police, he boards a train where he meets Shehar (Pradeep).

Shehar is returning home for the first time after 14 years.

As they converse, Nandu gets to know all about his joint family and the imminent wedding of Shehar's cousin. This is the main reason he is going home for.

The twist comes when the police catches up with Nandu on the train. In the shootout that follows, Shehar accidentally dies.

Deeply shocked by the incident, Nandu goes to Shehar's family home to return his belongings to his grandfather and also break the news of his grandson's death.

But when Nandu arrives at Shehar's family home, he is mistaken for Shehar himself.

With no time to explain what had happened, the family members get him involved with the wedding preparations and celebrations.

Preet (Shriya Saran), the daughter of a family friend becomes fascinated by Nandu. In no time she falls in love with him.

Meanwhile, police inspector Rane (Nana Patekar), is given the responsibility of tracking down the killer and he is close on Nandu's trail.

Will Nandu be able to come out of the crisis unscathed? Will the family come to know about his real identity? What would be the fate of Nandu and Preet's love story? And who is actually the real killer?

Ek - The Power Of One is a Bollywood Masala movie full of family emotions and suspense starring Sunny Deol in the lead role.

Drona Movie Preview

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Jaya Bachchan, Kay Kay Menon
Director: Goldie Behl

Drona is a compelling modern tale of one man's journey through the labyrinths of mystic myths and legendary legacies.

As good and evil clash in this contemporary fantasy fable, a fascinating journey unfolds into a world of mythical heroes and malicious magicians with cunning curses.

It is a world, where spells can turn flesh to cold stone.

It is a world full of thrills, magic and adventures.

Directed by Goldie Behl, Drona introduces yet another superhero onto the Bollywood celluloid - Abhishek Bachchan.

According to reports, Drona is going to be even bigger and better in terms of special effects compared with Rakesh Roshan's Krrish.

Dhoom Dhadakka Review

Starring Sammir Dattani, Shama Sikandar, Shaad Randhawa, Arati Chabria, Anupam Khe, Satish Kaushik, Gulshan Grover
Rating: super-atrocious

By the time Sammir Dattani and Shaad Randhawa get into drag, this criminally unfunny comedy has dragged on way past 'bad'-time.

Maybe it's in the air. Everyone uniformly hams through this acutely painful piece of cinematic travesty.

There's so much screaming and ranting across the length and breadth of this outrageous ode to idiocy that you wonder if the producer-director intended to provide earplugs for all those bravehearts who would sit to the end of this slapdash hectic and haphazard comedy of terrors.

No earplugs, what we get are shrill banshee ring-tones of risqué ragas sung at a ear-splitting pitch, and phallic jokes about not a single danda in the cellphone.

Chee chee.

If lately you've been wondering where the Bollywood comedy has been heading here's the answer.

Comedies can't get any baser or brainless than Dhoom Dadakka. The gags make you gag. The items and innuendoes are embarrassing not because they TRY so hard to be vulgar but because they fail miserably to be sexy.

Vulgarity in this comedy of disembodied context depends completely on how many of the characters are crammed in one line of vision in every scene. They all stand making faces and gesticulating as though trying to attract the lifeguard's attention from a sinking boat.

The double meanings flow in unstoppered abundance mostly from the moist painted trembling lips of Deepshikha who keeps referring to the size of 'bada' things every time she spots a male member of the cast in her vicinity.

Yup, as one character winks, size does matter.

Dhoom Dadakka is a jumbo-sized non-event.

Ha ha ho ho. Before you fall of your creaky bed in comic splendour, let's move on to the main 'coarse' in this pickled over-spiced thaali in a hotel that's probably named Romp Teri Giggle Maili..

The two guys, Sammir Dattani and Shaad Randhawa grimace and giggle, roll their eyes and suck in their cheeks to indicate lies buried too deep for jeers.

Add two girls (Chabria and Sikandar) trying so hard to be glamorous it's pathetic, and you get a brew that's more eek than greek.

The characterizations take the cult of one-upmanship down to the level of a nukkad nautanki, what with every actor getting lost in the confusion of their mistaken identities.

In no time at all, the plot suffers from an identity crisis.

Director Shashi Ranjan who earlier made us laugh with his supposedly serious study of marital stress in Dobara, doesn't know whether to indulge tongue-in-cheek comedy of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee variety (Ab ke sajan sawan mein aal lagey aisi filmon mein) or just do the out-and-out no -fools-stops comedy of the David Dhawan-Anees Bazmi variety.

Eventually the confusions that dominate the plot overpower every sense of aesthetic decency.

In the end-game where the entire cast runs around an amusement part looking for amusement, the two heroes get into drag to tease laughter out of an audience that's long since ceased to be entertained or amused and is down to feeling utterly embrassed on behalf of the cast and crew of this weird brew.

In one chase sequence Shaad Randhawa pees copiously on a street of Bangkok.

You get jailed for dirtying the streets of Bangkok. Alas, there are no laws for desecrating the rules of aesthetics in cinema.

Jimmy Movie Review

By Subhash K Jha

Staring Mimoh Chakbraborty, Vivana, Zulfi Syed
Directed by Raj N Sippy
Rating: *

"Do you think I'm a rejected man?" the villain asks repeatedly after his true intentions are exposed at the end of this tediously-assembled pastiche of the crude bad and the ugly.

Don't know about the poor battered psycho who controrts his face like his pants were just bitten off by a colony of ants. But this film sure looks like a collage of rejected footage from a series of canned films that filmmakers made and forgot to go back to.

The characters don't talk in Jimmy, they scream dialogues which we thought had died with Pramod Chakravrty. And matching their screechy decibel of dialogue is the sound of cars skidding screeching and groaning in and out of the frames with the misinformed celerity of a noisy baraat which has lost its way to the bride's home.

Dulhan ache rot ki? You bet! Jimmy takes us into the kingdom of the dangerously damned. And none as damned as the audience which sits to the end to watch Mithun-da's boy dance on glass, in a manner of slipping.

Mimoh doesn't dance, he glides. He doesn't moonwalk, he trapezes through a field of corrupted corn planted by a screenwriter whose mind seems to have stopped working two decades ago.

How else do we explain the crass and clamorous crowd of crippling clichés, like the over-painted weepy mother, the over-painted giggly girlfriend, her over-panting suitor, the hero's rich friend (Zulfi Zayed, in the think-less part), the gaggles of villains schemers screamers and good samaritans all crammed in one line of strained vision which recalls the worst moments of television from the time when Doordarshan ruled the roost.

Mithun Chakraborty's son Mimoh gets a nightmare launch worthy of being canned for good. What were the people behind this film thinking when they decided to put together a film so tacky and tattered at the edges it makes a mockery of poor Mimoh's star aspirations.

Director Raj N Sippy made some engaging wannabe-Hollywood flicks in the 1970s and 80s, all cleverly adapted from American films but never slipshod.

Ironically Jimmy rips off Hindi films from the 1970s including Mithun-da's gyratory Jimmy-hijinks like Disco Dancer and the Bachchan starrer Majboor.

All in vain. The plot is propelled by gallery of grotesque caricatures.

This is cinema at its worst. Gimmicky and overblown with no hope for escape because you want to watch Mithun's boy trying to make his way out of this film with no exits.

Only Rahul Dev seems to blessed with a twist of sobriety in a film that equates outdated mayhem with pavement delights.

Bhootnath Review

Casts: Amitabh Bachchan, Juhi Chawla, Aman Siddiqui, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Satish Shah, Rajpal Yadav
Guest appearance: Shahrukh Khan, Nouhid Sairesi, Ashish Chowdhury, Neena Kulkarni
Music: Vishal Shekhar, Salim Sulaiman
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Producer: Ravi Chopra
Director-Writer: Vivek Sharma
Ratings: **1/2

Nath Villa. Night. A couple enters the villa with an intention of spending the night. But unfortunate for them, it’s the house where Kailash Nath (Amitabh Bachchan), oops, the spirit of Kailash Nath enjoys his days and nights in his airy appearance. Predictably enough, the couple, intimidated with Kailash, zooms away from the house.

