Ra. 1: Kareena is SRK's wife not a super-woman

Ra. 1: Kareena is SRK`s wife not a super-woman By Subhash K Jha

Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t sleep. Or so it seems. He landed in Mumbai on Thursday from Dubai after a show, but shows no sign of strain or jetlag. Just before Dubai the mega-star was in Berlin for the film festival negotiating the attention of hundreds of screaming fans.

What we don’t know is that Shah Rukh met and bonded in Berlin with American auteur director Martin Scorcese and his favourite actor Leonardo di Caprio.

Says Shah Rukh, “Lenoardo, Martin and I spent some time together. Martin was gracious enough to remember that he had met me in Cannes way back in 2002 when I was there for Devdas. He wants to watch Devdas and I’ve promised to send it to him. I’ll do so right way.”

After the glorious performance in My Name Is Khan as a physically-disabled underdog journeying across America on a whimsical mission, Shah Rukh Khan is all set to play the super-hero flying across the sky to save humanity.

True to its mythological title Ra. 1 which starts shooting next month in Mumbai followed by Goa and London, will have Shah Rukh combating 10 villains. Raavan according to Hindu mythology, was a ten-headed demon whom Ram vanquished single-handedly.

In Ra. 1 the modernday Raavan has been turned into ten different villains whom super-hero Shah Rukh, the modernday Ram will annihilate one after another.

Shah Rukh Khan seemed remarkably relaxed in Berlin on the day after his film My Name Is Khan opened in Mumbai accompanied by violent protests by the Shiv Sena.

Said Shah Rukh from Berlin, “I missed the opening in Mumbai. But I believe people have liked the film. I’m being told I’m in character. That’s good to hear. Give me a character to be in, and I’m right there. ”

The SRK brand of humour was intact when told that My Name Is Khan doesn’t look like a Karan Johar film. At his deadliest deadpan best SRK retorted, “Yeah, even I felt like that when I first saw it. I told Karan, ‘Arrey yaar yeh tum ne kaisi picture banayee hai?’.

Actually the three ladies in our lives Hiroo Aunty (Karan’s mother Hiroo Johar), Kajol and Gauri have made this film. ”

Getting serious SRK said, “I thought it would take audiences a little time to come to terms with the film. But I am glad it was well-received. ”

After playing the under-dog in two successive films Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and My Name Is Khan (we aren’t counting his guest appearance in Dulha Mil Gaya) Shah Rukh will be flying across the sky in Ra. 1. The estimated budget of the film to be produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies, is Rs 100 crores. And no Kareena Kapoor won’t be joining him in midair.

She plays Shah Rukh’s grounded wife and not a super-woman.

Says a source close to Ra. 1, “Kareena was keen to attempt the hi-jinks with Shah Rukh, specially since Agent Vinod where she had a lot of stunts has again been postponed But in Ra. 1 all the conflict involves Shah Rukh and the ten villains. ”

Shah Rukh along with the film’s director Anubhav Sinha and journalist-writer Mustaq Sheikh, has co-written Ra. 1 and will be credited as one of the writers. The film will be in Hindi.

Says the source, “He was advised to make the film in English. But Shah Rukh decided to make it in Hindi. Why should he pitch his super-hero film to the Western audience when they already have their Superman and Spiderman? Shah Rukh has no aspirations of cracking Hollywood on their terms. ”

The film requires the star to perform never-before heart-in-the-mouth stunts, which he’s gearing to do.

There is no sex in Kites: Rakesh Roshan

There is no sex in Kites: Rakesh RoshanBy Subhash K Jha

Kites and Rajneeti are seen by the film trade as the two most crucial releases in the remaining part of the first-half of of 2010.

The two films’ producers Rakesh Roshan and Prakash Jha are currently the two closest friends in the film industry, so much so that Jha decided to shift the release of Raajneeti from May 28 to June 4 on Rakesh Roshan’s advice.

Rakesh Roshan’s Kites (directed by Anurag Basu) is being released on 21 May.

Explains Prakash, “Both Rakeshji and I felt there should be clear gap of two weeks between Kites and Raajneeti. Earlier I was to come just a week after.

But in the case of a big film llike Kites the multiplex theatres don’t know till Wednesday if they would like to change films on Friday. I wanted to avoid the scheduling confusion.

I sat down with Rakeshji and we decided it was better that I postpone by a week because there’s no big release after Raajneeti until Mani Ratnam’s Raavan. ”

Adds Rakesh Roshan, “I think more filmmakers need to work in close consultation to avoid films overlapping and cutting into one another’s market. Prakash Jha and I have been discussing each other release. And we mutually decided he should release a fortnight after my film. ”

What happens to the release of Raajneeti if Kites gets postponed again?

Rakesh Roshan discounts that possibility. “We can’t postpone the 21 May release because the English version is being released simultaneously. ”

What if Kites becomes a big hit? Would that affect Raajneeti’s opening?

“No way!” says Prakash Jha. “Kites is a love story. Raajneeti is a political drama. ”

One point of similarity between the two films is that the leading men of both films are paired opposite Caucasian heroines. Hrithik Roshan shares screen space with Barbara Mori while Ranbir Kapoor ignites the screen with Sarah Thomson.

