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BOLLYWOOD | Guftugu | JANUARY 2011

AISHWARYA: Mirror, Mirror Who is the Fairest of them All?
Rani: 'Jessica' Will Bring Respect for Crime Reporters
India's Master Chef
GUL PANAG: Getting Real
KATRINA: Award Craving
BOBBY DEOL: Baap Ka Beta
ANIL KAPOOR: Back to Acting
TOM ALTER: Playing Ghalib

AISHWARYA: Mirror, Mirror Who is the Fairest of them All?

Aishwarya Rai on Elle magazine's cover

With her flowing gown and piled up hair, Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai is picture perfect on Elle magazine's latest cover, but the photograph is reportedly at the centre of a race row for "whitening" the Indian actress.

According to the British tabloid Daily Mail, the magazine which has previously drawn flak for lightening the complexion of Oscar-nominated black actress Gabourey Sidibe, has "digitally bleached" the actress to make her look white.

The 37-year-old actress who is a globally recognized face thanks to a lucrative deal with cosmetics giant L‘Oreal and films like Pink Panther 2, Mistress of Spices and Provoked, sports pale skin and gowns in the pictorial inside.

But Elle has rubbished the "whitening" allegations.

"Daily Mail is claiming to have contacted us for a comment, which is not true. We have not whitened Aishwarya's skin tone in the pictures," Elle India's editor-in chief Nonita Kalra told PTI.

The photographs, which accompany a write-up by filmmaker Pritish Nandy titled the “Mystique of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan” have also not gone down well with some fans, who have commented about the alleged "racism" online.

"It's annoying because it seems like lighter skin is always in fashion as if darker skin is something to be frowned upon," wrote a fan who calls herself Joan of Arc.

"Her skin tone has clearly been lightened. Indians as a whole prefer lighter skin to darker tones, which is a real shame," wrote Raj from Birmingham about the former Miss World's pictures.


Rani: ‘Jessica’ Will Bring Respect for Crime Reporters

Rani Mukerjee in “No One Killed Jessica.”

Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee loved playing the role of a fearless crime reporter in the upcoming film No One Killed Jessica and hopes that people will have more respect for the profession after watching the movie.

"When we see crime reporters on TV we do not understand how difficult and risky their work is. I think in a day-to-day life, crime reporting is more risky as they are unaware of what assignment they would go for. They go to weird and dangerous places. Especially for girls, it is tougher," Rani said.

No One Killed Jessica is based on model Jessica Lall's murder who was shot dead in 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of a Haryana politician, in a Delhi night club.

"Through my character in the film I am sure people will respect and salute them for the kind of job they do. It is a very fascinating profession where the basic job requirement is to be fearless and brave. I feel great that I am portraying the role of a crime reporter," the 32-year-old actress said.

Directed by Rajkumar Gupta, the film features Vidya Balan as Jessica's sister Sabrina, who fought the case to get justice and Rani plays a journalist in the movie.

"The very fact that I am playing a journalist in the film is also one of the reasons why I am part of it. It is the first time that media is shown in a powerful light in the movie," the Bengali beauty said.


India's Master Chef

Pankaj Bhadouria

A school teacher from Lucknow has won the reality TV show Master Chef India, a competition for amateur chefs hosted by Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar.

The 38-year-old Pankaj Bhadouria fended off competition from the other two finalists, Jaya Nandan Bhaskar and Radhicka Aggrawal, to take home Rs. 10 million prize money along with a contract to host a cookery show and release a cookery book.

Bhadouria's final entry was a meal of drunk chicken log, cheesy dill salmon and cranberry cheese blossom.

She was announced the winner after voting by host and judge Akshay Kumar and his co-judges, noted chefs Ajay Chopra and Kunal Kapoor, in the finale.

Started in October 2010, the culinary show was a platform to acknowledge and encourage the skills of passionate cooks and groom them to become professionals.

The special guests of the grand finale were Bollywood filmmaker-choreographer Farah Khan and actress Katrina Kaif, who stars along Akshay in the film Tees Maar Khan.


GUL PANAG: Getting Real

Gul Panag

Actress Gul Panag stands out among Bollywood divas with her short hair and make-up free look and the actress says she tries to pick up roles that are closer to reality and life.

The actress, who will next be seen in Prakash Jha production's Turning 30, says she feel fortunate to get roles which are not regular love stories.

"I don't want to look like an assembly line production. The same glossy long hair and saree makes all actresses look similar. I want to stand out. It is easy to blend than to stand out," the actress told PTI.

"Similarly, being a niche actor, I am fortunate to get a film like Turning 30. Why don't we make such films?. There is more to life than love stories."

Gul has been a part of critically acclaimed movies like Dor, Dhoop and Manorama Six Feet Under.

In debutant director Alankrita Srivastav's film, Gul plays an urban woman who struggles to control the chaos in her life as she hits her 30s. She tries to juggle a job, family, friends while searching for love. The film releases Jan. 14. Purab Kohli is her co-star in the movie.

While Gul considers her character in Turning 30 a difficult one, she did not think that there was a risk in playing a woman in her 30s.

"I think things are changing in Bollywood. People are more accepting. I don't want to be 24. It is an age of cluelessness. You don't know what you want from life. But being 30, I am forthright. I know my mind and know what I want from life. Why should I be hesitant about it?" she says.


KATRINA: Award Craving

Katrina Kaif in “Tees Maar Khan.”

She is undoubtedly Bollywood's reigning beauty but Katrina Kaif has still not won a Filmfare award and is "dying" to get her hands on the “Black Lady.”

