It's Even-Stevens for SRK, Preity and Shilpa after Round 1 of IPL 2009

The cricket extravaganza which has taken the world by storm- IPL 2009 is already into its second week and one must say that the last one week has seen more than its fair share of thrills and unparalleled excitement.

Even those who don't seem to be heavily into cricket seem to be following this tournament thanks to the presence of some Bollywood heavyweights. After all, everyone's curious to know which Bollywood star's team will come out triumphs in this year's IPL. Will it be SRK's 'Knight Riders' or Preity's 'Kings XI Punjab' or will it be Shilpa Shetty's 'Rajasthan Royals'? While the answer to that question will be known only after the tournament enters its latter stages, one can see how the three Bollywood stars' teams have fared amongst each other in the first round of the IPL

It's Even-Stevens for SRK, Preity and Shilpa after Round 1 of IPL 2009

Tuesday April 21st saw the first of these clashes when King Khan's 'Knight Riders' took on Preity's 'Kings XI Punjab' at Durban. While on the field it was a clash between Dada and his 'once upon a time protege' Yuvraj Singh, off the field it was a clash between Veer and Zaara (read SRK and Preity Zinta). Batting first, Preity's boys posted a decent 158 / 6 in the allotted 20 overs but it seemed to look like a paltry score once 'Knight Rider's' Chris Gayle took charge. The burly West Indian opener began hitting the ball to all parts of the ground and before you could say Kolkata, 'Knight Riders' had blazed away to 79 / 1 in just 7.2 overs. However, a rain interruption at that stage spoilt the fun and Messers Duckworth and Lewis came into play and they declared King Khan's team as the winners on the basis of the Net Run Rate. Even though we didn't have a full game, yet there is no denying the fact that Round 1 of the SRK - Preity clash belonged to Khan's 'Knight Riders'.

It's Even-Stevens for SRK, Preity and Shilpa after Round 1 of IPL 2009

After winning over Preity's boys, King Khan's Knight Riders were all set to take on the 'Rajasthan Royals' owned by Shilpa Shetty and her beau Raj Kundra. The clash between SRK and Shilpa was also one that was looked forward to by Bollywood and cricket buffs. After all, even Shilpa had made her debut opposite King Khan, so all eyes were curious to see the rivalry between these two teams when they took the field on Thursday April 23rd. When the 'Rajasthan Royals' posted a score of 150 / 6 in their 20 overs, no one really thought that this would be one of those matches that would go down to the wire. However, T 20 cricket can be very unpredictable and this very fact was proved once again when the match ended in a tie with the 'Knight Riders' also scoring 150 / 8 in their quota of 20 overs. However, the action that followed is something that cricket lovers won't forget for a long time to come. As the scores were leveled, cricket buffs got to see the first ever 'Super Over' of the IPL where each team got a chance to play one over and the team with the maximum runs was declared the winner. While SRK and gang would have heaved a sigh of relief after Gayle and Co. scored 15 runs in one over, they were in for a rude shock when a certain Yusuf Pathan came in to bat for the 'Royals'. Yusuf slammed the ball as if he was swatting a fly and overcame the target with 2 balls to spare. In the end SRK was stunned, Shilpa was over the moon while cricket lovers had a night to remember for a long, long time.

It's Even-Stevens for SRK, Preity and Shilpa after Round 1 of IPL 2009

It was touted as a 'Super Sunday' clash at Cape Town when Preity's 'Kings XI Punjab' took on Shilpa's 'Rajasthan Royals'. The clash between teams owned by two of the hottest ladies of Bollywood was eagerly awaited by one and all. Batting first, Preity's boys made a not-so-impressive 140 runs in their 20 overs. However, even that seemed too much when the 'Royals' began their run-chase. Wickets began to tumble thanks to some disciplined bowling by Preity's team and eventually the 'Rajasthan Royals' ended up losing the match by 27 runs. Preity had all the reason to flash her trademark dimpled smile as her team had indeed got the better of her fellow actor Shilpa's team.

So after round 1 of the clash between Bollywood's Big 3 at the IPL...the situation looks like this:-

SRK's team defeated Preity's team
Preity's team defeated Shilpa's team
Shilpa's team defeated SRK's team

It's pretty much Even-Stevens among the three teams owned by Bollywood stars after Round 1 in the IPL. Will the tables turn after the second round of the league and if so which Bollywood star's team will emerge at the top? This only time will tell.

Feroz Khan: The end came a little too soon

Feroz Khan, arguably the most stylish and sophisticated actor to ride the horse in the Bollywood curry-western, went a little too soon.

