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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu:

Aish Makes Stylish Appearance in Cannes | Freida Pinto New Face of L’Oreal | Danny Meets Kids | Akshay Gets Bail | Singing for Dilip Kumar | Back in Television | Old Hits | Not Impressed

Aish Makes Stylish Appearance in Cannes


Aishwarya Rai and Doutzen Kroes at Cannes.

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has become a permanent fixture at Cannes, made another stylish appearance at the opening of the French festival in a stunning off-shoulder Roberto Cavalli gown.

The Indian actress stood out amongst the bevy of international beauties in her white ruffled gown, which had a ruched bodice embellished with Swarovski crystals, accentuating her stunning figure.

She was accompanied by her actor husband Abhishek Bachchan, who complemented her attire with a white outfit. The 35-year-old star, who is the brand ambassador of L’Oreal, attended the premiere of the inaugural film Up at the Palais De Festival in Cannes May 13 with the newly announced L’Oreal world spokesperson, Elizabeth Banks.

Aishwarya accessorized her designer ensemble with red peep toe heels, Swarovski red box clutch and pearl drop earrings. The actress wore minimal makeup and her hair, with auburn highlights, was elegantly styled in an up do.

Her latest Cannes outing is a far cry from her first appearance at the French festival where she was criticized for her bad fashion choices.

Aishwarya, who became the first Indian actress to become a part of the Cannes jury in 2003, said, “As a jury member at Cannes I had the experience of enjoying cinema as it is irrespective of where it come from, who is the maker or from which country, which is similar to the diverse Indian cinema.”

Apart from Aishwarya, veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, a jury member at the 62nd edition of the French festival, also made an appearance in a yellow print sari and posed with Aishwarya on the red carpet. Tagore greeted the gathering with a traditional “Namaste.”

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Freida Pinto New Face of L’Oreal


Freida Pinto (c) is the new look of cosmetic giant L’Oreal.

After Bollywood actresses Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor, Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto is the latest celebrity from India to join the star-studded line-up of cosmetic giant L’Oreal Paris.

The Mumbai native has been announced as the international spokesperson for the Paris-based beauty brand.

The 24-year-old actress joins a long list of the brand’s celebrity associations which includes Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Eva Longoria, reported Marie Claire magazine online.

“I am very moved to be joining the great L’Oreal Paris family and all these personalities, a family I am now proud to be a part of,’ said Pinto about her new role.

The model turned actress became an overnight Hollywood sensation with the success of her debut film, Slumdog Millionaire. She is currently shooting for Julian Schnabel’s movie Miral in Israel and has also been signed on for Woody Allen’s next venture.

Pinto joins Lost actress Evangeline Lily and Scrubs star Elizabeth Banks who have also been revealed as the brand’s new ambassadors.

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Danny Meets Kids


“Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle with Rubina Ali at the Oscar awards.

British filmmaker Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, met the film's two child stars Rubina and Azhar, who lost their homes in the anti-encroachment drive launched by the civic authorities.

“We have been trying to find legal accommodation for these two children for a long time. Hopefully, our efforts would bear fruit soon,” Boyle, told reporters after meeting the two kids at Tata Institute of Social Science.

He was accompanied by movie's producer Christian Colson.

He said unless these children shift from illegal shanties to rented or legal ownership homes, they would continue to be vulnerable.

Boyle expressed happiness at the way their education is going on saying that both children are bright students.

He said the makers of the film have been making monthly contributions to the Jai Ho Trust and the fund would be handed over to the children after they attain the age of 18 or when the trust feels right to give them the money.

Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who live in the illegal shanties along the Bandra railway line close to the Mahim creek, lost their homes this month as the civic authorities demolished illegal slums as a part of their monsoon cleanliness drive.

Rubina's father Rafiq Qureshi walked out of the meeting in a huff and complained that Boyle had not done enough for the children.

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Akshay Gets Bail


Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone in “Chandni Chowk to China.”

