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Big B Drops Fee For Sharing Screen with Mohanlal | Shammi Wants Another Coffee Date with Deepika | Akshay Kumar is My Role Model: Lara Dutta | Just Good Friends | No Child’s Play | Going Grunge | Case Dismissed | Looking Forward | In a Burqa | What Twitter? | All Duffers

Big B Drops Fee For Sharing Screen with Mohanlal

Amitabh Bachchan in "Teen Patti."

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan will act for free in a Malayalam movie, rumored to be based on the 1999 Kandahar hijack episode, starring veteran actor Mohanlal.

Describing Mohanlal as a "great exponent of his art and craft and one of the finest actors of the country" from Kerala and Malayalam cinema, Big B in his latest blogpost said that Mohanlal along with director Ravi had come over to finalize dates and schedules for the film, the title of which is yet to be announced.

"They (Mohanlal and Ravi) had come over to officially sign me on and make payments, etc.. Ha..!! Payments? Fees? Remuneration? For a guest appearance of three days ? With Mohanlal who has always had my greatest admiration? No way!! I don't charge money for such acts," Bachchan wrote.

The actor said felt honored to be working in a Malayalam film and that too with the "exceptional Mohanlal!"

"Respectfully declined their offer, gave them some home-made tea, shook hands, embraced and saw them off. It (film) will probably be shot in Ooty, the picturesque and quaint hill station in the beautiful Nilgiri range of mountains down south," Bachchan said, adding he had wonderful memories of several other films shot there.

"Shall be visiting Ooty after ages," he said.

The decision to act in a Malayalam film was taken by Big B when he met Mohanlal at a felicitation function for Oscar-winning sound recordist Resul Pookutty in December last year.


Shammi Wants Another Coffee Date with Deepika

Deepika Padukone and Farhan Akhtar in "Karthik Calling Karthik."

Veteran Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor had such a good time sipping coffee with actress Deepika Padukone that he has asked her out once again.

"Morning love. How are thee? Only get to see you in (Vijay) Mallya match. Another cuppa another day? What say you?" the 78-year-old actor wrote in a post on Padukone's Twitter page.

However Padukone, who is busy shooting for her upcoming movie Break Ke Baad, politely declined the offer.

"Namaste Shammi uncle! would love to... only thing is I've been shooting every day and packing up way past your coffee time," she said in a reply on the microblogging Web site.

The 24-year-old actress had earlier admitted of getting the surprise of her life on being asked by Kapoor for a cup of coffee.

"I've met Shammiji a couple of times and always felt this warmth towards him and I can feel the same from him. Even his wife has been very nice to me. Apparently he was tweeting me and I didn't even imagine that Shammiji would be on Twitter. But that happened just before I came here so when I go back I'll have my coffee date with him," Deepika had told PTI in an interview.


Akshay Kumar is My Role Model: Lara Dutta

Lara Dutta and Deepika Padukone in "Housefull."

From her debut film Andaaz to her upcoming comedy Housefull, Lara Dutta has shared screen space with Akshay Kumar in half a dozen films and has come to look up to the star as her role model.

"Akshay is a role model for me," says Lara, who is extremely excited about Housefull. And why not, comedies have worked wonders for her in the past, mostly the ones that saw her opposite Akshay.

"I have seen Akshay right from the time I came into industry with Andaaz. The film was a great debut for me and I couldn't have asked for more. Over the years, I have seen him grow tremendously as an actor," Lara told PTI in an interview.

Lara, 31, is now looking forward to the Sajid Khan directed entertainer, which is slated for release April 30, where it is back to old times with the action hero.

In the past, the Lara-Akshay duo has enthralled the audience with their powerhouse performance in films like Aan - Men At Work, Insan and Dosti - Friends Forever, Bhagam Bhag and Blue.

"One has to see the way Akshay approaches his scenes, whether comic or dramatic. I have always admired his conviction and dedication," the former Miss Universe said.

"When working on a film, Akshay does so many things to ensure that the final shot that he gives is the best possible. Over a period of time, he has transformed himself from being just a hero to a saleable comic actor as well. I have never seen anyone working so hard as Akshay," she added.


Just Good Friends

Sohail Khan and Preity Zinta in "Main Aur Mrs. Khanna."

Bollywood star Preity Zinta and her Indian Premier League team 'Kings XI Punjab's star bowler Brett Lee share a strictly professional relationship, said the Australian cricketer's manager in a bid to dismiss reports of an alleged link up.

Lee and Preity were recently pictured at ease together at an IPL cricket party in India recently which sparked the reports that they were romantically involved, Daily Telegraph online reported.