A flamboyant 70 he refused to accept he was ill and would pooh pooh anyone who tried to show sympathy and concern about his health.

But his family of 4 brothers and 2 sister who had flown into his farm house in Bangalore to be near him, knew the end was near and made his last days as comfortable as possible for him.

The eldest of the Khan brothers Feroz unlike his younger brothers Sanjay, Sameer or Akbar (the fourth Khan brother Shah Rukh and the two sisters were never interested in films) remained a star until the end.

Feroz for a very long time remained typecast in stunt films or the second lead. So powerful was his impact in Asit Sen’s Safar and Ramanand Sagar’s Arzoo as the ‘Other Man’ that leading men of time shied away from working with him.

He lobbied heavily to get the second lead in Raj Kapoor’s Sangam (which Rajendra Kumar eventually did). And when that was denied to him Feroz did the next best thing. He started producing his own films and cast himself in the lead.

The results were explosive. Apradh (his first film as producer –director) was followed by Dharmatma (Bollywood’s first remake of Francis Coppola’s The Godfather) and the 1980 mega-blockbuster Qurbani.

The 1980s ceased to be kind to Feroz Khan. Prem Aggan designed to launch his son Fardeen bombed as did Yalgaar and Janasheen. But Feroz Khan never stopped dreaming big epic dreams, for himself and his cinema.

Feroz Khan’s distraught youngest brother Akbar Khan says they had been preparing themselves for Feroz’s death.

“For three months now we’ve been watching him slowly sink. We prayed to either relieve him from pain, or life. ”

The entire family was gathered in Bangalore for Feroz Khan’s funeral which took place on Monday at 5 pm.

The funeral procession left at around 2 pm from Feroz’s farm house after the afternoon prayers.

“The entire family was here towards his end literally feeding him out of our hands, ” says the grief-stricken sibling. “And he enjoyed his glass of wine in the evenings with us till the end. He was a very loving friend and bhai. ”

Said Akbar, “We buried him next to our mother. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t bring him back to Mumbai for so many of his friends and well-wishers to see him for the last time. But his last wish was to lie eternally next to our mother in our home town near Bangalore. And we had to fulfill that wish. ”

Restraining his grief the youngest Khan sibling says, “He was much loved by all his friends and colleagues. Contrary to his flamboyant image he was a very gentle sensitive soul. Even in his frail condition towards the end he'd get up his chair to greet each one of us in the family no matter how old or young. He was a friend first, then a father-figure. ”

“He was fearless even when faced with death, ” says Feroz Khan’s youngest brother. “He was the apple of our mother’s eyes. All of us five brothers and two sisters looked up to him. We’ve lost a father-figure. But he’s relieved of his pain. But he was fearless…to the end. He didn’t even fear death. He’d always be with us.”

After Raaz 2, Emraan Hashmi will play a painter again in Tum Mile

Emraan Hashmi Kangna Ranaut played a fashion model in Fashion and then Raaz 2. The role carryover race continues with Emraan Hashmi who plays a painter in Raaz 2.

He's now playing the same role in Kunal (Jannat) Deshmukh's Tum Mile. "But with a difference. You see, this time I actually paint. In Raaz, I wasn't really able to do much of that. All the paintings were done beforehand and I didn't get a chance to paint on screen apart from a few strokes."

In Tum Mile, Emraan's newly-discovered painting skills will go a lot further. "I'm shown to be a far more intricate painter, doing not just brush painting but also charcoal etc. Here I can't fake it. I'm using all the skills that I learnt as a painter in Raaz for Tum Mile."

Emraan seriously intends to pursue his painting. "And my character in Tum Mile is helping me do that. It's my first intense love story."

The film is based on the deluge in Mumbai on July 26, 2005. All the scenes depicting the couple coming together during the deluge were shot in one go at a studio set. Emraan describes it as his first intense love story. "It's also my first film with Soha Ali Khan. Do I kiss her? Let that be a secret. I consciously moved away from the serial kisser's image in Raaz 2. I don't want to be known for something so frivolous. I want to move on."

I'll destroy Aamir Khan: SRK

By Joginder Tuteja

Shahrukh Khan This one is a voluminous book. A real voluminous one at that. If Shah Rukh Khan has been known for his non-stop talk then writer Mushtaq Sheikh too doesn't appear far behind when it comes to translating his thoughts into words.