Next incident. Mr. Sharma (Shah Rukh Khan), a marine driver by profession, comes to Kailash’s den, with his family. He leaves his family behind at the Nath Villa and plods back to join his job.

While residing in the Nath Villa, Mr. Sharma’s wife Anjali (Juhi Chawla) and son Banku (Aman Siddiqui) experiences strange incidents. In the mean time Banku befriends the spirit of Kailash Nath and names him as “Bhootnath”.

Banku’s presence eliminates all the hazardous factors that polluted Bhootnath’s mind against human beings. One day, Anjali comes to know about Bhootnath being the angel in Banku’s life.

At the same time Anjali comes to know from Bhootnath about the painful incident that made him a spirit. So, to let Bhootnath’s spirit free from the bondage with the earth, Sharma family arranges for a shradh, a Hindu tradition that Bhootnath’s son, Priyanshu Chatterjee, avoided in past.

Ultimately, it’s through Banku that Bhootnath gets his desired freedom from the earthly bondage.

But it’s because of Banku’s love for Bhootnath that the amicable ghost leaves Banku with an option of appearing in front of Banku whenever he wishes from the core of his heart.

Even god changes his mind for the sake of true and honest love. This film is not about the triumph of a child but the success of true love and faith.

It’s the second time where Amitabh is posing as a ghost and his look in “Bhootnath”, though unintentionally, reminds of his look of Gabbar Singh in “Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag”. If that is some bad news, the good part is that his acting always sweeps away the feeling of looking alike.

At the same time his intimidated being with the presence of his son lets audience recap his character in “Baghban”.

Aman Siddiqui has depicted Banku’s character very well. Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh’s couple still reminds the same freshness that they show in their very first film.

Writer-director Vivek Sharma has proved his prowess in his

job. His beautifully mingled presentation of entertainment and spirit has started a new vogue in Bollywood. If “Bhootnath” is not so well a children film as “Taare Zamin Par” was, it definitely helps spending few hours in the air conditioned theaters while summer is blazing outside.

At last, if not the least, children may well accept the line of Amitabh saying, “Zindegi me jadoo nehi, mehnat se safalta pai jaati hai” (success is all about hard work, not magic). Bingo Bhootnath! - Rajnee Gupta

Jannat Movie Review

Cast: Emran Hashmi, Sonal Chauhan, Samir Kochar, Javed Shaikh, Vishal Malhotra
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Ratings: ***

More, more, more...The motto of motorised materialism seems to have overtaken contemporary life. Everyone wants the good things in life in the shortest time possible. The acquisitive spirit has seldom been defined with such economy of storytelling as in "Jannat".

Not surprisingly, a lot of Mahesh Bhatt's latest exposition on the excesses of materialism is shot in shopping malls, expensive restaurants and posh stadiums where money flows like unadulterated honey.

And when our hero sees the love of his life staring at a diamond ring he walks into the showroom and breaks the display window.

Get what you want by force and forget those homilies that papa preached at the dinner table about the virtues of honesty. "Honest money means hard work and little reward," says a wry character in "Jannat". He's obviously not read Ayn Rand.

Sanjay Masoom's scathing dialogues scamper across the film's lush skyline to create a language of wannabes who would stop at nothing to get that new villa on the Gold Coast.

Let's then applaud one more moral fable from Bhatt's sensible stable.

"Jannat" tells us to waste not, want 'nought'...By all means covet the zeroes on that pay cheque. But don't forget that if you run after the zeroes your life ends up in the zero zone.

Forty years ago in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Satyakam" Dharmendra had refused to succumb to all the temptations of materialism that were strewn in his path to salvation. Lying dying of cancer, he's asked by his wife: "Finally what do you have to say about your life of integrity?"

"I've lived," Dharmendra says at the end of "Satyakam".

Can Emran Hashmi (playing the small-time wheeler dealer who turns into a cricket match-fixer, criminal and moral transgressor) turn around before his gruesome death to say he has lived?

Yes, Arjun (Emran) has loved. At heart "Jannat" is a dark tragic love story. While the girl's innocence and the man's corruptible countenance resembles "Kalyug", the whole dilemma of the beloved being instrumental in destroying the criminal hero echoes "Gangster".

Both "Kalyug" and "Gangster" were superior in content and treatment.

Debutant director Kunal Deshmukh cannot escape the clichés on existentialism that have come to surround Bhatt's cinema...the morally conflicted Shakespeare-meets-James Hadley Chase hero, the independent-minded strong and value-based heroine, the hero's trusted and loyal friend (Purab Kohli in "Woh Lamhe", Shaad Randhawa in "Awaarapan", and now Vishal Malhotra), the ideologue father whose principles are held up to ridicule until the hero discovers the hard way that dad's remedies are the best to deal with ethical ambivalence.

These lingering leitmotifs get a renewed, if not luminous, life in every Bhatt production. But "Jannat" lacks the resonance and staying power of some of Bhatt's earlier films about crime and punishment from "Naam" to "Gangster".

Cleverly and cautiously Deshmukh's film brings in the cricket element, which has audiences ignoring the pitfalls of rejuvenating Bhatt's age-old iconoclasm.

The stock footage of real-life cricket matches are used well and sparingly in the plot. The stress, as ever in Bhatt's saga of our stressful times, is on the clashing colliding crisscross of human relationships.

Emran's father's sequence in his son's luxurious bathroom where he comments on the basket of soaps is a whammer.

But the wheeling dealing in the greenroom and clubs with cricketers of indeterminate nationality behaving like debauched goblins smacks of amteurishness. The murder of the Australian coach turns the Bob Woolmer scandal into a climactic add-on. May his soul rest in peace.

But what stays is the protagonist's passion for money as opposed to his love for Zoya (Sonal Chauhan). The end-game where the engagement ring is juxtaposed against the gun is arresting in more ways than one.

While Emran interprets the over-reaching get-rich-quick schemer's part with a native cunning, one misses that suave and smooth transitions in the character that perhaps a Naseeruddin Shah or even a Shahid Kapoor would bring on the table.

But Emran is charming enough to let the protagonist's journey from a chawl to Cape Town look interesting. He's constantly getting author-backed roles of the angst-ridden social outcast (a garage-sale version of Amitabh Bachchan) which he plays with a fair amount of sensitivity.

Debutant Sonal has much more to do than be the decorative doll she seems equipped to be.

She's the weakest link in the powerplay where the politics of the playing field is extended to an engrossing exposition of greed atonement.

Some of the supporting cast, especially Jawed Shaikh as the cricketing don and Abhimanyu as his silent henchman, come to grips with their characters better than you would expect in a film that has scant space for anyone except the man who would be king.

"Even my film's website is futuristic" - Harman Baweja

It is not just Love Story 2050, season's biggest and most spectacular release, which is on the right path of being a 'futuristic' launch for Harman Baweja. Even film's website is, as per the newcomer. Harman Baweja talks to Joginder Tuteja about the 'futuristic' website.

Why the effort?
Why not, I would ask? For a movie which is set in future, has a sci-fi theme, talks about flying cars, 200 storey buildings, a revamped Mumbai, robots, a love story and of course red hair (chuckles), you can't have a mushy looking conventional website with red rose petals dominating the screen! You can't have a fluorescent/glossy look and feel to justify a love story which belongs to a different era. And of course, you can't have captions of 'When Two Hearts Meet etc. etc. etc.'!

So what was the idea?
Clichéd as may it sound but the fact was that while working on the promotional design for the film, I was set thinking around how to make the film's website turn out to be a cut above the rest! How could I actually have it set in a futuristic mode? How could I have it designed in a way that the love story theme could be amalgamated with a setting 40 years from now? Net net, how could it turn out to be different (in true sense) from anything that surfers would have seen in a Bollywood film website.

Cool idea, but how about execution?
I was in talks with Bollywood Hungama team for promotional tie ups. This is when the suggestion around designing a site like this came up. I had a vision, they had the skills and together we sat down on a plan. I was amazed with the way the team out there started putting the plan on paper and then from paper to actual visuals.