While Rakesh Roshan insists there’s no sex in Kites, Prakash Jha says Ranbir and Sarah share torrid moments in Raajneeti.

Says Rakesh, “Ours is a clean family entertainer. It’s a love story with no sex in it. When have I ever produced films with torrid sex scenes?”

Chala Khan America

Chala Khan America!This summer My Name Is Khan (MNIK) will be playing for a non-NRI audience in theatres across the US.

And the version of MNIK that American audiences will get to see will be different from original film as released so far in India and overseas for the NRI audiences.

Shah Rukh Khan confirms this decision to shorten the film for American audiences. Says Shah Rukh, “Yes, we are cutting down the length of the film for the American audience.

Their requirements are different from the traditional audience for Hindi cinema. We’re in this way extending the life span of a Hindi film with first a worldwide release for Indian audiences and then phased out releases for non-Indian audiences. ”

Says the film director Karan Johar, “Yes, the version for Americans will be shorter though not radically different.

We’ve left the American version’s editing to the film’s editor Deepa Bhatia. She is experienced and versatile enough to understand what would be palatable to the American audiences.

Deepa has worked on feature films as well as documentaries. She’s edited films for everyone from me to Govind Nihalani. ”

Karan admits it’s not the songs nor the length that will determine the shape and size of the American version of MNIK. “The first thing we heard from the American market is, we love the songs. So the songs stay. Deepa Bhatia is looking at what to remove. ”

This summer when the film releases for a non-diaspora audience in the US, Shah Rukh, Karan and Kajol will be in the country for the American premiere.

“We’re committed to our American producers Fox-Star to take the film to the US and any other part of the world where it will be screened in whichever avatar. ”

I don't even mind even doing a D-grade film

I don`t even mind even doing a D-grade filmSneha Ullal was known as the Aishwarya Rai-lookalike when she entered the film world but the actress is now keen to carve a niche for herself. After featuring in spooky thriller "Click", she feels it's time she proved her calibre to people who misguided her when she first came to Bollywood.

"See 'Click' is not my comeback in Bollywood because the film doesn't revolve around me. I need a film like 'Lucky' (her debut vehicle) to make a comeback; then I can show what I can do," Sneha told.

"Now it's time I prove myself because there are a lot of people who misguided me in Bollywood - whom I trusted. I never knew Bollywood is like that, you know," she said.

The young actress has already signed two Hindi movies, including one opposite Akshay Kumar.

"I am doing a film with Ashok Tyagi where Akshay Kapoor is my co-star and there is another film with Shubir Mukherjee. The film is being launched by Joy Mukherjee's son Sujoy. One of them is a thriller, the other is a love story and both are expected to release later this year," said Sneha.

Sneha made her debut in 2005 opposite Salman Khan and her second release was "Aryan: Unbreakable" (2006) with Sohail Khan. After that she moved down south and featured in Telugu films like "Nenu Meeku Telusa...?" and "Ullasanga Utsahanga".

"I have done three films in the south and the fourth is releasing in April. In the south, people are very genuine. They will tell you the right things. I had rejected one film because I was not comfortable kissing on screen.

"Two months later, I got another film and I called the same director, whose film I had rejected, for some guidelines and he guided me properly. It's unlike Bollywood. Here people will misguide you and take you in the wrong direction. That's what happened with me," said Sneha.

The 22-year-old feels she owes a lot to southern cinema. "I won't stop doing films in the south ever. It teaches you how to be an actor...how to be a lady. I don't know about Bollywood as I haven't done much work here."

But at the same time she is keen to leave her mark in Bollywood as well and says she will be less choosy about roles than earlier.

"I am going to do any role now that takes me to another level. If my role is good, I don't mind even if it's a D-grade film," said Sneha.

"I was choosy, but it didn't work for me. I need to learn because that's what an actor is all about. She needs to play different kinds of characters...You can't stick to one genre."

Asked if she has any regrets about her initial years in Bollywood, Sneha said: "I don't regret but if I am to re-do, I will re-do now. I don't regret because 'Lucky' gave me name; people know me today because of 'Lucky'."

Saat Khoon Maaf: Neil is Priyanka's youngest husband

Saat Khoon Maaf: Neil is Priyanka`s youngest  husbandBy Subhash K Jha

While Naseeruddin Shah at 60 would be Priyanka Chopra’s oldest husband in Saat Khoon Maaf (earlier entitled Ek Bataa Saath) Neil Nitin Mukesh has just been signed to play her youngest husband.

Though age-wise Neil is a few months older than Priyanka, Neil, it is reliably learnt, initially felt he would look incompatible with her.

Says a source, “Neil didn’t want another situation like Aa Dekhen Zara where everyone commented on how incompatible Bipasha and he looked.

At the same time he’s a big fan of Priyanka’s work. So when he heard that his colleague (let’s not call them friends, because they are not) Ranbir Kapoor was working with Priyanka and prepared himself to match Priyanka’s maturity level (Ranbir has stubbled, lean red-eyed look in Anjaana Anjaani) Neil was game for it.”

Neil’s character will require a heavy physical transformation. He will apparently be unrecognizable on screen.