He writes, and writes and then further writes about Shah Rukh, something that makes one feel that more than a friend and a colleague, Mushtaq looks at Shah Rukh as a hero. Someone who is not just his hero but also an entire country's - correction, entire world's hero!

It is this very 'fan factor' that makes 'Shah Rukh Can' a read that seems to be coming straight from an admirer's heart.

For a writer, such scenario has two sides to it:

a) Because you are so much in love of a celebrity, you want to explore anything and everything that you had always wanted to know about him.

b) Because you are so much in love of a celebrity, everything about him is taken entirely positively. It all becomes quite one-dimensional and even when there is something remotely negative that pops up, as a writer you have defences available even for that!

This is exactly what one senses after reading 'Shah Rukh Can'. If the book is to be believed, Shah Rukh has never taken a step wrong, he is the smartest actor/performer around and if at all there are some areas of improvement for him, he doesn't need to work in that direction because he can be loved even with the weaknesses continuing to persist.

Now this could well be true; after all it may all be a solid fact that Shah Rukh Khan is a fantastic human being after all. It's just that one feels the lack of a single written word which is 'not-so-good' about the King Khan.

Is he a perfect human being, may be, but we do not get to know about it 100% through this book.

Leaving aside this factor, 'Shah Rukh Can' explores those facets about the actor and so many other tangents in his life, both pre and post his stardom.

The kind of detailing that Mushtaq explores in this 350 page book (which by the way is pure text with hardly any pictures) is a testimony to the fact that the writer would have spent quite some time not just with the actor in question but also quite a few other prominent members from the film industry.

Not just that, there are clear indications that he did extensive research on the biggest actor in the country today and was fully prepared before beginning to pen down 'Shah Rukh Can'.

There are number of such little instances that make 'Shah Rukh Can' an interesting read. But is it just about the actor and the trivia around his life? Not at all.

One of the unexplored facets of Shah Rukh that is covered in the book in extensive detail is his views around acting v/s performances. There are reams and reams that are spent on the actor's philosophy around acting and other finer nuances of filmmaking.

Now does that make for an interesting read? Well, not exactly and that's because this entire episode in the book not just becomes a lot verbose but also hugely technical.

Credit goes to the writer of the book to have got Shah Rukh into such conversation which has seldom (or shall I say never) been covered by any other journalist/author in the past

. In this regard, Mushtaq deserves a pat on the back for bringing in something which no one ever thought earlier.

After all so excited have audiences been about Shah Rukh's personality and stardom over last decade and a half that seldom has anyone bothered to know about what makes the superstar tick in front of the camera.

However, one fact that still needs to be considered is that majority of readers of this book would be the same set of audiences who love to see him as Rahul and Raj on screen.

For them, how does Shah Rukh differentiate between acting v/s performance doesn't quite make for an interesting read. Probably, they don't even care.

All they want is his arms going up in the year with the dimpled cheeks facilitating a smile that continues to make millions look at him in awe. Now how does he achieve that?

Well, that thesis is left for the intellectually inclined, which actually forms a miniscule part of the readers. Hence the reason why 3-4 chapters have been dedicated to this very aspect of Shah Rukh make for a quick skip read!

But ignore this part of the book and you have so much to know about Shah Rukh. Views about him come from the biggest of the makers, some of them being the kinds who have never ever given an interview.

Case in point is Aditya Chopra who opens up in a big way while talking about his association with Shah Rukh. He remembers how he had to literally chase Shah Rukh to make him consent to do Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

Apparently the actor was not too keen on doing love stories and wanted to stay away from that until Aditya convinced him otherwise and paved the way for a dozen odd love stories to follow over the years.

Some of the other interesting stories the books talk about:

- Why Shah Rukh went ahead and did an atrocious movie called Guddu

- His appearance in TV serial 'Waage Ki Duniya' as a rash driver

- Shah Rukh coming into Chamatkar after Deepak Malhotra (who had a one film career in Lamhe) rejected the film - Viveck Vaswani being Shah Rukh's pillar of support during his initial years in Mumbai

- His struggling period in Mumbai when along with wife Gauri, he had to keep working hard in order to pay rent for his house

- His admiration for Amitabh Bachchan and how he considered him to be THE hero when compared to Dilip Kumar (there is great detailing that he gives around this - visit Page Nos. 206 and 207)

- His lack of understanding with Devdas when Sanjay Leela Bhansali narrated the script for the first time

- How he motivated Karan Johar even though the first shot that he took for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was terrible - Aditya Chopra believing that Dil To Pagal Hai wasn't great cinema

- How Farah Khan had reached the point of frustration when Shah Rukh Khan had made her wait for three years before saying yes to Main Hoon Naa.