We deliberated upon the kind of stuff we wanted to have on a very frequent basis and in just a matter of 2 months, we were ready with the final version. Yes, 2 months sounds a little on the higher side here but then we have to also see that this wasn't a basic HTML/flash website for a regular film which could perhaps be readied in a jiffy. We were talking about something which hadn't been attempted before, just like the movie, and considering that, I am amazed that we could still get so much done so soon.

What makes the website special?
See it to believe it, that's all I would say for now (smiles)! The moment you enter it, you would realize it for yourself that you have marched into a different space altogether, pun intended. And by the way, it is not going to be like 'one single click and voila, I am in the site'. You would have to have a permutation and combinations of clicks to enable you to crack a code which would allow you success.

A friend of mine took 2 minutes to crack it though. He created a record - well, that of being the slowest cracker ever! And guess what, he is an IT professional! I am sure regular surfers would be able to do it much faster.

Movie v/s Website
Website took 2 months to make; the film took us 3 years. Doesn't that tell the tale? The point here is, don't try to judge the enormity of the movie through the website. The website is great but at the end of the day, it is mainly a promotional vehicle. What you would see on the big screen would certainly be far more grandeur than what you see on your 14-inch monitor. The clips you see on the website are mainly 2D while in movie there are ton leads of 3D graphics. To put it right, the website here mainly acts as a teaser to give you an idea around what bigger to expect!

How about some website promotion?
Yes, for the first time in the history of Indian cinema, especially after the advent of websites being made for Hindi movies, we have great plans to promote the website itself. We have designed 15 second teasers around the website itself and these would be out on all prominent websites. These teasers would indicate what to expect from the Love Story 2050 website which we are making LIVE soon. We are arriving with a bang and once the website would be up, we won't be leaving it just till that. We would be continuing to upload newer stuff on a frequent basis to make it the most happening site of the season!

Check out Love Story 2050's official website by logging on to www.lovestory2050.com

"I knew Bal Thackeray, so I conceived Bachchan's character" - RGV

Does Abhishek Bachchan's character die in Sarkar Raj?
No, he does not.

So where did that come from?
I've no clue. There's so much untruth floating around the film, I don't know whether to be amused or frightened. They first imagined the hero dies. Then they imagined that the distributors were scared of his death. Everyone has an imagination and the freedom to use it. To take a much larger issue, look at the way the murder of that girl Aarushi in Delhi is being made into a cause for speculation. I've only made a film.

You've said a man could've played Aishwarya Rai's role?
Yes, I have. She has no romantic association with Abhishek's character at all. It's not a conscious decision to keep them away from romance. The emotional aspect of a relationship can be manifested in many ways. In Sarkar Raj, it comes across as drama, treachery, power- play and betrayal. In the light of all these emotions, Aishwarya's relationship with Abhishek is treated very unconventionally. Theirs is not a romantic relationship. Not even a hint of it.

So did you ever actually consider casting a man in Aishwarya's role?
No not at all. It was always Aishwarya. But the very fact that she's a woman would make a subtext in the audience's minds, though she doesn't share any relationship with Abhishek. But if I had cast a man in her role it'd make no difference to the main plot.

How did you resist the temptation to incorporate a relationship between Abhishek and Aishwarya?
It wasn't difficult at all. I don't believe the hero and heroine have to romance. My intentions in Sarkar Raj are not to cash in on star value.

How political is Sarkar Raj?
I don't even know how to spell politics. But yes I do read the papers. And I draw inferences from the headlines. I knew about Bal Thackeray. So I conceived Mr Bachchan. But I don't know the Shiv Sena's ideology or what politics Raj Thackeray represents.

What about the actor Rajesh Shringharpure's resemblance to Raj Thackeray?
See, I've been a fan of Raj Thackeray's personality. I know him for years. His face has stayed with me. When I saw this actor, I immediately saw the resemblance and signed him. On seeing Rajesh, I might have referred to Raj's personality because of their obvious resemblance. I might have incorporated personality traits from Raj Thackeray. But my character has nothing to do with Raj Thackeray's politics.

Harman versus Imraan- The battle of the debutants

Aamir Khan is determined to make a success out of his nephew Imraan's career, come what may. And even if that means taking on the competition headlong, so be it. Anything for family, seems to be the marketing motto, as Harry Baweja puts in 80-crore plus Priyanka in the hi-fi sci-fi Love Story 2050 to ensure his son's super success on July 4.

Enter Aamir Khan with nephew Imraan's Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na and on same Friday as Harman's debut. "The Bawejas were shocked," says a source close to the film. "They had planned and strategized their film's release almost six months in advance. They had spoken to all their potential competitors from Salman and God Tussi Great Ho to Ram Gopal Varma and Sarkar Raj to Apoorva Lakhia 's Mission Istanbul and Aziz Mirza's Kismat Konnection to Yashraj and Tips. Harman called them up personally to make sure his film comes on a freed Friday. Then suddenly Aamir showed up to create an almost Saawariya-Om Shanti Om crisis. Jaane Tu's release was nowhere in sight when Love Story 2050 was announced. Suddenly they came out of the blue! "

Harry Baweja made a panic call to Aamir. Says the source, "Harry Baweja knows Aamir from the time he did B. Subhash's Love Love Love where Harry was an assistant director. Ever since then they've been in touch. When they spoke, Aamir told Harry he was indeed thinking of coming on 4 July. The reason given was that Sanjay Gadhvi's Kidnap in which Imraan has a key role was coming on July 25. Aamir reasoned that Imraan couldn't have two releases too close to one another. Later, the Bawejas were horrified to know that Kidnap was scheduled for August 22. Harry urged Aamir to move his film to July 11. But Aamir is adamant. "

Incidentally, Genelia Dsouza who plays Imraan's leading lady is also Harman's girl in his second release Victory. "The Bawejas first trailer started on a Sunday. That same day a blog went up saying 'Imraan Versus Harman'. That's when the Bawejas first came to know that the Khans were planning to release on the same day. Since then there has been a systematic campaign to bring down Harman on the blogs with comments like 'Harman looks gay'. He looks like a lot of things. But not gay. One of the blogs comments cattily on actors like Hrithik Roshan and Harman Baweja relying on their physique. Someone even broke into a website (wikipedia.com) sponsoring Harman's film and defaced it. They even changed Harman's picture to an unidentifiable man, and said the film was budgeted at 60,000 rupees and was to be released for 30 seconds in July 1950. The Bawejas traced the defacers to Delhi. The identity of the hackers was used just once, to deface Harman's face."

Harman smiles off all the competition. "Healthy competition is always welcome. I'd rather focus on my work. We've just started the promotion of our first song. It's one of the costliest songs ever filmed."

Wish Karan Johar a very Happy Birthday

What more can make a Father happy in heaven than see His son not just carrying forward his legacy, but also doing that in style, élan and class! We are indeed talking about the legendary late Yash Johar, whose son Karan Johar celebrates his Birthday today. The fact remains that the celebrations are not just confined to his premises, but the whole of Bollywood! After all, Karan has played the Godfather to many; his Midas Touch has resurrected many a lagging career. And to top it all, he has been hugely responsible in giving Bollywood its international status.

Karan is one man, with whom the Bolly residents simply die to work with. After all, he is the man responsible for giving Bollywood its eternal romantic blockbusters cum family dramas like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna etc… to name a few! If that was not enough, Karan went one step ahead and gave TV anchoring a new dimension altogether, with his very own chat show 'Koffee With Karan', a show which had many A-league actors shed their mental inhibitions and speak (read 'pour', 'cry') their hearts out, in a show that gave the world India's answer to Oprah Winfrey!

We at Bollywood Hungama, would like to heartfeltly wish the 'Simplicity Personified With Class' kinda' man Karan Johar a Very Happy Birthday. You too can join in the celebrations in wishing him, by simply posting your wishes below.

Yuvraj has been outstanding: Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta speaks on her Team's victory...

And now you're into the semi-finals?
Well, there were ups and downs when we started. For a while I wasn't sure where I was heading. I remember at the initial meetings for the IPL I'd wonder what I was doing.

It felt so different from being an actor. But I took the matter very seriously. I did all my homework before the meetings, carried these big bulky files that nearly broke my hand.