Says Neil from the location for Yashraj Films’ Lafange Parinday, “When I heard the script I was zapped. This was something I had to do. I play one of Priyanka’s husbands, the youngest of the lot. The fact that I get to be in the same film as actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Mohanlalji was incentive enough. I read even Irrfan Khan is in the film.”

(However sources close to the project deny Irrfan’s casting).

While all the actors playing Priyanka’s husbands (and these include an unknown American actor) have been finalized the seventh actor is yet to be finalized.

Neil starts shooting for Saat Khoon Maaf from April. “I’ve a somewhat crowded date diary this year. I join Abbas-Mustan from June to December for Italian Job.”

Neil who moved to Powai to be near Yashraj Studios to avoid the daily traffic to and from South Mumbai is wondering if he made the right move.

“The traffic on that side of town is just as bad. It’s excruciating to travel even from Powai to Yashraj Studios. On Thursday I had a day off and I invited my mom over to do up my new home the way I wanted it.”

Neil who has been a part of a joint family household all his life, says he has no time to miss his family in Powai. “Because I use that old flat of ours only to sleep….alone!”

Madhavan on half a dozen films announced with him

R Madhavan The going has been good for Madhavan who would be seen in Teen Patti this week. 2009 started off well with 13 B and ended on a brilliant note with 3 Idiots turning out to be biggest money spinner of all times. Looking at a fresher set of films in the coming months, most notably being Tanu Weds Manu and Freedom, Madhavan also opens up on half a dozen films that were announced at one point of time with his name in the credits. These were Aap Ke Liye Hum, Basra, Sunglass, Game On, Alibaug and Deewana.

Here is a blow by blow account of each of these films, right from the horse's mouth.

Sunglass [Director: Rituparno Ghosh, co-stars: Konkona Sen Sharma, Naseruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Raima Sen]

"Yes, I have completed Sunglass quite some time back but it's up to the producers to release it. Only they can answer the question around the delay.

Basra [Director: Navdeep Singh]

"I was supposed to do Basra with director Navdeep Singh and co-star Akshaye Khanna. However, things didn't materialise between producer and the director. Things changed later and they needed my dates from November-February. That didn't work for me and I had to opt out."

Aap Ke Liye Hum [Director: Revathi, co-stars: Jaya Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Vidya Malvade]

"I was getting a chance to work with Jayaji (Bachchan) in this film and was quite thrilled about it. In fact I had also shot for a couple of days but then the director fell ill and later there were certain pre-production issues. Again, all the dates were haywire. Now if the film moves ahead, I may continue working in it. So I am a little unsure about it's progress."

Alibaug [Director: Sanjay Dutt]

"I was supposed to work in it at the time when Mr. Sanjay Dutt was the central protagonist. Then there were certain problems between him and Sanjay Gupta and the film was delayed by 8 months. Later when the film started again, I didn't have spare dates myself."

Game On [Director: Nupur Ashtana, co-star - Tabu]

"This film is not happening at all."

Deewana [Director: Not known, co-star Amrita Arora]

"This film is not happening at all."

Farhan Akhtar takes the Khan route, Will Deepika ?

Farhan Akhtar takes the Khan route, Will Deepika?Farhan Akhtar is joining the bandwagon of Aamir and Salman Khan as far as promotion of film is concerned.

Farhan will be roaming around the cities to promote his forthcoming venture 'Karthik Calling Karthik'. If sources are to be believed Farhan will be visiting six cities.

Our reliable source reveals, “Farhan is planning a six city tour which includes Surat, Indore, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Bengaluru for the promotions of KCK. Farhan is very excited about the whole idea and is looking forward to meet his fans all over.”

“Farhan is in two minds about other cities but the tour to these six is confirmed, ” adds the source.

Wonder, whether Deepika will join her co-star in these tours considering the super-ambitious actor she sounds to be nowadays. In that case, it will be like an icing on the cake.

10 Albums to watch out for in 2010

Whatever be the fate of Bollywood films year after year, there is always something consistent about the world of films and that happens to be it's music. 2009 saw quite a few good soundtracks hitting the stands and 2010 should be no exception with number of diverse films spread across genres. While 2009 was dominated by Pritam, 2010 is pretty much setting the stage for number of top line composers with Vishal-Shekhar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy also joining in. A.R. Rahman is expected to continue his good work; Rajesh Roshan would be back as well while Himesh Reshammiya is expected to churn out his yearly hit. Meanwhile, expect a few surprises from the likes of Salim-Sulaiman as well as new finds Sachin & Jigar. Joginder Tuteja brings to you 10 most anticipated albums of 2010 (in alphabetical order) that should see an all around popularity in months to come.

Action Replayy (Pritam)

Pritam is expected to carry forward the great run that he has been enjoying during last 3-4 years. Action Replayy is also special because it brings together the hit team of Vipul Shah, Akshay Kumar and Pritam together after Singh Is Kinng. Vipul has been known for roping in different composers for each of his films, whether it was Aankhen (Jatin-Lalit, Aadesh Srivastava), Waqt - Race Against Time (Anu Malik) or Namastey London (Himesh Reshammiya). However, after London Dreams (Shankar Ehsaan Loy), he has gone back to Pritam and in the process repeated a composer for the first time ever.