And last but certainly not the least (after all this is most topical in the current scenario), how years back Shah Rukh had made a candid confession before stepping into filmdom -

"I'll destroy Aamir Khan. I'll take over Aamir. Main jab filmon mein aoonga na, baja doonga sabki"!

Ahem ahem!

Price: Rs. 395

Rating: ***1/2

Bipasha will direct a film... soon!

By Subhash K Jha

Bipasha Basu will soon direct a film. After nine years of acting Bipasha is beginning to understand the technical aspects of cinema. And she won’t let all just…well go to ‘waist’, playing the floor-burning sizzler.

And she admits she’s aiming to direct a film in the not too distant future.

“I’ve learnt on the job. I now understand script, character, choreography, camera angles. So I guess I do see myself directing a film. Because I know I’ll be fantastic with things to do with things from behind the camera.”

It all started with her interest in the way she looks. Styling has now become crucial for Bipasha. “Nowadays I take a lot of interest in the way I look. I’ve become conscious of what suits me. I wont do anything that I don’t follow or don’t feel comfortable in.

Fortunately we’ve such capable choreographers. They know I’m not a professional dancer. So they give me movements that are fun, more me. I’ve extra-long limbs. So I need steps that don’t dwarf the other dancers. I understand all that now.

For one of the songs in Aa Dekha Zara I went for very Afro-American look. It was the look that I thought suited the situation. My other song was very funky and flamboyant.I want to create variety and excitement for myself. It’s the only way I can keep audiences interested.”

Bipasha loves performing live on stage. “I’m now getting a hang of it. Even John has gotten over his inhibitions about dancing. The idea is to just let go and have fun. First you’ve to get to that stage of relaxation on screen. The stage follows.”

Bipasha’s home is now renovated and she’s ready move back in at May-end. She’s planning a big house-warming party. “It’s now reached the final stage of completion, the lights are being installed, the surfaces are being polished. It’s a very exciting process.”

Salman dumped Katrina for Asin? Asin denies...

There’s a bit of worry for gorgeous Katrina as the rumours doing the rounds is that Asin and Salman Khan’s off-screen chemistry is really working very well.

It’s been said that Asin’s room is full of Sallu’s poster so that she can see his face, the first thing in the morning. Not only this, recently a Mumbai based tabloid reported that Salman has gifted a flat to Asin in Mumbai suburbs, Lokhandwala, so that Asin could have a permanent residence in the city of Bollywood.

The duo is working in London Dreams and it seems that their closeness would surely be bringing horrible dreams to Kat baby. But again Sallu Mia is known for his generosity so it can be that it is his yet another generous gesture towards the southern star.

But the Ghajini girl rubbishes all the speculation. She says that it’s nothing more than a professional relationship. She has clearly said that Salman didn’t enter her room, as reported by the tabloids.

She said, ''No one has access to my room.''

She tried her best to clear the air about the Bollywood bad boy: ''I am working with Salman in a film. Nothing more or nothing less than that."

Slumdog kid will be seen as young SRK in Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan

Tanay Chheda At least one child protegee has been spared the trauma of underage overexposure. Tanay Chheda, who plays the protagonist Jamal's childhood avatar in Slumdog Millionaire, has had his share of fame and recognition, at least for now. He wants to concentrate on his studies and focus on just that one film.

"And that's Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan. I play the childhood portions of Shah Rukh Khan's role. It's a small role and a very important film. And it will be shot during my holidays. Except for My Name Is Khan, my parents have decided to let me concentrate on my studies."

Tanay is shifting from his current school Campion in Colaba to the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Bandra and is geared up for a new life in a new school. He completely dismisses stories of replacing Darsheel Safary in Anil Monga's film Padduram. "I don't know where that came from. I haven't said yes to any such film," protests Tanay.

Tanay who played Darsheel Safari's best friend in Taare Zameen Par got the role of the younger Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire by chance. "I couldn't go to the auditions. But, eight months later, they came to my school for auditions. Luckily by chance, I got the role. They had to work a lot on my physical appearance to make me look compatible with Ayush who played the youngest Jamal. They straightened my curly hair, etc. Also, they had to darken all of us three who played Jamal (Ayush, Tanay and Dev Patel) to look like we were constantly exposed to the sun. My makeup used to take 90 minutes every day."