However, Lee's manager Neil Maxwell has sought to clear the air by stating that the cricketer's relationship with Zinta was strictly professional, adding that the pair had been friends for years.

"Brett presented her with an acting award in England some years ago and they've been friends since. She is a very intelligent lady and very nice too," Maxwell said.

In almost two years since Lee separated from his wife Liz Kemp he has not once been linked to a woman and his manager said that was not about to change.

"I think with the media sniffing around, he has reason to keep his night life as quiet as possible," Maxwell said.


No Child’s Play

Shahid Kapoor in "Paathshaala."

Bollywood heartthrob Shahid Kapoor says his upcoming film Paathshala is an honest effort to bring forth the pressure today's school going kids undergo.

The actor, who plays an English teacher in the Milind Ukey-directed film, said he did the movie because he felt the need to spread awareness about the problem faced by children.

"Earlier my role was just of a guest appearance but it was extended because I felt the need to address the issue personally and promote it. The film is not at all for commercial success; rather it aims at reaching to a greater audience through the mass medium of films," Shahid, who was here at a school to promote his film, said.

"I wish we could find ways to enter into a child's mind and know what problems he/she is facing which sometimes force them to take a drastic step. Solutions to bigger issues can only be found if one gets to know what kind of pressure a child is feeling," Shahid said.

The 29-year-old star, who played a dance instructor in his last film Chance Pe Dance, is back in kids’ company in Paathshala but this time he plays a teacher, who takes a stand against the creeping commercialisation in the education system.

"Commercialisation has entered into a noble profession like education. It is not bad as we need better facilities for our kids but the question is where do we draw a line. Better facilities mean higher fees which sometimes are unaffordable my middle class parents," Shahid said.

The actor was full of nostalgia when he was here at the school where he spent his early years.

"It was a holiday today and I know how kids yearn for a chhutti but still they all came just to welcome me, it was so humbling.... can't express it in words," Shahid said.


Going Grunge

Ajay Devgn in "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?"

Bollywood star Ajay Devgn has gone for a complete makeover in Golmaal 3, which will see the actor sporting tattoos and diamond ear studs.

Devgn's new looks has been conceptualized by none other than director Rohit Shetty, who wanted to bring out an edgy and rugged look in the 43-year-old actor.

The Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision-produced comic caper is currently being shot in Goa and will see Kareena Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor and Arshad Warsi making a comeback.

Shetty has also styled the look of other cast members of the movie. Kareena has a tomboy look while Tusshar is tapori.

"I wanted all the characters to have different looks in G3. For Ajay (who plays Gopal again), I wanted a character that looked different from everything he has done. He has been working hard on his body a lot, so we will have him flaunting his body. He plays a hyper character who loses his temper very quickly, because of which everyone is scared of him. People never know what he will laugh about or get angry about," Shetty said.

Ajay's tattoos have been designed by Aalim's studio.

"The tattoo is of a Celtic or tribal trishul. It's daring to have a tattoo on the neck, even if it's temporary. No actor in India has done it on the neck. We have given Ajay a buzz cut, a stubble and overall, a more macho, masculine and grungy look than he normally sports," Aalim said.


Case Dismissed

Sushmita Sen and Govinda in "Do Knot Disturb."

In what must be a relief to Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court upheld the order of a lower court dismissing a criminal complaint against her for her comments on pre-marital sex.

Sen, a former Miss Universe, had landed in legal trouble for her comments in a TV interview that "No male or female in India has chastity or virginity."

A plain reading of the interview given by Sen to a TV channel showed that she had answered a question relating to her personal life and it reflected only a personal opinion, Justice G.M. Akbar Ali observed.

Dismissing a Criminal Revision Case filed against a city judicial magistrate's dismissal of a criminal complaint against her for her comments on pre-marital sex, the judge said the lower court had rightly considered all aspects.

Moreover the Tamil newspaper which had published her interview had only reproduced an earlier interview telecast on a English channel on Oct 6,2007, the judge said.

There was no material to show a prima facie case against the actress, Justice Ali said.

Greesh Kumar, an advocate, had filed the complaint against Sen.

Counsel for Kumar contended that Sen had categorically stated that in her opinion no male or female in India "is having chastity or virginity" and it had been published in dailies also.


Looking Forward

Raima Sen in "The Japanese Wife."

Basking in the glory of her widely appreciated performance in Aparna Sen's The Japanese Wife, actress Raima Sen eagerly awaits the release of her Hindi film Mirch directed by Vinay Shukla who had introduced her to Bollywood with Godmother.

"This is my second film with Vinay Shukla, who had directed me in Godmother and I have lots of hopes for Mirch because of the treatment," Raima told PTI.