And yes, at one of these IPL meetings my eye was badly injured. But I finally came out a winner. Feels good. We've worked hard to get here.

Wednesday's match in Mumbai was really touch-and-go. Your team won by just 1 run?
It was really touch-and-go for us. My team played splendidly. But on Wednesday even Mumbai played very well. I got several small heart -attacks while the match went on.

I was doubly excited because Sachin was playing. And I'm his biggest fan. I was watching him live for the first time. It was a treat to watch him play.

But he was in the opposite team!
Yes. But to me it's not about just about one team winning over the other. Both the teams played really well on Wednesday. And I was so on the edge of the seat I nearly toppled over.

Did you have to brief Sreesanth to keep his temper in control?
No no. I don't instruct anyone. That's not my job. We've a coach and a captain to do what they have to do. And I don't think my intervention on what goes on during the matches would be proper.

You're the first woman from the entertainment business to have made such a name in the playing field.
Am I ? Let's see where we're heading. If my team wins the Cup then I can proudly say yes I've done it. It hasn't been easy. A lot of hard work has gone in.

There have been players from different countries merging in a never-before spirit of sportsmanship.And I've been right there trying to strike a balance among the various players and forces.

Looking back I don't know how we managed it. We've been taking it one step at a time. Now when we've made it to the semi-finals we really want that cup.

Quite naturally so.
When it wasn't the cup, we just wanted to make it to the semi-finals.

The competition is fierce.
I think the cricket we play at the IPL is a display of the game's skills at the grassroot players. Look at the democratic spirit of our team. A young local player getting to play with an international star of cricket.

What have you gained personally from the experience?
I'm learning a lot about cricket. Every day I pray hard and cross my fingers and hope our team will get the Cup. Earlier I used to go to the matches and just hope our team will play well. Now I want them to really excel and win.

I sit nervously watching. But our boys are performing really well. Our team has had its highs and lows. But overall they've been playing well. I'm proud of them. Yuvraj has been an outstanding captain.

Why my clothes become more important than me: Aishwarya Rai

While the amazingly focused and sensible Aishawrya Rai understands the constant need for people to check out her clothes and accessories at important events, what she can't understand is why the clothes she wears at Cannes become more important than what she does at the annual event.

Exhausted and jet-lagged Mrs Rai-Bachchan laughs, "I don't even want to think about what people thought of my clothes earlier and what they think of it now.

To me how I conduct myself at Cannes and how people react to me is far more important than what I wear. Cannes has always been a marvellous and memorable experience. This time was no different. It's never about the wardrobe for me. I don't focus on that at all. "

She reminisces about each year she has attended the Cannes film festival since 2002. "That was the year of Devdas. That experience remains embedded in my mind.

It wasn't just about how much they liked me in a sari or walking the red carpet. It was more memorable for the standing ovation that we got after the screening of Devdas. What an ovation! It was a very special experience.

Next I was in Cannes as a jury member and that's where sections of the media formed their own jury and began to assess my dress. After that I was there to inaugurate the festival and thereafter each year as the brand ambassador for Loreal."

What made Aishwarya's visit to Cannes special this year was the fact that the entire Bachchan family was there.

"Also," she adds happily. "It was always flash- visits to Cannes. This time I was actually there for four days. Otherwise I've always been there in the middle of things. I spent two full days with the family.

We're all so happy when we're together In an interview there I was asked if our visit to Cannes was a delayed anniversary celebration. I was like….noooooo!"

And then the entertainment. " I caught three and a half movies including the opening movie Blindness and the new Indiana Jones film.

And I could only catch the latter half of Kung Fu Panda because I had to do some press interviews during the second half. I've to catch the rest of the film it was so entertaining.

And I also saw the new Woody Allen film Vicky Christina Barcelona. And yes I met Woody Allen. He's wonderful."

Speaking on her stunning sartorial grace on the red carpet Aishwarya says, "I guess I had more time to prepare." She smiles at the memory of bonding with Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives. "We bonded so well at Cannes, no one would believe we had just met.

Actually Eva, Rachida Brakni (who did the original French version of Chaos which I was supposed to do and who's now been taken on as Loreal's brand ambassador) …all of us have got married recently. So all three of us had something in common."

Another memorable moment at Cannes. "That wonderful French actor Jean Reno came up to me and said he had heard good things about my film Pink Panther.

These legendary actors are so hassle-free. They don't think twice about approaching you with a smile and kind words. That stays with you. So much less taxing than making an effort to avoid people."

Shahenshah Bachchan vs King Khan

When a superstar-turned-'national figure' like Amitabh Bachchan starts toting graphs and pie charts to show that he is far ahead in television show ratings than a much younger colleague, Shah Rukh Khan, it reveals a great deal about the icon.

A few days on, when the same superstar announces that it was not his intention to indulge in comparisons with colleagues, it reveals a few more layers of the famed star make-up.

These actions are an involuntary admission on Bachchan's part that his iconic status notwithstanding, he is a brand in the market and has to fight for his place in that mercurial space, like anyone else.

Like Shah Rukh, for instance, who consistently trails him in 'all-time popular star' polls. Khan is so damnably comfortable being a brand in the market and having a price.

He thinks being priceless is a waste of time in an age of convergence when cinema, television, advertising and live shows form a giant entertainment block, feeding off each other, and offering blockbuster revenue models to he who dares.

This space demands a different kind of star. In the late 1970s and early 80s, when Bachchan became a big name, television was a cottage industry. The big screen was the big turn-on; a star's aura depended in part on mystique born out of his/her remoteness.

But life in the coiled times of 24-hour television, 24-hour entertainment and 24-hour advertisements, promotions and endorsements is totally different.

A star is one, whose visage, still or moving, is carpet- bombed in magazines, on TV channels and in ads that sell the good life. It testifies to his popularity and brand value; can you imagine the hard work in being top of the mind of nano-attention spans?

It even extends to burning the midnight oil for blog posts to connect to that vast audience with a sudarshan chakra called viewers' response.

But look at the bonanza it fetches through endorsement, that contemporary fairy tale of the marketplace. Endorse a string of products and see your home fires burn brighter, with a film thrown in every year.

Whether it is curing indigestion, fanning a neighbour's envy or putting down unimaginable stunts or emotions to fizz bottled inside, how does it matter?

Everything hinges on how you create a persona and positioning to attract the market, meshing personal and professional aspects. Here's where Bachchan and Khan present an interesting contrast.

The aura of 'Shahenshah' Bachchan subtly signals that he may be in the market for whatever reasons but is above it; he is a man of lineage harking back to the literary, cultured old world elite.

Thus a mundane ad for a muscle relaxant is couched in ringing poetry as befits his background. Even his critiques of colleagues must sound urbane. Alongside, Bachchan's world is one of 'tradition' as witnessed in the wedding of his son.

It's a persona that has great appeal. It holds out the promise that you do not become what you consume; your past, your 'tradition' and the privilege of heredity remains intact.

In complete contrast, 'Badshah' Khan gleefully admits that the market is his world. That in a shrinking world, possibly the biggest adventure is the act of buying.

Whether it is a Kajol in his arms or the keys to a new car, he lights up in the same way. What are you made of, is the punchline of a branded watch ad that Khan does, and it sums up his persona.

In Khan's world, it is all right to desire. In fact in an ad for a dish satellite, he chides the viewers for not asking for more. You don't need lineage; it is possible to create your own world in the present free of the fixities of the past.

After all, didn't Khan gargle with a soft drink first thing in the morning in "Dil To Paagal Hai"? No wonder Khan is a first choice mascot for much of the corporate world...

The stakes are high in this world. But for those who inhabit it, it is a land of cash cows and eternal light. Be it Bachchan or Khan, they have to work at sharp silhouettes of personas to keep their individualistic brand values alive.

So one breezily buys (okay, in part) an entire team of cricketers - who at times seem like non-performing assets - and adds another acute angle to his persona.

The other, befitting his elder statesman image, works late at night on a 'serious' - almost academic - blog post about the risky business of TRPs. Life is tough, boss.

John will make it a memorable wedding

It's felt by most members of Nagesh Kukunoor's Aashayein that this film would be John's turning point as an actor.