And he will now be playing the role of junior Shah Rukh Khan in Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan, a decision that Karan took after watching Slumdog Millionaire, says the 12-year son of a business family whose life has transformed almost overnight.

"My family and friends are very proud of me. It feels really good. For my friends I'm still the same Tanay. I'm a movie freak. When I walked the red carpet, I could recognize everyone who walked by," he says.

Tanay has to sit for his elocution exams at Trinity College in London. "But coping with the studies is no problem. All my teachers have been very co-operative. Half of Slumdog Millionaire was shot during my vacations."

Surprisingly, Tanay says acting is a hobby. "Right now, I just want to enjoy my childhood. I'm passionate about football. And I love to write. I've lots of stories to tell. As far as movies are concerned, my next release is Mastang Mama, where Ruslaan Mumtaz and I play mama-bhanja. I know that another Slumdog may not happen. But like my dialogue in film goes, it's all about destiny."

Tanay misses the Slumdog team. "But we keep meeting for premieres and awards function. And we all keep in touch through the email. We were all one big family."

"My next film is a biography - Rakta Charitra" - Ram Gopal Varma

Ram Gopal Varma Ram Gopal Varma is continuing to make films in heap. In 2008, he made a hat trick with Sarkar Raj, Contract and Phoonk. And now in 2009, he has completed shooting Agyaat, his India 24/7 (earlier titled Rann) is already underway while plans have been formalized to kick start the shoot of yet another film that has been interesting titled Rakta Charitra. Over to Ramu who divulges what Rakta Charitra is all about and the reasons that prompted him to make this film.

Rakta Charitra - Now that's quite an interesting title for a film. "Yes, that's the name of the film I am intending to make as my next after India 24/7. It's inspired by the story of Paritala Ravi from Andhra Pradesh who got assassinated in January 2005. Even though the actual incidents of the story happened and the related characters existed in south India, I decided to make it in Hindi because I strongly felt that the sheer uniqueness of the story deserves to be told to a much wider audience."

Who was Paritala Ravi? "Not many people seem to be aware about his existence in the past! Paritala Ravi was arguably the most feared individual ever in the history of the blood-ridden faction politics of South India. He was a prime accused in innumerable murder cases and also survived numerous assassination attempts, the most brutal of which happened on a quiet Friday afternoon in November 1997 when a road near Rama Naidu Studio in Hyderabad was turned into a death field by a bomb which killed 26 people but failed to get its intended target Ravi."

A quick Google search reveals that he was one of the most dreaded men then. "Yes, he was. I, in the course of my life have read biographies of various people and have also come to know through various sources the life stories of many highly dangerous men including that of Velupalli Prabhakaran - the LTTE Chief, to Pablo Escobar - the Columbian drug lord to our very own Dawood Ibrahim but all those stories pale in comparison to Ravi's life story!"

Do you want to share some information about Ravi's background? "He was a soft-spoken shy guy who under a force of certain circumstances retreated into the jungles and then became a rebel. How he mounted a volcano of violence to avenge his father's and brother's deaths and how in time he became a folklore legend and eventually a minister in N.T.Ramarao's Cabinet reads more grippingly than any fiction writer anywhere in the world can ever imagine."

Ram Gopal Varma Please carry on... "Ravi's name sent shivers up the spines of not only his rivals but even the law enforcement agencies. He was a rebel, a feudal lord, a robin hood, a killer of hundreds and saviour of thousands till the day he was gunned down by a death squad allegedly put together by his arch rival Suri who wanted to avenge his father's and brother's deaths, in a bizarre déjà vu."

Suri? Now this seems to be another important individual in Ravi's life. "That's true. I have been following Ravi's rise to power since long, but I first heard of Suri only after the bomb explosion at Rama Naidu Studios. I was both amazed and chilled to see that even after being confined to a prison cell, how the fire of Suri's vengeance continued to burn unabated for 7 long years till he finally succeeded, armed with nothing but a severe desire to kill Ravi as his one and only weapon."

Since the film is based on a real life tale, did you go through some rigorous research? "In my research for the film I have met various associates of Paritala Ravi and Suri and also their family members. I have also met Suri who is presently lodged in Anantpur jail on trial for the killing of Ravi and what I finally managed to piece together from all the various police records and eye witness accounts is the most fascinating story I have ever heard or could hope to hear in my life. This is the story of a man's phenomenal rise to power and a story of the most intense blood curdling conflict ever heard of between two individuals and it is also the ultimate statement on the oft heard disastrous consequences of a fatal mixture of caste, crime, family feuds and politics."