Of the four women-centric stories in the film, Sen will turn up in two, opposite Shreyas Talpade and Rajpal Yadav with each story sharing a common humorous strand.

Although Raima enjoys a superb track record in Bengali cinema, the 30-year-old actress insists that she is not averse to any substantial commercial Bollywood project with a good script and competent directors.

"Look, I am open to commercial films, For every Godmother, Chokher Bali, Daman, I have done Parineeta, Honeymoon Travels and Manorama Six Feet Under. I cannot be typecast for one type of roles only," said Raima, granddaughter of legendary actress Suchitra Sen and daughter of film diva Moon Moon Sen.

"I am ready to mould my image, I am ready to essay a role if that interests me. But certainly the offer has to come to me," Raima said.

The actress, who is being appreciated for her role of the widow Sandhya in The Japanese Wife, said that it was one of the most complex roles of her life as it was a challenge to bring out the understated performance and reflect the blank, matured and calm persona of the character.

She plays the mother of an eight-year-old boy, who mostly keeps silent, but lives like a shadow in the life of a village school teacher Snehamoy, played by Rahul Bose, despite not having any manifest relationship with him.


In a Burqa

Shiney Ahuja and Shilpa Shetty in "Life in a Metro."

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty visited the famous dargah of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisty in Ajmer in a burqa gifted to her by cricketer Yusuf Pathan who plays for her IPL team Rajasthan Royals.

"Visited the famous dargah AJMER SHARIF,Yusuf very sweetly arranged everything even the Burkha, haha thank God I wore it (sic!)," Shilpa wrote on her Twitter page.

The 34-year-old actress also posted a picture of herself in the burqa inside a car on the micro-blogging Web site.

However, despite being all covered up the actress was not able to fool the crowd who gathered in huge numbers to catch a glimpse of the star.

"Thot we had fooled people bt the word spread,it was manic but soo glad we cud visit:)hav a lot of faith in FAITH!!beaming frm ear to ear(sic!)," Shilpa wrote in another post.


What Twitter?

Ranbir Kapoor in "Wake Up Sid."

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan does it, so do Salman and Aishwarya. Even as the rest of Bollywood goes gaga over Twitter, Ranbir Kapoor says that he does not understand the hype surrounding the micro-blogging Web site.

Though the heartthrob is a member of the Web site, his first and last tweet came some eight months ago and Ranbir says that the popularity of the Web site is a mystery to him.

"It's a mystery to me. I don't want to tell people 'I am eating now,’ 'Now I am walking to the bathroom.’ I don't understand the need to share these boring details of my daily routine with the whole world. I don't think I am interested in Twitter that much," said Ranbir, who was in the capital for a product launch of an electronics label.

The actor, who has had a string of hits the past year, including Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani, says that he would prefer his work to speak for him instead of tweeting.

"I prefer to let my work speak for myself and I like to communicate with my fans through the kind of films that I do," said the actor.


All Duffers

Arjun Rampal, Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh in "Housefull."

He has played a macho man in countless films in the last decade but when superstar Akshay Kumar was approached by Sajid Khan to play a loser in his upcoming release Housefull, he was game for it.

The actor, who played the dude in films like Blue and Kambakkth Ishq, does not believe that he is breaking away from his well guarded on as well as off-screen image of a macho man.

"When it comes to playing a loser, I enjoy it more than any macho role I have had to play. Is it difficult? Oh certainly yes. But then talking about real life, we are all duffers underneath anyways," Akshay told PTI in an interview.

The 42-year-old actor, who has always prided himself to be the man of the masses who loves to make commercial cinema, says he loves to play the underdog.

"We may put on some cool macho act to woo the ladies and be the dude of the room. However, all of us men would be losers if we were left to our own devices. That's the reason why I love to play the underdog.

"Not many men would like to be an ugly and unfortunate loser. In fact, why just off the screen, even on the screen while enacting the character, they would avoid doing that. But then to me, there is nothing more real than playing an average Joe," he says.

Akshay has been experimenting with such roles in films like Chandni Chowk to China and Jaan-E-Mann, where he had played a geek.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

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EDITORIAL: Management Wizard
SUBCONTINENT: Crude Oil Bonanza
SUBCONTINENT: Maoist Bloodbath
BUSINESS: News Briefs
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RECIPE: Vegetable Pakora
SUBCONTINENT: Honor Killings
TRAVEL: Klamath Falls, Crater Lake, Oregon
AUTO REVIEW: 2010 GMC Terrain
BOLLYWOOD: Hindi Film Review: Prince
COMMUNITY: Esho He Boishakh
CULTURE: Natya Mela 2010

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