No stone is being left unturned to make sure John appears in the best light possible in this make-or-break film.

In this context it has now been decided to move the prestigious Aashayein forward by a couple of weeks, possibly to July 4 which is the date for Harman Baweja and Imran Khan's debut films.

Says a source, "Aashayein is crucial for both John and his director Nagesh Kukunoor. Both were banking heavily on their last projects. John on No Smoking which turned out to be a no-show and Nagesh on Bombay To Bangkok which was a fiasco. Both the actor and director feel Aashayein would be a new beginning for them."

But for John family always comes first. And now that his brother's wedding is days away he finds a lot of the attention that he would have ideally given to Aashayein is now being taken up by the wedding in the family.

Says a source, "Since Allan's wife is Romanian the wedding is in Romania. The arrangements therefore become doubly difficult. John's parents are too old and frail to manage the nitty-gritty.

Even Bipasha is shooting in Bangkok. That leaves John to supervise all the wedding plans. And Allan is his only brother. John wants to make it a memorable wedding."

It was therefore felt in the best interests of the film that the original release date June 20, be postponed by at least a couple of weeks.

Nagesh Kukunoor's associate and co-producer Elahi Hiptoola confirms these developments. "Yes, we did feel that we needed a couple of weeks extra, what with John's brother's marriage.

So yes we're moving to July, probably the first week. Aashayein is a film that needs careful nurturing. We don't mind waiting a bit. But we don't want the release to go wrong."

Interestingly John has no love interest in Aashayein. There's a new girl Sonal Saigal to begin with. But the female lead is played by Anaitha Nair one of the Chak De India girls. John and she share an unusual equation, quite like Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Sarkar Raj.

DVD Review: Shaurya


Cast: Rahul Bose, Minissha Lamba, Javed Jaffrey, Deepak Dobriyal, Seema Biswas and Kay Kay Menon.
Director: Samar Khan
Producer: Moser Baer India Ltd.
Music: Adnan Sami
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar


'Nice Architecture' - The moment Rahul Bose, who plays an Army lawyer in Shaurya, utters these two words at the intermission point of the film while walking out of a court proceeding, it is reaffirmed that he is an actor par excellence. In a situation where any other character would have been hassled with his very first high profile assignment (of saving an Army officer who has been accused of killing his fellow officer in cold blood), Rahul prefers to underplay the seriousness of the situation and instead comments on the architecture of the court room. Tongue in cheek and yet so intense.

This is how most part of Shaurya is - intense while continuing to keep the momentum on, either through means of tongue in cheek humor or some powerful character portrayal. Whether it is Rahul Bose or his fellow lawyer cum best friend Javed Jaffrey, whose job is to ensure the conviction of the Army officer without dwelling too deep into finding the 'real truth', it is the characterization and finding right actor for the right part which works most for second time director Samar Khan.

Special mention deserves to be reserved for Kay Kay Menon who enacts one of his most difficult roles ever as an Army Brigadier. If you have found him convincing in recent films like Black Friday, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd and Life In A...Metro then look out for Shaurya - he is simply killing with his mere stare here!

However, it is this very strength of his character, which makes one little dissatisfied with the culmination of Shaurya. For someone who is so powerful, so intense, so head strong and so full of himself in a major way, it is surprising to see him break down so very easily towards the film's end. Frankly, the culmination of the story isn't quite convincing and seems like a rushed job, mainly due to the way the character graph sees a lowdown on paper. Samar does well in keeping the drama intact throughout; in fact Kay Kay is superb even in the culminating scenes of the movie, it's just that the ease with which his character breaks isn't quite convincing.

Amongst other actors, Minissha makes her presence felt in the first half of the film though she is completely missing from the scene after the interval. Deepak Dobriyal, who has already made a mark for himself in films like Omkara and 1971, is good once again though he gets smaller screen time. Seema Biswas is wasted while the role played by Amrita Rao could have been done by just about any other supporting lady.


The film comes in a standard local plastic case with a striking cover layout featuring the three lead protagonists of the film - Rahul Bose, Javed Jaffrey and Kay Kay Menon. Since the DVD comes on Moser Baer, don't expect any fancy packaging.


The film comes in a single DVD pack with the film's duration being 141 minutes.


The DVD doesn't come with any special features.


- Just last week it was highlighted in the DVD review of My Name is Anthony Gonsalves that in any of Amrita Rao's last films (including Vivah), the DVDs do not come with a 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation. In layman terms, the film comes in a regular format (with thick top and bottom stripes) which is associated with VCD format. Well, this has happened again with Shaurya too and guesses what, Amrita has a guest appearance here as well! Too much of a coincidence, isn't it?

- Subtitles in English

- Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo


Rs. 50/=


Samar may have failed in his debut flick Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye which brought together an ensemble cast but with Shaurya he gets it just right. And all this happens while keeping the commercial quotient intact. In his 140 minutes flick centered on a Court Martial (and not a war breaking down on the border, as some would have wanted to believe after seeing men in uniform on the film's posters), Samar packs in a number of powerful sequences which the audience takes home.

Give Shaurya a dekko!

Rating: ***

Aamir's blogging ways has SRK smiling

The battle of the Blogs has just intensified; what with the Taare Zameen Par self-crowned genius and the universally acknowledged clutter-breaker, Aamir Khan proclaiming that he has a dog named Shah Rukh Khan.

The shocking display of insolent humor has sent shock waves in the otherwise-insulated and unconcerned film industry. Says a very popular character-actor who has worked with both the actors, "I guess the freedom provided by a blog tends to loosen tongues. Amitji has never been known to be as undiplomatic as he's on his blog. Aamir must have thought it's time to increase the odds, what if Amitji's blog gets more eyeballs! Also, his nephew's film is around the corner. During the release of Taare Zameen Par, Aamir created a controversy by taking on Amitji and Black. Now for the nephew it's Shah Rukh being called a dog. All I can say is life's a bitch."

Shah Rukh remains characteristically unfazed and humorous in the face of his colleague's uncharitable and tasteless remarks. When this writer expressed shock and indignation at Aamir's remarks, SRK responded, "Earlier on, people used to name their children after famous people. Somebody naming a dog after a known person is a new beginning in that direction. I don't have a copyright over this name if used non-commercially." But a close friend of SRK on promise of anonymity reacted far more aggressively. "Aamir's megalomania has been brewing for a while. Earlier he declared himself No.1 as compared with SRK who took it smilingly. Now Aamir is down to street-level provocation. You know those neighbors who try to get your attention by breaking your windows, letting their dogs crap on your lawn or just dirtying your car. It's best for Shah Rukh to ignore these efforts to get his attention."

No movies only IPL this year

Preity left for the Cannes Film Festival on Wenesday morning at a time when she's neck-deep in IPL affairs.

"Can't help it, ya," she phoned and groaned groggily from Frankfurt airport. "For two years now I've been the brand ambassador for Chopard and I've to be at Cannes every year, come what May…ha ha pun intended."

Preity has several events lined up in Cannes, but no movies. "There're no movies this year. I'd have liked to bring my film Har Pal. But it isn't ready. If Rituparno Ghosh's Last Lear is shown I'll go for it.

But Chopard will keep me busy for the next three days. I've a red carpet event. Then a dinner organized by Chopard followed by a picnic in the afternoon. I return on 17 May and head immediately for my IPL commitments."

Understandably she's exhausted. "But I'm also exhilarated. The IPL has been a whole new learning experience for me" said Preity accompanied to Cannes by her cousin Inder.

What about those who feel the IPL is confusing cricket?

"Not at all! It's such an eye-opener. Players of different age groups and of different nationalities are interacting on one platform. The younger lot is learning from senior international names. Where would they get a chance to do that?"

Bebo-Saif:Khullam Khulla love

The Chote Nawab might allege that the media has a deliberate agenda against him and his arm candy Kareena, but you cannot blame them because Saif and Bebo seem to be the flavour of the season.

If the onlookers of Zee Cine Awards are to be believed, both Saif and Kareena were all over each other in London.

So much so, that there was no dearth of PDA. They could barely keep their hands off each other.