The silly saga over Akshay Kumar’s so-called wardrobe malfunction continues. Close to a month-and-a-half after his alleged obscene act in public during a fashion show here, police May 18 arrested the Bollywood actor and later released him on bail.

“Akshay came to Vakola police station with a lawyer and surrendered. We arrested him under Sections 294 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for his alleged obscene behavior and granted bail for a sum of Rs. 950,” a police officer told PTI.

Akshay’s wife Twinkle was also arrested under the same charges last month and immediately released on bail.

“As a law-abiding and responsible citizen, Akshay Kumar, on his return from an overseas shooting stint, insisted that he would like to meet with the police in regard to the incident. He went to police station and completed all formalities,” the actor’s publicist said.

Akshay, Twinkle and organizers of the Lakme India Fashion Week were booked under Section 294 IPC (obscene act and songs) after an unbuttoning act during the show held here in the last week of March.

The Bollywood star was walking down the ramp at the show when he suddenly stopped in front of his wife who was seated in the audience and asked her to unbutton his jeans.

Later, Anil Nair, a city-based social activist, had registered a police complaint against Akshay, Twinkle and the show organizers alleging obscenity.

Police would file a charge sheet within the stipulated 90-day period in a court which will decide whether to frame charges against the accused or not. In case the charges are framed, they would face trial, police said.

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Singing for Dilip Kumar


Dilip Kumar

She has been the voice of some of the greatest Bollywood actresses of Hindi cinema, bringing out a myriad of emotions on screen through her songs, but Lata Mangeshkar regrets not being able to sing for actor Dilip Kumar, a new book has revealed.

Mangeshkar, who has enthralled the music lovers with her golden voice for over six decades, shares a close bond with the actor and they have enormous admiration for each other as artists.

“Obviously, I can not sing for any man but when I watch Dilip Kumar sing ‘Madhuban mein Radhika naache re’ in Kohinoor, I can see the veins in his neck protruding.

“Dilip Kumar looks as though he is actually singing, not Rafi Sahib. If I had the chance, I would have happily sung for him!” the singer says in the book “Lata Mangeshkar: In Her Own Voice” by Nasreen Munni Kabir.

The book, which reproduces a series of conversations between Lata and Kabir, will be launched in Mumbai. It has been published by Niyogi Books.

Though the singer could not sing for the actor, her wish was partly fulfilled after she recorded a duet with Dilip Kumar in the 1957 film Musafir.

Kumar and Mangeshkar sang the duet “Lagee nahin chhute” for the Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. It is the only film where the actor sang on and off screen, the book says.

The singer, who began her career in the industry by acting in Marathi films, never liked being in front of the camera and after finding success as a playback singer she never visited the sets but now she regrets not watching Dilip Kumar act.

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Back in Television


Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in “Main Aur Mrs Khanna.”

Bollywood actor Salman Khan May 21 said he is back on small screen as host of the second season of game show Dus Ka Dum because the audience has loved it.

“I am my usual self on the show. I interact with the audience just like I talk with my fans. Just because you saw it on television, it looked very novel,” Salman told reporters at the launch of Sony television’s new slate of programming.

He said he was normally in a good mood whenever he is with fans. “But, my mood depends on you (media). Celebrities are always in a Catch-22 situation. You keep writing false stories and when there is no reaction, the falsehood continues. If you react, more will be written,” Salman said.

The film star, who returned home May 20 after completing a film shoot in London said he was appalled to read speculative stories on how he had “harassed” the channel because his price for the show’s second season, has been slashed.

“I was given big money in the first season. But, now it is recession time. The reduction in my fees for the second stint is not as much as it is being reported,” he said.

Salman said Sony TV will be responsible for inviting celebrity guests on the show.

He said, “The reason why Sony is taking care of the celebrities is that I have been left with a few friends in the industry. There are a few left and I will try to get them on the show.”

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Old Hits

Want to see evergreen Bollywood hits like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Dil To Pagal Hai on the big screen again? Just visit a neighborhood multiplex.

