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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | MARCH 2011

Priyanka Gives Berlin Premiere  a Miss
I Shouldn't Have Acted in '3 Idiots': Aamir
Bhupathi, Lara  Wed
R MADHAVAN: Romantic Hero at 40
KANGANA RANAUT: Inspired by Madhubala
Sharmila-Soha Starrer
Remo’s Wish
Jagjit Singh's Birthday

Priyanka Gives Berlin Premiere a Miss

Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra missed the much-anticipated world premiere of her latest film 7 Khoon Maaf at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival because she was busy promoting the film in India.

A number of fans who waited outside the Friedrichstadt Palace at night in sub-zero temperatures to catch a glimpse of the 28-year-old actress were disappointed to hear that she will not be attending her film's premiere.

Director Vishal Bhardwaj, who attended the film's premiere in the Panorama section of the festival with actors Annu Kapoor and Vivian Shah, told PTI that Priyanka's absence at Berlinale has nothing to do with the current investigations into tax evasion charges against her.

"I don't think the tax evasion allegations against her will have any negative impact on the film," he added.

The director said he will be rushing back to Mumbai after the premiere to continue promoting it in the domestic market.

International interest generated by the film at Berlinale will certainly enhance its popularity among the domestic audience, he said.

The film, based on Ruskin Bond's short story “Sussanna's Seven Husbands,” revolves around Sussanna Anna-Marie (Priyanka), who marries seven times and kills them one after another over a period of 35 years.

Priyanka garnered popularity in Germany through her roles in Kaminey — her first film with Bhardwaj and the 2006 film Don. She won many new fans in Berlin during her six-week shooting of the sequel to Don along with Shah Rukh Khan towards the end of last year.


I Shouldn't Have Acted in '3 Idiots': Aamir

He won hearts with his portrayal of an engineering student in blockbuster 3 Idiots and Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan (seen here with co-star Kareena Kapoor (l) in 3 Idiots) says the only reason he decided to act in the film was that its subject was education.

"I shouldn't have acted in 3 Idiots as in no way do I look like an 18 year old. The only reason I did the film was because it was about education," said Aamir.

The Rajkumar Hirani-directed film is the story of three students in an elite engineering institute reeling under pressure from the current educational system to excel in their career.

The 45-year-old actor has been passionate about the cause of education ever since he made Taare Zameen Par, the tale of a dyslexic child's struggle to cope with the existing norms of education.

"I was drawn towards stories about education ever since Taare Zameen Par and then 3 Idiots happened. Cinema has the ability to reach out to people and more films upholding this cause should be made," said the actor.

Besides education, Aamir is also associated with the cause of malnutrition. "All these issues are linked. I am working with the Women and Children Welfare ministry as well as the UNICEF for the betterment of malnourished kids."

The actor was in the capital to launch the book “Colors of My Rainbow” by Himani Verma, which chronicles the charitable work of Salma Ansari, wife of the Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.


Bhupathi, Lara  Wed

Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi (l) and Bollywood actress Lara Dutta tied the knot in a formal wedding ceremony in Victorian style.

The celebrity couple, who registered their marriage in Mumbai, hosted a grand reception for 200 invitees at a five star hotel near Sinquerim beach, 10 km away from Panaji.

The previous night, a star-studded “sangeet” ceremony held at Club Fresh on the Candolim beach in North Goa saw people having fun on the dance floor, swaying to Bollywood and Hollywood numbers.

DJ Whosane set the music ball rolling while the group Lucent Dossier from Los Angeles performed aerial acts on the occasion.

Media was kept away from the event. A source close to the couple said that Bhupathi wanted to keep the sangeet ceremony and wedding out of the media glare.

A big posse of mediamen stationed outside the venue for the “sangeet” failed to get a glimpse of the ceremony.

A source who was the part of the “sangeet” said Lara was wearing a marigold-colored lehenga designed by Manav Gangwani, and Mahesh was in a “chikankari” churidar kurta.