Anjaana Anjaani (Vishal Shekhar)

Vishal and Shekhar were quiet all through 2009 with Aladin (for which they composed a couple of years back) being their sole release of the year. However, it was for a reason since they were getting bigger things in place for entire 2010. The year should begin with Anjaana Anjaani and it has all the right reasons to be mighty successful. Reason being that in Siddharth Anand's Bachna Ae Haseeno and Salaam Namaste, they gave some real good melodies even though Ta Ra Rum Pum was a step behind. Now with Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra forming the film's cast, it is but obvious that the composer duo would push themselves further for this Sajid Nadiadwala production.

Guzaarish (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)

He didn't quite make history with the music of Saawariya. However, the reputation that Sanjay Leela Bhansali carries ever since the days of Khamoshi, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas means that the man is expected to deliver goods in a big way with Guzaarish. Since he has himself decided to hold the baton for the music of this Hrithik Roshan - Aishwarya Rai starrer as the composer, the excitement is palpable. Expect the man with a vision of his own to surprise and reinvent filmmaking as well as music all over again with Guzaarish.

Housefull (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)

This is one 'houseful' affair waiting to happen. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy may not have created a blockbuster score in 2009 but they did deliver good quality music all through the year. Sajid Khan directed Housefull is touted to be that BIG project for the composer trio where they are expected to go all out in getting a huge commercial soundtrack in place. With a huge star cast to boast of and Sajid's eye for mass appeal to vouch for, Housefull is expected to be the first musical success for Akshay Kumar in 2010.

I Hate Luv Stories (Vishal Shekhar)

Sheer volume of albums being churned out by Vishal-Shekhar in 2010 indicates that this could well be their year after a rather dull 2009. Not restricted to working in any fixed camps, the composer duo is smartly balancing work across different filmmakers. For this Karan Johar production, they are expected to create a peppy rom-com outing (going with the genre of the film). Coming together of Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor is enticing enough and icing on the cake would be music by Vishal and Shekhar that should keep the flag high for them all through the year.

Kajraare (Himesh Reshammiya)

His Radio may have sunk at the box office but it's music was much appreciated right till it's release. As a composer he has not let down even once and there is no reason why Kajraare should be any different. Moreover, since he joins hands with Bhatts (who have a rather impressive track record as far as their musical outings are concerned), Himesh is expected to put in double the effort for Kajraare. This time around though, Himesh would certainly be hoping that his good luck with music rubs on his foray into acting as well.

Kites (Rajesh Roshan)

Hrithik Roshan. Rakesh Roshan. Rajesh Roshan. Need one say more about this combination? Their soundtrack for Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai may stay on to be their best while Krrish wasn't exactly the kind of outing that met sky high expectations of their fans and followers. Still, Roshans are a brand together and that should get wheels moving for Kites as well. Also, a fact that cannot be ignored is the involvement of director Anurag Basu whose taste in music won't raise any doubts. Remember Life In A Metro, Gangster and Murder?

Ra. 1 (Vishal Shekhar)

Ra. 1 may or may not release in 2010 but if it indeed does then this could well be a film to watch out for. Vishal and Shekhar have been known for their consistency and their penchant for doing limited but quality projects is helping them build a unique branding for themselves. With Shah Rukh Khan, they have made Om Shanti Om while with director Anubhav Sinha they have made some rocking tracks in Dus and much ignored Cash. Ra. 1 is just the kind of assignment that could redefine the musical scene as the first decade of the new millennium comes to an end.

Raavan (A. R. Rahman)

From a techno Ra 1, it's time to jump on to mythical Raavan with A.R. Rahman promising a lot for this Mani Ratnam directed modern day tale. From Dil Se to Yuva to Guru, Rahman has always delivered the best for Ratnam and expectations are gargantuan from this Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer. The soundtrack is expected to be attached to the roots and set in a characteristic Indian backdrop. From the Oscar award composer, Raavan would be one of the biggest efforts to watch out for in 2010.

Tees Maar Khan (Vishal Shekhar)

Tees Maar Khan is all set to arrive by the end of this year. With Farah Khan joining hands with Vishal-Shekhar once again after Om Shanti Om and Akshay Kumar bringing on his star quotient and a strong music sense intact, Tees Maar Khan is a big project waiting to explode. Expect a 100% masala outing sans any pretence in the music of Tees Maar Khan that should keep the lovers of mass commercial Bollywood soundtracks happy.

There is no method to Kajol's madness: Karan Johar

There is no method to Kajol`s madness: Karan JoharShe is spontaneous, brilliant, the perfect choice... Kajol is undoubtedly one of Karan Johar's favourite actresses and the director says he might not even have made "My Name Is Khan" if she had said no to the film.

"I had only Kajol in mind for Mandira's role. And I don't think I would have made this film had she said no to me. She was the perfect choice for the character. I don't think anyone could have done justice to it as she has, " Karan Johar told in an interview.

"Kajol is spontaneous. There is no method to her madness. She is sheer brilliance. Her expressions connect you immediately. She is all real, all woman, all human on screen and I don't think any living actress has the quality that Kajol has, " he added.