I have also heard that you are making this film in two parts. Is that correct? "Absolutely! I decided to film this story at one stretch and release it in 2 parts about 3 months from each other, a first of its kind ever attempted in the history of Indian cinema. I want to call the films Rakta Charitra- I and Rakta Charitra-II. Why I want to make it in 2 parts is because, the sheer drama and content the story possesses is so incredibly rich and of such high magnitude that it is not possible to do justice to do it in a film which is lesser than 5 hours. Also Ravi's life can be broadly divided into 2 parts from the time how circumstances created his rise to how he created circumstances that felled him."

Still feel challenged while making movies? "I believe that Rakta Charitra is going to be the most defining film of my career not because of how well I will make it but mainly because of the material I have at my hand. To put it simply I don't have to work hard to make it well but I have to work hard to spoil it."

When does the film get on floors? "In the month of August this year. By that time, I should have also finalized the cast in the film."

I'll take strong action against any false rumour of my break up: Preity Zinta

Bollywood diva Preity Zinta doesn’t looks to be in a pretty mood and has lashed out at the media for spreading rumours about her so called break up with Ness Wadia.

Preity writes at her blog post “It’s ridiculous how media sits and writes anything they feel like without even the decency and the journalistic norm of contacting all parties - well in advance - for their side of the story.”

The actress has bluntly denied the rumor, saying the journalist who wrote the story for Mumbai Mirror tried to call her up, but after the story was already published.

Preity asks “At.12.00 o’ clock, midnight (08th april 2009), I got a text message from this journo, saying ‘There’s a story about your new link-up’, and we need your comment on this.’

But when I called him back, I was told that the story was already printed and that they couldn’t do anything at that point. I was livid. So then, what was that call? And exercise in futility?”

Preity writes further at her blog post “Apparently, now they’re saying that this story came about because I was cheering for Vikram Chatwal at the Fashion Week. How ridiculous is that?

When I cheered for Shah Rukh Khan, then no one questioned me as to why I cheered him the most?

At the LFW there were also Arjun and Mehr Rampal, Rahul Bose, Ujjwala Raut - all famous celebrities and my friends; and I cheered all of them.

I cheered for all of them because the show was for Mumbai.”

“I don’t like discussing this so publicly, but the point here is, I want to clarify what is right and wrong. People cannot write anything wrong about someone and get away with it.

Especially about me, because I will take strong action against any false rumours or stories. I will fight against what is wrong, ” the actress writes.

Not only this, Preity slammed the Bollywood media, saying the paparazzi culture of Hollywood is catching up here in Bollywood.

She says, “In fact, in Hollywood the paparazzi system is really strong, but whenever there is false news, the Courts abroad are fast and quick to punish the offenders. Any false news is severely and immediately dealt with by the Courts.”

Richard Gere to feature in Teen Patti along with Amitabh Bachchan

Richard Gere Looks like Leena Yadav's playing her cards quite well. Our UK sources have confirmed another big Hollywood star roped in to share screen space with our one and only Big B. It seems that the presence of our mighty, legendary and iconic actor is surely pulling the crowd from L.A. The West meets the East season continues with gears changing thick and fast on the celluloid track, and the one to win the race this time around is the humanitarian and actor, Richard Gere. You heard it right!

Hollywood's favourite lover boy of the late 80's and early 90's is all set to share screen space in his first Bollywood film this year alongside Amitabh Bachchan. Gere visits India frequently as he shares a great rapport with the industrialists and socialites for the AIDS cause he has taken up since quite a few years now. The sad part is that he will not be shooting for the film in India. Our sources from the UK have also confirmed that the actor has watched quite a number of Bollywood films in the recent past. What's surprising is that he has seen Shilpa Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Lal Baadshah after Shetty won the coveted crown of the Celebrity Big Brother.

Teen Patti's last schedule goes under way in London from next week with Big B and Richard Gere. The last time you must've seen both the actors share space together was in London's Madame Tussaud's. Now the same city is playing the host to bring the two icons of world cinema together which is creating a spark in the film fraternity. But a different kind of spark was created when the Hollywood star was seen the last time he visited India. Remember Gere planting a kiss on Shilpa after her Big Brother win in the UK and was taken for a ride by the Indian media and the law for his indecent behaviour on stage?

All said and done, Leena is sharing a great bond with Richard Gere we hear and is quite happy to have him for the film. After Sylvester Stallone, who will make his debut in Bollywood with Kambakkht Ishq, Richard Gere will be the next big Hollywood star to watch out for in B-town.