They even went as far as requesting the organizers to book them a hotel which was far away from the hotel where the rest of the guests were putting up.

Although their Tashan might have failed to sizzle on screen, but surely the off screen chemistry is piping hot and creating a lot of ripples.

Howzaat:Emraan hates cricket

There was a time when Emraan Hashmi used to get bored of cricket. So much so that he didn't even have any basic idea about the tournaments in progress or the players in the squad.

Not that the situation has changed dramatically for him even today but the fact is that at the least he has started warming up to the sport, courtesy his role of a bookie in Jannat.

"Frankly, cricket used to bore me. The only matches which I could probably catch for a while were the ones between India and Pakistan and that, too, when they were one day internationals. However, 20-20 is able to catch my attention to some extent," reveals Emraan Hashmi.

"For someone like me who has a short attention span, it is impossible to be sitting in front of a TV for 8 hours and watch 100 overs being bowled. I tend to become quite impatient.

However, with so much glamour and entertainment being a part of the game now, I am considering it all as a masala outing in the offering", quips an amused Hashmi.

Isn't it divine intervention that Jannat is releasing at a time when 20-20 is at its peak?

While all other recent releases are falling like nine pin, Jannat appears to be only film which should keep the box office busy, considering its contemporary theme of cricket and the world of betting and match fixing?

"Of course we never planned it that way when Jannat was being made", Emraan says with an honest tone, "But yes, when it is all working now for us, it couldn't have been better.

We are arriving solo as well which is an added advantage. With films and cricket merging, courtesy 20-20, it should benefit Jannat."

Coming back to 20-20, how does he see it changing the scene of Indian sports?

Hashmi shares his point of view here, "So many people, like me, have already joined the fray while I am sure people, who were diehard one day international followers, have also shown signs of tilting towards the shorter version.

With 20-20 cricket, 50 over match seems like a passé. I think it would be quite difficult for people now to go back to spending their entire day watching cricket." -Joginder Tuteja

Are they jealous of Mallika's legs?

Moral police goes skirt-chasing with Mallika.. Bollywood reacts.

Malaika Arora: "I think Mallika has become a favourite punching-bag in the press. Leave the girl alone. It's ridiculous. Maybe the moral police in the South should take a closer look at their own films for obscenity.

Shilpa Shetty (actress,reality-show celebrity, yoga instructor): " I'm just happy that the obscenity case against my dress in Tamil Nadu is quashed. I won.

Rahul Khanna (actor): '"I feel quite sad for the moral police. Perhaps they're jealous of Mallika's legs. They seem to have a lot of free time on hand? Why not use it for issues more important than length of skirts?

Hema Malini (actress, dancer, parliamentarian): "I was there in Chennai. Mallika's dress was looking good. She too was looking very good. But perhaps the dress was a little too short for the occasion. Who knows!

Sonu Sood (actor): "Some people have all the time in the world to measure dress lengths. Good for them. At least moral policing keeps some people busy. At the same time I feel some celebrities dress a certain way to attract attention and create controversies. Ignore them. It will avoid unnecessary publicity.

Rohit Roy (actor, tv anchor): "What can one say…I'd love to know what the moral police was doing looking at Ms Sherawat's crossed legs? Maybe waiting for them to uncross???

Lilette Dubey: "Who's this self-appointed brigade? And what are they afraid of? Influencing the youth of this country?

A generation that's now exposed to cinema, fashion and images from around the world right there in their homes? It's up the individual to decide what she wears and if she can handle the public gaze then it's her prerogative to dress the way she wants.

Amrita Arora (actor): "It's ridiculous. What's wrong with wearing a short skirt? And why only target Mallika for it? Girls in colleges and work places across the country are wearing them. Go get all of them,you moral cops! By the way there're much more serious things to be done in our country than 'skirt-chasing'.

Diya Mirza (former beauty queen,actor): "I think they've no right to comment on Mallika. I think they should instead give attention to the sleaze content in some of their films. Stop pointing fingers at someone just because you've nothing better to do.

Niharika Singh (beauty queen, model, actor): "I think this is complete hypocrisy. Films down south have a lot more skin show. There's no need to make a mountain out of a molehill

Sophie Chowdhary (veejay/singer/actress): "I think the reaction to Mallika's skirt is ridiculous. According to me the outfit is definitely not vulgar or offensive. Surely there're a hundred other issues in our country to get upset about. Leave Mallika and her clothes alone.

Priyanka (Nisha) Kothari: "I think the moral police are more publicity crazy than any other section of our society.

Samir Soni (model/actor):"I believe what is moral or immoral is an extremely personal decision. No group of people have the right to force their value system on us unless an individual's action inconveniences others or obstructs someone's fundamental rights.

Aryan Vaid (model, actor, tv anchor): What can one say? This isn't really about protection of any morals but the narrow political interests of a group of people.

The laws of the land seem to apply in different measures to different sections of people. There was nothing wrong with Mallika's outfit. But there's a long wrong with these moral terrorist outfits."

Sandhya Mridul: "With due respect the actresses down South wear clothes that seem pretty suggestive and sexy. So what's their problem?

The moral police all over the country should keep tabs on real moral issues rather than the clothes actress' wear. Incidentally why are only actresses pulled up for extra-censoring? Why not the males who nowadays pose in less than women?"

Pooja Bedi: "I think the more importance the media gives such people the more such cases we'll see. The quickest route to fame is to sue celebrities. Morality is so subjective. Do these moralists want to take us back to the days of the purdah?

And should their standards of morality be applicable to society? Was there a dress code at the music event ? If not how could they expect a girl with a glamorous sexy image to land up in a salwar-kameez?

Gul Panag: "Why should it be anyone's business what someone wears or doesn't wear? The moral police should close down Khajuraho or dress up the sculpture in 'suitable' clothes before attacking anyone.

Nandana Sen: " It's absurd! Mallika is beautiful and has a style of her own. How can anyone have the right to say that style is wrong? Should we all start wearing uniforms now to make everyone happy? Clothes are one of the ways in which a person expresses her or his individuality.

Dictating what another individual wears is as ridiculous as a third party forbidding you, a writer, from choosing certain topics.Or me, an actor, from taking on certain roles. And if I decide to do what I choose, should my nose and ear be cut as happened today?

What's the issue with Mallika's clothes? If the concern is protecting women's dignity, why don't we create a safe and protective environment so that little girls aren't thrown into fires for stepping beyond boundaries that should never have been set up?

I got 115 crore?Prove it: Big B

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan today pooh-poohed the reports in a section of the press that he had been paid Rs 115 crore by server ''bigadda.com'' to write his blog.

''This in entirely incorrect. I use the services of the server bigadda.com and nothing else, there are no finances involved at all'', the Bollywood actor said.

Writing in his blog after attending the opening night of the Cannes film festival, Amitabh has challenged the Mumbai-based tabloid to show him receipts of the payment made or any contract signed by him and disclose the source that has confirmed the information to it.

Besides Amitabh, his wife Jaya, son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also attended the opening night function at Cannes, where the film 'Blindness' was screened.

I've truly fallen in love this time: Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone in a heart-to-heart with Subhash K Jha.

Post Om Shanti Om (OSO) how has your life changed?
All this is very new for me. My father (bandmintom champ Prakash Padukone) was also a celebrity. But we were never exposed to much media coverage.

Before I went into the modeling profession I did go into my dad's profession—it was the expected thing. I played bandminton at the national level.But I realized my heart was set on modeling.

Movies weren't even in my range of vision. But after two years of modeling I started getting film offers I was only 18 then. I didn't want to jump into anything.

What took you down south?
You mean my Kannada film Aishwarya? I am from Karnataka and it was directed by a young and talented man Indrajit Lankesh. And I was paired with a huge Kannada star Upendra.

Did you speak your own lines?
Yes I did. I learnt Kannada in school. Farah Khan had already offered me OSO. But we were to shoot a year later. So I did the Kannada film.

You remind me of Aishwarya Rai.
I'd take that as a compliment. I grew up watching her. When I was in school I remember how thrilled I was when she won Miss World. Ash and Sushmita are people I've admired.