Releasing Friday, the film is the heart-warming tale of Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism), and his journey to win the love of his life Mandira, a single mother.

Asked if he thinks Kajol could portray the character better because she is a mother in real life too, he said: "Yes, she could connect to the character well because she is a mother first, then a wife and then an actress. I think she is, by her own admission, a solid mother and that's how she defines herself, " said Karan.

The filmmaker insists the disorder in Shah Rukh's character acts as a texture and an added layer but it's not the focus of the film.

"We needed a character not to be neurotypical because when he is asked to embark on a journey to meet the US president, it's a very illogical demand to make. But it's told to him in the heat of the moment and he takes it to heart, " Karan explained.

"If he was neurotypical, like you and I, logic would have played a big part. But he followed the instruction, " he added.

Karan believes it is difficult to make pure love stories nowadays because there is bound to be a certain cynicism attached to it.

"I think a pure love story is difficult to make as we used to do decades ago. There is too much cynicism and too much of a grey area surrounding love. That's why a very pure love story will have certain cynicism attached to it.

That's my belief. Having said that, I believe that there are some great love stories waiting to be made, " said Karan.

It has been reported that Fox STAR is undeterred by the unprecedented success of Rajkumar Hirani's "3 Idiots" and hope to hit the bull's eye with "My Name Is Khan".

Does it pose any challenge to Karan as a filmmaker?

"I don't make a film and predict a business of it. I make a film I believe in. Yes, it's a challenging film because it is a new kind of film - challenging for Shah Rukh because it's a new level of performance for him, challenging for the entire team.

"At the end of the day we have done it with certain conviction, passion and heart and we are very, very confident that the film will connect on a human and emotional level. I don't know how good business will be... I can't predict that... all I can say is that the film is made with a lot of heart, integrity and honesty, " Karan said.

Sherlyn wants to be official cheerleader of SRK's KKR

Sherlyn wants to be official cheerleader of SRK`s KKRIPL 3 has just got hotter. At a recent event, where SRK announced his official alliance with an inner wear brand, Sherlyn Chopra stumped him when she expressed her desire to be KKR's official cheer leader during the cricket extravaganza.

However chivalrous SRK replied that he would rather have the sexy siren as his special guest seated in the VVIP box during the matches.

It is said that SRK has even invited Sherlyn to all his IPL team's matches of the Twenty20 cricket tournament. The hot babe will start on her cricket yatra along with SRK from mid-March to end April, starting from Kolkata.

Will her presence bring some good luck for SRK's Knight Riders who put up a dismal show in the last two seasons... only time will tell.

We have not sold Kings XI Punjab: Preity Zinta

We have not sold Kings XI Punjab: Preity ZintaThe Hero Group has not acquired Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight franchisees of the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament, the company as well as Preity Zinta, the co-owner of the team, clarified Wednesday.

"Hi everyone! Just want to clarify that we have not sold the team to Hero Honda! Another example of how the media can get it all wrong, " Preity posted on her Twitter page Wednesday following TV channel reports that the team had been bought over.

"The reports are absolutely baseless. Neither has the group acquired Kings XI nor was it in talks for such an acquisition, " a spokesperson for the Hero Group told in the capital.

Kings XI Punjab is co-owned by actor Preity and industrialists Ness Wadia, Karan Paul, and Mohit and Gaurav Burman. Kings XI Punjab is led by Kumar Sangakkara, while Tom Moody is the coach.

"It is not true -- totally baseless. We have not sold Kings XI Punjab to anyone. These are just speculations. We have no information regarding this, " added Anil Srivatsa, the chief executive of the franchisee, said reacting to reports.

"I don't know from where this news has emerged. We are also verifying from where these reports have come, " Srivatsa told in Chandigarh.

Hero Honda also re-affirmed its association with the IPL and Delhi Daredevils, another franchisee.

"Hero Honda's association with IPL as an associate sponsor and the main team sponsor of Delhi Daredevils team remain unchanged, " it said in a statement.

The $3. 5-billion Hero Group, which started operations as a small component company for the bicycle industry more than 50 years ago, is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world today and has a 21-year-old collaboration with Honda of Japan.

The group is a sponsor of several major sporting events, including a high-profile golf tournament and has set up the Hero Indian Sports Academy to recognise, build and award outstanding talent within the country.

The third edition of the IPL begins March 12 with holders Deccan Chargers taking on Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai.

The great Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Aditya Chopra patchup

The great Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Aditya Chopra patchupBy Subhash K Jha

It's a small world. And the world of entertainment even smaller than the rest.

Two of Bollywood's biggest filmmakers Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Aditya Chopra had a major misunderstanding last year when Aditya Chopra ended up using the Punjabi exclamation 'Hadippa' which was a registered title in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's production house in Yashraj Films' Dil Bole Hadippa.

The incident left a bitter taste in Sanjay Bhansali's mouth and the director had vowed to not go anywhere near the Yashraj banner.

A year later the acrimony has faded. And now for the first time in his entire career Sanjay Leela Bhansali will be shooting (from Feb 21 ) in Yashraj Studios, and that too for his crucial last schedule.