Due to a long-standing producer-multiplex stand-off and absence of new Bollywood releases, a number of theatres in Delhi and the NCR are going for the tried and tested — screening old or recent Hindi box-office hits to attract film buffs.

The Spice multiplex in Noida is running three shows of DDLJ. The Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer is also being screened in SRS Cinema in Faridabad and MMX in Ghaziabad.

Shah Rukh-Madhuri Dixit’s 1997 romance Dil To Pagal Hai is running in Golcha in the walled city and SRS Pristine in Faridabad while Silvercity and Movieworld in Ghaziabad are showing another Shah Rukh hit — Yash Chopra-directed Darr.

“Due to the distribution dispute, the occupancy rates are down. So we are trying to attract viewers by showing old blockbusters. We are screening old films for 20-25 days and the response is not bad,” Shashi Kant, manager of Spice Cinema, said.

Some other movie halls in the national capital are turning to recent hits. Life in a Metro, Fashion, Vivah, Johnny Gaddar, No Entry and Golmaal — a bunch of films which had been successful in the box-office during last one or two years — are on offer again to woo viewers.

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Not Impressed

Eminent Indian filmmaker Mrinal Sen is not impressed with the representation of Mumbai’s ghettos in Slumdog Millionaire and believes that Oscar awards are not the ultimate parameter of good cinema.

The Dada Saheb Phalke award winner says that some of the greatest filmmakers including Charlie Chaplin never won an Oscar for their cinema.

“I don’t think that Oscars are the parameter for quality work. Did any Chaplin or Satyajit Ray film get Oscars? I don’t remember that any of such great filmmakers had ever received this award,” Sen, who turned 87, told PTI in an interview.

(Satyajit Ray was honored by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1992.)

The filmmaker said that the ghetto-to-glory theme in Slumdog Millionaire was not very appealing.

“Though I have not seen the movie, it must be a bad film. I don’t think that eight Oscars make it a great film. I don’t understand what they want to show by the story of a slum dweller becoming a millionaire. The theme is not appealing,” said Sen.

Pioneer of new wave cinema in India with his 1969 Hindi film Bhuvan Shome, Sen is one of the most respected names in Indian cinema alongside Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak. He has made over 30 films besides scripting and producing several films in 50 years of his career.

Sen’s pathbreaking cinema has been inspired by the Marxist movement and social issues.

Maker of classics like Bhuvan Shome, Raat Bhor and Mrigaya, Sen is disappointed with present day cinema.

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COVER STORY
It’s Not Cricket!
From Sporting Art to Commodity

Hucksters have taken over cricketing bodies like BCCI and brought their art of zero-ethics profiteering to bear upon this once beautiful sport, writes Partha Banerjee.


ECONOMY
Downturn Quadrilemma:
Untenable Contradictions

Contradictory forces have posed policymakers with a daunting task as they grapple with a global economic crisis, writes Ashok Bardhan.


REMINISCENCE
Trip to the Fair:
Childhood Memories

Ved Prakash Vatuk writes of a childhood visit to a fair, the realization of an impossible dream due to the desperately poor circumstances of his childhood.


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Cricket and Lust for Lucre
NEWS DIARY: May
TRIBUTE: Farewell, Iqbal Bano
SUBCONTINENT: NRI Grooms Out of Favor
ACHIEVEMENT: Intel ISEF Award
THEATRE: From Dusk Until Dawn
BUSINESS: Real Estate Goes Green
SUBCONTINENT: Congress Rules
TRAVEL: Smoky Mountain National Park
AUTO REVIEW: Smart ForTwo
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: 99
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
RECIPE: Kadhai Paneer
TAMIL CINEMA: Sarvam
COUTURE: Fashion for the Recessionista
CULTURE: Ramayana by Chhandam
PERFORMING ARTS: SF Ethnic Fest
COMMUNITY: News
INFOTECH INDIA: Briefs
HOROSCOPE: June



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81st Annual Academy Awards
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IIFA Awards 2008
A Siliconeer Exclusive Photo Essay



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