You're still young. Don't you miss doing the normal things?
I do the normal things. I've life away from my work. But yes, I definitely feel a lot older than girls my age.I started working and moved out of home at a very young age. I tried to work out of my home- town Bangalore. But like it or not Mumbai is the mecca for the glamour and entertainment industry.

Do you miss Bangalore?
In Mumbai I definitely miss my family. For me ordinary things like having warm food on the table or getting the car ready to leave for the day are not so easily obtainable. Like all girls I'd like to see my parents when I wake up in the morning. That isn't possible when you're living alone.

Is Mumbai a lonely city?
No definitely not. I've lots of friends in Bombay. And I haven't changed for them, nor they for me.Yes, certain people around me have changed. But people who are really important to me, that's my parents and my childhood friends are with me.

One needs to have friends outside one's profession to interact and to share one's life with. Otherwise I'm not the party-hopping kind.

What do you and Ranbir talk about?
Well…we do know what's going on in each other's careers. But otherwise we try to keep cinema out of our conversation. We try not to get into one another work space.

It's amazing but both of you started your careers in Hindi as fierce rivals in Saawariya and OSO?
That rivalry was more media-created than anything else. Comparing me with Sonam was so uncalled-for. We come from two totally space. We started differently. She assisted Mr Sanjay Bhansali.

I come from the modeling world. And our debut vehicles are so different. Fortunately we were too involved with our own projects and had no time to think of each other as competition.

You started with Shah Rukh Khan as a co-star. Can it get any bigger?
I hope it does. Initially I was very nervous about working with him. But Farah and Shah Rukh made it very comfortable for me. We did readings together, we met socially so that we were comfortable when we faced the camera.He's again someone I grew up watching.

You have acquired the reputation of being extremely choosy.
Yes. Every project takes up so much of your time. You've to be sure of what you're doing. So often I say no because I don't have the time. I meet every director who wants to meet me. I do consult my parents.

It would be unfair to distance them from my career just because they aren't part of the entertainment industry. But the final decision is mine.

Your dad is a celebrity in his own right.
Yes but nothing to do with the entertainment industry. During his time sportspersons didn't do endorsements, advertisements. I'm really close to both my parents.

Ever since I moved to Mumbai it's a different kind of relationship with them. The fact that we live in different cities has brought us closer. I feel much closer to them. Sometimes I feel bad at the unwanted attention they get because of me.

They're bombarded with all kinds of questions about me. It wasn't like that during their times. My parents are very simple reason.

Is the image of the boyfriend deserter hurtful?
The media needs to be a little restrained. I am a simple girl and from a respectable family. And loose talk about me harms my reputation.

One day like any other girl I intend to settle down and have children. How would those write-ups look at that time? I'm so glad I've found a man who comes from the same space and understands the pitfalls of sensational journalism.

I feel after a point no one will take these write-ups making a tamasha out of my life seriously.

Why did you and Ranbir decide to go public about your mutual feelings?
Because this is the first time I've actually and truly fallen in love. Being in love is the lovelist feeling. When two people are getting close they need time to understand one another.

I've reached an age when I can't be in a frivolous relationship. Linking me to so many men at a time when I wasn't sure about my feelings was unfair.

Did the earlier link ups collapse because of excessive attention they got?
Quite possible. At the end of the day it was just destiny that I was meant to be with Ranbir. And we're very happy together.

Do you get time to be with one another?
We try to be together as much as possible. We did a film together Bachna Ae Haeseon. That's when we got close. We had met and interacted earlier. But we didn't get a chance to know each other well enough.

He was busy with his film. I was busy with mine. We were both under all kinds of pressure. Everything became very messy.In Australia when we shot together we started afresh. We almost met like two new people.

There was no baggage to be carried forward from the past. Because even in the past we didn't part bitterly.

Jannat will be Emraan's Naam" - Mahesh Bhatt

A strange thing is happening to Mahesh Bhatt. After spending years extracting creative juices from real- life all his life, now when the cricket fever has touched an all-time high, thanks to the IPL, producer Mahesh Bhatt plays down the cricketing karma of his new film Jannat.

"The cricketing world is only the wallpaper in Jannat. The cricketing field is the space in which the tale of this risk addict, played by Emraan Hashmi, unfolds. He is a typical product of the 21st century who goes into shopping malls to look for new things to buy everyday. Emraan plays the kind of person for whom the end is more important than the means. He then meets this girl who changes his life. When personal gratification becomes more important than the larger concern, then society is doomed. Emraan plays a character who needs to restrain himself from the acquisitive tendency," opines the man whose cinema has constantly walked the tightrope depicting the worlds of idealism and corruption.

Mahesh admits Jannat goes into match-fixing. "But like I said, it's reflective of the times we live in. It holds a mirror to the conscience of today's youth who believe gratification is the bottomline of existence."

He hesitates in connecting Jannat with present-day happenings in the cricketing world. "Incidents like Bob Woolmer's suspicious death were at the back of my writers' heads. But to say that Jannat replays incidents from the cricketing world like the Woolmer one would be absurd. It's just a grotesque coincidence that the actor who plays Woolmer was a close buddy of the dead man."

Mahesh would rather focus on the larger moral question that his cinema raises. "Cricketers are as human as anyone else liable to be seduced by the goodies of the world. The film points out that there's huge money in cricket. It's a money-making industry. Everybody exploits this deity called cricket. So does my hero Emraan."

He saves a special word of praise for his leading man. "I think Jannat is Emraan's coming-of-age movie. It'd do for Emraan what my Naam did for Sanjay Dutt. He is a vulnerable abominable risk-taker who falls in love with a woman who has a value-system totally contrary to his."

Aamir loves his dog Shahrukh

In his latest blog, actor Aamir Khan talks about a certain Shahrukh licking his feet.

The perfectionist star is in Panchgani, with family and kids.

Aamir writes: "I’m sitting under a tree, on the edge of a valley, approximately 5000 feet above sea level. The river Krishna flows far below us snaking its way among the Sahyadri mountains.

A cool breeze is blowing, jannat ki hawa (breeze from the heavens), as my mother calls it. Ammi, Ira and Junaid are by my side and we are in the middle of one of our favourite board games ‘Settlers Of Catan’.

Shahrukh is licking my feet and I am feeding him biscuits every now and then. What more can I ask for?

Now, before you jump to any conclusions let me add that Shahrukh is the name of our dog. And before you jump to any further conclusions let me add that I had nothing to do with naming him.

In fact Shahrukh is the dog of the caretakers of our house. When I bought this house it came with the caretakers and their dog!

Apparently Shahrukh (the actor) was shooting for a commercial in this house a few years ago, and that very day the caretakers bought a pup…, and named him Shahrukh.

What are the chances of me buying a house which comes with a dog called Shahrukh!!!

Some of my friends claim that I bought the house just because of the dog. I would have to be a serious fan of Shahrukh’s to want to do that. Your guess…

All I can say is I’m waiting for him to come over.

Getting back to Settlers of Catan, it’s a wonderful game. You must try it if you are fond of board games.

All in all I am having a great time with my mom and kids here in my favorite place on earth, Panchgani. I think Kiran and I must have done something good in our life to be blessed with this great place to get away to.

My hamstring muscle seems to be healing, slowly but surely.

Catching up on films, saw Casino Royale last night which I liked.

Incidentally Panchgani is a favorite with para-gliders. Now that’s something I am going to learn as soon as I finish with the Ghajini shoot.

Well Shahrukh is once again begging for my attention, so let me get back to him. He is smelling too much, I think he needs a bath. “Heel boy, heel.”

Aamir Khan’s blog can be reached at www.aamirkhan.com.

Deepika Padukone to endorse real estate in Dubai

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After endorsing stylish brands like Maybelline, Levis Strauss and Tissot SA, Deepika Padukone has gone one step ahead by becoming the new face of Dubai's Aspire Real Estate.

The chairman of the company, Harshit Kantaria, who has come a long way since he came to Dubai three years ago with a vision to make it big in real estate enterprise today is proud owner of Dhs5.5 bn portfolio with developments from Business Bay to Jumeirah Village and Dubai Marina, and special focus on waterfront properties as well.