Says a source close to Sanjay, “It is the final lap of shooting and Sanjay needs to be absolutely relaxed. He weighed the pros and cons and decided to let bygone be bygones and approached Yashraj.

Mr Yash Chopra and his son Aditya have happily extended all facilities at their swanky studio to the director who hopes to shoot in peace and without any guests dropping in. ”

Says the source, “One of the drawbacks in shooting at one of the other major film studios in Mumbai is that guests can drop in any time.

In spite of clear instructions to his actors and technicians about no visitors on the sets of Guzaarish Sanjay regularly had to deal with VIP guests on the sets. Most of them he had to say no to. At Yashraj such intrusions are not allowed. And that would avoid Sanjay a lot of embarrassment. ”

Says Sanjay Bhansali, “It is strictly a business arrangement. Yes I am shooting at Yashraj later this month. It is comfortable and convenient. And we all belong to the same fraternity, don't we?”

This schedule completed the director would have only a song with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and scenes with the magician to shoot.

The song with Aishwarya will be unlike anything she has shot before. It will have her dancing but for the first time in non-choreographed spontaneous movements.

SRK and I are connected to each other: Karan Johar

SRK and I are connected to each other: Karan JoharIt is common knowledge that "My Name Is Khan" is going through a storm. However, in the midst of it all, Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar are standing by each other. The director strongly believes that they are connected to each other more as brothers than being business partners.

"'My Name Is Khan' is a film which is a strong emotional connect for both Shah Rukh and I. He and I co-producing the film has nothing to do with money, " said Karan, whose Dharma Productions has made the film in collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.

"We are too connected to each other and when it comes to a family, you don't question their close association. Do you question someone who is working with his brother in one assignment after another? Shah Rukh and I may be having different surnames but that doesn't take away from the strong sense of brotherhood that we both carry, " he added.

What makes him supremely confident about his life-long relationship with Shah Rukh? Specially when Farah Khan had to move from Shah Rukh to Akshay Kumar for "Tees Maar Khan".

"See, its not just the matter of directing a film which would have him as an actor. Tomorrow, I may not be directing a film with him but the fact is that both of us will always be a part of each other's production house. In some way or another, in whatever capacity, we would be working with each other, " said Karan.

Releasing Friday, the film also stars Kajol and is set in the post 9/11 US.

Clarifying yet another misconception about the film, Karan says "My Name Is Khan" is not an issue-based film.

"Please let me set the record straight that 'My Name Is Khan' is not an issue based film. Instead it's a human drama about a couple. The film will make you smile and result in tears in your eyes. It's a film which connects with you and is totally emotionally based."

He also clarifies on the religious connotation saying: "By no means am I aspiring to take forward the baton of an issue. Instead I am just using it as a part of the narrative. The film doesn't have any religious or spiritual undertone to it but basically sends across the message of humanity, so let's watch the film for its worth."

I need not explain my Indian-ness to anybody: SRK

I need not explain my Indian-ness to anybody: SRKBollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is tired of being under the Shiv Sena scanner for his stand on Pakistani players in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and says now he is hoping that all ends well.

" (I) hope all turns out well. Hate altercations and misunderstandings - tired of interpretations of this whole undesired and sad affair, " Shah Rukh posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Shah Rukh, who owns IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, had been facing the ire of the Shiv Sena for his comments favouring the inclusion of Pakistani players in the third season of the IPL.

The Shiv Sena sought a public apology from the star and threatened to ban his films in Mumbai, starting with the much -awaited "My Name Is Khan" slated to release Friday.

But the issue sorted out when Sena leaders unofficially retracted from having issued any such diktat to ban the movie and it is expected that it may be released without any problems now.

Shah Rukh said he had been "misunderstood" on that issue.

"I don't think I have ever said anything anti-national or non-Indian. I need not explain my Indian-ness to anybody. I have only said what every Indian should. I stand by what I have said. I think there's a bit of agenda and politics in all this, " Shah Rukh had told reporters after returning from London.

Big B ecstatic after wearing 'air-conditioned' dhoti

Big B ecstatic after wearing `air-conditioned` dhotiBollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan believes in 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' and he followed suit while in Kerala recently by donning the local dress code - a crisp white shirt and 'air-conditioned' dhoti, as he puts it.

'Keeping in tune with the phrase 'do in Rome as the Romans do', I order some extraordinary crafted dhoti and sari to be worn... The sari, of course, for the ladies in the house, ' Amitabh posted on his blog Sunday night from Cochin.

'So, I wear the dhoti or mundu as it is more colloquially known for the evening and I think there is an appreciation of it, ' he added.

The 67-year-old was also ecstatic by the whole procedure while tying the wrap-around.

'The 'dhoti' in all its pristine glamour, tied up around the waist by sheer will power and some dextrous use of the stomach muscle, else it slips down and opens up! It is just a piece of cloth, no buttons, no belts, no clips, nothing.

'Simple, elegant, convenient and with its own characteristic charm and above all - air conditioned at all times. The fall of the main design as a strip down the front to be positioned on the right hip and just around the right knee. Rules of culture, ' he added.