The wedding was also a starry affair with Bollywood celebrities including Raveena Tandon, Riteish Deshmukh, Celina Jaitley, Dia Mirza, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani and sporting sensations like Rohan Bopanna and Bhupathi's doubles partner Leander Paes along with his wife Rhea Pillai attending the wedding.

Shah Rukh Khan's presence was not confirmed although there were rumors that wife Gauri Khan was already there to bless the couple, sources said.

The five star resort hosting the wedding offered a menu of Goan food, sushi and Thai cuisine for the guests.


R Madhavan: Romantic Hero at 40

He started his showbiz career playing the cute boy in Sea Hawks and Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein but film star R. Madhavan finds it amusing that he is still offered romantic roles at the age of 40.

Madhavan says he never tried to bank on the matinee idol image and his upcoming film Tanu Weds Manu is only his second Bollywood romance but somehow he is still stuck with the tag.

"Rehna...  was 10 years back. It does not even feature in my memory now, but I am just amused that I am doing a romantic film at 40," Madhavan told PTI.

"I am not chocolate and definitely not a boy. I am a man and I have no clue how this image has stuck to me despite all these years. I think maybe, in spite of trying to shed my chocolate boy image, love stories excite me and somehow I land up in such roles," Madhavan said.

Madhavan has been part of many multistarrer in Bollywood like Rang De Basanti, Guru and 3 Idiots but single hits have eluded him so far.

The actor hopes to change things with his latest movie, which is again a boy meets girl story in the traditional wedding set-up. Madhavan plays the role of Manoj Sharma a.k.a. Manu, a smart, intelligent, but shy NRI who possesses all the qualities of a good husband.

But unlike his larger-than-life characters in previous films, Madhavan found it difficult to play a common man onscreen.

"It was real hard work to play Manu as the character is strong and silent, unlike my real personality. I have a certain style sense but Manu is devoid of such styles. It was a challenge indeed," Madhavan said.

Madhavan, who has worked with Aamir twice, says he is learning the business of cinema from the Bolllywood superstar.

"Right now it’s just Tanu....' I do only one film at a time. I am just following Aamir Khan's lead and trying to know what a film is worth, what is its market value and how much to risk," said Madhavan.


KANGANA RANAUT: Inspired by Madhubala

She plays a loud mouthed, tattooed, small town girl in her upcoming film Tanu Weds Manu, but actress Kangana Ranaut says that her inspiration for the role was yesteryear's actress Madhubala.

The Bollywood beauty said that when director Aanand Rai first approached her for the role, he told her that the sur (tune) of her character is the same as Madhubala.

"Aanand was very clear about the sur he wanted for the character. He told me that when writing the character he had Madhubala in mind. Though different in terms of her look and setting, the spirit of the film and the character are of that era," Kangana told PTI about the film which sees her opposite Madhavan.

The 24-year-old actress put on weight and ditched her trademark glamorous look for the film, which revolves around a NRI doctor who comes to India looking for a bride. And Kangana said that she was happy about being rid of the trappings.

"The quintessential Bollywood heroine is ultra glam, and Tanu is certainly not that. She is an audacious but very lovable character. She is from a very cultured Kanpur family, who has studied in Delhi University. But then she also likes to shock people and have a bit of fun," said the actress about her character, who has quite a few tricks up her sleeve, including binging on vodka on the day her prospective groom comes to meet her.


Sharmila-Soha Starrer

Starring the mother-daughter duo of Indian actresses Sharmila Tagore (l) and Soha Ali Khan (r) together for the first time on the silver screen, British film Life Goes On will be released on March 25 in India, the producers said.

Inspired by William Shakespeare's King Lear, the English language film tries to find a new ground for the Elizabethan period drama in a contemporary multicultural British context.

Besides the mother-daughter pair, Om Puri and Girish Karnad also play important roles in the film.