Aspire Real Estate being referred as a rising star in real estate enterprise in Dubai feels proud to have Deepika Padukone as a brand ambassador because of her image as a true rising star of Bollywood, claimed the chairman Kantaria.

Thus, Union of 'Rising Stars' is the name given by the company to the association.

Cannes Diary 2008: Day 1

A lot is happening on the world cinema and Hollywood front at Cannes 2008, but a few quick pointers on what Day 1 held for the Indian film community specifically:

  • The market was largely sluggish but many expect the second day to witness a pick-up in the business.

  • Santosh Sivan's Tahan featuring Rahul Bose and Rahul Khanna among others, and Jag Mundhra's Shoot On Sight with Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri were screened at the market.

  • The big boys exhibiting this year are UTV, Eros, Indian Films-Studio 18, and new player, Reliance ADAG. Shemaroo is around as well promoting their animation feature, Ghatothkach.

  • Eros' front-running products on display include Sunday, Sarkar Raj, U Me Aur Hum, Bhoothnath and Om Shanti Om, among others, while UTV's Cannes advertising stresses on Taare Zameen Par, Race and Jodhaa Akbar. Indian Films-Studio 18 are promoting Jab We Met, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng, Kidnap and Golmaal Returns, to name a few.

  • From the teaser poster of Singh Is Kinng presently doing the rounds on the net (featuring a clean-shaven turbaned Akshay Kumar), Indian Films-Studio 18 unveiled an attractive creative of the Vipul Shah-produced film, featuring a bearded macho-looking Akshay holding Katrina, clad in a dazzling skin-hugging orange gown.

  • Dev Anand's 1960's classic Guide is set to glow at the Festival's Classic section, and the legend is likely to visit the palm-lined town of South France to celebrate the occasion

  • From the Asian markets, India and China, in this order, have the largest presence at Cannes 2008. India and China are followed by Japan and Korea.

(Media and international business expert, Tanuj Garg, will do an honorary Cannes 2008 diary for Bollywood Hungama. This will feature periodic updates on the mood and the action on The Croisette over the next fortnight. Tanuj is currently Marketing & Distribution Head for the UK & Europe at Studio 18)

When Abhishek and Aishwarya first met!

It's RGV's most anticipated film of the year. Abhi-Ash's first film together post marriage and one of Amitabh's best roles ever, yes Sarkar Raj. Incidentally, Ramu wanted that the scene they first shoot after marriage should be the scene where Abhi and Ash are striking a conversation for the first time and trying to know each other.

Truly, RGV knew exactly what he wanted and got it. The scene where they were to interact with each other for the first time was to be done with tentativeness and they were to weigh each other as people. Since they were shooting for the first time after marriage, there was newness to their relationship and they were a bit conscious in front of the entire unit… this worked exactly as per the demand of the scene.

Sarkar Raj talks about an intense political drama and is essentially a study of power; it explores the politics of development and takes a fresh look at the tradition versus modernity debate.

When Anita Rajan (Aishwarya Rai - Bachchan), CEO of Sheppard power plant, an international Company, brings a power plant proposal to set up in rural Maharashtra before the Nagres, insightful Shankar (Abhishek Bachchan) is quick to realize the benefits the power plant can bring to the people. After convincing Sarkar (Amitabh Bachchan) who is against it for various reasons, Shankar undertakes a journey along with Anita to the villages of Maharashtra to mobilize support from the masses.

However, things are not what they seem to be and Shankar's dream project gradually becomes a political minefield. It is in this backdrop the evil forces mightier than ever, mushroom and gang up to bring down the regime of Sarkar and obliterate Shankar's name from the political horizon.

Sarkar Raj is definitely not a sequel to Sarkar but a new story with the same characters. Well, let's hope RGV won't have to go into hiding after this film.

I'm proud of my sculpted body

She's undisputably the number one actress in Bollywood. Kareena Kapoor is not only the highest paid but also the most in demand actress with her line up of prestigious releases starting with Yashraj's magnum opus Tashan, releasing this week.

Says a trade expert, "With Tashan, Kareena has established her clout in the industry. Even though the film hasn't done well, she still remains the number one actress in the country.

She has never looked so scorching hot before on screen and she has never been so good in a film! She positively sizzles. Even though the film hasn't done well, Kareena has made waves with her fiery performance and her ooh la la lime green bikini shot.

Bebo's never looked hotter. In fact the trade has given her a new nickname Czarina Kapoor as she positively rules the industry today."

Well, if King Khan is the 'Baazigar' among men, then the super-successful Kareena sure can be nick named Cazrina!

Name it and Kareena has it in her kitty, whether it is a list of A-grade projects under big banners, huge endorsements or modeling assignments, the actress is surely making it count when sun shines!!

And keeping her Numero Uno status intact is her next project with Aamir Khan no less! Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan are working together, and she's thrilled;

It's finally happening. Bollywood has put together the dream team of Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan for Rajkumar Hirani's film Idiots.

Kareena, who has signed on three big projects lately, including Sajid Nadiadwala's Kambakht Ishq with Akshay Kumar, Renzel d'silva's untitled film with beau Saif Ali khan, is thrilled to be working with Aamir.

"It's a dream," she exclaimed, "we recently came close to working on two films together, Vishal Bhardwaj's Mr Mehta And Mrs Singh and Mani Ratnam's Lajjo, but it's finally happening now."

She is also looking forward to doing another film with Saif after Omkara and Tashan. "Renzil's film has a stunning script. " says she.

As for Tashan, she's worked really hard on the film and even lost weight to get the right look for Tashan.

Says Kareena" To be honest, I'm not a size zero. I'm sick of these reports claiming otherwise. I had to get this look for Tashan because the makers wanted me to get into character. Now I'm back to looking like before for my other films."

Weight no no weight, fact is that she's looking fab and feeling great. "I'm proud of my sculpted body. Why should I want to be like anyone else? I look no different from the way I looked earlier. I guess I'm just happy in life, and that shows," says Kareena.

Kareena in Different Role

Refugee (2000) .... Nazneen 'Naaz' Ahmed

A simple start to her career saw Kareena make a very natural debut as Naaz, a folksy young innocent all too eager to fall head over heels in love. Little did India know glamour would overwhelmingly, stunningly take over.

Asoka (2001) .... Kaurwaki

Move over Xena, this is how a Warrior Princess should really look. With arresting eye-makeup and more spunk wrapped around her than actual cloth, Kareena's Kaurwaki is the stuff of dreams.

Mujse Dosti Karoge (2002) .... Tina Kapoor

It was complete comfort-zone, this film. Bebo played the sporty and urban young Tina and seemed completely in character, right down to her sneakers.

Chameli (2003) .... Chameli

Bollywood often reduces women of the night to caricature, but this fabulist film about a night in the life of a streetwalker saw Kareena at her gaudiest -- while also looking utterly irresistible. It's a stretch but she sure pulled it offThe role called for minimal make-up and absolute naturalism, but Kareena was playing a club-savvy urban girl, and her oft-wet locks worked really well for us, as did her white tees and jeans.

Yuva (2004) .... Neha Verma

A riveting blend of social message and entertainment is what "Yuva" was all about and Kareena opted for a without-makeup college going bubbly girl image.

Vivek Oberoi and Kareena look good together and attracted lots of appreciation among teenage lovers.

Kyon Ki... (2005) .... Dr. Tanvi Khurana

If real-life medicos looked anywhere near this hot, clinics would be the town's most-happening places. Kareena opted for -- by her extreme standards -- an understated look this time around.

36 China Town (2006) .... Priya

Upen Patel might have gotten the hit Himesh Reshammiya A-A-Aashiqui song but Bebo looked unbelievably voluptuous throughout this ridiculous film.

Jab We Met (2007) .... Geet Dhillon

The spunky thing wore her Lucknow churidars with T-shirts and carried off everything, from Bollywood to bohemian, with casual ease -- and full-on college gal flair -- in her best performance yet.

Tashan (2008) .... Pooja Singh

The pants are hot, the skirts are super-short, and nothing quite spells out the best thing about summer like Bebo's Tashan wardrobe. Talk about sizzling.