Exposed: Adnan's Secret Nikaah In Mumbai

Exposed: Adnan`s Secret Nikaah In MumbaiBy Subhash K Jha

Though Adnan Sami's scheduled wedding on Jan 31 to his Afghani-German girlfriend Roya Faryabi in Munich fell through, it now comes to light that the couple went through a secret nikaah ceremony at Adnan's residence in Mumbai on Friday, Jan 30, a day before the wedding-cards announced the wedding in Munich.

Only close family members of Adnan were present at this nikaah.

Says a source close to Adnan, “The wedding in Munich had to be cancelled because the courts did not allow Adnan to leave the country, much as he had hoped to.

There're serious charges of domestic violence against Adnan. He was not allowed to leave for Munich and the wedding plans in Germany had to be put off.”

Rather than cancel the wedding Adnan decided to have a flash ceremony in Mumbai. All the arrangements were made by Adnan's son Azaan, Adnan now intends to host a wedding reception in Munich at Roya's place and then another reception in Mumbai for all his friends.

But as things stand Roya and Adnan are now man and wife.

Speaking from Munich Adnan's third wife Roya Fariyadi says, “Adnan is the perfect man for me. I love not just the man but also his mother and son. In fact Adnan's son Azaan and I get along like a house on fire. We often gang up together and tease the hell out of Adnan.”

Roya says she is not the least perturbed by Adnan's past record of broken marriages. “What happened in the past is the past. What I see is a man I'd like to spend my life with. Adnan is king caring and gentle.

I hope we can make our marriage last forever. Like any good wife I plan to shift to Mumbai to be with Adnan and his family. But I'll keep visiting Germany. That's where my parents stay.”

Roya's parents are from Afghanistan. They moved to Germany 30 years ago and hold German passports.

Adnan's first wife Zeba Bakhtiar has spoken to Roya. They apparently like one another. As for his second wife the warring Sabah, her views on Adnan's third wife are now known but easy to guess.

At first Adnan was reluctant to confirm the secret nikaah. He finally said, “Yes we got married last Friday at a secret nikaah. And we're loving it. Now deal with it.”

Bipasha is in the most amazing shape right now: John Abraham

Bipasha is in the most amazing shape right now: John AbrahamThe hunk is back in action. John Abraham breezed in to launch the first season of Kolkata Fashion & Lifestyle Week. India Blooms correspondent Sreya Basu caught up with the actor on fashion, fitness, Bipasha…Bipasha…and more Bipasha.

Now that you launched the first season of Kolkata Fashion & Lifestyle Week (KFLW), are we going to see you rock the ramp as well?
I am not going to walk the ramp. I have come to Kolkata to present the show on behalf of Purple People (organizers). And the intention is to make sure that it provides a platform to the young designers of the city with the help of established names.

Do you have a favourite designer from Kolkata?
Well, I came here the last time, but to be honest with you, I work primarily with only two designers…both of them are Mumbai designers –Narendra Kumar Ahmad and Rocky S. This year I will look forward to someone from Kolkata; but at the moment there aren't any favourite designers from the city. However, I find Sabyasachi is mercurial and brilliant.

If you don't like Kolkata designers, why are you promoting them?
See, I didn't say that with any negative intention. I am here to help them get a platform to showcase to showcase their talent.

The intention is to give them an opportunity, like I was given when I came to the industry. If I can give them an opportunity, or work as a medium to provide them an opportunity, I will come to Kolkata again and again.

Do you remember any incident from your modeling days, where you got a hatke opportunity to showcase your talent?
It was 2000, I had just became a model. At that time, I wore Monaji (designer Mona Lamba of Monapali) lehenga for a dot-com. It was obviously for women. But I walked very flamboyantly, bare-bodied…wearing the lahenga.

I could see the reaction of the audience …some of them loved it; others were a little stunned. But till date, I thank Monaji for her support. I was a new model then and I needed that support. I can't forget that.

What will you tell the young designers who will be participating at the KFLW?
Young designers have to keep one thing clear in their head…it's not about actors walking the ramp for you…but your collection being showcased…that's very important.

You joined films with a modeling background. Now when you walk the ramp, do you notice any difference in the spectator mindset? May be, the 'star' factor?
Yeah…you are right. Now when I walk the ramp, my sole identity is that of 'John Abraham'; people say 'John Abhraham is wearing these clothes' or 'John Abraham is wearing that'. Unlike in films, where we change characters; we assume a new life every three or six months.

So, what character you are playing at the moment?
I am not working for the past six months. So at the moment, I am John Abraham only (smiles).

What's fashion to you?
Fashion to me is just being comfortable in what you are wearing. I think that's the primary aim of fashion. For me, fashion is being comfortable in your own skin, own clothes. Create an impression for your self rather than for people.

Bipasha Basu has recently released her fitness DVD. Do you have any plans like that?
Well, right now there are no plans. Bipasha has got a great fitness DVD. I personally have tried out the workouts in the DVD.

And as much as Bipasha said it's for women; I would say, the workouts are equally good for men. She is also coming out with a second DVD in due course of time for both men and women; but I just think I should follow her routines right now.

So, now Bipasha is helping you out to maintain your six-packs?
(Laughs) Yes, times have changed. Now she (Bipasha) walks into the gym and says 'Hey, it's not the right posture'.