Ahead of the Indian release on March 25, Life Goes On will be released on March 11 in the U.K., coinciding with the celebration of Mother's Day.

Scripted, directed and produced by U.K.-based Sangeeta Datta, who runs Stormglass Productions, it has already won awards at the Pravasi International Festival, Delhi and the London Asian Film Festival.

Besides a screening at the prestigious Cannes film festival, it had sold-out screenings at a New York and Mumbai film festival.

A gripping emotional family drama of generational conflict, the film centers on the experiences of the Indian diaspora in Britain in the context of the prejudice against Muslims due to global terrorism and the Iraq war.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar has translated two Tagore songs into Urdu for the film, claimed to be the first translation of any of the Rabindra Sangeet songs into Urdu.

The theme music of the film is one such translation from Tagore's “Tobu Mone Rekho” to Akhtar's “Yaad Rahoon.”


Remo’s Wish

Ace Bollywood choreographer Remo D'Souza, (Seen here with Mallika Arora Khan (l) and Madhuri Dixit Nene (r)), who debuts as a director with F.A.L.T.U., says his next movie will be based on dance and he wants to cast Hrithik Roshan or Shahid Kapoor in it.

The choreographer, who started his showbiz journey with Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela, says dance will always be a part of him but he wanted to expand himself and direction was the most natural transition.

"My next film will be based on street dance something similar to Step Up. The concept is ready and I am planning to begin shooting it in May or June. I think Hrithik and Shahid are great dancers and they can pull it off very well," he told PTI.

D'Souza (real name Ramesh Gopi) has been the man behind many Bollywood dances. He recently made Akshay dance to his tunes in Patiala House but the artist says he wants to focus on direction for the time being.

"Choreography is good, I will keep doing it. But I want to do something more in life, I want to climb up and that next step is direction. This transition is very natural for me," he said.

D'Souza says his film, starring Jackky Bhagnani and Riteish Deshmukh, is about the education system in the country where there is no place for the average students, who are often marginalized by the system.


Jagjit Singh's Birthday

Lyricist Gulzar (r) and Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj are coming together to celebrate the 70th birthday of ghazal singer Jagjit Singh (l).

Singh will also be part of the concert, which are being held in different parts of the world. The ghazal singer will participate in 70 live concerts across the world to mark the milestone birthday.

"I'm happy that Perfect Harmony Productions has thought of multiple unique ways to honor me and felicitate me on the occasion of a historic milestone in my life. I shall celebrate Year 2011 with 70 live shows and take my music repertoire far and wide," said Padma Bhushan-awardee Jagjit Singh.

The singer will be travelling to New Delhi for the concert with Gulzar and Birju Maharaj soon.

Perfect Harmony Productions will kick start the celebrations by presenting the legendary singer with a host of unique events for music aficionados.
"India's famed and finest ghazal exponent Jagjit Singh's legendary vocal repertoire and range along with complete mastery over Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu languages have helped him perfected the art of ghazal gayaki as well as to give well-rounded expression to his rendition of Indian classical music," said organizer Abhinav Upadhyay of Perfect Harmony Productions.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Corruption At Large:
India Calls for Action
2010 would have gone down in the history of modern India as the year of scams, but 2011 appears not too different either. It is time for the ball to roll towards wiping out corruption, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj.

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EDITORIAL: Battling Corruption
NEWS DIARY: February
U.S.-INDIA TRADE: Gary Locke Visits India
CULTURE: Maximum India: Kennedy Center Fest
SYMPOSIUM: Remembering Agyeya
PHILANTHROPY: Mijwan Fashion Show
TOURISM: Destination Goa
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Subaru Forester
RECIPE: Vegetable Rogan Josh
BOLLYWOOD: Review: Patiala House
TAMIL CINEMA: Review: Nadunisi Naaygal
BOLLYWOOD: Interview: Akshay Kumar
COMMUNITY: News in Brief

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