"I haven't won a Filmfare award till now and I am dying to win one. But I can never be a judge for myself whether I should get a Filmfare award as it for the audience to decide," said Katrina who was in town to announce the 56th Idea Filmfare awards.

The 26-year-old is also on the cover of Filmfare magazine's latest issue along with her Tees Maar Khan co-star Akshay Kumar.

The actress, who is tipped to be in the race for a Filmfare trophy this year for her performance in the hit political drama Rajneeti, said that she is excited about the new wave of cinema in Bollywood.

"Look at the type of films being made nowadays. It’s really commendable. Films like No One Killed Jessica  are a classic example of this. I am amazed everyone is so excited about it including me," she said.


BOBBY DEOL: Baap Ka Beta

Bobby Deol with father Dharmendra in “Yamla Pagla Deewana.”

Actor Bobby Deol says his on-screen chemistry with father Dharmendra in their upcoming movie Yamla Pagla Deewana has come out well because of the relationship the two share in real life.

"Since I am the youngest in the family... I fool around with Papa. But I don't behave stupidly. In the film, it is because of him that our chemistry is amazing," Bobby told PTI.

In the film, he said they play the characters of thugs. "Even though they are father and son, they are friends. They do everything together and can talk anything under the sun," he added.

Bobby, who celebrates his 44th birthday next month, said doing comedy was not an easy task.

"I have not done comedies much. However, the situations in this film were great. It is an entertainer which will take the audience back to the Manmohan Desai lost-and-found genre," he added.

Speaking about elder brother Sunny, he said even Bhaiyya has not done comedies.

"He is the toughest guy in the film industry. Here he is a tough guy put in a comical situation. Comedy in Yamla Pagla Deewana is situational and I am confident that audiences would react positively to the film," he added.

The actor said he had put his heart and soul in the film and is extremely excited and anxious as the D-Day nears for the release on Jan. 14.


ANIL KAPOOR: Back to Acting

Now that his multi-starrer No Problem is out of his way, Anil Kapoor plans to concentrate more on acting assignments in new year, including his villainous outing in Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible.

No Problem, starring a host of Bollywood A-listers, failed to create any magic at the box office. It was Anil's second production this year after Aisha, which starred his daughter Sonam Kapoor in the lead.

In 2011, the actor will be occupied with multiple acting assignments so production is set to take a back seat.

"I had planned the release of No Problem and Aisha in 2010 and wanted to focus on these two productions. Now that both films have released, it is time to accept one or two new films as an actor as well," Anil told PTI.

Currently the actor is busy with the shooting of Priyadarshan's Tezz and Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible 4. He will also begin shooting on Race 2.

"Another major reason behind my absence from Hindi films is my commitments in the West. I had to be there for all the events related to Slumdog Millionaire. Then I had another priority in the form of my TV show 24 for which I had to be stationed in Los Angeles for as many as six months."

Most of his films are hitting the big screen in 2011 but the actor had a busy time filming in different parts of the world. Mission Impossible 4 is his biggest international assignment till date.


TOM ALTER: Playing Ghalib

Playing Mirza Ghalib on stage is a natural progression for Tom Alter and the veteran actor says he would love to do a film with Gulzar on the legendary Urdu poet, whose 214th birth anniversary was marked recently.

Alter enjoys playing Ghalib and an impeccable command over Urdu and acting skills make him the perfect choice for any director for the role.

"To be Ghalib was but a natural progression, a delightful challenge which (director of Pierrot's Troupe) M. Sayeed Alam gave me, and I love it," the 60-year-old Alter told PTI in an interview.

But he finds it almost impossible to rate himself while playing Ghalib.

"I have seen Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah) as Ghalib, and he was amazing. So I never compare myself to anyone. I know that if I enjoy the role, the audience will enjoy me," he says.

Alter has played the role of the poet in two of Pierrot's Troupe productions, Ghalib and Ghalib in New Delhi innumerable times.

Ghalib  is a lively, entertaining and educative account of the intriguing man named Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, a master yet a rundown poet, privileged yet pitiable elite, extravagant yet poor noble, devout yet self effacing lover, irreverent yet pious husband and self-seeking yet altruistic person.

In the play he narrates the memoirs of his life to his first biographer Maulana Altaf Hussein Hali.

On the other hand, Ghalib in New Delhi is a comic play which sees the poet coming to the national capital.
m Gadar.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Free Binayak Sen!
Travesty of Justice

Chhattisgarh-based human rights activist Binayak Sen has been handed a life sentence for sedition, and that’s just not right, writes Kavya Ramachandran.

A Friend In Need:
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Former cricket star Imran Khan always offers support whenever Pakistanis needed it, as was evident during his recent fundraising trip to Northern California, writes Ras H. Siddiqui.

An Ode to Dadumoni:
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Pioneering Bangladeshi gynecologist Sofia Khatun had a magical ability to weave spellbinding stories from reality, writes Risana Nahreen Malik.

EDITORIAL: A Terrible Injustice
NEWS DIARY: December
ENVIRONMENT: Restoring Breuner Marsh
SUBCONTINENT: Year 2010 in Retrospect
HUMANITARIAN AID: From Rajghat to Gaza
SUBCONTINENT: India Gets Touchy
REAL ESTATE: Rays of Sunshine?
BUSINESS: News in Brief
TRAVEL: Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
RECIPE: Chilli Paneer
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Mazda 3
BOLLYWOOD Review: Tees Maar Khan
TAMIL FILM: Manmadhan Ambu
HOROSCOPE: 2011 Yearly Forecast

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