Who is the fitness freak between you two?
Bipasha is the tough one. She is in the most amazing shape right now. The first time I saw her post her fitness sessions (though earlier saw her photos while shooting outdoors), my jaws dropped. I told her 'This cannot be for real… this is so good!' She is just absolutely wonderful and is in the prime shape of her life.

But how much do you think the workouts will help a layman?
The DVDs are very very functional ones. It's not an actor coming out with a DVD to increase equity. She wants to give back to people what she believes will be the most effective and help them to get a nice toned body.

That mean, you don't want to come up with a DVD so that Bipasha doesn't have a competitor?
I will come out with a DVD may be 15-20 years later, when I am fitter. At the moment, Bipasha is fitter than me.

When you sign a new film, what are the priorities?
Well, the first priority is the entire set up-the director, the producer; and then the hero of the film, ie, the script. I remember watching Bipasha's Bengali film Shob Charitro Kalponik and I was stunned it was such a beautiful film.

I sat through every moment and I realized that sometimes there are certain cinemas that miss out on certain aspects of making.

And I think Bengali films are so beautifully layered that I love watching them. Similarly, in Tamil films, they show romance so beautifully. So I think, the most important thing is script. That something I primarily look out for.

For quite sometime, there has been no new release from your kitty. How long your fans will have to wait for that?
I did Dostana in 2008, New York in 2009. There's an Abbas Tyrewala film, produced by Sanjeev Goenka, that's coming out in 2010. And then, there's Dostana 2 in 2011.

The idea is to think like a mathematician and just try to improve your success ratio. So, do lesser work and try to do films that are qualitatively entertaining to the audience. Earlier I was learning as an actor and I picked up scripts that were not so good; some were really good.

So I am learning through the entire process and trying to be a little more selective. Now I wan

Treatment done, Akki is back to Dangerous action

Treatment done, Akki is back to Dangerous action

The day after Akshay landed in Mumbai after his back treatment he was doing some of the most dangerous stunts affordable to a star.

Before he left for his back treatment Akshay Kumar was unsure if he could ever return to normal health-related activities that he liked, let alone action sequences. In fact Vipul Shah's action-laden climax for Action Replay which was to be shot after Akshay's return, was seriously jeopardized.

But after the hydro- therapy that he underwent in Germany last week, Akshay Kumar returned to work, more confident than ever before, ready and eager to shoot heart-stopping stunts for Action Replay. When Vipul offered to change the climax Akshay laughed and told him to change his plans to change.

Not only was Akshay seen hanging from cables doing and flying through the air, he even cajoled his co-star Kirron Kher to get try the aerial stunts.

Speaking from Manori where director Vipul Shah shot Akshay's action sequences with action direct Allan Amin immediately after the actor's return from Germany the director confided, “It's true we were very unsure about what shape Akshay's back would be in once he returned from his hydro treatment.

The climax of Action Replay required very complex and strenuous stunts on wire-cables. I offered to change the climax and do away with the cable stunts.After all those are tough even for actors with normal healthy backs. Akshay told me to wait until his return before taking a final call.”

The actor's recovery post his treatment has been far more quick and complete than imagined.

Vipul just can't stop gawking at the actor's recovery level. “Why just me? The entire cast including Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav and others just can't believe Akshay's capacity to bounce back on his feet.

Here we were thinking of doing away the cable stunts and somehow managing the climactic action without the planned aerial shots. But Akshay has been wired and suspended midair for almost a week now.

Cable stunts are really tough on the back. But Akshay was super-confident on his return.”

Akshay was so kicked by the idea of starting afresh on his newly-repaired back that he even encouraged Kirron Kher to join him on the cables in Manori.

Says Vipul, “A shot required her to join Akshay in the air. Kirronji was at first hesitant. But we ensured her it was fully safe to be suspended with cables.

Akshay is so charged and enthusiastic he will soon have the whole cast and crew on cables. We are shooting funny action sequences. But hanging midair from thousands of feet is as dangerous whether done for fun or otherwise.”

Akshay who sounded discernibly pained before his restorative trip to Germany is no raring to go. “I'm back on my feet and doing action scenes for Vipul's film. The treatment worked fully and I am completely recovered.”

Apparently Akshay has recommended the hydro-treatment to Sunny Deol who suffers a chronic back problem and has undergone to major surgeries to repaid his back. For Akshay surgery was never an option, even when his back had given a decade back and he was laid up for six months.

Deepika and Shahid are in love?

Deepika and Shahid are in love?Two jilted lovers Shahid and Deepika are making waves these days. According to the latest buzz, the duo is currently dating each other and can be seen partying together.

Shahid has also been visiting Deepika's pad quite often. “Shahid's car was parked outside Deepika's Bandra residence a few days ago, ” claims an eyewitness.

Talking about their relationship, a source told a daily, “Shahid and Deepika - both are quite headstrong and have moved on from their failed relationships.

They are only concentrating on their career at the moment. They want to have a strong foothold in the industry and think alike, which is the main reason why they have clicked together.”

Professionally they are also heading towards a new project together, the source stated, “One of Shahid's close friend is trying to work on the project. Deepika and Shahid are vaguely aware of the project and are