Priyanka Chopra discharged from hospital

Priyanka Chopra was discharged from Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri, Mumbai late afternoon on Monday, April 13. She had been admitted to the hospital on Saturday for stomach infection and exhaustion. But she had been discharged she still looked very weak.

Priyanka who is currently filming for Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Rashee, had been on a hectic schedule lately.

Her father, Dr. Ashok Chorpa told us, “She had fever and had been unwell for some time. We advised her to take a battery of tests and so she has been kept under observation. Though all her test reports are normal, she has been advised to take rest and to slow down her work schedule.”

He further added, “We are leaving for a long family vacation, but Priyanka first wants to complete Ashutosh Gowariker’s film (first week of May).”

Bipasha's cool act despite wardrobe malfunction

The Beedi Jalaile girl Bipasha Basu is amongst the top favorites nowadays for any awards functions for performing to her hit dance numbers.

So it was no surprise when the dusky beauty was taken on to perform for a tribute to the music of 70's at a Music awards function.

The Aa Dekhen Zara actress was all set to enthrall the audience with her performance when she realized there was malfunction with her skirt and the prop that she was planning to use in the performance.

Our source present at the venue revealed, “This malfunction happened not once but thrice.

The actress did not know what to do at the last moment but despite all these problems Bipasha being a professional that she did not let it hamper her performance.

The actress had to change her costumes in between the dance performances but she took it all in her stride. She carried the entire show with grace and managed to enthrall the audiences without giving a hint that she was upset with the costumes.

Our source further revealed, “Had it been some one else they would have panicked and thrown tantrums. It would have affected the entire show.

Bipasha carried the entire activity with lot of confidence and grace and did not let any one know that there is something wrong with the prop or her skirt One can watch this performance on Star Plus very soon.”

A Wednesday prequel now?

If there's one film of 2008 that continues to be a hot favourite of most moviegoers even today, its debutante director Neeraj Pandey's A WEDNESDAY. The film was a major critical and commercial success, winning accolades and box-office rewards simultaneously.

The latest is, the makers are planning to make a prequel of this brilliant film. ''You've heard it right. We're toying with the idea currently. We're working out the modalities. How does it sound to you?'' an excited Neeraj Pandey asks.

Of course, A WEDNESDAY was an outstanding effort and a prequel or a sequel is most welcome. Will the set of actors (Naseruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill) star in the prequel as well? ''In all probability, yes. Plus, a few new actors might be added,'' Neeraj divulges.

Prequel, sequel or a new project altogether, we look forward to your new film Neeraj.

Sylvester Stallone's humility shocks Kareena

Sylvester Stallone rescues damsel in distress Kareena Kapoor in typical Bollywood ishtyle in Sajid Nadiadwala's Kambakkt Ishq. So Stallone is all set to make his "strong" presence felt in Hindi films.

Said a source, "When Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor saw stallone for the first time, they could not stop gaping at him. Stallone all of 60 was in great shape and could give apna heroes a run for thier money."

Akshay, who plays a stuntman and Kareena a supermodel could not stop talking about Stallone. "A rock solid body at 60 is something to die for, " said an Onlooker. Kareena was surprised to see that a star like Sylvester Stallone did not have any chaperones around him.

"He drove to the studio himself. Carried his food himself. He practically did everything himself. Sylvester Stallone was humility personified, " sources said.

Shah Rukh and Aamir: Khan they?

“We have to reach early,” I told a friend. “Or else we will never find a place to sit.”

Sure enough, even though we reached a good 45 minutes before the actual event, the seats in the first row were occupied.

We contented ourselves by sitting in the second row and discussing what was most likely a “historic moment” — at least for us film journalists — actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan on the same podium, speaking in one voice, as “friends”.

Keep in mind that these stars were once taking pot shots at each other almost daily in the media, so this sudden camaraderie was somewhat of a bolt from the blue. No wonder then that pretty much the entire press corps was in attendance, and even before the two Khans entered, their agenda was being dissected.

“They are already in the building… they are discussing what should be said… Aamir was the one who initiated the talks,” were some of the whispers one heard.

Given the anticipation was so great, when the two stars did appear on stage, almost every eye in the room was on them, trying to read between the lines.

Although the topic at hand was the ongoing tussle between producers and exhibitors, it was obvious the real story was the two Khans together on one podium, and each and every action was up for scrutiny.

Why was Shah Rukh looking into space when Aamir was talking? Did Aamir forget to mention any SRK films when he talked about the blockbusters of the decade? Was this a put-on act for the sake of the cameras?

Yes, I know, journalists have an overactive imagination — it’s a professional hazard.

Every time, the two Khans even leaned towards each other, a hundred cameras worked overtime, prompting the evening’s moderator, filmmaker Karan Johar to remark — “We promise you they will both hug at the end of the conference.”

A Mumbai tabloid went one step ahead and asked a well known psychologist to “decode” the body language of the two stars — and the good doctor concluded that it was “an act.”

But Shah Rukh Khan said he had “no problems” sitting on the same dais, same car, same house and working in the same film as Aamir, and said all talk of their rivalry was a “non-issue”.

Aamir, for his part, said (jokingly, we hope) — “I think we should get out the boxing gloves now.”

I think I am going to take that with a pinch of salt. What about you? Do you think these two megastars have actually kissed and made up?

Akki's unbutton act: Twinkle arrested, released

Akshay Kumar’s wife, Twinkle Khanna, was arrested by the Vakola police and released on a cash bail of Rs 950 late on Wednesday for allegedly obscene behaviour at the Lakme Fashion Show held at a Santa Cruz hotel a few days back.

Twinkle informed the police that Akshay, who is currently out of Mumbai, will present himself before the police on his return on Monday.

Assistant commissioner of police (Vakola division) Arvind Mahabdi said: ‘‘it was a bailable offence and we released her on a bail of Rs 950 at the police station itself. We are now waiting for Akshay.’’

The case was filed by Anil Nair, claiming to be a social worker, who alleged that husband and wife had behaved in an obscene and vulgar manner and action should be initiated against them.

Police officers, however, said they might not pursue the case as it was very ‘‘weak in law’’.

‘‘Akshay’s trouser was supposed to be unbuttoned by some other woman on the ramp but Akshay went to wife Twinkle,’’ an officer said.

Twinkle publicly unzipped Akshay’s jeans, while he was walking the ramp for Tarun Tahiliani`s Levi`s show in Mumbai during, Lakme Fashion Week. The star, who is a brand ambassador for Levi`s since 2008, was reportedly promoting Levi’s `Live Unbuttoned` campaign.

Slumdog kid to play SRK's childhood in K Jo film

At least one child prodigy has been spared the trauma of underage overexposure.

Tanay Chheda who plays the protagonist Jamal’s childhood avatar in Slumdog Millionaire has had his share of fame and recognition, at least for now. He wants to concentrate on his studies and focus on just that one film.

“And that’s Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan. I play the childhood portions of Shah Rukh Khan’s role. It’s a small role and a very important film. And it will be shot during my holidays. Except My Name Is Khan my parents have decided to let me concentrate on my studies.”

Tanay is shifting from his current school Campion in Colaba to the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Bandra and is geared for a new life in a new school.

He completely dismisses stories of replacing Darsheel Safary in Anil Monga’s film Padduram. “I don’t know where that came from. I haven’t said yes to any such film.” Protests Tanay.

Tanay who played Darsheel Safari’s best friend in Taare Zameen Par got the role of the younger Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire by chance.

“I couldn’t go to the auditions. But eight months later they came to my school for auditions. Luckily by chance I got the role.

They had to work a lot on my physical appearance to make me look compatible with Ayush who played the youngest Jamal. They straightened my curly hair, etc.

Also they had to darken all of us three who played Jamal(Ayush, Tanay and Dev Patel) to look like we were constantly exposed to the sun. My makeup used to take 90 minutes every day.”

And he will now be playing the role of the junior Shah Rukh Khan in Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan, a decision Karan took after watching Slumdog Millionaire(SM), ” says the 12-year son of a business family whose life has transformed almost overnight.

“My family and friends are very proud of me. It feels really good. For my friends I’m still the same Tanay.”

“I’m a movie freak. When I walked the red carpet I could recognize everyone who walked by, ” says

He has to sit his elocution exams at Trinity College at London. “But coping with the studies is no problem. All my teachers have been very co-operative. Half of Slumdog was shot during my vacations.”

Surprisingly Tanay says acting is a hobby. “Right now I just want to enjoy my childhood. I’m passionate about football. And I love to write. I’ve lots of stories to tell.

As far as movies are concerned my next release is Mastang Mama where Ruslaan Mumtaz and I play mama-bhanja. I know another Slumdog may not happen. But like my dialogue in film goes, it’s all about destiny.”

Tanay misses the Slumdog team. “But we keep meeting for premieres and awards function. And we all keep in touch through the email. We were all one big family.”